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Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about different parts of the financial aid process? Take a look at our frequently asked questions below for helpful information and tips, or contact the Office of Financial Aid for additional help.


 

    Financial Aid Requirements

    How do I request an IRS Verification of Non-Filing Letter?

    You may request a Verification of Non-Filing Letter online only if you have filed taxes in previous years. Individuals that have never filed taxes will need to request Verification of Non-Filing Letter by mail only. Please see the instructions below:

    By Online:

    • STEP 1 — Go to www.irs.gov/individuals/get-transcript. Click “Get Transcript Online” and make sure to read all required items. If a different language is needed, click on the needed language.
    • STEP 2 — If a login has already been created, continue by putting in your username. If a login has not been created, click “get started and follow the instructions to create a login. After enrolling for the first time, enter the address exactly as it appears on your tax return.
    • STEP 3 — Once logged in or a login has been created, select the reason the transcript is needed: Higher Ed/Student Aid.
    • STEP 4 — The asterisk (*) symbol will indicate the availability of a Verification of Non- Filing Letter for the year. Click the year that you are requesting a Verification of Non-Filing letter for, and a pop-up will come up. Make sure that pop-up blockers are disabled for this feature.
    • STEP 5 — Please print letter and submit a copy to the Office of Financial Aid with the student's name and ID number.

    By Phone:

    • STEP 1 — To make a request by phone, contact the IRS to request a Letter of Non-Filing at 1-800-829-1040
      • Press # for desired language
      • Press “2” for tax Transcripts
      • Press “1” for tax Transcripts
      • Press “4” for Tax History
      • Press “2” for Tax History
      • Enter SSN or Tax ID #
      • If SSN or Tax ID# is not verified, wait on the line until a representative is able to assist you.
    • STEP 2 — Once Non-Filing Letter is received, submit a copy of the letter to the Office of Financial Aid with the student’s name and ID number.

    By Mail:

    • STEP 1 — To make a request by mail, complete Form 4506-T. Mail the form to the IRS. The Verification of Non-Filing Letter will be mailed to you within 10 business days.
    • STEP 2 — Once Non-Filing Letter is received, submit a copy of the letter to the Office of Financial Aid with the student’s name and ID number.


    FAFSA

    What is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?

    The FAFSA is a free application used to apply for federal student aid, such as federal grants, loans and work-study. Its available only to U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens. The FAFSA can be completed at www.fafsa.gov.

    How do I start the FAFSA?

    You can get started on your FAFSA form at fafsa.gov. If you’re new to the FAFSA process, click on the “START HERE” button to begin your form; returning users can log in to view their form.

    View more tips on starting your FAFSA form on the Federal Student Aid website.

    What is an eligible non-citizen?

    This is a U.S. national (includes natives of American Samoa or Swains Island), U.S. permanent resident (who has an I-151, I-551 or I-551C [Permanent Resident Card]), or an individual who has an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) showing one of the following designations:

    • “Refugee” 
    • “Asylum Granted” 
    • “Cuban-Haitian Entrant (Status Pending)”
    • “Conditional Entrant” (valid only if issued before April 1, 1980) 
    • Victims of human trafficking, T-visa holder (T-2, T-3, or T-4, etc.)
    • “Parolee” (You must be paroled into the United States for at least one year and you must be able to provide evidence from the USCIS that you are in the United States for other than a temporary purpose and that you intend to become a U.S. citizen or permanent resident)

    If the information above does not provide you with the clarity you need, please contact Biola's Office of Financial Aid.

    How can I find out how much financial aid I will get?

    There are two ways to find out your financial aid eligibility.

    1. File the FAFSA
      • Once you have been accepted to Biola and have completed the FAFSA application, you will receive a financial aid offer indicating your financial aid eligibility. Financial aid offers may be estimated, requiring you to submit certain documents for us to verify the information on your FAFSA before finalizing your financial aid eligibility.
    2. Use our Net Price Calculator
      • If you have not yet been accepted to Biola or haven’t completed the FAFSA application, you can use the Net Price Calculator for a rough financial aid estimate. The Net Price Calculator does not collect every piece of information that the FAFSA asks for, and therefore isn’t 100% precise. However, it provides a fairly accurate estimate of the amount of financial aid you might qualify for.

    I probably don't qualify for aid. Should I fill out the FAFSA anyway?

