Skip to content

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 at Hilo (UH Hilo), Federal School Code number 001611, as one of the schools to receive your information. You are strongly encouraged to complete the FAFSA online at UH Hilo will receive your data electronically and we will then be able to calculate your financial aid award. The priority filing date (submitted to the federal processor) is February 1st. Please be aware that grant funds are limited and expended quickly. File your FAFSA on time (by the priority filing date) to ensure full consideration.

Upon receipt of the FAFSA results, the Financial Aid Office will determine your financial aid eligibility. If additional information is required from you, you will be notified at that time. You must also be admitted to the university as a classified, degree-seeking student before your application will be processed. Upon awarding, you will receive a notification instructing you to review the award via the MyUH Services and accept or decline within three weeks of the date of that notice. (Please note that if you are awarded any type of grant, those will be automatically accepted for you. You must submit a decision on any loans and/or work-study offered to you.) In addition, other documents (needed for disbursement of funds) may be requested from you at that time.

Return to top

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. Until your information has been verified, a financial aid award cannot be issued to you.

You will be notified in writing (via email to your "" email address if you've created one) if you have been selected for verification. You will normally have 60 days to submit the required verification documents. Failure to submit the verification documents will result in your financial aid file being closed and no award being issued. If any data reported on the FAFSA is found to be incorrect, your financial aid eligibility will be recalculated.

Return to top

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
  • Transportation
  • Loan Fees

The budgets will vary in total amounts depending on the number of credit hours you are enrolled in, your class standing and where you plan to live. For the 2014-2015 academic year, a typical full-time, undergraduate budget is:


On Campus In State Out of State
Tuition $6,648 $18,648
Fees 388 388
Room & Board 9,382 9,382
Books & Supplies 1,270 1,270
Transportation 300 300
Misc. Expenses 1,658 1,658
Loan Fees 74 74
Total $19,720 $31,720


Off Campus In State Out of State
Tuition $6,648 $18,648
Fees 388 388
Room & Board 11,782 11,782
Books & Supplies 1,270 1,270
Transportation 684 684
Misc. Expenses 1,658 1,658
Loan Fees 74 74
Total $22,504 $34,504

The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is calculated by the U.S. Department of Education as prescribed by the United States Congress. The data submitted on the FAFSA is used to determine your EFC. You will see this result on the Student Aid Report (SAR) that you will receive after your FAFSA is processed.

Once your need is determined, a financial aid package is prepared from the aid programs that are available. All applicants will be considered for all forms of financial aid available. The criteria for selection will vary with the level of funding for each program, the program guidelines, and your level of financial need.

Return to top

Receiving Your Financial Aid

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.

C. Loans

All loans (Federal Perkins Loans, State Higher Education Loans, Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Stafford, Federal Direct Grad PLUS) will be automatically credited to your student account after the loan entrance counseling and master promissory note have both been completed. Funds will normally be credited to your student account by the end of the add/drop period for each term.

Federal Direct Loan funds cannot be disbursed until they have been received from the Federal Department of Education. This process can take anywhere between 1-2 business days from the day the request is originated.

D. Refunds

Funds received in excess of institutional charges (i.e. tuition, student fees, housing, meals, etc.) will be refunded to you. If you do not elect to use the electronic refund (eRefund) process, the refund will be processed as a paper check and sent to the current mailing address on file with the university. It is recommended that you sign up for “eRefunds” by logging on to MyUH Services and choosing the “Sign Up for eRefund” link.

Return to top

Loan Counseling/Promissory Note Information

A. Entrance Counseling & Master Promissory Notes

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. 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.Both requirements must be completed before the loan can be disbursed. 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.
  • Federal Perkins Loan
    • In addition, Perkins Loan borrowers must also complete a Loan Interview Questionnaire and a Total Loan Indebtedness Disclosure (TLID).
    • The Perkins Loan Master Promissory Note only needs to be completed once UNLESS the student is exited from UH Hilo and returns at a later date. Upon return, the student would need to complete a new Master Promissory Note.
  • State Higher Education Loan (SHEL)

B. Exit Counseling

When a student graduates or withdraws from UH Hilo, the student must complete an exit counseling session. This exit counseling must also be completed if the student simply stops attending or their enrollment falls below half-time status. The counseling session can be completed online. Please see below for the online locations of the exit counseling sessions for each loan type.

Important note: Students who are exited will receive a packet containing important information, some of which needs to be completed and returned to the Financial Aid Office.

Return to top

Revising Your Financial Aid

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.

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 for this revision and for the proper procedures to follow.

Return to top

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.).

Return to top