Questions & Answers: Financial Aid
Improve your chances of receiving financial aid by knowing the answers to the following questions about what, when, and how.
What is financial aid?
Financial aid is money provided by various agencies to help students meet the costs of attending college. Federal, state, and local governments, colleges, community organizations, and private corporations or individuals provide assistance in the form of either “gift aid” (scholarships and grants) or “self-help” programs (loans).
Scholarships are awards based on financial need. They do not have to be repaid. Loans are available to students at low interest rates. Student loans are considered financial aid because they have special interest rates and most are subsidized by the institution, the state, or the federal government. Repayment of most student loans does not begin until after graduation.
What is an “aid package?”
When you apply for assistance, you do not apply for a particular type or amount of aid. Each student who applies is automatically considered for all aid programs. One or more types of aid are usually awarded in combination to make up a student’s financial aid package. When students receive scholarships from outside agencies, or other UF colleges and departments, these scholarships are included as part of the student’s total aid package.
Who should apply?
The only way to tell if you’re eligible to receive aid is to apply. UF takes many factors into account when awarding aid. The number of members in your family and the number attending college can make a difference. You don’t have to be poor to qualify, but you do have to prove you need aid. On average, 93 percent of students at UFCD receive some form of financial assistance.
How and when do I apply?
In early January, complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Applications are available online for the upcoming academic year and should be completed no later than April 30th to avoid financial aid delays. Apply online at www.fafsa.ed.gov.
To receive aid at UFCD, apply for financial aid as soon as possible after January 1. Do not wait to be admitted to UFCD to apply. The earlier you apply, the better chance you will have of being considered for all aid programs!Upon acceptance into UFCD, you should also fill out a UFCD Financial Aid Application in order to be considered for any need-based scholarships that we have.
Reapply each year! Financial aid is not renewed automatically. Federal requirements and/or your family’s financial situation may change. If you were ineligible in a previous year, apply again. You may have become eligible.
How does the university determine if I am eligible for aid?
Financial information provided by you and your family is analyzed by the federal need analysis processor according to federal methodology. Federal methodology is a standardized need-analysis formula created by the U. S. Congress to enable financial aid agencies to calculate how much individual students and their families are expected to pay for higher education. The federal processor sends your need analysis to the schools you specify, indicating how much you and your family should be able to pay for your education. The university compares this amount with its cost of attendance. If the cost of attendance is greater than what you are expected to pay, the university considers you to have financial need and to be eligible for aid.
How does the university determine my award size?
Income is not the only factor considered in determining how much you and your family should be able to pay toward college. Your family’s size, assets, and number of family members in college are also factors. The university cannot determine the amount of students’ awards until the results of their FAFSAs/Renewal FAFSAs are received from the federal processor. UFCD begins to mail out student awards in late spring through mid summer. The best way to find out how much you may qualify for is to fill out the FAFSA early to get the process started. Our resources page has links to a large amount of helpful information.
What aid programs are available at UF?
- The UF College of Dentistry attempts to provide additional assistance via college scholarships and loans. These resources are very limited. All awards are based on eligibility and availability. During the 2013-2014 school year, UFCD awarded $1,080,000 in need-based scholarships to 134 students. Dental students received scholarships from the Health Resources and Services Administration Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students, the UF Foundation, Academy 100, the American Dental Association, Hispanic Dental Association, Thomas P. Hinman Dental Society, and the Pierre Fauchard Academy.
- Federal Direct Stafford Loans, Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans, Federal Direct PLUS Loans, and University of Florida institutional loans. For complete information about the types of Direct Loans available, interest rates, the process of obtaining loans, and repayment plans, visit the UF Student Financial Affairs website.
- Florida Bright Futures
- Students enrolled in the Honors Combined B.S./D.M.D. Degree Program may be eligible to use remaining Bright Futures hours towards the first year of dental school. For further information regarding this aid program, contact Matt Stubbington.
Who is eligible for aid?
