Types of Financial Aid

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) the is the first step toward getting federal aid to pay for your college expenses.

Completing the FAFSA

The FAFSA is the application for all formats of federal aid and should be completed online each year beginning in January. It is very important that you file your federal tax return early so that you can utilize the IRS Data Retrieval when you file the FAFSA. If you do not use IRS Data Retrieval and/or you estimate your income information, you are more likely to be selected for verification which will delay your application.  Our office receives the results of your application electronically.

What happens after I file the FAFSA?

After you file your FAFSA, the federal processor will send you a confirmation email. You should expect to receive the email one to two weeks after you file. Pay careful attention to the instructions they provide. If you did not use the IRS Data Retrieval Process, you will be instructed to do so via the FAFSA corrections process. If The University of North Alabama is listed as the school to receive your information (our school code is 001016), we will receive your results electronically. This data provides a detailed analysis of the financial information you reported and the data needed to determine your eligibility for financial assistance. It is possible that additional documentation will be required prior to receiving a federal student aid package.  We will contact you via your UNA email address if additional information is needed.

This information will walk you through the process of accepting your financial aid package for the current academic year.

1. Review your award notification. Please contact our office if you have any questions regarding your awards.

2. You must read, understand and accept the Terms and Conditions Governing Financial Aid Awards. To do this, access your UNA Portal account, click Billing and Financial Aid, then click Financial Aid Award within the My Financial Aid Section, and then select the current aid year. Click the Terms and Conditions tab and click the link to read the actual terms and conditions. When you have finished, click Accept. If you have any questions regarding any of the listed terms and conditions, please contact our office before accepting them. You cannot move on to the remaining steps on this page until you have completed this step.

THE PREVIOUS STEP NEEDS TO BE COMPLETED IF YOU WILL RECEIVE PELL GRANT ONLY. IF LOANS ARE REQUESTED, STEPS 2 through 5 MUST BE COMPLETE

3. To accept, reduce or decline your financial aid, access your UNA Portal account and click Billing and Financial Aid, then click on Financial Aid Awards, select the current aid year, then click on the Accept Award Offer tab.

4. If you accept a student loan, you must sign a Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) if you are obtaining a Direct Loan for the first time at UNA. While in the Accept Award Offer tab, you may click the link to sign the Direct Loan MPN or you may sign the MPN directly at www.studentloans.gov.

5. If you accept a student loan offer and have not previously completed loan entrance counseling, it must be completed before your loan will disburse. In Financial Aid Award, click on Financial Aid and then click on the link to Direct Loan Entrance Counseling. You may also complete this step directly at www.studentloans.gov. You may bring in the confirmation number or wait for our office to receive electronic notification that you have completed this step. Please do not confuse Loan ENTRANCE Counseling with Loan EXIT Counseling.

6. Be sure to check your financial aid requirements in the Billing and Financial Aid Tab. Outstanding requirements may prevent the timely disbursement of your financial aid.

File a FAFSA – www.fafsa.ed.gov
Complete loan entrance counseling – www.studentloans.gov

Federal Direct Student Loans

STUDENTS MUST BE ENROLLED IN AT LEAST HALF TIME TO BE ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS.

Student loan programs provide long-term, low interest loans to students. To be considered for loans at UNA, complete the FAFSA. Students at UNA can be awarded subsidized or unsubsidized Stafford loans, depending on the student's demonstrated need and cost of attendance. View the US Department of Education's brochure on Direct Student Loans.

Subsidized Stafford Loans

Federal Stafford Subsidized Loans are based on financial need as well as annual and aggregate loan limits. Interest on this loan does not accrue during eligible periods of enrollment. Interest accrual will begin during the designated grace period and repayment begins six months after graduation or when a student is no longer enrolled at least half time (6 semester hours). Subsidized Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2018 will have a 5.045% interest rate.

Unsubsidized Stafford Loans

Federal Stafford Unsubsidized Loans are based on annual and aggregate loan limits and is not need-based. Interest on this loan begins to accrue upon the first disbursement. Repayment begins six months after graduation or when a student is no longer enrolled at least half time (6 semester hours). For unsubsidized Stafford loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2018, the interest rate for undergraduate students is 5.045%.

