Financial Assistance

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Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question? See if we touch on your topic in our list of "Frequently Asked Questions." Scroll through the questions below or select one of the general topics for more information. If you don't see the answer to your specific question, contact us!

General Questions

Q: How do I get started?

A: Please review the Application Process before you begin the Financial Aid process.

Q: Where can I go if I need assistance with paperwork or have questions?

A: The Office of Financial Assistance has advisors available to assist you and your student. No appointments are necessary. You may also email any questions to finaid@uiwtx.edu

If you have questions regarding the FAFSA, please call 1-800-433-3243

Q: Do I need to set an appointment to discuss my financial aid?

A: No. Walk-in counseling is available for all students during business hours (Monday-Thursday 8am-6pm, Fridays 8am-5pm during the Academic Year, or Monday-Friday 8am-5pm during the Summer). You may also contact us by email at finaid@uiwtx.edu.

Q: Will I be notified if my file is missing information?

A: The Office of Financial Assistance will include missing information on the Award Letter by mail or email to let students know that their files are incomplete. Please review your Award Letter carefully to ensure that you submit all required paperwork. You may also check this information online.

Q: Do I need to reapply for financial aid annually?

A: In order to receive financial assistance, students will need to reapply annually by submitting the FAFSA and Student Information Form to our office. Students may apply starting January 1st for the following summer, fall, or spring. The priority deadline is April 1st, we encourage all students to submit their paperwork before April 1st to receive all possible financial aid.

Q: Can I claim independent status on the 2012-13 FAFSA?

A: Generally, students under the age of 24 will be classified as dependent students and must provide parental information on the FAFSA unless they meet specific requirements.  On the 2012-13 FAFSA, the STUDENT must answer the following dependency questions:

Were you born before January 1, 1989?
As of today, are you married? Answer "Yes" if separated, but not divorced.
At the beginning of the 2012-13 school year, will you be working on a master's or doctorate degree program?
Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training?
Are you a veteran of the Armed Forces?
Do you have children who will receive more than half of their support from you between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013?
Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half of their support from you, now and through June 30, 2013?
At any time since you turned age 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care or were you a dependent or ward of the court?
Has it been decided by a court in your state of legal residenc that you are an emancipated minor or that you are in legal guardianship?
At any time on or after July 1, 2011 were you determined to be an unaccompanied youth who was homeless, as dtermined by (a) your high school or district homeless liaison or (b) the direct or an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development?
At any time on or after July 1, 2011 did the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?

If the studentanswered YES to any of the questions above, then he/she is an independent student so parental information is not required on the FAFSA.

If the student answered NO to all of the questions above, then he/she is a dependent student and must supply student and parent information on the FAFSA

Q:  I've lived in Texas all my life.  Why do I have to prove I'm a Texas resident?

A:  The State of Texas permits the university to award state funded financial aid (like the Tuition Equalization Grant, the College Access Loan and the Early High School Graduation Scholarship) to students who are residents of Texas.  In order to prove that a student meets the residency requirements, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board requires that the university have documents on file proving residency.

If you are scheduled to receive state money, you will need to submit this proof of residency before the university can pay these funds into your account.  To document your residency status, please complete and submit the Basic Residency Questionnaire to the UIW Office of Financial Assistance.

Q: What is Verification?

A: Your school must review the requested information, under the financial aid program rules (34 CFR, Part 668). Your FAFSA application may be selected for review in a process called “Verification.” (go to http://www.uiw.edu and click on FORMS for the necessary forms).  In this process, your school will be comparing information from your application with signed copies of your and/ or your parent(s)’ current Federal tax return TRANSCRIPTS, or with W-2 forms or other financial documents. The law says we have the right to ask you for this information before awarding Federal aid. Please submit these forms to our office as soon as possible, so that your financial aid won’t be delayed. You may either mail, drop-off, or fax these forms to 210-283-5053.

