Applying for Aid
How to File a FAFSA
You can complete FAFSA in one of the following ways:
- Online at at the FAFSA web site
- Over the phone with a Department of Education counselor at 1-800-433-3243 (TTY Line for Hearing impaired is 1-800-730-8913)
Howard University recommends that you file your FAFSA online in order to make the process as efficient and timely as possible. Watch the instructional videos above for guidance. In order to complete the FAFSA online, you will need to first retrieve your Personal Identification Number (PIN).
What is a PIN?
The PIN serves as your identification code to access your personal information in various Department of Education (ED) Systems. It is like the personal identification number that you get from your bank that enables you to access your account. Your PIN serves as an electronic signature. Once you successfully complete your request, ED will e-mail your PIN to you.
You can use your PIN at the following Department of Education websites:
- FAFSA on the web
- For Entrance Counseling and Master Promissory Note completion at www.studentaid.gov
- The National Student Loan Data System Website
- Direct Loan Origination Website
- The Direct Loan Servicing Website
- The Direct Loan Consolidation Website
You will find more on the PINs at www.studentaid.gov
The FAFSA application is specific to an academic year, so you will need to make sure you are completing the correct version of the application.
What to Report in FAFSA
You will need to provide some basic personal information on your FAFSA that includes:
Full legal name
Date of Birth
Social Security Number
Citizenship Status - (only U.S. Citizens, permanent residents and certain visa holders are eligible to complete a FAFSA)
Driver's License (optional)
In order for Howard University to match your FAFSA information to your university record, the spelling of your name, your date of birth and social security on your FAFSA must match what is listed in Howard University's system. If there is a discrepancy, you will need to resolve the issue with the Department of Education to ensure that your FAFSA data can be processed appropriately.
How to Complete the Health Sciences Financial Aid Application
Before you begin this application, complete and submit the 2020-2021 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at the FAFSA website on or before February 1, 2020, if eligible.
Please make sure that you answer the question regarding college name, city, state, and school code as follows: Code 001448, Howard University, 2400 Sixth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20059. It is mandatory for students who wish to be considered for Federal Scholarships and Loans for Disadvantaged Students to complete the parent(s) as well as the student (and spouse) sections on the 2020-2021 FAFSA. The parental data requirement cannot be waived. Parents’ signatures must be provided on the FAFSA. All application information will be verified. If parents reside outside of the United States, allow extra time to obtain information and signatures. A Student Aid Report (SAR) will be sent to you by the U.S. Department of Education after the FAFSA has been processed. Review the SAR and, if necessary, make corrections online at www.studentaid.gov
Please note that the application requirements on your Bisonweb account will be satisfied on a weekly basis.
After properly completing Sections A-B of the application, a select group of students will receive notice to complete Section C of this application via their Bisonweb account. In Section C, expound on any information requested in earlier questions and provide details of extenuating circumstances. If you do not receive notice to complete Section C, then you have completed your application.
Understanding the Cost of Attendance
An important point to remember about the cost of attendance is that it is not the same as your bill. The cost of attendance is an estimate of all the possible costs a student may incur as related to your attendance at the College of Medicine. Howard University creates this estimate each year based upon your program. The cost of attendance is used to determine your financial need and the maximum amount of financial aid for which you may be eligible. Additionally, it is meant to help you budget appropriately for your enrollment at Howard.
The cost of attendance is made up of both direct and in-direct costs. Direct costs are those that will appear on your bill and are required to be paid by you to the university. These costs include tuition and fees.
The in-direct costs are comprised of expenses for which the university does not bill you, but that you may incur as a result of being a student. These include room and board, books and supplies, transportation and miscellaneous costs.
Howard University estimates all costs based upon averages for your program and enrollment. It is important to remember that the cost of attendance only includes expenses related to your attendance at Howard University. The U.S. Department of Education and Howard University expect all students to be responsible for their financial choices and recognize that not all personal costs can be included as part of the cost of attendance.
You can view your cost of attendance via BisonWeb.
