Frequently Asked Questions

  General Questions
 

1. How is my financial need determined?

When you complete the FAFSA form, the information you provide determines your financial need. The result is your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC varies based on the number of people in your household and how many are in college. It considers your income and assets. If you are a dependent student, the EFC also considers your parents’ income and assets.

Need-based aid can be in the form of grants, scholarships, Perkins loans, and subsidized low-interest loans. If you don’t qualify for aid based on need, you can still get unsubsidized loans or PLUS loans.

2. When will I know about my awards?

Once we have your complete file, we will send you an email to let you know your money is available through E-Services within two weeks. We begin awarding for the upcoming school year by the beginning of May each year.

3. How many credit hours do I need to receive my aid?

Financial aid awards have various enrollment requirements, (i.e. Direct Loans require half-time enrollment; TEXAS Grant requires 9 hours of enrollment). Your financial aid is always adjusted based the actual number of credit hours you are enrolled in.

In order to accurately determine your financial aid disbursement eligibility, you will need to complete an Intended Enrollment Form in E-Services. You will be prompted to do this once we receive your FAFSA. We will send you an email to your UHCL email address requesting that you complete the Intended Enrollment Form. We will package your financial aid based on this submission, or will assume full-time enrollment if it is not completed. If your enrollment ever changes notify our office at 281.283.2480 or uhcl_fao@uhcl.edu.

Undergraduate (or Post-Bacc) Students:
Full Time: 12 or more hours 
Three Quarter TIme: 9-11 hours
Half Time: 6-8 hours
Less Than Half Time: 5 hours or less

Graduate Students:
Full Time: 9 or more hours 
Three Quarter TIme: 7-8 hours
Half Time: 5-6 hours
Less Than Half Time: 4 hours or less

4. Can I receive more financial aid?

Financial aid awards include grants, loans, work-study, or scholarships. Grants and work-study awards are awarded on a first-come first-serve basis due to limited funding. If you complete your application early, you may receive more financial aid than late applicants. The priority deadline at UHCL is March 15th. If additional financial aid becomes available during the school year, we will re-award students, starting with those who have the highest financial need.

If you applied for a scholarship and it is not included in your awards don’t worry—scholarships are awarded separately from grants, loans, and work-study, so you might be awarded a scholarship at a later time. If your award email is missing aid you were expecting, call the Office of Student Financial Aid at 281.283.2480.

5. What is an "overaward"?

Financial aid is designed to help you pay only expenses associated with your education. An overaward happens when your need-based financial aid is more than your financial need, or when your financial aid exceeds your cost of attendance.

You could have an overaward if you change your enrollment status, housing plans, FAFSA information, residency classification, student type (undergraduate, graduate) Satisfactory Academic Progress status, or if you receive additional financial aid awards or resources. If you are in an overaward situation, we will modify your award as necessary and let you know.

6. Are international students eligible for aid?

With few exceptions, Federal financial assistance is only available to citizens of the United States. If you have only an F1, F2, J1, or J2 student or work visa you are not eligible for federal student aid. See FAFSA for more information on exceptions for people who are not citizens.

International or undocumented students can apply for some state aid. Go to our Forms and Resources to view the TASFA (for undocumented Texas residents) or the Financial Aid for International and Undocumented Students application.  You can view additional information at College for Texans.

International students are also eligible for many university scholarships. Also, international students may be eligible for some private student loans. For information regarding these loans, or other external financial aid information, please visit www.edupass.org

  Applying
 

1. How do I apply for financial aid? 

To apply for federal, state, and institutional financial aid, you start by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).   You can complete the FAFSA online at www.fafsa.ed.gov.  

You can also complete the FAFSA via the phone at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243). However, we recommend you complete the FAFSA online.

Each year the FAFSA form is available on Jan. 1 for the next school year. File your FAFSA by the first of March to ensure that we receive the results of your FAFSA by March 15.

With few exceptions, Federal financial assistance is only available to citizens of the United States. If you have only an F1, F2, J1, or J2 student or work visa you are not eligible for federal student aid. See FAFSA for more information on exceptions for people who are not citizens.

Texas Residents who are not US citizens can sometimes apply for State aid with the TASFA application. Go to our Forms and Resources to view the TASFA (for undocumented Texas residents) or the Financial Aid for International and Undocumented Students application. You can view additional information at College for Texans.

International students are also eligible for many university scholarships. Also, international students may be eligible for some private student loans. For information regarding these loans, or other external financial aid information, please visit www.edupass.org.

