Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships

Get Ready for Fall

BILLING AND FINANCIAL AID TIMELINE:

  • The Fall U-Bill will be generated on August 3rd (Due Dates for U-Bill)

  • Financial aid is scheduled to disburse on August 7th

  • The Fall U-Bill is due on August 20th

  • Direct deposit refunds will be initiated daily beginning the week prior to classes starting. Beginning the 3rd week, direct deposits will be initiated on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

  • If a student has not set up direct deposit, a paper refund will be issued. Paper refunds are printed weekly on Friday and held for pick up at the Cashier’s window in Gilchrist 103. Checks not picked up within 14 days will be mailed to the student’s local address.

  • For more billing questions, please review the Office of Business Operations website: Student Accounts FAQ.

AWARDING

How do I apply for financial aid?

How do I view my financial aid award?

How much aid should I accept?

My award lists "Other Financing Options." What does this mean?

REQUESTED MATERIALS

What should I do if I have items listed on my Student Center To Do List?

How can I submit requested documents?

What is verification and what should I do if I've been selected?

SCHOLARSHIPS

How do I apply for scholarships?

I have received scholarships from outside the university. What steps are required?​

How do I get enrollment verification for my hometown scholarships?

TEACH GRANT

What is a TEACH Grant?

How do I qualify for a TEACH Grant?

LOANS

What is the difference between a subsidized and unsubsidized loan?

What is a Parent PLUS Loan and how do I apply?

What happens if my parent is denied the Parent PLUS Loan?

What are the requirements for federal loans?

How do I sign my Master Promissory Note (MPN)?

What is Entrance Counseling and how do I complete it?

What are the current interest rates on Federal Loans?

What are private education loans?

How do I choose a private loan lender?

WORKING ON CAMPUS

What is Work-Study and is it required to work on campus?

How do I find an on-campus job?

BILLING

Who should I contact if I have questions about my university bill (U-Bill)?

What steps should I take to ensure my financial aid will disburse on time?

When will my financial aid be disbursed?

How do I view and pay my U-Bill?

Are there payment plan options for my U-Bill?

UNUSUAL CIRCUMSTANCE

My family has a unique situation (job loss, medical expenses, etc.). Is there anything that can be done?

My parents are getting divorced. How do I correct the FAFSA?

My parent(s) passed away. What do I do?


AWARDING

How do I apply for financial aid?

Students must apply for financial aid each year by filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The purpose of the FAFSA is to determine students’ eligibility for federal, state, and institutional financial aid, including grants, educational loans, and work-study programs.

The 2020-2021 FAFSA should be completed as soon as possible after October 1, 2019 using 2018 tax information. The UNI priority FAFSA date is January 15, 2020. Although students can apply for financial aid throughout the year, funding for some programs is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis so it's best to file the FAFSA as soon as possible.

Complete the FAFSA online at studentaid.gov. A tutorial on completing the FAFSA is also available online: FAFSA Tutorial.

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How do I view my financial aid award?

How to find your financial aid award:

  • Log in to your MyUNIverse account using your CatID and passphrase.

  • Click Go to My Student Center.

  • In the Finances section, click Accept/Decline Awards.

  • Select the aid year. The aid year is based on the year the academic year ends. Ex. 2020-2021 academic year would be aid year 2021.

Reviewing the Financial Aid Award (PDF)

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How much aid should I accept?

We recommend working through this budget worksheet to determine how much aid to accept: Budget Worksheet.

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My award lists "Other Financing Options." What does this mean?

The amount listed as "Other Financing Options" on your financial aid award is the difference between the Cost of Attendance and the financial aid options listed on your award (e.g., scholarships, grants, federal student loans). Please remember that the Cost of Attendance includes estimated expenses, which vary from student to student. Consider the potential options below as a resource for covering college expenses:

  • 529 College Savings Plan

  • UNI Payment Plans (through the Office of Business Operations)

  • Military Benefits

  • Savings, Graduation Money, Gifts from Relatives

  • Credit-based loans: Loans for which a student or family applies and is approved based on a credit check.

    • Direct PLUS Loan: This is a loan option for parent borrowers through the federal government. Parents can apply online at studentaid.gov.

    • Private Education Loan: This is a loan option for students and/or parents through banks or other lending institutions. All students borrowing a private education loan are required to complete private loan counseling through our office prior to the loan being applied to their university bill.

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REQUESTED MATERIALS

What should I do if I have items on my Student Center To Do List?

Multiple campus offices use the Student Center To Do List, including the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships, to inform students of important items that need to be completed. Students can click on any item in the To Do List for more information, including contact information for the office that assigned the item. These items should be completed as soon as possible as there may be holds on the student's account associated with the item(s).

Students should regularly review their To Do List and their UNI email address. Important information is often communicated to students through their university email account.

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How can I submit requested documents?

The following are options for submitting documents to the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships. Please make sure to include student name and UNI ID number on all documents.

