Financing Options for Your Education
AIU participates in a variety of federal and state financial aid programs that can assist students with educational expenses including tuition, books and fees. We are committed to helping students explore all of the resources that may be available to help finance their education. Our friendly Financial Aid staff can help you determine the financial aid programs for which you may be eligible.
Students must meet the eligibility requirements of these programs in order to qualify, in accordance with federal, state and institutional policies. Students are responsible for providing all requested documentation in a timely manner. Failure to do so could jeopardize the student’s financial aid eligibility. In order to remain eligible for federal student aid the student must maintain satisfactory academic progress as defined in the University Catalog.
You may access the Department of Education's Student Aid Information page, or guide for a more detailed understanding of student financial aid programs. Below is a brief summary of the financial aid programs in which AIU participates:
The links provided on this page are a good place to start to learn more about the types of financial aid that may be available to help pay for your education. If at any point in the process you have questions or need more information, an AIU student finance epresentative will be happy to provide assistance.
To better understand the options available, we highlighted a few of our key programs and options we have to help you manage the cost of your education.
AIU participates in a number of federally funded financial aid programs, administered in accordance with prevailing federal and state laws and the school's institutional policies. Students must meet the eligibility requirements of these programs in order to participate. Students are responsible for providing all requested documentation in a timely manner; failure to do so may jeopardize financial aid eligibility. In order to remain eligible for federal financial aid, students must maintain satisfactory academic progress as defined in the University Catalog.
Financial aid must be approved and all necessary documentation completed before the aid can be applied toward tuition and fees.
Eligibility for federal financial aid is based on a number of factors; but regardless of your current income level or financial need, you may still qualify for federal financial aid programs that can help offset the cost of your education.
For assistance on your FAFSA, you can contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).
Federal Pell Grant
Grants are free money, that is, they do not need to be paid back. The Pell grant program is designed to assist financially needy undergraduate students who desire to continue their education beyond high school. All students are encouraged to apply through the FAFSA. Eligibility is determined by a standard federal formula which includes family size, income and resources to determine financial need.
How much can I get?
The maximum amount of Pell Grant (for those who qualify) depends on program funding and may change each award year (July 1st - June 30th). The amount a student may receive depends on financial need, cost to attend school, enrollment status and the number of terms/payment periods attended.
|2018-19 Federal Pell Grant Program Maximum|
|Range||$652 - $6,095|
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
The FSEOG is a grant program for undergraduate students with exceptional financial need. Priority is given first to students with Federal Pell Grant eligibility. The federal government allocates FSEOG funds to participating schools. This is a limited pool of funds and the school will determine the awarding criteria based on federal guidelines. Often, due to limited funding, FSEOG award resources are exhausted early in the award year.
How much can I get?
Amounts vary each award year based on the funding levels allocated to the school. For those who qualify, awards may vary based on financial need and the policies of the financial aid office.
|FSEOG Maximum for an Award Year|
|Range||$100 - $4,000|
Federal Stafford Loans (Direct Loans)
Loans are money that must be paid back. Federal Stafford loans are low-interest loans that are made to the student. These loans do not require a credit check are available to pay for direct costs (tuition, fees, books and supplies). As of July 1st, 2010 all schools participate in The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. There are two types of Stafford Loans; subsidized and unsubsidized.
A Subsidized loan is need-based and the government pays (subsidizes) the interest while the student is in school at least half-time and for six months after the student ceases attending at least half-time (called a grace period).
If students don’t qualify for a subsidized loan, they may qualify for an Unsubsidized Loan (Independent students may also qualify for additional unsubsidized loan beyond the base amount). Unlike a subsidized loan, the student is responsible for paying the interest that accrues from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. Students may choose to pay the interest while in school or allow it to accrue and be capitalized (that is, added to the principal amount of the loan). Capitalizing the interest will increase the amount to repay.
Federal Direct Stafford Loans: How much can I borrow?
Whether Subsidized or Unsubsidized, eligibility is determined based on dependency status, financial need, cost to attend school and the number of terms/payment periods attended. Repayment obligations begin six months after the student graduates, withdraws, or falls below a half-time enrollment status.
