Financial Aid FAQ

Financial Aid FAQ

FAFSA

1) What do I need to complete the FAFSA?

Internet access (www.fafsa.ed.gov), your most recent federal tax return, and our school code (001352). All students will also need an FSA ID which replaced the FAFSA PIN in 2015.

2) I’ve already registered for an FSA ID, but now I can’t remember my ID or my password. How can I find out what it is?

Go to fsaid.ed.gov and click on the Edit My FSA ID and then choose either Forgot My Username or Forgot My Password.

3) How will I know if I completed the FAFSA correctly?

You will receive a confirmation page immediately after submitting your FAFSA online.  The Financial Aid Offices (at each institution you included on your FAFSA) should contact you if there are any issues that need to be resolved, including if your FAFSA is chosen for Verification.  Please feel free to follow up by contacting the Financial Aid Office no earlier than 5 business days after your FAFSA has been submitted.

4) What is the FAFSA deadline?

It depends.  If you are applying for a need-based scholarship or a seminary grant the FAFSA needs to be completed by the corresponding deadline.  If you are applying for a loan and depending on those funds to cover your tuition/fees, it needs to be completed at least 2 weeks before the financial Payment Deadline.  If you are not paying for tuition/fees with financial aid but need a loan during the school year, the FAFSA can be completed at any time during that school year.

5) What is Denver Seminary's school code?

001352

6) How often do I need to complete the FAFSA?

Once every academic year.  Denver Seminary's academic year starts with the fall semester and ends with the summer term.

Loans

1) What's the difference between a Subsidized and an Unsubsidized loan?

The federal government pays the interest on subsidized loans while the student is in deferment status. Due to federal budget cuts the subsidized loan program for graduate programs terminated on July 1, 2012. At that point all federal student loans for graduate students became unsubsidized.  This change did not affect the annual $20,500 limit.

Students are responsible for the interest that accrues on unsubsidized loans.  Interest payments will be deferred while the student is in deferment status unless he or she chooses to pay the interest while in school (the question is asked on the Master Promissory Note, and is defaulted as "do not pay while in school").

2) What are the interest rates for federal loans at the graduate level?

Direct Unsubsidized loans are currently at 5.84%; Direct PLUS loans are currently at 6.84%

3) What do I need to do to keep my student loans (past and present) in deferment?

Continue to enroll at least at half-time status (5 semester credits for masters-level programs and 2 semester credit for the DMin program). Denver Seminary partners with the National Student Clearinghouse, an organization that communicates each student's enrollment status to the appropriate lender(s).  It is no longer necessary to submit a Deferment Request form to your lender, unless you are still getting bills after the semester has begun.

4) How do I request additional loans after I've already received my initial disbursement(s)?

Complete and submit a Loan Increase Request form to the Financial Aid Office.

5) What is a Master Promissory Note (MPN) and how often do I need to complete it?

An MPN is the legal document where the student authorizes the lender to provide student loan funds and also promises to pay back the funds borrowed. Both types of applications (Unsub & PLUS) can be completed and are generally valid for 10 years.

6) When are loan funds disbursed to the school, and when can I expect my refund check from any extra funds?

Refund checks are mailed out the Friday of each week that a credit has been created on the student account.

Due to federal regulations loan funds are disbursed to the school no earlier than 10 days before the semester's start date. The Student Accounts Office will apply the funds to any current balance on the student's account, and then the extra will be sent via mail in the form of a refund check to the student's address.

If the requested funds are for the current term, please allow 2-3 weeks for the request to be processed and the funds disbursed to the school.

Since refund checks are mailed it is important that the Student Accounts Office has your correct address on file. The address the school has on file can be viewed by logging in to MyDenSem and going to the My Profile > My Information page. Changes can be made by clicking on the Request Changes button.

7) Can I pay for books with student loans?

Yes. However, due to the time restrictions on having the funds disbursed to the school, students will most likely not receive refund checks until the 1st or 2nd week of classes. Thus, most students purchase books on their own and reimburse themselves when they receive the refund check.

8) Why was the loan amount that was applied to my student account less than what I accepted on my Award Letter?

The most likely answer is that the lender applied an origination fee to the loan before the funds were disbursed to the school.  For other possibilities please contact the Financial Aid Office directly.

9) Can I get financial aid for a second degree at Denver Seminary? If so, what are my limits?

While scholarships and grants are only available to students for the first degree, student loans are still available for the second degree.  If taking out loans for a second degree, please be aware of your loan limits and always monitor your expected monthly payments.  Your aggregate student loan balance can be monitored at www.nslds.ed.gov.

10) I no longer need at least a portion of my loans.  What should I do?

The process to cancel or decrease loan funds will depend on the timing of your request.

