Frequently Asked Questions

Applying for Financial Aid

Q. How do I apply for financial aid?

A. Refer to our How to Apply page to find out more about the application process.

Q. When will I be notified about the financial aid decision?

A. Award letters are mailed to freshmen and new transfer students on a rolling basis beginning in March. Continuing students with all requirements completed will receive their award letters in late spring and early summer.

Q. What are some of the mistakes people make in applying for financial aid?

A. Four of the most common mistakes are:

  • Late filing of the FAFSA or submitting tax documents late
  • Failing to read or follow all instructions
  • Incomplete applications
  • Incorrect Social Security numbers

Please ensure that all information is accurate and complete before submitting your application!

Billing

Q. When will I receive my bill?

A. Fall semester undergraduate and graduate students are billed in early July and the due date is August 1st. Spring semester bills are issued in early November and are due on December 15th.

Q. How can I pay?

A. Simmons College requires that payment be made in U.S. currency and accepts personal checks, traveler's checks, bank checks, money orders, wire transfers and online payments with American Express, MasterCard, and Discover credit card. Please refer to our Payment Options section of the site for more detailed information.

Q. There is a charge for insurance on my bill. What is this for?

A. Please refer to the Student Health Insurance section on this page for detailed information about insurance.

Cost and General Financial Aid Questions

Q. How much does it cost per year to attend Simmons?

A. Please refer to the Tuition and Fees page.

Q. Do I have to reapply for financial aid every year?

A. Yes. Students must reapply for aid each year. Every effort is made to maintain level funding of financial aid; however, the student's demonstrated need is recalculated each year and award amounts are contingent upon the school's level of allocated funds.

Q. What will happen if my family's financial situation changes?

A. We understand that your financial situation may change and we accept appeals. However, you must first wait to receive your award letter before submitting an appeal. The paperwork listed below is required for an appeal. Note that the appeal process can take up to two weeks (or longer during peak times). Please note that an appeal in process does not guarantee additional funding nor does it excuse you from meeting payment due dates or making other payment arrangements:

Change in household size — Requires a letter explaining the reason for the change and a new list of family members.

Change in marital status of parent or student:

For divorce/separation: Requires a copy of divorce or separation agreement, including child support provisions, OR a letter from your lawyer with proof of separate residence (i.e. utility bills), rent or mortgage statements.

For new marriage: copy of the marriage certificate and new spouse's tax return and W-2 Form.

Loss in income (job loss, reduced overtime, etc) — Requires a letter explaining the reason for the loss in income including an estimate for all sources of income received from January 1, 2016 through today and an estimate of all sources of income estimated from today to December 31, 2016 AND proof substantiating these numbers (copy of severance agreement, copy of unemployment benefits, copy of termination letter, copy of last pay stub from employer).

Extraordinary expenses — Requires completion of a monthly budget worksheet detailing expenses the family or student wishes us to consider.

Q. Do I have to do an entrance interview every year for the Stafford Loan?

A. No, you only need to complete it the first year that you receive the Stafford Loan; once as an undergraduate and once as a graduate student.

Q. If I apply for financial aid late, how does this affect my bill?

A. Financial aid processing can take up to six weeks from the date of your application. If you apply late you may have to pay for the fall semester out of pocket, and then be reimbursed later when your financial aid awards are funded.

Q. I'm changing some courses and will be taking fewer credits. How do I do this? How will this affect my aid?

A. Changes to your courses must be made through AARC or through the Office of the Registrar. Once the changes have been made, notify the Office of Student Financial Services in writing. A copy of the add/drop form is sufficient. Our office also runs a process each semester to confirm enrollment and change awards when warranted.

NOTE: Most sources of financial aid requires enrollment in at least 6 credits per semester for undergraduates and 5 credits per semester for graduates.

Financial Aid Awards and Appeals
Q. Why didn't I get Federal Work-Study (FWS)?

A. FWS is awarded to undergraduate students only. FWS is a need-based form of aid. Either your financial status does not meet the eligibility criteria necessary for receiving work-study funding or you did not answer 'yes' when asked if you were interested in participating in FWS on your FAFSA. Please double check your FAFSA and contact your assigned financial aid officer if you have further questions.

