Frequently Asked Questions

U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens may complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine eligibility for federal aid. You will need an FSA ID (your official federal signature) to complete the application.

How to Create Your FSA ID

FAFSA and FSA ID Tips for Parents

UIW is a summer header school, which means our financial aid year begins in the summer. If you will be taking summer courses, you need the FAFSA that ends with the following calendar year.

For example:

Summer 2020 will be on the 2020-2021 FAFSA which covers Summer 2020 through Spring 2021.

The FAFSA opens on October 1 of each year for the following aid year cycle:

Oct. 1, 2019: FAFSA opens for 2020-2021 cycle and will use 2018 tax information.

Oct. 1, 2020: FAFSA opens for 2021-2022 cycle and will use 2019 tax information.

The FAFSA must be completed before your enrollment has ended for that cycle.

For example, if your courses end on April 27, 2021 you must complete the 2020-2021 FAFSA before that date in order to be eligible for aid during that cycle. If your classes end sooner, you must complete the FAFSA sooner!

Students classified as a Texas resident, who are ineligible to apply for federal financial aid using the  FAFSA, can complete the Texas Application for State Financial Aid (TASFA). The TASFA application is used to determine eligibility for state-funded grant aid, which is the Texas Equalization Grant (TEG) up to $3,300 annually.

Once admitted to UIW, submit your signed TASFA and documents using the  secure uploader.
Documents required to be submitted for the TASFA:

  • Texas Residency Affidavit
    Must be notarized – the state has not authorized any leniency on this notarization. However, some notaries do offer online notarization services. Contact a notary near you to verify options.
  • Signed copy of parents tax return (if they filed)
    Note: if parents earned enough to be required to file, but did NOT file, you will not be eligible for TEG.
  • Male students only
    Proof of selective service registration or eligibility for exemption.

Students that do not qualify to complete the FAFSA have other opportunities for assistance, which are not dependent upon the FAFSA.

SPS students typically attend courses year-round. Your aid will be divided evenly between summer, fall and spring semesters, and then readjusted based on your actual enrollment (if necessary). Students who do not attend the summer semester will have their aid divided evenly between fall and spring.

For example: If you are a junior/senior student, your maximum loan eligibility will be up to $12,500 for the academic year. This amount will then be divided evenly into summer, fall and spring semesters (approximately $4,167 each semester).

Yes! You can still complete a FAFSA to apply for additional aid.

Employer reimbursement and/or tuition assistance funds must be accounted for as part of your financial aid package, and any remaining eligibility can be filled in with grants and/or loans (depending on what you are eligible for).

If your employer requires an unpaid invoice in order to submit your funds, you may contact the Office of Financial Assistance (OFA) to have the funds removed. If you need them reinstated later, you will need to contact us.

The FAFSA will indicate to us any amounts of loans and/or Pell grants that you have used. There are annual as well as lifetime (aggregate) maximums for each of these funds. Once you have reached the lifetime maximum, you will no longer be eligible for that fund.

Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans: maximum of $57,500 total at the undergraduate level, maximum of $138,500 total at the graduate level (including amounts taken out previously at undergraduate or graduate level).

Parent or Graduate PLUS Loans: no aggregate maximum, but requires credit approval.

Pell Grant: lifetime maximum of 600% (the equivalent of 12 semesters of full-time enrollment).

You should consider using student loans sparingly and minimize any refunds you are using for living expenses, especially if you are getting close to your maximum.

As long as you are enrolled at least half-time (6+ hours per semester at the undergraduate level, or 3+ hours per semester at the graduate level), your enrollment will be reported monthly to the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC). Most loan servicers subscribe to these NSC reports in order to update student loan statuses.

If you need your deferment updated sooner or your servicer does not subscribe to NSC, you will need to obtain an in-school deferment form from your loan servicer and submit it to the Office of Financial Assistance to be completed.

Your FAFSA will ask you how many people are in your household, and how many of those in the household will be enrolled at least half-time during the same financial aid year.

Your FAFSA will take into account that total number in determining your aid eligibility for the year. Having other family members concurrently in college does NOT cause you to lose any aid eligibility, unless you have inaccurately reported that information.

If you have children in your household who are in college, you DO list them in the number in college. If your parent is in college, you do NOT list them in the number in college.

