Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What types of Student Loans are available?
A: Learn about the requirements of your federal loans and the steps you need to take
to satisfy them. The Federal Direct Loan Program offers the following types of loans:
- Subsidized: for undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need, as determined
by federal regulations. No interest is charged while a student is in school at least
half-time, during the grace period, and during deferment periods.
- Unsubsidized: are available to both undergraduate and graduate students. This program
is not based on financial need; interest is charged during all periods, even during
the time a student is in school and during grace and deferment periods.
- PLUS: unsubsidized loans for the parents of dependent students and for graduate/professional
students. PLUS loans help pay for education expenses up to the cost of attendance
minus all other financial assistance. Interest is charged during all periods.
Federal Direct Master Promissory Note: http://studentloans.gov.
Q: What is the status of my financial aid?
A: The status of a student's financial aid is based on whether or not a student
has information pending in the Admission's Office, completed the current FAFSA application,
listed UNO as a school choice on the FAFSA, received a confirmation summary from the
Central Processing Center (CPS), and submitted all requested documents for the verification
Q: How can I check the status of my financial aid?
A: Students can check their financial aid status by visiting WebSTAR. You can also find additional information by looking through the Financial Aid website
Q: Who determines whether or not a student is selected for verification?
A: The U.S. Department of Education determines whether or not a student is selected
for the audit process called verification. Students are selected based on the information
that is reported on the FAFSA application.
Q: Do I have to turn in documents for verification, if I am only interested in TOPS?
A: No, you do not have to complete and submit the verification forms if you are only
interested in receiving TOPS. However, if you receive a Missing Information Letter
from the University of New Orleans, write on the bottom of the form that you are only
interested in TOPS, and mail the form back to the UNO's Office of Student Financial
Aid. However, if you anticipate receiving Pell Grant, then you must submit your verification
Q: What is the non-traditional household worksheet? Why was the non-traditional household
worksheet mailed to me?
A: The non-traditional household worksheet is a verification document that is used
to verify other members listed on the Verification Worksheet that are not part of a Dependent traditional household — such as mother, father, daughter, and/or son. Independent traditional household — such as spouse, son, or daughter.
The non-traditional household worksheet is mailed to all students selected for the
verification process. Students should only complete the form if a non-traditional
member, such as grandmother, grandfather, aunt, uncle, cousin, foster child, or others
are listed in the household section of the Verification Worksheet.
Q: What correct Federal Income Tax Return is required?
A: The correct Federal Income Tax Return that is required is the IRS Tax Transcript
and other certain IRS documents. However, the Federal Return RECAP, Form 8453, and
E-filing are not acceptable documents for completing a student's verification process.
The only acceptable document is the IRS TAX TRANSCRIPT.
Q: What if I did not file a tax return?
A: Students or parents who did file a tax return have to complete a Zero Income Form
and submit a Wage Record File from the Louisiana Work Department of Labor Unemployment
Office (Contact Number: 1-866-783-5567).
Q: How long does the verification process take?
A: The verification process is based in the timeframe in which a student submits his
or her requested documents. However, during peak of processing, (June, July and August)
the verification process may take from 4 to 6 weeks to verify a student's document.
Q: What is an Alternative Loan Program?
A: If your family is not eligible for need-based financial assistance or choose not
to apply, these programs offer alternative loan resources. Students who are receiving
financial aid can also utilize these programs to finance all or part of their calculated
expected family contribution. Borrowers must be creditworthy to participate in these
programs. Students who are not creditworthy by program guidelines, may still be eligible
to participate IF they can find a creditworthy person to cosign their loan application.
Q: What is a Federal Perkins Loan Program?
A: The Federal Perkins Loan Program is made through participating schools to undergraduate,
graduate, and professional eligible degree students. This program is offered to students
who demonstrate financial need as determined by the Federal Student Aid Program as
a result of the FAFSA data. Student may be either full-time or part-time to be considered
for this program. This loan has a 5% interest rate. The student goes into repayment
nine months after he/she graduates, transfers to another school, drops below half-time
enrollment, or resigns from the university.
If you are awarded a Perkins Loan, then you must complete an entrance counseling session
and a Master Promissory Note. You can complete this process online at www.SignMyLoan.com.
