8 FAQ’s for students researching financial aid, and 8 helpful answers!

Financial aid FAQ's from Marymount University


The college admissions process can come with a lot of challenges, but paying for your degree does not need to add to your stress levels. That’s where having a financial aid plan comes in.

Here at Marymount University, we have years of experience helping students finance their education. Keep reading for a list of eight of the most frequently asked questions we get here at Marymount!

1. Do I have to be admitted into a college before I can receive financial aid?

You do not need to be admitted to a college before you can apply for financial aid. When filling out the FAFSA, you will be asked to list any schools that should receive your FAFSA results. Make sure you list all the schools to which you are applying. Once accepted to a school, you can begin receiving offers for aid. You can also take advantage of the Net Price calculator (NPC) that all schools are required to provide on their website. In many cases, the NPC can provide you with your estimated award to give you an idea even before filling out the FAFSA.

2. Even if I don’t think I qualify for financial aid, should I apply anyway?

Yes, absolutely! Experts agree one of the most common reasons students don’t fill out the FAFSA is because they believe don’t qualify, but this isn’t always the case! Also, you can’t receive scholarships and grants you don’t apply for, so apply and take a chance!

3. Can homeschooled students receive some type of financial assistance?

Absolutely! Homeschool students should fill out the FAFSA as well as any and all scholarships and grants for which they qualify.

4. When do I find out how much money I’ll receive for the school year?

After completing the FAFSA, the office of Federal Student Aid at the U.S. Department of Education will send you a Student Aid Report (SAR), which is a summary of the data you submitted, within three weeks of submitting the FAFSA. If you applied for admission to a college and have been accepted, and you listed that school on your FAFSA form, the school will calculate your aid and will send you an electronic or paper aid offer. Sometimes this is called an award letter, and it will let you know how much aid you’re eligible for at the school. The timing of the aid offer varies from school to school, and could be as early as winter (awarding for the fall) or as late as immediately before you start school.

5. Is there specific tax information I need to fill out my FAFSA?

You will need your federal income tax returns, W-2s and other records of money earned. You may be able to transfer your federal tax return information into your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.

6. What is the difference between an unsubsidized loan and a subsidized loan?

When a loan is subsidized, it means that the federal government will pay the interest accrued (accumulated) on the loan while you are in school. If a loan is unsubsidized, it means that the borrower is responsible for paying the interest accrued on the loan, throughout the student’s time in college.

7. Do my chances of getting admitted into a college decrease if I apply for financial aid?

No — generally speaking, applying for financial aid will not affect your chances of being admitted to a college. When schools are evaluating applicants, they follow one of two policies — need-blind or need-aware. Schools that follow a need-blind policy do not consider your ability to pay in your admissions decision. Schools that follow a need-aware policy may, in borderline circumstances, factor your need for financial aid into the admissions decision. However, this should not deter you from requesting aid if you need it — most agree that it has very little, if any, effect on a student’s admission.

8. Do I have to apply for financial aid every year?

Yes, you will need to fill out the FAFSA form each year, because your financial situation can change from year to year. You can also continue to apply for grants and scholarships while in college.

We hope these questions and answers help you! Finding ways to afford college doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. If you have any questions, contact us at Marymount University. We’re always happy to help!