Q. When will I find out about the finalized award?

A. New students (first-year undergrads and transfer students) may apply for aid without a tax information verified. Upperclassmen must report tax information up front before we can package an award. First-year and transfer students are therefore awarded provisionally until the tax information is available to import in the FAFSA application; however if all information on the initial application was correct, the award will remain unchanged. Finalized awards for incoming freshmen and transfer students are confirmed later.
Health Center Fees
Q. Why are undergraduate students charged a Health Center Fee even if they don't live on campus and/or have their own insurance?

A. The Health Center Fee is mandatory for all full-time undergraduate students whether they live on campus or not. It is unrelated to the Student Health Insurance Plan charge. For more information regarding the mandatory Health Center Fee please contact the Simmons College Health Center at 617-521-1020.

IRS Form 1098T
Q. What is this document used for?

A. You, or the person who may claim you as a dependent, may be able to take either the tuition and fees deduction or claim an education credit on Form 1040 or 1040A for the qualified tuition and related expenses that were actually paid in the calendar year.

NOTE: The #1 reason for confusion on the part of students and parents is that the 1098-T reports activity for the CALENDAR year, not the ACADEMIC year.

Q. Why does my 1098-T have no figures listed in the boxes?

A. Simmons College reports in Box 2 (Amounts billed for Qualified Tuition and Related Expenses). If Box 2 is blank you were not billed tuition during the calendar year in question. Please contact Student Financial Services for a detailed explanation of your 1098-T.

Q. Am I eligible for a tax credit?

A. Student Financial Services staff members are not tax professionals and cannot provide information regarding use of Form 1098-T. You should speak to your accountant or qualified tax professional for the most accurate information.

Q. What do I do if I have lost or misplaced the form that was sent to me?

A. Please contact Student Financial Services via email at SFS@Simmons.edu or call 617-521-2001 to request a copy.

Q. What if my address on the form is incorrect?

A. The address on the 1098-T will be the address currently listed as your home address in our system. If it is incorrect or has recently changed, please login to AARC to update your address. If you no longer have access to AARC, please contact the Registrar to complete a change of address form. Once the updated address is on file a revised 1098-T with the correct address may be prepared. Please note, as long as the SSN and financial information on the form are correct, Simmons College is not required to submit the change of address information to the IRS.

Q: What if the dollar amount is incorrect?

A: Please contact Student Financial Services immediately if you feel that there is an error on the 1098-T.

Q. Do I need this form to file my taxes?

A. No, you do not need to form in order to file taxes.

NOTE: Additional information regarding the 1098-T form is included in IRS Publication 970. Students and parents are encouraged to consult IRS publications and the IRS website to obtain answers to 1098-T, education tax credits and related questions.

Please visit the IRS website for more information.

Please note: We are not permitted to give tax advice to students or parents.

Q: What if my SSN is incorrect?

A: The student should complete a W-9 form with the correct SSN and should contact Student Financial Services immediately. 

Loans
Q. What is a Stafford loan?

A. Stafford loans are federally funded educational loans available through the federal government.

Q. What is the difference between the Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford loan?

A. With the Subsidized Stafford, the interest is paid by the government while you are in school. The interest on the Unsubsidized Stafford accrues while you are in school. You have the option of paying the interest or deferring it until after you graduate at which time it will be added to the principle of the loan.

Q. What happens if I do not pay back my loan?

A. Failing to repay your student loan can have serious consequences. If you go into default your lender can require you to repay the entire amount immediately, including all interest plus collection and late payment charges. The lender can sue you and can ask the federal government for help in collecting from you. The Internal Revenue Service may withhold your income tax refund and apply it toward your loan. You cannot get any additional federal student aid until you make satisfactory arrangements to repay your loan. Also the lender may notify credit bureaus of your default. This may affect your credit rating, which will make it difficult to obtain credit cards and/or car loans.
Student Health Insurance Plan
Q. I already have insurance but I was charged for it anyway. Why?

A. Massachusetts requires students taking 9 or more credits to be insured; therefore all such students are presumed to need insurance and are charged for it. If they have their own coverage, though, they can waive Simmons' coverage.

Q. How do I waive insurance?

A. Follow these steps:

Go to the web site University Health Plans website
Click on Simmons College
Click on Waiver Form
Fill in all required information
Submit the form

Q. What do I do if I am not able to process the insurance waiver online (i.e., international student without a Social Security number, no access to the internet, etc.)?

