Understanding the Financial Aid Process for FSU Study Abroad Students
We know the financial aid process can be very confusing and somewhat overwhelming. We created this document to provide you with step-by-step guidance and we have a member of staff who specializes in financial aid for study abroad students, so if this document does not address your questions, please feel free to contact Rod Mack at
For non-FSU students, there are many helpful tips in this document that may apply to the financial aid process at your school. Page 6 of this document relates specifically to you. Please feel free to review the entire document, paying close attention to page 6.
Step 1: Complete the FAFSA
The first step of the process is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at
www.fafsa.gov. This form is required to apply for federal, state, and/or Institutional grants, work study or loans. This includes Federal Pell Grants, Federal Work Study, Federal Stafford Loans, Florida Bright Futures, and Florida State University Grants. Basically, if you hope to obtain any financial assistance, this is the starting point.
Students and parents establish unique PIN numbers through the FAFSA process or online at
http://www.pin.ed.gov. This allows you to sign the FAFSA online through the use of a federal PIN.
FSU’s school code is 001489.
Students must complete the appropriate FAFSA. You will need a copy of your tax return for the year before or an accurate estimation of the previous year’s earnings to complete the application. If you have not completed your taxes for an upcoming fall/spring term you may estimate your figure. Those who wish to receive financial aid for the summer semester will be required to submit additional paperwork during the school year (see Step 6 below).
IP TIP #1: Make sure you use the correct URL (use the .gov suffix, NOT .com).
IP TIP #2: Apply Early! It’s important to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1 each year. Some types of aid are limited in funding. In order to be considered for ALL types of aid, do the FAFSA early. You can complete the FAFSA before you apply for FSU admission. You can complete the FAFSA using
ESTIMATED federal tax data. You may be asked to provide an IRS-issued tax transcript.
Step 2: Learn all you can about the various types of aid available
Following is a list of links that provide a wealth of information about financial aid:
Federal Student Aid Guide:
http://studentaid.ed.gov/students/publications/student_guide/index.html (available in
English or Spanish)
State of Florida Aid for Florida Residents (including Bright Futures):
Private Scholarships – We encourage all students to research scholarship opportunities. International Programs Scholarships information about study abroad scholarships is available here:
Step 3: Complete FSU Office of Financial Aid Paperwork
Once the FAFSA has been completed and submitted (using the FSU school code 001489), the Office of Financial Aid will receive your data and package you with an award. Some students are selected for a verification process and will need to complete additional documentation at the school level.
Prior to departure, you MUST monitor your financial aid file to view outstanding documents that may be required to complete your financial aid file at the school and avoid financial aid disbursement delays. You may also review disbursement data while you are abroad by utilizing this portal -- sign into Blackboard @ FSU:
https://campus.fsu.edu. (This portal requires your FSUID and password. If you have not activated your FSUID, you must first be admitted to FSU, and then activate your FSUID:
Within Blackboard @ FSU, view the Secure Apps tab, then review the Financial Aid Student Toolkit link. Make certain you are viewing your most current Financial Aid Profile within the Financial Aid Student Toolkit; Should you need to submit outstanding documents, these items will be listed on this page under the Alert tab. Follow the prompts and submit the documents listed to complete your financial aid file at the school level.
IP TIP #3: Any document submitted to the Office of Financial Aid must be signed and have your SSN or FSUSN on it.
IP TIP #4: Keep your own financial aid file.
- Stafford Loan. If you wish to receive a Stafford Loan you must accept the loans offered within the Student Financial Aid Toolkit. To allow disbursement of loans, you must have the “Account Refund Setup” complete, take the online Loan Entrance Counseling and submit the Master Promissory Note, both of which may be accessed through
www.studentloans.gov. Login using the student’s FAFSA pin number. If you do not complete these items, your Stafford Loans will not disburse. Stafford Loans will automatically be offered after completion of the FAFSA application. You must accept the amount of loans you wish to receive by entering the dollar amount and clicking the SAVE CHANGES button below your awards in the student toolkit. (If you do not want to receive these funds, you do not have to accept the loans and you may decline/zero out the loans.)
