Frequently Asked Questions about Financial Aid

Apply Early. 

Completing your forms accurately and submitting them early will ensure full consideration for all aid programs available. If you apply early and have problems, contact a counselor right away. If you start the application process late and have problems, there will not be enough time to help you before school starts.

Do Not Estimate. 

Use completed federal income tax returns to fill out the FAFSA. If you estimate this data incorrectly, we will require you to correct it, which will result in a delay in the processing of your application.

Do Not Leave Blanks.

Never leave questions blank on any form that you submit if you are required to complete it. Blank questions will delay your application's processing.

Keep Copies. 

Retain photocopies of all forms and correspondence you submit with the dates they were submitted. Refer to them when inquiring about your application.

Use Your Full Given Name. 

Complete all forms using your full given name. Do not use nicknames. Notify the Office of Student Financial Services of any name changes.

Use Your Correct Social Security Number. 

Entering your correct Social Security number on all forms, especially parent or spouse tax returns, is very important. Be sure to review your SSN for accuracy; transposed or incorrect numbers will result in a delay and reprocessing through the federal processing center.

Read and Respond. 

Carefully read and follow all instructions provided. Respond quickly to all requests from our office. Even if your federal application is submitted early, you will not receive an award if your file is incomplete.

Take Responsibility. 

You are applying for financial aid to help you attend the University of North Alabama. Although you may need your parents' help in completing your forms, the application forms are yours and you need to know what forms and information have been provided to whom and when.

Ask Questions. 

Call or visit our office if you have questions or need help with your forms. It is helpful if you learn the name of the person with whom you talk. Have your student ID ready when contacting our office about your account.

Document Phone Calls. 

If you call to discuss your application, keep notes of the day that you called, with whom you spoke, and what was discussed. In our peak processing times during the summer and early fall, repeated phone calls can delay the processing of your application. Please do not be discouraged when you cannot immediately reach us. During peak time, we experience hundreds of phone calls each day.

Who should I contact if:

I need help completing the FAFSA or need to check the status of my federal application? 

Contact the US Department of Education at 1-800-4-FED-AID, or visit their website at www.fafsa.gov

I need assistance in applying for GI or Veterans' Benefits? 

The University of North Alabama's Veterans' representative, Doug McClain, is located at GUC 2nd floor. To contact this office, you may phone 256-765-4746 or email Dmcclain2@una.edu

I am having problems with my PIN? 

Students and parents can request a duplicate PIN, change their PIN, or receive assistance with their PIN by visiting www.pin.ed.gov

Application

Can I get a paper copy of the FAFSA? 

The US Department of Education no longer supplies UNA with paper versions of the FAFSA. If you prefer to mail a copy of your application you may print or request a copy to be mailed to you at www.fafsa.gov or by calling 1-800-4-FED-AID. Note that paper applications may result in a longer processing time.

How do I add your school code to my FAFSA?

If you have already submitted your financial aid application and want to make your FAFSA information available to an additional school, visit www.fafsa.gov and select "Add or Delete a School Code." Alternatively, a student may call the FSAIC at 1-800-4-FED-AID to add the school. In this case, you will be asked to provide your DRN number from the Student Aid Report. UNA's school code is 001016.

Do I/my parents make too much money to qualify for aid?

There is no income cut-off to qualify for federal student aid. Many factors besides income - from the size of your family to the age of your older parent - are taken into account. Your eligibility is determined by a mathematical formula, not by income alone. If you do not qualify for grant funds, you will qualify for loan funds as long as you are meeting satisfactory academic progress. Don't make assumptions about what you will get; the application is free to file, so we recommend that you complete it to determine your eligibility. You will not be required to accept any aid that you do not want to receive.

Where can I get the forms that I need for financial aid?

Visit our Forms page for current forms and more information. Most forms are available here. There are paper copies of all available forms in our office in Room 318 of the Commons building.

How can I get a copy of my tax return transcript?

You may request a tax return transcript from the Internal Revenue Service by visiting www.irs.gov or by calling 1-800-908-9946.
Please note the a Tax Account Transcript is not the same thing as a Tax Return Transcript, and cannot be accepted.
State tax returns should not be used to complete the FAFSA or the verification process.

What is "verification?" Does it mean I did something wrong on the FAFSA?

Verification is the process whereby we review the information that you reported on your FAFSA and compare the figures to you and/or your parents' tax returns. The Federal Processor selects about 30% of our financial aid applicants to be verified. It does not mean that you made a mistake or that you are suspected of misreporting. It simply means that you were picked as part of a sample to be reviewed. If your file is chosen to be verified, it is important for you to submit any requested documents as quickly as possible. Financial aid cannot be offered to you until verification has been completed.

If I was selected to be verified last year, does that mean that I will also be selected again this year?

