Financial Aid for Online Undergraduate Students
Undergraduate students seeking financial aid for online degrees at Stevenson University are eligible for the same Federal and state financial aid programs as undergraduate students in the traditional on-campus 16 week semester.They must meet the same eligibility requirements to receive and maintain their financial support. Financial aid for online students is a crucial component of achieving your goal of a college education. The Financial Aid Office at Stevenson University is here to help you through the potentially confusing process of financing your education.
Because you are on the accelerated, 8-week module schedule, the disbursement of your funds may not occur at the same time as other students on the traditional 16-week schedule.
We suggest that you review the information about the various types of aid available and then follow the instructions to apply for financial aid online.
Online Schools That Accept Federal Pell Grants
Stevenson is one of the many online schools that accept Pell Grants. Keep reading for more information about how the Federal Pell Grant Program can help finance your degree.
- The Federal Pell Grant Program requires the completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The current FAFSA allows the use of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. This tool allows students and parents to pull tax information directly from the IRS data base.
- For more information, see Step 2 of the Apply for Aid page, or go to fafsa.gov.
- This Federal Pell Grant is awarded based on exceptional need as defined by the federal government. It is free money and does not have to be repaid. Pell Grants are awarded to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor’s degree. The award amount depends on several factors including financial need, the cost of education at the school a student attends, and if you enroll full-time or part-time. As of January 2017, the maximum award for the 2017-2018 award year is $5,920 pending final approval by the federal government. Detailed program information is also available at studentaid.ed.gov.
Congress Changes Time Length for Pell Grant Support
- As an online school that accepts Pell Grants, we have no control over the amount of Federal Pell Grant funds you may receive over your lifetime — as it is limited by a new federal law to be the equivalent of six years or twelve semesters. Since the maximum amount of Pell Grant funding you can receive each year is equal to 100%, the six-year equivalent is 600%.
- For example, a student who has attended full-time for a full year will have received 100 percent of his scheduled award for that year. If this student receives payments for half-time attendance for the next full academic year (e.g., two semesters or three quarters), he will have received 50 percent of his scheduled award. At the end of the two years, this student’s “lifetime eligibility used” (LEU) is 150 percent. The Department of Education keeps track of your LEU by adding up the percentages of Pell Grant received by the student received for each award year.
- The law eliminated any grandfathering for this provision, and all students are affected. Once all past Pell Grant usage is totaled, any student whose LEU equals or exceeds 600 percent may not receive additional Pell Grant funds. If the LEU is more than 500 percent but less than 600 percent, the student may receive a Pell Grant for the next year but it will be less than a full award. To learn more about Pell Grant limits and how your eligibility is calculated, see here.
- The Department of Education will perform the tracking and notification functions associated with the Pell Grant limit. However, The Department of Education’s information will be only as up-to-date as reporting timeframes allow; students whose LEU is very close to the maximum limit will be carefully monitored.
Financial Aid for Online Degrees in the State of Maryland
The state of Maryland makes it easy to apply for financial aid to fund your online bachelor’s degree program. The Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) sponsors numerous grants and scholarships for Maryland residents. They offer an online inquiry system that allows students to view the status of their financial aid application and/or award information. If you have an award from another state, be sure you follow their instructions to insure that you actually receive the funds. Most programs still require you to submit a FAFSA application which must be completed before the beginning of the current semester. The financial aid programs available from the State of Maryland include:
Howard P. Rawlings Guaranteed Access Grant Program
As an online school that accepts Pell Grants, this includes the Howard P. Rawlings program. The Guaranteed Access Grant is available to current high school seniors who will complete a college preparatory program with a minimum, cumulative, unweighted 2.5 high school GPA. Applicants must enroll at a Maryland college or university as a full-time, degree-seeking undergraduate student; meet certain income requirements, which change yearly and are posted on the MHEC’s webpage; and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the Guaranteed Access Grant Application by March 1. Applications received after March 1 will be considered on a funds available basis. To renew an award, you must maintain satisfactory academic progress, submit the FAFSA by March 1, and continue to demonstrate financial need.
