Frequently Asked Questions

Financial Aid FAQ

What is the priority deadline for applying for financial aid?

March 1. Verification materials must be filed no later than May 15.

What are the most common errors made when applying for financial aid?

  • Filing your application late.
  • Incorrect Social Security numbers. Please double-check your FAFSA to be sure your Social Security number is correct. This is a common error and very time-consuming to correct on the FAFSA.
  • Not using your legal name, from your Social Security card, when completing all financial aid forms.

We want your estimate to be as accurate as possible. The most common reasons for an inaccurate estimate are:

  • Overestimating the number of students in college. Only students enrolled at least half time in a degree or certificate-granting program may be included. Siblings in graduate school may be included in the number of students in college or household when completing the FAFSA.
  • Failing to report other untaxed income such as contributions to a 401(k) plan, an IRA or child support received.
  • Failing to include stepparent income.
  • Under-reporting the student's assets. Any assets in the student's name must be included (e.g. cash, bank accounts, joint accounts, trust funds or Uniform Gift to Minors).
  • Not reporting Social Security benefits.
  • Overestimating taxes paid.

Am I guaranteed my financial aid each year?

You are required to renew your financial aid application every year. Your need is determined for one year at a time and is, therefore, subject to change from one year to the next. We strive to maintain the same award from year to year. However, there are certain factors that can cause a significant change to a financial aid award. These include: reduction of the number of students in college, change in marital status, moving off campus, studying abroad, significant changes in an expected family contribution and not making satisfactory academic progress.

What happens if my family's financial situation changes?

Families who experience a significant change in income, marital status, loss of job or encounter special circumstances from one year to the next are encouraged to contact their financial aid counselor regarding the specific changes. In some cases there are ways that we can assist families who experience financial setbacks or other special circumstances.

What if my parents are divorced and my custodial parent is remarried? Do I have to submit my stepparent's information?

Stepparent income must be included when filing the FAFSA. By federal Department of Education regulations, this income must be included. There is no provision for exception to this regulation.

What happens to my financial aid if I choose to study abroad?

If you study abroad through an approved program from Salve Regina, you are considered to be enrolled at Salve Regina for purposes of applying for federal student aid. You will receive the off-campus budget which results in a reduction in the Salve Regina grant of $1,400 per semester abroad. You are also not eligible for federal student employment.

What happens when I move off campus?

If you choose to move off campus, there will be a change in your financial aid award. Periodically, we research the cost of living off campus to ensure that the budget is appropriate. Average off-campus living allowance is approximately $2,800 per year less than on-campus expenses, which is reflected in the off-campus budget.

If all other financial information remains approximately the same, the Salve Regina grant will be reduced by $2,800. (For example: If you have a Salve Regina grant of $5,000 as an on-campus student, your grant will be $2,200 as an off-campus student.)

Academic scholarships are not reduced when moving off-campus. (For example: If you have a Dean Scholarship of $6,000 on campus, your Dean Scholarship will still be $6,000 as an off-campus student.)

How is my merit scholarship maintained for four years?

You must maintain the required cumulative GPA. At the time of acceptance, you are required to sign an agreement that sets forth guidelines for accepting the award. The cumulative GPA is evaluated at the end of each academic year. If you fall below the required cumulative GPA, a one-time extension will be granted. After the probationary semester, if you are still not maintaining the criteria, you will lose your eligibility for the academic scholarship.

How does an outside scholarship affect my financial aid?

Outside scholarships are considered a benefit and we do not reduce scholarships or grants, unless required by law. There are times when we may need to reduce federal need-based loans or federal work-study if an outside scholarship exceeds your need for financial aid. Other types of benefits, such as an employer's tuition benefits, are considered a resource. These resources are included prior to calculating need-based aid.

What is the difference between a scholarship and a grant?

We offer academic scholarships based on merit. Merit scholarships are awarded at the time of acceptance and are based on specific criteria. They are guaranteed for four years, as long as you maintain the specific criteria from one year to the next.

A grant is a need-based award which requires the annual completion of all necessary documentation as outlined on this website. Grants are subject to change from one year to the next, if your family's need changes.

How do I apply for a state grant?

Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by your state's deadline. To apply for financial aid on time at Salve Regina, the federal processor must receive your completed FAFSA by March 1.

What types of loans are available?

William D. Ford Direct Loans

Direct loans are federally guaranteed as long as you are enrolled at least half time during normal enrollment periods. Repayment is deferred until six months after you leave school. Need-based direct loans are subsidized, which means the government pays the interest while you are enrolled at least half time. If you do not qualify for a need-based federal loan, unsubsidized direct loans are available. Loan limits are $3,500 for freshmen, $4,500 for sophomores and $5,500 for juniors and seniors. In addition, you are allowed an additional $2,000 unsubsidized direct loan annually.

Federal Perkins and Federal Nursing Loans

These loans generally have the best terms of all loans offered in your Salve Regina financial aid package. Nursing loans are available only to eligible upperclassmen. The federal government subsidizes the 5 percent interest rate until repayment, and repayment of these loans is deferred until nine months after you leave school, drop below half time or discontinue nursing studies. If you accept, you are required to complete a master promissory note and disclosure statement.

Alternative Loans

These private loans may be used to supplement financial aid. In most cases, the student is the borrower and a co-borrower is required. Interest rates are variable, and are more costly than federal direct parent loans (PLUS). For these reasons, alternative loans should be used as a last resort when considering financing options.

