Missouri State University
Office of Student Financial Aid News

Financial Aid Myths and Facts

In honor of Financial Literacy Month, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) is dispelling commons myths about financial aid award packages. April is also the month when most higher education institutions send their award letters for fall enrollment, so test your college-cost savvy with these myths and facts:

Myth or Fact? It’s all free money.

Myth. Any money that helps you pay for college – whether grants, loans, or work-study – is considered part of your financial aid award. While some financial aid like Pell Grants only requires students to maintain certain attendance and academic standards, other programs carry additional requirements. Work-study awards must be earned through employment (usually 20 hours per week or less), and loans will need to repaid after students leave college.

Myth or Fact? If I borrow $20,000 in student loans, I’ll have to repay $20,000.

Myth. Loans generally will cost a borrower more in the long run than he or she receives up front. Some student loans accrue interest while borrowers are completing their degrees, increasing the total owed after college. After a student leaves school, interest will continue to accrue until the loan debt is paid in full or forgiven.

Myth or Fact? Students must take the loan amounts offered in their awards.

Myth. Students are not required to take all of the loans offered them. Calculate your true cost of college, rather than the school estimate in your aid award, and then work backwards to find the minimum amount you’ll need to borrow to get an education. Work with your institution’s financial aid administrators to determine what the right loan amount is for you.

Myth or Fact? Financial aid awards contain all the money available to help pay for college.

Myth. Students can continue to search and apply for outside scholarships after they receive their financial aid awards. In fact, they can apply for scholarships throughout their entire college careers! Families can also look to credit unions and private lenders to borrow private student loans, though private loans are only recommended after eligibility for federal student loans is exhausted.

Myth or Fact? Financial aid professionals are available to answer questions about paying for college.

Fact! Students and parents should feel comfortable asking questions of an institution’s financial aid administrators, even if they’re not sure whether they will ultimately enroll at that institution. Financial aid administrators want to help any prospective, current, and former students and their parents better understand college costs and make well-informed decisions for their college careers and futures.

The original NASFAA post can be found online at www.NASFAA.org.

Posted in General Information, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Don’t Let FAFSA Mistakes Steal Your Money!

As you all know, it’s currently “open season” for all students attending school in 2014-2015 to fill out their FAFSAs. Hopefully we can all agree that between assistance from FAFSA.gov and your local Financial Aid Office the actual act of completing the FAFSA isn’t too bad (if you do have problems call us or stop by our offices!). However, did you know that clicking “Submit” at the end of your FAFSA is NOT the end of the process?

After submitting your FAFSA you will be sent a Student Aid Report, or SAR for short, which is a paper or electronic document that gives you a basic summary of your financial aid eligibility as well as listings of your answers to the various FAFSA questions. If you submitted an email address on your FAFSA the SAR will be emailed to you. If you didn’t, it’ll be mailed to your permanent address.

So what should you do with this so called SAR? Well, we recommend that you review it very carefully to make sure everything is correct and complete. Just imagine not getting any grant money or Subsidized Stafford loans because you answered that you or your parents earned $300,000 in 2013 instead of $30,000…that would be pretty horrible, right?!? While we find and correct mistakes like that all the time, unfortunately we can’t catch and correct all of them! So read the SAR carefully and make sure there aren’t any errors or omissions!

If you do find a mistake or two you will want to correct or update your FAFSA pronto! If you encounter problems you can contact the FAFSA office via their website or contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

Remember, it’s YOUR financial aid… don’t let an oversight or a reporting mistake steal it from you!  Make sure it’s correct!

SampleSAR

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

FAFSA Deadlines

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2014-2015 academic year has been available since January 1, 2014. Have you submitted yours yet? If the answer to that question is no you might want to consider getting your FAFSA done sooner rather than later. We have some important deadlines coming-up and you will definitely want to have your FAFSA done before they pass!

The first deadline to be aware of is the MSU Office of Financial Aid Priority Processing Deadline which is March 31, 2014. This deadline is used to determine your eligibility for campus-based financial aid awards, processing order, and other important things.

The second deadline to be aware of is the State of Missouri FAFSA Deadline which is April 1, 2014. If you don’t have your FAFSA submitted by this deadline you won’t be eligible for state-based financial aid awards like the Access Missouri Grant and the Marguerite Ross Barnett Memorial Scholarship.

Remember, it’s better to have your 2013 taxes filed before completing the 2014-2015 FAFSA but it’s not requiredStudents and their parents can complete the FAFSA by entering their tax status as “Will File” and use their forms (such as W-2′s and 1099′s) to project what their 2013 tax information will be. Once you have filed you can then go back onto your FAFSA and update your tax information. You’ll never lose your initial FAFSA submission date no matter how many times you resubmit your form!

If you have questions stop by our office, shoot us an email, or give us a call!

Posted in Important Information | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Leaders in Community Service

The MSU Leaders in Community Service Program (LCS) is seeking selective students who have a strong interest in community service and are looking for an alternative to student loans or want to earn additional money while attending MSU.

If you are work-study eligible or have received a Pell grant, you may qualify for a position on our team!  Members must have 24 completed credit hours and a minimum of a 2.5 GPA to qualify.  Applications for the 2014-2015 academic year are being accepted through March 28th.

To learn more about this elite program and  to print an application form, visit our website at http://organizations.missouristate.edu/lcs.  Your completed application can be submitted to the Student Employment office located at 113 Blair-Shannon Residence Hall, emailed to lcs@missouristate.edu, or faxed to 417-836-7608.

