Financial Information

Student Financial Assistance

OFFICE OF STUDENT FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

Director: Alicia Keaton
Millican Hall, Room 120
Switchboard: (407) 823-2827
Fax: (407) 823-5241
Email: finaid@ucf.edu
Website: http://finaid.ucf.edu

Office Hours:
Monday: 9:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday/Wednesday/Friday: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Thursday: 9:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.

(Hours subject to change during holidays and semester breaks.)

The Office of Student Financial Assistance, a unit with Student Development and Enrollment Services is dedicated to supporting UCF's mission and goals through the efficient delivery of student aid. The office provides UCF students with a comprehensive offering of financial assistance options to support student success and the attainment of a university degree. Financial aid counseling is available on a walk-in basis. To protect privacy of student records, we offer limited counseling services through phone and email.

Student Eligibility

To receive aid from most federal and state financial aid programs, students must meet certain requirements. All students are encouraged to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) annually, before March 1, to determine eligibility for aid. The FAFSA results are required for many programs. The federal processor, using a standardized formula, calculates financial need. Those results are then forwarded to the schools that were identified on the application. UCF must be listed on the FAFSA in order to receive the data. UCF's Federal School Code is 003954. Regulations are subject to change at any time.

Application Priority Date

All students must apply and/or reapply annually for financial aid.

To be considered for the full range of financial aid funding available, students should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)/Renewal FAFSA by mid-February. The processed results of the FAFSA must be received by March 1 to meet the university's application priority date.

  • If the priority date is missed, students should apply as soon as possible after that date.
  • Students should not wait to be admitted to UCF before applying for financial aid; however they cannot be offered a financial aid package until they have been admitted to the university.
  • Students enrolling in the fall semester should submit all requested documents by the May 30, priority deadline for timely review and processing of their financial aid file. However, all students should have a completed financial aid file at least 60 days prior to the beginning of any given semester. Students who apply late for aid should be prepared to cover their own living expenses, as well as other out-of-pocket expenses, well into the term.

Application Procedures

  • The FAFSA can be filed electronically at www.fafsa.ed.gov
  • Using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool found within the FAFSA is the most accurate and secure method of providing the required tax information. Applicants who use the unchanged data generated by the IRS Data Retrieval Tool will not be required to provide federal tax return transcripts from the IRS to the financial aid office. Students who are selected for verification who did not use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, or changed data after using the tool, may be required to submit IRS tax return transcripts to verify tax information. Per federal regulation, copies of tax returns (Form 1040, 1040EZ, etc.) are no longer acceptable. The only exceptions to this rule include those who file tax returns in Puerto Rico or foreign countries.
  • Information provided on the Student Aid Report (SAR) should be reviewed thoroughly.
  • Review all correspondence, follow instructions on the SAR, and follow through within 5-10 business days. Delays can be costly as well as frustrating.
  • Federal regulations require that some students be selected for verification. If selected, students will be asked to provide documents supporting the information submitted on the FAFSA. Subsequent requests for data may be necessary after initial submissions are reviewed. Prompt response to requests will expedite completion of this process.
  • Students selected for verification for the 2016-2017 aid year are advised to submit all requested documents by the May 30, verification priority deadline for timely processing. Students should have a completed financial aid file no later than 60 days prior to the beginning of a semester.
  • Late or incomplete submission of documents can result in delayed disbursement or possible loss of eligibility for aid.
  • Offered federal funds and other need based financial aid are considered estimates until verification is complete and all necessary corrections have been made.

