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AIU Financial Aid Guide

Take the next step. Classes Start October 25, 2023

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At American InterContinental University, we strive to take as much stress out of the financial aid process as possible for our prospective students. As you consider your options for applying for various forms of financial aid to help pay for your education, you will most certainly have questions about the process. A few of the most common questions appear below. If the question you have is not answered here, an 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.

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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 aid.

The FAFSA can be completed online at It helps to complete the FAFSA with an FSA ID (electronic signature) to expedite the process. A FSA ID can be obtained by visiting and clicking the link to create a FSA ID. If you are a dependent student for aid purposes, both you and your parent will require a FSA ID to sign the application electronically.

Federal Student Aid has an award year that runs from July 1st to June 30th. The FAFSA has a 21 month application cycle that begins on October 1st, nine months before the start of the award year, and ends on June 30th, the last day of the award year.

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Why do I have to provide parent information on my FAFSA?

Students are considered dependent or independent for 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 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.

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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 October 1st; however, check with your financial aid office to determine when you should reapply.

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What's the difference between a grant and a loan?

A grant is free 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 replay your loans can result in serious consequences and negatively impact your ability to obtain credit in the future.

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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. For Federal Direct Loans, there is a six month grace period after a student moves to a less than half time status before students need to start paying back their loans. Direct Subsidized loans are interest free while the student is enrolled and start accruing interest after the student’s grace period. Interest accrues 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.

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Why should a parent borrow from a Federal Direct PLUS loan instead of a co-signing on a private loan in the student’s name?

Federal Parent Direct 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 Direct PLUS loan and the private loan appear on a credit report and the financial responsibility is the same.

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What do I need to apply for financial aid?

The FAFSA is the most important document to complete when applying for financial aid. When applying, there are a few items to gather 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 exactly as it appears on your social security card. You will need your driver’s license, or Identification card from your state of residence.

If you are not a U.S. citizen but are an eligible non-citizen, you will need to provide your alien registration number. The FAFSA application is available online on The Federal Student Aid website

When filling out the FAFSA, you will need your (and your spouse if married) federal tax documents. If you dependent, you will also need your parents’ tax documentation. You may also need to provide any other asset information, include checking and savings accounts, stocks, bonds, certificates of deposits, mutual funds, real estate (other than the family home), businesses and farms.

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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, and 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. If you are dependent, your parent will also need to apply for a FSA ID to sign your FAFSA.

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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. When providing your information on the FAFSA, there are formulas that calculate your data to determine 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.

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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.

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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 American InterContinental University 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 will be working on a master's program.
  • You are an individual with dependents, 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 were considered an orphan or a ward of the court by age 13, you were in legal guardianship, or you were an emancipated minor.
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What’s the difference between a Federal Direct loan and a private loan?

A Federal Direct 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.

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How can I apply for scholarships?

Besides scholarships through AIU*, 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.

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What is the school code?

  • AIU Atlanta School Code: E01743
  • AIU Houston School Code: E01051
  • AIU Online School Code: 014720
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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.

*University grants or scholarships are based on established criteria as published in the University Catalog and are awarded after verification that the conditions of eligibility have been met. AIU cannot guarantee employment, salary, or career advancement. Financial aid is available for those who qualify.

Classes Start October 25, 2023

Military affiliation includes active duty, veteran, spouse of military or veteran, or anyone eligible to receive military benefits.