Catalog

Federal Aid

Federal Grants

The Federal government provides grant assistance from the Federal Pell Grant Program to undergraduates with demonstrated need. To apply, applicants complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Federal processor will determine eligibility and send an acknowledgement to the applicant. Federal Pell Grants are reserved for those applicants with greatest need and those students not eligible for Pell assistance may be eligible for aid from other Federal programs. (This program is not available to students pursuing a second undergraduate degree.)

The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant is funded by the Federal government and awarded by the Financial Aid Office. It is reserved for undergraduates with exceptional need and is generally offered to applicants with the lowest family contributions who are also Federal Pell Grant recipients. The FAFSA is required.

For more information, please visit: http://studentaid.ed.gov/

Federal Student Loans

Federal Perkins Loan. The Federal Perkins Loan is a deferred payment, deferred interest loan administered by the Financial Aid Office. Interest (at 5%) begins to accrue and repayment begins 9 months after the borrower graduates, leaves school or drops below half-time enrollment. Borrowers may be allowed up to 10 years to repay. Funds are limited and will be offered first to aid applicants who file a timely application (February 1 for new applicants, March 2 for continuing students for the following academic year) and demonstrate the greatest need. The FAFSA is required.

Nursing Student Loan. The Nursing Student Loan is a deferred payment, deferred interest loan administered by the Financial Aid Office and funded by the Federal Department of Health and Human Services to assist students enrolled in nursing programs. Interest (at 5%) begins to accrue and repayment begins 9 months after the borrower graduates, leaves school or drops below half-time enrollment. Funds are limited and will be offered first to nursing students who file a timely aid application and demonstrate the greatest need. The FAFSA is required.

Federal Stafford Loans for USF Undergraduate Students

William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program
  1. The Subsidized Federal Direct Loan is a deferred payment, deferred interest loan funded by the Federal government and offered to eligible applicants by the University's Financial Aid Office. Interest (currently 4.5%) is paid by the Federal government while the borrower is in school. Repayment of interest and principal begins 6 months after the borrower graduates, leaves school or drops below half-time enrollment. To participate in the subsidized loan program, applicants must file a FAFSA and demonstrate need for assistance in meeting educational costs. The annual loan limits are $3,500 for first year undergraduates; $4,500 for second year undergraduates; $5,500 for third and fourth year undergraduates. In no case may a borrower's subsidized loan amount exceed his or her demonstrated need.
  2. Dependent aid applicants with limited or no eligibility for the Subsidized Federal Direct Loan may borrow from the Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan Program. In addition, independent student borrowers may request additional amounts to supplement their Subsidized Federal Direct Loan eligibility.

Terms and conditions are identical to those of the Subsidized program except that interest (6.8%) begins to accrue immediately and it is the student borrower's responsibility to pay interest while in school. Payment of interest may be deferred until after the borrower graduates, leaves school or drops below half-time enrollment, but if interest payments are deferred, they are added to the principal borrowed and increase the amount on which future interest is calculated.

Annual loan limits for dependent student borrowers (subsidized and unsubsidized Direct Loans combined) are $5,500 for first year undergraduates; $6,500 for second year undergraduates; and $7,500 for third and fourth year undergraduates. Annual loan limits for independent student borrowers (subsidized and unsubsidized Direct Loans combined) are $9,500 for first year undergraduates; $10,500 for second year undergraduates; and $12,500 for third and fourth year undergraduates. The FAFSA is required.

  1. Parents with good credit histories may borrow from the Direct PLUS (formerly called the Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students) Program. Funds can be borrowed on behalf of each dependent child who is enrolled at least half-time in an undergraduate program. The annual loan limit is the student's cost of education minus estimated or actual financial aid. Interest begins to accrue immediately; payment of principal and interest may be deferred until the student graduates, leaves school, or drops below half-time enrollment. The FAFSA is required.

