financial aid FAQs

What aid directly reduces tuition and fees?

Fellowships, grants, and scholarships are considered “gift” aid that does not need to be repaid and that directly reduces your billed tuition and fees each semester. About 67% of students at SFAI receive some form of aid that helps them with college costs. However, only fellowships, grants, and scholarships contribute directly to your net cost.

How do I determine my net costs?

It’s pretty easy: determine your tuition, fees, and room/board costs (if on campus). These are your directly billed costs. Next, subtract the amounts for any fellowships, grants, or scholarships you receive. The remaining amount is your net cost.

Can you calculate my net costs for me?

We are happy to help you figure out your net costs as well as how to manage those costs. We are available for one-on-one meetings, and also offer an online calculator for your use.

Is “gift” aid renewable?

Fellowships and scholarships are renewable provided you have been notified of renewal eligibility at the time you receive the award and you meet this criteria. For instance, renewable SFAI scholarships require maintaining a specific grade point average and continuous study.

Grants—federal, state, and SFAI—all require that you reapply for financial aid each year. The renewal deadline for completing the FAFSA is March 2 of each year.

What is a Direct Loan?

The Direct Lending program provides low-interest loans to students and parents. Direct Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans are for students and do not require a credit check. Direct Federal Parent PLUS Loans are for parents of dependent students and require a positive credit history. Direct Federal Graduate PLUS Loans are for graduate (MA, MFA) students and require a positive credit history.

What are the interest rates for Direct Loans?

Beginning July 2, 2012, the interest rate for undergraduate Direct Federal Subsidized Loans is 6.8% annually. For graduates and Direct Federal Unsubsidized Loans it is 6.8%. Both Direct Federal Graduate PLUS and Parent PLUS Loans are at 7.9% interest.

In addition, processing fees apply. For Direct Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans it is a total of 1%, for Direct Federal Grad PLUS and Parent PLUS it is a total of 4%. These fees are deducted from the loan prior to loan proceeds arriving at SFAI.

How do I get a Direct Loan?

SFAI has transitioned to Direct Lending. Students can complete the Master Promissory Note for the Direct Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans and the required Entrance Loan Counseling for new borrowers on the Federal Direct Lending website. The Master Promissory Note and application for the Direct Federal Graduate PLUS and Parent PLUS Loans can also be completed on the same website.

What is a Private Loan?

Private loans are intended for students who may need additional resources beyond their federal, state, or SFAI award eligibility. Generally, since interest rates may vary, private loans should be carefully researched prior to borrowing. Private loans are bank-based and lenders typically require a credit-worthy cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen. Interest rates, fees, and repayment terms can vary from bank to bank. Repayment of private loans may begin immediately.

How much do I need to borrow?

Your award letter includes the maximum Direct Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized loan amounts available to you based on your program, grade level, federal need eligibility, and dependency status. Consider your individual needs carefully. You are not required to borrow the maximum loans as indicated on your award letter. You may choose to decline or reduce any source of loan based on your individual needs.

The Parent PLUS loan, Graduate PLUS loan, or Private Loan award letter likewise reflects the maximum possible amount that may be potentially borrowed. The actual amount available will depend on your needs, your (and/or parental) choice to borrow, and credit approval.

What is Federal College Work-Study?

The Federal College Work-Study Program permits eligible students to receive an award of part-time employment. Funded by the federal government, the program offers employment opportunities, both on and off campus, to students with demonstrated financial need. Annual awards range from $1000 to $4,000. To be eligible, you must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent U.S. resident and be enrolled at least half-time in a degree program.

Can I request more funding?

The financial aid office will review individual circumstances on a case-by-case basis. To request an appeal, write a letter outlining your circumstances and complete the financial aid appeal form. Examples of appeal circumstances include parent or student loss of income due to prolonged unemployment or illness, or high out-of-pocket medical expenses.