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Frequently Asked Questions

The Office of Financial Aid Office works diligently to assist students as they pursue their educational endeavors. Norfolk State University offers a wide variety of financial aid programs, including: scholarships, grants, student employment opportunities and loans. The majority of NSU students receive financial assistance. With expert and proficient Counselors, the Office of Financial Aid plays a pivotal role in students successful financial planning.

How often do I need to complete the FAFSA form?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be completed annually due to possible changes to household, income and assets affecting the student's eligibility for certain types and amounts of federal and state financial aid.

Is there a fee for the FAFSA application?

There is no fee for the FAFSA application, or for assistance in completing it. If an organization or individual charges a fee for the application, or for assistance in completing it, contact the U.S. Department of Education at 1-800-433-3243.

I no longer live with my parents, do I include them on the FASFA?

Students must include parents' information on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) until he or she is determined to be an independent student according to the U.S. Department of Education independent student criteria.

Can I apply for financial aid although I owe the IRS?

Yes, you may apply for financial aid. Financial aid awards are based on eligibility as determined from completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application. A completed federal 1040 tax return is necessary because the FAFSA asks that information for the application be taken from certain line numbers of the tax return. It is this same reason that a federal 1040 tax return is required for submission to the Financial Aid Office when a student's application is selected for verification.

Can I apply for financial aid although I filed for bankruptcy?

A student may apply for financial aid after completing a bankruptcy proceeding, however, if a student or parent loan was included in the bankruptcy, it could affect the student's or parent's eligibility to receive loans in the future.

Need Assistance with application, but not near a university, what do I do?

A student can receive FREE assistance with completing the FAFSA at any college or university. For special circumstances, the 2022-2023 Student Guide issued by the U.S. Department of Education states that, "Your financial aid administrator might adjust the cost of attendance or the information used to calculate your EFC to take into account special circumstances you might have. These circumstances could include your family's unusual medical expenses, tuition expenses, or unemployment. There must be compelling reasons for the financial aid administrator to take this step, however, and you'll have to provide adequate documentation to support any adjustments.

Note: The financial aid administrator's decision as to whether you have special circumstances is final and can't be appealed to the U.S. Department of Education. - The Student Guide Financial Aid from the U.S. Department of Education 2022-2023.

We recommend that students receive assistance from the institution that is geographically closest to him or her. The NSU Financial Aid Office will accept the decision of that institution, along with copies of the supporting documentation that was submitted.

Why am I (and my parents) being asked to submit additional documents?

Once the university has electronically received the FAFSA information from the U.S. Department of Education, it may be necessary to confirm the information that was originally indicated was accurate. The only way to accomplish this is to request those documents that should have been used when completing the FAFSA.

Who decides how much money I can receive?

The institution's financial aid administrator makes a determination based on your FAFSA data and institutional eligibility.

The following formula is used to ensure that a student's total award does not exceed maximum limits: Cost Of Attendance (COA) or Budget - Student Aid Report (SAR) EFC = Financial Need and the total financial aid award for most aid types cannot exceed Financial Need.

The lender told me that I could borrow as much money as I want. Is this true?

Loan limits are established by the U.S. Department of Education, and the type of loan that is offered to, or requested by, the student or parent, determines the loan limit. Loan programs that are offered at NSU are: the William D. Ford Direct Subsidized Loan; William D. Ford Direct Unsubsidized Loan; PLUS (Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students) Loans, alternative loans, and Virginia State Student Loans.

Can I enroll part-time and still receive financial aid?

For some aid types and depending on the eligibility for certain types, a student can enroll part-time and receive a financial aid award. We encourage students to immediately notify the Financial Aid Office if attendance will be less than full-time enrollment (12 or more hours for undergraduate students and 9 or more hours for graduate students) for any term.

How can I become a Virginia resident so I can get more money?

Becoming a Virginia resident does not necessarily guarantee that a student can receive more financial aid funds. Determination of residency (domicile) is done by the Office of Admissions. They may be contacted at 757-823-8396 or via e-mail to

Why is my aid adjusted when I receive a scholarship?

Students are assigned a budget or Cost Of Attendance (COA), and in determining a student's eligibility, the EFC (Expected Family Contribution) from the Student Aid Report (SAR) is subtracted from the budget. The amount remaining is called financial need. Scholarships are a resource that must be subtracted from financial aid.

Can I receive financial aid although I owe the university?

Financial aid awards are based on eligibility as determined from completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application.

Will my money be there before school starts? What happens if it isn't?

Financial aid funds are disbursed to the students' accounts after the Drop/Add period has concluded. For first-time loan borrowers, loans disburse at least 30 days after the start of the term. The Financial Aid Office requires approval notification from lenders for loans such as the PLUS, alternative, and private loans.

Once the office receives this notification, these loans and the remaining finalized financial aid award are used as a "credit" against the students' costs. These "credits" can be subtracted from the student's balance, providing the student with an estimate of his or her account balance.

Outside scholarships can be used as a credit as well provided the Financial Aid Office has received a letter of scholarship award intent. Students (and parents) must remember to first subtract loan fees from awarded and approved loans. For more information as to the amount of these fees, contact your lender.

If I have enough money for my tuition, can I use the remainder for books?

All university fees must be satisfied prior to being able to utilize financial aid funds for the purchase of books.

All of the following criteria must be met:

  • Financial aid adjustments (part-time enrollment; 1-semester enrollment; Cost Of Attendance adjustment) must have taken place;
  • The financial aid award must be FINAL. - The finalized financial aid award must first satisfy the balance owed the university according to the Account Statement;
  • If a PLUS, private or alternative (student or parent) loan will be used to help defray costs to the university, the Financial Aid Office must first receive the written approval notification from the lender;
  • If the student will be receiving a scholarship, the Financial Aid Office must receive the written notification indicating the scholarship amount and the term(s) in which the scholarship applies.