Financial Aid FAQs

Take a look at our financial aid FAQs. These answers will help you understand some of the financial aid process based on specific situations or circumstances.

Q. What is financial aid?

Financial aid is funding to assist paying for your college education that comes from sources outside of your family. Gift aid and self-help aid are two categories of financial aid. Gift aid comes in the form of grants and scholarships and does not have to be repaid. Self-help comes in the form of loans and employment. Financial aid at Kent State University is awarded to students based on financial need and/or merit. A student may have a combination of grants, loans, scholarships and employment for a financial aid award. There is some type of financial aid available regardless of your income.

Q. Who is eligible to receive financial aid?

A person must be officially admitted and enrolled as a regular student in an eligible program to receive federal aid funds. A regular student is someone who is officially accepted for enrollment for the purpose of obtaining a degree or approved certificate. If the student is merely allowed to take some courses before being officially admitted to the program (for example, a Guest student), the student is not considered to be a regular student and will not be eligible to receive federal financial aid until they are officially admitted to a degree or certificate program.

Q. How do I apply?

Obtain an appllication for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) from your high school guidance counselor or from the Student Financial Aid Office. File as soon as possible after January 1 (mail by February 1) of each year in order to meet Kent State University's priority processing deadline of March 1.

Students may apply for financial aid on the Web at the federal government's FAFSA website. In addition, this Student Financial Aid Office Web site provides links to different federal government Web sites. Visit our Federal and State Aid page. These sites allow students to file the FAFSA as well as calculate financial aid estimates.

Visit the federal government's "Frequently Asked Questions" on the FAFSA page.

Q. What happens after I apply?

Once Kent State University receives your financial aid application results from the federal processors, we determine your eligibility based on your financial need. At that point the student's record runs through our automated processing programs and an Initial Financial Aid Award Notification letter is mailed to the student. As subsequent adjustments are made to your financial aid notification, an email will be sent notifying you of any changes. Student Tools/FlashFast is always the most up-to-date information about your student aid and we encourage you to view that often. Student Tools/FlashFast can be accessed through FlashLine from the Kent State home page.

Q. What if I plan on attending a summer session?

Those students who wish to apply for financial aid over the summer terms should file the FAFSA early enough to meet the March 1 priority processing deadline. In addition, you must complete the Summer Financial Aid Application. Many financial aid programs have yearly maximums, so any aid you choose to use in the summer may lessen the amounts you receive for fall and spring semesters.

Q. How is my financial aid award determined?

The federal government has established a formula which determines your expected family contribution, or EFC, and can be found on the top-right corner of your Student Aid Report (SAR). This formula, which is used by colleges and universities throughout the country, estimates your family’s financial strength in order to determine the amount your family should be able to contribute to the cost of education for the academic year. Family income, assets, size of the family, number in college, as well as an allowance for retirement are among a few of the items evaluated by this formula. The expected family contribution (EFC) is subtracted from the cost of attendance to determine your financial need. Once this is determined, the student financial aid office is able to determine the types and amounts of federal, state, local and institutional aid you are entitled to receive. These include both need and non-need based aid. Once the award(s) have been determined the student is mailed an official financial aid notification, often called an "award letter".

Cost of Attendance Example

 Cost of Attendance $12,000 - Expected Family Contribution $3,500 = Financial Need $8,500

Q. What is a Student Aid Report (SAR)?

A Student Aid Report is the analysis of the data you reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Student Aid Report has your calculated Expected Family Contribution (EFC) on it, and that number is used to determine your eligibility for financial aid.

You should receive your Student Aid Report from the federal processor four to six weeks after filing the FAFSA. Around the same time, Kent State University will receive an electronic version of this report from the federal processor which we use to determine your financial aid award. If you do not receive your SAR within six weeks after filing the FAFSA, you should contact the Federal Student Information Center at 1-800-433-3243 to check the status.

Q. If I receive my Student Aid Report and it says I am selected for verification, what do I need to do?

Verification is a process that confirms, or verifies, data reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Kent State University participates in a Department of Education program called the Quality Assurance Program. As a member of this program, the Student Financial Aid Office (and not the federal government) determines which students will be selected for verification and requests the appropriate documentation directly from the student and/or parents. If your Student Aid Report indicates you were selected for Verification and you plan to attend Kent State University, you can disregard that message.

If the student is selected for Verification based on Kent State University's verification guidelines, the Student Financial Aid Office will contact the student and request the appropriate documentation.

