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Financial Aid FAQs

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Financial Aid Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQs

Visit the Talk to Financial Aid Staff page to locate counselor contact information.

The Financial Services Office is open from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.  While not necessary, to make an appointment please email us at or call 314-889-1414. 

Aid eligibility is evaluated based on specific criteria determined by the federal government. General aid requirements often include but are not limited to: degree-seeking, halftime enrollment status, and demonstration of financial need.

Yes, you must complete a new FAFSA for each academic year you plan to apply for Federal, State, and additional need-based institution financial aid.

Once all required Financial Aid documents have been submitted and registration completed, students are typically awarded within 3-5 business days. Students should check with the Financial Services Office to determine if any additional documentation is required.

Financial Aid is based on the student’s Cost of Attendance and Financial Need (as determined by the FAFSA). There are limits to how much aid can be received in a given semester.

Please contact your Financial Aid counselor for specific scholarship questions. Students will receive email notifications if their Financial Aid award is revised.

The Veteran’s Administration offers a number of programs to those who have served, as well as eligible survivors and dependents of veterans. For further information, please go to the Education Benefits page of the Federal website. If you are unsure about your eligibility for a program, please apply for education benefits to receive an official decision. Click here for how to apply. For more information click here.

Let’s take a look at some of the factors that affect financial aid eligibility.

Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
When you file the FAFSA, the Department of Education uses the information submitted to generate what’s called the “Expected Family Contribution,” or EFC. The EFC takes into consideration household size, number of people in college, income, and a variety of other factors. (If you are facing extenuating circumstances, please consider submitting a Professional Judgment form to our office).

In addition to your EFC, the Financial Aid office will use your “Cost of Attendance,” or COA to determine your financial aid package. The COA is a budgeted amount that includes tuition, estimated fees, and estimated costs for books, transportation, and living expenses. We’ll take your COA minus your EFC to get your financial need for assistance.

Some programs are need-based, meaning you will have to demonstrate financial need as calculated above to receive them. Other programs are merit-based, meaning demonstrated need is not a requirement—but they generally stipulate a certain GPA, community service requirement, etc. Your financial aid package could contain a variety of scholarships, grants, work study, or loans, depending on your need and merit-based awards.

Even if your financial need is low, you can still qualify for some programs—so file your FAFSA today!

Enrollment Status Requirements
Current regulations do not permit unclassified (non-degree seeking) students to receive any type of federal aid. Many aid programs, including institutional scholarships and the Access MO grant, are limited to full-time students (12-18 credit hours per semester).

However, three-quarter time (9-11 credit hours) and half-time (6-8 credit hours) degree-seeking students may qualify for aid through the Pell Grant program, Direct Stafford Loan program and/or the Parent PLUS Loan for Undergraduate Students.

A student enrolled in a teacher certification program is considered the same as a fifth-year undergraduate student, but can only receive aid through the Direct Stafford Loan program.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
A student who receives financial aid based on full-time enrollment must complete a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester for a total of 24 credit hours per academic year. A student receiving financial aid based on three-quarter time enrollment (9-11 hours per semester) must complete a minimum of nine credit hours per semester for a total of 18 credit hours per academic year. A student receiving financial aid based on half-time enrollment (six to eight hours per semester) must complete a minimum of six credit hours per semester for a total of 12 credit hours per academic year. Successful completion requires a grade of A, B, C, D or P. A grade of I, F, NP or W is not acceptable. Evaluation of hours earned occurs at the end of the fall and spring semesters.

Failure to properly withdraw from class could result in loss of financial aid. Please notify the financial aid office immediately upon your decision to stop attending class.

If the student does not complete the required number of credit hours in a given academic year, the university may grant one semester of financial aid probation so that the student can make up the necessary work. If the deficiency is not made up, financial aid will be terminated until such deficiency is made up. Failure to complete at least six credit hours in a semester in which financial aid is awarded will result in termination of aid for the next semester and no financial aid probation being extended.

