Frequently Asked Questions: Robert Morris University Frequently Asked Questions | Robert Morris University

Financial Aid

The Robert Morris University Financial Aid Office has listed some of the most frequently asked questions we have received from students and parents.  If you need further information or clarification on anything listed below, please contact us.  To search for a particular topic, you can use your browser's page search function.


General Information FAFSA Doctoral
Scholarships Loans Transfer Students
Federal Workstudy Terminology  

General Information

What is RMU's federal school code?
003359

What are the most important things I should know about getting my aid each year?
Students who want to maximize their chances of receiving their aid packages each year should:

  1. File or renew their FAFSA, as early as possible, after January 1st (Pennsylvania residents should file before May 1st each year).
  2. Maintain academic progress.  The academic progress policy can be reviewed by clicking here.
  3. Maintain the required G.P.A for any intuitional scholarship or grants.

I applied for aid; when will I notified about my financial aid?
First year students will be notified after they are fully accepted and have a valid FAFSA submitted to the Financial Aid Office.  No financial aid award letters are generated prior to March each year.  For continuing students, who have submitted a valid FAFSA, financial aid award letters will be generated after the spring semester grades have posted.

I graduate next fall, can I get my full years eligibility during my final term?
No, students who plan to graduate in the fall can only receive one semester worth of aid.

What academic standards do I have to maintain to get Federal aid?

Students must maintain academic progress to continue their eligibility for Federal Financial Aid.  The policy states that a student must successfully complete 2/3 of all classes attempted and have an overall GPA of at least 2.0 for undergraduates and 3.0 for graduate students.  The full policy can be reviewed by clicking here.

Students receiving a PHEAA grant must also adhere to the Pennsylvania state’s academic progress policy, which requires full time students to complete 24 credits per academic year and receive no grade lower than a “D.”

My grade level will advance after the fall. Will my loan money automatically increase as well?
No, loans are not automatically increased if you advance to a higher grade level mid-year.  To be reviewed for a potential increase, please contact your financial aid counselor.

Can I use my financial aid to purchase a computer?
Excess financial aid on a student’s account can be used to purchase a computer.  If a credit balance is posted to a student’s account, a refund will be generated.  Most traditional undergraduate students can expect to receive a refund within 30 days after the start of the semester. Students taking eight week class sessions may see a delay in their refund.

Can I receive an aid disbursement prior to the beginning of the term the aid is intended for?
No, financial aid disbursements will be released to a student’s account after the semester has started.  No refunds will be generated prior to the release of aid disbursements.

Should I re-apply for financial aid every semester or year?
All sources of financial aid should be applied for on an annual basis.  This includes filing your FAFSA and applying for alternative loan funds.  Students can renew their FAFSA any time after January 1st each year.  PA residents should file prior to May 1st.

How do I apply for financial aid to cover the summer?

After you are registered for the summer semester, please contact your financial aid counselor, so that your eligibility can be reviewed.  Summer financial aid eligibility can be limited depending on how much aid was used during the fall and spring semester.

Who can I contact to find out more about my VA benefits?

For assistance finalizing military benefits, please contact Heather Jericho at 412-397-5498.

I am unable to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on the FAFSA website, what should I do?

You must request a Tax Transcript from the IRS.  To do this, please call 1-800-829-1040 or visit www.irs.gov. This step is only required for students selected for Verification.

My parent recently lost their job.  Is there any additional aid available me?

Students with an extenuating circumstance affecting their or their family’s income, such as loss of employment, can submit a Request for Special Consideration Form.  Submitted requests will be reviewed by the Financial Aid Office.  If the situation is deemed extenuating, a potential one-time only adjustment to the student’s aid package may be approved. The Special Consideration Form can be found on the Financial Aid section of the RMU website.

How do I compare different school's financial aid packages?

To accurately compare financial aid packages, the overall cost of each school must be taken into consideration.  Although one school’s financial aid package may seem larger than another school’s package, the school with the larger aid package may have significantly higher overall costs.  Ultimately, you should be concerned with the bottom-line figure (out-of-pocket expense), not the overall financial aid award package.  

My parents will not help me; how can I become independent?

If you are under the age of 24, you must be able to answer one of the following questions with a “yes” to be considered an independent student:

  1. Are you working toward a master’s or doctorate degree?
  2. Are you are married?
  3. Do you have children or dependants who receive more than half of their support from you?
  4. Are both parents deceased or are you considered an orphan, ward/dependent, legal guardianship or in foster care by the court of your state?
  5. Are you are a veteran of the U.S. armed forced or are you currently serving on active duty?
  6. Are you considered homeless or at risk for being homeless?

