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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?
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 through 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.  You can apply for financial aid by following three easy steps or check out our step-by-step instructions below. 

How do I apply for financial aid?
Step 1:
Create an FSA ID at www.fsaid.ed.gov. This will be your login into the FAFSA. *If you are a dependent student, your parents should also create an FSA ID as they will need to sign your FAFSA as well.

Step 2:
Apply online for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.ed.gov.  Indicate Eastern's school code 003259 in the school release section of the application.  We also have a FAFSA Filing Guide for additional assistance.
IMPORTANT 2017-2018 FAFSA FILING CHANGES!
You can file your 2017-2018 FAFSA starting October 1, 2016 using your 2015 tax information.  This FAFSA should be filed for coursework taken in Summer 2017, Fall 2017, and/or Spring 2018. 
The 2018-2019 FAFSA will be available starting October 1, 2017 and will use your 2016 tax information.  This FAFSA should be filed for coursework taken in Summer 2018, Fall 2018, and/or Spring 2019. 
We recommend that you use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on your FAFSA each year. 

Step 3:
The processor sends information electronically to schools listed on the FAFSA and sends a Student Aid Report (SAR) to you.  After applying for the FAFSA on the web, you will receive a Student Aid Report in about 3-5 days. The Financial Aid Office will receive this document electronically.

Step 4:
Check your my.Eastern.edu account to see if any additional information is needed.

Step 5:
If you were picked for Verification by the Federal Processor (you will find this information on your SAR and on my.Eastern.edu) you will need to refer to your my.Eastern.edu account to view missing requirements.  All need-based financial aid will remain on HOLD until this process is completed. 
View the instructions on how to obtain an IRS Tax Transcript or to complete the IRS Data Retrieval.

Step 6:
Send all requested documents to Eastern's Financial Aid Office for processing.  If any of the items below are listed on your my.Eastern.edu account, make sure to review the details of what information is needed.

Step 7:
Eastern notifies you of your eligibility in the form of an award letter.  New students will receive a paper copy along with an Award Letter Guide in the mail and an Electronic Award Letter.  Continuing students will receive an Electronic Award Letter.  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.

Step 8:
You will then accept or decline aid offered on my.Eastern.edu.

Please Note: There are some additional steps in the process when applying for any of the Federal Direct Loan Programs (Federal Direct Stafford, Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford, and Federal Direct Parent PLUS). Specific information will be included with your financial aid award letter. 

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 loans or work study.
  • You have declined aid.
    You have the option of declining any of the financial aid awarded to you via my.Eastern.edu.  If your financial aid changes, you will receive notification.

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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