Financial Aid Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Please see the most common financial aid queries answered below. If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to book an appointment with one of our advisers.

Financial Aid FAQ’s & Points to Remember

How can I pay for school?
Graduate education is a valuable investment in your future. The costs associated with a high-quality education can be challenging, but our goal is to assist you with securing the necessary resources to fund your education. Some students are able to pay out of pocket, but most students utilize loans. The loan options available are as follows:

  • Unsubsidized Stafford Loan: This is a federal loan where interest accrues while you are in school. The interest may be deferred for 6 months after graduation. You may obtain up to $20,500 a year from the unsubsidized Stafford loan.  You will fill out the FAFSA form to apply for this loan.
  • Direct (Grad) Plus Loan:  This is a federal loan where interest accrues while you are in school.  The interest may be deferred for 6 months after graduation.  You may obtain up to cost of attendance from the Direct Plus loan.

Are alternative, non-government lenders available?

  • Smart Option Private Loan: This loan is credit-based and is not funded by the government. Interest accrues at a variable rate. Most students will need cosigners for this loan. Visit Sallie Mae at www.SallieMae.com or call 1-855-756-5626 for more information about this loan option.
  • PNC Student Loans: This loan is credit-based and is not funded by the government.  Interest accrues at a variable or fixed rate.  Students may need cosigners for this loan.
  • TriStar Credit Union through iHelp. This loan is credit-based and is not funded by the government.  Interest accrues at a variable or fixed rate.  Students may need cosigners for this loan.
  • Visit ELM, for the most recent listing of lenders, http://www.elmselect.com/?schoolid=413#/results

What are three steps to complete the federal loan process?
To help you apply, we’ve prepared instructions to complete the application process for federal student loans and private alternative loans. To apply for financial aid, you must:

  • Incoming students: Submit your 2023–2024 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at https://studentaid.gov. Enter USAHS’ school code: G31713
  • Complete and submit the Entrance Counseling on the Federal Student Aid website by logging in to https://studentaid.gov/entrance-counseling. Select our school to be notified.
  • Sign a Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Master Promissory Note for USAHS at https://studentaid.gov/mpn. Enter school code: G31713.
  • If you are applying for a GAP loan, we encourage you to look at all your options (Private versus Direct Plus) and let the Financial Aid office know your preference; these loans must be packaged at the same time as federal student loans.

You must submit your completed forms six (6) to eight (8) weeks before the trimester begins to ensure a timely disbursement.

The maximum loan amount for the Direct Federal loan is $20,500 per award year (less the federal origination fee) for eligible students. The total loan amount is split equally over three (3) trimesters (one award year).

Private loan options and Federal Direct Plus loans are available to cover the GAP and your living expenses.  Any portion of tuition/fees that you plan to pay out of pocket will be due no later than the first day of classes.

What are the three steps to complete the Direct (Grad) Plus federal loan process?

Additional action required to receive the Direct (Grad) PLUS Loan is as follows:

  • Make sure that you have completed the current award year FAFSA
  • There are three steps to be completed on this site: https://studentaid.gov:
    • Direct PLUS loan request
    • Direct PLUS entrance counseling
    • Direct PLUS master promissory note

What federal grants are available for graduate students?
There are no known federal grants available for graduate students.

Why do I have to complete a financial aid interview?
During the interview you will provide additional data that is required to process your loan application but was not gathered by the FAFSA form. Also during the interview, you will be directed to sign your promissory note. Your loan will not be processed if you do not complete this step.

What is an MPN?
An MPN is a Master Promissory Note. This note acknowledges your responsibility to repay all loans incurred during your education. Once an MPN has been signed you should not have to sign another one during your education.

What is Entrance counseling?
Entrance counseling explains the obligations you agree to meet as a condition of receiving a Federal Loan Topics include:

  • Understand Your Loans
  • Manage Your Spending
  • Plan to Repay
  • Avoid Default
  • Make Finances a Priority

How will I receive my loan money?
Federal loans will be disbursed to the University in 3 equal amounts, once at the beginning of each trimester. The balance of your tuition is due at registration; incoming students are not required to pay at that time if they have a government and/or Sallie Mae loan pending. When the University receives the loan disbursement, the Bursar will apply tuition and fees and credit any loans pending on your behalf. After this is done, if you have a credit balance on your account, the remaining funds will be refunded back to you. You will be given instructions on how to select a refund preference with BankMobile. For more information about BankMobile, visit this link: https://bankmobiledisbursements.com/refundchoices/.

Helpful hints:

  • If you are entering in the Fall class, please begin the financial aid application process in June, Spring term begin the process by October 1 and Summer term begin the process by February 1
  • Write down your usernames and passwords and store them in a safe place.

Department Contact Information: (904) 423-2010 or contactfinancialaid@usa.edu

Schedule an appointment to speak to a financial aid advisor today! 

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Financial Aid Support

Don’t hesitate to contact our financial aid advisors:
Call (904) 423-2010 or contactfinancialaid@usa.edu