What is Financial Aid?

Graduate:
Financial Aid can best be described as long–term, low interest federal student loans to help cover the direct expenses of your education. In most circumstances, financial aid will cover the cost of tuition, fees and books.

Undergraduate:
Financial Aid on the undergraduate level can best be described as money derived from loans and grants to help cover the direct expenses of your education. In most circumstances, financial aid will cover the cost of tuition, fees and books.

While you are enrolled, you are able to defer your loan payments as long as you remain a half time student. Once you complete your degree or drop below half time status and after a specified grace period, you begin repayment. For more information on Federal Stafford Loans visit http://studentaid.ed.gov.

Who can apply?

Graduate:

  • For Federal financial assistance you must be a U.S. Citizen or a permanent resident.
  • International students can apply for an International Student Loan.
  • You must be enrolled at least as a half time student (Masters- six credit hours, Doctorate- three credit hours).
  • Financial aid on the graduate level is not strictly need based, allowing most students to qualify.
  • While in attendance, you must maintain satisfactory academic progress towards a degree. Please refer to the Academic Catalogs for more information.

Undergraduate:

  • For Federal financial assistance you must be a U.S. Citizen or a permanent resident.
  • International students can apply for an International Student Loan.
  • You must be enrolled at least as a half time student (six credit hours).

What if I withdraw or drop a class?

If you withdraw or drop out prior to completing 60% of the term, you will be required to return a prorated portion of the financial aid you received. See Academy Online Catalog for further details.

How will I know if I’m approved?

Once you complete your FAFSA and online entrance counseling, the Financial Aid office will be notified. After receipt of your acceptance letter, the Academy will review the information and mail out an official award letter. When you register, your financial aid will apply directly to the cost of attendance. If there is any excess of funds, a check will be mailed to your home address after classes begin.

What are the types of Financial Aid Assistance?

Please see the Types of Assistance page for details on the many options available to you as a student of the Academy.

Which types of Financial Aid do undergraduate and graduate students possibly qualify for?

Graduate:
Federal Stafford Loans, subsidized or unsubsidized.

Undergraduate:
Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants, Federal Stafford Loans, and PLUS Loans.

How do I apply for financial aid?

You may apply for financial aid at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You will need your previous year’s federal income tax return and W-2 information when completing the FAFSA.

Do I have to reapply for financial aid every year?

Yes. Students are required to complete a FAFSA or a Renewal FAFSA every year. You will go to http://www.fafsa.ed.gov to reapply for financial aid.

It is easiest to complete the FAFSA for the upcoming school year at the same time as filing taxes each year. Since the tax/W-2 information is required to complete the FAFSA, it is a great way to remember to complete your application for federal aid at the same time.

Do I have to wait until I am admitted to the Academy before I apply for financial aid?

No. Students can begin applying for financial aid anytime after January 1st of each year. However, students must be admitted to the Academy before financial aid can be awarded and disbursed to a student.

How can I get an estimate of my federal financial aid eligibility?

Contact the Office of Financial Aid at (251) 626-3303 and ask to speak with a Financial Aid Counselor. If our office has received a valid copy of your Student Aid Report (SAR) from the Department of Education, a counselor should be able to give you an estimate of your financial aid eligibility, including award types and amounts.

Should I use a scholarship search agency to help me find money?

Try to avoid companies or agencies that want to charge you a fee for scholarship searches. There are a variety of free scholarship search engines available on the internet. One that we recommend is http://www.fastweb.com.

Is the money I receive from financial aid taxable?

Financial aid professionals in the Office of Financial Aid cannot give tax advice. We recommend that you contact a certified tax preparer, an accountant, or the Internal Revenue Service at (800) 829-1040.

What does it mean if I am chosen for verification?

Verification is a process used to verify certain information on the FAFSA to ensure its accuracy. Some students are selected for verification by the U.S. Department of Education. Others are selected by their respective schools. Usually only a certain percentage of students are selected for verification.

What is the difference between a Subsidized and an Unsubsidized Stafford Loan?

The federal government pays the interest on a Subsidized Stafford Loan while the student is enrolled in school at least a half-time (6 credit hours/term for bachelor’s and master’s; 3 credit hours/term for doctoral students). If you receive an Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, the federal government does not pay the interest on the loan and the interest will accrue over the course of the loan.

When is my attendance verified and how soon will I receive my refund?

The Office of Financial Aid attempts to “verify” student attendance during their first full week of instruction (the week following your start date). When your attendance is verified in all courses, your lender is notified to release your loan funds to the school. Those funds are then sent by EFT within 2-4 days and are applied directly to your current term charges. Once all term charges are satisfied, and if there is a credit generated on your student account, a refund check will be cut and mailed to your address on file within 14 days.

Why haven’t I received my financial aid?

  • Is your SAR on file with the Office of Financial Aid?
  • Have you completed your Loan Entrance Counseling?
  • Have you emailed financialaid@ussa.edu your lender selection?
  • Have you either e-signed on your lender website or signed and returned your promissory note to your bank/lender?
  • Did you verify that you completed the registration process and that your financial aid was sufficient to cover your charges?
  • Has your attendance been verified in each of your courses for the current term?

What is Satisfactory Academic Progress and how does it affect my financial aid status?

Satisfactory Academic Progress is measured in three ways:

  • The student must progress qualitatively by earning the required minimum grade point average.
  • The student must successfully complete a minimum of 67% of all courses attempted.
  • The student must complete his or her program of study within a reasonable time period.

Additional information concerning Satisfactory Academic Progress policies for both undergraduate and graduate students is available in the respective Academic Catalogs. It is the student’s responsibility to be aware of these important requirements.

What will happen if I withdraw from all my classes?

When a student receiving financial aid withdraws from courses, a Return of Title IV Funds calculation will be completed. If the student has not completed a minimum of 60% of the term, a percentage of disbursed funds must be returned to the lender. This will create a balance owed to the Academy that must be addressed prior to any further registration. See your respective academic catalog “Return of Title IV Funds” section or online for further detail.

Will my enrollment verification information automatically be sent too?

The United States Sports Academy has authorized the National Student Clearinghouse to provide degree and enrollment verifications. Although a student’s SSN is not required for admission, failure to provide a SSN may prevent the Academy from matching a student’s application with a transcripts, test scores, and other admission documents and financial aid information. The Academy may experience delays with enrollment verification reports and other automated verification functions for students who choose not to provide their SSN. If your lender contacts you or you decline to provide a SSN during admission, you may need to complete lender deferment paperwork or the Academy Degree/Enrollment Verification Form located in the Forms and Applications area of our website each term of enrollment. Students who have questions related to enrollment verification and/or loan deferment should contact their lender prior to contact the Financial Aid Department for information.