Loan limits depend on the student's grade level and loan type (Subsidized or Unsubsidized).
|Federal Direct Stafford Loan Annual Maximums (Subsidized & Unsubsidized Combined)|
|Student Category||Dependent Student||Independent Student|
|Junior & Senior||$7,500||$12,500|
*Beginning with loans first disbursed after June 30th, 2012, graduate students are only eligible for Unsubsidized loans.
|Federal Direct Stafford Loan Annual Maximums (Subsidized & Unsubsidized Combined)|
|Education Level||Maximum Combined Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford||Maximum Subsidized Stafford - based on need|
PLUS (Parent and Graduate) Loans
All loans are money that must be paid back. As of July 1st, 2010 all schools participate in The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program.
A Parent PLUS Loan may be available to parents of dependent, undergraduate students. Either one or both parents may borrow through this program. The Parent PLUS Loan is not based on need, but when combined with other resources cannot exceed the student's cost to attend school for the academic year. A credit check on the parent borrower is required. Repayment begins within 60 days of final disbursement of the loan. However, parents may request deferment of payments while the student is attending at least half time.
A Graduate PLUS Loan may be available to a student seeking Graduate and/or Professional degrees and are not based on need. A credit check is required and the student must complete the FAFSA. Repayment begins within 60 days of final disbursement of the loan. However, students may request deferment of payments while attending at least half time.
How does the borrower apply for a PLUS loan?
Parents (Parent PLUS) and Graduate students (Graduate PLUS) must complete a Direct PLUS Loan application and promissory note, contained in a single form available from the financial aid office.
How much can I borrow?
The yearly limit on a PLUS Loan (Parent and Graduate) is equal to the cost to attend school minus any other financial aid received. For example: If the cost to attend school for the year is $20,000 and the student receives $8,000 in other financial aid, the PLUS loan may not exceed $12,000.
Federal Work Study (FWS)
FWS is a financial aid program designed to assist students in meeting some of the costs of their education by working part-time while attending school. Positions may be on-campus, off-campus, or community service related. A candidate must demonstrate financial need (as determined by the Department of Education) to be eligible for a FWS award. The number of positions available may be limited depending upon the school’s annual funding allocation from the federal government.
How much can I earn?
Federal Work Study students are paid an hourly wage. Wages for the program must equal at least the current federal minimum wage, but may be higher, depending on the type of work performed and the skills required. The maximum amount a student may earn in an award year cannot exceed the total FWS award. When assigning work hours, the employer or financial aid administrator will consider the award amount, class schedule, and satisfactory academic progress. For a listing of available positions please contact the Financial Aid Office.
*Financial Aid is available for those who qualify
Repaying Federal Loans
It is important to understand that most types of financial aid come in the form of student loans. For most student loans, repayment is, or can be, deferred until after you leave school or drop below half-time status. At AIU, we will not only work with you throughout the financial aid process, but we will also provide you with valuable resources to understand and make informed decisions about your repayment obligations.
When you leave AIU, you will have access to a student loan specialist who will stay in contact with you regarding the repayment of your student loans. The specialist will be able to provide you with information regarding grace periods, deferment, forbearance and more. This individual will help you be well-informed if you need to set up a payment plan.
For those who like to plan ahead, there are student loan repayment resources like the Department of Education's repayment calculator. Please take the time to review this resource for perspective on your student-loan borrowing. For assistance with using the repayment calculator, contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).
Grace Periods and Interest Rates
Federal Direct Stafford Loans
After a borrower graduates, leaves school, or drops below half-time enrollment, Federal Direct Stafford Loans that were made for that period of study have several months before payments are required to begin. This period of time is called a “grace period”. Each Federal Direct Stafford Loan (Subsidized and Unsubsidized) has a six-month grace period that starts the day after you stop attending at least half-time. You don't have to make payments during your grace period; however interest does continue to accrue. Please refer to the Federal Student Aid website for specific award year interest rates: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/loans/interest-rates.