Not necessarily. You will know when you receive your Student Aid Report each year if you have been selected to be verified. Check your UNA Portal account for notification of any outstanding requirements.

Dependency Status

How do I know if I am considered a dependent or an independent student for financial aid purposes?

There are thirteen questions on the FAFSA which you must answer to determine your dependency status for financial aid purposes. Keep in mind that your dependency status for financial aid purposes is not based upon IRS tax filing criteria, but is based solely on your responses to the dependency status questions outlines on the FAFSA.

What if my parents don't want to help me pay for college?

They don't have to, but you will need their information to put together a picture of your family's financial situation. This helps determine how much help the government can give you to pay for school.

What if my parents don't want to provide their private information on the FAFSA?

The information that you provide on the FAFSA is secure. We recommend that you complete the application online, where your information is put into special code before it is processed. The US Department of Education will not share your information with anyone except the schools that you indicate and a few federal agencies (so they can check to make sure that you've reported your information accurately).

What if I don't live with my parents?

You must still answer the questions about them if you are considered to be a dependent student.

Who is my "parent" when I file the FAFSA?

If your parents are living and married to each other, answer the questions about them. If your parents are living together and are not married, but meet the criteria in your state for common-law marriage, answer the questions about both of them. If your parent is widowed or single, answer the questions about that parent. If your widowed parent is remarried as of the day that you complete the FAFSA, answer the questions about that parent and the person whom your parent married (your stepparent). If your parents are divorced or separated, answer the questions about  the parent whom you lived with/provided greater financial support over the last 12 months.

The following people are not considered your parents unless they have legally adopted you: grandparents, foster parents, legal guardians, older siblings, uncles or aunts.

Awards

Specific Award Information

I applied for and received financial aid last year. I haven't received any this year. Why?

You must reapply for financial aid each year. Applications are available each January for the upcoming academic year, which begins with the Fall Term. Visit www.fafsa.gov to apply.

I plan to attend during the summer term, but my award letter only shows amounts for fall and spring semesters. Why?

Financial aid for summer is awarded separately. Generally, we offer your maximum eligibility for fall and spring. If you plan to attend summer term and accept all of the aid offered to you for fall and spring, you may have no remaining eligibility for summer term. We review summer aid eligibility after you have registered for summer term. Please contact our office if you are interested in receiving financial aid during the summer term.

I received a letter that says I haven't met Satisfactory Academic Progress. What should I do?

If you have been notified by our office that you are not making satisfactory academic progress and you feel that there are extenuating circumstances that you wish us to consider, you may file an appeal with the office of Student Financial Services. Your explanation will be reviewed and you will be notified as to whether you will be given a conditional exception to these standards.

More Information on Satisfactory Academic Progress

What is the minimum required enrollment status to receive aid?

For most grants and scholarships, full-time enrollment is required. For federal student loans, half-time enrollment is required.

I want to drop a class. How will this affect my financial aid?

If you withdraw or drop below full-time status, you may have to repay all or part of your loans and/or grants. Contact Student Financial Services before you decide to drop a class or withdraw completely.

Billing and Refund Checks

When can I expect to receive a bill from UNA for tuition/housing?

Billing statements are sent monthly and are available on UNA E-Bill for all currently enrolled UNA students. Email notices for fall bills are generally scheduled mid-July, with a due date of early/mid-August. Email notices for spring bills are generally scheduled mid-November, with a due date of early/mid December. Email notices for summer bills are generally scheduled mid-April, with a due date of early/mid-May.

If the financial aid shown on your bill is not enough to cover the amount due, you must pay the difference by the due date or your class schedule is subject to cancellation. More information on your student account can be found here.

What address are my bills mailed to? My financial aid documents? My refund checks?

Paper bills are NOT mailed for currently enrolled students. See the question above for E-Bill information. New and current students will receive most financial aid correspondence via UNA email and UNA Portal.

Refund checks are mailed to your UNA Post Office Box. If you have not been assigned a box, your check will be mailed to your permanent home address.

Can I pick up my refund check instead of having it mailed?

No, you cannot pick up a check in person.

My award letter says that I am entitled to $1250 in Federal Work Study per semester, but it does not show up on my bill. Why?

Some types of financial aid reflected on your award letter are not disbursed to your student account. Federal Work Study is an example of this type of aid. These funds must be earned over the course of the term. The figure reflected on the award letter is the maximum potential earnings you are allowed per semester. UNA Work Study students receive a paycheck monthly for the hours worked and reported on a time sheet through the hiring department.

For more information on your student account, see the Business Office FAQ page.

Am I required to do an Entrance Interview? How and Where?

Yes. The Entrance Interview for new borrowers is a requirement for student loan recipients.

When will I receive my loan funds?

Your student loan disbursements are usually received on or about the first day of class. Once received, the loan funds will be applied toward your student account. If the application of loan funds to your account creates a credit balance, the Bursar's office will issue a refund check to you.

