Financial Aid Terms and Conditions


Howard University Terms and Conditions of Financial Aid Introduction

Howard University has a strong tradition of helping students finance their education. The following definitions should help students/families understand some of the terms used in financial aid programs.

The terms, “you” and “your” refer to the student, “award” or “awards” refers to the financial aid award package. The Term “institution” refers to post-secondary institutions (e.g., colleges and universities). Per federal regulations, parents, spouses, and other individuals are prohibited to accept, cancel, adjust, manage or receive financial aid on behalf of the student. This also includes the completion of the Federal Direct Loan entrance and exit loan counseling and completion of the master promissory note (MPN). Failure to adhere to this prohibition is a criminal act and may result in revocation of financial aid and financial penalties.

Your acceptance of financial aid indicates that you have read and understand all related terms and conditions of your award and financial aid within this document. You are encouraged to read the entire document. A copy of the Award Terms and Conditions of Financial Aid will be sent to you via email each semester for your records..

Some of your grants and scholarships are automatically accepted. You must accept Loans (e.g., Federal Subsidized or Unsubsidized Direct Stafford) and Federal Work-Study awards on BISON Web account or your awards may be canceled. Loan certifications will not be processed until the award has been accepted. Some aid may require the submission of additional documents to our office so you should check your outstanding requirements on BISON Web account.

The Office of Financial Aid (OFA) reserves the right to make policy changes that may affect your eligibility for future financial aid. Failure to comply with financial aid policies may result in the need for you to repay aid that you have already received.

A. Important Links

Glossary of Financial Aid Terms

Students Rights and Responsibilities

B. Financial Aid Awarding Policies

  1. Review your award and decide whether you will accept all or part of it.
  2. Indicate your rejection of loans. If you are accepting any part of the loan, please indicate the amount of the loan you wish to borrow.
  3. Be aware that enrollment status (e.g., fulltime, part-time) directly affects eligibility for certain aid types. Full-time enrollment status for undergraduate students is a minimum of twelve (12) credit hours and nine (9) credit hours for graduate and professional student.
  4. Understand that if, after the term begins, you consider dropping a course or withdrawing from the Howard University, your aid may be reduced or cancelled.
  5. Understand that eligibility for financial aid is based on the definition of an: Academic Year” as prescribed by the U. S. Department of Education. Howard University’s typical academic year is Fall, Spring, and Summer Terms. (Some programs may follow a different academic term, check with your program of study via your academic department or school for details.)
  6. Carefully read the remainder of this information as it contains very important information and policies concerning your award.
  7. Understand that a student may not receive financial aid at two schools simultaneously.

About your Financial Aid Package

Free Application for Federal Student Aid

Your financial aid award package is based on the completion of a current aid year Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which can be found at the Federal Student Aid page. The award must meet all federal and institutional policies with all outstanding requirements (e.g., rejects, comment codes, verification) being completed. You will also need an FSA ID, which can be created and managed on the Federal Student Aid page.

International Student Financial Aid Application

The International Student Financial Aid Application (ISFAA) is a form that Howard University use to determine need-based eligibility for institutional aid, including HUFS awards (refer to section D). The ISFAA is designed to gather information from international students who are applying for financial aid. To get additional information and begin your 2021-2022 ISFAA form, Click Here.

D. Financial Aid Award Notification and Types of Financial Aid

Your Financial Aid Award Notification, which is awarded based on full-time attendance, may include one or more of the following:

Federal Pell Grant: This federal grant is available to undergraduate students who have NOT received a baccalaureate degree. Eligibility is determined by the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as calculated using information provided by the student/parent on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Funds from this award will be divided equally between the Fall and Spring Semesters and will be credited to your student account accordingly. If you have remaining eligibility for the Summer Term, a determination will be made regarding the amount available (based on the yearly awarded amount and enrollment status).

A Pell Grant award is based on the number of hours of enrollment. Typically, the posted award amount is based on full-time enrollment. Should you not enroll for twelve (12) or more credit hours (full-time), the award will be prorated at disbursement based on enrollment, i.e., ¾ time (9 to 11 credit hours), ½ time (6 to 8 credit hours), less than ½ time (1 to 5 credit hours). Award amounts vary.