A. Contact Student Financial Services via email at SFS@Simmons.edu or call 617-521-2001.

Q. If I want the insurance, how do I pay for it?

A. Simmons College will bill for the cost of the Student Health Insurance Plan and it will appear on your billing statement.

Q. How much does the insurance cost?

A. Please visit our Student Health Insurance Plan page.

Q. What does the insurance cover?

A. Plan coverage for an academic year begins August 15th and ends August 14th. A summary of benefits and coverage and be found at University Health Plans

Online Student Account Center
ACCESS

Q. How do I access the Online Student Account Center?

A: You must log into AARC, under Financial Information, click on the Student Account Center link, then click on to the View Bill/Make a Payment. This will load your student account.

Q. What if I have trouble logging into AARC or have forgotten my login and password?

A: Please call the Simmons Help Desk at 617-521-2222 and have your Simmons ID number available so you are able to identify yourself.

Q. Why does it take close to 30 seconds to load my Student Account Center?

A: The Student Account Center is connected to our financial system to provide you with up to date information. At the moment you log in, it will refresh to make sure the Student Account Center reflects all the recent activity. We appreciate your patience.

Q. Will there be times when I cannot access my Student Account Center?

A: Yes. We perform weekly maintenance to AARC and its supporting databases. This usually occurs on Wednesday evenings for a few hours depending on the updates that are required. We will do our best to keep this downtime at a minimum. If AARC is inaccessible, please try again the following morning. We appreciate your patience.

Q. How can I grant access to someone else?

A: In your Student Account Center, click on the Authorized Users tab and follow the prompts to add an authorized user.

AUTHORIZED USERS

Q. Can my authorized users see my other information on AARC?

A: No. Authorized users directly access your Student Account Center through another link. They DO NOT go through AARC.

Q. What can my authorized users see?

When you designate your authorized user by their email address, you will be able to make selections based on two questions.

Would you like to allow this person to view your billing statement? Yes or No

If you select yes, then this authorized user will be able to view all the ebills that get posted to your account, just as you see them.

If you select no, they will only see the statement balance, your current balance and then have the option to pay a designated amount.

Would you like to allow this person to view your payment history? Yes or No

If you select yes, then this authorized user will be able to see all payments made to your account, regardless of who made the payment..

If you select no, then this authorized user will only see the payments he or she has made to your account.

Q. How can my authorized user access the Student Account Center?

A: When you set up your authorized user(s), an email will be sent to them with instructions on how to access your Student Account Center. The email address you provide will be their username. Additionally, a temporary password will be provided to them. They will be prompted to change that password upon their first login. Information on how to access this page can be found here.


CURRENT ACTIVITY AND BALANCES

Q. Why doesn't my current balance match the amount on my bill/statement?

A: Current balances reflect the activity on your account since your last statement was posted. Your current balance is the most up to date balance.

Q. Is Pending Aid included in my current balance?

A: If applicable to you, Pending Aid is included in your statement balance, but is not reflected in your current balance. Your current balance reflects what is being charged to you. As the aid comes in and hits your account, you will see it reflected in your current activity and your current balance will adjust. Until the aid comes in, your current balance will appear higher than your statement balance.

Q. What does it mean when it says, "Unable to load Current Activity at this time"?

A: This means the connection is down between the Student Account Center web application and our financial system. Even though the connection may be down, you will still be able to make payments and view your bill/statements. This payment will be reflected in your current activity once the connection is restored.

EBILL AND STATEMENTS

Q. Where do I view my bill/statements?

A: Click on the eBills tab in your Student Account Center.

PAYMENTS

Q. How can I verify that my payment went through?

A: If you made an ACH payment is should reflect under Recent Payments/Credits immediately after you execute the transaction. Additionally, you can run a Payment History report which is found under the Payments tab.

If you made a credit card payment, since it was executed using the Pay Path service, you will need to log out of the Student Account Center and back in to see it reflected under Recent Payments/Credits or in your Payment History report.
Payments
Q. Where and how do I submit my deposit?

A: Please make your deposit online through the Prospective Student Deposit Site 

Q. What do I do if my employer is paying for my classes but they will not do so until the courses have ended?

A. You must complete an Employer Reimbursement Form (ERPA) and pay a $25 fee to defer the due date until 3 weeks after grades are in.

