Frequently Asked Questions
How do I apply for financial aid?
Both student and parent (if dependent) should obtain a FSA-ID. If you do not have a FSA-ID, you may request one from https://fsaid.ed.gov. Once the Federal Student Aid FSA-ID number has been received, you will then complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at https://fafsa.ed.gov listing Methodist University as one of your schools.
For a complete list of steps, please visit the Office of Financial Aid's Financial Aid Process.
* - NEW AS OF MAY 10, 2015: The FSA ID-a username and password-has replaced the Federal Student Aid PIN and must be used to log in to certain U.S. Department of Education websites. Your FSA ID confirms your identity when you access your financial aid information and electronically sign Federal Student Aid documents. If you do not already have an FSA ID, you can create one at https://fsaid.ed.gov, when logging in to https://fafsa.ed.gov, the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) at https://nslds.ed.gov, StudentLoans.gov or https://studentaid.ed.gov.
Should I fill out a FAFSA even if I know I won't qualify?
Yes. The application is free and some sources of aid (Federal Direct Loan and Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan) are available regardless of financial need.
Do I have to fill out a FAFSA each year?
YES. If you want to be considered for need-based aid, to include student employment, you will need to complete a FAFSA each year. The FAFSA is available October 1 of each year. THE PRIORITY DEADLINE FOR COMPLETING THE FAFSA (FREE APPLICATION FOR FEDERAL STUDENT AID) AT METHODIST UNIVERSITY IS JUNE 1. ATTENTION All RETURNING STUDENTS: FOR MAXIMUM CONSIDERATION OF ALL MU’S NEED BASED FUNDS (FOUNDERS GRANT, STUDENT EMPLOYMENT, ETC.), THE FAFSA MUST BE RECEIVED AND THE STUDENT’S FINANCIAL AID FILE MUST BE COMPLETED BY THE PRIORITY DEADLINE OF JUNE 1.
Should I pay someone to file my FAFSA each year?
No. The FAFSA form is free and easy to complete. The FAFSA will take you through the process step-by-step providing detailed questions and instructions. Should you have questions or need help completing the FAFSA, the student is encouraged to contact the Department of Education toll-free at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) or 1-800-730-8913 (TTY) for hearing impaired if he/she has technical difficulties in completing the FAFSA or Methodist University at 1-800-488-7110 for questions regarding any information on the FAFSA.
What is the deadline for filling out the FAFSA?
Methodist University does not have a deadline per se, however, Methodist University awards financial aid on a first come first served basis and funds are limited. THE PRIORITY DEADLINE FOR COMPLETING THE FAFSA (FREE APPLICATION FOR FEDERAL STUDENT AID) AT METHODIST UNIVERSITY IS JUNE 1. ATTENTION All RETURNING STUDENTS: FOR MAXIMUM CONSIDERATION OF ALL MU’S NEED BASED FUNDS (FOUNDERS GRANT, STUDENT EMPLOYMENT, ETC.), THE FAFSA MUST BE RECEIVED BY THE PRIORITY DEADLINE OF JUNE 1.
What is the verification process?
All applicants selected for "Verification" by either the U.S. Department of Education (as indicated on the Student Aid Report (SAR)), or by Methodist University must submit additional documentation to Methodist University. This process compares information from your FAFSA, the Verification Worksheet, copy Tax Return Transcript from the IRS, W-2/1099 Form(s), and any other requested documentation. The preferred way to complete the verification process is to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool while completing the FAFSA to transfer your tax return information directly on to your FAFSA. Some circumstances may prohibit you from utilizing the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. Therefore, you must obtain a Tax Return Transcript directly from the IRS and submit it to our office. If tax returns are filed, per the US Dept of Education, MU cannot accept a "copy" of IRS tax forms. You may request a transcript at www.irs.gov/transcript, IRS automated system at 1-800-908-9946, or contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. Your financial aid will be delayed until all verification documents requested have been received.
Students must submit:
• If Dependent:
Copies of the student and their parents' IRS Tax Return Transcripts and W-2 forms/1099 forms (if requested) for the tax year prior to the academic year for which funds are requested.
If not filing a federal tax return, a Form 4506-T may need to be requested from the IRS for submission to Methodist University to verify non filing.
Verification Worksheet- Dependent: documentation of family size, number in college, untaxed income, etc.
Any other requested documentation.
• If Independent:
Copies of the student and their spouses' IRS Tax Return Transcripts and W-2 forms/1099 forms (if requested) for the tax year prior to the academic year for which funds are requested.
If not filing a federal tax return, a Form 4506-T may need to be requested from the IRS for submission to Methodist University to verify non filing.