Summer Pell Grant will be available for eligible students only if you are enrolled for 6 or more credit hours within your program of study.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG): This federal grant is awarded based on the student’s EFC and the availability of funds. Eligibility is based on a first-come-first-served basis. Only students who are Pell Grant eligible may receive this grant (undergraduate students who have not yet received a baccalaureate degree). This fund is extremely limited and not all eligible students may receive funds. The FAFSA is required for determining eligibility.

Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan: This is a low interest loan that enters repayment six months after the student ceases to be enrolled at least on a half-time basis (6 credit hours). The term “Subsidized” means that the government pays the interest on the loan while you are enrolled in school and during the six-month grace period following your ceasing to be enrolled at least half-time. You must be enrolled in 6 hours or more to be eligible during a specific term. Eligibility is determined by filing the FAFSA. This is a need-based loan.

Freshmen may be eligible to borrow up to $3,500, sophomores $4,500, juniors and seniors $5,500 per academic year.  After the loan is awarded, the student will be required to complete The Master Promissory Note (MPN). The MPN for a Federal Direct Student Loan must be completed and must be signed electronically utilizing an FSA ID, can be created and managed on the Federal Student Aid page.

This is required for the loan to disburse. Also, the student must complete an Entrance Loan Counseling. You will only need to complete these documents (MPN and Entrance Loan Counseling) once every ten year. In addition, should you withdraw from Howard University (Howard) prior to the school receiving the loan disbursement, you (undergraduate, graduate/ professional student) are ineligible to receive the loan award, and the funds will be returned.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan: This loan program provides financial assistance to all eligible students regardless of income. The FAFSA is required for determining eligibility. This loan is very similar to the Subsidized Stafford Loan in that the repayment terms and loan limits by class standing are the same. The difference is that the student, rather than the federal government, is responsible for paying the interest on the loan while he or she is enrolled. Loan proceeds from the Unsubsidized Stafford Loan will be disbursed like the Subsidized Stafford above, and the total amount of both the Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans may not be more than the annual loan limits set for the student’s class standing.

Undergraduate students must be enrolled in six (6) credit hours or more to be eligible during a specific term. All eligible undergraduate students are eligible for $2,000 annually – in addition to the amount of Stafford eligibility, i.e., Freshman = $3,500 + $2,000.

Typically, graduate and professional students may be able to borrow up to $20,500 annually (Fall and Spring Semester) via the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan program. Student must be enrolled in at least four (4) credit hours or more to be eligible during a specific term.

Some professional programs (e.g., medical students and dental students) may be able to borrow additional federal loans, via Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

Federal College Work-Study: The Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program provides jobs for undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrate financial need. FWS gives the student an opportunity of working on campus or in a community service position on a part-time basis. FWS students may work up to 20 hours per week. The pay rate varies based on job classification. Funding is limited and is based on appropriations by the U. S. Department of Education.

Federal Direct PLUS Loan (Parent PLUS and Graduate PLUS): This federal loan is a long term, low interest loan available to parents of dependent students and graduate/professional students regardless of income level. The completion of the FAFSA is required to receive this loan. The annual loan limit is equal to the cost of attending Howard less any financial assistance the student is receiving. This loan enters repayment 60 days after the last disbursement of each year. Applicants must demonstrate credit worthiness to receive this loan. The loan proceeds are divided equally between the Fall and Spring Terms. The student must be enrolled when the disbursements are received by the school. A separate loan application must be filed to receive these funds. A Direct PLUS Loan Promissory Note must be completed with the U. S. Federal Government.

For further details regarding Federal Student Aid Programs, visit the Federal Student Aid page. 

Private Loans: Students and parents may apply for and borrow loan funds via private lending institutions of their choice. Howard University encourages borrowers to shop critically, selecting loans that meet the needs of the student and provide the best interests rates and advantages. (Federal regulations prohibit institutions from suggesting or providing specific guidance regarding which lenders might be “best.”)