Students denied aid because of lack of progress must take courses at their own expense until they reach the minimum number of hours for which aid was previously given. For example, if a student, granted aid for full-time enrollment (24 credit hours), completes 18 credit hours in an academic year, the student must complete six credit hours at their own expense before the university awards additional aid. A student previously denied aid that later completes the minimum required hours, should make an appointment with the director of financial aid to discuss future eligibility for financial aid.

If students believe that extenuating circumstances exist which have prevented them from making satisfactory progress, they should send an appeal in writing to the director of financial aid stating the basis for the appeal and providing any appropriate documentation. The director of financial aid will review all such appeals. The decision will be final.

Please remember, all loans must be repaid even if you have stopped the program due to withdrawal, leave of absence, termination or non-attendance.

Financial Aid Withdrawal Policy
Students who are out of class for 29 days will be withdrawn from the university on the 30th day of non-attendance. After the 30th day loan and grant funds will be returned. Students must be approved by Financial Aid before returning to class and receiving future loans and grants. Upon return, the student may be required to reapply for financial aid and/or pay any balance on their account.

Leave of Absence Policy
A leave of absence (LOA) is considered a temporary interruption in a program of study that is planned prior to a class start date. By completing the following process, students may maintain their in-school enrollment status.

The university may grant a leave of absence to students who complete the official Leave of Absence form with Student Services prior to the first scheduled class meeting. If unforeseen circumstances prevent the student from completing the form in a timely manner, the university may grant the request if all paperwork is received within 15 days of the student’s last date of attendance. Unforeseen circumstances may include, but are not limited to, medical and family emergencies, business travel, university course cancellation and/or natural disasters.

Students may be approved by the university for up to two nonconsecutive leaves of absence in a calendar year. Each leave may not exceed 90 days in length (for a total of 180 days during a 12 month period).

Students who wish to take a second leave of absence during the calendar year may do so only for special circumstances which include, but are not limited to the following: military reasons, circumstances covered by the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993, ADA accommodations, jury duty, university course cancellation and/or faculty closure, and natural disasters.

Students returning from a first leave of absence must successfully complete one course, with a grade other than “W” or “F” prior to requesting a second leave.

Students who do not return to the university on the date specified on the Leave of Absence form will be moved to a withdrawn status and loan funds and grants will be returned. The last date of attendance will be determined by the last date that the student attended the university prior to the leave of absence.

The federal government offers parents and students two tuition tax credit programs, Hope/American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning, to help pay for higher education costs. If you meet certain conditions, you can qualify for a reduction on your federal income tax bill. However, you may not claim both the Hope/American Opportunity and the Lifetime credit for the same student in the same year.

What Is a Tax Credit?
Tax credits allow you to subtract, on a dollar-for-dollar basis, the amount of the credit from your total federal income tax bill. Income tax deductions are subtracted from your income before your taxes are calculated. As a result, tax credits usually allow for greater total savings than tax deductions.

The Hope/American Opportunity Tax Credit
With the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA, also known as the Stimulus Bill), Congress has expanded the existing Hope tax credit, now called the American Opportunity Credit. The expanded terms will apply to tax years 2009 and 2010. While the Hope Credit could be applied to two years of post-secondary education, the expanded program allows the credit to be claimed for four years, and also expands income eligibility.

To claim this credit, the student must be enrolled at least half-time in a program leading to an undergraduate degree or other legitimate education credential.
The maximum yearly credit per eligible student is $2,500.
The American Opportunity Credit is partially refundable, which means up to $1,000 could be paid back to lower-income taxpayers when the credit exceeds their total tax bill.
There is no limit on how many family members can receive the credit.

The amount of the credit begins to phase out if your modified adjusted gross income (AGI) is between $80,000 and $90,000 or more for a single return and between $160,000 and $180,000 or more for a joint return.

For parents or guardians to claim a Hope credit for their child’s college expenses, the student must be listed as a dependent on the tax form. If the student is not listed as a dependent on another person’s tax form, he or she can claim the credit.

For exact directions for claiming the American Opportunity credit, and information about a further credit available to students in specified Midwestern disaster areas, consult IRS Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education.

The Lifetime Learning Tax Credit
This credit is available for all years of post-secondary education and for courses (even a single course) to acquire or improve job skills.