Verification Worksheet- Independent: documentation of family size, number in college, untaxed income, etc.
Any other requested documentation.
In completing the federal requirements for verification, MU must follow the procedures established by federal regulation (CFR Title 34, Part 668). In addition, an applicant may correct any FAFSA information that is in error by submitting to the Office of Financial Aid a signed statement (including a parent's signature, if a dependent student) describing both the error and the correct data.
Verification documents should be submitted as soon as possible, in order for applicants to be considered for maximum gift funds and receive timely award information.
I have been asked to submit my IRS tax return transcript, how do I request it?
- Available on the IRS Web site at www.irs.gov/transcript
- Click "Get a Transcript - Internal Revenue Service"
- Follow IRS directions to order your Tax "Return" Transcript
Available from the IRS by calling 1-800-908-9946.
What do I do if I am a victim of IRS identity theft?
A tax filer who is unable to obtain an IRS Tax Return Transcript because of IRS identity theft, calls a special IRS group at 1-800-908-4490. Upon verification of identity, the tax filer can obtain a paper copy of an alternative document unique to identity theft issues (Tax Return Data Base View (TRDBV)). The TRDBV is an official transcript that can be submitted to the school to meet verification requirements.
How does Methodist University determine my financial aid package?
The Federal Government uses the data provided on the FAFSA to calculate a student's EFC (Expected Family Contribution). The Office of Financial Aid calculates the student Cost of Attendance (COA) which includes tuition, room/board (if applicable), books, living expenses, miscellaneous fees, etc. The COA minus the EFC equals the student's financial need. Methodist University tries to meet the financial need with federal grants, state grants, institutional scholarships, Federal Student Employment, and loans. The EFC is not the actual amount that the family will have to pay, but is used in determining the financial aid package.
For additional details, please visit the Office of Financial Aid's Determining Need page.
Are there any other forms to fill out besides the FAFSA?
The FAFSA is the only initial form to complete to begin the financial aid process after being accepted to the university. Other forms/documents may be required after the completion of the FAFSA and will be mailed to the student. The forms are also available online to the student for completion. The Office of financial aid will notify the student by mail if further documentation is required.
What happens if I move from on-campus to off-campus?
Students who move from on-campus to off-campus must notify the Office of Financial Aid. Scholarships and/or grants may be reduced.
I'm an undergraduate student who is thinking about dropping below 12 credit hours in a semester, how will this affect my financial aid?
Financial aid is primarily awarded to undergraduate students registering as full-time day (12 semester hours or more in the Day program). If a student drops below full-time day status, Methodist University reserves the right to pro-rate or rescind any or all of the financial aid the student was awarded to reflect the adjusted tuition charges. If a student drops below half time status (6 credit hours for undergraduate students and 3 credit hours for graduate students), he/she will become ineligible for student loans which will immediately go into the grace period or repayment if the grace period has been exhausted.
I am currently enrolled and thinking about withdrawing from the university before the semester has ended, how will this affect my financial aid?
If a student withdraws from the University and is receiving federal Title IV funds, a federal refund calculation is performed. Title IV funds include Federal Direct Loans, Federal Direct Plus Loans, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Federal Pell Grants and Federal Perkins Loans and other federal programs. If no Title IV funds are involved, then only the Institutional calculation is performed. The University will credit any refund amount due to the student's account if the student also owes a repayment or unpaid charges to the University. The date of withdrawal is considered as the formal date on the Withdrawal Form. Students may obtain instructions for withdrawal from the Registrar's Office. If the student fails to withdraw formally from the University, then the date of withdrawal is considered to be the last documented date of attendance.
Worksheets are used to calculate each student's refund.
My parents are divorced, which parent must complete the FAFSA form and provide tax information?
The parent you are living with is responsible for completing the FAFSA and providing his/her tax and household information. If the parents are awarded joint custody, then the parent that provides more than 50% support for the student is the parent responsible for completing the FAFSA and providing his/her tax and household information.
My parents are divorced and the parent I am living with is remarried. Do I need to report my step-parent's information on the FAFSA form and provide tax information?
If the parent you are living with is remarried, you must provide the step-parent's information on the FAFSA as well. They must also report themselves as married on the FAFSA form.
My parents don't support me, do I have to include their information on the FAFSA?
The only time a student will not need to include parent information on the FAFSA is if the student can answer "Yes" to at least one of the dependency questions on the FAFSA. If you have unusual circumstances regarding your relationship with your parents and can provide legal/medical documentation regarding abandonment, neglect, abuse, etc. in the household, you may review the Dependency Override information located on the Financial Aid website.
What if financial circumstances have changed significantly since the completion of the FAFSA?