Eligibility requirements vary by program. At UFCD, to be eligible for most financial aid programs you must:
- Be a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident alien;
- Be enrolled at least half time in a degree-seeking program;
- Make satisfactory academic progress toward a degree according to the following criteria:
- Qualitative Measure of Progress
- Since professional schools use a nontraditional grading system (one not based upon grade point average) to assess satisfactory completion of course work, the same policy (a similar nontraditional approach) will be used to measure qualitative progress for continuing financial aid eligibility.
- Time-Frame for Completing Degree Objectives
- Students must earn their degrees within four years.
- Measurements of Progress within Time-Frame
- Students will be evaluated annually in September to determine advancement to the next class level.
- Students who do not advance to the next class level but are still eligible for enrollment will be on financial aid probation for the following year. Students who have not advanced to the next class level by the end of the probationary period will no longer be eligible for financial aid.
- Withdrawals, Incompletes, Course Repetitions, Remedial Courses
- Treatment of course withdrawals, incompletes, and course repetitions will conform to the academic standards for the University of Florida for determining grade point average.
- Students who think extenuating circumstances have contributed to their failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress may petition the Academic Progress Appeals Committee for reassessment of their status.
- Not be in default on a student loan or owe a refund on student financial aid received at UFCD or any other institution;
- Register with the Selective Service Administration, if required to do so.
What happens after I apply?
You are responsible for following up on your application. You will receive letters from our office and the federal processor, and you may be asked for additional documentation. When documents are requested from you, send them promptly.
About three to four weeks after you submit your FAFSA to the federal processor, the federal processor will send you a federal Student Aid Report (SAR), which indicates your “Expected Family Contribution” and is used to determine your eligibility for aid. If you do not receive your SAR within a reasonable amount of time, contact the federal processor.After receiving the first of your financial aid documents, we will contact you if additional documentation is required.
When we have determined how much and what kind of financial aid you will receive, we will mail you an award letter informing you of your eligibility or ineligibility. If you have applied early, you should receive this in the late spring or mid summer.
Does the university verify information on aid applications?
Yes. About 30 percent of financial aid applications nationwide are “verified,” a process of confirming data supplied by applicants and/or parents on aid applications. Verification is part of the required federal process that determines whether or not students are eligible for aid. If your application is selected, you will receive a letter from UF notifying you and providing instructions.
If I’m eligible for aid, when will I receive it?
If you apply in early spring and turn in all documents requested by our office, you should receive your money at the beginning of fall semester (see Disbursement for more information). Students who apply late or are selected for verification may receive their aid late. These students should be prepared to pay start-up costs from other sources.
What financial aid-related materials do I need to gather and retain?
Your financial aid file should contain the following:
- Photocopies or printouts of your completed FAFSA
- Photocopies of your/your parents’ income tax forms and W-2s
- Your Federal Student Aid Report or a photocopy of it
- Photocopies of forms or information used to complete your aid application and all correspondence with SFA, and other aid agencies
- Your financial aid award letter (or a copy) from SFA
- Your Gator Aid Application Guide and your FAFSA instruction booklet
- Your Federal PIN
What are some things I can do to increase my chances of getting financial aid?
- Apply Early. Pick up a Gator Aid Application Guide and a FAFSA in early January each year. Complete the FAFSA, following all instructions, and mail it to the federal processor as soon as possible after January 1. Or, apply online at FAFSA on the web.
- If at all possible, complete your income tax returns FIRST so that you can take financial figures directly from your IRS forms.
- Read Instructions Carefully.
- Respond Quickly to all requests from our office and the other aid agencies to speed up the process and get your money sooner!
- Ask Questions! If you are unsure about any part of the application process, check with Matt Stubbington at the UFCD Financial Aid Office.
Where do I get information on my financial aid status and complete loan entrance and exit requirements?
At ISIS (Integrated Student Information System), students with an active financial aid file can get online information about the status of their aid file.To complete loan entrance and exit requirements, go to ISIS > Financial Services then choose Direct Loan Entrance Counseling or Exit Counseling. For more information, contact University Financial Services in S-108 Criser Hall at 352-392-0738.
Where can I get my other questions answered or get help with my application?
Email the Financial Aid Office for counseling and information.