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.

IA students should review SFA’s How to Apply section of our website or our Gator Aid Guide.

Further IA Information

  • Interested students and parents should see the Innovation Academy website.
  • Students and parents can also call (352) 294-1785.

When to Apply

Although you must be accepted for enrollment at UF before you are considered for financial aid, you should apply for aid before being admitted. Complete the FAFSA at You can file a FAFSA as early as January 1 each year. UF’s “On-Time” deadline to receive the results of your FAFSA from the federal processor is March 15.  Apply well before March 15 to ensure that the federal processor has time to analyze and send the results of your FAFSA to our office. Financial aid is awarded on a first come, first served basis so apply as early as possible to be considered for the most, and best aid.

For IA students, it’s critical to understand that they must meet the same financial aid deadlines as non-IA students, despite the difference in academic calendars. This means that a student hoping to join the Innovation Academy beginning in January of 2015 must meet UF’s March 15, 2014 deadline in order to receive the most, and best, aid for the 14-15 academic year.  In order for us to consider you for a financial aid package, you must be an admitted student and have met the “On-Time” deadline.

Joining IA in Apply for Aid by
Spring of 2015 March 15, 2014
Spring of 2016 March 15, 2015
Spring of 2017 March 15, 2016

All IA students are encouraged to file a FAFSA as early as possible. SFA’s website features a section of tips for students (and parents) filling out the FAFSA for the first time.

If you are notified by our office that you have been selected for verification, submit all requested documents as soon as possible to avoid any delay in the disbursement of your financial aid funds.

Apply several weeks earlier than the March 15 deadline to ensure that UF has time to process the results of your FAFSA. Financial aid award offers will be made in early spring.

State and federal student-aid programs are usually limited to two semesters in an academic year. Because the spring and summer semesters are the two primary academic terms for the IA program, financial aid funding options may be limited or unavailable in the fall semester. If you pursue fall coursework at another college or university, please be careful about accepting financial aid (i.e. Federal Pell Grant, Stafford Loans, and Florida Bright Futures Scholarship); it may reduce or remove your IA financial aid eligibility in the summer.

Who Should Apply for Aid?

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.

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Who is Eligible to Apply?

For most financial aid programs at UF, you must:

  1. Be a U. S. citizen, national, or permanent resident alien.
  2. Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment at least half time in a degree program. Exception: Federal Pell Grants. Complete enrollment information is available here.
  3. Make satisfactory academic progress toward a degree.
  4. Register with the Selective Service Administration, if required to do so.
  5. 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.
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