Howard P. Rawlings Educational Assistance Grant Program
Current full-time, degree-seeking undergraduates may apply for this need-based grant by completing the FAFSA by March 1. Students and their parents (if you are dependent) must be Maryland residents. Audited courses cannot be used to reach the minimum credit hours required for full-time status. Late applicants are placed on a wait list. Annual awards ranging from $400 to $3,000 may be renewed annually if the student maintains satisfactory academic progress, completes the FAFSA by March 1, and continues to show financial need.
Delegate Scholarship Program
Students enrolled at least half-time in a degree-seeking, undergraduate or graduate program may be considered for these funds. Applicants must complete the FAFSA by March 1 and contact their delegates in February for further instructions. The Office of Student Financial Assistance can provide a list of all state legislators. Learn more.
Senatorial Scholarship Program
Students enrolled at least half-time in a degree-seeking, undergraduate or graduate program may apply for these funds. Applicants must complete the FAFSA by March 1 and contact their senator in February for further instructions. The Office of Student Financial Assistance can provide a list of all state legislators. Learn more.
Workforce Shortage Student Assistance Grant Program
This grant is for students who plan on working in specific career/occupational programs upon graduation. Eligible fields include: child care, human services, teaching, nursing, physical and occupational therapy, social work, and public service. Full-time and part-time, degree-seeking undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in an eligible accredited Maryland postsecondary institution like Stevenson may apply for this grant. Please refer to the State’s website to view a list of eligible majors. To apply, you must complete the Workforce Shortage Student Assistance Grant Application online and submit official transcripts from all institutions you have ever attended. To be considered based on need, students must file the FAFSA for the application year. The FAFSA is not required; however, it will be used to determine the order in which students will be awarded.
A detailed list of all the online colleges that accept financial aid and assistance programs in the State of Maryland can be found at www.mhec.state.md.us. State financial aid assistance is based on availability of funds.
Edward T. Conroy Memorial Scholarship Program & Jean B. Cryor Memorial Scholarship Program
This scholarship is available to full-time and part-time, degree-seeking undergraduates and graduate students. All majors are eligible. You must be a Maryland resident at the time of the application. You must enroll at a two-year or four-year Maryland college or university, as a full-time or part-time, degree-seeking undergraduate or graduate student or attend a private career school.
You must be the son, daughter, or the surviving spouse (who has not remarried) of a member of the United States Armed Forces, was a POW/MIA in the Vietnam era, or was a state or local public safety or volunteer and who died or was significantly disabled in the 9-11 terrorist attack, in the Vietnam Conflict, or suffered a service related disability. Some other persons and veterans may also be eligible. The award is not based on need.
How to apply
New and renewal applicants to the program must contact their college’s financial aid office for application instructions. Do not submit any applications or document to MHEC.
Apply by July 15 to your institution
For complete eligibility requirements, award amounts, and additional conditions, go to the MHEC website.
State awards post upon receipt of the funds from the State of Maryland; November for the fall semester, March for the spring semester. State aid recipient refund checks may be delayed due to the receipt of these funds.
Grants from states other than Maryland
Information about grants and financial aid programs for residents of other states can be found here. Please select the link for “US State Government Aid.”
As an online college that accepts financial aid, this includes scholarships and grants that are offered by private sources — such as fraternal and religious organizations, labor unions, professional associations, social groups, and ethnic associations. Because they are private and therefore not administered by Stevenson, you will need to research and apply for them on your own. The best place to start your research is your local church or synagogue, or a local club such as the Lions or Kiwanis. In addition, various publications contain private resource information; they can be found in your local library or bookstore.
The following free scholarship search engines provide information on thousands of scholarships as well as information on financial aid and money management.
