Financial Aid FAQs
Types of Aid
Scholarship applications are available for Entering Freshman and Continuing & Transfer students attending UT Austin. While these scholarship applications are intended to be comprehensive, many academic departments administer independent college or departmental scholarships that require separate applications.
For more detailed scholarship information, see Scholarships.
Grants are a finite resource and can only be awarded to students with financial need as determined by the FAFSA. To be considered, students must complete the FAFSA each year by the priority date of March 15th.
Subsidized loans do not accrue interest while a student is enrolled at least half-time in a degree-seeking program. Upon dropping below half-time enrollment, interest will begin to accrue. Conversely, interest begins accruing immediately on an Unsubsidized loan regardless of a student's enrollment status.
See Federal Student Aid: Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans for additional information.
Before applying, take a look at our video, Parent PLUS: Top 4 Mistakes to Avoid.
Parent Loans can help you cover college expenses, but first your parents have to apply. So, let's talk about the steps you have to take and common mistakes to avoid. Before your parent applies, accept the Parent PLUS Loan by activating your financial aid notification, or FAN, on the CASH page. Once your FAN is activated, your parent can apply, but avoid Mistake #1: Applying for the loan too early. Your parent should apply no earlier than 60 days before the start of classes. If completed too early, the credit check may expire before we can certify the loan. To apply, your parent will visit: StudentLoans.gov At StudentLoans.gov, make sure your parent avoids Mistake #2: Signing in as you, the student. Your parent's social security number, first two letters of their last name, date of birth, and FSA ID are required. Next, complete the application request. This initiates a credit check. Here, avoid Mistake #3: Inputting wrong information on the application. Select the appropriate award year that corresponds with the semesters you are applying for aid. Enter the social security number correctly. Edits cannot be made. If your parent wishes to differ loan repayment while you are in school, they'll select Yes. If they select No, repayment will begin 60 days after the loan disperses. To apply for the loan amount you accepted on your FAN, select the maximum amount option. If you choose one of the other options, please be aware that specifying an amount that is less than what you accepted on your FAN will delay the loan process. Selecting, 'I donít know', will prevent the loan from processing. Select a loan period for which you will borrow the loan. You may select a single semester loan period or one that encompasses the fall and spring academic year. Approval or denial is provided immediately after submission. Denied? Well, you have options. Visit our FAQ's at finaid.utexas.edu for more information. If approved, your parent must go on to complete the PLUS Master Promissory Note, or MPN. Here, avoid Mistake #4: Forgetting to submit the MPN. Your parent must complete the MPN. They should only need to do this once. If your parent completed all required steps and was approved, your loan should release no earlier than ten days before the start of the semester. You've got more important things to worry about, so avoid these mistakes and make applying for a PLUS Loan a thing of the past.
Parents will need to go to the StudentLoans.gov website and click the green "Sign In" button.
Parents will then be directed to sign in with their Social Security Number, FSA ID and other information.
After signing in, parents will have the option to:
- Request a Direct PLUS Loan
- Complete a Master Promissory Note (important later)
- Obtain an Endorser for their PLUS loan (important if credit is initially denied)
After clicking on "Request a Direct PLUS Loan," your parents will be given the option to choose either a Parent PLUS loan or a Graduate PLUS loan. They should choose the Parent PLUS loan option. This will begin the Parent PLUS application itself.
Parents will complete the Personal Information section using their information.
The next section will ask for student, school, and loan information. Here, parents should carefully review their deferment and repayment options. There, parents may choose whether they wish to begin immediate repayment of their PLUS loan (repayment begins 60 days after the last disbursement of the loan), or defer repayment until their student drops below the minimum required enrollment or graduates.
The Student, School, and Loan Information page will also ask that parents indicate the loan amount requested.
If you would like OFA to process the loan for the maximum amount the student is eligible to receive, select the first option, "I want to borrow the maximum Direct PLUS Loan amount for which I am eligible, as determined by the school."