Q.  How many hours must a student be enrolled to qualify for financial aid?

A:  To qualify for financial aid, a student must be enrolled for at least half of the hours required for a full-time load each semester.  The university defines full-time enrollment as follows:

  Full-Time Half-Time
Undergraduate 12 6
Graduate 9 4
Pharmacy* 12 6
Optometry* 12 6
Ph.D. 6 3
Ph.D. (dissertation) 3 1

These enrollment requirements apply during all semesters (summer, fall and spring).  Students not qualifying for traditional financial aid because of enrollment should contact our office to review alternative options.

*Academic requirements for full time or part time may differ from financial aid requirements.

Q:  What is Satisfactory Academic Progress?

A1:  The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, mandates that universities must establish a minimum standard for academic progress for student receiving federal financial aid (view the UIW Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy).

A2:  State programs (like the Tuition Equalization Act and the B-on-Time Loan) have seperate academic progress requirements (see state standards and hardship policy).  If you are denied a Tuition Equalization Grant or B-on-Time Loan renewal award because you did not meet the state's academic progress requirements, you can appeal by submitting a state appeal form to the UIW OFA.

Q:  Is there a limit on the number of semesters or credit hours a student can take and still receive financial aid?

A:  The maximum number of credit hours a student attempts may not exceed 125 percent of the number of credit hours required for graduation in his or her program of study as published in the University catalog.  If your degree plan requires 128 credit hours, you can recieve credit hours for up to 160 credit hours (128 X 1.25 = 160).  Once you reach the maximum number of hours permitted for your degree, you are no longer eligible for financial aid.

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Undergraduate Students

 

Q: How much will it cost me to attend UIW?

A:  Your average costs depend on your level of enrollment, whether or not you live on campus, and whether you elect to add-in optional charges.  Visit our Costs and Calculators page for information on estimating your costs for the current academic year.  Or, you can review detailed tuition and fee information online.

Q: What financial assistance am I eligible for?

A: Student may be eligible for grants, loans, work study. See list below:

  • Academic Merit Scholarships: Student must meet specific requirements; must be enrolled full-time (12-18 hours); to renew, must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA, or at least a 2.0 GPA and complete 24 credit hours (measured at the end of every spring)
  • Performance Scholarships: Student must audition; must be enrolled full time (12-18 hours)
  • Athletic Scholarships: NCAA funds awarded through athletic departments
  • Grants: Student must demonstrate need; must be enrolled full time (12-18 hours, with the exception of the Pell grant)
  • Work-Study Program: Student must demonstrate need; must be enrolled at least half-time (6 hours for undergraduates/4 hours for graduates, however priority is given to full-time students)
  • Federal Student Stafford Loans: Student must apply for loans and be enrolled at least half-time (6 hours for undergraduates/4 hours for graduates)
  • Endowed Scholarships:  Students must apply for endowed scholarships, have a cumulative GPA of 3.6 at time of application, be enrolled full-time (12-18 hours), and maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 if awarded a scholarship
  • Outside Scholarships: Student must meet the requirements of outside scholarship programs.

If you are an undergraduate enrolled in the UIW ADCap or UIW Online program, the aid available to you will differ. 

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Returning Students

Q. I turned in my FAFSA, why haven't I received my award letter?

A: Returning students are required to have a completed file with the Office of Financial Assistance in order to be awarded. You can view your requirements on-line at  "View Your Financial Aid On-Line" or contact the OFA.

Q. I didn't receive the same award as I did last year. What happened?

A: Since financial assistance is re-evaluated every year with the FAFSA, any changes in income and the number in the house hold will come into consideration when a student is awarded. The availability of funds is also different from year to year. We highly recommend completing your Financial Assistance file as early as possibly to help secure your award.

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Graduate Students

Q:  Is financial assistance available for students enrolling in graduate programs?

A:  Financial assistance is available to students enrolling in master's and doctoral programs (read more).

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ADCaP & UIW Online Students

Q: Is financial assistance available for students enrolled in these programs?