Federal Stafford Loans for USF Graduate and Professional Students

The William D. Ford Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan

Graduate aid applicants may borrow from the Unsubsidized Direct Loan program. Interest begins to accrue at the time of disbursement and it is the student borrower's responsibility to pay interest while in school. Payment of interest may be deferred until after the borrower graduates, leaves school, or drops below half-time enrollment. If interest payments are deferred, they are added to the principal borrowed and increase the amount on which future interest is calculated. The loan limit per award period for graduate student borrowers from the Unsubsidized loan program is $20,500.

Federal PLUS Loans for Graduate and Professional Students

The Federal Direct PLUS program allows eligible graduate and professional students to borrow up to the cost of attendance less any other aid they have been awarded. To be eligible to borrow from PLUS, graduate and professional students must file the FAFSA and must first borrow from the Subsidized and/or Unsubsidized Federal Student Loan program. Among the features of the PLUS program is a fixed 7.9% interest rate, in-school payment deferment, and fixed monthly payments. PLUS loans can be consolidated with other Federal student loans and may be a good alternative to private education loan programs for some student borrowers.

Federal Student Financial Aid (Title IV) Policy

Federal regulations require Title IV financial aid funds to be awarded under the assumption that a student will attend the institution for the entire period in which federal assistance was awarded. When a federal financial aid recipient withdraws from all courses or receives no credit for attempted courses (e.g. all F or W grades, excluding arranged incompletes) in a given semester for any reason, he/she may no longer be eligible for the full amount of Title IV funds that he/she was originally scheduled to receive. The return of funds is based upon the premise that students earn their financial aid in proportion to the amount of time in which they are enrolled. A pro-rated schedule is used to determine the amount of federal student aid funds he/she will have earned at the time of the withdrawal. Once 60% of the semester is completed, a student is considered to have earned all of his/her financial aid and will not be required to return any funds.

Federal law requires that USF calculate how much federal aid is earned and return unearned funds in all of the following cases:

Official Withdrawals:

  • Student completes a Petition to Withdraw form
  • Student completes a Leave of Absence form
  • Student otherwise reports in writing that they are withdrawing from all classes in a given semester

Unofficial Withdrawals:

  • Student reports in person or via phone to any USF employee that they plan to withdraw from all classes or withdraw from USF entirely
  • Student stops attending class before completing the semester but does not report that they intend to withdraw and receives all F or W grades or a combination of both in a given semester

The withdrawal date that is used to calculate the pro-rated return amount is determined by the date that the student informed a USF employee that they planned to withdraw, or the date reported on an official Withdrawal or Leave of Absence Form, whichever is earlier.

If a student ceases attendance without reporting their official withdrawal date, the Financial Aid Office will use the mid-point of the semester as the withdrawal date and return 50% of all Federal Financial Aid for that semester. If a student is able to provide documentation of academic participation (exams or assignments submitted or written communication with instructor) past the mid-point of the semester, he/she may retroactively appeal this decision within 30 days from the date on their Return to Title IV notice. Returned aid will be recalculated and any further earned aid will be reinstated to the student’s account. If academic participation is documented after 60% of the semester had been completed, all federal aid for the semester will be reinstated.

Federal regulations require that the amount of unearned Federal financial aid be calculated by measuring the number of days the student completed against the number of days in the term in which the student withdraws, that the University’s Student Accounts office return the unearned aid they accepted in payment of charges, and that the University notify the student of his/her responsibility for returning unearned aid he or she received as a refund after all charges had been paid. 

If aid funds must be returned to the Title IV aid programs, loan funds will be returned before grant funds. Funds received by the Student Accounts office and by the student, if any, will be returned in the following order as long as there is any amount to be returned:

  • Unsubsidized William D. Ford Federal Direct Stafford Loan
  • Subsidized William D. Ford Federal Direct Stafford Loan
  • Federal Perkins Loan
  • Federal Direct Parent or Graduate PLUS Loan
  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
  • Federal TEACH Grant
  • Other assistance programs authorized by Title IV of the Higher Education Assistance Act

Please refer to the USF Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy to determine how a withdrawal will impact future financial aid eligibility.

The Student Accounts Office and the Office of Financial Aid Operations have information on this policy for students admitted to and enrolled in the University’s degree and credential programs. Examples of repayment calculations are available.