Up until 30 days after the funds are disbursed: Submit a Loan Decrease Request form to the Financial Aid Office. Loans are typically disbursed 3-4 weeks after the student's file is complete (after all application steps and any additional requests from the Dept of Ed are complete), but no earlier than 10 day prior to the start of the applicable semester. If the Loan Decrease Request form is submitted after 10 days prior to the disbursement date, the funds will be disbursed to the school and then immediately returned. If you have already received a refund check, that check will need to be brought back to the Student Accounts Office to be voided before any funds can be returned. No penalties will be assessed in this situation.

After 30 days post disbursement: Make an early repayment on your loan balance by setting up a one-time early payment with your loan servicer. Your loan servicer's contact information can be found on the National Student Loan Data System (www.nslds.ed.gov), otherwise known as NSLDS. In order to login to NSLDS you will your FSA ID (the same one used to log in to the FAFSA).

11) I'm graduating or dropping below half-time (5 credits/semester). What steps should I take before I have to start repaying my loans?

Complete Exit Counseling and contact your loan servicer directly for details specific to your situation.  Visit our Loan Management page for exhaustive repayment information.

12) Should I consolidate my existing student loans?

Consolidation can be a good idea in some situations. Consolidation loans have a good reputation because lenders used to offer a reduced interest rate as a primary benefit. However, since most lenders are no longer offering consolidation, and now the Dept. of Ed. seems to be the most reputable option, the reduced interest rate benefit doesn’t really exist anymore. The Dept. of Ed. will give you an average of your existing interest rates so that in the end it doesn’t cost you any more or any less than if you didn’t consolidate. There might be other lending agencies out there that offer the “old-school” consolidation loans with reduced interest rates, but their integrity has not been tested.

The remaining benefits include making payments to only one source (assuming you currently have more than one lender), and having the flexibility to extend payments out to 25 years if you can’t afford your current monthly payments (which are typically based on a 10-year repayment plan).

There is one benefit you stand to lose if you consolidate: your 6-month grace period. Therefore, it is recommended that you wait until those 6 months are complete before you consolidate. Consolidation can be a great way to simplify the management of your loan payments.

13) How can I keep track of my student loans and get the contact information for my lenders and servicers?

The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) houses all Federal student loan information. You will need your FSA ID to access your information.

Your FSA ID can be requested at fsaid.ed.gov if you don’t currently have access to it.

14) What if I have trouble repaying my loans?

Always contact your lender for repayment options (preferably via telephone). You may be eligible for deferment, forbearance, consolidation, or an extended payment plan.

Check out the StudentAid.gov website for a lot of great information on loan repayment options and resources.

15) How much am I eligible for in a PLUS loan?

Eligibility for a Federal Direct PLUS loan is dependant upon passing a credit check as well as still having enough room within the student's estimated Cost of Attendance (COA) limit (in other words, if a student has already received as much financial aid as the COA allows, no further financial aid can be utilized within that academic year).  Assuming the student is eligible, the actual amount that could be awarded will be the difference between the student's COA and the amount of total financial aid (loans, scholarships, grants, work study, etc.) utilized thus far for that academic year.

16) What happens to my loans if I drop classes or fully withdraw mid-semester/term?

It depends on when you drop/withdraw, and how many credits you drop. The full Return of Federal Funds Policy can be found here.

Scholarships

1)  How do I apply for scholarships?

You can apply for a scholarship by filling out the Online Scholarship Application form.

2)  When are scholarship applications due?

For all scholarships, priority will be given to applications submitted by April 1 for fall-starts and November 1 for spring-starts.

Note: If the deadline falls on a weekend, the deadline will be the next following business day.

3)  How and when will I find out if I have been awarded a scholarship?

Applications are reviewed by the Scholarship Committee on a monthly basis, beginning after the priority deadline and then each following month leading up to the start of the semester.  Scholarship recipients will receive an Award Letter email with the scholarship, grant, and/or tuition discount offer.  All other applicants will receive an email with further details.  All communications will go out before the end of the month when the application was reviewed.

4) I've received and accepted a Denver Seminary scholarship offer. Is there anything else I need to do in order to actually receive that scholarship?

All scholarships require a thank-you letter to be written to the donor.  While all scholarship recipients will receive an email with further details, requirements and deadlines can also be found here.

5) When are scholarships applied to my student account?

Scholarships will be applied to your student account the week after the drop/add date (typically 2 weeks after the first day of classes).  This is to ensure the student's final amount of registered credits since eligibility depends on the amount of credits the student is taking.  This timeline does not affect the student's Payment Deadline status, as any awards accepted through the Award Letter count towards clearance immediately.

6) Are there any grants available at the graduate level?

Unfortunately, Pell Grants are only available at the undergraduate level.  There is a Seminary Grant available to certain Denver Seminary students who complete a FAFSA. Details can be found on Step 2 of our Step-By-Step Guide.

7) How often do I need to apply/re-apply scholarships?

All financial aid applications must be submitted each academic year, unless the awarded scholarship is renewable.  Updated applications will be available January 1st of each year (including the FAFSA).