Specific Eligibility Requirements and Conditions for Receiving Financial Aid

  • Students must be accepted and classified as degree seeking at UCF in an eligible program of study.
  • For purposes of financial aid, enrollment is based on classes that count toward degree completion. To ensure enrollment in sufficient hours for the various financial aid programs, please refer to the Program Eligibility Charts on the Office of Student Financial Assistance website.
  • Students must maintain UCF's Standards for Satisfactory Academic Progress.
  • Students are required to inform the Office of Student Financial Assistance of any additional sources of aid they expect to receive beyond those listed on the myUCF portal. Any subsequent awards or income may necessitate a revision of the financial aid package. This includes, but is not limited to, any private scholarships, third party tuition payments, departmental payments and/or waivers.
  • Students may not receive aid in excess of their Cost of Attendance.
  • Students must not be in default on any federal educational loan or owe repayment on a federal grant at this or any other institution.
  • Students must provide all information requested for the completion of their file. If selected, verification must be completed within specified deadlines and prior to the receipt of all federal and most state and institutional funds.
  • Students must notify the Office of Student Financial Assistance of any changes in their housing status, household size, or family members in college from that listed on their FAFSA.
  • Students must reapply annually for financial aid.
  • Students must accept, reduce or decline offered loan(s) on the myUCF View Financial Aid screen. First time borrowers at UCF must complete an online Entrance Loan Counseling session and Master Promissory Note (MPN) for Federal Direct Stafford Loans.
  • Students must be U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens, (e.g. resident aliens). Eligible non-citizens include a permanent U.S. resident with a Permanent Resident Card (I-551); a conditional permanent resident with a Conditional Green Card (I-5551C); as well as some I-94 classifications.
  • For need-based programs, students must show a financial need as determined by the FAFSA.
  • A male applicant must be registered with Selective Service, if applicable.

Helpful Hints

  • Apply early to be considered for the full range of financial aid available each year by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)/Renewal FAFSA. The processed results of the FAFSA must be received by UCF from the federal processor by March 1 to meet the university's application priority date.
  • Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool located within the FAFSA application. Applicants who use the unchanged data generated by the IRS Data Retrieval Tool will not be required to provide federal tax return transcripts from the IRS. Students who are selected for Verification who did not use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, or changed data after using the tool, will be required to submit IRS tax return transcripts to verify tax information. Per federal regulation, copies of tax returns (Form 1040, 1040EZ, etc.) are no longer acceptable. The only exceptions to this rule include those who file tax returns in Puerto Rico or foreign countries.
  • Students selected for verification for the 2016-2017 aid year are advised to submit all requested documents by the May30, verification priority deadline for timely processing. Students should have a completed financial aid file no later than 60 days prior to the beginning of the semester.
  • Start a folder to save financial aid information and photocopies of all documents filed and received. Include student's name and UCF ID on all documents submitted. (Do not submit originals; documents will be shredded after scanning.).
  • Students should activate their Knights Email account, and check it regularly to avoid missing important and critical information from the Office of Student Financial Assistance and the university.
  • Complete all items on your myUCF, Student Center, "To Do List." Respond promptly to all information requests.
  • Students may visit the office during normal business hours to meet with a counselor.
  • Comprehensive information can be found on the Office of Student Financial Assistance website: http://finaid.ucf.edu.

School Costs

Estimated student budgets have been developed as a guide to help students anticipate their costs at UCF.

Estimated Cost of Attendance for 2016-2017
Graduate Students
fall/spring based on 9 hours per term

  Florida Residents Non-Florida
Residents
Living Arrangement   On/Off Campus Parent/
Relative
              On/Off Campus Parent/
Relative
Tuition/Fees $6,658 $6,658 $21,498 $21,498
Books 1,152 1,152 1,152 1,152
Room & Board 9,764 5,450 9,764 5,450
Transportation 1,866 1,866 1,866 1,866
Personal 3,104 3,104 3,104 3,104
Total Costs $22,544 $18,230 $37,384 $33,070

Financial Aid Programs Available at UCF

The Program Eligibility Charts found on the Office of Student Financial Assistance website under "Receiving Aid" list the various programs and their specific enrollment requirements. Detailed information for each program can also be found on the website under its particular title.

Scholarships and Fellowships are awarded based on various criteria, such as financial need, campus/community activities, leadership positions, academic success, and work experience. Scholarships are designed to reward, encourage, and assist students in pursuing academic excellence and leadership roles.