2. What is a first priority deadline?

The priority deadline is the deadline to submit your FAFSA to us so that we can consider you for the maximum amount of financial aid eligibility. Because of limited funding all grants (except Federal Pell Grant) and college work-study are awarded on a first come, first served basis. Once they’re gone, they’re gone! Therefore, it’s important to get your FAFSA in early. You can still apply for financial aid after the priority deadline, and will be considered for any remaining funds that are available. We must have the results of your FAFSA by the March 15 priority deadline before we can consider you for the most financial aid.

Generally, we start awarding students for the upcoming aid year in May. It takes about 2 to 3 weeks for us to receive and process the FAFSA. Please check your UHCL email account for any communications from us!

3. What is UHCL’s school code, and where do I enter it?

UHCL’s school code is 011711. Enter it on your FAFSA so that we can receive your FAFSA results. The FAFSA form allows space for you to enter codes for up to six schools.

4. How can I fix a mistake I made on my FAFSA application?

If you find incorrect information on your FAFSA, or you originally used estimated income information and need to report actual figures, you can go online at www.fafsa.ed.gov   to make the correction. Or, you make your changes on your Student Aid Report (SAR) then sign, date, and mail it back to the Central Processing System (CPS).

  Verification
 

1. What is verification, and what do I need to do if I am selected?

Verification is a process that all universities participating in federal aid programs have to complete. If the Central Processing System (CPS) selects you, you must complete verification in order to qualify for financial aid. If you are selected, we will send you an email requesting additional documents. Using these documents, we compare your data to the information on your FAFSA, and make corrections, if needed.

2. What documents do I need for verification?

Please check your UHCL email or your checklists in Eservices for the specific documents we are requesting from you. Generally, we will be requesting:

  • Verification Worksheet available at Online Forms & Services.
  • Copy of your tax transcript. Please review your verification worksheet to get detailed directions on receiving a tax transcript. Alternatively, you may do the IRS data retrieval which is discussed on the verification worksheet. The IRS data retrieval is the preferred way of providing tax information.
  • Copies of all current W-2 forms for student and parents/spouse.
  • If you and your spouse/parents did not file taxes, you will be asked to provide a non-filer form(s). These forms are available at Online Forms & Services.
  • If you someone in your household received food stamps, you will be asked to provide documentation from the agency that issued the Food Stamps.
  • If, after reviewing these documents we need more information, someone from our office will contact you via your UHCL email account.

3. How long will the verification process take?

Once we have collected all your verification documents, they go to your counselor. We can usually review your verification documents within two weeks after receiving them. (During peak times, the process may take slightly longer.) After the verification is completed, we will award you your financial aid.

4. What is the due date to submit verification documents?

2015-2016 Verification Deadline: The deadline to submit verification documents to UHCL Financial Aid for 2016 financial aid is Saturday, September 17, 2016 or 120 days after your last day of enrollment at UHCL, whichever comes first. In order to submit any requested documents to our office, you must already have an official SAR and EFC processed by the Department of Education by June 30, 2016, or by the last day of your enrollment, whichever comes first. Submission of documents does not guarantee a disbursement of funds. Eligibility for a disbursement would be considered for Federal Pell Grant only (undergraduate students only). To be considered for a Direct Loan or Campus-based funds disbursement, you must submit any required verification documents to our office 10 days before the official closing of the semester in which you are enrolled at least half time.

  Loans
 

1. What’s the difference between Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans?

Federal Direct Subsidized loans are available to undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need and who are enrolled at least half-time (6 or more credit hours). The federal government pays the interest on a subsidized loan while you are in school at least half-time and during periods of grace and deferment.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized loans are available to both undergraduate and graduate students who are enrolled at least half-time (HT) (undergraduate HT status: 6 or more credit hours; graduate HT status: 3 or more credit hours). The interest is NOT paid by the federal government, and is therefore paid for by the student. Interest begins to accrue on an unsubsidized loan on the disbursement date. The interest continues to accrue and capitalizes during repayment.

2. What is the interest rate for Federal Direct Loans?

Direct Loan Interest Rates (effective July 1, 2016)
Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans for undergraduate students 3.76%
Direct Unsubsidized Loans for graduate students 5.31%
Direct PLUS Loans 6.31%

3. How do I accept my Stafford loans?

  • First, we send you an email about your financial aid package.
  • When you receive your email, go to E-Services to accept your financial aid. You can take the amount we offer you, or if it’s more than you need or want, you can reduce it in E-Services. 
  • If this is your first time receiving a loan at UHCL you will need to complete a Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN). The MPN can be completed online at www.studentloans.gov.  
  • If this is your first time receiving a loan, you must complete Stafford Loan Entrance Counseling. The Entrance Counseling can be found atwww.studentloans.gov.