    Yes. Many families incorrectly assume they are ineligible for federal aid, and don't put themselves in a position to receive aid by not submitting the FAFSA. Additionally, there are resources available to families regardless of need such as Unsubsidized Direct Loans and Plus loans. The FAFSA form is free, which is good news to all families that apply.

    Where can I get a copy of the FAFSA?

    You can get a copy of the FAFSA through one of the following methods:

    • Ask your guidance counselor
    • Contact your local public library
    • Call 1-900-4-FED-AID
    • Find a copy online at fafsa.ed.gov

    For additional tips on submitting the FAFSA visit the Federal Student Aid website.

    Do I have to fill out the FAFSA every year?

    Yes. Biola's Office of Financial Aid expects you to fill out the FAFSA every year. The financial information that you include on the FAFSA has the potential to increase or decrease the amount of financial aid you receive. Significant changes in financial aid may occur if there has been a change in the number of people in your household, a change in the number of people in your household that are in college, or if you have failed to make satisfactory academic progress toward graduation. 

    For more details about satisfactory academic progress, please see the Office of Financial Aid Handbook.

    How soon after October 1 should the FAFSA form be sent in? Is it better to wait until the income tax forms have been completed?

    Submit the FAFSA as soon as possible after October 1. If your taxes are not complete, then it is okay to estimate your income assuming it is not too far off from the actual number. You can adjust your estimate later.

    If you wait too long to submit the FAFSA you risk the chance of forfeiting state aid by missing the March 2 deadline. Some states even require the FAFSA to be submitted as early as January.

    What is an expected family contribution (EFC)?

    The expected family contribution (EFC) is a number that is calculated by the Department of Education, derived from the information used to complete your FAFSA. It is a measurement of your family's financial viability and is used by Biola to determine your eligibility for federal student aid.

    What is a Student Aid Report (SAR)?

    The Student Aid Report (SAR) provides a basic overview of the details you provided on your FAFSA as well as information about your federal student aid eligibility. Assuming you provided a valid email address, you should be able to access an online copy of your SAR within days after your FAFSA has been submitted or by mail within two weeks.

    What do those acronyms on the bottom of my Student Aid Report (SAR) mean?

    The acronyms on the bottom of the SAR represent intermediate results in the need analysis. To fully understand their meaning, you will need to be familiar with the federal need analysis methodology, such as is used by the EFC Estimator. The meanings of the acronyms are as follows: 

    • EFC (Expected Family Contribution)
    • TI (Total Income)
    • ATI (Allowances Against Total Income)
    • STX (State and Other Tax Allowance)
    • EA (Employment Allowance)
    • IPA (Income Protection Allowance)
    • AI (Available Income)
    • CAI (Contribution from Available Income, Independent Student
    • DNW (Discretionary Net Worth)
    • APA (Education Savings and Asset Protection Allowance)
    • PCA (Parents' Contribution from Assets)
    • AAI (Adjusted Available Income)
    • TPC (Total Parents' Contribution)
    • TSC (Total Student's Contribution)
    • PC (Parents' Contribution)
    • SIC (Dependent Student's Income Contribution)
    • SCA (Dependent Student's Contribution from Assets)

    If an asterisk appears next to the EFC figure, the student has been selected for verification. The asterisk is followed by a code that explains the reason why the student was selected for verification. The letter explains the reason for selection, and the number indicates the priority, with code 1 the highest priority and code 25 the lowest priority (although there are higher codes).

      I sent in my FAFSA over four weeks ago but haven't heard anything. What should I do?

      If you haven't received a Student Aid Report (SAR), call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (toll free) or 1-319-337-5665. You must provide them with your Social Security number and date of birth as verification.

      You can also write to the following address to find out whether your FAFSA has been processed or to request a duplicate copy of your SAR:

      • Federal Student Aid Programs
        PO Box 4038
        Washington, DC 52243-4038

      How can I demonstrate financial need if I am not a U.S citizen or eligible non-citizen?

      While a completed FAFSA form is one of the most common ways for us to determine your financial need, it is only available for students who are eligible for federal aid. Please see the following alternatives:

      • Dream Act Students
        Students who are not eligible to complete the FAFSA may complete the California Dream Act Application, which allows students interested in attending eligible California universities to apply for state financial aid. This application is unrelated to the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

      What documents or information should I prepare as I fill out my FAFSA form?

