Applying for Financial Aid
Overview of the Financial Aid Process
Applying for admission to Spelman College is the first step toward being considered for financial aid. We urge students to complete their admissions and financial aid applications at the same time; however, January 1st is the earliest that students can complete the Free Application for Student Aid. Regardless of which application is completed first, we must receive the acceptance packet before the Office of Student Financial Services can process the financial aid application.
Parents should make arrangements to complete their IRS federal tax returns well before March 1, which is our priority deadline. Financial aid is distributed in the order of date completed and financial need. Without complete and current IRS information, we cannot process the financial aid award offer. Delays could possibly affect the amount of funds that the student will be able to receive.
When you receive your Acceptance Package from SC, it will contain the student's ID and PIN that is used to access Bannerweb, which is our current computer system. You can review the status of your financial aid application at this site.
Following these guidelines should give us time to process your application and notify you of your eligibility in a timely manner. Once you have been admitted and receive your PIN, you can check the status of your financial aid application on Bannerweb as often as you like. Please allow two weeks for processing whenever you mail items to our office.
HOW TO APPLY
1. Complete FAFSA
You may begin the financial aid application process as early as Jan. 1, which is when the FAFSA becomes available online. You should also check with your guidance counselor for the paper version; however, we strongly recommend completing the FAFSA online to reduce processing time and errors. The school code for Spelman College is 001594. Students whose FAFSAs and other documents, if requested, are received by March 1 (our priority deadline) will be among the first who are considered for aid.
How to fill out the FAFSA
What is a Priority Deadline?
Meeting the priority deadline entitles you to 'priority treatment', which means that you will be considered for all aid (including grants and work-study) that is available. All students who meet the priority deadline will be grouped together and awarded financial aid based on eligibility and available funds. Students who do not meet the March 1 priority deadline may only be considered for a PELL Grant and student loans.
Note: SC cannot consider you for aid until you have been admitted to the College. Until our office receives an admit decision from the Office of Admissions, we cannot process your financial aid application.
What Happens After You Send Information to the Office of Student Financial Services?
Before sending documents to the Office of Student Financial Services, make sure that you have:
- accurately and completely filled out all required fields;
- attached all required documentation; and
- provided all required signatures.
Failure to do so will delay the time it takes to process your application.
In order to verify that the documents have been received, the Office of Student Financial Services staff date stamps each document when it is received and enters the date that the document was received into our system. You may check Bannerweb (using your ID and PIN) to check the status of your financial aid and admission status after a minimum of two weeks each time you mail a document to our office.
We will send a tentative award letter and/or a missing information letter to you informing you which documents are missing from your file.
If your application has inconsistent information or it is selected for verification, a Financial Aid adviser must review your documents. If the adviser finds inconsistent information on the documents, the adviser may do the following:
- Request additional documentation from you and your parents
- Return the incomplete documents to you for correction and reprocessing
- Correct the information (if we have the appropriate documentation to verify the correction) and return SAR (FAFSA) to the Federal Processor for reprocessing.
If we make the required corrections, we will return the SAR (FAFSA) to the Federal Processor electronically. Your file will be considered incomplete until we receive the corrected SAR. It may take three to five business days for our office to receive the corrections and an additional week before we review your file a second time. Generally, it takes approximately one week (each time you submit documents) from the date SC receives required documents to the time the documents are reviewed. We ask that you allow this minimum amount of time before checking Bannerweb to verify that our office received materials that you mailed to us.
2. Tax Returns
It is equally important that parents complete their tax returns as early in the year as possible so that you can accurately complete and submit your FAFSA.
3. Review the Student Aid Report
Approximately two weeks after you have completed the FAFSA on the Internet and mailed the signature page (if required), you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) which summarizes the information you submitted on your FAFSA. Read the information carefully and follow all instructions.
- If the information is correct, you will receive a Financial Aid Award Letter within two weeks.
- If the information is incorrect, contact a financial aid adviser for instructions on making corrections.
Your SAR will tell you whether you are "selected for verification" or whether you must submit additional documents to the Office of Student Financial Services. If you are selected for Verification: Click here to access the verification forms.
- You must submit signed copies of your and your parents' (if you are considered a dependent student)signed Federal 1040 tax returns, including schedule C.
- You must submit signed copies of your and your spouse's (if you are married) signed Federal 1040 tax returns, including Schedule C.
- You and your parents must complete a Verification Worksheet (to be mailed by the Office of Student Financial Services) and submit it to the Office of Student Financial Services.
- You may be required to submit additional documents based on your specific circumstances. Contact the Office of Student Financial Services.
Please verify that Spelman College is listed in the school section. We will not receive your information if SC is not listed.