Federal Direct PLUS Loans
Unlike Federal Direct Stafford Loans, there is no automatic six-month grace period for Federal Direct PLUS Loans. However, if you're a graduate or professional student PLUS borrower (or if you're a parent PLUS borrower who is also a student), you can defer repayment while you're enrolled in school at least half time and (for Direct PLUS Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2008) for an additional 6 months after you graduate or drop below half-time enrollment.
If you’re a parent PLUS borrower, you can defer repayment of Direct PLUS Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2008, while the student for whom you obtained the loan is enrolled at least half time, and for an additional 6 months after the student graduates or drops below half-time enrollment.
For Federal Direct PLUS Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2008, the repayment begins 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed;
- For Direct PLUS Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2017, and before July1, 2018, the interest rate is 7%. These are fixed interest rates for the life of the loan.
- Please refer to the Federal Student Aid website for other specific award year interest rates: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/loans/interest-rates.
A borrower’s repayment period begins the day after their loans’ grace periods end. First payments will be due within 60 days of the beginning of the repayment period. Borrowers have many repayment options to choose from. Keep in mind that during the course of repayment you may need to change repayment plans depending on your financial circumstances. You must contact your loan provider to discuss, apply and/or change to alternative repayment options.
- Payment in Full (Direct Loans & FFEL) - You may repay a portion or your entire loan at any time without penalty.
- Standard Repayment Plan (Direct Loans & FFEL) - Fixed monthly payment to repay the loan in full within 10 years (not including periods of deferment or forbearance). Monthly payments start at a minimum of $50 and remain level. Your actual payments may be higher, depending on the amount you borrow.
- Graduated Repayment (Direct Loans & FFEL) - Payments start out lower and gradually increase to ensure the loan(s) are paid off within 10 years. This option assumes that income will grow enough to cover the increasing loan payments. You'll pay more total interest over the life of the loan than under the standard plan, because your initial payments mainly go toward interest, not principal. You must repay the loan in full within 10 years (not including periods of deferment or forbearance).
- Extended Repayment (Direct Loans & FFEL) - To be eligible for either, you must be a new borrower on or after 10-7-1998 and the total outstanding loan amounts must be $30,000 or more. Payments are either fixed or graduated. The life of the loan must not exceed 25 years. You'll pay more total interest over the life of the loan than under the standard plan, because your initial payments mainly go toward interest, not principal.
- Income-Sensitive Repayment (Direct Loans & FFEL) - The payment is adjusted annually based on your yearly income amounts. If you have a relatively low income and a high loan balance, payments may be based on a percentage of your gross monthly income. Your monthly payment must be at least enough to cover the interest that accrues each month. You'll pay more total interest over the life of the loan than under the standard plan, because your initial payments mainly go toward interest, not principal. You must repay the loan in full within 10 years (not including periods of deferment or forbearance).
- Income-Based Repayment (Direct Loans & FFEL) - This repayment option is only available for borrowers who demonstrate a financial hardship. If you qualify for this option, your maximum monthly payments will be 10% or 15% of your discretionary income depending on when you received your first loans, but never more than you would have paid under the 10-year Standard Repayment Plan. Payments are recalculated each year and are based on updated income and family size. If you have not repaid your loan in full after making the equivalent of 20 or 25 years of qualifying monthly payments (depending on when you received your first loans), any outstanding balance may be forgiven.
- Income-Contingent Repayment (Direct Loans only) - The monthly payment amount will be based on your annual income (and your spouses', if you are married), family size and the total amount owed on your Direct Loans. As your income changes, payments may change. If you do not repay your loan in full after 25 years under this plan, the unpaid portion will be forgiven. You may have to pay income tax on any amount forgiven.
- Pay as you Earn Repayment (Direct Loans) - Under this repayment plan, the required monthly payment for a borrower who has a partial financial hardship is limited to no more than 10 percent of the amount by which the borrower's AGI exceeds 150 percent of the poverty guideline applicable to the borrower's family size, divided by 12. The Secretary of Education determines annually whether the borrower continues to qualify for this reduced monthly payment based on the amount of the borrower's eligible loans, AGI, and poverty guideline. Any outstanding balances on loans taken out for undergraduate study, and not paid in full after 20 years, will be forgiven. Any outstanding balances on loans taken out for graduate or professional study, and not paid in full after 25 years, will be forgiven.