- Parent PLUS Loan. Parents wishing to take an additional loan to assist students with costs must visit
www.studentloans.gov and apply. Parent Plus loans are credit-based loans and the parent is the borrower. Parents must complete a Parent Authorization Statement to authorize disbursement to either the parent (by check) or student (by either check or EFT funds to the student’s FSUCard account):
Disbursement-Authorization-Stateement-PAS. PLUS loans will disburse with the University’s normal financial
aid on the second week of main campus classes. Once complete, fax or mail the form to Student Financial
Services, A1500 University Center, Tallahassee, FL 32306-2394, fax 850.644.5142. For more information visit:
http://financialaid.fsu.edu/aid/loans/Plus.html or 850.644.5716.
Keep copies of everything you ever submit to the Office of Financial Aid. If you speak to someone in the Office of Financial Aid, make a note of the date, time, and person with whom you spoke.
IP TIP #5: Monitor your financial aid status
through Blackboard @ FSU, by viewing the Secure Apps tab, and then clicking on the Financial Aid Student Toolkit. Students must be admitted to FSU before any awards can be made.
IP TIP #6: Be patient.
The financial aid process takes a lot of time but it does work if you carefully follow all the required steps. Don’t be afraid to contact Rod Mack in our office (IPfirstname.lastname@example.org
or 800.374.8581) or a representative in the Office of Financial Aid. There are no dumb questions!
Step 4: Disbursement
All students must complete the Account Refund Setup (ARS) in order to receive any type of aid (including all scholarships). This form may be completed and submitted online at
campus.fsu.edu through Blackboard @ FSU, by viewing the Secure Apps tab, and then clicking on the Account Refund Setup link.
When distribution of financial aid occurs, current term fees owed to the university will be paid; if there is an excess of funds remaining (after the current term fees are settled in full along with any additional fees that may be owed to the University) funds will be disbursed to the student according to the completion of the “Account Refund Setup” form--either electronically to the FSUCard SunTrust account (see below for setup instructions) or by paper check sent via U.S. mail.
Again, financial aid will disburse (each semester) approximately on the 10th day of main campus classes. Your aid will be disbursed in one of two ways:
- By electronic funds transfer to your FSUCard with SunTrust Bank or;
- By check (checks are mailed to the “local” address you have on file with the Office of the Registrar).
Should you choose to have funds disbursed via the electronic funds transfer method, you must activate your
SunTrust account on campus (next door to the FSUCard center). This account must be opened at the SunTrust branch on FSU campus. Students are not able to select any other banking institution other than SunTrust for the FSUCard electronic funds transfer process.
Should you fail to activate your SunTrust account prior to departure please know you will experience a delay with receiving your financial aid funds as additional steps will be required and time zone differences often slow down the process. (Should you find yourself in this situation, you must contact SunTrust on campus in order to have the required account opened; a companion card along with a pin number will then be issued from SunTrust and must be mailed to a U.S. address). Prior to departure you may find it helpful to speak with SunTrust and order an alternate debit card, as the FSUCard may not work for all purchases abroad. You may contact SunTrust at 850-561-9171.
Should you choose to have your financial aid funds disbursed by check via U.S. mail, you will need to make certain the address listed under your “local” address within Blackboard is the address to which you would like your financial aid check mailed. To review the address that will be used for this purpose, visit Blackboard @ FSU (campus.fsu.edu), view the Secure Apps tab, and then click on the My Address link. Should you wish to update or change the address listed within the “local” tab you may do so by completing the steps indicated on the update button next to the local address.
You may read additional detailed information regarding disbursement procedures at the Office of Student Financial Services website here:
IP TIP #7: Designate your disbursement method!
If you do not complete the “Account Refund Setup” form and do not select one of the disbursement options,
your funds will not disburse.
