Financial Aid – Frequently Asked Questions

What is the FAFSA?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) determines eligibility for all federal financial aid programs including grants and education related loans. The FAFSA process determines how much a family can afford to contribute toward the student’s college education based on household income and other factors.  The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is subtracted from the Cost of Attendance (COA) budget to determine unmet need.

What kind of aid is available to students?

There are three types of federal funding:



Eligibility for Financial Aid programs requires a minimum period enrollment.  In general, university and state scholarships/grants require consecutive full-time, degree-seeing enrollment.  Federal programs require at least a half-time enrollment status, except for the Pell Grant program which disburses for less-than-half-time enrollment.


My Student Aid Report states that I have been selected for verification. What is verification?

The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) requires certain student applicants to verify the accuracy of information provided when applying for federal aid.  To complete the process, you will be asked to submit a Federal Verification Worksheet for either a dependent or independent student, whichever applies to you, with a signed copy of your tax return (and that of your parent(s), if dependent).  For more information on the process, please refer to our verification policy.

Both of my parents are deceased; am I still considered a dependent student?

No, if both parents are deceased and you are under the care of a guardian (not including adoptive parents) or ward of the court (foster care up to adulthood and/or with a court appointed guardian) you are entitled to receive financial aid as an independent student.  In addition to any grants for which you may be eligible, you will qualify for the same loan limits as independent students.  To accomplish a dependency override, please contact the FAO with any documentation of your status that you may be able to provide.  You may also consult  The American Orphan Association, Inc., a non-profit organization that offers scholarships for orphans.  The Veterans Administration offers education benefits to children of deceased or disabled veterans (VA Benefits).  You may also be eligible for benefits from your state or local government.

I am a US Veteran. How do I apply for benefits?

Your first step is to provide your application and appropriate documentation to the Office of Academic Records at least 8 – 12 weeks prior to your semester starting date to ensure timely processing. GI Bill checks are sent directly to the student, not the University, so if you are paying your tuition from the proceeds of your benefits, you may opt to set up a payment plan with the Bursar’s Office.  For more information, consult our VA Benefits page.

How do I know I'll be able to afford to repay my student loans in the career I have chosen?

You can never be sure of the future, but you can prepare now for the likelihood that the field of employment you are seeking will or will not be adequate to support you during your repayment term.  It is never too early to plan your career and then pursue your education within a reasonable budget.  To help you determine the current demand and median salary for your desired future employment, or to see if this field is the “best fit” for you, you may consult Career Ship  or a similar online job prospecting website to help answer some of the questions you may have regarding the demand for the job, the requirements, and the approximate salary both nationwide and within your state.  After you have calculated your potential loan debt upon graduation, plug the figures into a loan calculator to determine your approximate monthly payment.  Then use this figure in a budget calculator using your prospective future earnings.

Are international students eligible for work study?

No, international student cannot receive work study, but there are other on campus employment opportunities for all students.  Please go to College Central Network for a complete listing of available positions.

Can I get financial aid each year?

Yes! Your financial aid is renewable each year you attend Ave Maria University as long as you renew your FAFSA annually and maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).

My grade point average does not meet SAP; have I lost my financial aid for the academic year?

The FAO reviews SAP at the end of every semester.  If you are deficient, you will be placed on warning for the following semester.  Freshmen students are required to earn a  minimum 1.7 grade point average (GPA); sophomore, 1.9; and junior /senior, 2.0.  In addition, you must have successfully completed a minimum of 66.67% of your coursework to maintain adequate academic pace.  For example, if you are a freshman with a grade point average less than 1.7 the the end of the Fall, 2011 semester, you will be placed on financial aid warning for the spring, 2012 semester and your financial aid will disburse for the spring.  At the end of the spring, 2012 semester, SAP is reviewed again.  If you have met all of the conditions of your warning period, your GPA exceeds 1.7, and completion rate is above 66.67%, you will be taken off of warning.  If you have not met all criteria, you will be placed on financial aid suspension.  Your financial aid disbursement for the following summer or fall, 2012 semester is suspended from disbursing.  Warning periods are at the discretion of the FAO; you may be placed on suspension immediately if you fail to earn a grade higher than “F” in all coursework.

However, AMU offers you a second chance to make the grade.  If there are extraordinary circumstances surrounding your academic performance, you may submit a Petition for Reinstatement to the FAO along with any documentation of illness, injury, or family emergency if applicable.  Your circumstances will be taken into consideration and, if the petition is approved, you will be taken off of suspension and placed on probation for the following semester. You can also register for summer courses to help improve your gpa prior to the fall semester. To learn more about the petition process, please review our Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy and contact the FAO at (239) 280-1669 if you have any questions or concerns.


What if my grade point average is not sufficient to meet the requirements for my Florida Bright Futures Scholarship?

The Florida Bright Futures Scholarship program has strict guidelines for student eligibility and renewal.  The minimum required gpa for Florida Merit Scholars (FMS) is 2.75.  The minimum for Florida Academic Scholars (FAS) is 3.0.  Bright Futures is reviewed annually, at the end of the spring semester.  In the event a FMS or FAS recipient falls below 2.75, his or her scholarship will not disburse the following academic year.  If a FAS recipient earns between a 2.75 and 2.99, the scholarship will be reduced to the FMS level and will disburse at the lesser amount the following academic year.