- Consolidation (Direct Loans & FFEL) - This loan is designed to assist you with managing your debt. It is available only to students who are no longer in school. You may combine loan amounts from, FFEL / Direct Loan, other loans and lenders into one payment schedule using a fixed interest rate and longer repayment period (up to 30 years). This allows an extended repayment period and lower monthly payments. However, the interest rate and total cost of the loan may be greater. In addition to increasing your total cost of debt, you may lose eligibility for certain types of deferments if you consolidate. Carefully review your deferment eligibility before making the decision to consolidate. Under certain circumstances, your student loan, or a portion of your loan, may be cancelled, forgiven, or discharged. If you consolidate your loans, you may lose eligibility for certain cancellation or forgiveness programs. To apply for a Federal Consolidation Loan, your loans must be in a grace period or in repayment (including periods of deferment). If you choose to waive your grace period, that waiver is permanent and cannot be rescinded. If your loans are in default, you do have options if you want to consolidate. For more information contact the current holder(s) of the loan(s).
Deferment, Forbearance, and Loan Discharge/Forgiveness
One way to have your loan payments postponed is through a deferment. A deferment is a period of time during which your lender temporarily suspends your regular payments. Deferments are not automatic; you must apply and be approved for deferment.
The most common reasons for deferment of Federal Direct Stafford Loans include:
- Returned to school for at least half-time attendance
- Rehabilitation training program
- Loss of a job or inability to find a job (up to three years)
- Active Duty Military service
- Economic hardship, or serving in the Peace Corps (up to three years)
- Graduate fellowship program
The most common reasons for deferment of Federal Direct PLUS Loans include:
- Attending school at least halftime.
- Unemployed (up to three years).
- Studying in an approved graduate fellowship or rehabilitation program for the disabled.
- Experiencing economic hardship (up to three years).
Refer to your promissory note for specific deferment provisions.
If you are having difficulty repaying your loan but do not qualify for a deferment, you may request a forbearance from your lender or servicer. Forbearance is the temporary postponement or reduction in your payment. It may extend the time it takes to repay your loan. Interest continues to accrue during the forbearance, causing the total loan amount to increase. You must contact your lender/holder to request forbearance. Most forbearance is discretionary - it is completely up to your loan holder to grant one. There are two types of forbearances, General and Mandatory.
General Forbearances are temporary, and may not exceed more than 12 months at a time. Additional General Forbearances may be requested if you continue to meet the eligibility requirements.
General Forbearances may pertain to situations such as:
- Financial difficulties
- Medical Expenses
- Change in Employment
- Other reasons acceptable to the loan servicer
Mandatory Forbearances may not exceed 12 months at a time. Additional Mandatory Forbearances may be requested if you continue to meet the eligibility requirements.
