Frequently Asked Questions

▼   Application Process

qAm I eligible? 

A  To be eligible for Federal Student Financial Aid at USA, you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen.
  • Be accepted for admission and admitted to an eligible degree-seeking or certificate-seeking program at USA.
  • Be enrolled for at least the minimum course load required for the requested aid program. All loan programs (including alternative loans) require an enrollment of at least halftime. Audit classes do not count.
  • Meet and maintain all requirements under the USA Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.
  • Not be in default on a prior student loan or owe a repayment on any Title IV aid.
  • Be registered for Selective Service if you are a male between the ages of 18 and 25 years old.

qWhen should I apply for Financial Aid?

AYou must apply for Financial Aid every year. The best time to apply is as soon as possible after October 1 for the following school year (Fall, Spring & Summer semesters).


qHow do I apply for Financial Aid?

aThe best way to submit your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is online at If you have a FSA ID from the Department of Education, you can do a renewal FAFSA online. You can request a FSA ID online at  Another option to complete the FAFSA is by completing a paper application, available at most high schools.

qWhat is your federal school code?

a The federal school code for USA is 001057. To find others, check online at  and select
"Find My Schools Codes".

 qI've already submitted my FAFSA, but I need to make some changes. How should I make them?

aIf you have your FSA ID from the Department of Education, you can make your changes online at Click on "Make Corrections to a Processed FAFSA". If you have a Student Aid Report, you can make the corrections on that and mail it to the Department of Education.

qI've already submitted my FAFSA, but I need to add a school. How do I do that?
 a If you have your FSA ID from the Department of Education, you add a school online at If you have your Student Aid Report (SAR), you may call the Department of Education at 1-800-433-3243. ; Give them your name, Social Security number, the DRN number and the transaction number from your SAR (in the upper right corner of the front page), and the name of the school you want to have added to your FAFSA. If you no longer have your SAR, you may also call to request a duplicate.

qHow long will it take before I get my Award Notice?

aIt may take 6-8 weeks after you complete your file at USA before you'll find out what aid you're eligible to receive. Ensure the fastest processing time by turning in all requested information in a timely manner.

qIs it too late to apply for Financial Aid?

aYou can apply for Financial Aid anytime during the current school year as long as the school receives a valid FAFSA from the Federal Processor before the last day of the current school year. However, some funding is limited and/or may not be available when your award is finalized.

▼   Receiving Your Money

qHow much aid will I get?

aThe information you provide on your FAFSA as well as other information submitted to our office will allow us to determine your eligibility. Funding availability, federal regulations and cost of education (budget) will also be  considered.

qHow much can I earn and still be eligible for Financial Aid?

aThe Department of Education considers many factors in determining your eligibility. It is almost impossible to answer this question without submitting a FAFSA and completing the review process. You can, however, see an estimate of whether or not you might receive a Pell Grant based on your particular circumstances at (click on "Determine My Eligibility"). Keep in mind that Pell Grant is not the only source of Financial Aid. So even if it appears that you are not eligible for the Pell Grant, you may be eligible for other types of aid.

qHow do I get my money?

a Most Financial Aid funds are credited to your student account after tuition, fees, and other institutional charges are deducted. Any remaining funds will be issued to you by the Office of Student Accounting via direct deposit or in a check mailed to your address on record. You can check your address on PAWS.   

qWhen are Financial Aid refunds given to students?

 aThe Office of Student Accounting handles all refunding of Financial Aid to students. Refunds are processed after the end of the drop/add period each term. You can contact the Office of Student Accounting at (251) 460-6195 or at

qHow much will I get?


The amount of Financial Aid disbursed is based on your enrollment at 5:00 p.m. on the fifth day of classes. Classes must be taken for credit to count toward Financial Aid. Classes taken as audit will not be covered by Financial Aid. Aid for Summer term is disbursed at 5:00 pm on the 5th day of the term.

qWhy didn't I get a Financial Aid refund?