All aid requires you to be making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).

As an undergraduate student, you must maintain 75% course completion and a 2.0 cumulative GPA or higher.

As a graduate student, you must maintain 75% course completion and a 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher.

This includes ALL previous attempted coursework, whether you were receiving aid at the time or not. You must also (at either level) not attempt more than 150% of the number of hours required for your degree program.

If you do not meet these minimums or exceed the 150% timeframe, we require you to go through an appeal process in order to possibly regain aid eligibility. If your appeal is denied, you will need to pay out of pocket or pursue private loan funding.

The Department of Education also monitors students who have attended and received aid at more than 2 schools in the past 4 years. If that is the case, your FAFSA will be flagged for further review. If you have not been receiving credit for the semesters in which you have received aid, you may be denied future aid depending upon your specific circumstances for not earning credit.

Students often ask about financial aid for living off-campus. This is different from living at home with relatives, as it includes the additional costs of rent, utilities, food, etc.

Financial aid is based on a standard cost of attendance, which includes reasonable living expense amounts meant to assist you with covering those costs (not necessarily covering them completely). It is important to understand your direct billed costs (such as tuition and fees) and then plan for your other costs (such as books, housing and food). You can refer to your award letter and contact our office if you have questions!

What changes will be made to my bill?

When you are living off-campus, you will be charged only for direct costs - tuition, fees, parking, insurance, etc. There will be no room or board charges on your account, so the amount you will owe UIW will not include housing costs. However, you can still use loan assistance to help pay for rent, utilities, groceries and other monthly costs.

If the amount of aid you are receiving is greater than the direct costs billed by UIW, you will receive a refund check (or direct deposit, if you sign up for e-refunds) that you can use to help cover your living costs.

Living Expenses and Budgeting

Living off-campus can give you more flexibility in determining how much you will pay for such items as rent and groceries. Be sure to develop a realistic monthly budget that includes all of your expenses, including cable, internet and other utilities. UIW uses a room and board budget that includes a reasonable budget for rent (based on nine-month double-occupancy) and groceries. Additional financial aid will not be granted for costs that exceed this budget, even if you choose not to have a roommate.

It is important to remember that if you are eligible for a refund, it will not be available to you until after the 100% drop date of the semester, if your file is complete and you are meeting the enrollment requirements for your aid. You must budget accordingly to make sure you do not miss any rent, deposits or other payments while you are waiting for your aid.

Financial aid cannot be increased to cover additional costs such as:

  • Length of lease:  Financial aid is based on a nine-month schedule, but most leases require a twelve-month agreement, so you may have some rent payments without financial aid. You must budget for these extra months accordingly.
  • Security deposit, move-in fee and first month's rent:  In addition to the first month's rent, many apartments/leases may require you to pay a security deposit and/or a move-in fee at the time of signing. You may need to pay these expenses before the end of the current school year for the upcoming year's lease, depending upon your lease terms.
  • Start-up costs:  Many utilities, such as internet and cable, may require a security deposit and/or installation fee, if you have never had services with them before.

Helpful Tips

  • Enroll in direct deposit to speed up the refund process. This is separate from your work-study/payroll direct deposit and can be set up through the Business Office.
  • Develop a reasonable cost plan for off-campus expenses and compare it to on-campus costs before making your final decision.
  • If you plan to have roommates off-campus, it is easier to handle financial matters if everyone's name is on the lease and utilities. Make sure your roommates understand how they will be able to pay their share of the expenses.
  • The Office of Residence Life provides a listing of nearby off-campus residences. While UIW does not endorse or recommend any particular property over another, it can be a good place to get information to assist in your search.

UIW Scholarships

The University of the Incarnate Word offers a number of scholarships to international undergraduate students seeking their first degree. Contact the Office of International Admissions for more information. Other scholarship opportunities and criteria can be found here on the Scholarship Resources webpage.

Additional Resources

The Financial Aid Guide for Studies in the U.S..
Students from Latin America or the Caribbean can find a listing of scholarships, grants, fellowships and loans, collected by the Rowe Fund program of the Organization of American States ( OAS). For over seventy years, the Rowe Fund has granted interest-free student loans for university studies in the U.S.. to supplement other sources of financing.

Financial Aid Commonly Used Terms

Definitions of terms commonly used when discussing financial aid.