      In addition to basic information such as your name, date of birth and address, you may be asked to provide additional information depending on your circumstances, such as your:

      • Social Security number
      • Parent’s Social Security numbers (if you are a dependent student)
      • Federal tax information or tax returns

      To view more information on the documents you might need, review the Federal Student Aid website.

      How do I select Biola University on my FAFSA form?

      As you complete the FAFSA form, make sure to list Biola University as one of the schools you wish to receive your information.

      Biola’s FAFSA code is 001122.

      View additional information on listing schools on your FAFSA form on the Federal Student Aid website.

      Am I a dependent or independent student?

      The U.S. Department of Education’s website detailing your dependency status offers a helpful tool to help you understand whether you are a dependent or independent student. View the Federal Student Aid website to review this information.

      Grants

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

      Start by submitting a FAFSA form. To indicate interest in student employment, student loans and parent loans, you should check the appropriate boxes on FAFSA. 

      Checking these boxes does not commit you to accepting these types of aid. You will have the opportunity to accept or decline each part of your aid package later. Leaving these boxes unchecked will not increase the amount of grants you receive.

      How do I select Biola University as the school for my Cal Grant?

      To update the school to Biola University, log into WebGrants 4 Students. Once logged in, click on the "School Change" button and enter Biola's school code of 001122. You will need to create a login and password on WebGrants 4 Students if it's your first time visiting the site.

      View additional instructions on the California Student Aid Commission website.

      I logged into WebGrants 4 Students and it says that I need to complete some forms and send them to the California Student Aid Commission. Where can I find these forms?

      To find a list of all forms that may be required of students, visit the California Student Aid Commission website under Student Forms.

      Instructions on how to complete each form and where to send completed forms are within each individual form. If you have further questions, you can always call the California Student Aid Commission at 888-224-7268.

      Is there a deadline to apply for a Cal Grant?

      Yes, the deadline to apply for a Cal Grant is typically March 2 of every year. However, if March 2 falls on a weekend, the following Monday will be the deadline.  Make sure to file your FAFSA or Dream Act Application and submit the Cal Grant GPA Verification Form to the California Student Aid Commission by this date to be considered for an award.

      What are the different types of Cal Grant Awards?

      There are three different types of Cal Grant Awards; A, B, and C. If you are attending Biola, you will not be eligible to receive a Cal Grant C. The California Student Aid Commission will determine which award you qualify for. 

      Visit the California Student Aid Commission website for detailed information about each award.

      What is the difference between the federal Pell Grant and Cal Grants?

      Pell Grants are federal grants and Cal Grants are grants awarded by the state of California.

      View additional details on the difference between these two grants on the California Student Aid Commission website.

      Loans

      Where can I find a private loan?

      You can find a private ender by either using our Preferred Lender List or finding any private lender of your choice.

      Where can I find a federal loan?

      Start by submitting the FAFSA. To indicate interest in aid options like student loans and parent loans, you should check the appropriate boxes on FAFSA. 

      Checking these boxes does not commit you to accepting these types of aid. You will have the opportunity to accept or decline each part of your aid package later. Leaving these boxes unchecked will not increase the amount of grants you receive.

      How do I estimate my cost of attendance (COA) for my private loan application (as a part of my loan self-certification)?

      Please use the following information to complete the Self-Certification for your Private Loan, Biola University Loan, Helen-Grace-Colbert-Yates Loan, or Freeman-Aitken-Sommerville Loan for the year in which you are receiving the loan. Please note, summer cost of attendance is not included in the figures below unless it is a mandatory term for your program.

      • Undergraduate
        2019–20 full time student, full year cost of attendance:
        • Living on or off campus, apart from parents: $59,288
        • Living with parent: $52,988
      • Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs
        2019–20 full time student, full year cost of attendance: $33,258
      • Graduate Degree and Teaching Credential
        2019–20 full time, full year cost of attendance:
        • Cook School of Intercultural Studies:
          • All master’s programs: $34,028
          • Ph.D. program: $36,650
        • Crowell School of Business:
          • MBA: $45,902
          • MPAcc: $29,943
          • MM: $45,902
        • Rosemead School of Psychology:
          • All programs: $53,726
        • School of Education:
          • All programs: $34,028
        • School of Science, Technology and Health:
          • M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology: $74,803
          • M.S. in Nursing, Nursing Education: $54,868
        • Talbot School of Theology:
          • Master of Arts programs: $34,028
          • Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.): $28,034
          • Ph.D. and Ed.D.: $36,650

      What is my “estimated financial assistance for the period of enrollment covered by the loan”?