APPLYING FOR OTHER FORMS OF AID
College Grants and Scholarships
Gift assistance (free money) does not have to be earned or repaid. Unless otherwise noted, awards from the following programs will appear as credits on your account once your financial aid award package is finalized and if you are eligible for the funds. A FAFSA must be completed for all aid.
Spelman College grants and scholarships are awarded through the Office of Student Financial Services for returning students. Interested applicants must complete a FAFSA and contact the Office of Student Financial Services at 404-270-5212.
We encourage you to set aside some time early in your high school senior year to begin your search for scholarships. Many scholarships and financial aid information can be found on various Web sites. NEVER provide your social security number and NEVER pay a fee for financial aid information. Several free scholarship search Web sites are listed below:
- General Board of Higher Education and Ministry
- Gates Millennium Scholars Program
- Sallie Mae Fund
- Scholarship Resource Network Express
- Student Awards
- United Negro College Fund (UNCF)
Federal Government Financial Aid
Federal PELL Grant
Eligibility for Pell Grant is based upon the federal eligibility formula. Once your FAFSA has been processed, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR). Verify that Spelman College (school code 001594) is listed in the school section. This is your indication that SC has received your SAR and can determine your eligibility for financial aid. Please review the SAR for accuracy and follow any instructions. The amount of a Federal Pell Grant may range from $200 to $4,731 per academic year, subject to Congressional appropriations and your enrollment status.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
FSEOG is awarded to on-time filers with Pell Grant eligibility. Because funds are limited, the College is unable to fund all Pell Grant recipients with this additional type of funding. The FAFSA is the application used to determine eligibility.
Federal Work Study
Federal Work-Study (FWS) is an employment program awarded to undergraduate and graduate students based on federal eligibility using the information provided on the FAFSA. The amount of your FWS is the amount you are eligible to earn for the academic year. FWS is not available to be applied to institutional charges. Students are paid FWS earnings based on the actual hours worked each pay period.
Many departments depend on student employees to assist with the effective operation of departments. Students gain valuable work experience and skills that contribute to their overall education and development. Work Study students are given the opportunity to interview for a variety of jobs.
There are loans from federal, state and private organizations which must be repaid. Some loans require interest payments while the student is in school; others begin repayment after the student ceases to be enrolled at a post-secondary institution with at least a half-time status.
Note: Loan awards typically increase as the student progresses toward degree completion. The chart illustrates the term of most of the general loan programs available to Spelman College students. Some of the loans may be disbursed to you in the form of checks that you will endorse and use to pay any charges you owe the College. Most loan funds will be credited directly to your student account after you complete the Master Promissory Note and other required documents. Both types of loans are subject to cancellation if you do not endorse checks promptly, if you fail to complete the required documents in a timely manner, or you enroll less than half-time.
When you decide to take out a student loan, you are making a commitment to repay it. You cannot avoid repaying even if you do not complete your education. All undergraduate first time borrowers must participate in Entrance loan counseling provided by the Office of Student Financial Services.
Before leaving Spelman College, all borrowers must have an exit interview to discuss repayment, deferment and cancellation provisions.
Federal Perkins Loan
Awards are based on financial need as demonstrated by the information you provided on your FAFSA and the availability of funds. Preference is given to students who demonstrate exceptional need and who meet on-time filing priority deadlines.
Federal Stafford Loan (Subsidized)
Low interest loans may be made to eligible enrolled at least half-time, by banks, credit unions and other commercial lenders who participate in the program. "Subsidized" loans are those that you are not required to pay interest on as long as you continue to be enrolled at least half time. Students must demonstrate financial eligibility as determined by the information provided on the eligibility as determined by the information provided on the eligibility as determined by the information provided on the FAFSA. The interest rate on your loan could change each year of repayment but, by law, it will never exceed 8.25%.
Your eligibility for loans will be based on the information received on the Student Aid Report. You do not have to complete a separate loan application but you will have to complete a Master Promissory Note agreeing to repay the loan. The following chart shows sample monthly payments and total interest charges for 8.25% loans of varying amounts with typical repayments and total interest charges. The chart shows an example of the Standard Payment option. At the time a Federal Stafford Loan is taken out, you may be charged an origination fee up to 3% which will be deducted proportionately from each loan disbursement made to you.
Federal Stafford Loan (Unsubsidized)
Unsubsidized Stafford Loan Funds are available to students meeting all Stafford program requirements other than demonstrated need (students must apply for need based aid prior to being considered for subsidized loan). An origination fee may be charged and you may have to pay interest during in-school and deferment periods unless other arrangements are made with the lender. Interest accrues during the in-school period but payment of interest may be deferred upon request.
Federal PLUS Loan
A PLUS loan is a loan made to credit worthy parents of eligible dependent undergraduate students. PLUS loans are not based on need and may be used to replace the expected family contribution if you also receive need-based financial aid.