Outside/External Scholarships: Please instruct your scholarship donor to send your check to the Howard University Office of Financial Aid and to include on the scholarship check:

Unless the donor instructs otherwise, the amount of the scholarship check will be divided and applied to your account equally for the Fall and Spring Semesters. The OFA processes checks and forwards them to the Office of the Bursar (Student Accounts Office) for disbursement to your student account. Be aware that Howard cannot send billing statements to outside scholarship donors. If the donor requires a billing statement, please provide them with a copy of your bill. Please note that if a student with an outside scholarship withdraws from the Howard University, the University will not return funds to the outside donor unless asked to do so by the donor or the student.

E. Howard University Freshman Scholarships (HUFS)

The Howard University Freshman Scholarship (HUFS) is available to incoming freshman. There are 7 different HUFS awards (Presidential, Achievers, Founders, Capstone, Leadership, Opportunity, and the Access Grant) however, a student can only qualify for one of them based on high school academic performance. The criteria for these merit-based and need-based awards (if applicable) may change every year for incoming freshman. There is no internal application needed. Eligibility for merit-based awards is determined by the Office of Admissions based on students' high school SAT/ACT scores/GPA that are entered into the system. Eligibility for need-based awards is determined based on a range of students’ Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as indicated on the FAFSA/ISFAA. Students may accept their HUFS offers by accepting the Terms and Conditions on their BisonWeb portal in addition to signing and submitting the HUFS Acceptance Agreement to the Office of Financial Aid by the designated deadline.

HUFS awards will expire after 4 years of enrollment or if the undergraduate student graduates before completing 4 years. The full-time earned credits and cumulative GPA requirements are outlined in the eligibility requirements of the individual contracts.

Step 1: Renewal Requirements

Renewal eligibility is based on the terms and conditions that are outlined in the individual Howard University Freshman Scholarship (HUFS) Acceptance Statement that was emailed to you. The Scholarship Acceptance Statement specifies the minimum credits that the student must earn each semester (e.g., fall and spring) and cumulative grade point average that must be achieved at the end of the evaluation period.

  • Presidential Criteria = 3.50 cumulative GPA and 15 earned undergraduate credits
  • Achievers Criteria = 3.50 cumulative GPA and 15 earned undergraduate credits
  •  Founders Criteria = 3.50 cumulative GPA and 15 earned undergraduate credits
  • Capstone Criteria = 3.30 cumulative GPA and 15 earned undergraduate credits
  • Leadership Criteria = 3.0 cumulative GPA and 15 earned undergraduate credits
  • Opportunity Grant = 3.0 cumulative GPA and 15 earned undergraduate credits
  • Access Grant Criteria = 3.0 cumulative GPA and 15 earned undergraduate credits
  • Domestic students must submit a current year Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and international students must submit a current year International Student Financial Aid Application (ISFAA) every year by the designated deadline.
  • If a recipient receives additional financial aid funds from other sources (e.g., other scholarships, loans, grants, or awards), the funds must be reported to the Office of Financial Aid. The University reserves the right to make any adjustments to the financial aid award letter if award recipients receive additional financial aid above the cost of attendance or the Howard University Remission of Tuition benefit.
  • Scholarship recipients considering domestic exchange, study abroad, and consortium programs must also follow the eligibility requirements outlined in the individual contract (if applicable).

Step 2: Evaluation Period

  • Scholarship renewals are generally evaluated at the end of the spring semester after final grades have been submitted. Students’ HUFS awards will be suspended for the upcoming academic school year, if they do not meet the criteria outlined in their Scholarship Acceptance Statement. All students who are meeting the criteria will have their awards renewed for the upcoming academic school year.

Step 3: The HUFS Appeal Process

  • The University is not federally required, nor is it mandated to implement a HUFS appeals process. The decision to implement a HUFS appeals process is at the discretion of Howard University.
  • If students encounter any academic challenges during the semester, we highly encourage them to reach out to their Academic Advisor immediately to seek assistance as opposed to waiting until the end of the semester.

*By accepting the Financial Aid Terms and Conditions on BisonWeb, you agree to and understand the terms and conditions of your HUFS award and your responsibilities for maintaining the scholarship as outlined in Acceptance Statement that you received via email. 

