Q. How do I start applying for aid?
A. Begin the process by completing the FAFSA online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. As long as you have the FAFSA sent to Multnomah and sign with your FSA ID, we should receive it within 2-3 business days. We will send further instructions to the email address provided on the FAFSA, so make sure the address you provide is accurate.
Q. What is Multnomah’s FAFSA school code?
Q. How does the FAFSA determine if I am “independent”?
A. In section 2 of the FAFSA, there are a series of questions that determine your “dependency status.” Simply living on your own or not being claimed by your parents on their tax return does not suffice in determining your independence. You must be able to answer “yes” to at least one of the following: At least 24 years old by Jan. 1, married, working on graduate degree, active duty in U.S. armed forces, have children, and be an orphan or ward of the court. You may be required to provide documentation to verify the information you provide.
Q. If my parents are separated or divorced, whose income do I report on the FAFSA?
A. Generally, you must report the income for the parent you are living with and/or receiving most of your support from. If this parent is remarried, you will also include your stepparent’s income.
Q. Do I need to give you copies of my tax returns?
A. No. Not unless the financial aid office requests them. Generally speaking, one out of every three FAFSA's is selected for a process called “verification.” When you are selected for verification, we are required to collect copies of tax documents and verify the information on the FAFSA is accurate. We will only need copies of these tax documents if you are selected for verification, so please do not send them unless it is requested.
Q. How will I know what financial aid I am offered?
A. Once you are admitted and have completed the financial aid process, we will send you an email notifying you that your award is ready to be reviewed on MyFinAid. The awarding process generally begins in late-March.
Q. I accepted all the aid on MyFinAid, but it isn’t showing up on Self-Service. How do I let Student Accounts know I have financial aid?
A. The Financial Aid Office will notify Student Accounts when your aid is anticipated. If you are planning to utilize loans, those will not show up as “anticipated aid” until you complete the loan process.
Q. How do I apply for Stafford loans?
A. Visit the Loans page to complete the Stafford Entrance Interview and Stafford Master Promissory Note (MPN). Our office will receive electronic notification when these steps are complete and we will notify Student Accounts for you.
Q. How do I get a Parent PLUS loan?
A. Dependent students (students who require parent information on the FAFSA) are generally offered a parent PLUS loan on their award package. If the parent is willing to take out a Parent PLUS loan, he/she must apply online at the Loans page. PLUS loans require a basic credit check and carry a 7.9% Direct Loan interest rate (8.5% FFELP PLUS interest rate). The amount listed on the student’s award package is a suggested amount that should cover most educational expenses, however, the parent is free to request a different amount.
Q. What do I do if my parent will not apply for a PLUS loan?
A. When needing extra funds for school costs, we always encourage families to utilize the PLUS loan instead of paying with a credit card or a personal loan. PLUS loans have a fixed interest rate and are federally-insured. They also only require a basic credit check, versus the comprehensive credit check required for most other loans (e.g. home, auto, credit cards). If this is definitely not an option, please contact the Financial Aid Office 503.251.5335 to dialog about your situation.
Q. Is there any way I can get more Stafford loan money?
A. Undergraduate students are only eligible for between $3500-5500 per year in subsidized Stafford loans, and can have an additional $2000 per year in unsubsidized Stafford loans (Graduate students are eligible for more). The amount varies depending on grade level, enrollment status (e.g. full-time, part-time), and cost of attendance. College students may be eligible for additional unsubsidized Stafford loans if they are independent students, or if they are dependent but their parent’s PLUS application was denied.
Q. What is the difference between a subsidized and unsubsidized loan?
A. Subsidized loans are awarded to students who have “need” according to the FAFSA. Although the interest rate accrues at 6.8%, the government pays the interest while you're enrolled in school at least half-time. Unsubsidized loans accrue interest at 6.8% as well; however, the student is responsible for paying the interest. All payments on Stafford loans can be deferred while the student is enrolled at least half-time. The borrower may elect to make early payments and/or interest-only payments at any time.
Q. Can I do a payment plan if I have financial aid?
A. Yes, if you do not have enough aid to cover your billed expenses, contact Student Accounts at 503.251.5343 to set up a payment plan.
Q. Are there tax benefits for students that I can take advantage of?
A. Yes. Take a look at this helpful guide from ECMC for specific details.
Q. Is there aid available for summer term?
A. There may be aid available if you are enrolled at least half-time. To inquire about summer aid, stop by our office, or call us at 503.251.5335.
Q. Can I request some of my disbursement early to help pay for books?
A. If you are anticipating a credit balance from your financial aid for the semester, you may request a book voucher up to $300. For questions about check advances, please contact student accounts at 503.251.5345.
Q. If I have more than enough money to cover my bill, what happens to the leftover money?
A. When all of your aid posts to your account and there is money remaining, the Student Accounts office will issue a refund check within 2 weeks of the time the credit balance appears on your account. Generally, the refund check can be picked up from the Campus Post Office. However, if the refund is a result of a PLUS loan, the funds may be mailed to your parent (depending on what was requested by the parent when the PLUS loan was requested).