About Financial Aid

An extensive financial aid program is available to help a student and family meet the expenses of a college education. A college education is one of the most important investments you can make. You and your family will be expected to contribute as much as you can from your own resources to help meet college expenses.

The purpose of financial aid is to help students and families meet educational expenses that cannot be met through their own resources. Financial aid can be either need-based or non-need-based. The results of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) along with the cost-of-education will determine whether or not a student has financial need.

There are several types of financial aid available. Grants and scholarships are considered "gift aid" because they generally do not have to be repaid. Loans and employment are considered "self-help aid" because loans have to be repaid and by working you earn money for educational expenses. Loans are by far the largest source of financial aid for the majority of students and families. Most grants, some loans (Subsidized Stafford), and Federal Work Study are need-based financial aid programs. The Unsubsidized Stafford and the Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) are considered non-need-based. Scholarships can be based upon merit, financial need, or both.

There are four main sources of financial aid. These include the federal government, the state government, the institution and private entities. The federal government is the largest source of financial aid.

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Completing the FAFSA

Each year, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The FAFSA serves as the application for all federal, state, and institutional financial aid at Shawnee State University. You should file the FAFSA or Renewal FAFSA online. This is the fastest and most efficient way to file the FAFSA. FAFSA on the Web provides numerous edit checks that will help prevent errors.

FAFSA on the Web is available beginning October 1 each year.

Fill out FAFSA

You and your parent (if you are a dependent student) should each use a FSA ID to sign the FAFSA electronically. If you or your parent do not already have a FSA ID, apply for one at

Note: Shawnee State University’s school code is 009942, which will be needed on your FAFSA.

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FAFSA Results

The federal government will process your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and electronically send the results to the Financial Aid Office at Shawnee State University provided you listed us as one of the schools to receive the results of your FAFSA. You will also receive notification in the form of a Student Aid Report (SAR).

When you file your FAFSA online and provide a valid e-mail address, you will receive your SAR online. If you do not provide a valid e-mail address, you will receive a SAR Information Acknowledgement in the mail. You can call 1-800-4-FEDAID (1-800-433-3243) to request a paper SAR if necessary.

You should review your SAR carefully. It will contain the information you reported on the FAFSA. If you need to make corrections to your FAFSA information, you may do this online or by sending the SAR to Shawnee State University with the corrections indicated.

The data you put on your FAFSA is put through a needs analysis formula called the Federal Methodology. The output of this formula is called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The lower your EFC, the more financial need you will have. The lowest possible EFC is zero. In extreme cases, the EFC can go as high as 99,999.

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Eligibility Requirements

Your Expected Family Contribution, i.e., the results of your FAFSA, subtracted from your Cost-of-Attendance equals your financial need.

Cost of Education minus Expected Family Contribution = Financial Need

How much financial need you demonstrate will determine the programs for which you qualify. Even if you have no financial need, you will still qualify for the Unsubsidized Stafford Loan and Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS). Your parent must be willing to apply for the PLUS loan and have a satisfactory credit history. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that your aid will cover your full financial need or the full cost of attendance.

In order to be eligible for most federal financial aid programs, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • have financial need, except for some loan programs.
  • have a high school diploma or General Education Development (GED) Certificate, pass a test approved by the U.S. Department of Education, or meet other standards established by your state and approved by the U.S. Department of Education. (Students who have been home schooled should contact the Financial Aid Office for guidance.)
  • be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a regular student working towards a degree in an eligible program.
  • be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen.
  • have a valid Social Security Number.
  • make satisfactory academic progress.
  • sign a statement of education purpose and a certification statement indicating that you are not in default on a student loan nor owe an overpayment on a grant. Both statements are found on the FAFSA.

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Special Conditions

Although the process of determining a student's eligibility for financial aid is basically the same for all students, an adjustment sometimes can be made if a student has special circumstances. Special circumstances may include a reduction in income due to loss of employment, retirement, disability or death of a wage earner; divorce or separation; loss of social security benefits, child support, etc. The Financial Aid Office has a Special Conditions Application, which should be used when the special circumstances involve a loss of income or change of circumstance. The Special Conditions Application is available online or in the Financial Aid Office.

In extreme circumstances, a student who does not meet the federal definition of an independent student for financial aid purposes may be able to document those exceptional circumstances in order to be considered an independent student. A student who wants to appeal his or her dependency status for financial aid purposes should file the Petition for Independent Status for the appropriate school year. A student who does not meet the federal definition of an independent student normally must file as a dependent student and include parental information on the FAFSA. Only students with exceptional circumstances should file the Petition for Independent Status. Unfortunately, parents' unwillingness to help pay for college, not being claimed as an exemption on parents' tax return, or living on your own does not make you independent for financial aid purposes. The Petition for Independent Status is available online or in the Financial Aid Office.

If you think you have special circumstances that you want to discuss with a financial aid administrator, please feel free to contact the Financial Aid Office.

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Award Notification

Once we receive the results of your FAFSA and if you are admitted to Shawnee State University, we will send you an Award Notice.

We also continue to update award notices throughout the school year if your aid package is revised. If you have questions about an award notice you receive, you should contact the Financial Aid Office.

If you decide not to attend Shawnee State University, please let us know. You also should inform the Registrar's Office to cancel your classes if you have preregistered and the Housing Office, if applicable.

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According to federal law, a student can not receive aid that exceeds the student's financial need nor can the student receive aid that exceeds the student's cost of attendance. When an overaward exists, the student's aid must be reduced.

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