The Lifetime Learning credit can only be used for tuition and fees. The credit can be claimed for 20 percent of the amount you pay (see maximum limits below).
A taxpayer may claim a tax credit for 20% of up to $10,000 in a combination of tuition and fees. This equates to a $2,000 tax credit in 2008 and 2009.
The amount of the credit begins to phase out if your AGI is between $50,000 and $60,000 for a single return and between $100,000 and $120,000 for a joint return.
Consult IRS Publication 970 for specific rules on eligibility and claiming this tax credit.

Work Study FAQs

Work study is earned aid (also called “self-help”), meaning that if you are awarded funding, you will only receive the money if you work your allotted hours. Please contact Financial Services at for additional work study questions.

Federal and non-federal work-study positions are available on campus for full-time and part-time students. Please check with financial aid for eligibility questions. Current students should reach out to Career Development for job postings at Career Development – Fontbonne University


Federal School Code for Fontbonne University: 002464.

Fontbonne University’s priority deadline to file the FASFA is February 1. The FAFSA normally opens on October 1 every academic year; however, for the 2024-2025 filing year there is a later FAFSA release date of December 2023. Government aid is allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Most questions can be answered online through the FAFSA help page at Filling Out the FAFSA® Form | Federal Student Aid. The Financial Services Office can answer most general FAFSA questions. If additional help is needed, you can contact the FAFSA help line at 1-800-433-3243.

Scholarship, Loan and Grant FAQs

Outside scholarships are awarded through third-party sources, including businesses and non-profits. Each outside scholarship generally requires its own separate application and other requirements. Contact the Financial Services Office today at 314-889-1414 or email at to learn more on how to apply for some of these scholarship opportunities.

You will be automatically eligible for scholarship consideration when you fill out the online application. However, certain aid and scholarships, such as Talent and Recognition Scholarships, have application requirements. We encourage you to visit the scholarship page to learn more about requirements.

Loans include Federal Direct (Stafford) loans, alternative loans, and Parent PLUS loans. They are borrowed money, and will require repayment with interest. Grants are considered gift aid, which means you do not have to pay them back. Learn more about available grant and loan options.

Repayment FAQs is the central resource for Federal student loans.  This provides borrowers with a centralized, integrated view of their Federal student loans.  To review all details of your Federal loans and repayment information, please visit Log In | Federal Student Aid.

If you’ve already determined how much you’ve borrowed in student loans, it’s important to estimate how much your monthly payments will be on those loans once you’ve graduated, withdrawn or if your enrollment has dropped below six credit hours.

Tax Refund Offsets
The IRS can intercept any income tax refund you may be entitled to until your student loans are paid in full. This is one of the most popular methods of collecting on defaulted loans, and the Department of Education annually collects hundreds of millions of dollars this way.

You can challenge a tax refund offset. To learn more about acceptable reasons to challenge offsets and how to do so, see the National Consumer Law Center’s Student Loan Borrower Assistance website.

Your Paycheck Garnished
The government can take (“garnish”) a limited portion of the wages of a student loan debtor who is in default. It can take up to 15% of your disposable income. However, it cannot take more than the equivalent of 30 times the current federal minimum wage.

As with the tax refund offset, you can object to a wage garnishment. To learn more about the reasons for objection and how to object, see the National Consumer Law Center’s Student Loan Borrower Assistance website.

Another way to avoid wage garnishment is to contact the holder of your loan and negotiate a repayment schedule. For more information, see Nolo’s article on Student Loan Repayment Options.

Your Federal Benefits Taken
The government can take some federal benefit payments (including Social Security retirement benefits and Social Security disability benefits, but not Supplemental Security Income) as reimbursement for student loans.

The government cannot take any amount that would leave you with benefits less than $9,000 per year or $750 per month. And, it cannot take more than 15% of your total benefit.

Students can find the latest and most up to date information about repayment on the Federal Student Aid website Repaying Student Loans for the First Time | Federal Student Aid.  Here you can review repayment plans and compare what works best for you, look into your grace period, and much more. 


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