Frequently Asked Questions  

General Questions

 
What types of Student Loans are available?

Learn about the requirements of your federal loans and the steps you need to take to satisfy them. The Federal Direct Loan Program offers the following types of loans:

  • Subsidized: for undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need, as determined by federal regulations. No interest is charged while a student is in school at least half-time, during the grace period, and during deferment periods.
  • Unsubsidized: are available to both undergraduate and graduate students. This program is not based on financial need; interest is charged during all periods, even during the time a student is in school and during grace and deferment periods.
  • PLUS: unsubsidized loans for the parents of dependent students and for graduate/professional students. PLUS loans help pay for education expenses up to the cost of attendance minus all other financial assistance. Interest is charged during all periods.

Federal Direct Master Promissory Note: http://studentloans.gov.

 
What is the status of my financial aid?

The status of a student's financial aid is based on whether or not a student
has information pending in the Admission's Office, completed the current FAFSA application, listed UNO as a school choice on the FAFSA, received a confirmation summary from the Central Processing Center (CPS), and submitted all requested documents for the verification process.

 
How can I check the status of my financial aid?

Students can check their financial aid status by visiting WebSTAR.  You can also find additional information by looking through the Financial Aid website www.uno.edu/finaid.

 
Who determines whether or not a student is selected for verification?

The U.S. Department of Education determines whether or not a student is selected for the audit process called verification. Students are selected based on the information that is reported on the FAFSA application.

 
Do I have to turn in documents for verification, if I am only interested in TOPS?

A: No, you do not have to complete and submit the verification forms if you are only interested in receiving TOPS. However, if you receive a Missing Information Letter from the University of New Orleans, write on the bottom of the form that you are only interested in TOPS, and mail the form back to the UNO's Office of Student Financial Aid. However, if you anticipate receiving Pell Grant, then you must submit your verification documents.

 
What is the non-traditional household worksheet? Why was the non-traditional household worksheet mailed to me?

The non-traditional household worksheet is a verification document that is used to verify other members listed on the Verification Worksheet that are not part of a Dependent traditional household — such as mother, father, daughter, and/or son. Independent traditional household — such as spouse, son, or daughter.

The non-traditional household worksheet is mailed to all students selected for the verification process. Students should only complete the form if a non-traditional member, such as grandmother, grandfather, aunt, uncle, cousin, foster child, or others are listed in the household section of the Verification Worksheet.

 
What correct Federal Income Tax Return is required?

The correct Federal Income Tax Return that is required is the IRS Tax Transcript and other certain IRS documents. However, the Federal Return RECAP, Form 8453, and E-filing are not acceptable documents for completing a student's verification process. The only acceptable document is the IRS TAX TRANSCRIPT.

 
What if I did not file a tax return?

Students or parents who did file a tax return have to complete a Zero Income Form and submit a Wage Record File from the Louisiana Work Department of Labor Unemployment Office (Contact Number: 1-866-783-5567).

 
How long does the verification process take?

The verification process is based in the timeframe in which a student submits his or her requested documents. However, during peak of processing, (June, July and August) the verification process may take from 4 to 6 weeks to verify a student's document.

 
What is an Alternative Loan Program?

If your family is not eligible for need-based financial assistance or choose not to apply, these programs offer alternative loan resources. Students who are receiving financial aid can also utilize these programs to finance all or part of their calculated expected family contribution. Borrowers must be creditworthy to participate in these programs. Students who are not creditworthy by program guidelines, may still be eligible to participate IF they can find a creditworthy person to cosign their loan application.

 
What is a Federal Perkins Loan Program?

The Federal Perkins Loan Program is made through participating schools to undergraduate, graduate, and professional eligible degree students. This program is offered to students who demonstrate financial need as determined by the Federal Student Aid Program as a result of the FAFSA data. Student may be either full-time or part-time to be considered for this program. This loan has a 5% interest rate. The student goes into repayment nine months after he/she graduates, transfers to another school, drops below half-time enrollment, or resigns from the university.

If you are awarded a Perkins Loan, then you must complete an entrance counseling session and a Master Promissory Note. You can complete this process online at www.SignMyLoan.com.

 
What is a Federal Direct Master Promissory Note?

Steps to complete the Federal Direct Master Promissory Note (MPN):

  1. Log onto http://studentloans.gov

  2. Click on the Sign In box. You will be required to enter your SSN Number, first two characters of your last name, your Date of Birth and PIN.