F. Cost of Attendance

Institutions are required to determine the costs for attending. These costs include tuition and fees, books and supplies, housing and meals, transportation, personal/miscellaneous expenses, and loan fees. Consideration may also be considered for dependent care and a one-time computer (e.g., laptop, etc.) purchase per program type of enrollment – undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and professional.

Cost of attendance information can be viewed on the Cost of Attendance webpage.

G. Terms of Your Financial Aid

  1. The continuation of your financial aid from year to year is not automatic. All recipients must reapply for aid each academic year. Students may apply on-line, complete a FAFSA at the Federal Student Aid page after October 1 each year. Students are awarded financial aid based on full-time enrollment status (i.e., a minimum of 12 credit hours for undergraduate students and 9 hours for graduate and professional students) unless the student informs the OFA otherwise. Financial aid packages for students enrolled less than full-time may require adjustments.
  2. Financial aid for graduate and professional students is not applicable for enrollment in undergraduate courses. Conversely, financial aid for undergraduate students is not applicable for enrollment in graduate and professional courses.
  3. Eligibility for awards varies with enrollment status. Students must be enrolled in an eligible program of study to receive any financial aid (student must be in a degree-seeking status to receive financial aid).
  4. If you receive any financial assistance from any source other than what is shown on your Financial Aid Award Notification, your award may be adjusted. Other financial assistance includes but is not limited to the following: private scholarships, tuition assistance, stipends (e.g., residence assistant/advisor), graduate assistantships, vocational rehabilitation.
  5. Howard reserves the right to change the content and amount of any student’s award based on additional financial assistance received at any point in the academic year.
  6. Your financial aid award is subject to change or may be adjusted at any point in the academic year due to Howard University’s correction(s) and/or change(s) in federal appropriations, etc. Financial Aid files are routinely audited throughout the academic year to check for accuracy. Howard reserves the right to make corrections your award information as needed and these changes may alter the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) or eligibility and award. Howard also reserves the right to adjust the content and/or the amount of the award based on the above conditions at any point in the academic year. Reasons for changes may include but are not limited to:
  • Failure to report accurate information on the FAFSA (e.g., income, taxes paid)
  • Changes in enrollment status (i.e., from full-time to part-time)
  • Receipt of other aid (e.g., third-party)
  • Withdrawal from classes
  • Not meeting the requirements of Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid (SAP)
  1. If you make changes to your FAFSA after you have been awarded, your financial aid package may be adjusted in accordance with federal regulations at any point in the academic year. Howard reserves the right to adjust the content and/or the amount of your financial aid package based on the above conditions at any point in the academic year.
  2. Acknowledgement/acceptance of the Terms and Conditions demonstrates your agreement to follow the Howard University withdrawal procedures available from the Dean or advisory center of each college as well as the assigned advisor for the professional schools.
  3. If you withdraw after the term begins, stop attending classes before the end of the term, or did not initiate course participation in a class or classes, your financial aid package is subject to proration as set forth in the federal regulations. After the federally mandated proration is calculated, and a reduction to your financial aid package is required, you may owe a balance on your student account. You are responsible for this balance. Institutional aid (including scholarships) may be prorated if tuition charges are adjusted.
  4. Contents of the student’s financial aid file are the property of the OFA. These files are considered confidential information. Requests by the student to review his or her file must be made in writing. Requests by the dependent student’s parent(s) to review the student’s file must be made in writing, and the student must give his or her written consent to release the information. Once a request is received, Howard has 45 days to make the requested information available for review. This review will take place in the OFA at a time convenient for the student, dependent student’s parent(s) and the OFA. This review will not take place the same day the written request for review is received by the OFA. Requests by anyone other than the student and/or the parent(s) must be approved by the student. A “Student Consent Form to Release Information” must be completed by the student and submitted to the OFA. This policy follows the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, 20 USC § 1232g and 34 CFR § 99. 
