How to Apply

Applying for federal student aid can seem like a daunting task. Before starting the process, take time to read the steps below in order to have an idea of what to expect.  


▼   Step 1: Complete Applications

Apply for Admission 

Submit the FAFSA 

  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year at as soon as possible for the upcoming school year. 

  • The FAFSA determines eligibility for federal student aid (grants, work study, student loans-- including Parent PLUS) as well as other funding opportunities such as scholarships

  • When completing the FAFSA, students should remember to save their work as they progress. If internet service is interrupted, students can pick up where last saved. Students should not exit the website until the application has been electronically signed using FSA IDs and received a confirmation message that their information has been successfully submitted to the Department of Education. 

  • If interested in Federal Work-Study,  answer yes question 31 on the FAFSA. 

  • USA’s Federal School Code is 001057.

Note: Approximately 30% of all FAFSAs each year will be selected by the Department of Education for a process of review called verification. Database matches are performed by comparing FAFSA data with the Social Security Administration, Immigration and Naturalization Service, Selective Service System, National Student Loan Data System, and others. Depending on the outcome of these database matches, students may be required to submit additional documentation to USA.


If an application is selected, the student will be notified through their JagMail email account. The requirements will be available to review and submit in the USA Financial Aid Verification Portal


▼   Step 2: Confirm FAFSA Was Received

When the Department of Education receives the FAFSA, they will process the application and send to institutions listed on the FAFSA. Online applications are processed in one to two weeks – paper applications take much longer. Students can check the status of their FAFSA at  Federal student aid applicants will also receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) as a result of filing the FAFSA.  Students should review the information on the SAR for accuracy and confirm that USA was listed as a college to receive their FAFSA results.


If USA was listed on the FAFSA and the FAFSA was completed correctly, USA should receive the application results electronically. The Office of Financial Aid will then begin corresponding with the student.


All correspondence will be emailed. If the student has been admitted to USA, they are assigned a JagMail email account. All  emails from the Office of Financial Aid will be sent to the student's JagMail account. If the student has not yet been assigned an email address by the Office of Admissions, emails will be sent to the email address indicated on the FAFSA.



▼   Step 3: Finalize Aid Offer & Loan Processes

Once a student’s file is complete and accurate, the Office of Financial Aid processes a student's aid offer. The process takes approximately two to three weeks.


Students are offered federal aid based on eligibility and the availability of funds. Depending on eligibility, the offer could include grants, part-time employment, and/or low-interest loans.


Students are notified of their aid offer by email. Aid offer notifications are emailed to the student’s JagMail account and can also be viewed on PAWS. If a student is offered funds that he/she wishes to refuse, the Office of Financial Aid should be contacted as soon as possible. 


If a student accepts a Federal Direct Loan and is a first time federal loan borrower, a Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Entrance Counseling must be completed at before loan funds can be disbursed. 


▼   Step 4: Receive Financial Aid Funds

ALL Financial Aid credit balance refunds are processed by the Office of Student Accounting. If the student is due a credit balance refund after all institutional charges have been paid, the refund can be issued one of two ways:


  1. Electronic Direct Deposit (EDD): An EDD Authorization Form must be completed with the Office of Student Accounting at least 30 days prior to the expected aid disbursement date. All Financial Aid refunds will be electronically deposited into the student's checking account within 14 days after disbursement.

  2.  Check Refunds: If EDD is not used, a refund check will be mailed to the student's   mailing address  of record within 14 days of the disbursement date.