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Frequently Asked Financial Aid Questions


What is financial aid?
Financial aid is any type of financial assistance that helps to pay for expenses while you attend college. These expenses include, but are not limited to, tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, transportation expenses, and loan fees.

Financial aid includes different types of grants such as the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant, and Cal Grant. In addition to grants, there are Federal Work-Study and scholarships. Also, there are low-interest Federal Direct Student Loans; these federal loans must be paid back.

How do I get financial aid? What do I need to apply?
To receive any type of federal aid, you need to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA will determine what your financial need is and what types of federal aid you qualify for. To help you submit a FAFSA, we can schedule an appointment for you to come in with your (and your parents' if applicable) 1040 and W2s. We can submit your FAFSA on-line from our office and estimate your eligibility. You may also submit your own FAFSA by visiting www.fafsa.gov.

When do I apply for financial aid?
The FAFSA is available starting on January 1 each year for the following academic year. We encourage you to submit your FAFSA, Cal Grant application and any scholarship applications as early as possible to avoid missing deadlines and to help plan for the academic year.

What is the March 2 deadline?
March 2 is the deadline to apply for the Cal Grant each year. The California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) recently made a decision that affects NHU's eligibility for the Cal Grant program in the 2014–2015 academic year. CSAC has determined that Cal Grant funds will no longer be available for students at NHU effective July 1, 2014. Students who currently receive Cal Grants for the 2013–2014 academic year will continue receiving their funding through June 30.

NHU's Cal Grant status does not impact our Pell Grant or Direct Loan/Title IV eligibility status, which remain intact.

Do I need my parents' taxes even I don't live with them?
If you are considered to be a “dependent”, based on federal student aid regulations, we will need your parents' income information. You are considered a dependent if:

  • You are younger than 24 years old by December 31 of the current academic year
  • You are not yet pursuing a graduate degree
  • You are not married
  • You do not have children or other dependents
  • You provide 51% of support
  • You are not serving or have not served in the U.S. armed forces
  • Either of your parents is still living and you were not considered an orphan or ward of the court before you were 18 years old

Exceptions may be made in rare, extreme cases.

What are COA and EFC?
The cost of attendance or COA, is what each school estimates it will cost you to attend that school and live for an academic year. The COA includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, transportation expenses, loan fees, and miscellaneous expenses.

The expected family contribution, or EFC, is how much you and your family can be reasonably expected to contribute toward the cost of attendance. The amount is calculated using a federal methodology when the FAFSA is submitted and is based primarily on you and your family's income, household size, and number of students in college, with other factors also considered.

What is the difference between grants and loans?
In general, grants (and scholarships) are free money or gift aid that do not need to be repaid. Loans are self-help aid that must be repaid.

What are the Federal Pell Grant and Cal Grant?
Federal Pell Grants are the main source of federal grants that many schools work with. To qualify, you must submit the FAFSA and demonstrate a high level of financial need. Cal Grants are state aid that requires a certain income level and grade point average.

How do I receive my financial aid funds?
Most financial aid funds are credited to your student account at least 10 days after the start of class. You must register for classes before you receive any funds. Once your tuition and fees are paid for, and if there is an overpayment, you will receive a refund check from the bursar's office. Those funds may be used for your education- related expenses.

Recommended Web resources:

NHU homepage: www.nhu.edu

NHU Financial Aid page: http://www.nhu.edu/financial_aid/index.htm

FAFSA: www.fafsa.ed.gov

FAFSA PIN: www.pin.ed.gov/PINWebApp/pinindex.jsp

Scholarship searches:







go to scholarship expert
go to fastweb