Loan Amounts

Annual Loan Limits (combined maximum for subsidized and unsubsidized) under the Stafford Loan Programs:

  • Dependent Undergraduate students
    • Freshmen - $5500
    • Sophomores - $6500
    • Juniors and Seniors - $7500

The aggregate limit is $31,000 (no more than $23,000 may be in subsidized loans)

  • Independent Undergraduate students
    • Freshmen - $9500
    • Sophomores - $10,500
    • Juniors and Seniors - $12,500

The aggregate limit is $57,500 (no more than $23,000 may be in subsidized loans).

  • Graduate Students
    • $20,500 Unsubsidized Loans annually, limited to cost of attendance. Graduate Direct Unsubsidized Loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2018 have a 6.595% interest rate.

The aggregate limit for graduate students is $138,500 (no more than $65,000 of this amount may be in preexisting subsidized loans as Graduate students became ineligible for subsidized loans after July 2012).

Accepting Your Student Loan Awards

STEP 1: Read and Accept Terms and Conditions.

You MUST read, understand and accept the Terms and Conditions Governing Financial Aid Awards.

To do this, access your UNA Portal account, click Billing and Financial Aid, then click Financial Aid Award within the My Financial Aid Section, and then select the current aid year. Click the Terms and Conditions tab and click the link to read the actual terms and conditions. When you have finished, click Accept. If you have any questions regarding any of the listed terms and conditions, please contact our office before accepting them. You cannot move on to the remaining steps on this page until you have completed this step.

STEP 2: Accept Loan(s) in UNA Portal Financial Aid Self-Service.

To accept, reduce or decline your financial aid, access your UNA Portal account and clicking Billing and Financial Aid, then click on Financial Aid Awards, select the current aid year, then click on the Accept Award Offer tab.

STEP 3: Complete Entrance Counseling.

Students borrowing Direct Stafford Loans for the first time must complete an online entrance counseling sessions. Students who have completed entrance counseling previously do not need to repeat entrance counseling. Complete entrance counseling here. UNA will receive electronic confirmation from the US Department of Education when you have successfully completed the counseling.

STEP 4: Complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN).

View and complete the MPN online. If you are unable to complete your MPN online, paper MPN(s) can be generated. Contact us to have paper copies of your MPN mailed to you.

University of North Alabama Scholarships

The University of North Alabama offers a comprehensive scholarship program

For more information on UNA scholarships, please choose one of the following:

Student Employment Fact Sheet

1.  The University of North Alabama offers many varied opportunities for qualified students to work on campus during their college careers. Up to 500 jobs are available during the fall-spring semesters. Types of jobs range from lab assistant to desk assistant in residence halls, from office work to intramurals, from library assistant to maintenance work. Students are encouraged to seek jobs related to their college majors and career plans.

2.  UNA offers two types of student employment: Federal Work Study and University Work Study. Other than the source of funding, the two programs are similar. All student employees are protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act and subject to federal and state tax laws. Note: To be considered for Federal Work Study jobs, students must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

3.  The standard work study award at UNA ranges from $2000- $2500/year. However, actual earnings are based on hours worked and rate of pay. Most employees earn minimum wage at UNA, though departments may choose to offer higher rates of pay.  In order to balance class work and employment, a student employee may work on campus up to but not more than 20 hrs/wk.

4.  How to apply for a work study position:

     a) Create a LionJobs account at career.una.edu

     b) Upload a resume (must be approved before applying for a position)

     c) Submit resume to position of interest to you and follow up with the hiring department by email or phone.

     d) If you are offered a position, you will visit the Student Employment Office located in Bibb Graves Room 226 to complete payroll forms. 

5.  For currently listed work study job openings, visit the Career Planning and Development web page and click LionJobs.

6.  For more information about student employment, visit the Student Employment web page.

The University of North Alabama participates in both the Federal Pell Grant and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant programs, in addition to the Alabama Student Assistance Program (ASAP).

Unlike loans, grants are not repaid unless you are awarded funds incorrectly or withdraw from school prior to the scheduled end of term. All federal grants are awarded to students based on financial need.

General information about these programs is included in the Student Guide, available in print upon request to UNA Student Financial Services or on-line at the US Department of Education web site.

