Financial Aid

Financial Aid

Frequently Asked Questions

University Financial Aid Questions:

Q: How do I know how much financial aid I am getting?     

A: As an undergraduate student, you are considered for merit-based Florida Tech scholarships as part of the admission process. The rest of your financial aid "package" is determined after you file a FAFSA (www.fafsa.ed.gov) and we receive the electronic record from the Federal Department of Education. The final product, a financial aid award letter, is sent to new students in paper copy via U.S. Mail and also by email -- to the address entered on the FAFSA.  Any subsequent revisions are only sent by email.  For continuing students, the award letter is sent via email only to the student's Florida Tech @my.fit.edu email address. 

Normally we begin sending award letters to new freshmen and transfer students by the first week in March, or sooner if the new federal regulatory changes are available to update our data system.  For returning students, we generally wait for Spring grades to post before preparing award letters.

Your financial aid awards may also be reviewed online in PAWS, the Panther Access Web System. Since PAWS data is a real time reflection of your student records, any award information you see prior to receiving your award letter may be incomplete, and not indicative of your final award package.

 

Q:  When will I receive my financial aid?

A:  If you are registered for a full-time course load (12 credit hours for undergraduates, 9 credit hours for graduates) and you have satisfied all outstanding financial aid requirements (you may review requirements in PAWS) all of your aid should pay into your student account on the Monday of the week before the first day of Fall (and Spring) semester classes. Florida Tech scholarships and Florida student aid will not pay if you have not registered for a minimum of 12 credit hours, Federal loans will pay with a half-time class load (6 credit hours for undergraduate and graduates).  If you are a returning student whose grades did not meet or exceed Florida Tech's Satisfactory Academic Progress standards, you will be ineligible for aid until you: a) bring your record to good standing; b) submit a Satisfactory Academic Progress appeal for review and receive an approval from the Financial Aid Office.  Note that all appeals are subject to review and are approvals are not guaranteed.

 

Q: What financial aid is available to graduate students?

A. There are four common sources of graduate aid:  Federal loans, private student loans and institutional grants or scholarships and external scholarships.  The graduate admission office has a limited number of scholarships available each year.  The Financial Aid office administers education loans available from the government and commercial lenders (see the next paragraph for more about student loan options).  Individual academic departments may select students for fellowships, scholarships or assistantships based on the criteria associated with each and their availability.  Finally, students may independently find student aid opportunities available from professional associations or philanthropic organizations (Grants and Scholarships) or from various scholarship search engines (Other Aid Resources).

To be eligible for a federal student loan, you must be registered as a half-time student (6 credit hours for graduates) and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  To learn more about the different type loan programs, see this comparison of Federal Versus Private Loans.  

 

Q: Why does PAWS show that I still have an outstanding requirement for the Stafford Entrance Interview after I successfully completed it online?

A. Our staff periodically downloads a report of the students who have completed the Entrance Interview and updates our data system so it may be seen in PAWS.  If you do not see the correct status in PAWS after 5 business days, email the Financial Aid Office (finaid@fit.edu) and we will follow up on it.

 

Q.  My parents faxed in documents yesterday, but PAWS still shows them as outstanding requirements.  What happened to my documents?

A.  If the status in PAWS was "Pending Review", your document was received and will soon be reviewed by a Financial Aid Counselor to determine if it satisfies the outstanding requirement.  If it does, the counselor will change the status to "Complete/Approved."  If there was a problem with the documents, you may see a status of "Student must complete document/information," and you will receive an email explaining the problem.  If the status in PAWS is "Reviewed/Pending of other requirements," your document has been reviewed and accepted; however, the Financial Aid Office is waiting receipt of other related requirements to complete the requirements on your account.  Please note that it may take 3 to 5 days for  a counselor to review documents.  Top

Q: I transferred and I am now in repayment on my previous student loan.  How do I get my payments deferred while I am attending Florida Tech?

A: First, you must be admitted to a degree seeking program at Florida Tech and registered for a minimum of 6 credit hours or a graduate student in a 3 credit hour "full load" course.  Once the term begins and we have passed the last day to add/withdraw from courses with a full refund, we will report your enrollment to the National Clearinghouse, which is the database lenders use to verify student enrollment.  If your lender still indicates that you are in repayment, you may provide them with an Enrollment Confirmation letter, which can be obtained through PAWS (Student>Student Records>Enrollment Verification>Obtain an enrollment certificate).