Q: What is a Federal Direct Master Promissory Note?
A: Steps to complete the Federal Direct Master Promissory Note (MPN):
Log onto http://studentloans.gov
Click on the Sign In box. You will be required to enter your SSN Number, first two
characters of your last name, your Date of Birth and PIN.
Once you have logged in, select Complete Master Promissory Note (MPN). Be sure to
select the MPN you need for the type of loan you accepted.
Effect of Class Load on Award
Q: If I drop a class, how will it affect my financial aid?
A: If a student anticipates dropping below half-time, they should see a Financial
Aid Counselor. However, dropping classes excessively can and will impact a student's financial aid
eligibility (see SAP policy)
Q: What happens if I don't attend some or all of the classes that I registered for?
A: The answers below reflect the situation:
- During the first 14 days?
If you are a Pell Grant recipient, your Pell Grant will be adjusted according to
the hours reported as actual attendance by the Registrar's Office.
- Never attended any of my classes and I receive all F's?
You will be subject to unofficial withdrawal by the Registrar's Office which will
warrant an adjustment to your financial aid.
- What if I drop below half-time prior to receiving my student loan funds?
The student will not be entitled to the loan. The loan funds will be returned.
- What if I resign from the University?
If you resign from the University by the 60% point of the semester, you will be subject
to Return of Title IV. It is highly possible that you will owe a refund back to the
Federal Student Aid Programs and other financial aid resources. A calculation will
be performed by the Accounting Services Office to determine how much of your financial
aid award must be returned.
Q: Why was my financial aid reduced?
A: Financial Aid is initially awarded to students with the assumption that they will
be registered with a full time course load. Adjustments are made after the last day
of late registration to reflect the student's correct eligibility. Pell grant may
be reduced to reflect enrollment status. The student's Cost of Attendance will also
be adjusted which may impact other forms of financial aid.
Q: When can I start working?
A: Students can begin working after they have completed job placement at the Office
of Student Financial Aid.
Q: Should I start working before my paperwork is complete?
A: No. All paperwork must be completed and submitted to the Student Financial Aid
Office for processing. The student is not allowed to work until his/her paperwork
has been processed.
Q : May I work in more than one department at a time?
A: No, the University recognizes that student employees make contributions to the
functioning of the University by performing services that might not be economically
feasible if the services of a full-time employee were required. At the same time,
it is recognized that a student employee should be a student first and an employee
Q: May I work more than 20 hrs per week during the fall and spring semester?
A: Students are allowed to work up to a maximum of 20 per week during the fall and
spring semesters. During the weeks in which there are no classes (Spring Break, Christmas
Break and Summer Non-Enrollment), a student is allowed to work a maximum of 40 hours
per week provided the department has a need for such hours, and the student has a
Q: Where can I find information about the Louisiana TOPS program?
A: You may contact the Office of Student Financial Assistance at 1 (800) 259-5626
x 1012, with any question regarding the TOPS Program or you may contact the Office
of Student Financial Aid & Scholarships at (504) 280-6603.
Q: Will the TOPS Program cover Summer Institute Courses?
A: No, the TOPS Programs will not cover Summer Institute Courses.
Q: When is the application deadline for new freshman scholarship consideration?
A: New students who wish to be considered for scholarships must complete the application
for admission by January 15th, prior to the start of their first fall semester.
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
Q: What is SAP?
A: The federal government requires that in order for a student to retain federal financial
aid eligibility, a student needs to make progress towards their degree by completing
a sufficient ratio of hours that is determined by the institution and by maintaining
satisfactory grades. SAP is checked at the end of every semester There are two primary
categories for undergraduates: GPA and Completion Ratio
70% ratio of completion and 2.00 GP
Please refer to SAP policy page for more in-depth details.
Q: Now that I am not meeting SAP, how can I get my financial aid back?
A: Students that are not meeting the requirements of SAP can work towards regaining
their eligibility by doing the following: Successfully completing future courses as
it relates to their ratio of hours completed to hours pursued and/or GPA requirements.
Once the student meets their SAP requirements the student may request for their aid
to be reinstated for the following semester.