Participation in the Verification process is not optional. If the student does not submit the requested documentation, the student will not be eligible to receive federal financial aid as a Kent State University student and parents of dependent students will not be eligible to receive a PLUS loan.

Q. What if my family has a special circumstance that will affect how much we can pay?

Students who have special circumstances (i.e. loss of income, high medical expenses, etc.) should contact their personal financial aid counselor. Each inquiry at Kent State University will be reviewed for any allowable changes that may help you and your family afford the cost of education.

Q. What if I never attend or need to exit in the middle of a semester?

Kent State University is required by federal law to review the enrollment activity of its federal (Title IV) financial aid recipients. A student is considered a Title IV financial aid recipient if he/she has received any of the following federal awards: Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Federal Perkins Loan, William D. Ford Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans and Federal PLUS (Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students) loans. 

Federal financial aid eligibility is based upon student attendance. Therefore, if a student stops attending the University and does not complete the official withdrawal process through the Registrar’s Office, he/she is considered to have unofficially withdrawn from the University and is subject to the Title IV refund policies based upon the last date of attendance at an academically-related event. If the last date of attendance is not known, then the midpoint of the semester will be used as the withdrawal date. 

If a student never attends the courses registered for in a given semester, the student is considered to be an unofficial withdrawal. In this case, all Title IV, state and institutional aid will be returned to the appropriate programs. Students are notified within 30 days of the end of each semester as to their appeal process and date at which aid will be returned to the federal programs.

If a student is a recipient of federal financial aid, a change in enrollment, never attending classes, or withdrawing from the University may result in the student having to repay programs from which financial assistance was received. A student is not eligible for a refund until all Federal Title IV programs and other grants and scholarships are reimbursed as required and all outstanding balances with the University has been cleared.

Q. What is a Federal PLUS loan and how can I get one?

A Federal PLUS loan is a federally regulated loan that a parent/step-parent may borrow to help cover the cost of their child's education. A FAFSA must be completed and on file at the Student Financial Aid Office (SFAO). The SFAO will determine the eligibility amount. A Financial Aid Award Letter will be sent to the student indicating that an estimated PLUS loan has been awarded. The parent needs to complete a PLUS Pre-application on the back of the financial aid award letter or online from our forms page and return it to the SFAO. A credit check will be processed by the Loan Origination Center (LOC). The SFAO (and the parent) will receive notification of the credit decision . If you passed the credit review, a promissory note needs to be assigned. The promissory note can be signed by going to the electronic signature section of our Web site by visiting our MPN page.

If the student has maintained the eligibility requirements, the net amount of the loan (loan amount borrowed minus 3 percent origination fee) will be applied to the student's account. A refund check will be mailed to the parent, which may then be used to aid in the cost of the student's educational expenses. Repayment on PLUS loans begin immediately.

If the parents are denied a PLUS loan after the credit check, the family has the option to resolve the credit problems, obtain a co-signer (endorser) or allow the student to receive additional unsubsidized loan funds in the Direct Loan Program. A Denial Form will be mailed to you to review and to make a choice from the alternatives. Contact your personal financial aid counselor if you have any questions.

Q. Will I receive the same amount of financial aid next year?

If your family situation remains the same with regard to income, number in the family, and number in college, and assets, and as long as we receive the results of your FAFSA data by March 1, then you can expect that your financial aid should be approximately the same amount. However, your loan limits will change depending on your grade level and your dependency status. In addition, you must re-apply for financial aid every year you wish to be considered for financial aid.

Q. When will I receive my financial aid?

Financial aid cannot be disbursed to your Bursar Account until you complete all processing requirements, including promissory notes, Verification, etc. Provided all steps have been completed, financial aid will disburse 10 days prior to the start of each semester. The Bursar's Office processes refunds for students who have financial aid awards that exceed their bill for the semester. For more information, please visit the Bursar's Office web site at www.kent.edu/bursar.

Q. Will my financial aid be used to pay a prior term balance or institutional charges, such as parking tickets, library fines, etc.?

Yes. If you have a prior term balance or institutional charges on your account at the Bursar's Office, your financial aid will be used to help pay those costs. Therefore, these types of charges may reduce the amount you will receive in a refund. You may decline the crediting of your financial aid to prior term balances or institutional charges by contacting the Bursar's Office.

Contact the Student Financial Aid Office for further information.