      The estimated financial assistance is the amount of financial aid awarded to you. Log in to your My Account profile and click on “Student Financials” to see the amount of aid awarded.

      Why is the private loan in my financial aid offer less than the original amount that was approved by my lender?

      Federal regulations require schools to determine the amount of loan money we can accept from a lender using the following formula:

      • Cost of Attendance (COA) – Student Financial Resources (Outside Scholarships etc.) – Offered Financial Aid = private loan eligibility

      Can I increase the amount of private loan dollars I was originally approved for by my lender?

      If you want to increase your private loan amount beyond what you were originally approved for by your lender, you will need to reapply with your lender or any other lender of your choice for the additional amounts.

      How are student loans repaid?

      Federal and State Loans:

      • Direct and PLUS Loans are repaid to a federal loan servicer. Students will be contacted by their servicer with a disclosure statement explaining repayment procedures. To identify your servicer, go to nslds.ed.gov. You will need your Social Security number and your Department of Education PIN (the number you used to sign your FAFSA) to verify who you are. To find the servicer, click on each loan number which will bring up the loan detail for that loan, including the servicer. Often all loans are at the same servicer; however, depending on when you received the loans, you may have multiple servicers. More repayment options and details can be found on the Federal Student Aid website.

      Private Loans:

      • Private loans are repaid to the provider of the loan.  Students should contact their lender for repayment details.

      What is a Master Promissory Note (MPN)?

      This is a binding legal document that you must sign when you get a federal student loan. The MPN can be used to make one or more loans for one or more academic years (up to 10 years). It lists the terms and conditions under which you agree to repay the loan and explains your rights and responsibilities as a borrower. 

      It’s important to read and save your MPN because you’ll need to refer to it later when you begin repaying your loan or at other times when you need information about provisions of the loan, such as deferments or forbearances.

      Is it legal for a 17-year-old student to sign a promissory note for a student loan, even though the student has not yet reached the age of majority?

      Normally, a minor cannot be held liable for a contract that they sign. However, in 1992 the Higher Education Act was amended to permit eligible students, defined as per Title IV regulations, to sign promissory notes for their own Federal student loans. As such, student loans represent one of the few exceptions to the so-called "defense of infancy." The specific citation is section 484A(b)(2) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 USC 1091a(b)(2)), and applies to federal Direct Loans, PLUS and Consolidation Loans. It does not appear to apply to Perkins and Direct Loans, although it was clearly the intent of Congress that it should.

      Several states have also passed similar laws that consider minors to be competent to enter into a contract for an education loan. This extends similar protection to private and non-federal loans. All private education loans require a cosigner when the student is under the age of majority, just to be safe.

      Are my parents responsible for my educational loans?

      No. Parents are, however, responsible for the Federal PLUS loans. Parents will only be responsible for your educational loans if they co-sign your loan. In general you and you alone are responsible for repaying your educational loans.

      You do not need to get your parents to cosign your federal student loans, even if you are under age 18, as 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 loans. However, lenders may require a cosigner on private student loans if your credit history is insufficient or if you are underage. In fact, many private student loan programs are not available to students under age 18 because of the defense of infancy.

      If your parents (or grandparents) want to help pay off your loan, you can have your billing statements sent to their address. Likewise, if your lender or loan servicer provides an electronic payment service, where the monthly payments are automatically deducted from a bank account, your parents can agree to have the payments deducted from their account. But your parents are under no obligation to repay your loans. If they forget to pay the bill on time or decide to cancel the electronic payment agreement, you will be held responsible for the payments, not them.

      What is a Parent PLUS Loan?

      This is a federal loan available to graduate students and parents of dependent undergraduate students for which the borrower is fully responsible for paying the interest regardless of the loan status.