- CollegeBoard Scholarship Search
- Central Scholarship Bureau (Maryland residents only)
Report Your Private Funding
When applying for financial aid for your online degree, any outside funding you receive must be taken into account when your eligibility is determined for need-based financial aid, such as the Direct Student Loan program. If you have been offered funding from a source outside the University, you should notify the Financial Aid Office of the amount and of the donor.
A part of your financial aid award may be a loan from the Federal Direct Student Loan Program. A loan must be repaid. Therefore, when deciding whether to borrow, you should examine your need for assistance and your future ability to repay. Generally, you will have from 10 to 25 years to repay your loan, depending on the repayment plan you choose. Your monthly payment amount will be based on how much you borrowed and how long you take to repay. Direct Loans have a fixed interest rate that differs depending on the loan type. The terms and conditions of all loans are explained in the Master Promissory Note which all borrowers must complete and sign. Instructions for completing the Master Promissory Note are included in the Financial Aid Award Guide.
Federal Direct Student Loans for Undergraduate Students
There are two types of Federal Direct Student Loans for undergraduates. Both loans require a student be enrolled at least half-time (at least 6 credits per semester). Direct Subsidized Student Loans are for students with financial need, as determined by federal regulations. No interest is charged while you are in school at least half-time, for the first six months after you leave school (referred to as a grace period)*, and during a period of deferment (a postponement of loan payments). Direct Unsubsidized Student Loans are not based on financial need; interest is charged during all periods.
For more complete information on the Direct Loan Program, visit the federal web site, studentaid.ed.gov/sa/. According to federal regulations, the maximum you can borrow each year is based on your grade level and dependency status as indicated on the chart below
|Level||Undergraduate Dependent Student||Undergraduate Independent Student|
|Freshman Undergraduate (0 to 26.5 credit hours)||$5,500 (maximum $3,500 subsidized)||$9,500 (maximum $3,500 subsidized)|
|Sophomore Undergraduate (27 to 54.5 credit hours)||$6,500 (maximum $4,500 subsidized)||$10,500 (maximum $4,500 subsidized)|
|Junior/Senior undergraduate (55+ credit hours)||$7,500 (maximum $5,500 subsidized)||$12,500 (maximum $5,500 subsidized)|
|Maximum Total Debt from Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans when you graduate||$31,000 (maximum $23,000 subsidized)||$57,500 (maximum $23,000 subsidized)|
150 Percent SUBSIDIZED Loan Time Limitation
If you are a first-time borrower on or after July 1, 2014, there is a limit on the maximum period of time (measured in academic years) that you can receive Direct Subsidized Loans. This time limit does not apply to Direct Unsubsidized Loans or Direct PLUS Loans.
If this limit applies to you, you may not receive Direct Subsidized Loans for more than 150 percent of the published length of your program. This is called your “maximum eligibility period.” Your maximum eligibility period is based on the published length of your current program.
For example, if you are enrolled in a four-year bachelor’s degree program, the maximum period for which you can receive Direct Subsidized Loans is six years (150 percent of 4 years = 6 years).
Loan Origination Fees
The Federal Direct Loan Program is authorized to charge an origination fee for each loan. The fee is a percentage of your total amount borrowed and is deducted from your loan before the loan disbursement is sent to Stevenson University.
The loan fee for loans disbursed on or after October 1, 2016 and before October 1, 2017 is 1.069 percent. Loan origination fees are changed on October 1 of each year.
Interest Rate for Undergraduate Borrowers
Congress has passed and the President has signed the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013, which ties federal student loan interest rates to financial markets. Under this Act interest rates will be determined each spring for new loans being made for the next award year, which runs from July 1 to the following June 30. Each loan will have a fixed interest rate for the life of the loan.
The 2016-2017 interest rate for the Undergraduate Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized loan is 3.76 percent. The interest rate for 2017-2018 is 4.45 per cent.
Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling
First-time borrowers at Stevenson University of Federal Direct Loans are required to complete entrance counseling and Master promissory Note (MPN) before the Financial Aid Office can process their loan. The purpose of the entrance counseling is to ensure that you understand your rights and responsibilities as a new loan borrower and that you understand the regulations governing each loan program, such as interest rates, grace, deferment/ forbearance options, prepayment, consolidation, and other general repayment obligations. You are also informed of the consequences of not repaying your student loans (default) and of various repayment strategies.
All student loan borrowers are required to complete exit counseling before graduating or withdrawing from Stevenson University or ceasing to enroll at least half-time.
The online session covers all subjects that were covered in the entrance counseling, with an emphasis on repayment strategies.
For more complete information on the Direct Loan Program, visit the federal web site.
Financial Aid Census Date
Funds will post to your student account after the financial aid census date. The census date typically marks the end of the add/drop period for the semester. This is the date we take a “snapshot” of all students’ enrollment to establish the “official enrollment” for reporting purposes and financial aid eligibility. The classes for which you are registered as of the census date determine the amount of financial aid you will receive.
Federal Direct PLUS (Parent) Loans for Undergraduates
Stevenson University participates in the Federal Direct PLUS Loan Program. The U.S. Department of Education is the lender for the Direct PLUS Loan Program rather than a bank or other financial institution. Direct PLUS Loans are for the biological or adoptive parent of dependent students. The stepparents of dependent students are also eligible if their financial information is included on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The U.S. Department of Education requires that all students complete the FAFSA.
The student must be enrolled at least half-time status (6 credits or more per semester).
- The borrower and the student must be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen.
- The borrower and the student must not be in default on a prior education loan.
- The borrower must meet federally defined credit worthiness standards.
- The student must be making satisfactory academic progress.
Credit Worthiness Standards
Beginning March 29, 2015, a Direct PLUS Loan applicant is considered to have an adverse credit history if:
- The applicant has one or more debts that are 90 or more days delinquent as of the date of the applicant’s credit report, or that have been placed in collection or charged off (written off) during the two years preceding the date of the applicant’s credit report, and the total combined outstanding balance of those debts is greater than $2,085; or
- The applicant has been subject to any of the following conditions during the five years preceding the date of the credit report:
- Default Determination
- Bankruptcy Discharge
- Tax Lien
- Wage Garnishment
- Write-Off of a Title IV Debt
All applicants determined to have an adverse credit history will be notified by the Department of Education that they may be eligible for a Direct PLUS Loan if they:
- Obtain an endorser who does not have an adverse credit history
- Document to the satisfaction of the Department of Education that there are extenuating circumstances related to the adverse credit information
- Complete the new PLUS Counseling on the StudentLoans.gov Website
A Direct PLUS Loan Applicant who is determined to have an adverse credit history may begin the process of documenting extenuating circumstances (or a request for reconsideration, if eligible) by using the “Document Extenuating Circumstances” link on the StudentLoans.gov web site or by contacting the Student Loan Support Center at 800-557-7394.
If the parent is denied the PLUS loan due to an adverse credit history and does not reapply with a cosigner, the student may borrow additional Direct Unsubsidized loan money. Freshmen and sophomores are eligible to borrow an additional $4,000 and juniors and seniors are eligible to borrow an additional $5,000.
Annual Loan Limits
Cost of attendance less other aid.
Loan Origination Fees
The Federal Direct PLUS Loan Program is authorized to charge an origination fee for each loan. The fee is a percentage of your total amount borrowed and is deducted from your loan before the loan disbursement is sent to Stevenson University. The loan fee for PLUS loans first disbursed on or after October 1, 2016 and before October 1, 2017 is 4.276 percent. Loan origination fees are changed on October 1 of each year.
Interest Rate (Direct PLUS Loans)
Congress has passed and the President has signed the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013, which ties federal student loan interest rates to financial markets. Under this Act interest rates will be determined each spring for new loans being made for the next award year, which runs from July 1 to the following June 30. Each loan will have a fixed interest rate for the life of the loan. The 2016-2017 interest rate for the Direct PLUS loan is 6.31 percent. The interest rate for 2017-2018 is 7.00 per cent.
