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Financial Aid FAQ
What is financial aid?
Financial Aid is money provided to help bridge the gap between your own resources and the amount needed to pay the cost of attending college. To apply for Financial Aid at Southern Oregon University you just need to fill out a FAFSA/ORSAA for the school year you would like to attend. The FAFSA is the application for scholarships, grants, work-study, and loans.
What is an "Aid Package/Financial Aid Offer"?
When you fill out a FAFSA/ORSAA you are applying for all available aid programs based on your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is determined by a formula established by Congress taking into account your family income and assets. Using the EFC, Southern Oregon University Financial Aid will offer an “Aid Package” including all Federal Financial Aid they are eligible for. The initial package will not include Southern Online Scholarship Application (SOSA) Awards.
Why do I have to provide parent Information?
Dependent students are required to provide parent information on the FAFSA. Even if your parents do not support you financially, you are still required to supply their information if you are considered a dependent by federal definition.
What If I have circumstances that do not fit the Independent criteria, but I cannot report my parents’ Information?
Most undergraduate students at Southern Oregon University are considered dependent students for financial aid purposes. The FAFSA will determine your dependency status based on a number of questions. If you answer ‘no’ to all of the dependency questions on the FAFSA, you are considered a dependent student for financial aid purposes and must provide your parent information on the FAFSA. If there are unusual circumstances where you cannot provide your parent information on the FAFSA, such as: abuse, neglect, or abandonment, the SOU Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships may be able to perform a Unusual Circumstances Appeal to make you an independent student for financial aid purposes. This would make you eligible for financial aid without parent information or signature.
Requesting an Appeal Due to Unusual Circumstances
If you would like the SOU Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships to review your unusual circumstances to see if an appeal would be appropriate, please submit the following:
- If you have not done so already, complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the appropriate year.
- Request an Unusual Circumstances appeal at sou.studentforms.com for the applicable year. On the appeal form provide the following:
- A typed personal statement that explains your unusual circumstances and why you are unable to provide your parent information on the FAFSA (at a minimum, include what the unusual circumstances are, the timeline of the relationship with your parents, and what type of contact you have with your parents now)
- Additional letters of support (preferably three) from professionals who are familiar with your situation (i.e. therapists, school counselors, members of the clergy, etc)
- Any additional documents that are relevant to your situation
How do I accept my financial aid?
Once you are admitted to SOU you can accept your Financial Aid Package.
How do I pay for college if my parents do not take out the Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan?
There are limits on the amount of student loans that can be awarded based on grade level. The Parent PLUS Loan can help bridge the gap between a students financial aid and the total cost for the year. If a parent is denied the Parent PLUS Loan due to credit, the student can request an increase in their yearly loan funding (an additional $4,000 Unsubsidized Loan for Freshman and Sophomore, and an additional $5,000 Unsubsidized Loan for Junior and Senior).
There are also alternative loan options that a student could apply for.
Why hasn’t my financial aid paid?
The most common reason your Financial Aid has yet to disburse is outstanding financial aid requirements. You can review your requirements on your inside.sou.edu . Students should pay attention to notifications from the Financial Aid Office regarding Financial Aid requirements. Notifications get sent to the student by email and, if subscribed, by text.
Common requirements missed are:
- Accepting your Terms and Conditions. You can review them on our website but to accept them you do so through your InsideSOU portal. Please be sure to read carefully as you will be held to these terms.
- Missing Loan requirements. For student loans both Entrance Counseling and a Master Promissory Note are required before disbursement.
- Less than full-time enrollment. Some funds require full-time enrollment. If you plan to be less than full-time it is important to notify the Financial Aid Office so any adjustments can be made prior to disbursement.
What happens if I withdraw before the term is over?
If you withdraw from school you may be expected to repay a portion of your financial aid based on the amount of financial aid you earned prior to withdrawing. Financial aid is earned for each day that a student participates in a course.
Why happens if I do not pass all of my classes? What if I drop a class?
As a recipient of financial aid, you must make Satisfactory Academic Progress. If you fail, withdraw from, or do not participate in your courses, it may impact your eligibility for financial aid. If you change your enrollment level before the census date, your aid will be revised accordingly.
How will the financial aid office communicate with me?
The Financial Aid Office will communicate important information to the students’ SOU email and, if subscribed, by text.
What is SAP?
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is a federally required evaluation of a student’s progress towards completion of their degree.
The following must be met to maintain SAP:
- Maintain a minimum term and cumulative SOU GPA of 2.0 for undergraduates (3.0 for graduates).
- Successfully complete at least 67% of their attempted coursework.
- Complete their degree within 150% of the time frame for undergraduates. For undergraduates, you must complete it within 270 attempted credit hours.
Students that do not meet the SAP requirements for two subsequent terms will be in a denied financial aid status. To regain eligibility, students need to appeal.
When is SAP evaluated?
Students are evaluated at the end of each term to determine whether or not they meet the SAP status. The Financial Aid Office will run SAP the day grades post for the term. Grade changes after the term has ended will not be eligible for SAP to be reran for the term.
How will I be notified that SAP has been evaluated for the term?
Every student whether they receive financial aid or not will receive an email informing them of when SAP has been finished evaluating as well as how to check their SAP status.
How do I appeal my SAP status?
You appeal through the online portal to submit forms sou.studentforms.com.
How does my appeal get reviewed?
SAP appeals are reviewed by a committee made up of faculty and staff from around campus.
How will I know the result of my appeal?
Once the committee has reviewed your appeal, you will be notified of the decision to your SOU email as well as a text.
When will my financial aid be disbursed?
Financial Aid is disbursed up to 7 days prior to the start of the term. Throughout the term, Financial Aid is disbursed every Wednesday. Financial Aid will always disburse to the student account balance first. Any overpayment of funds will then be sent in the form of a “refund” Thursday afternoon based on the refund preference setup on your BankMobile account.