NOTE: Loan disbursements for first-time freshmen borrowers are subject to a 30-day delay, as required by the US Department of Education. 

Am I required to E-Sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN)?

Yes. By E-Signing and submitting your MPN with the Direct Loan program, you are promising to repay all student loans made under this note. You may have to sign only one MPN for the life of your student loan. An MPN expires ten years after the note is signed. An MPN is revoked if the first disbursement is not made within one year.

Will I be able to consolidate all of my loans after graduation?

Yes. Many private lenders have ceased Federal Loan Consolidations. However, you may contact the US Department of Education about your Loan Consolidation options.

When will I begin repayment on my student loans?

After you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment, you have a period of time before you must begin repayment. This "grace period" will be

  • six months for Federal Stafford Loans (FFEL or Direct)
  • nine months for Federal Perkins Loans

***Note- We do not offer Federal Perkins Loans

For more information about repayment options, visit www.studentaid.gov

Can I get a listing of all of the student loans that I have ever received?

For a complete listing of your loan amounts and lenders, visit www.nslds.ed.gov

What is my estimated cost of attendance?

The estimated cost of attendance (COA) is the estimate of what it will cost to attend UNA for the academic year. This figure consists of estimated tuition, books, room/board, personal, and transportation costs. Items could be higher or lower than our estimates depending on personal spending habits.

What is "Expected Family Contribution?

Expected Family Contribution is the indicator of how much you and your family are expected to contribute to your education. The Federal Processor calculates your EFC based on the data that you provide on the federal aid application (FAFSA). We use the EFC, among other factors, to determine how much and what types of aid that you qualify for.
 

What are "outside resources"?

Outside resources include other aid sources that either you have reported to us or we have identified on your student billing statement. These resources include but are not limited to the Alabama GI Dependents Scholarship, ANGEAP, and any other outside scholarships or loans.

What is "financial need"?

Financial need is the difference between your cost of attendance and the amount of money your family is expected to contribute (EFC). The formula is: COA minus EFC minus other aid = Financial Need. The need amount represents the limit of your eligibility to participate in need based programs which include grants, subsidized Stafford Loans, and Federal Work Study. If your calculated need is -0-, you may qualify for non-need based aid such as unsubsidized Federal Loans and/or Federal Parent PLUS Loans.

What is "unmet need"?

Unmet need is the amount of need that we cannot meet from need based aid programs. Unmet need = Need minus need-based aid. You may have unmet need after being awarded the maximum limits you qualify for in need based programs.

How much will my family and I be expected to pay (excluding financial aid) for my education over the course of the school year?

The amount the student and/or family can expect to pay for tuition, books, room/board, personal, transportation = estimated cost of attendance minus total aid. In some cases, students do not receive enough aid to cover the full COA. Parent Loans and alternative loans are available to make up the difference.

For more information about parent and/alternative loans, visit our Student Loans page.

If my parent is approved for a PLUS loan (credit check is required) how much can they borrow?

A parent of a dependent undergraduate student can borrow the amount of estimated cost of attendance minus total aid that the student expects to receive.  If your parent applies for a PLUS loan and is denied the loan, you may be eligible for additional unsubsidized loan funds.

Visit our Student Loans page for additional information.

How do I view my account online and/or pay my account online?

Students

To access your account, go to www.una.edu and select UNA Portal.

Once logged in, select the following:

  • Self-Service Banner
  • Student
  • Student Account
  • Account Summary

*For security reasons, you will be required to log in again using your UNA Portal ID and password.

  • You may also access your student account directly by going to the UNA homepage and selecting Tuition Payment.

Authorized Users

Non-student payers who have been authorized by a UNA student may view and pay a student's bill on their behalf. Authorized payers can only be established by the student. UNA cannot establish an authorized payer for the student. Authorized users will first be prompted to log into a secure site with the appropriate ID and password combination.

To add an authorized user to your student account:

  • Follow the above steps to login to your Student Account
  • Click on the Authorized Users tab and follow the prompts

The authorized user that you have specified will receive an email notification containing their initial password and login instructions. An email notification will be sent to each address provided when a new E-Bill becomes available.

To access the account for which you are authorized:

  • Visit the Authorized User login page by going to the UNA home page and selecting Tuition Payment  -OR -
  • Select UNA Portal, then select Authorized User Login
  • Log in with your email address and the initial password information provided in your welcome email.

What types of payments are accepted online?

Within the E-Bill account, a student or authorized individual can make online student account payments with an electronic check (e-check) or with a credit card. UNA accepts VISA, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.  The option to pay by e-check and credit card are available online or in person only.

How do I mail a payment?

Mail checks payable to the University of North Alabama to:

Business Office, UNA Box 5001, Florence, AL 35632. 

Please indicate the student’s I.D. number on the memo line of the check.


