Frequently Asked Questions - Financial Aid
Frequently Asked Financial Aid Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about the financial aid process. We’re also available to answer your financial aid questions in person and via phone and email. Please don’t hesitate to contact us or drop by during our drop-in hours.
Students can begin to file their FAFSA as early as October 1st. New students should file the FAFSA by February 15th. Continuing students should file the FAFSA each year by April 15th. Some types of financial aid are first-come, first-served, so filing after these deadlines means the availability of funds will be more limited.
There is no set income cut-off for financial aid eligibility. A variety of factors, in combination with family income, are used to determine a student's need.
The number of people in the family, the number of family members in college, the age of the oldest parent and the value of family assets are examples of some of the variables that are considered. This means, for example, that Family A, with five members and two in college, may be eligible for more aid than Family B, with three members and one in college, even if Family A and Family B have the exact same income.
Be advised that Stevens also offers merit scholarships, which are awarded to worthy students regardless of income or financial need.
We determine your financial need as follows:
First, Stevens determines your Cost of Attendance for the current academic year. This figure includes estimates of tuition, fees, housing and meals, books and supplies, and other education-related costs. Your Cost of Attendance is adjusted based on whether you will live on or off campus or with your parents, and whether you will be full or part time.
Second, your Family Contribution is determined. This figure is an estimate of the amount that your family can reasonably afford to contribute to your education. For all federal financial aid programs, a statutory formula is used to determine the FC. This formula is applied to the information provided by you on your FAFSA. For Stevens scholarships and grants, we use an institutional formula, which varies in some ways from the one used by the federal government.
Cost of Attendance
− Family Contribution
= Financial Need
The Office of Financial Aid does its best to fill as much of this need as possible with the federal, state and Stevens aid programs for which you are eligible. You and your family are responsible for any amount that is not covered by financial aid.
In general, most federal financial aid programs require you to enroll at least half time to be eligible. For financial aid purposes, half-time enrollment is 6 credits per semester. However, New Jersey state grants and all Stevens awards require that you be enrolled full-time each semester. 12 credits or more is full-time.
Remember, the financial aid package that you are initially offered is determined in part by the number of credits that you tell us you plan to take (on the FAFSA and other aid applications). Whenever your enrollment status changes, you should inform the Office of Financial Aid immediately so we can determine if your package will be affected.
If the awards in your financial aid package do not add up to the amount you need to cover your educational costs, you may wish to look into available alternative financing options. These options include monthly installment plans for paying your Stevens bill, as well as private loans for parents and students. If you feel that you and your family have serious extenuating or unusual financial circumstances, you may submit a Special Request Form with supporting documentation to the Office of Financial Aid so that your aid package may be reviewed.
Verification is a federally mandated process that requires the Financial Aid Office to confirm the information that you provided on your FAFSA. The Department of Education will notify you in your Student Aid Report (SAR) if you’ve been selected for federal verification. Some applications are selected randomly, while some are selected due to a conflict in reported information or too many questions and sections left blank. Our office will follow up with you and request the additional documentation that is required for verification purposes.The requirements for verification vary. For example, you might be required to submit prior-prior year IRS Tax Return Transcripts and Verification Worksheet to begin the process. The Office of Financial Aid reserves the right to request other documents in accordance with federal rules in order to resolve conflicting information.
If your parents are divorced, you should file the FAFSA using the financial information of the parent with whom you are living, or with whom you have most recently lived. This parent will be referred to as the "custodial parent," even if there is no formal custody agreement, or if your parents have joint custody. If your "custodial" parent is remarried, you must include that stepparent's information as well. If your "non-custodial" parent is paying child support, that amount should be reported as untaxed income in Section E of the FAFSA.