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The Financial Aid Award Process

Financial Aid Award Process

Quick Links:
I'm not sure what to do when!!
How do I apply for financial aid?
I filed the FAFSA…what’s next?
Missing Information? Verification?
The Financial Aid Award Letter
When is my Financial Aid applied?
Why did my financial aid change?
Can I get financial aid next year?
My situation has changed...Help!!

I'm not sure what to do when!!
The Financial Aid Process can be very daunting, but we're here to help you.  Check out this Financial Aid Journey handout that takes you step by step throught the aid process.  There's also a timeline so you know what you should be doing and when to do it.  We also have a checklist available for you to use.  Prefer a video format?  We've got that, too.

How do I apply for financial aid?
You can apply for financial aid by following three easy steps.

I filed the FAFSA…what’s next?
Once you have applied for financial aid (completed the FAFSA), we will send an email to the email address you provided on the application.  This confirms that we received your FAFSA.  However, if your FAFSA is rejected by the Federal Processor, you will need to sign back into your FAFSA and make the appropriate corrections.  For assistance in making the necessary corrections, call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243.

Next, we will send a follow-up email to your Eastern email account if we need to request additional information.  This email will be sent every three weeks until all the missing information is received.  In the email, we will provide instructions on how to access my.Eastern.edu online to view what documents are missing.

Missing Information?  Verification?
The Federal Government may require that we collect additional paperwork from you.  The following is a helpful description for each possible request you may see listed in your my.Eastern.edu account:

Your FAFSA may be selected for the Federal Verification process. This means that Eastern must “verify” the income you reported on your FAFSA.  We will request paperwork such as the Federal Verification Worksheet, Federal Tax Transcript, W2 forms, etc.  All need-based financial aid will remain on HOLD until this process is completed.  If you are selected, please submit all requested documents as soon as possible so that we can finalize your aid.  View the instructions on how to obtain an IRS Tax Transcript or to complete the IRS Data Retrieval.

The deadline to submit this paperwork is 60 days after the last day of enrollment.  All corrections must reach the central processor by September 21, 2016 or an award can no longer be made.

The Financial Aid Award Letter
At last!  We have the results of your FAFSA.  We received all missing paperwork (if any).  Now you will receive your Financial Aid Initial Award Letter along with an Award Letter Guide.  This letter will detail all of your financial aid eligibility (including any grants, scholarships, loans and/or work study that you may qualify for).  This is often referred to as “the financial aid package”.  We determine your financial aid eligibility using the Cost of Attendance (COA), the Estimated Family Contribution (EFC), and your Financial Need.


  • The COA figure is made up of direct costs to the student (tuition, room, board, and fees) and related educational expenses (living, transportation, books and supplies and other miscellaneous expenses).  To get exact billable costs for the current academic year, please visit the Student Accounts Office's webpage.  View your program's COA budget.
  • The EFC figure is determined from the results of a submitted FAFSA form.  It measures the family's financial ability to contribute to a student's education.  This is not related in any way to the amount you will be billed or that you may pay, and is the same number regardless of the college or university you attend.
  • The Financial Need figure is determined by taking the COA and subtracting the EFC (example: $42,242- 12,000= $30,242).  The Financial Need figure represents the amount used by the Financial Aid Office to determine eligibility in all aid programs.  It is our goal to meet as much of your Financial Need as possible with the resources available using Federal, State, and Institutional funds.

When will my Financial Aid be applied?
Financial aid is awarded for one academic year at a time.  Funds are applied to the Eastern student account once the following conditions are met:

  • The student is determined to be eligible and is awarded.
  • The student is determined to be maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress.
  • The student is enrolled in the correct number of credit hours.
  • The disbursement date for the term has been reached. (for loan purposes only)

Funds will be applied to the Eastern student account shortly after the add/drop period each semester.  We continue to release funds throughout the semester as students are awarded and as funds arrive from outside agencies or lenders.

A Special Note: Eastern University allows all students (not just Federal Pell Grant recipients) to charge to their student account required books and supplies at the on-campus bookstore. This practice meets the special provision for books and supplies as shown below:

In order to academically succeed in a program, a student must be able to purchase books and supplies at the beginning of the academic period. Therefore, by the seventh day of a payment period (semester), a school must provide a way for a student who is eligible for a Federal Pell Grant to obtain or purchase the books and supplies required for the payment period if:

  • ten days before the beginning of the payment period, the school could have disbursed FSA funds to the student; and
  • disbursement of those funds would have created a FSA credit balance.

Why did my financial aid change?

  • You have changed your enrollment or housing status.  Students are required to report any change of enrollment or housing status to the Financial Aid Office as soon as possible. Please send an email to finaid@eastern.edu.  This change could impact financial aid eligibility.
  • You received outside sources of aid.
    Federal Regulations require students who are receiving any outside sources of financial assistance (scholarships, grants, loans) to notify the Financial Aid Office.  All outside awards, whether based on academic merit or financial need, will be counted as a source of aid and will be added to the total financial aid package. This may result in a reduction of other aid, such as University aid, loans or work study.
  • You have declined aid.
    You have the option of declining any of the financial aid awarded to you.  Please send that request via email to finaid@eastern.edu.
    If your financial aid changes, you will receive a Revised Award Letter.

Can I get financial aid next year?
Students must apply for financial aid each year. Financial aid eligibility is dependent upon the availability of institutional funds and demonstration of need (as defined by filing the FAFSA).  If you do not plan on filing the FAFSA next year, please let us know!  Send an email to finaid@eastern.edu.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Eastern aid can be awarded for a maximum of 8 full-time semesters.  (For traditional undergraduate students only - Fall/Spring)
  • Students must meet the requirements for Satisfactory Academic Progress each year.
  • Receipt of funds during one academic year is NOT a guarantee of the same award in future years!

My situation has changed...Help!
If you find that your situation has changed since you filed the FAFSA, then please notify the Financial Aid Office.  Your financial aid is based on the results of the FAFSA, so it is important that we stay informed to ensure that you are receiving the most accurate and realistic financial aid package possible.  We can take into consideration situations such as divorce/separation, death/disability of a family member, unreimbursed medical expenses, and unemployment/reduction in income. Please email the Financial Aid Office at finaid@eastern.edu. Include your name, Eastern student ID#, and a brief explanation of your circumstances.

Please note- this process may require us to collect additional paperwork from you.  If so, then we will contact you immediately with this request. 

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