  5. In the case of a divorced/separated student, the ex-spouse whose financial information was not used on the FAFSA is not privileged to any of your financial aid information.
  6. In the case of a divorced/separated parent of a dependent student, the non-custodial parent is not privileged to any financial aid information regarding you unless that non-custodial parent’s financial information was used to calculate your eligibility for financial aid.
  7. For your protection, as well as the protection of the staff of the OFA, information regarding your financial aid package will not be released over the telephone.
  8. Students must apply for need-based financial aid each year; unless otherwise noted, financial aid awards are not automatically renewable. Howard cannot guarantee that the same level of funding will be available each academic year. Funding levels from the federal government, state agencies, etc. change each year. As a result, need-based financial aid packages may vary annually in content as well as total amounts from year to year. The OFA at Howard reserves the right to change packaging policies annually.
  9. Howard University communicates with students (and where applicable parents) via different methods including email, texting, postal and mail. It is important that you read and review correspondences that are received from Howard University. When applicable, you should respond as quickly as possible. Emails may be received from; a listserv (for professional schools); and our third-party vendor for verification, Inceptia (
  10. If your permanent home address changes at any time, it is your responsibility to notify Howard of your change of address immediately. Since the OFA communicates with you via both postal mail and email, it is your responsibility to ensure the accuracy of the addresses.
  11. If you leave Howard through transfer, graduation, or any other form of leave are not entitled to the remaining eligibility of institutional aid/scholarships and will forfeit such remaining eligibility.
  12. If you attend the Summer Term you are eligible for financial aid based on remaining eligibility for the academic year. Federal funds (e.g., Federal Direct Student Loans) are based on an annual limit. If the annual amount has been utilized for previous terms (whether at Howard or at other post-secondary schools), you are not eligible for additional funding for the Summer Term.
  13. Summer loan disbursement required enrollment of at least half-time six (6) hours for an undergraduate student and four (4) hours for a graduate, doctoral, and professional student. Students enrolled in one (1) to five (5) credit hours first summer session and one (1) to five (5) credit hours second summer session will receive half of their loan disbursement in the first session and the other half in the second session. However, students who fail to attend the second session, will have loans for that term cancelled. 
  14. Current year financial aid may not be used to pay prior year balances,
  15. The Financial Aid Office reserves the right to deny a student loan (e.g., Federal Direct or alternative/private) based on specific federal guidelines. Students who have previously defaulted on a student loan may be denied on a case-by-case basis in alignment with federal regulations.  
  16. You understand that “disbursement” is the date the aid is expected to be credited to your student account and the “refund” date is the date the funds are direct deposited into your bank account or mailed to your permanent address.
  17. Unless otherwise noted, all aid is disbursed in two payments (one-half Fall Semester and the other half Spring Semester). Students who are enrolled for one semester (e.g., Spring Semester only, will receive two disbursements (one half at the beginning of the semester and the second disbursement at the mid-point of the semester).
  18. First time undergraduate borrowers first disbursement of a Federal Direct Loan will not occur until thirty (30) days after the first day of classes.
  19. Any refund due will be issued from the Office of the Bursar (Student Accounts).
  20. Federal law prohibits a student from receiving financial aid at two schools simultaneously. Failure to notify the OFA of this situation may jeopardize your eligibility for aid at Howard. Should this be discovered, aid may be removed at Howard University. This will jeopardize your eligibility for aid at Howard and you will have a balance due to the Bursar’s Office.
  21. Re-admittance to Howard does not ensure that financial aid will be immediately available or in the case of not meeting SAP requirements, be reinstated. Students readmitted must complete the appropriate FAFSA for the year which the student will be returning. Students not meeting SAP requirements at the time of their re-admittance must complete a SAP appeal packet including a Plan for Academic Success. Please note: You should make payment arrangements to pay for the term for which you are re-admitted and need to complete the requirement of a SAP appeal packet and Plan for Academic Success.