A: Yes, financial assistance is available. Students should complete the FAFSA and any other documentation required by the OFA. Visit the EAP Students page for more information.

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Parents

Q: Can I apply for a loan in my name for my student's education?

A: Parents can apply for the Federal PLUS loan to help cover the cost of their son/daughter's education. Parents can borrow up to the cost of attendance minus any other financial assistance. This loan will go into repayment after the disbursement of funds, but eligible borrowers may qualify for a forbearance up to 48 months. If you wish to apply for this loan, complete a PLUS loan Pre-Approval (online at http://www.uiw.edu/finaid/forms.html) request to begin the eligibility determination process.  Students do not have to demonstrate financial need for this loan, however beginning with the 2011-12 academic year students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order for UIW to be able to process a Parent PLUS Loan request.

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Loans

Q: How do I apply for educational loans?

A: Loans are awarded to you as part of the aid package you receive from UIW. The process you follow to apply for a loan, once you've been awarded, varies depending on the kind of loan you're taking out. (Read more.)

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

A: Subsidized loans are need based loans. Freshmen are eligible to receive $3500, sophomores $4500 and JR/SR $5500.  Need is determined from the FAFSA results. The government is paying the interest while the student is in school at least half time for the subsidized loan. Unsubsidized loans are not need based but are limited to the same amount as the subsidized. Those students that have a parent that has been denied for the PLUS loan are eligible to receive additional unsubsidized loan funds.

For students enrolled in graduate programs (Master's and Ph.D.), only unsubsidized loans are available (effective July 1, 2012) and the educational loan limit per year is $20,500 from the Federal Stafford Loan program.

For students enrolled in professional programs in the UIW School of Optometry, only unsubsidized loans are available (effective July 1, 2012) and the educational loan limit per year is $40,500 from the Federal Stafford Loan Program.

For students enrolled in professional pograms in the UIW School of Pharmacy, only unsubsidized loans are available (effective July 1, 2012) and the educational loan limit per year is $33,000 from the Federal Stafford Loan Program.

Q:  If I find the financial aid I have isn't enough to cover my costs, is other aid available?

A: Students who need additional financial assistance can, if they choose, apply for alternative loans.  Alternative loans are private, credit-based loans designed to help students meet the cost of education through private financing. For most alternative loans, you must be credit-worthy or obtain a cosigner that is credit-worthy and meet each loan's specific criteria. You are not required to complete a FAFSA to qualify for an alternative loan, but you must reapply for the loan each year.

Q: How much money can I apply for through an alternative loan program?

A: Typically, the amount you can borrow will be limited by your actual cost of attendanceOther limitations may apply depending on your individual circumstances and the lender/loan program you choose.  If you have questions, the Office of Financial Assistance has advisors available to assist you and your student. No appointments are necessary. You may also email any questions to finaid@uiwtx.edu

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Financial Aid for Summer Courses

Q: I am a main campus student and I want to take courses in summer, but my award letter only lists financial assistance for FALL and SPRING.  What do I do?

A: Once MAIN CAMPUS students have registered for summer courses, students may stop by the office and submit a Summer School Application. The OFA will manually adjust your student loans to pay the summer courses.  Students in the ADCaP and UIW Online programs are not required to submit summer school applications for financial aid.

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Athletic Scholarships

Q:  Does UIW offer athletic scholarships?

A: As a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II, UIW offers athletic scholarships in a number of men's and women's sports. UIW adheres to NCAA eligibility guidelines and scholarship offers are given at the discretion of the head coach. If you are interested in the UIW athletic program, contact the Athletic Office at (210) 829-6050.

Q: Can I combine my athletic scholarship with an academic or outside scholarship?

