Financial Aid Basics

You might be surprised to find out how much financial aidMoney provided to the student and the family to help them pay for the student's education. Major forms of financial aid include gift aid (grants and scholarships) and self help aid (loans and work). you can receive, regardless of your family’s incomeIncome is the amount of money received from employment (salary, wages, tips), profit from financial instruments (interest, dividends, capital gains), or other sources (welfare, disability, child support, taxable Social Security, and pensions). level. You won’t know what you are eligible for unless you apply! With a little preparation and a few tips on how to get through the financial aid application process, financing your college education is within your reach.

Although UNT makes every effort to keep costs low, many students still need help paying for college. The Student Financial Aid and Scholarships office annually awards $320 million in financial aid, including more than $36 million in scholarships.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is an application that helps colleges and universities determine your eligibility for financial aid. In fact, nearly all students who complete the FAFSA receive some type of financial assistance.

Financial aid awards are funded and regulated by federal and state governments, so applying for and receiving financial aid is a process. The information and advice in this guide will help you get started. Then, by planning ahead, applying early and following the necessary steps, you will be able to meet your goal.

We’re here to help you. For more information, call us at 940-565-2302 or drop by the Student Financial Aid and Scholarships office on the first and second floors of the Eagle Student Services Center. See map.

Am I eligible to apply for financial aid?

Student graduation

To apply for federal financial aid (grants, work-study, loans), you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen*
  • Have a valid Social Security number
  • Have a high school diploma or a GED (general equivalency diploma)
  • Be accepted for admission by the university and enrolled in an eligible degree or certification program
  • Not be in default on any Title IV loan (Federal Perkins LoanFormerly the National Direct Student Loan Program, the Perkins Loan allows students to borrow up to $4,000/year for undergraduate school and $6,000/year for graduate school. The Perkins Loan has one of the lowest interest rates and is awarded to students with exceptional financial need. The student must have applied for a Pell Grant to be eligible. The interest on the Perkins Loan is subsidized while the student is in school. At UNT, graduate students are given first priority for Perkins funding. or Federal Stafford Loan) or owe a refund on educational funds received at any institution
  • Be registered with the Selective Service, if required
  • Enroll in and maintain at least a half-timeDuring each term, 6-8 credit hours is considered half-time for undergraduate students. For graduate students, 5 hours is considered half-time. class load at UNT and demonstrate Satisfactory Academic Progress as defined by Student Financial Aid and Scholarships

* Non-documented students may qualify for state assistance under Texas Senate Bill 1528.

How and when do I apply?

To receive first consideration for awards, submit your FAFSA by the priority deadlines.

If you miss the priority deadlines, you can still submit your application. Student Financial Aid and Scholarships will continue to process applications received after these dates.

Learn how to apply for financial aid using our step-by-step application process.

* Summer applicants: In addition to the FAFSA, you will be required to complete the Summer Application for Financial Aid, which will be available in early spring at my.unt.edu.

When I complete the FAFSA, will I be applying for scholarships?

No. Applying for scholarships is separate. However, many scholarships could require you to complete the FAFSA. For information about scholarships, visit our scholarships page or contact the academic department that corresponds to your major.

Take Note! 
You must apply for financial aid each year. Changes in federal regulations, educational costs and your family circumstances make it necessary to evaluate your eligibility annually. To continue your eligibility, you also must meet Satisfactory Academic Progress guidelines. You may complete a renewal FAFSA on the web as early as Jan. 1 of each year.

What types of financial aid are available?

Grants: A grant is a type of need-basedFinancial aid that is need-based depends on your financial situation. Most government sources of financial aid are need-based. aid that does not have to be repaid. Your financial needThe difference between the COA and the EFC is the student's financial need - the gap between the cost of attending the school and the student's resources. The financial aid package is based on the amount of financial need. The process of determining a student's need is known as need analysis. is determined by the FAFSA. Many federal, state and institutional grants are available at UNT.

Work-study: Work-study jobs are partially funded by the state or federal government. Your eligibility for the work-study program is determined by financial need. Work-study students work 10 to 20 hours per week on campus and receive an hourly wage. A typical award is up to $4,000 per nine-month academic period. Students who are not eligible for work-study may seek employment on campus by visiting the Career Center’s website.

Loans: Loans are available at low interest rates to students and parents of dependentSee Dependency Status. students and must be repaid after you graduate or drop below half-time status. Some loans are based on financial need and others are available regardless of your financial circumstances. Several loan programs are available at UNT.

How is financial need determined?

Student graduation

The U.S. Department of Education determines your
Expected Family ContributionThe Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is the amount of money that the family is expected to be able to contribute toward the student's education as determined by the Federal Methodology need analysis formula. The EFC includes the parent contribution and the student contribution, and depends on the student's dependency status, family size, number of family members in school, taxable and nontaxable income, and assets. The difference between the COA and the EFC is the student's financial need, and is used in determining the student's eligibility for need-based financial aid. If there are unusual financial circumstances, such as high medical expenses, loss of employment, or death of a parent, that may affect your ability to pay for your education, the student needs to tell their financial aid administrator (FAA). He or she can adjust the COA or EFC to compensate. (EFC) based on information
you provide on the FAFSA. Parent and student resources are
considered the first source of funds to finance an education.
Financial aid is intended to supplement, not replace, family
resources. The primary responsibility of funding rests with
families and students. Parents’ income is not included in the
EFC for an independent studentSee Dependency Status.

Learn more about how UNT determines your financial need.