Q. What if I already filled out an ERPA last semester?

A. The Employer Reimbursement Form must be completed for each term in which payment is to be deferred, along with payment of the $25 fee.

Q. Do you take credit cards?

A. Yes. We accept MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. You can view your account online via AARC and make your payment there. Be advised that there is a finance fee of 2.75% on the amount you charge on your credit card. To avoid the finance fee, we advise paying by e-check.

Q. Can I pay by e-check?

A. Yes. You can view your account online via AARC and make your payment there. You may pay by e-check online by reporting your bank routing number and account number. There is no finance fee to pay by e-check.

Q. Can I pay over the phone?

A. No, we do not take credit card payments by phone.

Q. Can I pay online?

A. Yes. You can find more information on this section of our website.

Q. What do I do if I am using a teacher voucher to pay for my course?

A. Follow these steps:

Complete the middle section of the voucher (course info, etc.)
Have the bottom section signed by a representative of the Education Department at Simmons. This is often the same person who issued you the voucher.
Redeem the voucher in Student Financial Services.
Pay the activity fee, which is not covered by the voucher.

Q. What happens if I don't pay on time?

A. Late fees may be charged (see below), grades and transcripts held, and registration for new courses may be prevented.

Q. Will there be penalties if I pay late?

A. If the account is unpaid by the due date, late fees will be charged. We will apply a $100 late fee for any balance that is unpaid by the due date. We will apply a second $100 late fee if the balance is unpaid by the start of the semester.

Q. Will I be a charged a late fee if I'm still applying for or about to receive financial aid?

A. Possibly. There are no extensions of the due date for those who are still in the process of obtaining financial aid. Students and parents should pay the tuition bill up front, then get a refund after the loan has been applied; otherwise they risk a late fee charge. Those who are charged a late fee may have it reversed at our discretion, upon later review.
PLUS Loans
Q. Are there any borrowing requirements my parents have to meet?

A. Yes. To be eligible to receive a PLUS loan, your parents generally will be required to pass a credit check. If they don't pass the credit check, they might still be able to receive a loan if someone, such as a relative or friend who is able to pass the credit check, agrees to endorse the loan, promising to repay it if your parents should fail to do so. Your parents might also qualify for a loan even if they don't pass the credit check if they can demonstrate that extenuating circumstances exists. You must meet the general eligibility requirements for federal student aid. Your parents must also meet some of these general requirements. For example, your parents must meet citizenship requirements and should not be in default or owe a refund to any Student Financial Assistance Program.

Q. How much can my parents borrow?

A. The yearly limit on a PLUS loan is equal to your cost of attendance minus any other financial aid you receive. For example, if your cost of attendance is $30,000 and you receive $10,000 in other financial aid, your parents could borrow up to, but not more than, $20,000.

Q. What's the interest rate on PLUS loans?

A. The interest rate on PLUS Loan certified in 2014-2015 is 7.21% and it is fixed. The interest rate is adjusted each year on July 1. Interest is charged on the loan from the date that the first disbursement is made until the loan is paid in full.

Q. How is the PLUS Loan paid?

A. The loan funds will be sent to Simmons College by the Direct Loan program. In most cases, the loan will be disbursed in at least two installments (no installment can be greater than half of the loan amount). The funds will first be used to pay for your tuition, fees, room and board, and other Simmons charges.

Q. When do my parents begin repayment on a PLUS loan?

A. Generally, repayment must begin within 60 days after the final loan disbursement for the academic year. There is no grace period for these loans. This means that interest begins to accumulate at the time the first disbursement is made. Your parents must begin repaying both principle and interest while you're in school.

Q. Is it ever possible to postpone repayment of a PLUS loan?

A. Yes. Under certain circumstances, your parents can receive a deferment or forbearance on their loan. The conditions for eligibility and procedures for requesting a deferment or forbearance are available from your lender.

Q. How do my parents pay back the loan?

A. The lender will arrange a repayment schedule. The schedule will provide for a minimum of $600 to be paid annually and a maximum repayment period of 10 years.

ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS?

Please call the Office of Student Financial Services at 617-521-2001 or email sfs@simmons.edu and we will do our best to address your questions.