Financial Aid FAQs

What can the Office of Financial Aid help with?

  • Financial Aid Eligibility and FAFSA
  • Fellowships, Scholarships, Tuition Remission, Loans, and Grants
  • Work-Study


Financial Aid Questions

What Is The Minimum Credit Required For Financial Aid Eligibility?


  • Full-Time: 12+ credits
  • Three-Quarters Time: 9-11 credits
  • Half-Time: 6-8 credits
  • Less than Half-Time: 1-5 credits


  • Full-Time: 9+ credits
  • Half-Time: 4-8 credits


  • Full-Time: 12+ credits


  • Full-Time: 11+ credits


  • Full-Time: 9+ credits

Note: Audited courses cannot be included in meeting the minimum required credit hours toward eligibility.

What Is Financial Aid?

Financial aid is money used to help students and their families pay for college. Financial aid can come from the federal government, the state where the student lives, the school the student attends, or a nonprofit or private organization. Financial aid is used to cover all educational expenses including tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and transportation. Financial aid comes in the form of grants, institutional and external scholarships, work study and loans.

How Do I Apply For Aid?

In order to apply for aid student’s and parents will need to navigate to and fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Each student and parent will need to create their own unique FSA ID in order to log in and out of the application.

Do I Have To Be An Admitted Student At Howard University To Apply For Aid?

No, you can fill out the FAFSA before being fully admitted to Howard University, but your aid eligibility cannot be determined until you are an admitted student.

Do I Have To Apply For Aid Every Year?

Yes, you must complete a new FAFSA every academic year. All applicants are encouraged to complete the FAFSA by Howard’s priority deadline for that academic year.

How Is Financial Need Determined?

After submitting your FAFSA the Department of Education uses that information to determine your Estimated Family Contribution (EFC). Your EFC is then used to determine how much a family can contribute towards the student’s education. Howard will use the EFC to determine eligibility for need based funds as well as federal financial aid. Financial need is determined by your cost of attendance (total cost to attend Howard)-EFC=financial need.

Ex: Student has 650 EFC and the Cost of Attendance is $44,951; Financial Need=44,301

My Parents Make A Lot Of Money So I Probably Will Not Qualify For Financial Aid; Should I Still Complete A FAFSA?

Yes. There are additional sources of aid such as low interest unsubsidized Federal Stafford loans that are not determined by need. Also, it is wise to have a backup plan in case your family experiences unexpected financial hardships.

If My Parents Do Not Claim Me On Their Tax Return, And I Am Self-Sufficient, Do I Have To Include Their Information On My FAFSA?

Yes. To be considered independent for financial aid purposes, you must meet one of the following criteria based on federal regulations:

  • Are now 24 years old, or will turn 24 by December 31st of the FAFSA filing year
  • Are working on a master’s or doctorate program
  • Are married
  • Have children who receive more than half of their support from you
  • Have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and receive more than half of their support from you
  • Are an orphan or a ward/dependent of the court (until age 18)
  • Be active duty or a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces

What Will Happen To My Financial Award If I Move To Off-Campus Housing?

Moving from on campus to off campus housing has no affect on your financial aid.

How Do I Qualify For A Scholarship?

The Howard University Freshman Scholarship (HUFS) Program is designed to assist accepted First-Time-in-College students who have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement throughout their secondary school career and have chosen to attend Howard University. Scholarships are automatically awarded on a first-come, first-served, basis to eligible candidate. A separate application is NOT required. Scholarships are awarded until all the funds have been exhausted and not all eligible applicants will receive a scholarship.

Note: Freshman students and First-Time-In-College students are not eligible for Donor Scholarships and should NOT complete a Donor Scholarship application.

Are There Any Additional Scholarship Opportunities?

Please visit the following sites for more outside/private scholarship opportunities:

How Much Can I Receive In Federal Loans Per Academic Year?

