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Frequently Asked Questions

Financial Aid Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The following are common FAQs received from students and parents alike. Please take time to review this section and to contact the Financial Aid Office should you have any additional questions or require further details.

General

If Kings Point is a Federal Academy, why do I need to apply for Financial Aid?

While the Federal Government covers many of the expenses related to attendance at the Academy, there are certain expenses which it does not. Unlike other Federal Service Academies, Midshipmen enrolled at USMMA

DO NOT receive a monthly salary or stipend (Midshipmen do receive a monthly stipend during their Sea Term).

I probably don't qualify for aid. Should I apply for aid anyway?

Yes! Many families mistakenly think they don't qualify for aid and thus don’t apply for it. All students applying are eligible for some level of aid. In applying for aid, you are under no obligation to accept it. 

If I am under 18, are my parents responsible for my student loan?

No. You are responsible for repayment of your student loans. You parents are not required to cosign your federal student loans, even if you are under age 18. The 'defense of infancy' does not apply to federal student loans. (The defense of infancy presumes that a minor is not able to enter into contracts, and considers any such contract to be void. There is an explicit exemption to this principle in the Higher Education Act with regard to Federal Student Aid.) 

When do I need to repay my loans?

Direct Federal Loans, both Subsidized and Unsubsidized, have a grace period of six months following graduation. In the event you are disenrolled or take a leave of absence, the same rules will apply. For further information please visit:

http://studentaid.ed.gov

Am I required to reapply for financial aid every year?

Yes. Similar to filing your taxes, you must reapply every year.  The financial aid year runs from July1-June 30. It is strongly encouraged that you file your taxes before submitting a FAFSA.

How long will it take to receive my refund check?

Refund checks are issued 3-4 weeks after your award has been disbursed by the Department of Education. Be sure your information is correct when filing, as errors in information could lead to delays.

What can/can’t I use my student loan money for?

Federal Student Aid may be used for any expenses associated with attendance at USMMA. Examples include transportation costs for periods of leave, personal expenses, academy health insurance, laptop package, and sea term expenses.  Students are advised to use their funds responsibly!

If I am over 18 years old and attending the Academy, why am I still considered a Dependent?

For Financial Aid purposes, reaching your 18th birthday does not guarantee Independent status. The policy regarding determination of Dependent vs Independent students is determined by the US Department of Education. For further details regarding Dependency issues, please visit:

http://financialaidtoolkit.ed.gov/tk/learn/fafsa.jsp#dependency

I used a credit card and/or borrowed money from a friend/relative to pay for an educational expense; can I use my financial aid money to pay them back?

As long as the expense was directly related to your attendance at the Academy, yes, you may.

Is my Grant and/or Loan considered taxable income?

No. when filing taxes, neither a Pell Grant nor Direct Student Loan are considered income.

What are the advantages to taking out a Federal Student Loan?

There are several advantages to taking out a Federal Student Loan. Among them:

  • Establish good credit history
  • Ease in ability to secure a loan. Loans are awarded based on full time attendance at USMMA, regardless of past credit history.
  • Generous borrowing terms and conditions, such as deferment/forgiveness for Public Service, forgiveness in the event you are unable to physically work, deferment/forbearance in the event you are unable to make payments.
  • Various repayment options such as pay as you go and Income Based Repayment, as well as the standard 10 year repayment plan.
  • Competitive Rates (currently 4.66%)
  • For additional details please visit, http://studentaid.ed.gov/

I received a letter from a Loan Servicing Company (Navient, Nel Net, Great Lakes, Fed Loan, etc.). What is a loan servicing company and why did I receive a letter?

Loan servicing companies are contracted by the Department of Education to act on behalf of the Department in servicing your loan. You received a letter from a loan servicing company because the Department of Education has assigned it to manage your loan. It essentially acts as the bank for your loan. You will make payments directly to the loan servicing company and work with it if you are applying for loan deferment, forgiveness, forbearance, etc. Loan servicing companies are chosen at random by the Department of Education. The Academy has no influence in which servicer will be assigned your loan. All loan servicers follow the same guidelines and are held to the same standards.

What is the difference between the Accounts Office and the Financial Aid Office?

The Accounts office is responsible for the invoicing and collection of mandatory fees (Billed Costs) as well as issuing refund credits. The Financial Aid office is responsible for awarding, processing and verifying those students who apply & accept financial aid.

Where can I find additional information on Federal Student Aid?

For anything and everything related to Federal Student Aid, please visit:

http://studentaid.ed.gov/

FAFSA

How do I apply for a Pell Grant and other types of need-based aid?

Submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The application in no way obligates you to accept financial aid. It is merely an application. 

The application is available at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/.

What is USMMA’s Federal School Code?

002892, enter this code when prompted to do so on your FAFSA.

Since filing my FAFSA, my financial situation has drastically changed (unemployment, severe injury/death of family member, etc.). What should I do?

The Office of Financial Aid is sensitive to the fact that life events do occur. If your financial situation has been impacted, please contact our office at (516) 726-5638 or via e-mail at BeckerJ@USMMA.Edu.

