Parents and Families of Undergraduate Students

Families can play an important role in helping their student graduate from college, especially when it comes to financial aid.

While federal and state aid programs expect students and their families to contribute toward college expenses, financial aid can help narrow the gap between your resources and your costs. We encourage all students to apply for financial aid by submitting either a FAFSA or ISFAA. Even families who do not qualify for need-based grants may be eligible for loans that have borrower-friendly repayment terms and low interest rates.

Reminder about Privacy and Student Records: Students should review the FERPA for Students page to learn more about their record privacy rights. If interested, students may use BisonHub to grant information access permissions for third parties, including parents.

Additional resources to assist with college preparation and how to pay for college are available.

Office of Financial Aid and Office of the Bursar

Howard University's Office of Financial Aid and the Office of the Bursar work as partners in the “financing” of a student’s education. Through coordination of efforts, we ensure timely delivery of funds, application of funds/payments toward outstanding University–related charges, and release of excess funds.

Office of Financial Aid and Office of the Bursar Services
Financial Aid services: Bursar services:
Evaluates eligibility for aid Posts billing statements on BisonHub
Awards financial aid and scholarships Notifies students of outstanding charges
Verifies financial aid application information Receives and applies payments to University charges
Confirms disbursement criteria has been met Applies financial aid funds to outstanding charges
Evaluates “Special Circumstances” Receives and applies external scholarship checks
Monitors compliance with Financial Aid Regulations Manages tuition payment plans
Provides information on financial literacy and budgeting Releases excess funds as refunds
  Provides tax forms (1098-T)

Cost of Attendance

Many things can influence the costs of attending college. At Howard, students are given a cost of attendance which reflects your student's estimated expenses for the fall and spring semesters. 

This information is based on the academic program of the student and their housing plans. 

Review the current here Cost of Attendance


For more information about housing options and pricing: Explore Residence Halls | Howard University Student Affairs

For more information about campus dining options and pricing: Campus Dining | Office of Auxiliary Enterprises (

Undergraduate Aid

There are four basic types of financial aid available: scholarships, grants, employment, and loans.

OFA will determine your student’s eligibility for awards based on the information from their aid application. As we are made aware of scholarships from external organizations that have been awarded to a student, we will add those to the award package and make any necessary adjustments to other awards – as total awards cannot exceed the student’s cost of attendance budget. 

Review information on the various types of aid programs at Howard.

Applying for Aid

Although your student must be admitted before they can receive a financial aid offer at Howard, they should apply for aid before being admitted

Your student can complete the FAFSA as early as October 1 each year (in most years).  Some awards have limited funding and are awarded on a first come, first served basis – so apply as early as possible to be considered for all types of aid.

All award notifications, correspondence, and information regarding financial aid are sent to your student by email and through their BisonHub notifications center.

Follow Up on the Financial Aid Application

Follow up on your student's financial aid application to ensure there are no surprises!

  • Ensure your student has applied for financial aid
  • Ensure your student routinely checking their My Tasks items on BisonHub
  • Ensure your student is checking their Howard email regularly to see if we have contacted them, especially during spring and summer as we are reviewing applications and sending out requests for information
  • Discuss the financial aid award package with your student to see if additional funds are needed based on your student's cost of attendance
  • Make a budget to ensure your family is prepared for any expenses as needed

Paying your Student's Bill

After your student registers for courses, tuition and campus fees are calculated by the Office of the Bursar and typically require a full payment by the published due date. 

Each student receives email notification of outstanding University charges/balance due – until all charges owed to the University are paid. Students should also check BisonHub to find out their balance and the due date.

Even if your student has financial aid, they will receive a notification of outstanding charges. This is to ensure that all students remain aware of the cost of their tuition and fees – even if they have financial aid awards covering those costs. 

For those with financial aid, an “Anticipated Aid” amount will display. If your student’s anticipated aid is greater than their total charges, no out of pocket payment will be due.

How Financial Aid Pays for the Student's Charges

Probably the biggest question every student (or parent) has is: “When, and how, do I get my funds so I can pay my fees?

The Office of Financial Aid works with the Office of the Bursar to pay accepted financial aid awards to students. These payments are called “disbursements” and may begin up to 10 days before classes start each semester.

Once financial aid funds are released, the Bursar will credit any financial aid funds against outstanding tuition, fees, housing and meal plan charges (even if enrolled in a payment plan)

Any financial aid in excess of tuition, fees and other direct costs may automatically be refunded to the student after classes have begun each semester (or during the semester if additional aid is received).

Financial Aid Refunds

Financial aid funds are first applied toward any outstanding University charges, including installment plans. Any remaining funds will then be issued through the refund process by the Office of the Bursar

  • Any excess credits for student awards will be issued as a refund via direct deposit (for those who have signed up) – to the student – typically a few weeks after the start of classes
  • If a student has not signed up for direct deposit, they will have excess funds processed as a paper check and mailed via USPS to the home address provided to the University
  • Any excess funds from a Parent PLUS Loan will be issued as a paper check to the Parent Borrower – and will be mailed via USPS to the parent's home address provided on the PLUS application

Changes to Income and Special Circumstances

Your student's financial aid application (FAFSA) is based on income and resources from a prior tax year. We realize that students and families may have extraordinary circumstances and that financial situations can change – and that these changes may not be reflected on your student's aid application.

These changes to income or resources could significantly impact your ability to meet your student’s educational costs. We are here to assist you and can guide you through the process of submitting an appeal to have your situation (and possibly financial aid) re-evaluated.

In order to have a Special Circumstance Appeal reviewed, your student must be admitted. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid to request a special circumstances review.

Cost Cutting Suggestions

There are ways to save money while attending college. Consider the following:

Parent PLUS Loan

Federal PLUS loans allow parents of dependent undergraduate students to borrow up to the annual cost of education minus any financial aid. In addition, this program also allows graduate students to borrow up to the annual cost of education minus any financial aid. Parent PLUS loans are not based on financial need, but do require a good credit history. There is a 10-year repayment schedule and deferment options do exist.

To learn more about Parent PLUS Loans, go to Federal Student Aid.