If you are aware of the maximum amount the student is eligible for or would like OFA to process the loan for a lesser amount, select the second option, "I would like to specify a loan amount."
If the third option, "I do not know the amount I want to borrow. I will contact the school" is selected, a zero-dollar amount will be sent to UT Austin, and you will have to complete this process again to select the first or second option.
After clicking "Continue", parents will be prompted to review the information provided before authorizing a credit check and completing the PLUS Request.
Note: Even with credit approval, the process is incomplete. Parents will still need to complete a Master Promissory Note for their PLUS loan.
Should your parent's credit be denied, they may be provided with an option to continue pursuing the loan by obtaining an endorser or by providing extenuating circumstances. They may also decide not to pursue the loan altogether or may be undecided.
- If using an endorser, please make sure your parent applies for their own FSA ID at StudentLoans.gov and completes the "Endorser Addendum."
- If appealing the credit decision, your parent will be required to disclose contact information at StudentLoans.gov.
- If your parent will not pursue the loan, he or she will receive an email from StudentLoans.gov, confirming their decision.
- If your parent is undecided, he or she will receive an email from StudentLoans.gov, confirming their decision.
In certain situations, students whose parent's credit is denied may be eligible for additional funding through a Direct Unsubsidized Loan. Additional funding may not equal the original amount offered in the Direct Parent PLUS loan. Please wait 3-5 business days before contacting our office about the denial. This allows adequate time for our office to receive denial information from the U.S. Department of Education. Once this information is confirmed by our office, we are able to review your options.
Applying for Aid
You can apply for most forms of federal, state, and institutional aid by submitting the FAFSA each year. Please note, the FAFSA should be submitted by the priority deadline (March 15th) in order to be considered for grant funding.
Once your FAFSA is submitted, you'll receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) from the Department of Education. Carefully review this to make sure that all the information is accurate as UT Austin will receive the same information. After your SAR is processed, we will determine your financial aid eligibility and send you a financial aid notification that lists the funding you can receive.
We may select you for Verification and sask you to submit additional documentation to our office. Please submit all required documents in a timely manner so that we may send your financial aid notification as soon as possible.
Scholarships require the submission of other applications, depending on the scholarship source. See Applying for Scholarships for more information.
Yes, in order to be considered for Financial Aid you must file a FAFSA for every academic year.
Limited grant and scholarship funds make it difficult for our office to fund every student to their full financial need. Therefore, in an effort to make the greatest use of limited funds, only those students who submit their FAFSA before the priority deadline of March 15 of each year will receive full consideration for certain institutional and state programs.
Texas resident undergraduate students who graduate in the top ten percent of their high school classes in 2009 and after must submit their FAFSAs in time to generate federal Central Processing System (CPS) results in a non-rejected status by March 15 to be considered for the state's Top 10% Scholarship. CPS results can take at least 24-hours to process. This date and policy is set by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and is subject to change at the discretion of the Coordinating Board.
In short, if you wait to apply until after March 15, you may cost yourself a lot of money. Regarding the Top 10% scholarship, if you apply exactly on March 15, you risk a 24-hour application delay, forfeiting your eligibility for the scholarship.
Q4: My family hasn't filed our taxes yet and the FAFSA priority deadline is approaching. What should I do?
Estimates may be used to complete the FAFSA and meet the priority deadline. Please make sure your estimates are as accurate as possible. Once your tax returns are complete, the FAFSA must be corrected to reflect the actual figures reported to the IRS.
- If you didn't live with either parent, or if you lived with each parent an equal amount of time, then include the parent who provided the greater amount of financial support during the past 12 months.
- If you didn't receive any parent financial support during that time, include the parent who most recently provided the greater amount of parental support.
All applicants for federal, state, institutional aid are considered either "independent" or "dependent," and dependent students are required to include information about their parents on the FAFSA. Use this Federal Student Aid infographic to determine your status.