For more information you are encouraged to visit: studentaid.ed.gov/types/loans/interest-rates
- Payment of principal and interest begins 60 days after the final disbursement.
- For loans first disbursed after July 1, 2008, your parent borrower can apply for an in-school deferment as long as you are enrolled at least half-time (6 credits or more per semester).
- Application instructions are included in the Financial Aid Award Guide.
FSA Student Loan Ombudsman
Students or Parents receiving Direct Student Loans or Plus Loans should be aware that if they are in a dispute about a federal student loan, they can contact the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman Group as a last resort.
If you’ve completed the steps to resolve your loan dispute and you still are not satisfied, you may need to contact the Federal Student Aid (FSA) Ombudsman Group of the U.S. Department of Education (ED). The Ombudsman Group is a neutral, informal, and confidential resource to help resolve disputes about your federal student loans.
Contact the Ombudsman Group as a last resort. Make every effort to resolve your student loan problems before contacting the Ombudsman Group.
The FSA Student Loan Ombudsman Group may be contacted via their website, or one of the following alternate ways:
FSA Ombudsman Group
P.O. Box 1843
Monticello, KY 42633
Alternative/Private Education Loan
Alternative Student Loans, also commonly referred to as Private Education Loans, are consumer loans offered by banks, credit unions and other private lenders to cover the cost of college not covered by financial aid for online degrees.
Before applying for an Alternative Student Loan, the student and parent of a dependent student should compare the terms of the loan with loan assistance available through the Federal Direct Student Loan and Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan Programs. Most Alternative Student Loan Programs are not competitive with the Federal Loan Programs and are only intended to provide supplemental education financing after all federal options are exhausted.
If you live in the following states, you should also review information about your state’s Private Education Loan Programs: Alaska, Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Stevenson University does not provide a Preferred Alternative Student Loan Lender List, but we are able to provide you with a list of banks and credit unions that have made loans to our students in the past. Please be advised that Stevenson University does not recommend, promote, or endorse the loan products of the lenders on these lists. You are free to borrow from any lender of your choice. For a list of lenders see Stevenson University 5 year Alternative Loan Lender List.
For a list of lenders see Stevenson University 5 year Alternative Loan Lender List.
(Note that sometimes the phone numbers listed here do change after this is published. If the number above does not work you may need to check with the lender or try the lender’s website for more recent contact information.)
Stevenson University provides Alternative Student Loan Counseling through the FASTChoice website. The FASTChoice website is powered by Great Lakes Student Loan Services and will provide you with general information about loan types, loan terms, and conditions and borrower responsibilities.
For our larger volume lenders, you will be able to use the FASTChoice comparison tool to view individual bank loan details, including eligibility requirements, interest rates, loan limits, and borrower benefits. Since most credit unions have specific membership requirements, we would suggest that you contact them individually to determine their membership requirements.
It is very important that you pay close attention to the information you receive about a private loan and the repayment of the loan and that you retain the information you receive. It will apply when you have to begin repayment of your loans. Private loans may not have the same flexibility and options available with Direct Loans. You do not want unwelcome surprises and issues when you begin repayment.
If you are planning to use an Alternative Student Loan to pay your charges, please allow sufficient processing time. Most lenders will agree that using a credit-worthy cosigner may speed up the application process, help lower the interest rate, and increase the chance of approval.
When the lender has determined whether the student meets the approval criteria, the lender will contact Stevenson for the school certification. After the certification has been provided, the lender will issue a disclosure statement detailing the loan agreement. If you request to borrow an amount that exceeds eligibility, Stevenson will reduce the requested amount to comply with federal guidelines.
Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification
The Higher Education Opportunity Act was signed into law on August 18, 2008. The Act requires all colleges to adopt a College Loan Code of Conduct. Stevenson University has adopted the College Loan Code of Conduct proposed by the Attorney General of the State of Maryland.