The financial aid administrator (Director), using professional judgment, can adjust one or more of the data elements used to calculate the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The Adjustment must be based on a student's individual circumstances and must be documented in the student's file. Methodist University uses professional judgment in cases of divorce or separation, death, loss of a job, excessive medical expenses and granting independent status to an otherwise dependent student (by the federal government's definition) which is listed below. Documentation required may include but is not limited to, letters with proper signatures, bank statements, insurance letters, federal tax returns, W-2 forms, 1099 forms, death certificates, divorce, or separation decrees, court documents, police records, or documentation from Social Services. The Office of Financial Aid has forms for dependent and independent students to complete for a request for data element changes.
For additional details, refer to Special Circumstance forms on the Office of Financial Aid's website.
What is an award letter and how do I accept my award?
Once financial aid is awarded to a student, the student will receive an Award Letter. The Office of Financial Aid mails two copies of an Award Letter to each student that receives any financial aid (federal, state, or institutional). The Award Letter lists whether the student is residential (on campus), commuter (off campus), or evening. The student must sign and mail one copy to the Office of Financial Aid. Upon receipt of the Award Letter, the Office of Financial Aid will delete any aid the student has declined and make official the aid the student has accepted. Once the aid is accepted, the Business Office receives this information within three business days. A student must sign for the loan and complete all required documentation prior to the end of the student's current academic year enrollment, (per federal guideline 34 CFR 668.164(g)(2)(ii)). Any missing documents can be found on the student's myMu Portal.
Once financial aid is awarded to a student, the student will receive an Award Letter. The Office of Financial Aid mails two copies of an Award Letter to each student that receives any financial aid. The student must sign and mail one copy to the Office of Financial Aid. Upon receipt of the Award Letter, the Office of Financial Aid will delete any aid the student has declined and make official the aid the student has accepted. Once the aid is accepted, the Business Office receives this information within three business days. A student must sign for the loan and complete all required documentation prior to the end of the student's current academic year enrollment, (per federal guideline 34 CFR 668.164(g)(2)(ii)). Any missing documents can be found on the student's myMu Portal.
What are the tuition and fees to attend Methodist University?
You may find the current information on tuition and fees on the Tuition & Fees page of the Financial Aid website.
Is financial aid offered during the summer?
There is limited aid eligibility for the summer. The only financial aid offered during the summer is Pell grant and Federal Direct Student Loans (enrolled in at least 6 credit hours for undergraduates and 3 credit hours for graduate students) if the student did not exhaust 100% during the fall and spring semester. Refer to the borrowing limit chart for maximum eligibility for Federal Direct Loans. Contact the Office of Financial Aid to find out if you have summer eligibility.
The Federal Direct Student, Federal Direct Parent PLUS* and Alternative loans* are also available as long as the student is enrolled at least half time (6 credit hours for undergraduates and 3 credit hours for graduate students).
*Based upon approval and receipt of necessary documents.
What is Satisfactory Academic Progress?
The Higher Education Act mandates institutions of higher education to establish minimum standards of "Satisfactory Academic Progress" (SAP). The SAP regulations, at Sec. 668.34(a)(3)(ii), require that, for programs that are longer than one academic year, the student's SAP must be evaluated "at the end of each payment period or at least annually to correspond with the end of a payment period;" Annually means a 12-month period. An institution is expected to review a student's SAP at least once every 12 months. Methodist University evaluates a student's SAP annually and makes these standards applicable to all financial aid offered at Methodist University. This includes Federal (Title IV), State (North Carolina), and Institutional (Methodist University) funding. Federal regulations require the university to establish SAP standards in the following areas: (1) Cumulative GPA; (2) Minimum Semester Hours Earned/Completion Rate; and (3) Maximum Time Frame. In addition the school's SAP policy must include the student's total academic history. Programs administered by agencies other than Methodist University, such as private scholarships, or grants given by states other than North Carolina, may have their own academic standards for students. Students will need to contact such agencies to determine what those requirements are. For detailed information, refer to Satisfactory Academic Progress on the Financial Aid website.
What are the loan limits for the student loans?
Borrowing limits depend on class standing and academic level, and vary for undergraduates, graduate and professional students. For detailed loan information, please refer to the Financial Aid website: Federal Direct Student Loans, Federal Direct Parent PLUS, and Federal Direct Parent PLUS for Graduate Students.
What is the difference in a Subsidized and Unsubsidized loan?
A Federal Direct subsidized loan are for students with financial need as defined by the FAFSA. Undergraduate students who have unmet financial need can be considered for this loan up to the amount of the student's borrowing limit. The borrower is not charged interest while enrolled in school at least half-time and during grace periods and deferment periods.