If the answer to each question is “no,” then, based on federal regulations, you MUST provide parental information, regardless of how much (or lack of) support your parents provide to you.  

What documents are necessary for verification?
The required documents for Verification can vary from student to student.  Commonly, a completed Verification Worksheet is needed. In addition, the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on the FAFSA must be used or you must provide the Financial Aid Office with copies of Tax Return Transcripts. The Financial Aid Office will notify you directly concerning this process and your specific requirements.  

If I am getting a second bachelor's degree, will I get the same aid that I received with my first degree?

Students pursuing a second bachelor’s degree may not be eligible for the same types of aid available to them while completing their first undergraduate degree.  Generally, most federal and state grant sources reserve their funds for first-time undergraduate students only.  Once a FAFSA is submitted, financial aid eligibility will be determined.  

My EFC number is different than my balance due to RMU.  Shouldn't they be the same?
The EFC (Expected Family Contribution) does not necessarily equate to the amount a student will be required to pay for one academic year at an institution.  Schools simply use the EFC number as an index number to determine aid eligibility.  A student’s remaining balance may be more or less than the EFC. 

Why is my PHEAA grant not on my award letter?
Usually this means that PHEAA is missing required information necessary for determining your PHEAA grant eligibility.  Another reason may be that PHEAA is sending your grant records to another school that was listed on your FAFSA.  Both of these issues can be resolved by contacting PHEAA directly at 800-692-7392 or online at www.pheaa.org

Is there a way to limit my borrowing and pay monthly?
Yes, RMU offers both an annual Monthly Payment Plan and a semester Deferment payment option.  Click here to review these options in detail.

I am not financially cleared, what should I do?You should review your account under the Financial section of your eServices account on the RMU website.  To pay any remaining balance or set up payment arrangements, contact the Office of Student Financial Services by telephone at 412-397-6260 or make a payment online through ePay.  If financial aid is missing from your projected account, contact your financial aid counselor. 

How can withdrawal from the University affect my financial aid?
Doing a complete withdrawal from the University during a semester can have a major impact on a student’s financial aid eligibility.  All financial aid recipients receiving Title IV federal financial aid will be subject to a Title IV Refund Calculation. The allowance of funds must follow those outlined by federal regulation. Depending on the date of the withdrawal, a student may only be eligible to keep a small portion of their original aid package.

Can my enrollment effect the aid I am awarded?The number of credits a student is enrolled in each semester can impact the amount of aid a student is eligible to receive.  Only full time undergraduate students are eligible to receive most types of institutional scholarship offers.  Financial aid coming from state and federal sources may also be subject to an adjustment depending on the number of credit hours scheduled.

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Scholarships

How do I find scholarships?
Please click here for an extensive list of external scholarships.  Other great sources include www.fastweb.com and www.pittsburghfoundation.org.  

Is there a separate application for scholarships from RMU?

Most RMU scholarships are awarded through the admissions process by the Office of Enrollment Services and are awarded to students who show promise of high achievement in academics, athletics or other areas.  Usually a separate application is not required; however at the time of acceptance, students should review their scholarship opportunities with their Admissions Counselor.

I'm receiving a scholarship from an outside source.  How do I get the money applied to my account at RMU?

Please provide your financial aid counselor with a copy of the notification letter you may have received from the outside organization.  Please be sure the letter states the exact dollar amount you will be receiving.  Assuming the notification is valid, the scholarship will be deducted from your overall charges, even before the check is officially received.

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Federal Work Study


What is Federal Work Study?
Federal work-study gives the student an opportunity to work on campus.  Students participating in the work-study program can earn up to the dollar amount listed on their Financial Aid Award Letter.  Students are paid based on the number of hours worked.  A work-study position in never a guarantee and cannot be deducted from any tuition charges.   

How do I apply for a work study job?

On campus jobs are handled through the Career Center.  To apply for open positions, please complete an Application for Campus Employment through ColonialTrak.

Federal work study was on my financial aid award letter; however it's not being deducted from my charges.  Why?
Since there is no guarantee that the student is going to work on campus or the amount of hours the student may potentially work, Federal work-study can never be deducted from a student semester balance.  Assuming the student is working on campus, he/she will receive a monthly pay check based on the number of hours worked.