Federal Work Study is a need-based program that provides part-time employment to student with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help with educational expenses. The program encourages community service work and/or work related to the student's course of study. Individual departments hire students while the Office of Student Financial Assistance determines the student’s eligibility, award amount, and pay rate.

Loans are borrowed funds that must be repaid. Graduate students must be enrolled at least half-time in UCF classes that count toward degree completion to receive federal loans. Master's, Specialist and Doctoral students must have a minimum of 4.5 hours per term for fall or spring, and/or 3 hours in the summer. Master's thesis and Doctoral dissertation students must have a minimum of 3 hours in all terms. Graduate and professional students will be offered Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans up to their maximum loan eligibility.

Award Notification

Award notifications are mailed to first time UCF students after March 15, while email award notifications are sent to continuing students. Initial awards may be amended due to factors such as contingent admission status, less than half-time enrollment, lack of academic progress, changes required due to verification, incomplete files, over awards, receipt of additional resources, etc.

Financial aid awards will be based upon the student's financial need. The amounts listed on the award notifications are estimates based on full-time enrollment. For purposes of financial aid, enrollment is based solely on classes that count toward degree completion. If a class is not required to earn a degree, then the hours of that class are not used to calculate a student's eligibility.

Admission to UCF must be finalized with no contingencies. Students must be classified as degree seeking.

Verification, if required must be completed. Students must meet the Standards for Satisfactory Academic Progress. If all eligibility requirements are met, financial aid funds may be disbursed.

It is the student's responsibility to be aware of minimum eligibility requirements for each program, which can be found on the Program Eligibility Charts on the Office of Student Financial Assistance website. When requirements are no longer met, awards will be adjusted as necessary. Some awards may be cancelled. All changes can be viewed on the myUCF portal, Student Center, "View Financial Aid." All awards are subject to change.

Deferrals of Tuition and Fees

Deferments allow for the delay that occurs between the date that tuition and fees are due and the date on which financial aid disbursements are made, which is generally two weeks after the term begins. The fee invoice reflects the deferred due date for tuition and fees. Students given a deferment are advised that their tuition and fees charges must be paid by the due date noted on the fee invoice, which is the deferment date. The following programs are not included in the automatic deferral program: work study programs, third party deferrals and other waivers, and direct-pay scholarships.

The deferment process occurs automatically if the student is meeting all general eligibility requirements and has enrolled in sufficient hours for the financial aid program(s). Please refer to the Program Eligibility Charts on the Office of Student Financial Assistance website for more information. Students should use myUCF to obtain up-to-date information.

In order for loans to defer tuition and fees, students must accept the offered loan on myUCF View Financial Aid screen. In order, to have access to accept loans, all required items on the To Do List must be submitted. Students must drop classes prior to the end of Drop/Swap and Add to prevent fee liability for those classes.

Confirmation of Academic Engagement and Disbursements

Timing of disbursements is contingent upon students meeting all conditions for receiving aid. Disbursement of financial aid begins the second week of the semester and continues each week thereafter. During the first week of classes, students are required to confirm academic engagement in each of their courses. This is done through either the student completing an academic activity that has been established by the faculty member or by faculty physically taking attendance. Student may complete the academic activities after the first week of classes but they may receive a later disbursement of aid for those courses. At the end of the Drop/Swap and Add period, awards are adjusted based on the student’s enrollment and confirmation of academic engagement in each course. The week following, the disbursement process is initiated by moving students' awards to their student account. Once funds are disbursed to the Office of Student Account Services, the disbursement record is posted on myUCF portal under "View My Account" on the Student Center. Charges appearing on the student’s account will be deducted at that time. Any remaining financial aid will be processed as a refund. If charges remain on the account after disbursements, or if subsequent charges are made to the student’s account, it is the student’s responsibility to ensure they are paid. Students signed up for direct deposit should allow up to four business days for funds to show in their bank account. For refund checks that are being mailed, students should allow up to 7 business days to receive their check at their current mailing address on myUCF. 