A Federal Direct unsubsidized loan does not require undergraduates and graduate students to demonstrate financial need to receive a Direct Unsubsidized Loan; however the FAFSA must be completed. The Unsubsidized loan cannot exceed the educational cost of attendance minus other financial aid. Interest accrues (accumulates) on an unsubsidized loan from the time of the first disbursement. The borrower can pay the interest while in school and during grace periods and deferment or forbearance periods, or allow it to accrue and be capitalized (that is, added to the principal amount of the loan). If the borrower chooses not to pay the interest as it accrues, this will increase the total amount repaid because of charged interest on a higher principal amount.
For detailed information, please refer to the Federal Direct Sub/Unsub page on StudentLoans.gov.
What is the method for applying for a student and parent loan?
For detailed information for applying for a Federal Direct Student Loan, please visit the Federal Direct Sub/Unsub page on StudentLoans.gov.
For detailed information for applying for a Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan, please visit the Federal Direct Parent PLUS page on StudentLoans.gov.
For detailed information for applying for a Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan, please visit the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS page on StudentLoans.gov.
If a student's parent applies for a Parent PLUS loan and is denied, or if the student is independent, can he/she borrow an additional unsubsidized loan?
Yes. If a Parent PLUS Loan is denied for a dependent student, the student is eligible for additional unsubsidized loan funds. An independent may also borrow additional funds. The total additional unsubsidized may not exceed the total borrowing limits set forth by the Department of Education. Refer the borrowing limit chart for maximum eligibility or contact the Office of Financial Aid at (800) 488-7110.
My financial aid does not cover my entire balance, what are my other options?
If your financial aid does not cover your cost, you have the following options:
- Payment arrangements with the Office of Student Accounts. For detailed information, please refer to the Office of Student Accounts website.
- Federal Direct Parent PLUS loan for dependent students. For detailed information, please refer the Federal Direct Parent PLUS page of the Financial Aid website.
- Alternative student loans are offered by banks or lending institutions to help students and parents bridge the gap between the cost of education and the amount of financial aid received. These are alternative supplemental loans that are NOT guaranteed by the federal government. Terms and conditions vary according to specific lender guidelines. As with any loan, you are agreeing to repay your loan regardless of whether you complete your education, are satisfied with your education or are able to find a job. If a student loan is your first borrowing experience, consider this responsibility seriously-your ability to borrow in the future depends on it. For detailed information, please refer to the Alternative Loan page on the Financial Aid website.
- Outside Scholarships. There are numerous outside scholarship resources available online and at most public libraries. Also, check with your high school guidance office (high school students), your local clubs or organizations, or the Office of Financial Aid for information about local or national scholarships. Pay particular attention to scholarship deadlines. A couple examples of search engines have been provided for you below:
How and when do I complete the Entrance or Exit Counseling?
In compliance with federal regulations, first time borrowers are required to complete a Loan Entrance Counseling prior to borrowing a student loan. Entrance Counseling may be completed online at www.studentloans.gov. A student must sign for the loan and complete all required documentation prior to the end of the student's current academic year enrollment, (per federal guideline 34 CFR 668.164(g)(2)(ii)). Any missing documents can be found on the student's myMu Portal.
Federal regulations require students who have borrowed a Federal Direct Loan and are graduating, leaving school, or dropping below half-time enrollment (6 credit hours for undergraduates and 3 credit hours for graduate students) to complete an Exit Counseling. During the Exit Counseling, the student borrower will review rights and responsibilities as a student borrower, important information about repaying student loans, consolidation, repayment options, discharge and forgiveness as well as useful information to help manage student loans during repayment. Students may complete the Exit Counseling at www.studentloans.gov.
Where do I go to apply for outside scholarships?
There are numerous outside scholarship resources available online and at most public libraries. Also, check with your high school guidance office (high school students), your local clubs or organizations, or the Office of Financial Aid for information about local or national scholarships. Pay particular attention to scholarship deadlines. A couple examples of search engines have been provided for you below:
How should I notify Methodist University if I am receiving an outside/non-university scholarship?
Federal regulations and University policies require the Office of Financial Aid to consider all sources of assistance received by a student when determining eligibility for financial aid.
Non-University awards include all scholarships and grants awarded by agencies other than the Office of Financial Aid. They include National Merit or National Achievement scholarships, ROTC scholarships', tuition exchange and any scholarships awarded by churches, high schools, businesses, civic organizations, etc.
It is the student's responsibility to notify the Office of Financial Aid if he/she will receive any outside/non-university scholarship(s) not reflected on the award letter. The student must submit a completed Non-University Award Notification Form for each additional scholarship.