In the sections below, you’ll find the most frequently asked questions about financial aid. If your question isn’t answered here, please contact our office or visit us in Lucina Hall, room 245. 
Applying for Financial Aid

Complete the FAFSA online.

For some types of financial aid, additional information may be required.

For federal Direct Stafford, you must accept your loan online at MyBSU.

To receive maximum consideration, your FAFSA must be received by the federal processor on or before March 10 for each academic school year.

Yes. You may still complete a FAFSA after March 10, but you may not be eligible for some types of aid.

Yes. To be considered for as many programs as possible, submit your FAFSA to the federal processor by March 10 each year.

You’ll need the following to complete your FAFSA:

  • Social Security number
  • driver’s license number, if you have one
  • W-2 forms
  • federal income tax return
  • current bank statements and records of stocks, bonds, and other investments
  • business or farm records, if applicable
  • alien registration number, if you’re not a U.S. citizen

If you’re a dependent student, you’ll also need the Social Security numbers of your parents, as well as their income and financial records (as listed above).

No. There are many factors in addition to income that are used to determine eligibility for need-based aid.

Things such as family size, number of people in college, assets, and age of parent(s) are all considered when determining a family’s ability to pay.

Awarding

Eligibility for most financial aid is contingent on your financial need. Need is the difference between the cost of attendance and your expected family contribution (EFC). The EFC is calculated from the information you supply on your FAFSA using a federally legislated formula applicable to all postsecondary educational institutions across the nation.

The Student Aid Report (SAR) is the report you’ll receive from the Central Processing System (CPS).

You and your family should review it for accuracy. If it’s accurate, you should keep the report for your records. If inaccurate, it will need to be corrected and signed by the appropriate individuals and submitted to the processor.

If you provided an email address on your FAFSA, you will receive an email instructing you to review your electronic SAR.

You must complete a FAFSA each year to receive financial aid.

The FAFSA reflects the prior year’s tax information. Your financial aid eligibility may change from year to year based on your family information and current funding levels for various financial aid programs.

Budgets may be adjusted on an individual basis.

Please see a financial aid advisor to discuss your situation.

Please contact our office if your family’s financial circumstances change due to a death, divorce, separation, or loss of income.

There are a number of reasons why financial aid offers can vary from one institution to another.

  • Some types of aid are based on criteria established by the institution.
  • Funding for some federal programs is limited.
  • Institutions receive an allocation, or set amount, for each of the campus-based aid programs (Federal Work-Study, Federal Perkins Loan, and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant) from the Department of Education.
  • All schools have different rules and methods for awarding their allocation of limited funding.
  • Institutions have different costs of attendance, which can change a student’s eligibility for need-based financial aid funding and can affect the total amount of financial aid offered from one institution to the next.

Our office is required to adhere to the standard definition of independent status as outlined by the U.S. Department of Education. According to the definition, you are considered an independent student for the 2016-17 academic year if you:

  • were born before January 1, 1993
  • are married at the time of filing the FAFSA
  • are working on a master’s or doctorate program
  • currently serving on active duty in the U.S armed forces for purposes other than training
  • are a veteran of the U.S. armed forces
  • have children who receive more than half of their support from you
  • have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half of their support from you
  • were in foster care or were a dependent or ward of the court or both parents were deceased at any time since you turned 13
  • are or were an emancipated minor as determined by a court in your state of legal residence
  • are or were in legal guardianship as determined by a court in your state of legal residence
  • were determined by your high school or school district homeless liaison to be an unaccompanied youth who was homeless at any time on or after July 1, 2015
  • were determined by the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to be an unaccompanied youth who was homeless at any time on or after July 1, 2015
  • were determined by the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program to be an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless at any time on or after July 1, 2015

Students who qualify as independent are not required to provide parent information on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships does reserve the right to request additional documentation to verify your dependency status.

Loans

A federal Direct Stafford loan allows you to borrow money to pay your educational expenses.

To apply, you must complete the FAFSA. If you qualify, you will be sent an award notification via email and you must accept the loan online at MyBSU.

Loans are either subsidized (interest-free while in school), which are based on need; or unsubsidized (interest-bearing), which are not based on need but include quarterly interest charges.

You will begin the process by filling out and submitting a FAFSA. Our office will determine whether you are eligible and, if so, for how much. The program offers two types of loans, subsidized and unsubsidized. Learn more about the loan process.

No. However, if you need to adjust the amount you originally accepted, you need to complete an Additional Loan Request Form.

Federal regulations require that all first-time borrowers in the Direct Loan Program must complete loan entrance counseling prior to receiving any loan funds.