A: Athletes that show eligibility for athletic scholarship and academic or outside scholarship may combine these funds only when meeting certain guidlines provided by the NCAA.  First-time freshmen must have either a cumulative 3.5 high school GPA, a top 20 % high school ranking, score a minimum 1140 on the SAT (combined math and verbal only) or score a 100 composite on the ACT.  Once you have completed one academic year in college and achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.3 (on a 4.0 scale), you can combine athletic and academic funds.  Transfer students must transfer into UIW with a GPA of 3.3 (on a 4.0 scale) in order to be eligible to combine athletic and academic funds.

Q:  What can athletic scholarships be used for?

A:  Any student receiving a maximum athletic scholarship may use these funds toward the direct costs of tuition, fees, room and board and books (up to $600 per semester). 

Any charges in excess of the maximum scholarship will be the sole responsibility of the student (i.e. single rooms, additional supplies, etc.).  Also, UIW does not allow students to use athletic scholarship funds for off campus housing.  Any student receiving funds in their atletic scholarship for housing must apply those funds to UIW housing.  Further, athletic scholarships cannot be issued for health insurance, laptops or student refunds.

Q:  If I need more funding to cover additional costs, can I apply for financial aid?

A:  Students receiving athletic scholarships may be awarded federal aid up to their cost of attendance.  Each year, students seeking aid in addition to their athletic scholarship must complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) online at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov.  Students who complete a FAFSA will receive an award letter that indicates their eligibility for federal grants, work-study and/or loans.

Q:  How many hours do I need to take each semester in order to receive my scholarship?

A:  Athletes are required to be full-time enrolled (a minimum of 12 undergraduate hours or 9 graduate hours per semester) in order to receive their athletic scholarship.  A student-athlete with athletic eligibillity remaining may practice and compete while enrolled part-time, provided the student-athlete is enrolled in their final semester culminating in a degree; but would not receive scholarship funds for that semester.

Q:  What do I need to do to keep my scholarship, other than enroll full time?

A:  Athletic scholarshps may be modified or cancelled if athletes render themselves ineligible for competition, misrepresent any informatin, engage in misconduct that warrants substantial disciplinary penalty, voluntariliy withdraws from the sport, fail to pass the department's physical examination, or fail to complete admission requirements.

All athletes must maintain satisfactory academic progress towards a UIW degree, remain academically eligible, comply with athletic regulations, and comply with conduct expectations as defined by the UIW Student Handbook.

Athletic scholarships are not automatically renewed.  Athletes are informed of renewal status by July 1st of each year.  All non-renewed students will have the option to request a hearing to request scholarship reinstatment.

Q:  Am I limited to only 4 years of funding or can I receive funds for a 5th year?

A:  Coaches may nominate students for a fifth year scholarship from the AD as long as they have a 2.75 cumulative GPA and are within 30 hours of graduation.  Approved nominations will use all gift aid they qualify for plus the 5th year funds up to the amount of their last athletic scholarship, or full tuition (whichever is less).

Q:  If I have questions about my athletic scholarship, who do I contact?

A:  Questions may be addressed to the NCAA Compliance Officer or the Office of Financial Assistance.

 

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Outside Scholarships

Q: What is an Outside Scholarship?

A: Outside scholarships are scholarship funds that students apply for organizations other than the University. Students are encouraged to seek scholarships from, youth organizations, church, businesses and community groups. Be sure to review their requirements and deadlines.

Q: Where can I find outside scholarships?

A:Students are encouraged to seek scholarships from their high school or school district, any youth organizations they have participated in or belong to, church/religious groups, parental/student employers, local/national business, community/fraternal organizations, and local/national foundations.

The Office of Financial Assistance has a comprehensive resource center for students to research and apply for financial aid.  The resource center is equipped with computers students can use to submit their FAFSA online, look for scholarships online or research specific loans/lenders.  The resource center also allows students access to financial aid applications, scholarship applications, loan applications and other information regarding financial aid.

Students can access the resource center on a walk-in basis during normal office hours.

Q: What do I do with a scholarship check that needs to be applied to my account?

A: Bring it to the Office of Financial Assistance; please make sure the check lists your name, social security number, and the term (summer, fall or spring) to which the funds should be applied.

