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How Financial Aid is Awarded

There are three (3) elements that assist us in determining students' financial aid awards: Cost of Attendance, Expected Family Contribution, and Financial Need.

A) Cost of Attendance (COA) or ‘Budget’
The Office of Student Financial Services estimates your educational expenses. The COA is comprised of five (5) budget components:

    Tuition and Fees: Tuition and Fees costs are estimated based on your projected or actual enrollment and IU residency status for fee payment purposes.

    Room and Board: Room and Board costs are estimated based on the housing option you reported on the FAFSA.

    Books and Supplies: Books and Supplies costs are estimated based on an average cost for textbooks and related supplies based on your projected or actual enrollment.

    Transportation: Transportation costs are estimated based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

    Personal/Miscellaneous: Miscellaneous costs are estimated for clothing, recreational, medical, dental, life insurance, and health insurance expenses.

**Important note: A student's total aid package cannot exceed the Cost of Attendance.**


B) Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
Using a need analysis formula set by Congress, the U.S. Department of Education uses the information you reported on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to calculate the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). This number appears on your Student Aid Report (SAR). Your EFC and COA are key factors to determine your financial aid eligibility.


C) Financial Need or ‘need’
Certain financial aid awards are based on your calculated financial need, based on the following formula: Cost of Attendance (COA) - Expected Family Contribution (EFC) = Financial Need.

The next step in determining your financial aid is to use the data obtained from these three elements and examine each aid program to see if you fit the individual eligibility criteria.

Other eligibility criteria that are reviewed include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • FAFSA completion date – March 10th is Indiana's priority date
    • Academic/Class level – based on the number of credit hours completed
    • Program/Major
    • Enrollment Status number of credit hours enrolled/attending
    • Prior Degree Completion
    • Aggregate Stafford Loan Amounts already received
    • Residency status (resident vs. non-resident)
    • State and Federal Regulations
    • Institutional philosophy
    • Other aid received

Most aid awarded is need-based – meaning the student must show financial need as defined above. However, there are some types of aid, such as a Federal Stafford Unsubsidized Loan, Federal PLUS Loan, or Private Loans, that can be used to assist in covering the EFC (Expected Family Contribution).



Grants Are Awarded Before Loans

Before awarding federal student loans, eligible students are awarded scholarships and grants. If a student rejects or reduces a loan, we cannot increase grants to make up the difference.

Additional Options – Federal PLUS Loans and Private/Alternative Loans
Federal PLUS Loans (parent Federal PLUS loan for undergraduates) and Private/Alternative Loans are not initially awarded to students.



A Student's Financial Aid Awards Might Change

If the student's financial circumstances change and he or she is approved for a Special Circumstances Appeal, we will review the student's eligibility and awards and make appropriate adjustments. On the other hand, a student can delay or lose aid by missing deadlines or failing to meet other requirements.

A Student's aid could be delayed, reduced, or cancelled if:

  • The student's Master Promissory Note is not completed (typically a first-time IUPUI borrower)
    Students must complete the master promissory note (MPN) within 60 days if he or she has not previously borrowed from the lender. If the student does not complete the MPN within 60 days, the award will becancelled. A student may contact us to request a determination of eligibility to award a loan that has been cancelled.


  • The student does not accept Federal Work-Study award before the deadline
    A Federal Work-Study (FWS) award is typically made in an offer status and the student must accept the award via OneStart within 60 days. After 60 days, FWS awards still in an offer status may be cancelled. A student may contact us to request a determination of eligibility for a FWS award that has been cancelled.


  • The student does not complete Quality Improvement (QI) or Quality Assurance (QA)
    Based on criteria established by internal and federal guidelines; some students are notified and required to complete the Quality Improvement and/or Quality Assurance process. If selected, the student will receive a notification explaining this process. A delay in completing the QI or QA process will result in cancellation of all awards if the student had previously been awarded financial aid or a delay in determination of financial aid awards until the student completes the QI or QA process.


  • The student fails to make Satisfactory Academic Progress
    Students must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress in an eligible degree or certificate program to be eligible for financial aid.


  • The student is enrolled in Repeated Coursework
    Federal Regulations stipulate the way enrollment status is determined for students who are repeating coursework in which they previously received a letter grade of D- or higher. An institution may pay a student one time for retaking previously-passed coursework. To determine a student’s enrollment status (full-time vs. part-time), the school may not include more than one repetition of a previously passed course.

    Example: Two years ago, Sam enrolled in a 3-hour Applied Mathematics course and received a grade of D-. Sam took the same course again last year and received a grade of C-. His major requires that he pass the class with a C or better, so Sam decides to take the course again this semester. Sam is enrolled in 9 hours of other coursework plus the Applied Math class, for a total of 12 hours. The 3 hours of that class are not included in determining Sam’s enrollment status for the current semester because it is the 2nd time he is repeating a class in which he previously received a “passing” grade. Sam would be paid financial aid as a three-quarter time student because he is enrolled in 12 hours minus the 3 hours of the course he’s repeating for the second time, which do not count. For financial aid purposes, Sam is enrolled in 9 eligible hours.