Special circumstances

Representatives in the Student Financial Aid and Scholarships office can use professional judgmentFor need-based federal aid programs, the financial aid counselor (or administrator) can adjust the EFC, adjust the COA, or change the dependency status (with documentation) when extenuating circumstances exist. For example, if a parent becomes unemployed, disabled, or deceased, the FAA can decide to use estimated income information for the award year instead of the actual income figures from the base year. This delegation of authority from the federal government to the financial aid counselor or administrator is called Professional Judgment (PJ). and take special circumstances into consideration as decisions are being made about financial aid award packages. Examples of situations that are considered to be “special circumstances” include:

  • Loss or reduction of employment, wages, or unemployment compensation
  • Loss of untaxed incomeContributions to IRAs, Keoghs, tax-sheltered annuities, and 401k plans, as well as worker's compensation and welfare benefits. or benefits, such as Social Security or child support
  • Separation or divorce
  • Loss of a parent or spouse
  • Unusually high medical expenses

Contact Student Financial Aid and Scholarships for more information on special circumstances.

When will I know?

Student Financial Aid and Scholarships will receive your FAFSA data electronically shortly after you have completed
your FAFSA and you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR)The Student Aid Report (SAR) summarizes the information included in the FAFSA. The SAR will also indicate Pell Grant eligibility, if any, and the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The student will receive a copy of your SAR four to six weeks after the FAFSA has been filed. The student should review the SAR and correct any errors on part 2. If the Processor was able to calculate an EFC, the student will be able to submit the SAR to the FAO for corrections (in most cases). If an EFC was not calculated, the student will need to send the corrections to the Processor. It is advised that the student keep a photocopy of the SAR for their records. To request a duplicate copy of a SAR, the student would need to call 1-800-433-3243.. If you feel corrections are necessary, contact Student Financial Aid and Scholarships. If your SAR is accurate, keep it for your records.

Student Financial Aid and Scholarships will notify you at my.unt.edu with additional instructions. It is important that you respond to all requests for additional information in a timely manner. Your file must be complete and you must be admitted to UNT before processing of aid can continue. Again, applying for and receiving financial aid is a process.

You may access your financial aid information at my.unt.edu. The amount of your financial aid award will be posted on myUNT, where you can accept or decline each award.

Do I have other options?

Financial Aid Success Checklist

  • The online FAFSA is available January 1. Apply early to get first consideration for awards!
  • Request the PIN required for filing the FAFSA.
  • You can transfer information directly into your FAFSA with the Data Retrieval Tool.
  • For fall/spring semesters, submit FAFSA by March 15.
  • For spring semester only, submit FAFSA by August 15.
  • For summer, submit FAFSA by February 15.
  • About a week after you submit the online FAFSA, you’ll receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) – check your report for accuracy and submit any necessary corrections immediately!
  • Student Financial Aid and Scholarships will notify you if additional documentation is required.
  • Visit my.unt.edu for updates from the Student Financial Aid and Scholarships office. The amount of your financial aid award will be posted on myUNT, where you can accept or decline awards.
  • Don’t forget: you must apply for financial aid each year. You can submit a renewal FAFSA on the web as early as January 1 of each year.
  • Congratulations! You have found success with financial aid.

Yes. There are a number of UNT programs and services available to help you finance your education. These include:

Eagle Express and Traditional Tuition Plan

The Emerald Eagle Scholars Program

Tuition and Fee installment plans

Veteran’s Programs

Student Money Managment Center

If you need to speak to a financial aid counselor, call 940-565-2302 or 877-881-1014 or visit our office on the first and second floors of the Eagle Student Services Center from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Tips for completing the FAFSA

Before you apply...

  • Make sure you’re eligible to apply. Look for eligibility requirements in this guide under “Am I eligible to apply for financial aid?
  • The FAFSA and renewal FAFSA are available each January for the upcoming academic yearThe period during which school is in session, consisting of at least 30 weeks of instructional time. The school year typically runs from the beginning of September through the end of May at most colleges and universities.. Apply early in order to get first consideration for awards!
  • Request your Personal Identification Number (PIN) required for filing and review necessary documents ahead of time.
  • Gather all required documents and information, such as your completed federal income tax returnEvery person who has received income during the previous year must file a form 1040 with the IRS by April 15. IRS form 1090 is used by business to report income paid to a non-employee. Banks use this form to report interest income. The 401(k) is one of several popular types of retirement funds. It is legal to borrow money from your 401(k) to help pay for your children's education., Social Security number and bank statements.

When filing the FAFSA, don’t forget to …

  • Provide your correct Social Security number.
  • Complete the income and assetAn asset is an item of value, such as a family's home, business, and farm equity, real estate, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, cash, certificates of deposit (CDs), bank accounts, trust funds, and their property and investments. information. Do not leave it blank. For questions regarding income, if the answer is zero or if the question does not apply to you, enter 0.
  • If you and/or your parents already filed a federal tax return with the IRS, you may be eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, which is the best and easiest way to provide accurate tax information. With just a few simple steps, you and/or your parents can transfer information directly into your FAFSA.
  • List our Title IV Federal School Code: 003594.
  • Keep copies of all documents and correspondence.

After you have applied for financial aid …

  • Check your Student Aid Report (SAR) for accuracy. You will receive a copy of your SAR via email or mail about a week after the FAFSA has been filed. The SAR summarizes information included on the FAFSA. The SAR also will indicate Pell GrantThe Pell grant is a federal grant that provides funds based on the student's financial need. eligibility, if any, and the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
  • Visit my.unt.edu for updates from the Student Financial Aid and Scholarships office. Select the aid year you want to review. The amount of your financial aid award will be posted on myUNT, where you can accept or decline each award.