H. Additional Information and Conditions Regarding Financial Aid


You understand that you are responsible for repaying your loans. Acceptance of any loan carries a serious legal and financial obligation. Failure to meet this obligation may adversely affect your credit.

As a student loan borrower, you have the right to decline, or reduce your loan within fourteen (14) days of disbursement. Your bill from Howard indicates the date the loan proceeds are credited to your account. Federal Direct Loan Disbursement: All completed documents must be on file for your loan to be disbursed.

To be eligible for a Federal Direct Loan, you must enroll at least half-time (six (6) hours for an undergraduate student and four (4) hours for a graduate student, doctoral, and professional. All loans will be disbursed in two (2) payments, one-half the first semester and the remainder the second semester. Students who are borrowing for one-semester will receive two disbursements (one half at the beginning of the semester and the second disbursement after the mid-point of the semester). First time undergraduate borrower’s first disbursement of a Federal Direct Loan will not occur until thirty (30) days after the first day of classes.

Note: Howard packages financial aid awards with the offer of the Federal PLUS Loan (e.g., Parent and Graduate). The Parent PLUS Loan allows parents of undergraduate students to borrow money on behalf of their student(s). The Graduate PLUS Loan allows graduate students to borrow money on behalf of themselves. Parents and graduate students have the right to choose a private/alternative loan from the lender of their choice instead of using the PLUS Loan opportunity.

Block Enrollment – Terms Less than Standard

A standard financial aid year (e.g., Fall and Spring Semester) is typically comprised of two 15-week terms. If you are enrolled in block courses with a term (e.g., five (5) weeks, ten (10) weeks, etc.), these terms are nonstandard/accelerated. Thus, aid is disbursed differently. As noted above, awards assume that you will enroll full-time for each semester. Federal regulations require proration of disbursement of Title IV (e.g., grants and loans) funds for students enrolled in nonstandard terms. The proration is based on the number of weeks of instruction and the hours of enrollment per block. The same may be true in awarding and disbursing of most other aid. The OFA will disburse the appropriate prorated amount of funds at the beginning of the term and/or each week block. Please note: This applies to all students enrolled in a block session course.

Allowable Uses of Financial Aid

You understand that any federal funds received during the award period(s) covered by this award will be used solely for expenses related to your attendance at Howard (Higher Education Act of 1965 SEC. 472. [20 U.S.C. 1087ll]). These expenses include:

  • Tuition and fees. This includes the cost of required equipment, supplies and materials.
  • Room and Board
  • Books and Supplies
  • Transportation (does not include the purchase of an automobile, truck or etc.)
  • Disability-related Expenses. This includes services, personal assistance, transportation, equipment, and supplies related to the disability
  • Loan origination fees
  • Cost of first professional credentials. (licensing/certification fees)

You understand that you may request a one-time computer (e.g., laptop, etc.) purchase per program type of enrollment – undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and professional.

Financial Aid Misuse

Purchases of items or the use of funds for other expenses not directly related to your educational expenses are prohibited. Such purchases include automobiles, paying living expenses or financial support for other persons – including family members. Failure to adhere to this prohibition is a criminal act and may result in revocation of financial aid and financial penalties.

Financial Aid Fraud

Federal regulations [34 CFR 668.16(g)] require an institution to refer to the Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) any credible information indicating that an applicant for federal student aid may have engaged in fraud or other criminal misconduct in connection with his or her application. The regulations require only that the institution refer the suspected case for investigation, not that it arrives at a firm conclusion about the propriety of the applicant's conduct. Persons determined to have committed fraud may be fined up to $20,000, sent to prison, or both. Additionally, financial aid may be cancelled, resulting in the repayment of the affected awards.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

You understand that all students who wish to qualify for financial aid while attending Howard must meet certain standards of satisfactory academic progress (SAP) for financial aid. Student progress is assessed according to qualitative and quantitative measures as they apply. The qualitative measure (grades) is very similar to the academic standards applied to all Howard students. The quantitative measure (number of credit hours successfully completed) is used to monitor progress toward degree completion. Students not meeting SAP requirements and whose financial aid has been suspended must make arrangements to pay the tuition and other fees for their courses. Please see information (including the policy) regarding SAP on the Satisfactory Academic Progress page.


You understand that students withdrawing from Howard should follow the University withdrawal policy. The federal government has implemented a withdrawal policy for institutions called the Return of Title IV Funds. If you receive financial aid and withdraw before the sixty (60) percent point of the semester/term, you may be required to repay any refund received and other aid disbursed on your account. You will be notified, in writing, of the amount that must be repaid. Information regarding Howard University’s withdrawal policies can be found on the University’s Registration Status page.