Membership selections are competitive, so we encourage you to apply now!

Picture1

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

2014-2015 General and Departmental Scholarships

Just a reminder to all our students (new, continuing, or transfer; undergrad, or grad) that that the deadline to complete the 2014-2015 MoState General and Departmental Scholarship Application is 3/1/2014 11:59:00 PM.

So, be sure you get it completed and submitted to be considered!

The application is available on your Bearpass Login (i.e. My.MissouriState.edu) and is located under the “Profile”tab.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

2014-2015 FAFSA

Just a reminder to all our current and prospective students that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, for the 2014-2015 Academic Year is now available. Be sure to head over to https://fafsa.ed.gov/ to complete your FAFSA before our March 31, 2014 priority processing deadline!
Also, if you have any questions or problems completing your FAFSA, feel free to contact our office or consider coming to our FREE FAFSA FRENZY event on February 23 in the Meyer Library!

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Fall 2013 is Almost Here

The fall semester is almost upon us which means we’re entering one of the busiest times of the year when talking about Financial Aid. Do yourself a favor and take a moment to make sure all your 2013-2014 Financial Aid is ready to go!

First things first: check your Bear Pass account to see if you have any requirements that might hold-up your aid from disbursing. To check this you’ll want to log in to your Bear Pass account and navigate to the “Profile” tab. Once there you’ll see a link in the Financial Aid section labeled “Student Requirements.” Check that link out (select the 2013-2014 Aid Year) and make sure you don’t have any outstanding requirements. If you do, get your documents into our office as quickly as you can! If you have questions, call our office at (417) 836-5262 or (800) 283-4243.

After you check your requirements screen you’ll need to review your 2013-2014 Online Award Letter. The link for this will also be under the Financial Aid section and will be labeled “Award for Aid Year.” Read your award letter carefully to ensure everything looks correct! If you need to accept any aid do it as soon as you can so we can have it ready for disbursement. Also, while you’re there, go ahead and accept your financial aid terms and conditions.

If you’re accepting Direct Stafford Loans at MSU for the first time you will need to complete your online Entrance Counseling and sign your Master Promissory Note (MPN) if you haven’t already done so. Both of these must be completed before any student loan money can be disbursed to your account so you’ll want to have them satisfied soon. You can complete both of these at the same place: http://studentloans.gov.

If you have any questions please contact our office either by phone, email, or in person. Remember, this is YOUR Financial Aid Office!

 

Posted in General Information | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Applying for Donor-Funded Scholarships

Winter break is the perfect time to get started on your scholarship application for the 2013-14 school year.

About the application

With the General and Departmental Scholarship Application, you apply for Missouri State’s almost 1,000 donor-funded scholarships. You can search the database of scholarships before applying.

Completing the application

The General and Departmental Scholarship Application must be completed online. You do not have to complete your application in one sitting; you can save your answers and return to it later.

  1. Log in to My Missouri State
  2. Click on the Profile tab near the top of the My Missouri State page.
  3. Click on the Online Agreements link in the Other Information section on the Profile tab.
  4. Complete the Online Financial Aid Agreement.
  5. Click on the General and Departmental Scholarship Application link in the Financial Aid section in the Profile tab.
  6. Select your student type as of the start of the 2013-14 academic year.
  7. Follow the application steps, review your answers and click Submit.
  8. Complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

The scholarship application requires that you be admitted to the University and create a My Missouri State account.

Deadlines

The application is available from Nov. 1, 2012 to March 1, 2013. You must complete both the application and your FAFSA by March 1 to be considered for maximum aid.

More information

For more information, visit the General and Departmental Scholarships page or contact our office at 417-836-5262.

Posted in General Information | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

The FAFSA: Applying for Financial Aid

As 2012 draws to a close, it’s time to start thinking about applying for financial aid for the next school year. The best place to begin is with the FAFSA.

Why the FAFSA?

The FAFSA is used to evaluate your eligibility for the following:

  • Federal student financial aid – grants, loans and work-study
  • The State of Missouri’s college aid programs
  • Missouri State University’s need-based programs

All college-bound high school students and adults, and currently enrolled undergraduate and graduate students are encouraged to complete the FAFSA.

Completing the FAFSA

The federal government starts accepting the FAFSA – or Free Application for Federal Student Aid – on January 1.

You will need the following documents to complete your application for 2013-14:

  • Your social security number
  • Your driver’s license
  • Current bank statements and any investment records
  • Your 2012 Federal Income Tax Return, 2012 W-2 forms and other records of money earned
  • Your parent’s 2012 Federal Income Tax Return (if a dependent student)
  • Your 2012 untaxed income records
  • Your alien registration or permanent registration card (if you are not a U.S. citizen)
  • A PIN to sign your FAFSA electronically

The FAFSA can be completed online. You will need to provide Missouri State’s federal school code: 002503.

Your FAFSA requires the most recent tax return documents, so you will need to file your taxes prior to beginning the application process or use the tax information you have available and submit a correction once you have filed your taxes for the current year.

Deadline

You should complete the FAFSA by the priority deadline of March 31, 2013. We recommend submitting your application in February as the deadline for the General and Departmental Scholarship Application is March 1, 2013.

More information

For more information, visit the How Do I Apply for Financial Aid? page or contact our office at 417-836-5262.

Posted in General Information | Tagged , , | Comments Off