You’ve been accepted to Saint Joseph’s University! Congratulations! Hopefully you have received your Financial Aid Award Letter (or viewed it on your SJU Admission Account), so you may have some questions. I have been where you are now, and I am happy to help you understand the information as well as share some important things to know.
First on your Award Letter are the Estimate Bill Costs. These are costs that you will be directly billed for each semester. Tuition bills post in July for the fall semester, and in late November for the Spring.
Next are the Other Estimated Non-Billed Costs, which are costs that you should anticipate covering, such as your book purchases, but will not appear on your bill from the University.
Important Thing to Know #1: You will receive two primary bills each semester. Tuition for the Fall Bill is due by August 15th and tuition for the Spring Bill is due by January 15th.
Students are billed per semester for costs. The Fall and Spring e-bills will have basically the same expenses, meaning that the amount you will need to pay for each semester should be about the same, with the exception of specific course fees (i.e. Lab fees). This is helpful for students and families who may look into loans to help cover any remaining balance as it means you can set up one loan for the full year.
Students that submit a deposit for the fall 2019 entering class will be given access to The Nest in mid-April. The Nest is your student portal and where you will be able to accept your financial aid, view your e-bills, register for classes, etc.
The Financial Aid Package you receive shows all of the aid you currently qualify to receive. Merit Scholarships are awarded by Saint Joseph’s University. The type and amount are based upon your performance in high school. These are set to pay out over the next four years, or eight semesters. Scholarships from SJU require that a student be enrolled for a minimum of 12 credits before the funds will pay to your account.
Important Thing to Know #3: Most scholarships have a specific minimum GPA requirement for renewal. Read your award letter carefully so you know what minimum GPA you need to maintain in order to have your scholarship renewed from year to year. The Office of Financial Aid will review your academic record annual, after spring grades have posted, to ensure you are meeting all renewal requirements.
Then there is the Federal Aid, which may appear in the form of a loan, grants, or Federal Work Study. You may have some or a combination of these items in your Financial Aid Package. What you are offered is determined by your financial need, as documented on the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). When you submitted your FAFSA, you are required to enter financial information based upon the 2017 tax returns.
Here are the types of Federal Aid you may see on your award letter:
- Federal Direct Subsidized /Unsubsidized Loans – Incoming freshmen are eligible to borrow up to $5,500 in Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans. If you have any financial need, up to $3,500 of that loan may be a Federal Direct Subsidized Loans loan (when the loan is Subsidized, the US Department of Education pays on the loan while you are in school and during your six month grace period once you separate). Any loans you borrow must be repaid. Students go into repayment following graduation, or six months after they are no longer enrolled on at least a half-time basis (which is six credits in a semester).
- Pell and SEOG Grants – Your FAFSA will also be used to determine if you qualify for a Federal Pell or SEOG (Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant). These are typically awarded to students with a significant amount of financial need. Neither grant requires repayment.
- Finally, Federal Work Study provides students the opportunity to seek on-campus employment, and to be paid on a bi-weekly basis for any hours worked. These funds can help students cover school related expense such as books and supplies, or for your personal spending money. Because you are paid for the hours your work, Federal Work Study is not deducted from your bill (such as how your scholarship, grant, or loan would be). Work Study is not a guarantee as students must pursue and obtain on campus work. Information on how to obtain a job on campus is sent to any deposited student who qualifies for Federal Work Study in July.
Important Thing to Know #4: In order to continue to receive Federal Aid, you must reapply each year. The FAFSA for 2020-2021 will open on October 1, 2019, and will be based on your 2018 calendar year income.
Students who live in Pennsylvania and have graduated from a Pennsylvania school may also qualify for the state grant through PHEAA (Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency). Your award letter will reflect any estimated PHEAA state grant, but your will get notification directly from PHEAA after May 1 regarding your official award amount. To view the award, place log into your Account Access at pheaa.org.
Important Thing to Know #5: You will be required to complete an application for the state grant, in order to confirm eligibility.
The final piece is the Estimated Total Billed Costs, which shows the approximate balance for each semester after the aid has disbursed, along with the annual amount. The Totals are what the student and families are responsible for paying. These numbers are what you will use to help set up payment plans, Parent PLUS Loans, or Private/Alternate Loans.
There are options for covering the remaining out-of-pocket costs that are listed on your award letter, whether it be through SJU’s interest-free payment plan, the Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan, or Private/Alternate loans. More information can be found at sju.edu/admittedfinance.
Important Thing #6: Enjoy your time at SJU! I know I did!
Jill Keenan-Casertano, ’00, Financial Aid Specialist