The amount of loans a student can receive varies by their academic level and student status. See the below chart for annual and aggregate loan limits:

Year Dependent Students (except students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS Loans) Independent Students (and dependent undergraduate students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS Loans)
First-Year Undergraduate Annual Loan Limit $5,500—No more than $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $9,500—No more than $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.
Second-Year Undergraduate Annual Loan Limit $6,500—No more than $4,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $10,500—No more than $4,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.
Third-Year and Beyond Undergraduate Loan Limit  $7,500—No more than $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $12,500—No more than $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.
Graduate or Professional Students Annual Loan Limit Not Applicable (all graduate and professional students are considered independent)

$20,500 (unsubsidized


$57,500 for undergraduates—No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.

Subsidized and Unsubsidized Aggregate Loan Limit $31,000—No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $138,500 for graduate or professional students—No more than $65,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. The graduate aggregate limit includes all federal loans received for undergraduate study.


What Is The Difference Between A Subsidized And Unsubsidized Loan?

Direct Stafford Subsidized Loan is available to undergraduate students who display financial need. A Subsidized Loan does not accrue interest while the student is enrolled in school at least half-time (6 credits), for the first 6 months after a student leaves school whether for graduation or breaks in enrollment, and during a period of deferment.

Direct Stafford Unsubsidized Loan is available to undergraduate and graduate students and the student does not have to demonstrate financial need. Direct Unsubsidized loans begin to accrue interest immediately after the disbursement occurs.

Is There Any Special Funding For Students In Health Profession Programs?

Yes, Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, and Allied Health have special funds. You must include parental information on your FAFSA regardless of your dependency status to be considered for these grants, scholarships, and loans.

What Happens If I Increase My Credit Hours After The End Of The Drop/Add Period? Will I Receive More Aid?

No, your aid is based on your enrollment at the end of the drop/add period. Aid is not adjusted after that date.

Financial Aid Verification

What Is Verification?

The process of verification allows the Department of Education to check the accuracy of the information entered in the FAFSA by requiring schools to collect specific documentation related to that information. If selected for this process, financial aid cannot be awarded until the process is complete. Students will be notified via email if they are selected for verification and they will be told what documents they will need to submit, along with instructions on how to submit them.

To try and reduce the probabilities of being flagged for verification all students and parents are encouraged to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) on the FAFSA and to not amend that data so that all tax information is directly transferred. However, there is still a possibility a student will be flagged even if the DRT is used.

My Aid Has Already Disbursed, And I Was Just Notified About Verification, What Do I Need To Do?

There are instances where the Department of Education places the verification flag on a student’s application after it has already been received by the school, and in many cases the school has already disbursed the students’ aid. If a student is flagged for verification after the aid has already been disbursed, that student will have 45 days to complete the process or all aid must be canceled which can result in a balance being owed to the university.

What Information Can The Office Verify?

The Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships can verify each of the following for parents and students:

  • Adjusted Gross Income (parent and student)
  • Taxes Paid
  • Income Earned from Work
  • Certain Untaxed Income
  • Household Size and Number in College
  • Child Support Paid
  • Any other inconsistent or conflicting information

What Documents Can Be Requested To Verify The Information In The FAFSA?

The Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships can request documentation to verify what is in the FAFSA. The specific documentation will vary based on a family or student’s individual case.

  • The two years prior tax return transcript for both the parent and student, if the student is dependent. So, for the 2019-2020 academic year the FAFSA uses the 2017 tax return data.
  • A Verification Worksheet to confirm household size and number in college
  • W-2’s for the parent and student if the student is dependent
  • Non-tax filer statement if taxes were not filed
  • Statement of child support paid
  • Verification of Net Worth

*Please note once verification begins, we may need to ask for additional documentation based on the tax transcript.

How Can I Obtain A Tax Return Transcript?

You can get your free transcripts immediately online. You can also get them by phone, by mail, or by fax within 5-10 business days from the time the request was received.

What Happens If I Do Not Submit The Requested Documents?

If a student does not submit the required documents by the deadline in place for that semester, that student is not eligible for any federal aid or any aid that requires a FAFSA on file to receive it.