 

Q: Can I get financial aid for Summer classes?

A: Florida Tech merit scholarships, Panther grants and endowment scholarships are not available for Summer classes; however, some students may qualify for Federal loans, Bright Futures and/or PELL grants during the Summer term.  Students must be registered for at least 6 credit hours to be eligible for federal student aid and Bright Futures; however graduate students taking a 3 credit hour "full load" course may be eligible for Federal student loans and should contact the Financial Aid Office for more information.

 

Q: I have a negative balance in my student account.  What does it mean?

A: A negative balance, or credit balance, means that your current payments on the account, including financial aid, are greater than the current charges made against your student account.  It may also mean that you are eligible to receive a refund.  For more information go to Account Refunds on the Office of Student Accounting website.  

Students expecting refunds are encouraged to sign up for direct deposit through Heartland ECSI. 

  • Start at heartland.ecsi.net
  • Select Sign In or Register (in read in the top right hand corner)
  • Register and Create a New Profile
  • Create a Profile
    • Username & Password
    • Contact Information
    • Select Security Questions & Answers
    • Connect An Account with your Heartland Key (provided separately by email to student from Heartland ECSI)
    • Enter Student ID #
    • Click connect – no need to connect another account.
    • Select Update Delivery Method
    • Click select under Direct Deposit
      • Select Type (checking/savings)
      • Enter Routing number & Account number
      • Confirm Account number
      • Enter Account Holder Name, Address, Phone, & Email
      • Click Continue
    • Review the account information
    • Check the Authorization Box
    • Click Submit
    • You will see a “Success!” message in green along the top
      • If message does not appear, you may need to use a different internet browser

 

If you wish to receive your refund check via US mail and wish to have it mailed to an address other than your permanent mailing address, please create a refund address for your checks to be mailed to.

  • Open PAWS and go to the Personal Information tab.
  • Select the Update Addresses and Phones option.
  • From the Type of Address drop down box choose "Student Refund."
  • Enter your preferred address, confirm that it is correct and save it. 

 

Q: Where can I find more information about getting my Student Account refund?

A: To learn more about the student refund policy, go to Account Refunds on the Office of Student Accounting website.

 

Q: Where can I find more information about billing procedures and making payments?

A: Start with the Student Financial Services FAQs .

 

FAFSA Questions:

Q: When must I file a FAFSA?

A: For new undergraduate students, the University's priority consideration deadline for Fall Semester financial aid is March 1st of each year.  

  • New and transferring students: we cannot prepare your financial aid package until we receive your FAFSA application. Be sure to enter Florida Tech's School Code:   001469
  • Returning students and graduate students: please file your FAFSA at least 8 weeks before your first scheduled class to allow time for correcting any errors or omissions or to provide supporting documentation that may be needed to complete verification, if selected.
  • Check FAFSA Tips to avoid common mistakes that can delay your Award Letter or prevent your financial aid from paying on time.

 

Q: Do I need to complete the FAFSA every year?

A: A new FAFSA must be completed every year if you want to be considered for Federal Student Aid. Since the academic year runs from July 1st through June 30th each year, a new FAFSA must be completed for Florida Tech classes that begin in the following terms:

  • 8-week Summer Term 2 for Florida Tech Online students
  • Fall Semester for all other Florida Tech students

 

Q: Why must I file as a Dependent when I consider myself to be an Independent student?

A: For the purpose of receiving federal student financial aid, the determination of dependent or independent status is based on specific federal criteria. The Federal Student Aid website includes a webpage on dependency status to help you make that determination.

 

 Verification Questions:

QWhat is verification?

A: The Department of Education (DOE) selects approximately one third of financial aid applications for a manual review called verification. The purpose of verification is to ensure that the information provided is accurate and without errors. The DOE specifies what documentation is acceptable and what is not acceptable. Federal guidelines stipulate that institutions may not disburse any federal financial aid until verification is completed. 

Q: Why do I have to complete verification?

A: Students are asked to complete verification if their FAFSA application was selected by the Department of Education (DOE).  The institution is required by the DOE to collect the necessary documentation and correct any errors on the application to complete verification before they can disburse federal financial aid.  Once the process is complete, the institution may disburse federal aid.