  3. Once you have logged in, select Complete Master Promissory Note (MPN). Be sure to select the MPN you need for the type of loan you accepted.

 
What is the Title IV Refund Policy for the University?

Federal law specifies how schools must determine the amount of Title IV financial aid you have earned if a student withdraws from school before the end of the semester. The amount of assistance the student has earned is determined on a pro-rata basis. For example, if the student completes 30% of the semester, she/he would earn 30% percent of the assistance they were originally scheduled to receive. Once a student completes more than 60% of the semester, she/he has earned all the assistance they were scheduled to receive for that period. Official withdrawal occurs when the student intentionally drops all classes for a given term and submits the appropriate paperwork to the Registrar's Office. Students who officially withdraw prior to completing 60% of the term have not "earned" all financial aid offered and a repayment calculation must be performed based upon a federally-mandated formula. If the return of funds creates a balance due, the student will be responsible for repayment to UNO.

Unofficial withdrawal encompasses all other withdrawals where official notification is not provided to UNO. When a recipient of financial aid ceases class attendance, without officially dropping their courses, UNO must determine the amount of aid "earned." In this situation, the withdrawal date is the midpoint of the term. The student will be responsible for returning any "unearned" aid.

 
If I drop a class, how will it affect my financial aid?

If a student anticipates dropping below half-time, they should see a Financial Aid Counselor. However, dropping classes excessively can and will impact a student's financial aid eligibility (see SAP policy)

 
What happens if I don't attend some or all of the classes that I registered for?

The answers below reflect the situation:

  • During the first 14 days?
    If you are a Pell Grant recipient, your Pell Grant will be adjusted according to the hours reported as actual attendance by the Registrar's Office.
  • Never attended any of my classes and I receive all F's?
    You will be subject to unofficial withdrawal by the Registrar's Office which will warrant an adjustment to your financial aid.
  • What if I drop below half-time prior to receiving my student loan funds?
    The student will not be entitled to the loan. The loan funds will be returned.
  • What if I resign from the University?
    If you resign from the University by the 60% point of the semester, you will be subject to Return of Title IV. It is highly possible that you will owe a refund back to the Federal Student Aid Programs and other financial aid resources. A calculation will be performed by the Accounting Services Office to determine how much of your financial aid award must be returned.
 
Why was my financial aid reduced?

Financial Aid is initially awarded to students with the assumption that they will be registered with a full time course load. Adjustments are made after the last day of late registration to reflect the student's correct eligibility. Pell grant may be reduced to reflect enrollment status. The student's Cost of Attendance will also be adjusted which may impact other forms of financial aid.

Student Employment

 
When can I start working?

A: Students can begin working after they have completed job placement at the Office of Student Financial Aid.

 
Should I start working before my paperwork is complete?

No. All paperwork must be completed and submitted to the Student Financial Aid Office for processing. The student is not allowed to work until his/her paperwork has been processed.

 
May I work in more than one department at a time?

No, the University recognizes that student employees make contributions to the functioning of the University by performing services that might not be economically feasible if the services of a full-time employee were required. At the same time, it is recognized that a student employee should be a student first and an employee second.

 
May I work more than 20 hrs per week during the fall and spring semester?

Students are allowed to work up to a maximum of 20 per week during the fall and spring semesters. During the weeks in which there are no classes (Spring Break, Christmas Break and Summer Non-Enrollment), a student is allowed to work a maximum of 40 hours per week provided the department has a need for such hours, and the student has a sufficient allocation.

General Scholarships

 
Where can I find information about the Louisiana TOPS program?

You may contact the Office of Student Financial Assistance at 1 (800) 259-5626 x 1012, with any question regarding the TOPS Program or you may contact the Office of Student Financial Aid & Scholarships at (504) 280-6603.

 
Will the TOPS Program cover Summer Institute Courses?

No, the TOPS Programs will not cover Summer Institute Courses.

 
When is the application deadline for new freshman scholarship consideration?

New students who wish to be considered for scholarships must complete the application for admission by January 15th, prior to the start of their first fall semester.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

 
What is SAP?