Please check to see of any of these items apply:

  • Check PAWS for the following:   
  •  Is your address correct?             
  • Do you have outstanding requirements for your Financial Aid file?
  • Did you complete  Entrance and/or Exit Counseling for your student loan?
  • Did you e-sign your Master Promissory Note (MPN)?
  • Are you in enough credits for your Financial Aid to disburse?
  • If you enrolled in direct deposit, is your bank account accurate?
  • Is your Financial Aid disbursement more than your tuition, fees, and other institutional charges?
▼   Loans
qHow many hours must I take to be eligible for student loan funds?

aYou must enroll at least half-time to receive student loan funds. As an undergraduate student, half-time is 6 hours. For a graduate student, half-time is 3 hours. The classes you take must be required for your declared program and major.

qAre there any fees charged on a student loan?

aYes. Direct Loans charges origination fees. Please refer to for the most current origination fees.

qWhere can I get more general information about the Federal Family Educational Loans (FFELP)?

aVisit or for more information regarding loan programs.
▼   Work - Study
qWhat is Federal Work-Study?

aFederal Work-Study is a job program that provides part-time jobs to eligible students either on or off campus. You
must be awarded a Federal Work-Study job by the Office of Financial Aid to participate in this program.

qHow much Federal Work-Study do I have?


The amount you are authorized to earn is listed on your Award Notification on PAWS. You may work and earn up to the total Federal Work-Study award amount each term. You may not exceed the awarded amount.

qWhat is the rate of pay?

a$8.25 per hour for on-campus Federal Work-Study; $9.50 per hour for off-campus Federal Work-Study.

qHow do I get the money?

aStudents are paid bi-weekly for actual hours worked. Payday is every other Friday. Time sheets must be signed by
the student and supervisor, and they must be submitted to Payroll by the Friday before payday.

qHow do I find a job?

aAvailable jobs are listed on the Job Database. Select a job, note the supervisor and location, then contact the
supervisor to request an interview.

qWhere are the jobs located?

aJobs are located on the USA campus or in Mobile County public elementary schools. The job list will indicate the

qCan I have more than one job on campus or through Work-Study?

aYes, you may have a Work-Study job as well as a Student Assistant job.

▼    Drop Classes/Problems
 q What happens if I drop all of my classes (completely withdraw)?


Federal Financial Aid regulations have defined that a student who completely withdraws or stops attending prior to completing 60% of a term has not earned 100% of the federal Financial Aid that was received. The student may be required to return a portion of the federal aid that was disbursed to them. You may read the entire policy here under Return of Federal Financial Aid Refunds.

Additionally, a student must maintain a 2.0 cumulative GPA and maintain a 67% completion rate of all attempted classes. Failure to meet any of the standard requirements is reason in itself for denial of federal Financial Aid at USA, whether or not any Financial Aid was received. You may read the entire policy on the Academic Progress Policy page.

▼    Viewing Financial Aid on PAWS

 The following questions and answers include instructions requiring the user to access the PAWS system.

QHow can I check the status of my application and access the requested forms or requirements to complete my file?


Follow these steps in PAWS:

  1. Click on Student Services and Financial Aid
  2. Click on Financial Aid
  3. Click on My Eligibility
  4. Click on Student Requirements
  5. Select Aid Year

qHow do I check my award?


Follow these steps in PAWS:

  1. Click on Student Services and Financial Aid
  2. Click on Financial Aid
  3. Click on My Award Information
  4. Click on Award by Aid Year
  5. Select Aid Year

qHow do I check my loan application data?


Follow these steps in PAWS:

  1. Click on Student Services and Financial Aid
  2. Click on Financial Aid
  3. Click on My Award Information
  4. Click on Loan Amounts and Disbursements
  5. Select Aid Year

QHow do I verify my address?


Follow these steps in PAWS :

  1. Click on Personal Information
  2. Select Update Address(es) and Phone(s) to verify current address or to make changes