A common question asked by students is whether they can declare themselves independent. Unless you can answer "Yes" to one of the questions in the infographic, you are considered a dependent student and must submit your parents' information on the FAFSA - even if they do not claim you on their taxes or provide any financial support to you.
Only in rare circumstances - when there is documentation of a complete break in the family situation - can our office override the general dependency criteria. If you think your situation qualifies for a dependency override, please contact our office and consult with one of our staff.
See Am I dependent or independent? for more detailed information about dependency status.
Texas Parents is a resource dedicated to helping parents help their students. Don't hesitate to call Texas Parents at 512-471-2353 with questions. Parents can also join the Texas Parents Association, the official parents' association of UT Austin, to receive exclusive communications and member benefits.
Eligibility for Aid
All eligible students qualify for some form of financial aid, regardless of income. Financial aid is offered in the form of grants, scholarships, student and parent loans, and work-study. The type of aid you are offered is dependent upon information reported on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) calculated by the FAFSA.
An undergraduate student must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.00. A graduate or professional student must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00 or the minimum GPA standard as defined by the degree program.
If it is your first semester not meeting the minimum GPA, you will be placed on a warning semester and retain eligibility for financial aid. If you do not meet the GPA minimum after your warning semester, a bar will be placed on your file preventing the release of financial aid. You will remain ineligible for financial aid until you meet the minimum GPA requirement or submit a successful Satisfactory Academic Progress appeal.
The appeal can be found in CASH, in the "Satisfactory Academic Progress" requirement box. See also, our Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for more information. This appeal can take up to 3-4 weeks to review during peak processing times, so be sure to get your appeal to us as soon as possible to minimize any delays with the release of your financial aid.
Q4: What is the minimum number of hours required to receive financial aid in the summer and fall or spring semesters?
Q5: I am a degree holder pursuing a second Bachelor's degree, teacher certification, or pre-requisite courses required for graduate school admission. Am I eligible for financial aid?
In order for OFA to determine your eligibility for financial aid, you must first make sure to complete your FAFSA. Then, complete a Financial Aid Appeal Form for Degree Holders with your academic advisor and submit it to our office. This appeal may take up to 3 weeks to review, so be sure to submit it as soon as possible. Please note, you will only be awarded Federal Direct Loan funding if you are approved.
The majority of private donor scholarships are disbursed through the Office of Financial Aid (OFA). In most cases, scholarship donors will send checks directly to OFA for processing, but not always.
If a donor sends you a scholarship check, federal law requires that you report it to OFA immediately. To learn how these checks are processed, see Receiving Your Private Scholarships.
Schools that disburse financial aid are required to verify a certain percentage of submitted FAFSAs. This should not in any way be construed as suspicion or doubt on our part or that of the Department of Education. The FAFSA can be a difficult form, and mistakes are very common. This is just a way of making sure everything is as accurate as possible.
Verification should take no longer than three weeks, but significant delays occur if one or more of the following happen:
- We need additional documentation from you.
- Incorrect documentation is submitted.
- Documentation is not filled out correctly.
Before submitting your verification documents, make sure that:
- Every space is filled out;
- Signatures are present in all the necessary fields; and
- All of your documents include your UT EID.
Q5: If I plan to make changes to my enrollment, housing, or major, will activating my Financial Aid Notification (FAN) now affect my future aid?
Not in the least. While you may be considering a change, it is still a good idea to activate your current FAN. Failure to do so could result in the cancellation of your offer, and if you are awarded grants or Work-Study, this cancellation may not be reversible. Our office has the ability to change your aid at any time, so if we need to make a revision to account for your changes, you will receive a new revised FAN.
Paying Tuition with Aid
If you have enough financial aid* to cover your entire tuition bill, complete the following steps:
- Go to My Tuition Bill.
- Select the appropriate semester and click "View Bill".
