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Financial Aid Application Process

The Office of Student Financial Assistance at Stephen F. Austin State University is committed to providing superior service to our students, and to fair and equitable treatment in awarding financial assistance. We are pleased to know that you have chosen SFA and would like to help you in meeting the costs of attending college. If you have any questions about the application process, please contact our office at (936) 468-2403 to speak to a Financial Assistance Counselor. Below you will see the application requirements for your classification:

HOW TO APPLY
Applying for financial aid is an important part of preparing for your college education. Eligibility for various programs is first determined by your residency status. Once residency is determined, you will know which financial aid application must be completed. Click on the following links to access the financial aid applications.

FAFSA = U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens
TASFA = Texas residents ineligible to complete the FAFSA (SB 1528)


TIPS FOR COMPLETING THE FAFSA


Students may be required to provide additional information to complete the Financial Aid process.


Verification

Verification is a process through which the Department of Student Financial Aid verifies the information you reported on your FAFSA. Federal regulations require all institutions to perform verification on a percentage of applicants who file for financial aid. Applicants are randomly selected for verification.

IRS Data Retrieval Tool


SFA recommends using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, which could eliminate certain required forms for verification. Tax returns will not be accepted in our office. Please do not submit them as they cannot be used for verification purposes.

If you are chosen for verification, you will be notified of the required documents through your mySFA email account. You may be asked to submit one or more of the required documents listed below:

2014-2015 Fall and Spring


UNUSUAL ENROLLMENT HISTORY

Federal regulations require SFA to monitor and resolve unusual enrollment history of selected students. SFA is required to review all of the applicant's transcripts from previously attended colleges or universities, therefore, all transcripts must be submitted to SFA whether credit was earned or not. After this additional verification is completed by SFA's financial aid office, it will be determined if the student is eligible for additional Pell Grant awards.


STATEMENT OF EDUCATIONAL PURPOSE/IDENTITY

Students may be selected by the federal processor to verify their identity and sign a statement of educational purpose. Valid Government-issued photo identification is required to satisfy this requirement.


HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA OR EQUIVALENT

Beginning July 1, 2012, all first-time college students are required to have a High School Diploma, GED or an equivalent in order to receive financial aid. Students may be selected by the federal processor to verify their high school completion status. Documentation, such as an official high school transcript, may be requested to verify completion of this requirement.


If you are unsure if parental information will be needed, please refer to the financial aid basics tab, and select eligibility.

These documents must be received by the end of each term or academic year.  If completed documents are received after the end of the term, they will be processed on a case by case basis to determine eligibility. If received after the academic year has passed, you may no longer qualify for assistance.

Any discrepancies found by our department must be corrected, and your financial aid eligibility may be affected.  If corrections are required, we will electronically update your current FAFSA and send the corrections to the FAFSA processor.  Once the corrected FAFSA is received, the awarding process will resume.  This process can delay your aid, so please respond immediately to any requests from our department. The verification process normally takes 7-10 days from the time the final document is turned in but could take longer during peak times. Should you fail to submit all required documentation financial aid will not be awarded and/or disbursed. If funds were disbursed prior to your selection for verification, they may be cancelled until your file is complete as it is possible to be selected for verification after you have been offered financial aid. All requests and notifications will be made through your mySFA email account.


Additional Documentation

Students may be required to submit additional documentation even though they have not been selected for Verification. These documents may relate to citizenship status, veteran status, and/or orphan status. If requested, please submit the additional documentation immediately to the department because your aid can be delayed.

Scholarships, short term loans and alternative loans may be disbursed if students are otherwise eligible.


Student Packaging Policy

Based on our mission statement SFA’s packaging philosophy is to create a tiered approach offering as much free aid as possible to cover the costs of tuition and fees before offering self-help. Awarding preference is given to students who meet the SFA priority deadline of March 15 each year. Applicants whose financial aid files are complete by priority deadlines will receive maximum consideration in the distribution of funding resources according to funding criteria. Eligible applicants completing a file after the priority deadline will be packaged with all federal, state, and institutional programs dependent on funding limitations.


Disbursement of Financial Aid Funds

Once financial aid is awarded and accepted, the funds will be disbursed at the beginning of each term as required by federal guidelines. Funds will credit student bills usually within 10 days before the first class day of each term. Some aid may require two separate disbursements to be made, and in these cases the second disbursement is made at the midpoint of the term. Financial Aid is normally awarded for both fall and spring terms at the same time. Fall funds will credit fall bills only and spring funds will not credit until 10 days prior to the start of the spring term. Students awarded throughout the term will have their funds credited to their accounts as soon as the aid is processed. Summer financial aid is available and is awarded and disbursed at the beginning and midpoint of the summer terms. Student eligibility will be checked again at the time of disbursement of funds. The most common eligibility requirements are satisfactory academic progress, enrollment in class, and receipt of all requested documentation. Students must meet these requirements each time before funds can be disbursed.

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