Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the University of Evansville's school code for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?
Our code is 001795.
- Why do private colleges cost more than public colleges?
All colleges, whether public or private incur similar costs to educate students — salaries, utilities, supplies, and maintenance of facilities. However, public colleges receive tax dollars from the state to help fund their operating costs, allowing them to offer a lower tuition rate. While tuition is generally lower at a public college, room and board costs tend to be similar at public and private colleges. Other ways that public colleges are able to offer lower tuition is that they usually tolerate a much higher student to faculty ratio, use graduate assistants and/or part-time rather than full-time faculty to teach lower division courses, and employ fewer individuals dedicated to assisting students in a one-on-one fashion.
While our total cost for tuition, fees, and room and board for 2014-15 is about $42,656, last year 95 percent of University of Evansville students received some form of financial aid. Students received aid through scholarships, grants, student loans, and the work-study program, which significantly decreased their out-of-pocket expense. As a result, given the substantial amount of merit-based and need-based financial aid we award, most UE students pay less than half our stated tuition.
- What is merit-based aid vs. need-based aid?
Merit-based aid is awarded based on the student's "merit." Merit can be defined by academic strength, athletic ability, artistic talent, or any other quality or affiliation which a college chooses to reward with a scholarship. Colleges and organizations are free to create their own types of scholarships with their own set of eligibility criteria. To find out information about University of Evansville Scholarships and outside scholarship resources check out the following links: Scholarships for First-Time Students, Scholarships for Transfer Students.
Need-based aid is not determined by the student's merit. It is awarded based on the family's ability to contribute for college, as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
The University of Evansville offers both merit and need-based financial aid. A student may ultimately receive a financial aid package which consists of both merit and need-based aid, in the form of scholarships and grants (free aid which does not have to be paid back), student loans (which will be paid back by the student after graduation from college), and work-study (money which is earned by working part-time on campus).
- How can I be sure that I am applying for aid from all possible sources?
First of all, apply for admission to the colleges you are considering. Ask each college what scholarships are offered and how to apply for them. Secondly, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). For maximum aid consideration from UE, the form should be received by the federal processor no later than March 10 each year. This form will determine your eligibility for need-based aid (based on family income) from federal, state, and university sources. Some colleges require an additional application to be considered for their own aid. And finally, tirelessly research scholarships sponsored by local groups and businesses, parents' employers, your church, and any entity with which you have a connection.
- May I receive aid from other sources in addition to my UE merit-based scholarship(s)?
In most cases, all forms of aid from the FAFSA and outside sources may be added to your UE merit-based scholarship(s).
- How is my financial need determined by the FAFSA?
The FAFSA uses a sophisticated formula, determined by the United States Congress and Department of Education, to assist with the equitable rationing and distribution of need-based aid. The FAFSA starts with the family's taxed and untaxed income from all sources. Based on the number of people in the household, allowances are given to shelter amounts for basic needs such as housing, food, taxes, household maintenance, medical care, transportation, and savings. Neither consumer debt nor lifestyle choices are taken into account. After sheltering a large portion of income to cover basic needs, a figure called "parent contribution" or "PC" is determined. A different formula is applied to the student's earnings and assets, and a figure is derived called "student contribution" or "SC." The sum of the PC an SC is called "Expected Family Contribution" or "EFC." This is the number that determines financial aid eligibility.
The EFC does not represent assumed cash on hand, nor does it necessarily mean that a family will pay only the amount of the EFC. Rather, it is essentially an index that colleges must use to distribute or ration financial aid in a standard manner.
- What is the income "cut-off" to demonstrate need-based aid eligibility according to the FAFSA?
There is no exact income "cut-off." Income is just one data element used by the FAFSA to determine financial need. For example, having more people in the family and/or multiple students who are in college at the same time will create a larger "need" than may be demonstrated by a smaller family with only one in college. In addition, financial need can be affected by student earnings and assets. The FAFSA formula is just too complex to offer an income "cut-off."
- My parents are divorced. Who fills out my FAFSA?
The FAFSA should be completed using information about the household where the student resides. If the custodial parent is remarried, the resident stepparent's income is included on the student's FAFSA. If the household receives child support from the non-custodial parent, that amount will be reported on the FAFSA. Likewise, if income leaves the household because the stepparent is paying child support to another family, that amount will also be reported. If there is joint custody of the student, provide information about the household where the student lived the most, or about the parent who provides the most financial support.
- Who is counted as part of the "parents' household" for the FAFSA?
The FAFSA wants to know about the number of people who live in the same household as the student and receive at least half of their support from the student's parents. Support includes shelter, food, and payment of transportation, medical, insurance, or educational costs. The student is always counted, as well as the biological parent(s) or resident stepparent (in the case of a remarriage — see above). Dependent siblings/step-siblings are also counted, even if they live away at college during the academic year. An older sibling who is in graduate school can be counted on the dependent student's FAFSA, as both a member of the family and an additional college student, as long as the parents still provide at least half of his support. The graduate student, however, is eligible to file his or her own FAFSA as an independent student. Other family members such as grandparents, nieces, or nephews may also be counted if they live in the household and receive at least half of their support from the student's parents.
- My parents do not plan to help me pay for college. Can I apply for financial aid on my own?
Probably not. The philosophy which governs financial aid eligibility focuses on the parents' ability to assist the student with college expenses, not willingness to do so. Students must include parent information on their FAFSA, unless they meet one or more of the conditions defined by the FAFSA to be considered independent. If you are concerned that your parents cannot help you pay for college because their income is low, then take heart — that is why financial aid exists! In the case of an irreparable family breakdown where the parents are truly absent, yet the student does not meet one of the FAFSA's conditions for independence, the Office of Financial Aid should be contacted to discuss whether the student qualifies for special treatment through a "dependency override."
- What if we have unusual circumstances which cannot be explained through the FAFSA or we have a change in our family income or structure after filing the FAFSA?
The FAFSA should be completed answering the questions exactly as they are asked on the form. The FAFSA will ask about income information from the previous calendar/tax year and household size information for the upcoming academic year. Contact the Office of Financial Aid to discuss unusual circumstances or changes that take place after the FAFSA has been filed. Incoming freshmen who have not yet chosen their college for next fall, will need to work separately with the financial aid offices at each prospective college. Some issues which should be discussed are loss of employment, divorce, retirement, extraordinary medical expenses, tuition expenses for private elementary or secondary schools, and large one-time additions to normal income.
- Is the FAFSA completed annually?
Yes, the FAFSA is completed each year between January 1 and March 10 (preferably) to determine aid eligibility for the next academic year. Therefore, eligibility for need-based aid may change annually, while eligibility for merit-based aid is unaffected by changes to the FAFSA data.
- The FAFSA shows that we do not demonstrate eligibility for need-based aid, yet we NEED help paying for college. What can we do?
Parents have many options from which to choose when paying college costs. The balance due to UE may be paid in two or four installments, or monthly using the University's payment plan. Many parents choose to pay for college by borrowing and spreading the cost out over a period of several years. An excellent resource is the Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS). To use the PLUS Loan, the family does not have to demonstrate financial need through the FAFSA; however, they must be credit-worthy. Unlike student loans, which are not repaid until after graduation, parents begin to make payments toward their PLUS loan beginning in the middle of the student's freshman year. Parents may add to their initial PLUS Loan if they wish to continue using the loan to pay for each year of college. The interest rate for the PLUS Loan is currently fixed at 7.21% (current as of July 2014). In general, for each $5,000 borrowed, the monthly payment is about $60 per month.