The entrance counseling session provides useful tips and tools to help you develop a budget for managing your educational expenses and helps you understand your loan responsibilities.

The PLUS Loan allows your parents to borrow to help pay for your educational expenses. Your family can borrow the difference of the cost of attendance minus any financial aid you receive, or a smaller amount if requested. We encourage families to only borrow the amount they need.

If you’re interested, your parent must complete a PLUS Loan application.

You can complete a Master Promissory Note online and your loan will be finalized once your credit check is approved.

The funds will be released in two disbursements. We encourage checking the box on the application that permits the release of funds to the student, which will enable you to receive the funds quicker.

Interest on the loan will begin when the first half of the loan is disbursed for the fall semester.

Repayment on academic year loans begins in March, which is 60 days after the second half of the loan is disbursed.

What is the difference between a Federal Direct Stafford Subsidized and a Federal Direct Unsubsidized loan?

The Federal Direct Stafford Subsidized Loan is based on need, and the government pays the interest while you’re enrolled on at least a half-time basis.

The Federal Direct Stafford Unsubsidized Loan is not need-based and is available to students regardless of financial need. While you are still in school, the interest is capitalized, or added to the principal, if the recipient chooses not to make payments upon the interest. Students may request to make interest payments while still in school.

Federal regulations require that you complete Direct Loan exit counseling upon your departure from Ball State. This counseling makes you are aware of your rights and responsibilities as a borrower.

Yes. Each parent can complete a separate PLUS Loan application. The parents and student should communicate with one another regarding how to handle the funds (reimbursement, etc.).

A Perkins Loan is a low-interest (5 percent) loan for undergraduate students with financial need. Ball State is the lender, and if you’re eligible, this loan will be included in your award.

Scholarships

We do not recommend paying for a scholarship search service. Many have been found to be fraudulent at worst and misleading at best.

Don’t be fooled by the money-back guarantee, as it’s virtually impossible to get your money back.

You can search on your own by researching scholarship publications at a library or using a variety of free scholarship searches on the web. Our Scholarship web page is a great place to start.

Scholarship checks from outside organizations should be sent to our office as soon as possible to ensure timely processing.

After Ball State receives the funds, the scholarship is credited to your account with the Office of the Bursar (unless you need to sign the check; if a signature is required, the student will be contacted). All such funds will be divided into two equal parts, with one-half of the scholarship to be used each semester unless otherwise stipulated by the donor.

If you have the Presidential Room and Board Scholarship or Honors College Residency Scholarship but will be living off-campus, you can still take advantage of the scholarship through one of the options outlined below:

  1. You can have the scholarship apply to rent at Anthony or Scheidler Apartments
  2. You can have the scholarship apply to meal charges through a commuter meal plan

Students cannot use the scholarship for Dining Plus, Dining Cash, Cardinal Cash, other charges, nor can it be issued as a refund.

If you choose to live in Anthony or Scheidler Apartments, there are no additional steps you need to take to have your scholarship apply.  This will happen automatically; however since rent is charged on a monthly basis, your scholarship will be reduced by that partial amount each month until the full amount is used.

If you choose to use the scholarship for a commuter meal plan you need to:

  1. Charge a commuter meal plan to your Ball State account. A list of meal plans and instructions can be found online.
  2. Your scholarship will cover the charge when the application of financial aid process runs beginning at the start of the semester.
  3. If you need additional meals and still have money remaining from your scholarship, you can purchase a new meal plan when you have 15 or fewer meals remaining on your current plan.
  4. This process must be repeated every semester you wish to purchase a new meal plan using your scholarship.
  5. Commuter meal plans are good for fall and spring semester (not available to use or purchase for summer), and expire at the end of spring semester each year

Disbursement

You’ll have an account with the Office of the Bursar and Loan Administration.

Anything you owe is charged to the account, and any financial aid you receive will be credited to that account to pay toward the charges owed.

If financial aid exceeds the costs owed to the university, we’ll mail a check to your local address at the beginning of the term or deposit it into your bank if you sign up for direct deposit.

Your financial aid will be credited to your account in the Office of the Bursar, which reduces the amount you owe the university. The remainder can then be divided into four monthly payments each semester. Learn more at the Office of the Bursar and Loan Administration.

Financial aid refunds are released the Friday before on-campus classes begin each semester.

If you live in a residence hall, you must contact your hall director to pick up your check.

Refunds are issued daily throughout the semester if our office receives additional funds to be credited to your account with the Office of the Bursar and Loan Administration.