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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How do I know if it is going to be worth the hassle of applying for financial aid? How do I know if I will qualify?
We recommend that every student apply for financial aid. Too often students and parents assume they will not qualify for any type of assistance. This can be a costly assumption and one you should avoid. Since the application process is free, we encourage you to apply for aid for your first year of attendance at Hope College. To estimate your federal Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as calculated by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), go to the FAFSA4caster. The FAFSA4caster is an early awareness tool that may be used at a later time to transfer inforamtion to the FAFSA when you file it. You can find many other useful tools related to student aid and financing college at calculators.

Q. Isn't the FAFSA the only form I have to fill out to apply for aid? Why do I get requests for tax returns and other information?

A. Hope College requires families to complete both the FAFSA and the Hope Supplemental Application for Financial Aid (SAF). Federal and state government regulations require us to collect income and family information such as tax returns, benefit statements, number of household members, number in college, and asset values for those applications that have been selected for verification by the federal processor, or to resolve any discrepancies in information reported on your applications.

Q. Are there deadlines to file the FAFSA for aid?

A. There are priority filing dates for financial aid. Go to Priority Consideration Dates for more information. State of Michigan residents should file the FAFSA by March 1 to meet the State of Michigan Scholarship and Grants filing date.

Q. Our federal tax returns are not yet completed. Should we wait to file the aid applications until after our taxes are done?

A. No. As it is important that you meet published deadlines, you should file your applications using estimated tax information. You can then update your information after your tax forms have been filed. If you do estimate, make sure to be as accurate as possible.

Q. Can I apply for aid as a self-supporting/independent student and provide only my financial information on my aid applications?

A. It depends. Please go to the Self-Supporting Students section for more information.

Q. My parents are divorced. Whose income figures should I use when I apply for financial aid?

A. You should apply for aid using the income figures of the parent (and his/her spouse if remarried) with whom you resided the most during the past 12 months. If you did not live with one parent more than the other, provide answers about the parent who offered you the most financial support during the last 12 months, or during the most recent year that you were supported by one of your parents.

Q. Does living off-campus affect financial aid?

A. If you are considering moving off-campus/commuting, please consult the Office of Financial Aid to determine the possible effects on your aid eligibility. If your housing arrangements change at any time during the award year, your aid eligibility will be reviewed and adjusted as needed.

Q. Should I pursue outside scholarships within my community or from other sources? I have heard that if I receive an outside scholarship, it will negatively affect my other financial aid.

A. It is rare that an outside scholarship will have a negative impact on your aid package. To the extent possible (following mandated federal and state regulations), we will either add the outside scholarship over and above your aid package or use it to reduce the less attractive components of your aid package (i.e., loans and awarded work). If you would like to find out more about applying for outside scholarships, go to our links page and pick one of the options for free scholarship searching.

Q. What is the difference between a subsidized Federal Direct Loan and an unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan?

A. If you file the FAFSA and demonstrate the need for a loan, you will be awarded the subsidized Federal Direct Loan and the federal government will pay the interest on the loan for you as long as you are enrolled in a post secondary school at least half-time. If you do not demonstrate financial need for a loan, you will be offered an unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan. In this case, the interest begins accruing at the time your loan is disbursed and you bear the responsibility of repaying all interest.

Q. When do I begin repaying my student loans?

A. If you borrow through the Federal Direct Loan Program, your loan repayment period will begin six (6) months after the last date on which you are enrolled at least half-time (six or more hours.) If you borrow through the Federal Perkins Loan Program, your repayment period will begin nine (9) months after the last date on which you are enrolled at least half-time. This six- or nine-month period is referred to as your "grace period." For more Federal Perkins Loan information, please go to Federal Perkins Loan. For Federal Direct Loan information, please go to Federal Direct Loan.

Q. Why doesn't my loan appear as a credit on my account when it is on my award letter?

A. The Federal Direct Loan does not appear as a credit on your bill until you have satisfied all requirements including signing an electronic Master Promissory Note if you are receiving the loan for the first time. You also must have provided all requested documents that the Hope Office of Financial Aid has requested, such as information requested for the federal verification process. Once we have reviewed and approved your loan eligibility, and you have electronically signed the promissory note, the loan will credit your account. Remember that the actual amount of the credit is 1.5% less than the approved amount because of loan origination fees. See Loan Information for more on the Master Promissory Note and loan repayment.

Is financial aid available for summer school classes?

A. Yes. Please go to the Summer Financial Aid section for more information.

Q. What if I need funds beyond the financial aid offered to cover my bill at Hope College?

A. There are alternative financing options available. Go to Available Financing for more information.

Q. What if something changes in my family's financial situation after I have filed for aid?

A. If a substantial change occurs in the family's ability to pay your college expenses, contact the Office of Financial Aid to discuss the situation. You will usually need to provide documentation of the circumstances that caused the change. Examples might be loss of employment or other income, separation or divorce, death of a parent, etc.

Q. How can I see what loans I have borrowed?

A. You can see your loans received at Hope on your KnowHope Plus account under the financial aid section titled Loan Application History. The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) is the federal aid record of the loans you have borrowed at Hope and other institutions.

Q. I still have questions - where else can I find answers.

A. You can call or email The Office of Financial Aid directly.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Direct Loan Master Promissory Note and access to signing

Frequently Asked Questions about the Federal Perkins Loan Promissory Note and access to signing