In the event you have transfer credits that, when combined with current, cummulative earned credits exceeds the FMS or FAS scholarships’ required minimum, you must request that the FAO review the transcripts from prior institutions and recalculate the gpa.  If you are determined to be eligible, the FAO will submit the request to reinstate the student to the BF Program without penalty.  You may also take summer courses to improve the cummulative gpa, however, you must inform the FAO within 30 days upon completion of the summer semester if a grade review is in order.  In the event of illness or emergency, an appeal can be submitted to the FAO for consideration.

If the FMS or FAS is revoked, you may have the opportunity to re-establish eligibility and apply for restoration depending on the year of your award and the terms of restoration in effect at the time of the award.  This means you must go without any funding for a minimum of one, full academic year before applying for restoration.  This is a one time opportunity.  Please note that FAS can be restored, but it will only be restored as FMS.  If you fall below the minimum required gpa a second time, the scholarship will be permanently revoked.  Please consult your Bright Futures student account to determine your eligibility for restoration.


Can I get financial aid for the summer term?

If you have not used your full year’s allocation for student loan funding prior to the summer term, you will be able to apply the excess amount to your summer tuition and fees. Please contact the Financial Aid Office after you have registered for the summer term.  Minimum half-time enrollment applies for Stafford student loans.

Does institutional aid disburse for the summer term?

Institutional money, including but not limited to scholarships and grant money, is alloted only for the fall and spring semester.

Can I receive financial aid even though I am not a degree seeking student?

No, you are ineligible for financial aid as a non-degree student.  However, you should contact the Financial Aid office to inquire about alternative loans to pay for the cost of tuition and fees.

What if I have received financial aid and I have to withdraw from school during the term?

If you must withdraw before the end of the semester, the Financial Aid Office will conduct a Title IV return calculation, whereby the amount of aid you have not “earned” during your enrollment must be returned to the program(s) from which it disbursed in accordance with AMU’s federally mandated return policy.  This amount is jointly shared by AMU and the student, and is based on your official withdrawal date or the date on which you last attended class.  Failure to notify the Office of Academic Records of your change in enrollment may constitute an earlier withdrawal date than actually occurred if your attendance cannot be properly verified, resulting in a greater return of funds.  You will also need to consult the Academic Records’ Office Policy of Withdrawal in the AMU Catalgue concerning the amount of tuition and fees you are eligible to have refunded;  in the event you withdraw after the fourth week of class, you may not receive any refund of tuition.  Be aware that Federal Student Aid may not cover all unpaid institutional charges upon withdrawal.  You should take into consideration your financial responsibility to the institution, federal programs, and your lender prior to making your final decision.  Please consult the FAO if you would like to be provided an estimate of earned Title IV Aid and/or amount of return of Title IV aid for which you may be responsible.


What if my financial circumstances change?

If your situation is unusual or financial circumstances have significantly changed from the previous tax year, you may submit a Change In Circumstances form.  If you have questions, contact our office and we will be happy  to help you through the process.


I have a Florida Pre Paid Tuition Fund. Can I use it to pay my tuition at AMU?

Yes.  Please provide a copy of your Florida Prepaid College Tuition card to the Business Office and follow the instructions on the web at  to apply your benefits.


What is the process for using aid to pay for my books and/or supplies?

If you are awarded more money than necessary for tuition and University fees, it can be used to help pay for books or supplies. The bookstore will be notified that you have those funds and what that amount is available to purchase your books. Please note: your eligibility to use these funds will be limited to a minimal time frame, such as the first week of classes.

I am applying for graduate school and need to take the GRE. Is there a discount available to needy students?

Yes, the GRE reduction certificate is available to students who qualify through the Financial Aid Office.  You must be a US resident or eligible non-citizen with an EFC (in your last academic year) of $1400 for dependent students and $1800 for independent students.  The certificate allows a 50% discount on your testing fee.  Deadlines apply, please consult the GRE testing center website for test dates and discount deadlines.

How can I estimate my out-of-pocket cost to attend AMU?

Prospective students can estimate the cost of attending AMU, minus institutional, federal, and state assistance, by using the online Net Price Calculator (NPC).  Students who have not completed a FAFSA will need student and parent tax information, bank and investment statements, and student academic records.  Students who have completed the FAFSA need only to provide the calcualted Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and academic records.  The NPC will provde iyour estimated out of pocket expense based on the information provided.

Where else can I find financial assistance for education?

Your high school guidance office, your local library, our financial aid website, local businesses and labor organizations, non-profit and for-profit organizations such as religious organizations and town clubs, and scholarship services on the internet can all be helpful resources.  Here are some reputable web sites: , .

Government entities such as  The Florida State Higher Education Agency, US Armed Forces, and US Department of Veterans Affairs offer various forms of benefits for qualified individuals. Education tax benefits are offered by the IRS; go to  , click on “Individuals,” then “Students” for information on tax benefits through the Hope Tax Credit or Lifetime Learning Tax Credit.


Where can I get advice on loans and money management?

To learn how to manage your money and handle your college debt, visit the Department of Education’s website at  Useful information regarding financial literacy may be found at, a website maintained by the U.S. Financial Literacy and Education Commission, or