Frequently Asked Questions

Financial Aid Counseling

Main Content


1. I’m not sure whether I will qualify for need-based aid. Is it worth my time to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?

  • Yes. We recommend that all students file the FAFSA. You can’t assume that you will or will not qualify for aid based on your family income alone. Many factors are considered in calculating need. For priority consideration of certain grants, we recommend completing the FAFSA by December 1.


2. What is considered in calculating how much my family can afford to contribute to my education?

  • Congress has created a formula that takes a number of factors into consideration. Among them are a family’s total taxable and nontaxable income including the student’s income, family and student assets, the number of persons supported by the family income, the number of dependents in college, and the age and marital status of the parents.


3. What happens to the money that is awarded but not accepted because students decide to go to another college?

  • With the exception of the Pell Grant and Federal Direct Loans, funds are awarded to students attending Abilene Christian University. Awards do not transfer from one school to another. Students must reapply at their new college.


4. Is there any consideration for sending two or more students to college at the same time (i.e. group rate)? How is that factored in? 

  • The federal need-based formula takes into consideration the household size and number in college (excluding parents) among other factors. Two in college would be reflected in the calculated family contribution for each student. If a parent is attending college half-time or more and working towards a degree or certificate contact Student Financial Services. An additional form is required to consider a parent in the number of family members in college.


5. What if our previous year’s income is greater than our income will be for this year? 

  • First complete the FAFSA with the requested information, then contact the ACU’s Student Financial Services office. There is an additional form that can be completed to explain any special circumstances. Often, projected year income can be considered. These considerations are made at the family’s request and reviewed on a case-by-case basis.


6. What is the maximum family income allowed in order for a student to be eligible for some need-based scholarships or support? Is that level the same for all universities? 

  • Since so many factors are taken into consideration when determining a student’s eligibility for assistance there is not a specific maximum income threshold for need-based aid. The FAFSA formula determines the family contribution which remains the same from school to school. Need-based eligibility is determined by subtracting the family contribution from the cost of attendance at each institution.


7. Whose income do you use for the FAFSA if my parents are divorced? (father’s, mother’s or stepparent’s)? 

  • If a student’s parents are divorced, the income data for the parent and stepparent (if any) with whom the student lives is used to calculate eligibility for assistance.


8. In determining eligibility for need-based assistance, what income figure is important (gross, net, adjusted)? 

  • The adjusted gross income is used.


9. We are in a high-income range but have low assets. How might this affect our need-based help? 

  • Both asset and income information are collected on the FAFSA. Based on income and household information provided, the federal formula determines what the family can contribute toward educational costs. The family contribution is then subtracted from the cost of attendance to determine need-based eligibility.


10. Do I have to be on Block Tuition ?

  • Yes. If you are an undergrad and enrolled full time (12 hours).


11. How much does it cost if I take more than 36 hours ?

  • The rate is half the regular hourly rate.


12. If I drop a class during the school year, how will this affect my
Financial Aid ?

  • The consequences of dropping a class depends on the timing during the semester. It is always best to consult with a financial aid representative before making such a decision.

Back to Top


1. If I receive a scholarship or grant will my need-based aid be affected? 

  • The federal government requires that scholarships and grants be applied to your eligibility as calculated by the FAFSA. Any additional funding you receive from any source may require an adjustment to your eligibility for federal or state aid. If adjustments are made, you will receive a revised award letter.


2. Are scholarships awarded for one year or are there scholarships that are guaranteed for all four years? 

  • A number of scholarships, particularly those awarded on a merit and need basis, are awarded annually. Scholarship awards made on a merit-based basis are generally renewable for subsequent undergraduate years provided you maintain the required ACU grade point average. Most scholarships are renewable for a total of eight (8) consecutive semesters of undergraduate enrollment.


3. Are there scholarships that currently enrolled students can apply for? 

  • Yes. Many academic departments award scholarships to current students. Check with your department for more information on how to be considered for any scholarships they might have available.


4. Are scholarships awarded for study abroad programs? 

  • There are no scholarships specifically awarded for study abroad programs.


5. If I get a loan from one place, will that disqualify me for other loans or grants?

  • Since loans are part of the total financial aid package, they are offered after grant eligibility has been determined. It is possible to receive loan funds from more than one loan source.


6. Are loans available that can be repaid after graduation?

  • There are several deferred loan options. A student should apply for financial aid and determine additional loan options once a financial aid package has been offered.

Back to Top

Work Study  

1. I’ve been awarded work study. What does that mean ?

  • The Work-Study program is an employment program offered through the government for students who qualify for financial aid. Work-Study is not a guarantee of employment. It is the student’s responsibility to find employment.


2. How much are students paid under the work-study program? Are they paid with a check or are the earnings subtracted from the college bill? 

  • Students participating in the work-study program are paid no less than minimum wage. Students receive a paycheck twice a month (if payday falls on a weekend or holiday, payment will occur on the previous Friday) for the hours actually worked during the pay period, up to a maximum of 25 hours per week. For further information regarding employment see the Jobs on Campus available at


3. Can I get a job on campus if I have not been awarded work study?

  • Yes. There are employment opportunities on campus in various offices or departments. Jobs on Campus are posted on the Human Resources website at, click on “Employment”, then “Student”.

Back to Top