Applying for financial aid and/or student loans can seem a little overwhelming. While there are many forms and deadlines, Heritage Christian University can help. This easy step-by-step guide to financial aid will assist you in navigating and completing the process. You can now file your FAFSA from your phone! For the first time, students, and their parents, if applicable can download a mobile app to fill out the FAFSA. This means you can work on the FAFSA from anywhere. You can start it on your phone and finish it online if you’d like. The app, called myStudentAid, also allows you to manage your FSA ID and view your loan information, if applicable. The newly designed web pages on the site will fit screens of any size and shape, including those on desktop, laptop, and mobile devices.

The FAFSA is the application for all formats of federal aid and federal student loans and should be completed online each year. The FAFSA is available beginning October 1st for the following year. It is very important that you file your federal tax return early so that you can utilize the IRS Data Retrieval when you file the FAFSA. If you do not use IRS Data Retrieval and/or you estimate your income information, you are more likely to be selected for verification which will delay your application. Our Office of Financial Aid receives the results of your application electronically.

2021-2022 Academic Year (Enrollment starts August of 2021)

To be considered for federal student aid and federal student loans for the 2021–22 award year, you can complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid form between Oct. 1, 2020, and 11:59 p.m. Central time (CT) on June 30, 2022. Any FAFSA corrections or updates must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. CT on Sept. 10, 2022. This FAFSA will be used for the fall 2021, spring 2022, and summer 2022 terms.

FILING THE FAFSA PRIORITY DATES

Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form online as early as October 1st. Institutional funding is limited; it is recommended you fill out your FAFSA by March 1st.

 

ITEM DATE
FAFSA application becomes available online October 1
Spring Admit FAFSA Priority Deadline November 1
Fall Admit FAFSA Priority submission date March 1

 

Step #1

FSA ID
The FSA ID is the way to confirm identity when accessing financial aid information through certain ED websites. From now on, when logging in to these websites, you will be required to enter your FSA ID username and password. Your FSA ID will be used when filing the FAFSA, accessing financial aid information, and electronically signing federal student aid documents. The FSA ID can be applied for at any time. If you do not have one by the time you fill out a FAFSA, you will automatically be prompted to apply for one. If still have a PIN, you can link your information to your new FSA ID by entering your PIN while registering for the FSA ID. This can also save time when registering for your new FSA ID.

Applying for the new FSA ID consists of three main steps:

  1. Enter your log-in information.
    1. Provide your e-mail address, a unique username, and password, and verify that you are at least 13 years old.
  2. Enter your personal information.
    1. Provide your Social Security number, name, and date of birth.
    2. Include your mailing address, e-mail address, telephone number, and language preference.
    3. For security purposes, provide answers to five challenge questions.
  3. Submit your FSA ID information.
    1. Agree to the terms and conditions.
    2. Verify your e-mail address. (Note: By verifying your e-mail address, you can use your e-mail address as your username when logging into certain ED websites. This verification also allows you to retrieve your username or reset your password without answering challenge questions.)

Only the owner of an FSA ID should create the account. The FSA ID serves as a legal signature and should not be shared with anyone. Parents of a dependent student will be required to create an FSA ID and sign the student’s FAFSA.

Filing the FAFSA
This application will be used to determine yours, and your family’s financial profile, if applicable,  and your eligibility for federal aid. This form is available starting October 1st and may be completed online at www.fafsa.ed.gov.

Your Student Aid Report (SAR)
Upon successful completion of the FAFSA, you will receive a SAR (Student Aid Report) from the Department of Education. Your SAR will have your calculated EFC (Expected Family Contribution). This number is used to calculate your financial need and is the basis in determining most aid. Check the data on the SAR for accuracy! If necessary, make corrections to your FAFSA.


Step #2

Your Financial Aid Package
Once HCU receives your completed FAFSA and accepts you to the Undergraduate Program, the Office of Financial Aid will send you a financial aid package award letter and enter your aid offers on your Populi student account. Your Award package will detail your funding offered and requests for any required additional documentation. If you choose to reject any of the aid offered to you, you must decline that aid on your Populi student account. If you wish to adjust the amounts of your loans, you must send notification to the Office of Financial Aid in writing or via e-mail.