Students should be aware of the disbursement process so that they are prepared to use their personal savings for anticipated expenses such as books and supplies at the beginning of the term.  The Short Term Advance (STA) for Books or the Textbook Purchase Program is available for students to help with these expenses. The STA application is available for download prior to each term, so that funds may be available as early as two weeks before the first day of classes. For additional information regarding these two programs, visit: http://finaid.ucf.edu/receiving/funds_for_books.html.  

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

Federal regulations require the university to establish Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress as a general eligibility requirement for financial aid. A student must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress in a course of study regardless of whether the student previously received financial aid or transferred in from another institution.

To meet the standards adopted by the University of Central Florida, a student must:

  • Maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of a 3.0 at the graduate level.
  • Complete a minimum of 70 percent of all credit hours attempted including accepted transfer hours. 
  • Graduate within the number of hours allowed by the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy. Students are allowed a specific number of attempted hours, based on their classification. This includes transfer hours accepted toward the degree plus all UCF hours.
  • (see chart below)
    Classification Time Limit Allowed For Completing Degree
    Master's 70 Attempted Hours
    (includes all hours taken while classified as a graduate student)
    Specialist 100 Attempted Hours
    (includes all hours taken while classified as a graduate student)
    Doctoral 120 Attempted Hours
    (includes all hours taken while classified as a graduate student)

 

  • Compliance with these requirements are checked at the end of each term
  • Students who do not meet the above standards will be placed on Financial Aid Warning status for the next semester. At the end of that semester, students must either meet the standards or aid will be placed on Financial Aid Cancellation status meaning all federal aid will be canceled for future terms until student either meets the standards or the student has an appeal approved. Approved appeals will result in the student being placed on Financial Aid Probation status with an academic plan on file demonstrating the requirements for the student to get back on track towards graduation.
  • Repeated course(s), including the original attempt, will be counted toward the completion ration and maximum time frame requirements.
  • Once a student has attempted the maximum hour for a classification level, the student will be cancelled including those working towards a second master’s degree.

Re-establishing Eligibility after Cancellation

Any student with extenuating circumstances, (i.e., death of a relative, an illness or injury of the student, etc.), who is placed on cancellation status may appeal to the Financial Aid Review Committee for reinstatement based on his/her special case.

If the student was canceled for the failure to complete 70 percent of the attempted hours and since cancellation, he/she has brought up the percentage to a minimum of 70 percent, the student will be reinstated during the end of the semester review process. If a student was canceled for not meeting the GPA requirement, they will be placed back on a reinstated status once their GPA has been brought up to the required level during the end of semester review process.

To appeal, the student must:

  • Complete the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form; (available on the Office of Student Financial Assistance website at: http://finaid.ucf.edu, under Forms.
  • Include: a detailed statement that explains the extenuating circumstances that prevented: or resulted in the student not meeting the SAP standards.
  • Attach documentation supporting specific circumstance(s) to the appeal form.
  • Meet with the Academic Advisor and have the advisor complete an Academic Plan. The Academic Plan should include courses that are required for degree completion and that will assist the student in moving successfully to meeting the SAP standards.
  • Submit the appeal, supporting documentation, and academic plan to the Office of Student Financial Assistance.

After a thorough evaluation of the detailed statement, academic plan and all supporting documentation, the Financial Aid Review Committee will notify the student of the decision by email communication or the student may view their updated status on myUCF, Student Center, under "View Financial Aid Status." Students reinstated on Financial Aid Probation will be required to have an academic plan that will be monitored by the Office of Student Financial Assistance.

For detailed SAP policy information, please refer to the Office of Student Financial Assistance website at http://finaid.ucf.edu/receiving/sap.html.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Probation

Students who submit a SAP Appeal that is approved will be placed on Financial Aid Probation, and will remain on probation as long as they successfully comply with the prescribed academic plan that is submitted as part of the SAP Appeal. Progression will be monitored during the probationary period at the beginning and end of each semester to ensure the student is following the prescribed academic plan and successfully matriculating through their program of study. All probation students must successfully complete a minimum of 70% of the credit hours that they attempt each semester. In addition, student on probation for GPA and/or completion ratio must make positive progression in the appropriate area (s).Financial disbursements will not be made for a semester unless it is verified that the prior review (if applicable) was acceptable and student is in the proper classes for the term in question.