Q: How does an outside scholarship affect my financial assistance award?

A: Outside cholarships can affect your overall award. Depending on you FAFSA results, an outside scholarship could reduce your loan eligibility or change your Subsidized Stafford loan to an unsubsidized. Check with the OFA if you have questions.

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UIW Academic Scholarships

Q: How do I apply for an Academic Scholarship?

A: Academic scholarships are awarded b the Office of Admissions at the time a student is admitted to the university. For more information contact the Office of Admissions at 210-829-6005.

Q: If I lost my academic but raise my GPA again, will my academic be reinstated?

A:  These funds were awarded to you by the UIW Admissions Office at the time of your acceptance, and current policy states you must maintain a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average (gpa) in order to renew these funds each year.  The university will maintain the renewal for all students meeting the 3.0 gpa requirement; and in addition, renewals will also be open to students that complete 75% of all coursework attempted with a 2.0 cumulative gpa.

       

The expansion in the renewal requirement ensures that students will not drop courses in order to maintain the 3.0 gpa, and will encourage students to take and complete the most challenging coursework they can.  It is a priority that students be making academic progress towards graduation, and not making scheduling or enrollment decisions around considerations towards renewing their Academic Scholarship or Award. Renewal requirements for state grants and federal grants have not been altered.

If you do not meet either of the two options for renewal, your academic scholarship will be removed permanently. You can still apply for outside scholarships.

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Disbursements & Refunds

Q: When will my funds be applied to my account?

A: If you have completed all the required documents for OFA (which may include, FAFSA, Student Information Form, Verification Forms, Master Promissory Note, Parent PLUS, or Other Loan Options) prior to the first week of school, your funds will be disbursed within the first week of school.

Q: How does the refund process work?

Students that have paid the tuition, fees and other charges associated with semester and have an excess of funds may be eligible for a refund. The Business office will issue the extra “living expense” money to eligible students after the 100% drop date and within 14 days after all of your financial aid comes in and covers your entire balance. You may contact the Business Office at 210-829-6043.

Please notify the Office of Financial if you decide to add, drop, or change courses to ensure that your courses are paid for with your financial aid!

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Bookstore Credit

Q: What is Bookstore Credit?

A: Bookstore credit is awarded only to main campus students (undergraduate and graduate) and graduate students in ADCaP or UIW Online who will have an excess in guaranteed financial aid monies after their entire balance is paid in full. The remaining amount will be placed on your account and you will be able to purchase books at the University Bookstore by using your student ID card.  If you are eligible to receive bookstore credit you can contact the OFA or the Business office so that we can apply the funds to your account. You may also email your request, be sure to include your name, ID, and amount requested.

Undergraduate students in the ADCaP and UIW Online programs are not eligible for bookstore credit.

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UIW Laptop Requirements

Q:Will I need a laptop?

A:Students are required to have a laptop, however they are not required to purchase through the university.  Students that do not already have a laptop and want to participate in the laptop program at UIW will have a one-time charge of $1,300 or $1,700 (depending on the kind of laptop purchased) for their laptop purchase.  This charge will be added to their UIW bill and may be covered with loan assistance.   For more information, refer to the Laptop Program Guidelines.

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Nursing Students

Q: When am I eligible to apply for the nursing loans and scholarships?

A: Once you have been formally admitted to the nursing program you may apply for the nursing loans and scholarships. Outside scholarship opportunities are also available.  Check the Nursing web site for additional information.

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Optometry Students

Q:Is financial aid available for students enrolled in the Optometry Program? 

A:Yes.  Financial assistance is available to students enrolling in the UIW School of Optometry. (Read more. ).

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Pharmacy Students

Q:Is financial aid available for students enrolled in the Pharmacy Program? 

A:Yes.  Financial assistance is available to students enrolling in the UIW School of Pharmacy. (Read more. ).

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Updated 04/20/2012


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