Aid Packaging Process
Once you have completed the necessary steps to apply for financial aid, Howard University can create a financial aid package for you. A financial aid package is a summary of all the federal, state and institutional financial aid awards you are eligible to receive based upon your program, status, cost of attendance, and FAFSA information.
A completed financial aid package includes the following information:
Cost of Attendance for the academic year
Itemized list of all the financial aid awards you are eligible to receive for the academic year
List of requirements you must complete in order to receive your financial aid (i.e., Entrance Counseling, Master Promissory Note, Terms and Conditions Acceptance, etc.)
After You Apply
Click BisonWeb to access your Financial Aid Record and your Student Account. Please enter your User Identification Number which is your 9 digit Howard University ID including @ (Example: @12345678). Enter your 6 digit PIN which is usually your birth date without dashes, unless you have changed it to something else. If you have forgotten your PIN, call 202-806-2020 (M-F).
Ten business days after you submit your FAFSA, you will need to constantly check your BisonWeb account to accept or decline your aid award. Before your Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan can be produced, you must accept the Terms and Conditions on BisonWeb, complete Entrance Counseling, sign the Master Promissory Note, and accept your award in BisonWeb under the appropriate Academic Year.
You should evaluate the aid offer carefully. In the case of loans, keep in mind that whatever amount you borrow must be paid back with interest. If your living expenses are not as high as the standard allowance projected by your school, you may not have to borrow as much as the amount in the award letter. You have the right to decline the loan or to request a lower loan amount. After you complete the aforementioned requirements, it will take ten business days to create your award. An instructional video explaining how to accept the Terms and Conditions and Accept the Award is below.
Accept Federal Aid
Login to BisonWeb, click the Financial Aid Tab, Award by Aid Year, Accept Award Offer Tab (ACCEPT AID using instructional video by clicking on the link below
Please visit www.studentaid.gov and click on “Entrance Counseling” to satisfy the Federal Loan Entrance Counseling Requirement. If you are a first time borrower, you must also complete the Master Promissory Note also accessible via www.studentaid.gov
Note: If you are receiving Federal Aid, you do not need to log onto BisonWeb to pay your bill. The funds will be considered a credit upon disbursement and tuition and fees will automatically be deducted. Scholarship Recipients Some students have been awarded scholarships based on merit, need, or a combination of both. You can view your scholarship award, if any, on BisonWeb. Please note that no scholarship is renewable, and awarded amounts are subject to availability. Some scholarships (e.g., Donor Scholarships) require you to complete and submit certain documents of receipt (i.e., Donor Report form, Thank You letter, resume, and a professional photograph). These requirements are to be fulfilled via BisonWeb.
Please follow the steps below to fulfill your requirement:
Click on the hyperlink on BisonWeb (Financial Aid Tab > Eligibility > Student Requirements)
Enter your full name and email
You will receive an email with a validation code which you enter to get access to the forms. (Validation codes cannot be used more than once, for every time you restart the process, you will need a new validation code).
Complete ALL form fields
Attach EACH requirement to EACH clip (i.e. Resume to clip 1, Thank you letter to clip 2 and photo to clip 3. You should not put more than one attachment on each clip! Once you attach your resume to clip 1, you will be asked if you want to attach more. You should select “NO,” and then attach the Thank you letter to clip 2.
Click ‘Sign Here’ button, then adopt and sign
A pop up will appear on left notifying you that all required fields are complete
Click Confirm signing tab on the left.
You will receive a completion email with the completed Donor form and attachments for your records.
Allow 72 business hours for your requirements to be satisfied.
Note: You may receive e-mails during the interim asking you to complete your requirements. This process needs to be completed for each Donor Scholarship you receive.
Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loan
(Do not apply until July 1)
The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan is a loan made to graduate and professional students based on credit worthiness. Borrowers may borrow up to the cost of attendance less any other financial aid awarded. The loan amount cannot exceed the cost of attendance. Federal regulations require the loan proceeds be disbursed in two equal amounts once you are enrolled. The Department of Education will withhold a small percentage in fees from your requested loan amount. If you intentionally borrow below the Cost of Attendance and later decide to increase your loan, you must complete the Request for Financial Aid Adjustment form via the "Adjust your Aid" button that can be found on the Financial Aid Logistics page.
If you wish to borrow a Graduate PLUS loan please follow the steps in the video below:
- Go to www.studentaid.gov
- You will be asked to sign in with your FAFSA PIN. (If you do not have a PIN, you can obtain one at www.studentaid.gov
- Select Start PLUS Application Process.
- Choose the Grad PLUS loan type for graduate students. Go through the application process (which includes a credit check) to confirm approval or denial of the loan.
- Choose a loan period. We recommend you apply for the academic year (July 2018 - May 2019), not one semester/quarter. You will have to repeat the application process (and the credit check) if you apply for the fall only and later wish to apply for another semester/quarter.
- Specify a loan amount. If "maximum amount" is selected, we will process the loan for the maximum amount available (cost of attendance minus all other financial aid received).
- If approved, only first-time borrowers must continue by choosing “Complete Master Promissory Note.” Repeat borrowers have completed the process.
- After applying, allow 14 business days for processing.
If you are denied a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan, you have two options that you may pursue.
Appeal your credit decision with the U.S. Department of Education if you believe that there was an error on your credit report.
You may pursue this option by visiting www.studentaid.gov or by calling 1-800-557-7394 (Federal Loan Origination Center) and speaking with a representative.
To appeal your credit decision online:
- Login to www.studentaid.gov using the student borrower’s information (SSN & FAFSA PIN).
- Select the “Document Extenuating Circumstances” link under the PLUS Process section on the left side menu.
- Follow the instructions provided to complete the appeal process. After completing the appeal online, the borrower should receive a call from a representative with the Federal Loan Origination Center within 3 business days to discuss their appeal. If the borrower does not receive a call, they may contact the Federal Loan Origination Center at 1-800-557-7394 to discuss the status of their appeal.
Reapply with an endorser (co-signer) at www.studentaid.gov.
To apply with an endorser (co-signer):
- Login to www.studentaid.gov using the student borrower’s information (SSN & FAFSA PIN).
- Select the “Endorse PLUS Loan” link under the PLUS Process section on the left side menu.
- Follow the instructions provided to complete the endorser process. You will need your Loan Reference Number to complete the endorser process. This number was provided during your original credit check. If you do not have this information, you may contact the Federal Loan Origination Center at 1-800-557-7394.
Title IV Credit Authorization Form
The Higher Education Act requires that Title IV funds are to be used to pay for authorized charges in the form of tuition, fees, and room and board as assessed by the University. Title IV funds includes a host of Federal loans and grants. Fees assessed by the University such as library fines, health center fees, security fees for housing, are not authorized charges for which Title IV funds can be automatically applied. As required by the Higher Education Act, any Title IV funds awarded to a student in excess of these charges must be refunded to the student. A Title IV credit balance will be automatically refunded to the student no later than fourteen (14) days of the crediting of such funds to the student’s account. In order to allow Howard University to use your awarded Title IV funds towards tuition, fees, etc. you must complete the Title IV Credit Authorization Form.
The form can be found on your BisonWeb account under “unsatisfied requirements.” Use the BisonWeb Guide for assistance.
Other Unsatisfied Requirements
Some students have special circumstances which can prevent disbursement of aid. Circumstances can include, but are not limited to, issues surrounding eligibility of Federal Aid, Selective Service requirements, defaulting on previous loans, Satisfactory Academic Progress, Forbearance requirements, bankruptcy, citizenship/non-citizenship verification, over-borrowing Title IV Federal funds, etc.
If you have outstanding requirements on your BisonWeb account, you must satisfy them before any aid is eligible for disbursement. Some requirements can take up to three business days to complete. If additional information is required, we will send you notice specifying what documentation is needed. Your application will be on hold, and financial aid will not be awarded until all of the requested information is received by our office. An instructional video on how to check your BisonWeb account for unsatisfied requirements is below.