Note: If a student's parent is denied the PLUS Loan, the dependent student can apply for an Unsubsidized Stafford Loan provided the parent submits a copy of the denial notice to the Office of Student Financial Services. The amount of the Unsubsidized Stafford is $4,000 for freshmen and sophomores and $5,000 for juniors and seniors.
State Government Aid
Many states offer financial aid to students to attend SC. Some of them are Pennsylvania, District of Columbia and Georgia. You should contact the Higher Education agency from your home state to find out whether you can receive state aid to attend SC.
Georgia Tuition Equalization Grant (GTEG)
Undergraduate only. These grants are for Georgia residents as defined by the State agency and are not based on need. Any Georgia resident who is regularly enrolled full-time is eligible to receive the GTEG and must apply by completing the Georgia Grant Applications. GTEG award is a tuition award and it may be reduced or other full-tuition awards you receive may be reduced (i.e. tuition discounts or waivers, academic and athletic scholarships, etc.) to comply with state and institutional policies. Applications are available in the Office of Student Financial Services and must be submitted by the deadline that is established by the State. The application does not have to be submitted each year. The GTEG credit will appear on your account after the Office of Student Financial Services has certified your GTEG eligibility.
Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally (HOPE)
In addition to the criteria for GTEG, students must have and maintain a 3.0 cumulative grade point average. High school seniors should contact their guidance counselors.
For undergraduate Georgia residents, scholars are selected by the Georgia Student Finance Authority. Students must submit applications to the State Agency.
Note: Students from states outside of Georgia should contact the appropriate state agencies for information concerning state grants awards and eligibility requirements.
The College only requires students to submit one Master Promissory Note during their entire SC tenure. Students must complete this form the first year in which they request aid.
WHEN TO APPLY
- The FAFSA can be accessed online as early as Jan. 1.
- Upon completing the form, you will be able to either print or receive a copy via mail summarizing the information that you provided, which is referred to as a Student Aid Report (SAR).
- Once you have been admitted to Spelman College, you will receive an acceptance packet that will include your Bannerweb ID and PIN. You may access Bannerweb two business days to access information on your admission and financial aid status. It takes approximately 3 weeks from the date SC receives the FAFSA and other required documents to the time the documents are reviewed.
- Once the Office of Student Financial Services has received your SAR, we may ask for additional documents to complete your file. We must receive these documents to complete your file before we can determine your correct eligibility and make any decisions on your award amount.
- Complete your Financial Aid file QUICKLY. Your financial aid file is complete when our office is in receipt of the following: acceptance for admission, Student Aid Report (SAR) and other documents that may be requested by the Office of Student Financial Services (parent's and student's tax returns, Verification Worksheet and other requested documents). Students who complete their files by the priority deadline have a better chance of receiving aid. The office will mail written verification, but students can also check Bannerweb.
- You must apply for financial aid each school year.
- The earliest you can complete your FAFSA online is after Jan. 1 of each year.
- You should encourage your parents to complete their tax returns early because you will need the information from your and your parents' Federal 1040 tax return to complete the application for financial aid.
- If you have a correct and valid SAR and all required documents on file in the Office of Student Financial Services by March 1st, your application will be given priority treatment. If you miss the March 1st priority deadline, you must send all required documents to the Office of Student Financial Services at least 6 weeks before the start of the semester. Documents received after this time may not be processed in time for registration.
- See "Important Dates to Remember" so that you can remain updated on your financial aid status.
Review SAR (Student Aid Report) for Accuracy and Make Corrections if Necessary
All students who are accepted for admission or are currently enrolled have the ability to review the status of their financial aid application at any time. Login to Bannerweb using your SC ID and PIN. Accessing your information via Bannerweb instead of calling or visiting the office is the most efficient way to save time and determine the status of your application.
Receive Acceptance for Admission to SC
When the Office of Student Financial Services receives notification from the Office of Admissions that you have been accepted, we will generate a financial aid award letter and mail it to you. You should:
- immediately review the award letter for accuracy;
- indicate the financial aid that you plan to accept/decline; and
- sign and return the letter as soon as possible.
Special Treatment of income and other information used to determine eligibility (Professional Judgment)
The Office of Student Financial Services uses standard budgets for all students based on enrollment status. The budgets (Cost of Attendance) include tuition, fees, living expenses, transportation, miscellaneous expenses, books and supplies. If special circumstances exist (such as expenses related to a catastrophic loss or unusual medical bills), you may request special treatment of the information you must report on the FAFSA.
NOTE: Credit card bills, prior debts, automobile payments, private school tuition and other personal discretionary expenses are NOT grounds for special treatment.