Q: How do I complete verification?

A: Begining with the 2018-2019 academic year, verification will be completed through KHEAA Verify.  New users will need to create a user ID and password.  Once your account is created, you will be able to proceed with the verification process.

Q: When will my financial aid be available?

A:  The verification process must be completed before any aid can be disbursed.  Students must also meet all other enrollment and academic progress guidelines before aid can be disbursed.

Q: How do I submit verification documents?

A:  Students completing verification will submit all documentation to KHEAA Verify.

 

 Federal Student Aid Questions:

Q: How do I apply for a federal student loan?

A: You must complete the FAFSA (www.fafsa.ed.gov) to be eligible for any federal student aid, including Federal student loans. You must also be accepted at Florida Tech in a degree seeking academic program. Once we receive your FAFSA application and you are officially admitted, our counselors prepare the student's financial aid "package." If eligible for a subsidized and/or unsubsidized Stafford loan, the maximum eligible loan amounts will be offered to the student in the financial aid "package." The student must then accept the offered loan in PAWS and complete the Entrance Interview and a Master Promissory Note (MPN) on the StudentLoans.gov website.

The parents of undergraduate students can choose to apply for an additional Federal student loan called the Parent PLUS loan. The Parent PLUS loan is subject to a credit check.  If the parent cannot pass the credit check, their student will become eligible for an increased unsubsidized Stafford loan amount. For more information about the Parent PLUS loan application, visit Federal PLUS Loans or  StudentLoans.gov.

Graduate students may be eligible for a Stafford unsubsidized loan and the Grad PLUS loan. For more information about the Grad PLUS loan application, see the Loan Providers link to Federal PLUS Loans.

 

Q: What is the difference between Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans?

A: The Federal Stafford Loan program includes two different loans. The subsidized loan is need-based and eligibility is based on information provided in the FAFSA. The interest on these loans is subsidized by the Federal government, meaning the loan doe not accrue interest while the student is enrolled at leas half time in a Title IV eligible degree-seeking program.  The unsubsidized loan is available to students who do not meet the FAFSA needs test. The student is responsible for all interest on unsubsidized loans beginning on the date of each incremental loan disbursement. 

 

Q: I have been offered a certain amount in loans but I only want to take a portion of what I have been offered. Can I do that?

A: Yes, when you accept your loan in PAWS, you will have an option to accept the amount offered or a lesser amount. Keep in mind that the amount offered is normally for both the Fall and Spring semesters. Federal regulations dictate the loan be disbursed in two payments; one at the start of each semster.

If you choose a lesser amount and later find that you need more, please contact the Financial Aid Office for assistance.

 

Q: Why is the amount I received from my loans not exactly what I asked to borrow?

A: Federal Stafford loans are subject to an origination fee, which is deducted from the loan prior to disbursement.  This fee is assessed by the DOE, not Florida Tech.

 

Q: What is an Entrance Interview?

A: The Entrance Interview is a requirement associated with each type of federal student loan: Stafford, Grad PLUS and Perkins. The process provides the student with information about legal financial obligations that many students will undertake for the first time in their lives. You must complete this requirement before your loan will pay into your student account. To complete entrance counseling, please visit StudentLoans.gov.Top

Q: What is an Exit Interview?

A: The Exit Interview is another federal student loan requirement that applies when you withdraw from school or graduate. It is a refresher course about the student's legal financial obligation. The Exit Interview also provides information about the student's rights and options and it seeks updated contact information from the student. The requirement can be completed online at StudentLoans.gov.

 

Florida Student Aid Questions:

Q: How do I verify my Florida residency?

A: The Florida Department of Education requires institutions to verify claims of Florida residency before disbursing Florida financial aid to students. Proof of Florida residency consists of signing a certification, such as Florida Tech's Florida Data Form, and providing documentation to establish that legal residence has been maintained for 12 consecutive months prior to the first day of classes of the academic term for which assistance is requested. Two official documents are required for proof of residency. Acceptable documents include voter registration card, driver's license, vehicle registration or homestead exemption certification. Dependent students must provide two documents for one of their parents or a legal guardian and the same person must sign the Florida Data Form certificate.  Forms can be found on our forms page.