What is a tax return transcript?

A tax return transcript is a computerized printout provided directly to you by the IRS that shows line items from your tax return (Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ) and W-2s as they were originally filed. Please be advised that we cannot accept personal tax return copies; they do not satisfy federal verification requirements.

What is an independent student?

Living on your own does not qualify you as an independent student. Currently, you are only considered "independent" for Title IV purposes if you:

  • Are at least 24 years of age on or before Dec. 31 of the award year.
  • Are a graduate or professional student.
  • Are married.
  • Have children or dependents other than a spouse for whom you provide more than half support.
  • At any time since you turned age 13, were both of your parents deceased, were in foster care or were you a dependent or ward of the court.
  • Are serving active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for other than training purposes.
  • Are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • Are an emancipated minor as determined by a state court.
  • Are in legal guardianship as determined by a state court.
  • Are an unaccompanied youth who was determined to be homeless by a school district homeless liaison, the director of an emergency shelter program or the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program.

How do I apply for financial aid?

To apply for financial aid, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This is the only aid application Salve Regina requires. Salve Regina does not require the College Board Financial Aid Profile or any other supplemental financial aid application.

What is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?

Salve Regina considers all eligible students with a completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for all possible funding sources including federal, state and college programs. Please keep in mind that Salve Regina gives maximum consideration to students who meet the March 1 priority financial aid application deadline for all available funds. Late applicants may receive reduced funding levels.

What is the IRS data retrieval process in the FAFSA?

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool allows students and parents to access the IRS tax return information needed to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students and parents may transfer the data directly into their FAFSA. This is the preferred method for FAFSA filers to report federal tax information. Certain tax filers may be ineligible to use. Electronic tax filers should wait approximately three weeks from their filing date for the availability of the IRS data retrieval and paper tax filers should wait 8-10 weeks from their filing date.

Do I have to reapply for financial aid every year?


How does the FAFSA evaluate dependency status?

The U.S. Department of Education considers the following students to be independent for purposes of awarding federal financial aid:

  • Students who were born before January 1, 1992
  • Students who are orphans, in foster care or were wards of the court as of age 13
  • Students who are veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • Students who have children, if they provide more than half of the support for the child
  • Students who have dependents (other than a child or spouse) living with them, if they provide more than half of the support for the dependent
  • Students who are married
  • Students who will be graduate/professional students in 2015-2016
  • Students who are serving on active duty in the armed forces for purposes other than training
  • Students who are or were emancipated minors as determined by a court
  • Students who are or were in a legal guardianship as determined by a court
  • Students who are or were considered an unaccompanied youth that was homeless on or after July 1, 2014

If I am financially independent from my parents, can I be considered an independent on the FAFSA?

No. That criteria alone does not qualify a student to be independent.

Where does the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) come from?

The FAFSA determines the EFC based on many criteria including, but not limited to: student income, parents' income, number in college, number in household, net worth of investments, net worth of business, savings, taxes paid and untaxed income and benefits.

What is verification?

Aid applications may be selected for verification by the federal government or Salve Regina for verification. If your application is selected, you will be notified by the Office of Financial Aid of the documents you need to provide. This process verifies that the information that you supplied on your FAFSA is accurate and complete.

When will I be notified of my award letter?

If you complete your FAFSA between Jan. 1 and March 15, you should receive your award letter in mid-March to early April. New students will receive their awards emailed to the address listed on the FAFSA and returning students will receive their awards emailed to their Salve Regina email address.

What if I want to decline some of the aid that was offered?

Simply complete a financial aid award change form under online forms on the financial aid webpage.

Is it possible to have my award reconsidered?

If your family's financial circumstances have changed since you applied, you may request reconsideration of your aid award. If this is the case, please contact your financial aid counselor. Your counselor will explain what needs to be completed.

I was awarded federal work-study. What do I do now?

In the first few weeks of the fall semester, students awarded federal work-study will be able to view a list of available jobs online. Students have the choice to apply to any of these jobs. Once hired, the student may earn up to the total amount awarded for the academic year.

What's the difference between subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford Loans?

Subsidized loans accrue no interest while the student is enrolled more than half time. Unsubsidized loans will accrue interest while the student is attending school.

What is the interest on my Stafford loans?

The 2015-2016 fixed interest rate for undergraduate Federal Direct Stafford Loans is currently 4.29 percent and the graduate rate is 5.84 percent.

Can I prepay my loans or prepay the interest on my loans?


I have a private scholarship. Do I need to inform the school?

Yes. Students must inform the Office of Financial Aid if they receive outside financial aid.

I have loans from another school. How do I defer payment on those loans?

Most loans will require the current school to complete specific paperwork in order to have payment on loans deferred. Usually the registrar will verify enrollment and complete any necessary forms.

I have been conditionally accepted in to a program. Am I eligible for financial aid?

Undergraduate students are not eligible for financial aid while conditionally accepted. Graduate students are eligible for two semesters of financial aid while conditionally accepted.

If I do well in my studies at Salve Regina, can I receive a higher merit scholarship?

No. When you complete your admissions application and are accepted, if you receive a merit scholarship, the amount is set for four consecutive years and cannot be increased. Students should monitor the Salve Regina website for additional scholarships that become available throughout the year.