Mandatory Forbearances may pertain to situations such as:
- Service in a medical or dental internship or residency program
- The total amount owed each month for all the student loans received is 20 percent or more of your total monthly gross income, for up to three years
- Service in an AmeriCorps position for which a national service award is received
- Performing a teaching service that would qualify for teacher loan forgiveness
- Qualification for partial repayment of loans under the U.S. Department of Defense Student Loan Repayment Program
- Member of the National Guard and have been activated by a governor, but are not eligible for a military deferment
You may be eligible for loan discharge/forgiveness if you meet the federally mandated requirement. If you are eligible for loan discharge, your student loan will be forgiven and you will not have to repay the loan. GENERALLY, FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS MAY NOT BE DISCHARGED OR CANCELLED DUE TO BANKRUPTCY. Possible reasons for student loan discharge include:
- Total and permanent disability
- False certification of Student eligibility or unauthorized signature/unauthorized payment discharge
- Identity Theft
- School closure
- Certain areas of the teaching or child care professions
- Bankruptcy (in rare cases)
- Certain Public Service Employees
- Unpaid refund and any accrued interest and other charges associated with the unpaid refund
- Survivors of victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks
The following reasons would not warrant discharge or forgiveness of Federal Direct Loans:
- The student didn’t complete the program of study
- The student didn’t like the school of the program of study
- The student didn’t obtain employment after completing the program of study
Loan Repayment Programs
There are certain programs that help borrowers repay loans. These include but are not limited to:
- AmeriCorps service program (www.americorps.org or (800) 942-2677)
- Serving as an enlisted person in the National Guard or Reserve programs (contact your recruiter for information)
Consequences of Default
Loans must be repaid and your signed promissory note includes details about your rights and responsibilities for your student loans. Failure to make timely payments on these loans may result in your loan being placed in what is called “default” status. A Direct Stafford Loan is considered in default when it reaches 271 days past due. Some of the consequences include:
- Adverse credit score. This could impact your ability to borrow in the future (e.g., you may be denied a car loan);
- Loss of eligibility for further federal student financial aid;
- Loss of deferment and forbearance entitlements and flexible repayment options;
- Garnishment of your wages;
- Withholding of your state and federal treasury payments (including an income tax refund due to you, or you and your spouse, Social Security benefits, etc.);
- Civil lawsuit, including court costs and legal expenses. The federal government can take legal action against you;
- Late fees, additional interest, court costs, collection costs, attorney’s fees, and other costs incurred in collecting the loans, which can increase your loan debt;.
- Suspension of your professional license, if applicable.
Private loans are made by lenders and may have terms and conditions that are less favorable than the Federal Direct Stafford or Federal Direct PLUS loans. Various lending institutions offer loans to help cover the gap between the cost of education and the amount of Federal eligibility. A cosigner may be required to meet the program’s credit criteria.
If you decide to apply for a loan to help pay for your education, you have the right to choose any lender you wish.
Interest rates are often determined by the borrower’s and/or cosigner’s credit rating and credit history. Terms and conditions will vary by lender, so be sure to read all of the details on the loan before you borrow.
At AIU, we strive to take as much stress out of the financial aid process as possible for our prospective students.
As you move through the financial aid process, you may have questions about your options. A few of the most common questions students have about financial aid are answered below. If the question you have is not answered here, a AIU Financial Aid Advisor will be happy to provide the information you need.
What is financial aid?
Financial aid is the name used for federal, state and private resources that may help pay for college costs. Typically financial aid consists of grants, scholarships, loans and student employment. Grants and scholarships usually do not have to be repaid. Loans must be repaid with payments usually beginning after the student is no longer enrolled at least half time. Student employment consists of opportunities for students to earn money to pay for educational expenses. Financial Aid is available for those who qualify.Back To Top
How do I apply for financial aid?
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, more commonly known as the FAFSA, is the single application needed to apply for all sources of federal student aid. The FAFSA can be completed online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. It helps to complete and sign the FAFSA electronically to expedite the process. You can sign electronically by using a FSA ID. A FSA ID can be obtained by visiting fsaid.ed.gov and clicking on the link to register. If you are a dependent student for aid purposes, both you and your parent will require a FSA ID to sign the application electronically.Back To Top
Why do I have to provide parent information on my FAFSA?
Students are considered dependent or independent for federal financial aid purposes based on criteria established by Congress. For example, students who are under the age of 24, single, have no dependents and are not veterans are typically considered dependent for federal financial aid purposes. Dependent students are required to have parents provide financial information on the FAFSA in order to determine eligibility for the various federal aid programs. Check with the financial aid office to determine your dependency status if you are unsure.Back To Top
How often do I have to reapply for aid?
Students must reapply for federal and state aid each year. Typically, students should reapply for aid as soon as possible after January 1st; however, check with your financial aid office to determine when you should reapply.Back To Top
What’s the difference between a grant and a loan?
A grant is money and usually does not have to be repaid. Loans are borrowed money and must always be repaid regardless of whether you complete the program or are unsatisfied with your educational experience. Failure to repay your loans can result in serious consequences and negatively impact your ability to obtain credit in the future.Back To Top
When do I have to repay my loans?