Q: If I have a grade change or other adjustment to my academic record, can my financial
aid eligibility be reinstated?
A: Students that have updates to their academic record, such as grade changes and
retroactive drops, may request in writing to have their SAP status re-evaluated. All
grade changes need to be reflected on the student's transcript or provided to the
Office of Student Financial Aid by way of an approved Grade Change Form. In order
for the student to be considered for reinstatement a request must be submitted prior
to the first day of class.
Q: Does an "I" (Incomplete) count against my ratio requirements?
A: Yes, an "I" on a student's academic record will count as an attempted course not
completed. All course work recorded on the students academic history counts in the
calculation of the ratio requirements such as a W, I, X/F, U, P, F, NG, and graded
Q: Can I appeal the SAP requirements?
A: Students may file an appeal if they have extenuating circumstances. The circumstances
must have contributed to not meeting the requirements of the SAP policy. The following
documents are needed in order to be considered for an appeal: SAP Appeal Form, detailed
letter describing the situation, as well as, supporting documentation. The appeal
deadlines are June 30th for the Fall, November 30th for the Spring, and April 30th
for the Summer.
Federal Direct Loan Entrance Interview
- Log onto studentloans.gov
- Click on the Sign In box. You will be required to enter your SSN Number, first two
characters of your last name, your Date of Birth and PIN.
- Once you have logged in, select Complete Entrance Counseling. You will need about
30 minutes to complete the counseling session.
Q: Who is required to complete a Federal Direct Loan Entrance Interview?
A: All first time Federal Direct Loan borrowers are required by the Department of
Education to complete a Federal Direct Loan Entrance Counseling before they receive
the first disbursement of their student loan.
Q: When should the Federal Direct Loan Entrance Interview be completed?
A: The Federal Direct Loan Entrance Counseling should be completed when the student
accepts their first Federal Direct Loan.
Q: Where is the Federal Direct Loan Entrance Interview completed?
A: A student completes the Federal Direct Loan Entrance Counseling online at www.studentloans.gov
Q: What happens to a student's loan funds if the Federal Direct Loan Entrance Interview has not completed?
A: Direct Loan funds will not disburse to UNO unless both the Entrance Counseling
and Master Promissory Note has been completed by the borrower.
Q: What is Entrance Counseling?
A: Entrance Counseling: studentloans.gov
Entrance Counseling is a federal requirement for all Direct Stafford Loan recipients.
The funds for your loan will not be disbursed until you have completed the counseling.
Entrance Counseling provides you with information about:
- Your rights and responsibilities as a borrower.
- Interest rates, expenses, repayment plans, and other important details about borrowing
- Who to contact with questions
Federal Direct Loan Exit Counseling
Q: Who is required to complete Federal Direct Loan Exit Counseling?
A: All students who have Federal Direct Loans are required to complete a Federal Direct
Loan Exit Counseling when they graduate, transfer to another school, drop below half-time
enrollment, or resign.
Q: What is Federal Direct Loan Exit Counseling?
A: The Federal Direct Loan Exit Counseling is designed to provide student loan borrowers
with information that will help prepare them for managing their student loan debt.
Exit Counseling is a federal requirement for all Federal Direct Stafford Loan recipients
and Federal Perkins Loan recipients. Exit counseling requirements were created to
ensure that you understand your rights and responsibilities as a borrower. During
the counseling, you will learn how to make payment of your loans easier and how to
get help and protect your credit rating if you have problems.
More information on Exit Counseling: www.nslds.gov
Q: What is Direct Loan Consolidation and which student loans can be included in
A: Direct Loan Consolidation allows student loan borrowers to combine one or more
of their federal education student loans into a single loan. The types of student
loans that can be consolidated may include Federal Subsidized Stafford, Federal Unsubsidized
Stafford, Federal SLS, Federal Perkins Loans, Health and Human Services (HHS)/Health
Professions Loans and all Federal Direct Loans.
Q: What are the benefits of a Consolidated Loan?
A: Student loan borrowers who consolidate their loans may be eligible to lock in their
variable interest rate loans at the current low rate. A Consolidated Loan will provide
the student with one lender and one lower monthly payment reducing paper work and
the number of loans to be repaid monthly.