      • Parent PLUS applicants will be reviewed to determine that they do not have an adverse credit history. Adverse credit is defined by regulations as:
        • The applicant has one or more debts with a total combined outstanding balance greater than $2,085 (this amount can be adjusted by the Department of Education).
        • The applicant has one or more debts that are 90 or more days delinquent as of the date of the credit report.
        • The applicant has one or more debts that have been placed in collection or charged off during the two years preceding the date of the credit report.
        • The applicant has been the subject of a default determination, bankruptcy discharge, foreclosure, repossession, tax lien, wage garnishment, or write-off of a debt under Title IV of the Higher Education Act during the five years preceding the date of the credit report.
      • Applicants who are denied a Parent PLUS may:
        • Request a recheck of their credit. This is used if the applicants think there was an issue with their credit report data. The applicant should call 800-557-7394 for the recheck. This will be provided to the applicant when denied.
        • Appeal the decision based on unusual circumstances. This option is provided online when an applicant is denied.
        • Provide an endorser. This option is provided online when an applicant is denied.

      Entrance counseling is required of any applicant who is approved with an endorser or approved after an appeal. Entrance counseling is provided on studentloans.gov. Counseling is in English only at this time. Entrance counseling is required each time a loan is denied even if it is within the same year.

      What is a Graduate PLUS Loan?

      This is a federal loan available to graduate students and parents of dependent undergraduate students for which the borrower is fully responsible for paying the interest regardless of the loan status.

      • Graduate PLUS applicants will be reviewed to determine that they do not have an adverse credit history. Adverse credit is defined by regulations as:
        • The applicant has one or more debts with a total combined outstanding balance greater than $2,085 (this amount can be adjusted by the Department of Education).
        • The applicant has one or more debts that are 90 or more days delinquent as of the date of the credit report.
        • The applicant has one or more debts that have been placed in collection or charged off during the two years preceding the date of the credit report.
        • The applicant has been the subject of a default determination, bankruptcy discharge, foreclosure, repossession, tax lien, wage garnishment, or write-off of a debt under Title IV of the Higher Education Act during the five years preceding the date of the credit report.
      • Applicants who are denied a Graduate PLUS may:
        • Request a recheck of their credit. This is used if the applicants think there was an issue with their credit report data. The applicant should call 800-557-7394 for the recheck. This will be provided to the applicant when denied.
        • Appeal the decision based on unusual circumstances. This option is provided online when an applicant is denied.
        • Provide an endorser. This option is provided online when an applicant is denied.

      Entrance counseling is required of any applicant who is approved with an endorser or approved after an appeal. Entrance counseling is provided on studentloans.gov. Counseling is in English only at this time. Entrance counseling is required each time a loan is denied even if it is within the same year.

      What is a subsidized vs. unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan?

      The subsidized loan is a loan that is based on financial need for which the federal government pays the interest that accrues while the borrower is in an in-school, grace, or deferment status. For Direct Subsidized Loans first disbursed between July 1, 2012, and July 1, 2014, the borrower will be responsible for paying any interest that accrues during the grace period. If the interest is not paid during the grace period, the interest will be added to the loan’s principal balance.

      The unsubsidized loan is a loan for which the borrower is fully responsible for paying the interest regardless of the loan status. Interest on unsubsidized loans accrues from the date of disbursement and continues throughout the life of the loan.

      What are the interest rates and loan origination fees for Direct Loans and Plus Loans?

      You can find current interest rates and origination fees for federal loans by visiting the Federal Student Aid website.

      Scholarships

      How can I find more scholarships?

      In addition to your financial aid offer based on the FAFSA or alternative forms, you can also explore additional financial aid opportunities including departmental scholarships, outside (non-Biola) scholarships, as well as private loans. Please note that some students will not be considered for additional aid if they have not yet completed their financial aid file.

      I got an outside scholarship. Should I report it to the financial aid office?

      Yes. If you are receiving any kind of financial aid from university or government sources, you must report the scholarship to the financial aid office. In some extremely rare cases, this could result in your financial aid offer being adjusted, to compensate for the amount of the outside scholarship.

      Additional Resources

      More Financial Aid Tools

      The Office of Financial Aid provides different resources that can help you plan out your finances as you pursue your Biola education.

      Financial Aid Counseling

      Have questions about the process? Connect with one of our knowledgeable financial aid counselors in person or over the phone — they can help.

      Talk With a Counselor

      Contact Us

      The Office of Financial Aid is here to answer questions you have about the financial aid process. Contact us in person, by phone or email.

      View Contact Information