The Verification Process
At least thirty percent of all students who complete a FAFSA are randomly selected by the Department of Education to complete a process called Verification. Verification is used to validate the information you put on your FAFSA. If you are selected for the verification process, you will receive notification via your Student Aid Report (SAR) as well as on your financial aid package. Students selected for verification must submit the appropriate documents according to the instructions of the Office of Financial Aid. This may include an IRS Tax Return Transcript, a verification worksheet, or other information. Dependent students must also submit parent information. If an IRS Tax Return Transcript is requested, students and parents should request their transcripts directly from the IRS on http://www.irs.gov or by calling (800) 908-9946.

Those selected for verification should submit their required verification documents as soon as reasonably possible (preference is within 15-20 days of being selected, but this is simply a guideline, not a fixed deadline). If documentation is not submitted within the recommended 15-20 day period, the OFA will follow up with a final request two weeks prior to the first scheduled disbursement for the semester. Financial aid applications of students who fail to submit verification documents prior to the first disbursement will be considered inactive; however, the student’s file will automatically re-open if the verification information is submitted after this date. The Office of Financial Aid must have all verification documents and a valid output document no later than 120 days after the last day of enrollment.

Additional Aid
In addition to aid offered by HCU and the federal government, many organizations offer excellent scholarships, grants, and other forms of financial assistance. Students interested in researching free outside scholarship opportunities can do so at www.fastweb.com or www.educationplanner.org.

If at any time you receive additional aid, federal regulations require you to notify the Office of Financial Aid. If an “over-award” (funds received in excess of your calculated financial need) results due to the additional funding, the Office of Financial Aid must make appropriate changes to your financial aid package. A revised award letter will be sent to you with the details of your new financial aid package.

Step #3

Paying Your Remaining Balance
On your award letter, the Office of Financial Aid will calculate the estimated amount needed to pay your bill. If your award letter indicates that you have a remaining balance, please plan to pay your balance in full on or before the first day of class. HCU also offers a payment plan for interested students. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid for more information.

Entrance Counseling
Federal regulations require that, before any Federal Direct Loans are disbursed to a student’s account, the student must complete an entrance counseling session. This takes about 20 minutes and must be done online at studentaid.gov. The entrance counseling session provides information about how to manage student loans, both during and after college.

Master Promissory Notes (MPN)
All loans require you to sign a promissory note, which is your promise to repay your loan. Federal Direct and Federal Direct PLUS Loan promissory notes may be completed online at studentaid.gov

Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement
All borrowers must complete the Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement counseling each year they accept a new federal student loan. The goal is to help the student understand their loans and how they affect the student’s financial future.

BALANCES DUE
Out-of-pocket balance (the amount due after federal aid, scholarships, student loans, and credit balances) must be paid in full by the drop/add date, unless the student is signed up for the payment plan! Failure to do so will result in a lock being placed on the student’s Populi Student Portal and the student will not have access to his/her classes until the balance is paid.

If you have any questions while completing the process, please feel free to contact the Office of Financial Aid at mthompson@hcu.edu or 800-367-3565 ext. 303.

Mission of the Office of Financial Aid

The Office of Financial Aid will provide unbiased comprehensive financial aid information and support by helping students and their families seek, obtain, and make the best use of financial resources for education while maintaining compliance with federal, state, and institutional guidelines, policies, and procedures.

The Office of Financial Aid is committed to the highest level of customer service and effective, efficient delivery of financial assistance from federal, private and institutional sources to all Heritage Christian University students. By providing the opportunity for all current and prospective students to access financial aid resources, the Office seeks to remove financial obstacles by providing effective, efficient delivery of financial aid resources and assistance to all HCU students in a timely manner and in compliance with all federal regulatory requirements and University standards, and allow students to focus on their primary purpose for enrollment – an HCU degree.

For more information, please e-mail mthompson@hcu.edu or call 800-367-3565 ext. 303.