Financial Aid Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to your financial aid questions.

When should I apply for financial aid?

Students may start to apply for financial aid on October 1 of the preceding year that they wish to be considered for financial aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). While some federal funds such as Pell Grant and Direct Loans are generally available year round, there are other funds which are awarded on a first-come first-served basis. Every student should file the FAFSA each year they attend college. Not only will this make you eligible for the federal programs that are available, it can also make you eligible for state and institutional aid programs.

What tax information do I use when filing the FAFSA form?

The FAFSA form uses federal tax information from 2 years prior. If are you completing the 2023-2024 FAFSA, you will need 2021 tax information. The IRS data retrieval tool may be used in the FAFSA to transfer tax data directly into your online FAFSA form.

Do I have to include parental information? Can I be considered independent?

Per financial aid federal regulations, you are dependent on your parents until the age of 24. Even if your parents do not claim you on their income tax returns or you do not live in their home, you are considered dependent for the purpose of financial aid unless you can meet one of the status requirements on the FAFSA that considers a student independent:

  • the year a student turns 24
  • if the student is married
  • if a student supports a dependent child
  • if a student is a veteran of the US Armed Services
  • if a student enrolls in a graduate program 

What is IRS Data Retrieval?

If a student and/or parent is eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, they will be prompted to provide their tax data by linking directly to the Internal Revenue Service’s Database. Using this tool will reduce paperwork required later in the financial aid process.

What does "verification" mean?

Thirty percent of all FAFSA applications submitted are selected for an audit process called verification. Initial notification of verification will be on your Student Aid Report (SAR.) You will be instructed by the university on what you need to supply for documentation. Generally, this consists of a verification worksheet and confirmation of your federal tax data either through IRS Data Retrieval or by obtaining Tax Return Transcripts directly from the IRS. Occasionally additional documents must be submitted to resolve discrepancies. Delays in submitting requested documentation may result in a reduced financial aid award.

What is a student financial aid budget/cost of attendance?

A student budget is the average cost of attendance for one year at KCAD. The budget includes tuition/fees, room and board, books, travel, loan fees, miscellaneous expenses, and the costs of a MacBook Pro and software. A student can never receive more federal financial aid than their student budget. Click here to see KCAD's esimated cost of attendance.

What is financial need?

An expected family contribution (EFC) is determined by the Federal government using information submitted on your FAFSA form. The EFC is used to determine a student's eligibility for Pell Grant and other need-based forms of financial aid. The EFC is not necessarily an indicator of a student/family's actual out of pocket expense. This EFC is subtracted from the cost of attendance to determine your financial need.

How do I find out how much money I am being awarded?

An award notice of your financial aid package will be emailed to your Ferris email account. This award notice will tell you the types and amounts of financial aid that you are being offered for the semesters designated. Financial aid awards may change for many different reasons. For instance, we may be notified of scholarship awards after your initial package. Every time a change to your financial aid award is processed you will be notified via your Ferris email account. Each award notice supersedes the previous award notice. It is important that you review and take action (if required) on every award notice by the date specified. Failure to do so could result in a loss of financial aid.

What if the financial aid I am receiving is not enough to fulfill my financial needs? Can I get extra money to pay for housing?

Federal Direct Parent PLUS loans and Private Alternative Student Loans are additional options to help you and your family in covering educational expenses including housing. The financial aid office has put together a list of Private Alternative Student Loan lenders to assist with your search. For more details and information on the Parent PLUS loan and Private Alternative loans, please visit our loan webpage.

When will I receive my financial aid refund?

All financial aid must be used towards your tuition and fee costs first. After that is paid in full, a financial aid refund will be issued if you have a credit balance. Students who are eligible to receive a financial aid refund must enroll in financial aid direct deposit via MyFSU. A $500 refund advance will be issued the Friday before the start of class. Any remaining financial aid refund will be issued about 3 weeks after the semester start date. Refund dates