Repayment on most loans will begin after the student is no longer enrolled at least half time. Some loans are interest free while the student is enrolled. Interest may accrue on other loans even while the student is enrolled. Check with the financial aid office, they can help explain the differences in the types of loans you have. In all cases, loans must be repaid regardless of whether you complete the program or are satisfied with your educational experience. Failure to repay your loans can result in serious consequences and negatively impact your ability to obtain credit in the future. If at any point in the financial aid process you have questions or need more information, an AIU Financial Aid Advisor will be happy to provide assistance.Back To Top
Why should a parent borrow from a Federal PLUS loan instead of a co-signing on a private loan in the student’s name?
Federal Parent PLUS loans are part of the Federal Student Aid Program. Parents who co-sign on a private loan are just as responsible for repaying the loan (usually at higher rates) as the student if the student fails to make payments. In other words, whether one is the borrower or co-borrower, both the Federal PLUS loan and the private loan appear on a credit report and the financial responsibility is the same.Back To Top
What do I need to apply for financial aid?
The FAFSA is the most important document to complete when applying for financial aid. In addition, there are a few other things that you need to have on hand before you start. If you are a U.S. citizen, you are required to have a social security number. The U.S. Department of Education will match your social security number to your name, so be sure that you enter your full name as it appears on your social security card. If you are not a U.S. citizen but are an eligible non-citizen, have your alien registration number ready. If you have a driver’s license, have that number handy. You will also need your federal tax returns and your parents’ returns, if dependent, as well as other asset information. Examples of assets include checking and savings accounts, stocks, bonds, certificates of deposits, mutual funds, real estate (other than the family home), businesses and farms.Back To Top
What is a FSA ID?
A Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID is a user-selected username and password that will authenticate your identity to access your federal student aid information. This login process will be used to access student and borrower-based websites, including FAFSA, NSLDS® Student Access, StudentLoans.gov and StudentAid.gov. The FSA ID is a single sign-on process that makes applying for aid quick and easy. Remember, your FSA ID is private and should never be shared with anyone.Back To Top
How is it determined which forms of financial aid I qualify for?
There is a Congressionally determined set of formulas used for assessing financial need for the Federal Student Aid programs. The process starts with the FAFSA. If you haven’t already, you’ll be hearing a lot about this important form. These formulas are used to calculate an Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which is a theoretical index of a family’s financial strength. Don’t worry; this is not the amount you are expected to contribute. The EFC is simply the result of a specific calculation. The difference between the EFC and the calculated cost of attendance (which includes the estimated average tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, board, transportation and personal expenses), will determine the amount of aid (need-based and non-need based) for which you may qualify.Back To Top
My parents make too much money for me to receive financial aid. What options are available to me?
Regardless of how much money you or your parents make, you should still complete the FAFSA. Some sources of aid are not need-based, and are available to those who qualify.Back To Top
What does dependent vs. independent mean?
Determining your dependency status is an important step in the financial aid application process. The definition for dependent or independent student for the purposes of federal student aid may be very different from what you might consider for yourself. It also is different from the IRS definition of dependency. This is not a status that AIU assigns to you but rather a determination made from your answers to several questions on the FAFSA form. Some of the more common criteria that lead to an independent status are:
- You are 24 years of age prior to January 1 of the current award year.
- You are married as of the day you sign your FAFSA.
- You are an individual with dependents, other than a spouse, for whom you provide more than half of their financial support.
- You are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces.
- You are currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training.
- You are an orphan or a ward of the court.
What’s the difference between a Federal Stafford loan and a private loan?
A Federal Stafford loan is a federal loan available for those who qualify to help students pay for their education. These educational loans have low interest rates and require no credit check. A private loan is an unsecured loan made by a lender which may have higher interest rates and usually requires a credit check.Back To Top
How can I apply for scholarships?
You can research options using a variety of scholarship search websites. Researching and applying can be time consuming, but your effort may be worth your time if you find extra funding. A word of caution: do not use agencies that charge fees to find scholarships. You can do this search on your own and free of charge.Back To Top
What is the school code?
Financial aid is available for those who qualify.