- Click the "Pay with Financial Aid" button, if available. If the total amount of awarded financial aid does not cover the entire bill, the button will not be available. After choosing this option, the message in the middle of the page changes from ** Your registration is not complete ** to ** Your registration is complete and your courses are secured. **
You will continue to see a current balance due on your tuition bill until financial aid funds are released. If you use financial aid to complete your registration, do not use the "EFT" option
*Please keep in mind only certain grants, scholarships (if OFA has received the donor's check), and loans (Direct, Perkins, Parent PLUS, Grad PLUS, and BOT) are available for deferment (i.e. clicking the "Pay with Financial Aid" button) of a tuition bill to financial aid. If you were only recently awarded, your loans may not have matured in our computer system to the point necessary for deferment. Initial disbursements of alternative/private and CAL loans cannot be used to defer.
If your financial aid does not completely cover your tuition bill, or you do not yet have financial aid, you can:
- Access a tuition loan through My Tuition Bill on the Office of Accounting website, or
- Arrange for payment on What I Owe. This service provides payment options including an installment plan.
Note: Installment plans are unavailable for Summer tuition.
Visit My Tuition Bill on the Office of Accounting website. If the message ** Your registration is complete and your courses are secured. ** appears at the top of the page in green, your classes will not be dropped.
If you clicked "Pay with Financial Aid" to secure your registration, monitor My Tuition Bill to ensure your financial aid disburses by your posted deadline. If there is a delay in your aid release, you must still take action on your tuition bill.
Typically, your financial aid will begin to release no sooner than 10 days before classes begin.* This assumes you completed all requirements listed on CASH "What Do I Need to Complete?" and reported less-than-full-time enrollment (if applicable) to OFA. Additional information, including other potential delays can be found at Financial Aid Notifications & Aid Release.
*Individual financial aid awards release as they become available, so your total aid may not release at once.
If your university debts are paid (i.e. tuition, on-campus housing, other fees) and you have remaining financial aid, these funds take 2-3 business days to appear in your bank account;* add about 5 business days if you did not elect to receive these funds via direct deposit.
If excess financial aid is sent to an account that is closed or is no longer valid, contact the Student Accounts Receivables office at (512) 471-3723 for assistance. This is also the number to contact if you believe your financial aid check has been lost in the mail.
*In rare cases, financial aid funds are handled differently than above. If you choose an alternative loan lender who does not participate in UT Austin's electronic processes, a paper check will be mailed to the University. These checks will be made available for you to pick up at the cashier's office.
If excess financial aid is sent to an account that is closed or is no longer valid, first contact your bank. Then, contact Payment Information in the Office of Accounting at firstname.lastname@example.org or 512-471-1083 to correct routing information or to arrange for a replacement check's disbursement.
If you believe that your financial aid check was lost in the mail, contact the Office of Accounting in-person in MAI 132 or email email@example.com. If the check has not been returned, you will be required to complete a form to request a reissue of your check. It can take 3-5 business days to process a reissue of a check.
Reinstatement requests can be made by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure to include your UT EID in your request message.
Financial aid can be used for room and board expenses whether you live on or off campus. You may indicate your living plans on the FAFSA. If your housing plans change after you submit the FAFSA, contact the Office of Financial Aid.
Your financial aid will not be negatively affected by your decision to live on or off campus. When your financial aid releases, the portion that normally is applied to a Division of Housing and Food bill will instead be sent to you, either by mail or direct deposit, for use in securing room and board for the semester.
Please keep in mind that federal law prohibits the Office of Financial Aid from releasing aid any sooner than 10 days prior to the start of classes.
Financial aid funds are applied to any outstanding UT Austin debts such as tuition, on-campus housing and/or financial bars. Financial aid funds in excess of your university debts are sent to you either by direct deposit or by mail. The remaining funds can then be used toward the purchase of text books and other educational expenses associated with attending UT Austin.
Visit Where's My Check? to find the status of your financial aid release.