  • Fax: 319-273-6950

  • Mail: 105 Gilchrist Hall, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0024

  • Email: fin-aid@uni.edu (as a reminder, no personal information (e.g., social security numbers, date of birth, etc.) should be sent via email)

  • Drop-box located outside of the East Entrance of Gilchrist (by Public Safety)

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What is verification and what should I do if I've been selected?

Verification is a process used to confirm that the information you provided on your FAFSA is accurate. Students are selected at random by system edits at the U.S. Department of Education or the university. If you are selected for verification, the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships will request documents from you to verify the information you reported on your FAFSA.

If you were selected for verification, the requested documents will be listed on your Student Center To Do List. Please submit all documents as soon as possible to avoid financial aid delays. Financial aid cannot disburse until verification is complete.

Below are the methods for submitting documents. As a reminder, you should never send personally identifiable information, such as Social Security Numbers, via email.

  • Fax: 319-273-6950

  • Mail to the address listed on the bottom of the form

More information about verification can be found here: Verification Information.

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SCHOLARSHIPS

How do I apply for scholarships?

The University of Northern Iowa offers scholarships each year to deserving students, on the basis of merit and/or achievement. The UNI Scholarship Application allows students to apply for hundreds of scholarships within one application. The UNI Scholarship Application is open every July 1st and has a priority date of January 15th every year. More information about UNI scholarships can be found on our website: Scholarships.

We also encourage students to apply for scholarships outside of the university. For more information, please review our website: Off-Campus Scholarships

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I have received scholarships from outside the university. What steps are required?

If you receive scholarships from outside UNI, we are required by federal regulations to include these funds in your financial aid award. You can report these scholarships online:

MyUNIverse > Go to my Student Center > Finances section > Report Other Financial Aid

How do I get enrollment verification for my hometown scholarships?

Please review this PDF document for instructions on accessing enrollment verification: Student Enrollment Verification.

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TEACH GRANT

What is a TEACH Grant?

The TEACH Grant Program provides grants of up to $4,000 per year to students who intend to teach at a low-income school, in a qualifying high-need field. Students who use the TEACH Grant are required to complete a four year service obligation upon completion of their program. 

Please review the UNI TEACH Grant flyer (PDF) for more information, including a list of qualifying majors and minors.

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How do I qualify for a TEACH Grant?

In order to qualify for the TEACH Grant you must:

  • Be a U.S. Citizen or eligible non-citizen

  • Complete the FAFSA

  • Score above the 75th percentile on the ACT or SAT OR maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.25

  • Be enrolled as an undergraduate (first B.A. only) or graduate

  • Be enrolled in a qualifying major or minor (see the TEACH Grant flyer (PDF) for a list of qualifying majors and minors)

    • Please note: You can add qualifying minors during orientation.

  • Agree to teach full-time in a low-income school and in a high-need field for four years within eight years after graduation

In order to receive the TEACH Grant, you must also attend an informational session with the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships. There are sessions offered throughout orientation. You may register for a session here: Register for a TEACH Grant Session.

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LOANS

What is the difference between a subsidized and unsubsidized loan?

Direct Subsidized and Direct Unsubsidized Loans are both federal student loans. The only difference between these two loans is when interest starts accruing. Direct Subsidized Loans do NOT accrue interest while the student is enrolled at least half-time. The interest on subsidized loans begins accruing when the borrower enters the repayment period. Direct Unsubsidized Loans start accruing interest once the loan has been disbursed.

More information about federal student loans can be found here: Federal Direct Loans.

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What is a Parent PLUS Loan and how do I apply?

Parents of dependent students may apply for a Direct PLUS Loan to help pay for their student’s education. The Parent PLUS Loan will be in the parent's name and cannot be transferred to the student. More information can be found on our website: Federal Direct PLUS Loans.

To apply for a Parent PLUS Loan:

  • The parent must log in to studentaid.gov using the parent FSA ID.

  • Complete the PLUS Loan Application: Under the APPLY FOR AID menu at the top, click Apply for a Parent PLUS Loan.

  • Complete a Master Promissory Note: Under the COMPLETE AID PROCESS menu at the top, click Parent PLUS MPN.

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What happens if my parent is denied the Parent PLUS Loan?

The Parent PLUS Loan is a credit-based loan. The following are options if the parent is denied the Parent PLUS Loan:

  • Obtain an endorser. An endorser is someone who agrees to repay the loan if you do not repay it.

  • Appeal the decision with the U.S. Department of Education.

  • If you choose not to utilize the first two options, the student may be eligible for an additional unsubsidized loan. Please contact our office for more information about this option.

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What are the requirements for federal loans?

Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans:

  • Accept the loan on your Student Center. Please note that you are not required to accept the full amount offered.

  • The student must log in to studentaid.gov with the student FSA ID.

Federal Parent PLUS Loan:

  • The parent must log in to studentaid.gov using the parent FSA ID.

  • Complete the PLUS loan application: Under the APPLY FOR AID menu at the top, click Apply for a Parent PLUS Loan.

  • Complete a Master Promissory Note: Under the COMPLETE AID PROCESS menu at the top, click Parent PLUS MPN.

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How do I sign my Master Promissory Note (MPN)?