How will I receive my billing statement?

Electronic Billing (E-Bill) is the official means of providing student account statements to all current UNA students.  When a new bill is available an email notification will be sent to the student’s UNA Portal account and to any Authorized Users established by the student.  Students are advised to check their email regularly. 

How do I report non-UNA scholarships, employer education plans, state benefits, etc., to UNA?

  • Employer Sponsorship Assistance Programs: Employers may submit vouchers or checks. Vouchers should be sent to the Business Office; checks should be mailed to Student Financial Services.
  • GI Dependent Benefits: The office of Veteran Affairs will issue the student and UNA a certificate of eligibility once the student's application has been approved.
  • PACT (Prepaid Alabama Affordable College Tuition): PACT should issue the student an eligibility card or letter and send a copy of the documents to UNA's Business Office.
  • External Scholarships from schools, churches, organizations, etc.: Students who are receiving an external scholarship should have checks mailed to Student Financial Services.

Be sure that documentation and checks are submitted to the appropriate office at UNA to ensure that your student account is properly credited by the bill due date. Please remember that payment of a student's account is always the student's responsibility.

Send vouchers and other documents to:
Business Office
Attn: Aleah Clark
UNA Box 5001
Florence, AL 35632

Send checks to:
Student Financial Services
UNA Box 5014
Florence, AL 35632

Does UNA offer a payment plan?

UNA offers an interest-free monthly payment option through Tuition Management Systems (TMS).

I have been awarded a student loan, but am a first-time freshman with a 30 day delayed disbursement. How will this affect my payment due?

The Business Office is aware of the 30-day delay required for the first loan disbursement of first-time freshmen. Payment of your account will be deferred up to the amount of the loan disbursement during the 30-day delay.

The difference between the total amount owed and the expected loan disbursement must be paid by the payment due date to avoid cancellation of your schedule.

Please note that in order to defer your payment as stated above, you must complete all required steps to accept and obtain your financial aid by the payment due date. Failure to comply may result in your schedule being voided.

To view the steps to secure your loan funds, click here.

I need additional information. How do I contact UNA?

To contact the Business Office, you may call 256-765-4442 or call 1-800-TALK-UNA and ask for extension 4442.

To contact other departments, visit the online departmental directory.

Where can I find information on Federal Loan Forgiveness programs?

To be eligible to participate in federal loan forgiveness programs, you must meet certain criteria, which may include:

  • perform public service
  • perform volunteer work
  • perform military service
  • teach or practice medicine in certain types of communities
  • meet other criteria specified by the forgiveness program

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

In 2007, Congress created the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program to encourage individuals to enter and continue to work full-time in public service jobs.  Under this program, borrowers may qualify for forgiveness of the remaining balance due on their eligible federal student loans after they have made 120 payments on those loans under certain repayment plans while employed full-time by certain public service employers.

Volunteer Work

AmeriCorps: Serve for 12 months and receive up to $7400 in stipends plus $5550 to be used towards your loan. Call 1-800-942-2677.

Peace Corps: Volunteers may apply for deferment of Stafford, Perkins and Consolidation loans and partial cancellation of Perkins Loans (15% for each year of service, up to 70% in total). Volunteers make a real difference in the lives of real people with two years of service in more than 70 developing countries. Contact the Peace Corps at 1111 20th St., NW, Washington, DC 20526 or call 1-800-424-8580 or 1-202-692-1845.

Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA): Volunteer with private, non-profit groups that help eradicate hunger, homelessness, poverty and illiteracy. Provide 1700 hours of service and receive $4725. Call 1-800-942-2677 or 1-202-606-5000.

Military Service

Students who are in the  Army National Guard may be eligible for their Student Loan Repayment Program, which offers up to $10,000. Military and veterans' associations provide many scholarships and tuition assistance programs. Contact your veterans’ representative or recruiter for more information.

Teachers

Students who become full-time teachers and meet specific criteria may qualify for cancellation of a Federal Perkins Loan. For more information about this program, click here.

For more information about the Federal Stafford Loan Forgiveness Program for Teachers, click here.

To find out more information about the eligibility requirements for teacher loan forgiveness, and about deferment provisions for teaching for the Stafford Loan program, as well as the Perkins Loan program, you can visit the Federal Cancellation/Deferment Option for Teachers web page.

The American Federation of Teachers maintains a list of other loan forgiveness programs for teachers.

Child Care Providers

Students who provide child care in low-income communities and meet other specific requirements may qualify to have a portion of their undergraduate Stafford Loans forgiven. For more information, click here.

Medical Care Providers

The US Department of Health and Human Services offers loan forgiveness programs through the National Health Service Corps and the Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program. Specific requirements must be met.

The US National Institutes of Health’s NIH Loan Repayment Program repays up to $35,000/year of student loan debt for US Citizens who are conducting clinical medical research.