4. How do I change the amount of my Stafford loan?

We will award you the maximum loan amount you qualify for. If you’d like to reduce the amount, go to E-Services and select “Accept/Decline Award.” From there, you can choose “accept” for the loan(s) you wish to change. This opens the field so that you can type in a lower amount. Then, submit the award to our office.

If you decide to reduce your loan amount, or to see if you qualify for additional loan funds, please contact financial aid at uhcl_fao@uhcl.edu

5. Why do I need to complete Entrance Loan Counseling?

We are required to provide Entrance Loan Counseling to all first-time student loan borrowers before we disburse the money to your account. Entrance Loan Counseling is a short online tutorial that explains why you need to repay your student loans. It tells you the consequences if you fail to repay, and also helps you budget your money while in school. We can’t release your loan funds until you have completed Entrance Counseling at www.studentloans.gov.

6. Why do I need to complete Exit Loan Counseling?

We are required to provide additional loan counseling to students once you have dropped below half-time status or have graduated. If you have a loan and you are planning to graduate, complete Exit Loan Counseling online at www.studentloans.gov.

7. Why did I only receive half of my expected loan amount?

Federal regulations require us to split your loan funds into at least two equal payments. If your loan is for fall and spring, you’ll get half of your loan at the beginning of fall and the other half at the beginning of the spring semester. If your loan is for one semester only (e.g. summer), however, you will get just one loan disbursement at the beginning of that semester.

8. Why hasn’t my loan been credited to my student account?

Before we can credit a loan to your account you must

  • Accepted the loan in E-services
  • Have a current Master Promissory Note (MPN) on file. 
  • Be enrolled at least half-time (6 hours for undergraduates, 3 hours for graduate students).
  • Have completed Entrance Loan Counseling (if this is your first Stafford loan).
  • Be maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress.
  • Not be in default on any federal loans or owe a Title IV overpayment.

9. Why hasn’t my Perkins Loan money been given to me?

To receive your Perkins Loan money, complete an electronic Perkins Note online in E-Services. You will see this in E-Services when you accept a Perkins loan as part of your award package. If borrowing your first Perkins Loan from UHCL, you must also complete Perkins Entrance Counseling. Register for at least half-time (6 hours for undergraduates, 5 hours for graduate students), maintain satisfactory academic progress. You can’t be in default on any federal loans or owe a Title IV overpayment.

  College Work-Study
 

1. Am I eligible for College Work-Study?

For College work-study (CWS) awards, first make sure your FAFSA is on file with our office by the March 15 priority deadline, and indicate on your FASFA that you are interested in work study. If you are not initially awarded CWS, contact our office and ask to be put on the waiting list. CWS funds are awarded on a first come, first serve basis, and there is no guarantee that you will receive a CWS award.

2. How do I get a College Work-Study position?

After you have been awarded work-study, you will receive an email to schedule a Work-Study Orientation session. At the Work-Study Orientation you will complete the Human Resources hiring paperwork and also apply for open work-study positions. Once you are hired, you will need to take two forms of ID (driver’s license and social security card) to the Human Resources Office (Bayou 2537) to receive I-9 clearance.

3. How many hours am I permitted to work as a College Work-Study student?

You can't work more than 20 hours per week. Some positions will require 20 hours per week while others may be less. CWS students generally find that the flexibility of their schedules is a perk of participating in the program.

4. When is my time sheet due?

Complete your time sheets every Tuesday morning, as they are due to the Office of Student Financial Aid on Tuesday by 3:30pm.

  Disbursement
 

1. After my loan posts to my student account, how do I get it?

Stafford Loans: After we get your Stafford loan money, we send it electronically to the Cashier's office. The Cashier's office then takes out what you owe in tuition and fees and refunds any credit balance to your selected UHCL OneCard refund preference. (See below for more info on the OneCard!)

Alternative Loans: Some alternative loans come as a paper check to our Cashier’s Office. We’ll email you when it’s available for pick up. Other alternative loans will arrive electronically. If the funds arrive electronically, the Cashier’s Office will take out what you owe in tuition and fees. Any remaining refund will be sent to your UHCL OneCard.

2. Can I pick up my refund check in the Cashier's office?

No, If your money is sent to us electronically, you can't pick up a check in the Cashier's office.

3. Where’s my grant money?

Grants are credited to your account a week or so before classes begin. If your grant does not hit your account by the fee payment deadline, it will show on your student account as "anticipated aid." You won’t be penalized for nonpayment if your total anticipated aid is enough to cover what you owe.

To receive your grant funds, you must register for the correct number of hours for which your aid was awarded. Of course you must also meet the other eligibility requirements (making Satisfactory Academic Progress, not be in default or owe a Title IV Overpayment, be admitted to a degree-seeking program, etc.)