I filed my FAFSA; what happens next?

Within 1-2 business days, the Dept. of Education will e-mail you a Student Aid Report (SAR) The SAR details the amount of aid you can expect to receive. You should contact the Financial Aid Office via email at BeckerJ@USMMA.Edu  to notify us that you have submitted your FAFSA.

Once the Financial Aid office reviews your information, we will generate an award letter for your review. You may opt to accept or reject the award. Should you choose to accept the award, you must submit the acceptance letter to the Financial Aid office. You will then be required to complete entrance counseling and sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN).  Both steps can be easily completed online by going to: https://studentloans.gov

Following successful completion of entrance counseling and signing the MPN, the Financial Aid Office will notify the Dept. of Education of your desire to accept Financial Aid. The Dept. will disburse funds to the Office of Midshipmen Accounts. Midshipmen Accounts will then use the funds to pay any outstanding bills. Any funds remaining will be given to you in the form of a check. It is your responsibility to bring this check to your bank or financial institute!

How often are funds disbursed?

Since the Academy operates on a Trimester system, funds are disbursed every Trimester, generally within the first 3-4 weeks of the term.  Funds may also be disbursed at any time during the term. In the event you file your FAFSA after a term(s) has been completed, you may receive the previous terms aid in addition to the current terms aid.

I’ve been selected for verification, what’s that?

Verification is a process where the Dept. of Education randomly selects applicants for documentation to verify their FAFSA data. Verification is simply an additional step in the Financial Aid process, and so long as your FAFSA data is accurate, will not impede your application for aid. Applicants will receive a worksheet to fill out and will be required to verify their tax information. It is strongly encouraged that all applicants utilize the IRS Data retrieval tool when prompted to when filing the FAFSA. This will clear up most of the questions in the verification process. Generally, recipients of a Pell Grant have a better chance of being selected for verification.

I/my parents have received an extension to file my/their taxes; can I still receive aid?

Yes and no. Students may receive their first trimester funds without filing taxes; however, should it be proven that information provided on your FAFSA is inaccurate, you will be required to return the excess funds. After the 1st term’s disbursement, no future funds may be disbursed until the taxes are filed.

I received an award letter, but the amount offered is greater than what I need; what should  I do?

You may opt to take less than the full amount offered. This is done by simply indicating this amount on your award letter.

I received an award letter, but the amount offered is lower than what I need; what should I do?

Contact the Financial Aid office to discuss your case further; additional funds may be released on a case-by-case basis.

I have received my award letter, but I am declining the award. Can I choose to receive it later in the year should my needs change?

Absolutely. An award letter is valid for the duration of the academic year. However, do not wait until the last day to accept!

I’ve accepted the award, but have changed my mind.  Am I obligated to take the loan?

No, you are free to cancel the award at any time. You must, however, return all funds you have received. If funds have been spent, you must repay that amount.

I’ve attended a prepatory school, college or university prior to being accepted at USMMA. Am I still considered a first year student?

For the purposes of Financial Aid, you are not. This can be advantageous, as students are authorized additional aid based on the number of years attending an accredited university or college.

If I made a mistake in filling out my FAFSA, can I go back and fix it?

Yes. You may edit your FAFSA as many times as is needed. However, if you edit after funds have been disbursed, please notify the Financial Aid office as this could impact the amount of aid you receive.

Outside Awards

I received an outside award scholarship. What should I do now?

Congratulations! You should Contact the Financial Aid office at (516) 726-5638 for further details. Scholarship award checks should be mailed to:

USMMA

Office of Admissions – Financial Aid

300 Steamboat Rd.

Kings Point, NY 11024

I won an outside award scholarship, but the awarding agency will not present it to me because I am attending the Academy. What should I do?

Because the Academy is a Federal Service Academy, some scholarship funds may not award their scholarship to you. Unfortunately, unlike other federal service academies, the Academy does not provide a monthly stipend or cover 100% of the Cost of Attendance for their students. Many scholarship funds are unaware of this fact.

If you have won an outside award, but the awarding agency will not present it to you for this reason, please contact the our Financial Aid Office. In past instances, we have had success in informing them of your status and overturning their decision not to award you their scholarship!

Please note: Some states may allow state funded college tuition programs to be used at USMMA, while some may not.

Will my outside award impact the amount of aid I will receive?

Yes and No. Outside awards are counted towards the Cost of Attendance. If the outside award and financial aid exceed the CoA, then your aid will be reduced so that the CoA is equal to the amount of the aid and award. Only Subsidized loans are reduced due to an outside award. Pell grants are considered gift aid, and are not reduced. Unsubsidized loans are also not reduced.

I have a 529 college savings plan (or other college savings plan) for my child, may I use these funds to cover the Cost of Attendance at USMMA?

Absolutely! USMMA is a fully accredited four year degree awarding university and accepts funds from any/all college savings plans. If your 529 Plan requires documentation to release your savings, please contact the Financial Aid office for further details.

Updated: Monday, June 8, 2015
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