Got Questions?

Applying For Aid

Why should I complete the FAFSA?

Most of the financial aid USF students receive requires a FAFSA. Filing the FAFSA automatically considers you for federal, state, and institutional grants, loans, and Federal Work Study.

How and when should I complete my FAFSA?

The FAFSA is available to complete online. A new FAFSA should be completed every year, as soon as it is made available. USF's priority deadline application date is January 1st for the following fall. Meeting the priority deadline date allows you the best opportunity to be considered for the most aid types possible.

Am I a dependent or independent student?

In Section Three (Student) of the FAFSA, there is a series of questions that determine if you are a dependent or an independent student according to the Department of Education.

  • If you are able to answer "Yes" to any question in this section, you are considered an independent student, and parent information is not required.
  • If you are not able to answer "Yes" to any question in this section, you are considered a dependent student, and parent information is required.

In limited cases, you may still qualify as an independent student without answering "Yes" to any question. When prompted for parent information, you will instead indicate that you have an extenuating circumstance, and then you should contact our office to speak to a financial aid advisor regarding your situation.

Please note that the following circumstances do not qualify for this process:

  • Your parents refuse to contribute to your education.
  • Your parents are unwilling to provide information on the FAFSA or for verification purposes.
  • Your parents do not claim you as a dependent for income tax purposes.
  • You can demonstrate total financial self-sufficiency.

What is an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and how does USF use that to determine if I have financial need?

Your EFC is an index number that college financial aid offices use to determine how much financial aid you are eligible to receive. The information you report on your FAFSA is used to calculate your EFC according to a formula established by federal law. Your family's taxed and untaxed income, assets, and benefits (such as unemployment or Social Security) all may be considered in the formula. Also considered are your family size and the number of family members who will attend college or career school during the year. Your financial need is calculated by subtracting your EFC from the cost to attend USF.

What are the types of financial aid that are determined by completion of the FAFSA?

  1. Grants (Pell, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Florida Student Assistance Grant, USF Grant) – do not have to be paid back
  2. Federal Work Study – earned through on campus employment
  3. Federal Perkins Loans – must be paid back, with interest
  4. Federal Direct Loans (subsidized, unsubsidized, PLUS, GradPLUS) - must be paid back by students or parents (PLUS), with interest
  5. USF Loans – must be paid back, with interest

What can I do if my financial situation has changed?

If your or your parent's total current year income is at least 25% less than the income reported on the FAFSA, you might qualify for a change in circumstance review. Please make an appointment with your financial aid advisor for further assistance.

How do I apply for scholarships?

Scholarship eligibility may be based on academic merit, extracurricular activities, special talent, and/or demographics. Listed below are various scholarship opportunities:

If your question is not listed, contact us.