The Master Promissory Note (MPN) is completed online at studentaid.gov.

  • Log in to studentaid.gov with your FSA ID

  • Under the COMPLETE AID PROCESS menu at the top, click Complete a Master Promissory Note

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What is Entrance Counseling and how do I complete it?

Entrance Counseling helps you to understand your rights and responsibilities as a Direct Loan borrower and is completed online at studentaid.gov.

  • Log in to studentaid.gov with your FSA ID

  • Under the COMPLETE AID PROCESS menu at the top, click Complete Entrance Counseling

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What are the current interest rates on Federal Loans?

Below are the current federal loan fixed interest rates for the 2020-2021* academic year:

  • Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans (for undergraduates): 2.75%

  • Direct PLUS Loans: 5.30%

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans for graduate students: 4.30%

*Interest rates for the upcoming year are pending final approval from the Department of Education.

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What are private education loans?

A private education loan is a non-federal loan issued by a private lender, such as a bank or credit union. Private education loans often have variable interest rates, require a credit check, have varied repayment options, and do not provide the same benefits as federal student loans. Families may borrow up to the cost of attendance minus other financial aid received. All students borrowing a private education loan are required to complete private loan counseling through our office prior to the loan being applied to their university bill.

More information about private education loans, include a Historical Lender List, can be found here: Private Education Loans

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How do I choose a private loan lender?

The University of Northern Iowa does not endorse a specific lender and you may decide to borrow from any lender you choose. Our historical lender list of private education loan providers is comprised of lenders our students have borrowed from over the past three years, and that still offer private education loans to students attending the University of Northern Iowa. We recommend you contact lenders directly for the most current and complete information before making a decision to borrow.

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WORKING ON CAMPUS

What is Work-Study and is it required to work on campus?

Federal Work-Study provides part-time jobs for undergraduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay educational expenses. Federal Work-Study is different than other types of aid in that it does not credit directly to the U-Bill. You will receive work-study dollars in the form of a bi-weekly paycheck deposited in your bank account. More information about work-study can be found here: Federal Work-Study.

Federal Work-Study is NOT required to work on campus. Students can search for work-study and non-work-study positions online on the UNI Career Services Job Board.

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How do I find an on-campus job?

Students can search for work-study and non-work-study positions online on the UNI Career Services Job Board.

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BILLING

Who should I contact if I have questions about my University Bill (U-Bill)?

The Student Accounts Area within the Office of Business Operations provides expertise regarding all aspects of the university bill. Our staff is happy to assist with questions related to the u-bill, payment options, and refunds.

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What steps should I take to ensure my financial aid will disburse on time?

  • Check your Student Center To Do List and complete any items listed as soon as possible.

  • Check your UNI email account regularly for important information.

  • Review your financial aid award and accept loans, if you plan to use them.

  • Complete online loan requirements, if you are borrowing loans.

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When will my financial aid be disbursed?

The earliest financial aid can be disbursed is one week prior to the start of the semester; financial aid continues to disburse daily (Monday-Friday) after that point. If a student is not meeting criteria to have their aid disbursed at the time of the initial disbursement, but meets the requirements later within the semester, their aid may be able to disburse at that time.

Please review your Student Center To Do List and UNI email for items that must be completed.

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How do I view and pay my University Bill (U-Bill)?

The U-Bill is maintained by the Office of Business Operations (OBO). OBO notifies students by email the first of each month if there has been activity on the account. The email lets the student know they have a U-Bill available to view or print on the Student Center. All U-Bills are electronic; no paper bills will be mailed.

Payments can be made:

  • Online via e-check on the Student Center

  • In person at the Cashier’s window

  • In the drop-box located outside of the east entrance of Gilchrist Hall

  • Mailed to:

University of Northern Iowa

OBO-Student Accounts

103 Gilchrist Hall Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0008

Include the student number in the memo section of the check.

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Are there payment plan options for my University Bill (U-Bill)?

The University offers a Deferred Payment Plan option for tuition, mandatory fees, and contracted room and meal plan charges. This plan allows students to make payments in installments each semester. 

All enrolled students are eligible to participate but the student must enroll each semester. To enroll, students need to log in to MyUNIverse and go to the Student Center to complete the online payment plan agreement. There is a $20 deferred billing fee that will be assessed to the student’s first installment of the semester.

For instructions, please review this document: Enroll in a Payment Plan (PDF).

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UNUSUAL CIRCUMSTANCE

My family has a unique situation (job loss, medical expenses, etc.). Is there anything that can be done?

Our office understands that families can experience hardship or changes that are not reflected within the FAFSA which may affect the family or student’s ability to contribute to educational expenses. The U.S. Department of Education regulations permit financial aid offices to determine different types of circumstances that may warrant review. For more information, please review our website: Special Circumstances.

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My parents are getting divorced. How do I correct the FAFSA?

Please contact our office via email at fin-aid@uni.edu and we will request documentation for you to complete so we can update your FAFSA.

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My parent(s) passed away. What do I do?

Please contact our office via email at fin-aid@uni.edu and we will request documentation for you to complete so we can update your FAFSA.

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