Step 5: International Programs Deferment Process, Payments, and Florida Prepaid
We allow FSU students to defer payment to International Programs until Student Financial Services disburses financial aid each term. It is important for any student anticipating receiving financial aid to submit an IP Deferment Form (itemizing the type of aid and the dollar amounts
per term) in order to delay your payment until the financial aid disburses each term.
With the completion of the deferment form you will have the choice to “delay” paying the confirmation and/or the final payment. In order to defer payment your financial aid award amount must meet or exceed the amount of the confirmation deposit ($1500) or be sufficient to cover the program cost for the term. Students may pay the confirmation deposit and defer the remaining balance, as long as the aid meets or exceeds the balance. Once a student has submitted a deferment form, they become fee liable in accordance with our fee liability policy (http://www.international.fsu.edu/Students/Admitted/Refund.aspx), even if they decide to cancel from the program.
The IP Deferment Form will be provided in your acceptance email when you are admitted. This form also requires that you submit debit or credit card information, to ensure International Programs will be paid should you fail to complete your financial aid file, should you decide you are not going to take out financial aid to settle your balance or should your aid disbursed not cover your balance owed. Once all the information is completed on the deferment form, you must have this form notarized. In order to have your form notarized you must appear in person before the notary and sign the document in front of the notary. If students are on campus, International Programs can assist with notarizing your form at no cost. Filling out the deferment form
does not alter dates of fee liability; it only allows the payment to be deferred until the indicated financial aid is disbursed each term. Financial aid disbursement occurs each semester for the current term and deferred fees are posted to the student’s FSU account (viewable online) shortly before financial aid disbursement occurs each semester.
Florida Prepaid recipients should complete and submit the deferment form and indicate each term the anticipated amount of credit hours of enrollment along with the type of plan held (i.e, tuition, local, dorm). This will allow International Programs to bill Florida Prepaid directly each term. Should you wish to utilize the dorm payment
during the summer term a letter must be mailed (from the purchaser of the account) to Florida Prepaid authorizing the use of the benefit (this is not required for fall or spring semesters). The letter should be mailed to: Florida Prepaid, 1804 Hermitage Blvd., Suite 210, Tallahassee, FL 32308. After you’ve mailed the authorization letter to Florida Prepaid you may want to phone their office to confirm receipt and request the required form letter issued to you from their office; 850-309-1660 ext. 4134. This process is required for the summer dorm payment to be issued to International Programs.
For further assistance with the financial aid process and deferments please contact Rod Mack at 850-644-7822 or
IPemail@example.com Monday to Friday from 8:00pm to 5:00pm EST.
Step 6: Summer Financial Aid Process
The FAFSA you complete for a fall and spring term will be applicable for the following summer term. However, there is a separate summer financial aid application which must be filed with the FSU Office of Financial Aid but is usually not available until sometime between late December and late January. Students must meet the minimum of six credits hours required to receive financial aid during the summer. These six hours may be taken at more than one location during more than one term as long as the total number of summer credits is at least six (6). If the number of credit hours does not reach six hours until the second summer session, aid will not disburse until that session. In other words, if a student takes 3 credits during the first London term, and 3 credits during Summer C in Tallahassee, aid will not disburse until the disbursement date for Summer C.
The summer application can be accessed via campus.fsu.edu through Blackboard @ FSU, by viewing the Secure Apps tab, and then clicking on the Financial Aid Student Toolkit. International Programs will email students when the summer application is made available and may be completed within the student’s toolkit.
The disbursement process for summer aid is the same as for fall and spring semesters. Pell Grant, Bright Futures and many other grant funds are not available during summer terms, regardless of location.
