How to Apply for Financial Aid

Hardin-Simmons can accept either a FAFSA or TASFA to determine student eligibility for federal and/or state financial aid.  The FREE application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is available for all US citizens.  The FAFSA opens October 1 for the following school year.  The Texas Application for State Financial Aid (TASFA) is available for all non-US citizens who are Texas residents.  The TASFA opens October 1 for the following school year.

The steps below apply to every student who wants to find out if they are eligible for financial aid.

Financial Aid Basics

So, what is financial aid? Financial aid consists of scholarships, grants, loans, and employment opportunities to help students finance college and other postsecondary education.  Financial aid resources are intended to supplement, not replace, the financial resources of the family.

Financial aid exists primarily in two categories: need-based and merit-based aid.

  • Need-based aid is awarded to students who demonstrate financial eligibility as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • Merit-based aid is generally given to students in recognition of special skills, talents, and/or academic accomplishments.

The primary objective of financial aid is to assist students in paying for their postsecondary education, remembering that this does not relieve parents from having the primary responsibility to pay for their dependent children’s education.  To achieve this objective, the family’s financial ability to pay for educational costs must be evaluated in order to distribute limited resources in a fair and equitable manner.

Financial Aid Basics

Determining Financial Need

When applying for federal student aid, the information you report on the “Free Application for Federal Student Aid “, or the “FAFSA”, is used to calculate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The formula used to calculate your EFC is established by federal law and is used to measure your family’s financial strength on the basis of your family’s income, assets, family size and number of family members in post-secondary education. The EFC is used to determine your eligibility for federal student aid as well as other student aid programs. Cost of attendance (COA) is also referred to as a budget. Financial need is determined by subtracting the EFC from the COA. Please see the formula below.

Cost of attendance – Expected Family Contribution = Financial Need

Your eligibility for need-based aid is determined by subtracting other outside financial assistance (scholarships) from the calculated financial need.

Financial Need – Other Outside Assistance = Eligibility for Need-Based Aid (grants, subsidized student loans and work study)

Determining Need

Scholarship funding is available through HSU, for those who have Applied for Admission. Once you are admitted, you will receive notice of the scholarship awards for which you qualify (see Hardin-Simmons Institutional Scholarships). Click here to check the status of your application.

To start the process of obtaining financial aid, fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form must be completed online. Online applications require an FSA ID for both you and a parent or guardian. The FAFSA may be sent to HSU beginning Oct. 1. The FAFSA is based on two year’s prior tax information and is a document that must be filed annually. Some funding is limited, so for priority processing, submit the form as soon as possible each year. Make sure to include HSU’s code: 003571.

The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is used to evaluate your and your family’s ability to pay for your education; however, there are some specific situations that may result in an inaccurate assessment of this ability.

To review these situations, we use the special circumstance review, which allows you and your family to document your individual financial situation.  Our committee will then determine if we are able to provide additional financial aid.

If you are facing one of the situations listed below, please consider requesting a special circumstance review.

Qualifying special circumstance review reasons:

  • Loss employment.
  • Separation or divorce (changes can only be made if both parent/stepparent income was included on the FAFSA and a separation or divorce occurred after the FAFSA was submitted.)
  • Death of parent(s) (if the deceased parent’s income was included on the FAFSA.)
  • Loss of child support (changes can only be made if child support was included on the FAFSA.)
  • Unusual medical expenses (the FAFSA already allows for a certain percentage of income protection allowance related to medical expenses.)
  • Catastrophic loss, such as a natural disaster.
  • Deduction of one-time payment (e.g. retirement, payouts, severance pay)

The following DO NOT qualify as a special circumstance review:

  • Parents refuse to contribute to the student’s education.
  • Parents are unwilling to provide information on the FAFSA or for verification.
  • Parents do not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes.
  • The student demonstrates total self-sufficiency.
  • Year to year fluctuations in income.
  • Credit card or other personal debts.
  • Standard living expenses.
  • Vacation expenses.
  • All other discretionary expenses.

Keep in Mind:

  • There is no deadline for submitting a Professional Judgment Appeal. However, the U.S. Department of Education requires that you still be enrolled as a student in order for the appeal to be processed.
  • Appeals are typically reviewed within 2-4 weeks after submission. During busy processing times (such as the summer), it may take longer for your appeal to be evaluated.
  • If the Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) calculated from the FAFSA is zero, you are not eligible to complete an appeal as you are currently receiving the maximum amounts of federal, state, and institutional aid for which you are qualified. You can find your EFC on your Student Aid Report (SAR) from your FAFSA and/or your financial aid notification in self-service.
  • Only undergraduate students are eligible to apply.
  • This review does not guarantee that you will receive additional funds.
  • You must complete verification before your special circumstance appeal can be reviewed.
  • Requesting an appeal does not guarantee that you will be granted one.

