Financial Aid FAQs


  1. Am I eligible to receive financial aid?
    Visit the Federal Student Aid website, an office of the U.S. Department of Education to determine if you are eligible to receive aid.
  2. Is there an income cutoff to qualify for financial aid?
    No, there is no income cutoff to qualify for financial aid. That is one of the most common myths about the FAFSA. Read more on the official blog of the U.S. Department of Education.
  3. If I’m in default on another loan, can I still receive aid? What if I defaulted in the past?
    You will need to get out of default before you can be eligible to receive aid again. Don’t get discouraged! Read these options for getting out of default.
  4. If I maxed out my undergraduate loans will I be able to take out additional loans at the graduate level?
    Possibly. It may be helpful to review the “How much can I borrow?” FAQ on the Federal Student Aid website. Additionally, we suggest talking with a financial aid counselor at 913-682-5151 ext. 6450.
  5. I’m only planning to take one class at a time. Am I still eligible for financial aid?
    It depends. You must be enrolled at least half time to be eligible for aid. Half time may be defined differently at different schools. At University of Saint Mary, half time means that undergraduates must be attending at least 6 credit hours each semester. For graduates, this means you must attend at least 3 graduate credit hours each semester.

    Please view the Financial Aid Handbook or talk with a financial aid counselor for more details.
  6. Am I still eligible for aid if I’m taking classes online?
    Many types of aid, such as grants and federal and private loans, are available for online students attending eligible colleges and universities, such as University of Saint Mary. Talk with your financial aid counselor at 13-682-5151 ext.  6450 for more details.
  7. I’m applying to one of the Bachelor programs. Can I have my unofficial transcripts evaluated to determine total credit hours I need to take before I officially apply? This will help me determine how much financial aid I need.
    We can conduct an unofficial evaluation to estimate your previously earned credits that will transfer over to our bachelor-completion programs. This will help you to determine the total time and credits likely needed to complete the program. Once you are an admitted/enrolled student and all official documents have been received, the transfer credits will be confirmed.


Applying for Financial Aid

  1. How do I apply for financial aid?
    To apply for financial aid, you must complete the online Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year. List University of Saint Mary in the school section of the FAFSA. The Federal Code is 001943. You may also choose to complete a PDF version or request a paper FAFSA. Applying online is recommended.

    Not sure what is required on the FASFA? Check out this webpage on what to expect when filling out the FAFSA for more details.
  2. Which version of the FAFSA do I need to complete?
    The online version of the FAFSA is recommended. A PDF version or paper version is available. If you choose the PDF or paper version, make sure to select the appropriate school year for which you are applying for aid.
  3. After I submit the FAFSA, what happens next?
    Check out the next steps page to learn about what happens after the FAFSA form is submitted. 
  4. How will the Financial Aid Office at University of Saint Mary communicate with me about the status of my application?
    The Financial Aid Office will email you, so be sure to check all email accounts listed on your FAFSA. It is important to check your spam folder for emails from or as well.
  5. How often do I fill out my FAFSA? When is it due?
    The FAFSA is available in early January each year. There are different deadlines for different programs, but in general it is recommended that you file the FAFSA as soon as it is available.  A chart of the deadlines by aid program can be seen on the Federal Student Aid website.

    If you do miss a deadline, it is recommended that you complete and submit the FAFSA as soon as possible as you will still be considered for certain types of aid. Additionally, if financial aid funds become available late on in the awarding process, you’ll be notified.

    You do have to fill out the FAFSA every year you are in school in order to stay eligible for federal student aid. Check out the Staying Eligible page for more details.
  6. How is the amount of federal student aid I receive determined?
    The schools you list on your FAFSA will use a number of criteria to determine your aid. Learn more on the Federal Student Aid website.


GI Benefits and Employer Tuition Assistance

  1. Can I use financial aid and the post 9/11 GI Bill benefits?
    Yes, you can qualify for federal student aid and the Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. Read the post, “3 Things You May Not Know about Financial Aid for Veterans” on the official blog of the U.S. Department of Education for details.
  2. Does University of Saint Mary take part in the Yellow Ribbon program?
    Yes, USM participates in the Yellow Ribbon Grant program. Institutions of Higher Learning (Degree Granting Institutions) may elect to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program to make additional funds available for your education program without an additional charge to your GI Bill entitlement. Institutions that voluntarily enter into a Yellow Ribbon Agreement with VA choose the amount of tuition and fees that will be contributed. VA will match that amount and issue payment directly to the institution. For more information about Yellow Ribbon Grant at USM, contact the Registrar’s office at
  3. I’m planning to use tuition assistance or tuition reimbursement through my employer to pay for school. Should I still apply for financial aid?
    Yes! We recommend that you do still apply for financial aid. Having a backup plan is always a good idea.



  1. What is the difference between a grant and a loan?
    Grants and scholarships are a form of aid that doesn’t have to be repaid (unless you withdraw from school and owe a refund). They are often called “gift aid” because they are free money. Learn more about grants and scholarships here. Loans are borrowed money that must be repaid with interest. Learn more about loans here.
  2. What options do I have to repay my loan?
    The Federal Student Aid Office offers a great guide to repaying your federal student loans. You’ll also find information on their website about how to make a loan payment, what to do if you can’t afford your payments, as well as student loan forgiveness, cancellation, and discharge.
  3. How does the school get paid if I use Financial Aid? Do I have to send the school tuition checks?
    How you receive your aid and how USM will be paid depends on the type of aid you receive. Read more here.
  4. Is there a way to estimate how much financial aid I will receive?
    Yes, you can try FAFSA4caster, a free financial aid calculator that gives you an early estimate of your eligibility for federal student aid. Learn more on

Please call 913-682-5151 ext. 6450 to talk with a financial aid counselor.