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Loans

What is the difference between a subsidized loan and an unsubsidized loan?
When a loan is subsidized, the government will pay the interest while the student is in school.  The government will not pay the interest for students receiving an unsubsidized loan; however, repayment can still be deferred until six months after graduation or leave from school.

How can I reduce my Federal Direct Student Loans?
Your loans can be reduced by using the decline function on your online financial aid award letter or you can contact your financial aid counselor via phone or through email.

How can I increase my federal loans?

Federal loans, such as Federal Direct Student Loans, have restrictions regulating the yearly and lifetime loan amounts a student is eligible to receive.  To review loan limits, click here.  To have your loans reviewed, please contact your Financial Aid Counselor.

Why are my Federal Direct Loans not on my invoice?
Generally, this means that a Master Promissory Note and/or Entrance Counseling Session has not been completed.  To fulfill these requirements, please visit www.studentloans.gov

What are private loans?
An private loan is an additional way to fund your education. This loan can be borrowed by creditworthy students or students with a creditworthy co-borrower.  Private loans usually have a variable interest rate, which is determined by the credit score of the student and possible co-borrower.  

For dependant students, a better alternative to borrowing private student loans is a Parent PLUS loan, which is a credit based loan solely in a parent’s name.  A parent PLUS loan has a fixed interest rate.  If a parent is deemed ineligible to borrow funds under the PLUS Loan program, the student may request to borrow additional Stafford Loan funds.  Before borrowing alternative loans, please be sure to complete a FAFSA, so your eligibility for federal loans can be determined.

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Doctoral

I am going to be in the Doctoral Program.  What additional information do I need to know?
Please visit our Financial Aid Doctoral page for detailed information on the necessary steps.

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Transfer Students


I am currently attending a different school right now, but plan to transfer.  How can get my aid over to RMU?

Please visit our Financial Aid Transfer Students page for detailed information on the necessary steps.

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FAFSA

What are the deadlines (state and federal) for filing a FAFSA?
RMU does not set an official deadline for FAFSA submission; however Pennsylvania residents should submit a FAFSA prior to May 1st, which is the state’s deadline.  To maximize your chances of being reviewed for all aid sources we recommend submitting your FAFSA as early as possible after January 1st.

I make too much money, so I don't think I'll qualify for any aid.  Should I still file a FAFSA?All federally eligible students, regardless of family’s income, will at least be eligible for an unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan.  We feel it is in the student’s best interest to file a FAFSA each year.  Until the FAFSA is submitted and reviewed, you should not assume eligibility.  You may be surprised!

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Terminology

FAFSA  
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is the federal financial aid application.  You can file a FAFSA at www.fafsa.gov.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
EFC stands for Expected Family Contribution.  This is the amount of money the federal government determines a family can afford to pay for one academic year of school for the student.  The actual amount a student will owe to a school may be more or less than the calculated EFC number.

Cost of Attendance

A detailed explanation of Cost of Attendance can be reviewed by clicking here.

Verification
Verification is a federal policy that requires approximately 30% of all submitted FAFSA’s to be selected for an accuracy review process.  When a FAFSA is selected for Verification, the Financial Aid Office must compare information submitted on the FAFSA with actual tax and income figures.  The Financial Aid Office has the authority to adjust any inaccurate information submitted on the FAFSA.

Federal PIN #
A PIN number is a unique four digit number given to the student, which can be used each year to electronically apply for federal student aid (FAFSA) and to access your Federal Student Aid records online.  Parents of a dependant student will also be required to apply for a PIN number.  To apply for a PIN number, go to www.pin.ed.gov.  

Student Aid Report (SAR)
A Student Aid Report is a report showing all information that was reported on a student’s FAFSA.  The SAR will also inform the student of any corrections or issues that need to be resolved before the FAFSA is valid.  Students who provide an email address will receive their SAR via email approximately one week after submission.  If no email address was provided, a paper SAR will be mailed.  Please review the SAR carefully and make any necessary corrections at www.fafsa.ed.gov.   

Master Promissory Note (MPN)

All first time federal student loan borrowers, or students who have not borrowed in recent years, must complete a Master Promissory Note.  The MPN is your promise to repay.  This step can be completed at www.studentloans.gov.

Entrance Counseling
All first time federal student loan borrowers must do an Entrance Counseling Session, which is an informative overview of your loan terms.  Students will learn about their rights and responsibilities as a borrower, repayment terms, other aid options and how to manage educational expenses.

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