Financial Aid How-To
How to Apply for Financial Aid
To be considered for financial aid you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). On the FAFSA, you should list the University of Hawaiʻi Hilo (UH Hilo), Federal School Code number 001611, as one of the schools to receive your information. Complete the FAFSA online at www.fafsa.gov. Please be aware that grant funds are limited and expended quickly. File your FAFSA early to ensure full consideration.
Upon receipt of the FAFSA results, the Financial Aid Office will determine your financial aid eligibility. If more information is required, you will be notified via email. In addition to being admitted to the university as a classified, degree-seeking student you must also complete all other requirements before your application will be processed. Upon awarding, you will receive an email instructing you to log on to MyUH Services to accept the Terms and Conditions for Financial Aid in order to review and respond to the award.
Applicants Selected for Verification
Your application for Federal student aid may be selected for a process known as verification. This means that the Financial Aid Office must verify the accuracy of the information that you submitted on the FAFSA. If selected, you must submit a verification worksheet, federal tax return transcripts, and/or other supporting documents. If any data reported on the FAFSA is found to be incorrect, your financial aid eligibility will be recalculated. Until your information has been verified, a financial aid award cannot be issued to you. You will normally have 60 days to submit the required verification documents.
Calculating Your Financial Aid Award
Your overall eligibility for financial aid is determined by the following calculation:
Estimated Cost of Attendance - Expected Family Contribution (EFC) = Financial Need
The estimated cost of attendance budget for the period covered by the financial aid award is comprised of the following:
- Tuition & Fees
- Books & Supplies
- Housing & Meals
- Personal Expenses
- Loan Fees
Your Estimated Cost of Attendance Budget will vary depending your program, residency status, enrollment and housing plans.
The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is calculated by the U.S. Department of Education based on the data submitted on your FAFSA. Your EFC can be found on your Student Aid Report (SAR) by logging on to fafsa.gov .
Your financial aid award package will be determined according to your need and the availability of funds.
Understanding Your Financial Aid Award
You will be notified via email once a financial aid award is generated for you. Please carefully read and follow the instructions in the email to review and respond to your financial aid award via MyUH Services. You will need to review and accept the Terms and Conditions for Financial Aid before responding to your award offer. If any subsequent changes are made to your awards after receipt of your initial award offer, you will receive a revised award notification via email.
Grants and scholarships do not have to be repaid and will in most cases be ‘accepted’ for you. A loan, however, must be repaid and will require you to either ‘accept’ or ‘decline’ the offer. You can learn more about the different types of awards by visiting our What kind of financial aid is available? page.
Receiving Your Financial Aid
Your financial aid awards from UH Hilo will be disbursed no sooner than 10 days before your first day of class providing all requirements are completed. It will be applied to any balance owed to UH Hilo for that term (tuition, fees, room and board, etc.) then any remaining funds will be issued to you in the form of a refund.
It is recommended that you sign up for 'eRefunds' (direct deposit into your personal bank account) by logging on to MyUH Services. If you do not elect to use 'eRefunds', your refund will be processed as a paper check and sent to the current mailing address on file with the university.
A. Grants, Scholarships and Tuition Waivers
Federal, state and institutional grants and institutional scholarships should be automatically credited to your student account by the end of the add/drop period for each term.
B. Federal Work-Study Program
The Federal Work-Study program provides funds for students with financial need to work in part-time, on-campus jobs. The student must work to earn the work-study funds. Therefore, this award does not represent cash-in-hand at the beginning of the semester and cannot be used to pay registration and/or housing fees (dorm and meal plan charges). Students who are able to secure an on-campus position are paid hourly and will receive a paycheck twice a month. Academic year earnings must not exceed the student’s total Federal Work-Study award.
Types of Loans include the State Higher Education Loan (SHEL), Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford, Federal Direct Parent PLUS and Grad PLUS.
First time borrowers must complete an entrance counseling session as well as sign a master promissory note for any loans that they choose to accept. These requirements must be completed before the loan can be disbursed.
Entrance Counseling & Master Promissory Notes
The entrance counseling sessions can be completed online and usually only needs to be done once. Most promissory notes will also only need to be completed once. The Financial Aid Office will receive electronic confirmation within 24-48 hours of the completion of the loan requirements. Please see below for the corresponding online locations of each loan requirement.
- Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Stafford Loans
- First time UH Hilo borrowers must complete the entrance counseling even though they may have completed it while at another school.
- Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loans
- Graduate students who borrow a Grad PLUS in addition to an Unsubsidized Stafford Loan will need to complete separate Master Promissory Notes for each loan; the Entrance Counseling will be combined into one session.
- State Higher Education Loan (SHEL)
- State Higher Education Loan Entrance Counseling.
- The SHEL Master Promissory Note needs to be completed every year that the loan is accepted.
Will my aid be affected?
Changes to my Cost of Attendance
Your financial aid award is based on your enrollment status. Should you enroll in fewer hours than what your award was based on, this may result in a reduction of your aid. A financial aid staff member should be consulted before dropping any courses to discuss how the change will affect your financial aid award and/or your satisfactory academic progress. Also, a change in your housing status could change your cost of attendance budget and consequently reduce your financial aid award. If financial aid funds have already been paid to you and your award is reduced or revised as a result of reduced hours or a change in housing status, you may be required to repay all or part of your financial aid award. The University will not be able to disburse any additional financial aid, process transcript requests or allow you to register until all financial aid obligations have been cleared.
Outside Financial Assistance
A student may not receive educational financial assistance in excess of their cost of attendance. Regulations require that adjustments be made to your award if you receive additional resources not reflected in your financial aid award. You are required to notify the Financial Aid Office once you become aware that you will be receiving any such additional resources (e.g. outside scholarships, stipends, assistantships, employer reimbursement, vocational rehabilitation benefits, some types of veteran’s benefits, etc.).
Change in my Financial Situation
You may request to have your financial aid award revised if your family’s financial circumstances change. Please contact the Financial Aid Office to see if you may be eligible and the proper procedures to follow.