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 cost 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 the 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.
Evaluating your aid package
Most financial aid packages are a combination of grants, scholarships and student loans. Your personal financial aid offer will be determined based on several factors, including your expected family contribution, academics, need and financial circumstances.
Before you accept your personal financial aid package, you should carefully consider:
- Scholarship obligations. Some scholarships require you to make personal and professional commitments, such as continued academic achievement and/or an act of service.
- Interest on loans. Keep in mind that you’ll need to pay back any loans you accept to cover the cost of college. Interest rates can affect how much you pay and how quickly you’re able to pay off your debt.
- Work commitments for work-study programs. Most work-study programs require you to work a certain amount of hours per week. It’s important to make sure you can meet your work obligations and keep up with your coursework at the same time.
Remember, if you’re offered loans, you don’t have to accept the full amount offered. Borrow only as much as you need.
How do I accept my financial aid offer?
Once you receive your offer, you’ll need to respond and accept your awards within 60 days. You can accept your financial awards through your mySFA account.
How to accept your awards
To accept your awards, you’ll need to log into your mySFA account. Here is a step-by-step list of what you need to do and what to expect when accepting your financial aid offer:
- Click on the Financial Aid tab.
- Click on the hyperlink Click here to view Financial Aid Awards.
- Click on Award.
- Click on Award for aid year.
- Select appropriate academic year.
- Click on Terms and Conditions tab (fourth tab over).
- Read and accept your Terms and Conditions. You will need to accept Terms and Conditions before you can continue to the Accept or Decline tab.
- Click on Accept Award Offers.
- This will open up your personal award letter. For each award listed, please Accept or Decline the award by making the selection in the “Action” column. You may click on each award for a brief description of the program.
- Proceed to the bottom of the page and click Submit Decision.
Accepting student loans
- If you’re accepting a direct loan, you’ll need to complete and e-sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) with the Department of Education (DOE).
- To accept the Parent PLUS Loan award, your parent must complete the PLUS credit application. Once their application is approved, your parent will need to e-sign the Parent PLUS Master Promissory Note (eMPN).
- If you are a first-time borrower, you’ll need to complete Entrance Counseling.
- If you are a transfer student with prior loan history, you may send a copy of your completed entrance counseling by using our Transfer Student Entrance Counseling guide.
When is aid disbursed?
If we offer financial aid and you accept it, funds will be disbursed at the beginning of each semester, usually within 10 days before the first class day. The money is applied to your student account.
All first-time, first-year borrowers will have their Direct Loan fund disbursement date delayed 30 days after the first class day.
Some aid, including summer financial aid, is disbursed in two payments. If that’s the case, you can expect the second disbursement at the semester midpoint.
If you are a one-term only student, your Direct Loan funds will disburse in two separate disbursements.