Please complete the Professional Judgment Appeal Request Form explaining the qualifying reason you are requesting a professional judgment to be considered for a review.

Special circumstance decisions are final. A student cannot appeal to the university president or to the U.S. Department of Education. Congress delegated the authority to make adjustments to the data elements on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to the college financial aid administrator, and only the college financial aid administrator.

Your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) may be selected for review in a process called verification. The Department of Education says that before awarding Federal Student Aid, we may ask you to confirm the information you and your parents reported on your FAFSA. To verify that you provided correct information, the financial aid office at your school will compare your FAFSA with the documentation you provide. If there are differences, your FAFSA information may need to be corrected. If selected, you will be directed to your Campus Logic StudentForms to complete the steps necessary for verification. You and a parent will be asked to sign a verification webform, attach any required documents, and submit online the form and other required documents to the financial aid administrator at your school. Your school may ask for additional information. If you have questions about verification, contact your financial aid administrator as soon as possible so that your financial aid will not be delayed.

New federal guidelines now stipulate that FAFSA Verification can no longer be completed using paper tax return forms. All documentation must come directly from the IRS in the form of an official tax transcript or by utilizing the IRS electronic Data Retrieval Tool. This IRS Link transfers the necessary tax information directly to your FAFSA.

Below is a list of the documents and actions from you, which may be required by the federal government to complete your FAFSA Verification.

  1. Provide a SIGNED, completed copy of the Verification Webform through Campus Logic StudentForms.
  2. Dependent Students – Transfer your parents’ federal tax return information using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. Don’t forget to electronically re-sign and resubmit your FAFSA once your tax information has been successfully transferred by the IRS Link. If your parents did not and are not required to file an Income Tax Return, you may be required to submit copies of all your parents’ W2 forms along with an IRS Verification of Non-Filing Letter ( > get your tax record > Get Transcript Online > request “Verification of Non-filing Letter”).  If you (the student) did not and are not required to file a 2019 Tax Return, you may be required to submit copies of all your 2019 W2 forms as well as a Verification of Non-Filing Statement.
  3. Independent Students – Transfer your (and your spouse’s) 2019 federal tax return information using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. Don’t forget to electronically sign and resubmit your FAFSA once your tax information has been successfully transferred. If you did not and are not required to file a 2019 Income Tax Return, you may be required to submit copies of all your (and/or your spouse’s) 2019 W2 forms as well as a Verification of Non-Filing Statement.

Bona fide Texas residents must submit a Texas Residency Affirmation form before being awarded any state grant or loan funds.

Look through the “Outside Scholarship Opportunities“. It contains numerous helpful, safe websites and more than 100 scholarship offers provided to HSU students from numerous donors.

Talk to your high school counselor and explore credible websites like to learn more about the availability of outside awards. Your local library, newspaper, and community organizations are also good sources for scholarship information. Your church may offer a scholarship that may also be eligible for matching by HSU. See the Forms section for the forms that need to accompany Outside Scholarships.

Beware of scholarship search services that may be scams and/or frauds. Do not pay for information or services that are provided free elsewhere.

Once admitted, students can apply for additional scholarship opportunities through Scholarship Central, HSU’s endowed scholarship management system, which houses all our departmental scholarship opportunities offered across campus.

Once admitted to HSU, filed your FAFSA, and submitted verification documents (if applicable), you will be sent an official financial aid notification listing the types and amounts of aid for which you qualify. You can access your financial awards on our Student Self-Service website. You will need to accept all of the financial aid that you want to use for your award year.

If you have eligibility and desire to work on campus and have pre-enrolled for the next long semester, you may apply for one of the many part-time jobs available on campus. Please note that there are typically more students wanting jobs than there are available jobs. You can find more information about job fairs, seminars, and job searching on our Career Services page. By activating your account in our online recruiting platform Handshake, you can view open positions on- and off-campus, submit your resume for employers to view, see upcoming event details, and access career documents and resources.

If you have been awarded a Direct Loan or determine you need to seek a Parent PLUS loan or Private Educational Loan, please refer to the Loans section.

A $300 enrollment deposit for all new students must be paid prior to class registration. The deposit can be refunded until May 1.

Please visit our Business Office webpage for information on the payment of accounts and information regarding payment plan options, refunds, and more.

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