4. Where’s my loan money?

After we get your eMPN and Entrance Counseling, we'll post your loan(s) to your account, after verifying your eligibility.

If your loan does not hit your account by the fee payment deadline, it will show on your student account as "anticipated aid." You won’t be penalized for nonpayment if your total anticipated aid is enough to cover what you owe.

5. How do I get my refund the way I want it?

Activate your UHCL OneCard and tell us how you want to get your refund:

  • Transfer to your UHCL OneCard
  • Transfer (ACH) to an existing checking account
  • Request a paper check

If you’re a new student, expect to receive your UHCL OneCard about two weeks after you’ve registered for classes. For additional information about the UHCL OneCard, visit www.UHCLOneCard.com or call the Student Assistance Center at 281-283-2722.

6. When will I receive my refund?

 

  • Same business day deposit to a checking account, serviced by Higher One, Inc.   Money deposited to the account the same business day funds are released by University of Houston - Clear Lake to Higher One.
  • Deposit to another account. Money in two to three business days.
  • Paper check. Money in five to seven business days.
  Satisfactory Academic Progress
 

1. What is Satisfactory Academic Progress?

Under federal and state statutes all students applying for or receiving federal or state financial assistance must be making satisfactory academic progress (SAP) toward a degree or certification. UHCL also uses this requirement for awarding institutional funds.

SAP is based on three measures:

    1. Grade Point Average. Undergraduates must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher and graduate students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
    2. Completion Ratio. Students must complete 75% of their cumulative attempted coursework at UHCL. This is derived by dividing the total number of UHCL hours plus accepted transfer course work completed by the total number of UHCL hours attempted plus accepted transfer course work. Attempted hours are those completed plus hours of “WX”, “WQ”, “I”, “F”, and “IP.”
    3. Timeframe to Complete Academic Program. Undergraduates who have attempted more than 171 credit hours and graduates who have attempted more than 54 credit hours have exceeded the established timeframe for their respective degrees. Total hours also includes any accepted transfer course work

Undergraduate students enrolled in the following programs must complete their program within the specific timeframe listed below:

  • Pre-Engineering 99 credit hours

Graduate students enrolled in the following programs must complete their master’s or doctoral degree within the specified timeframe listed below:

  • Early Childhood Education MS 73 credit hours
  • Clinical Psychology MA 63 credit hours
  • School Psychology SSP 70 credit hours
  • Family Therapy MA 63 credit hours
  • Healthcare Business Administration 84 credit hours
  • Education Leadership EdD 69 credit hours

The first semester that a student fails to meet the GPA or completion ratio requirement for SAP he or she will receive a warning email regarding financial aid eligibility. The second semester that a student fails to meet the GPA or completion ratio, his or her financial aid will be canceled. Students who exceed the timeframe for their academic program will not receive a warning. Their financial aid will be canceled.

2. Can I appeal my Satisfactory Academic Progress status?

If you are not eligible for financial aid due to academic progress, then you may file a written appeal to the office of financial aid. The appeal form is available on our website under Online Forms and Services. Please read the appeal form instructions carefully and submit all supporting documentation. Upon approval of your SAP appeal, your financial aid will be reinstated.

3. How long does it take to process a Satisfactory Academic Progress appeal?

Our committee usually reviews appeals within two weeks. We send appeal results by email the following business day.

You can find more detailed information about Satisfactory Academic Progress in the UHCL catalog.

  Short-Term Loans/Book Vouchers
 

1. How does a short-term loan work?

If you are eligible for financial aid but your funds are not ready, you may qualify for a short-term loan for the full amount you need. We make these loans available on a case-by-case basis beginning two weeks prior to the payment deadline. Check with your financial aid counselor if you are interested in applying.

2. Can I get a short-term loan for expenses other than tuition and fees?

No, unfortunately short-term loans are only available for tuition and fee payments. UHCL does not have an “emergency” loan program.

3. Can I receive a book voucher?

We do not have a book voucher program, but you can charge books and supplies to your account in the UHCL Bookstore as soon as you have a credit balance on your account from a recent financial aid disbursement. Once we transfer the credit balance to your UHCL OneCard, you can no longer charge books to your student account.

 

 

 

Contact
  • Student Financial Aid

    Phone: 281-283-2480
    Fax: 281-283-2502
    Email: uhcl_fao@uhcl.edu

    SSCB 1.105
    2700 Bay Area Blvd, Box 05
    Houston, TX 77058-1002

    Fall/Spring hours:
    Monday - Thursday, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.
    Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
     
    Summer hours:
    Monday - Thursday, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.
    Friday, 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.

    School Code:
    011711