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Financial Aid FAQs

Cost and General Financial Aid Questions

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

A. Please refer to the Cost 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 2013 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, 2014 through today and an estimate of all sources of income estimated from today to December 31, 2014 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.

Applying for Financial Aid

Q. How do I apply for financial aid?

A. Refer to our main page and select the type of student you are 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 the spring and 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.

Q. Should I wait to complete my tax return before applying for aid?

A. No. You and your parents should use your best estimates for current year income. The Office of Student Financial Services will update the information on your FAFSA when you complete your federal income tax returns and send copies to the office.

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. Your financial status does not meet the eligibility criteria necessary for receiving work-study funding.


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

A. New students (freshman 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. Freshmen 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.

Loans

Q. What is a Stafford loan?

A. Stafford loans are a federally funded educational loan 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.

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 2013-2014 is 6.41% 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.