UNA does NOT participate in the TEACH grant program.

Application

To be considered for any grant program at UNA, you must file the FAFSA.

Grant Amounts

All FAFSA applicants are automatically considered for all grants.  Pell grant recipients are awarded the maximum amounts based on eligibility according to the federal payment schedule. Standard award amounts for SEOG and ASAP range from $300-$800/year. Students must be eligible for a Pell Grant in order to receive SEOG or ASAP. Both SEOG and ASAP funds are limited.

Pell Eligibility

Pell grants are awarded exclusively to undergraduate students.  Students may receive an amount up to the maximum award for which he or she is eligible.  Pell grants are awarded based on full-time enrollment but will be reduced for less than full-time enrollment.

LIFETIME ELIGIBILITY FOR PELL GRANT IS NOW LIMITED:  The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012 reduced the duration of a student's eligibility to receive the Pell grant from 18 semesters (or its equivalent) to 12 semesters (or its equivalent).  This provision applies to all Federal Pell grant eligible students.  Students should be mindful of the Pell grant lifetime eligibility limits when making academic plans.  Students who provided an email address when filing the FAFSA will be notified by the U. S. Department Education when he or she is near or has exceeded the lifetime eligibility.

Alternative Loans are private loans made through lending institutions based upon the student's level of creditworthiness as determined by the lender. The student's level of creditworthiness affects the loan terms and if a co-signer is required. Private loans are more expensive than federal government loans and cannot be part of a federal consolidation loan in repayment. Generally speaking, students should consider private education loans only if Federal Stafford Loans are unavailable.
You can compare multiple loans using the FinAid Loan Comparison Calculator.

CERTIFIED Alternative Loan products require the University of North Alabama to report enrollment (full-time, half-time, less than half-time) and other financial aid information about the student, and these funds count toward satisfying the Cost of Attendance at UNA. Funds for an approved certified alternative loan are electronically sent to UNA by the private lender and then disbursed to the student's billing account on the same schedule as federal aid is disbursed.

Certified Alternative Loan funds are not reflected as Estimated Financial Aid toward the bill until UNA receives the funds the lender has actually transmitted to UNA by Electronic Funds Transfer. Your application must be made, loan approved and funds received from the lender by UNA far enough in advance of the first due date of the term to be counted as Estimated Financial Aid toward the charges. Otherwise your billing account will be due on the scheduled due date. Failure to pay your student account balance by the scheduled due date will result in cancellation of your registration schedule.

You are free to choose any lender that participates in the Private/Alternative loan program and should apply DIRECTLY WITH THE LENDER. UNA does not recommend or endorse any lender and does not benefit in any way from your lender selection.

In order for your private loan to be certified by UNA, you must be registered for at least six hours in the semester for which the loan is requested.

What Type of Loan is Best? Private education loans tend to cost more than the education loans offered by the federal government, but are less expensive than credit card debt. Federal education loans offer fixed interest rates that are lower than the variable rates offered by most private loans. Federal education loans also offer better repayment and forgiveness options.

Since federal education loans are less expensive than and offer better terms than private student loans, you should exhaust your eligibility for federal student loans before resorting to private loans.

STUDENTS MUST BE ENROLLED IN AT LEAST HALF TIME TO BE ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS.

PLUS Loans are loans that parents may be eligible for and can be used to cover a student's education expenses. A parent does have to complete an application and pass a credit check to receive this loan.  Students may receive an additional Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan if their parent does not qualify for a PLUS loan.

To receive a PLUS Loan, your dependent student:

  • Must have a completed FAFSA on file at UNA

  • Must be enrolled at least half-time

  • Must be maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress

  • Must meet all other requirements of Title IV aid, as determined by the US Department of Education.

The maximum amount that the parent may borrow under the Federal PLUS Program is the cost of attendance minus any other aid (scholarships, grants, loans, waivers, etc.) received by the student. View the US Department of Education's brochure on PLUS Loans.

To apply for Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS), complete the steps outlined in the instructions at www.studentloans.gov.

Make sure that your student checks financial aid requirements in their UNA Portal by selecting, Self-Service, then Financial Aid. Click on Eligibility and then Student Requirements. Outstanding requirements may prevent the timely disbursement of your financial aid.