8) Are grants and scholarships renewable?

There are a handful of scholarships that are automatically renewable (identified in each description on the Scholarship Guide), and thus do not require re-application.  All other scholarships (including the Seminary Grant and all tuition discounts) are not automatically renewable and require annual re-application.

9) Where can I find information about specific awards such as the Spouse Half-Tuition Discount and the Church Partnership Program?

All essential scholarship, grant & tuition discount information can be found in our Scholarship Guide, which can be downloaded here. There is a specific website set up for the Spouse Half-Tuition Discount.

10) What happens to my scholarship/grant/discount if I drop classes or fully withdraw mid-semester/term?

It depends on when you drop/withdraw, and how many credits you drop. The full Return of Institutional Aid Policy can be found here.

Eligibility

1) What is the "Cost of Attendance" on my Award Letter and why does it include room and board?

Every financial aid applicant is assigned an annual Cost of Attendance (COA), which will be published on the Award Letter. The COA represents the maximum amount of financial aid a student can utilize for an academic year (it is not the actual amount you will be charged by Denver Seminary), and is also used in conjunction with the student's Expected Family Contribution (EFC) to determine eligibility for need-based financial aid.

A student's COA is calculated by the Financial Aid Office using amounts from published tuition/fees, estimated books/supplies, and state-published estimated living expenses. This amount generally cannot be changed unless the student qualifies for an adjustment. Students can apply for an adjustment by completing a Special Circumstances Request form (downloadable here) and submitting it to the Financial Aid Office. If the adjustment is approved, it will allow the student to utilize additional financial aid for that academic year. The student must reapply for the adjustment each academic year after that year's FAFSA is complete.

2) How many credits do I need to be taking to stay financial aid eligible?

The minimum enrollment status for student loan eligibility is half-time status. Half-time status is 5 semester credits for masters-level students and 2 credit for the DMin program.

For scholarships, grants and discounts each award has it's own requirement. Many of them require full-time status, which is 9 credits for masters-level students or 3 credits for DMin students.

3) What is Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)?

Every student must maintain a cumulative 2.0 GPA to remain eligible for financial aid. If the student drops below 2.0, he or she will be notified of being put on academic probation. The student will then have one semester to raise the cumulative GPA back up to at least a 2.0, while remaining eligible for financial aid. If successful, the student will be taken off academic probation and remain financial aid eligible. If not successful, the student will be placed on academic suspension and will no longer be eligible for financial aid. The student can then take up to 3 credits/semester until the cumulative GPA is raised back up to a 2.0.  At that point he or she will regain financial aid eligibility.

4) My financial situation has drastically changed within the last year. Since my FAFSA reflects the information on my most recent federal tax return, is there any way to modify it to reflect my current situation?

Students can complete a Special Circumstances Request form and submit it to the Financial Aid Office. Applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

5) As a result of unique circumstances, my actual annual budget is greater than the estimated Cost of Attendance (COA) that was assigned to me by the Financial Aid Office. Is there any way to increase my COA in order to be eligible for additional financial aid?

Students can complete a Special Circumstances Request form and submit it to the Financial Aid Office. Applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

6) How do I make sure I'm cleared for the financial Payment Deadline so that I'm not dropped from my classes?

There needs to be a plan set in place to show how your student account will be paid in full. This can be a combination of any of the following:

Financial Aid
Payment plan
Direct payment (MyDenSem log-in required)

A combination of all three options might look like this: the total bill is $4,000; the total amount of financial aid set to come in is $2,500, a direct payment has been made in the amount of $500, and a payment plan has been set up for $1,000. Note: If enough financial aid is set to come in (or a payment plan has been set up) that will cover the whole bill, you will be automatically cleared to begin classes.

To verify your clearance status you can view your student account on MyDenSem and/or contact the Student Accounts Office. If you'd like to gain clearance by increasing your loan amount, please complete the Loan Adjustment Request form found on our forms page.

7) How do I get financial aid for the summer?

Financial Aid for both Summer and Intersession can be a complicated process due to the structure of each term. Contact the Financial Aid Office for more information.

8) Where can I find financial information for International students?

Estimated expenses and budget worksheets can be found on Step 2 of our International Student Guide. Scholarship information can be found on our Scholarship Application for International Students, which is downloadable from our Financial Aid Forms page..

9) When is the beginning and end of each academic year?

Each academic year begins with the fall semester and ends with the summer semester. The academic year serves as the start and end dates for each loan disbursement.

10) How often do I need to apply for financial aid?

All financial aid requires an annual application submission, except for "renewable" scholarships (Kingdom, Merit, Vernon Grounds).

11) What happens to my financial aid if I drop any classes between the semester's start and end dates?

It depends on what type of financial aid you have, when you drop the classes, and how many credits you drop.

Read the Financial Aid Return Policies and the Tuition Refund Policy to determine how a drop may affect your financial aid, as well as on what you may owe to the school.