A: The federal government requires that in order for a student to retain federal financial aid eligibility, a student needs to make progress towards their degree by completing a sufficient ratio of hours that is determined by the institution and by maintaining satisfactory grades. SAP is checked at the end of every semester There are two primary categories for undergraduates: GPA and Completion Ratio

70% ratio of completion and 2.00 GP

Please refer to SAP policy page for more in-depth details.

 
Now that I am not meeting SAP, how can I get my financial aid back?

Students that are not meeting the requirements of SAP can work towards regaining their eligibility by doing the following: Successfully completing future courses as it relates to their ratio of hours completed to hours pursued and/or GPA requirements. Once the student meets their SAP requirements the student may request for their aid to be reinstated for the following semester.

 
If I have a grade change or other adjustment to my academic record, can my financial aid eligibility be reinstated?

Students that have updates to their academic record, such as grade changes and retroactive drops, may request in writing to have their SAP status re-evaluated. All grade changes need to be reflected on the student's transcript or provided to the Office of Student Financial Aid by way of an approved Grade Change Form. In order for the student to be considered for reinstatement a request must be submitted prior to the first day of class.

 
Does an "I" (Incomplete) count against my ratio requirements?

Yes, an "I" on a student's academic record will count as an attempted course not completed. All course work recorded on the students academic history counts in the calculation of the ratio requirements such as a W, I, X/F, U, P, F, NG, and graded course work.

Federal Direct Loan Entrance Interview

 
Who is required to complete a Federal Direct Loan Entrance Interview?

Steps to Complete the Entrance Counseling:

  1. Log onto studentloans.gov
  2. Click on the Sign In box. You will be required to enter your SSN Number, first two characters of your last name, your Date of Birth and PIN.
  3. Once you have logged in, select Complete Entrance Counseling. You will need about 30 minutes to complete the counseling session.

All first time Federal Direct Loan borrowers are required by the Department of Education to complete a Federal Direct Loan Entrance Counseling before they receive the first disbursement of their student loan. 

 
When should the Federal Direct Loan Entrance Interview be completed?

The Federal Direct Loan Entrance Counseling should be completed when the student accepts their first Federal Direct Loan.

 
Where is the Federal Direct Loan Entrance Interview completed?

A student completes the Federal Direct Loan Entrance Counseling online at www.studentloans.gov

 
What happens to a student's loan funds if the Federal Direct Loan Entrance Interview has not completed?

A: Direct Loan funds will not disburse to UNO unless both the Entrance Counseling and Master  Promissory Note has been completed by the borrower.

 
What is Entrance Counseling?

Entrance Counseling: studentloans.gov

Entrance Counseling is a federal requirement for all Direct Stafford Loan recipients. The funds for your loan will not be disbursed until you have completed the counseling.

Entrance Counseling provides you with information about:

  • Your rights and responsibilities as a borrower.
  • Interest rates, expenses, repayment plans, and other important details about borrowing
  • Who to contact with questions

Federal Direct Loan Exit Counseling

 
Who is required to complete Federal Direct Loan Exit Counseling?

All students who have Federal Direct Loans are required to complete a Federal Direct Loan Exit Counseling when they graduate, transfer to another school, drop below half-time enrollment, or resign.

 
What is Federal Direct Loan Exit Counseling?

The Federal Direct Loan Exit Counseling is designed to provide student loan borrowers with information that will help prepare them for managing their student loan debt.

Exit Counseling is a federal requirement for all Federal Direct Stafford Loan recipients and Federal Perkins Loan recipients. Exit counseling requirements were created to ensure that you understand your rights and responsibilities as a borrower. During the counseling, you will learn how to make payment of your loans easier and how to get help and protect your credit rating if you have problems.

More information on Exit Counseling: www.nslds.gov

 
What is Direct Loan Consolidation and which student loans can be included in  a consolidation?

Direct Loan Consolidation allows student loan borrowers to combine one or more of their federal education student loans into a single loan. The types of student loans that can be consolidated may include Federal Subsidized Stafford, Federal Unsubsidized Stafford, Federal SLS, Federal Perkins Loans, Health and Human Services (HHS)/Health Professions Loans and all Federal Direct Loans.

 
What are the benefits of a Consolidated Loan?

Student loan borrowers who consolidate their loans may be eligible to lock in their variable interest rate loans at the current low rate. A Consolidated Loan will provide the student with one lender and one lower monthly payment reducing paper work and the number of loans to be repaid monthly.