Financial Aid Basics
For many students, financial aid can greatly affect their decision about whether or not to attend college, or which institution they attend. Because of its importance, the decision to apply for financial aid, and which programs to accept, should be made only with a complete understanding of the process, requirements, benefits, and responsibilities.
The University of Florida offers four types of financial aid—grants, scholarships, loans, and part-time employment. Grants and scholarships are considered gift aid, as they do not have to be repaid. Loans by definition must be repaid. Student employment is offered in exchange for a service—work.
UF offers financial aid for the express purpose of helping students pay their educationally related expenses. Such aid is usually provided by federal, state, institutional, or private agencies. If you are eligible for assistance, SFA will offer you a financial aid package, which could consist of scholarships, grants, loans, and/or student employment (solely or in combination).
SFA recognizes that each student’s financial situation is unique and strives to develop policies and procedures that treat each student fairly and equitably while taking into account special circumstances.
All students who think they need financial assistance should apply. The only way to tell if you’re eligible to receive aid is to apply. Many factors are taken into account when awarding aid. Currently, more than seventy percent of students at UF receive some form of financial assistance.
For most financial aid programs at UF, you must:
- Be a U. S. citizen, national, or permanent resident alien.
- Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment at least half time in a degree program. Exception: Federal Pell Grants. Complete enrollment information is available here.
- Make satisfactory academic progress toward a degree.
- Register with the Selective Service Administration, if required to do so.
- Not be in default on a federal or institutional loan or owe a repayment on a previous financial aid award received at UF or other institution.
Some programs will list additional eligibility requirements.
A Summary of Federal Aid
Although you must be accepted for enrollment at UF before you receive financial aid, you should apply for aid before being admitted.
You can file a FAFSA as early as January 1 each year. UF’s “On-Time” application deadline for financial aid is March 15. Students whose financial aid files are complete by March 15 are automatically considered for the most, and best aid.
Apply several weeks earlier than the March 15 deadline to ensure that UF has time to process the results of your FAFSA.
In general, undergraduate students may receive up to ten full-time terms of aid. Students receiving financial aid must be in good standing at UF and maintain satisfactory academic progress.
The maximum number of terms students transferring to UF may receive aid is prorated based on their entering enrollment status. UF’s financial aid academic progress requirements can be viewed here.
Beginning with the 2009-10 academic year, the Florida Legislature enacted a rule, known as the Excess Hours Fee. The rule is an attempt to encourage students to finish their degrees in a timely fashion.
- Students who entered UF as an undergraduate between and including fall of 2009 and summer of 2011 are subject to a threshold percentage of 120%, meaning that for credits beyond 120% of the number of credits required for their degree, they will have to pay an additional surcharge equalling 50% of their tuition.
- Students entering UF as undergraduates in fall of 2011 or thereafter are subject to a 115% threshold, meaning for credits beyond 115% of the number of credits required for their degree, they will have to pay an additional surcharge equalling 50% of their tuition.
The rule considers failed courses, drops, withdrawals (general), repeats, and all accepted transfer credits as hours towards a bachelor’s degree. There are many types of credit hours that are excluded from the calculation of hours, including hours earned through accelerated mechanisms such as AP, IB, dual enrollment, etc. The bill’s full text is available here.
An academic year at UF includes fall, spring, and summer semesters. Freshmen and sophomores entering the State University System must complete at least nine credit hours during a summer session to graduate. The Registrar’s website has more information regarding exemptions.
SFA supports the summer requirement and will award summer money if:
- funds are available for summer awards after fall/spring semester needs have been met, or
- a student chooses to use aid originally awarded for fall or spring term during the summer.
If you will be attending school during the summer semester, you can apply to receive available financial aid. To apply for summer financial aid, go to ISIS, click on Financial Aid for the appropriate academic year, choose Aid Status, and complete the instructions found at the link Summer Financial aid Request. Or you can go directly to the Summer Financial Aid Request page by clicking here.
Please note that Bright Futures funding is disbursed for fall and spring terms only.
The following are additional sources of aid other than SFA. Students receiving funds through these sources while also applying for aid through SFA must notify us of this assistance as soon as they receive notification.
- UF Admissions Office
The Admissions Office awards academic achievement scholarships, primarily to incoming freshmen and transfers.
- Florida Prepaid College Plan
The Florida Prepaid College Plan allows parents, grandparents, and others to lock in the cost of college today. For more info, see the Prepaid Web site.
- Individual UF Colleges
Aid available through individual colleges within the university is listed in the Gator Aid Handbook.
- The State of Florida.
The Florida Department of Education Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA) sponsors many programs, such as the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship, the Florida Student Assistance Grant, the Jose Marti Scholarship Challenge Grant, and the Rosewood Family Scholarship. For more information, go to the OSFA Web site.
- Outside Scholarships/Loans
The Gator Aid Handbook includes a chapter on outside aid.
Student Financial Affairs (SFA) in S-107 Criser Hall and the Dean of Student
Offices (DSO) in P-202 Peabody Hall work together to assist students with
disabilities. Criser Hall and Peabody Hall are both accessible by wheelchair.
Students who need special assistance in applying for aid can contact SFA at (352) 392-1275
for an appointment. When applying for aid through SFA, students
with disabilities may qualify for an increase in their educational budgets
to cover disability-related expenses. DSO helps determine disability-related
expenses not offered or provided by other agencies.
DSO’s phone numbers are (352) 392-1261 (V) and (352) 392-3008 (TDD). Students with speech or hearing impairments who need to contact an agency on campus which does not list a TDD number may use the Florida Relay Service, 1-800-955-8771 (TDD), or by dialing 711.