Step 7: Technology Fees, Drop/Add, and Bright Futures
With the exception of the technology fee, all fees assessed during the study abroad program will be done so through the International Programs Office and may be paid directly to International Programs as specified in the applicable payment deadlines (http://www.international.fsu.edu/Students/Important-Dates.aspx). Deferred fees will be placed on the FSU account (viewable online) the day before financial aid disbursement occurs each term. This enables disbursed financial aid to go toward paying the current term fees owed to International Programs or other University debts (i.e. parking tickets, library fines, and technology fees). Any excess aid will then be disbursed to the student according to the indicated method within “Account Refund Setup” feature as described above in Step 4.
The technology fee is a centrally administered fee based on the number of credit hours taken each term. The rates for the 2013-14 year have not yet been set, but they will likely be around $6 per credit hour. This fee should be paid directly to Student Financial Services (either online via
www.fees.fsu.edu or by way of paper check to their office at A1500 University Center, Tallahassee, FL 32306-2394. Always include the student name and FSUSN on payment remittance). Online payment remittance will clear through the system immediately; if a paper check is being sent, of course you will have to be mindful of the mail time. Failure to pay the technology fee by the deadline could result in your being charged a $100 late fee. The deadline for the technology fee payment is the same as the campus tuition payment deadline found online on SFS’s website
http://controller.vpfa.fsu.edu/Student-Financial-Services/SFS-For-Students. Please make certain to view this deadline date and settle the technology fee prior to this date to avoid any late payment assessment.
It is important to note that the technology fee amount due will change if students drop or add the total number of credit hours for which they are registered.
Bright Futures amounts are determined based on the number of credit hours enrolled per semester. If a student drops any credit hours after financial aid has disbursed, the student will be required to repay the Bright Futures scholarship for the appropriate number of credit hours. (If the student completes an even ‘swap’ -drops a class and adds a different class with the same number of credit hours - there is no change to the fee liability.)
Financial Aid Procedures for Non-FSU Study Abroad Students
Non-FSU students may qualify to receive financial aid, but you must contact your home school’s financial aid department to learn exactly how your school handles your request. Upon your request, your home school may initiate a
Consortium Agreement with FSU.
The Consortium Agreement allows your home school to award financial aid even though you are registered for classes at a different school. It must be signed by both the home school financial aid office and the host school (FSU) financial aid office. Your home school financial aid office must send this agreement to the FSU Office of Financial Aid via fax (850.644.6404), attention: Financial Aid Special Programs Coordinator, or by mail, attention: Financial Aid Study Abroad Coordinator, FSU, A4400 UCA, Tallahassee, FL 32306-2430. Your home school financial aid office may require of the International Programs Office written proof of acceptance to our Program and verification of your enrollment.
You must notify us, in writing, of anything your home school may require of this office in order for them to process your financial aid.
Non-FSU students must check with their home institution to determine which types of aid may or may not be used for overseas study with Florida State University but, in general, non-FSU students may not use tuition waivers (in/out of state) and College Work Study.
Non-FSU students may be eligible to defer up to 50% of the Program Fees, excluding the application fee, so long as sufficient aid has been awarded to cover the requested deferment amount.
Non-FSU students who wish to defer fees must:
- Pay 50% of the Program Fee due (within the published deadline).
- Read, understand, sign, have notarized, and return to the International Programs Office the Program Fee Deferment Request form. This form will obligate you to a financial liability if you withdraw from the Program after a certain date and/or insufficient aid is available to cover your deferred fees. Up to 50% of your program fee may be deferred on the basis of your anticipated financial aid award. The fee deferment request form
must be completed, notarized, and on file with International Programs before any deferment of fees will be granted.
Non-FSU students should check with their home school financial aid office to learn how their aid will be disbursed.
Non-FSU students should contact their home school financial aid office if you have questions.
While the majority of this document deals with FSU’s process for students applying for financial aid and studying
abroad, it is important to note that completing the FAFSA becomes the first step for all students in getting
qualified for financial aid. Your home school may have similar processes in place as does FSU so the sooner you
know about how your school’s Financial Aid office handles financial aid requests for students studying abroad,
the sooner you can get the financial aid process working for you.