For your convenience and in the interest of safety, direct deposit is now offered to all Howard University student refunds. This includes all student account credits resulting from student/parent loans, scholarships, grants etc. If you haven’t done so, you may sign up for direct deposit with an established bank of your choice.
Once direct deposit is set up, it is valid until graduation. If any bank account changes/closures are made, please update your account information online. Follow the directions in the video below to enter your Direct Deposit information. If you have established a direct deposit account and would like to confirm processing, please follow up with the Assistant Treasurer via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Office of Student Accounts and the Office of Financial Aid cannot verify this information.
National Student Loan Data System
The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) is the U.S. Department of Education's (ED's) central database for student aid.NSLDS provides a centralized, integrated view of Title IV loans and grants so that recipients of Title IV Aid can access and inquire about their Title IV loans and/or grant data. You can view and ascertain data on Title IV loans that you have borrowed to help fund your education for both Undergraduate and Graduate levels. Please log on to NSLDS (www.nslds.ed.gov) and obtain a copy of your current aggregate loan amounts.
Search and Apply for housing now!
Do not delay your application for housing because you have not heard from the Financial Aid Office. Please use the following link to learn about Howard University's Off Campus Housing Partners. The Office of Financial Aid cannot guide or endorse housing opportunities. https://howard.offcampuspartners.com
Generally, your loan will cover a full academic year and the university will release two disbursements. Consult the Student Financial Services section for information about the date of disbursement.
In most cases your school will disburse your loan money by crediting it to your school account to pay tuition, fees, and other authorized charges incurred at the beginning of each term. If the loan disbursement amount exceeds your school charges, the school will release the remaining balance via direct deposit 14 days after disbursement. You will receive a notice from your loan servicer confirming the disbursement. You should read and keep all correspondence concerning your loan.
Using the loan for education expenses
You may use the loan money you receive only to pay for your education expenses incurred at Howard University. Educational expenses include school related expenses such as tuition, fees, room and board, books, supplies, equipment, transportation, and rental or purchase of a personal computer.
Enrollment status & other changes
It's important to keep your loan servicer informed of any changes in your status, so that your loan information is up-to-date. This is your responsibility.
You must notify the loan servicer if you:
- Change your local address, permanent address or telephone number;
- Change your name (for example, maiden name to married name);
- Do not enroll at least half-time for the loan period certified by the school;
- Do not enroll at the school that certified your loan;
- Stop attending school or drop below half-time enrollment;
- Transfer from one school to another school; or
Until you graduate or leave school, you must also keep your school's financial aid office informed of these changes. A scheduled break in enrollment, such as the summer session at many traditional 4-year schools, is not considered an interruption in your enrollment if you are planning to return to school during the next regularly scheduled enrollment period.
When you graduate, drop below half-time, or withdraw from your academic program, you will receive a six-month grace period for your Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans. Once your grace period ends, you must begin repaying your loan(s). See When you graduate or leave school.
Paying interest while in school
You may choose to pay interest on your Direct Unsubsidized or Direct GradPLUS Loans while you are in school. If you choose not to pay the interest while you are in school, it will be added to the unpaid principal amount of your loan. This is called capitalization, and it can substantially increase the amount you repay, especially if you are receiving multiple loans for a multi-year program. Capitalization increases the unpaid principal balance of your loan, and you will be charged interest on the increased principal amount.
It will save you money in the long run if you pay the interest as it accrues on your loan while you are in school or during the grace period. This is also true if you pay any interest that accrues during periods of deferment or forbearance after you leave school.
If you have already taken out at least one Direct Loan, you can check your interest statements and use the online calculators to find out how much you will pay over the life of the loan if the in-school interest is added to your loan balance. Simply contact your loan servicer to discuss their repayment methods. If you do not know who your servicer is, check NSLDS.ed.gov