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Financial Aid - FAQs

What are the eligibility requirements for Financial Aid?

In order to qualify for financial aid, you must meet all the following criteria:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen;
  • Be enrolled in, or accepted for enrollment in a degree granting program;
  • Be making Satisfactory Academic Progress in your program of study;
  • Not be in default on a federal student loan;
  • Not owe a refund on any federal financial aid grant to any institution;
  • Be registered for selective service, if required to do so;
  • Have a high school diploma or G.E.D.

How do I apply?

For all financial aid programs, students must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at fafsa.gov. The school code for Fitchburg State University is 002184. If additional assistance is needed in completing the FAFSA, please contact the Financial Aid Office.

Is parental information needed for the FAFSA?

If you are a dependent student then your custodial parent information is required. If you are independent you do not need your parent’s information, only that of your spouse (if applicable.) The following questions will assist you in determining if you will be considered independent for the purposes of filing the FAFSA. You must be able to answer 'Yes' to one of the following:

For the 2019-2020 year:

  • Were you born before January 1, 1996?
  • Will you be working on a degree beyond a bachelor's degree in the 2019-2020 academic year?
  • Are you married?
  • At any time since you turned age 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care or were you a dependent or ward of the court (appropriate documentation required)?
  • Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?
  • Are you an emancipated minor or in legal guardianship as determined by a court?
  • Do you have children or legal dependent(s)?
  • Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training?
  • Have you been determined to be a homeless or an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless. (appropriate documentation required)?

How do I confirm that the FAFSA is complete and the school has received it?

Students will receive an email confirmation number upon completion of the FAFSA online. If Fitchburg State University’s school code is included on the list of schools that the student plans to attend, a copy of the FAFSA data will be sent to us.

I have been selected for verification, what does this mean?

The Central Processing Center (CPS) randomly selects applicants that need to be “verified.” If you were selected for verification the Financial Aid Office will request additional information from you and/or your parent(s). Federal tax data will need to be confirmed with either the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (MS Word) on FAFSA on the Web or via and IRS tax transcript. You will also have to complete a Verification Worksheet. It is important to submit these documents to the Financial Aid Office in a timely manner as it will hold up the processing of your award. All requested documents must be on file by May 1st in order to be considered on time and receive priority aid consideration.

Do I have to apply each year?

Yes, you must reapply for financial aid each year. It is recommended that you complete the FAFSA no later than our priority deadline of March 1. Completing the FAFSA after this date could affect the amount of financial aid that you receive. You should also submit all required documentation in a timely manner.

How is my financial aid determined?

Fitchburg State University follows the U.S. Department of Education guidelines in administering its financial aid programs. Simply stated, the formula used to determine eligibility is:

Cost of Attendance - Expected Family Contribution = Financial Aid Eligibility

Your Cost of Attendance (COA) is determined by the Financial Aid Office. Standard average expense budgets are used for each student. The COA will vary depending on such things as tuition and fees, room and board, and estimates for books and other supplies, travel and personal expenses.

The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is based upon information supplied on your FAFSA and is calculated according to guidelines established by the federal government. The following factors are considered in the formula:

  • Parent and student income
  • Number of family members
  • Number of family members attending a college or university on at least a half-time basis
  • Parent and student assets, excluding the primary residence and qualified retirement plans
  • Essential family living costs

Are there academic progress rules?

Students receiving financial aid are required to maintain satisfactory academic progress towards the completion of their degree. Please see the university catalog for the satisfactory academic progress requirements.

What if my financial situation changes or I have an unusual circumstance?

Financial aid recipients should notify the Financial Aid Office of any change in their status such as enrollment or housing. Your financial aid may be adjusted.

Additionally if you or a parent has a change in financial situation such as the loss of a job or substantial change in income please contact us.

Should I apply for financial aid?

Yes. Many families mistakenly think they do not qualify for aid and prevent themselves from receiving financial aid by failing to apply. In addition, there are other sources of aid such as the PLUS and Unsubsidized Loans that are available regardless of need.

Is my application complete? What is the status of my financial aid?

Current students can view their financial aid status via Web4. You may also contact the Financial Aid Office at (978) 665-3156, or finaid@fitchburgstate.edu. Our office hours are 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Monday – Friday.