Graduate Certificate Programs

There are a very limited number of Certificate Programs that are eligible for federal financial aid funding. Only course work required for the program will be considered in calculating aid eligibility. Financial aid disbursements will take place after the Drop/Swap and Add period and courses have been verified, along with confirmation of academic engagement. Students must meet all eligibility requirements prior to disbursement.

Students enrolled in approved certificate programs, must adhere to the following: 

  • Successfully complete at least 70% of the attempted hours each semester in course work pertaining to the certificate program.
  • Attempted hours cannot exceed 150% of the certificate program requirements.
  • Must meet the minimum GPA requirements for the Graduate Certificate Program.
  • Failure to attend or successfully complete any hours towards the certificate program in a given semester will result in SAP cancellation status, effective next term enrolled.
  • The appeal process is the same as indicated below. In cases of unsuccessful completions or reaching the maximum hours limit, the Academic Plan for Financial Aid is required. Satisfactory Academic progress (SAP) will be reviewed at the end of each semester. 

Over Awards

An over award occurs when a student's award package has exceeded either the unmet need or Cost of Attendance. To prevent over awards, students are required to notify the Office of Student Financial Assistance of any potential/anticipated awards not already listed on the student's financial aid award summary of myUCF, Student Center. This includes waivers or scholarships that are awarded to students at the beginning of the semester or during the academic year. If the Office of Student Financial Assistance is not aware of additional resources prior to disbursing aid, then that aid (including loans), may have to be reduced and sometimes paid back by the student if the resource creates an over award. A hold will be placed on the student’s account preventing future registration and the ability to receive academic transcripts until the over award has been fully repaid to the university. Students are advised to discuss the impact of receiving scholarship funding after other financial aid funds have disbursed with the financial aid office.

Refunds and Return of Title IV Funds

Students should be aware that if they withdraw from the university after having received financial assistance, they may be required to repay a portion of that assistance. Students who received Federal Direct Stafford Loans should also know that the Registrar's Office is required to notify the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) of student withdrawals. This may change their loan deferment status with their loan servicer(s). Information about late drops, withdrawals and medical withdrawals can be found on the Office of Student Financial Assistance website at finaid.ucf.edu/general/withdrawals.html.

Professional Judgment

The federal methodology used to determine eligibility for federal student aid is a standardized calculation for all applicants. However, in some cases, special circumstances may be taken into consideration. Students with extenuating circumstances (i.e. loss of employment, divorce, death of spouse, etc.) should meet with a financial aid counselor to review the situation. If a student presents extenuating circumstances, an appeal can be submitted to include support documentation for review. The appeal will be reviewed and a decision will be made through the Professional Judgment review process.

Repeated Coursework

Federal regulations state that students may only receive federal financial aid funding for one repetition of a previously passed course. As a result, any repeated course(s) that the student enrolls in (current or future terms) cannot be used in the calculation of his/her enrollment level for financial aid purposes for that particular term, regardless of whether or not financial aid was received for the course(s). The repeated course(s), including the original attempt, must be counted towards maximum time frame and hours completion ratio requirements for Satisfactory Academic Progress purposes, which can impact a student’s financial aid eligibility. For detailed information,visit finaid.ucf.edu/receiving/repeat_coursework.html.

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Students have the right to full information about the financial aid programs available at UCF, application procedures, aid deadlines and the criteria used to determine a financial aid package. Students have the right to appeal decisions made by the Office of Student Financial Assistance. Students also have the right to equitable treatment of their financial assistance applications. Although each student's case is analyzed individually, eligibility standards are applied uniformly without regard to race, gender, religion, creed, national origin, or disability. All students' records are confidential. It is the student's responsibility to review and understand all information and instructions, meet all deadlines, and provide all information and documentation accurately. Errors and omissions can cause delays and prevent students from receiving assistance. Misrepresentation is a violation of federal regulations.



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