Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Below are the most frequently asked questions received by the Office of Financial Aid throughout the academic year. Not all issues below are directly considered financial aid issues, but we felt it was important to give students and parents some of the information needed to successfully navigate through other Providence College offices.
Please keep in mind as you read through the FAQ’s that they are designed for both current and prospective students.
In addition to this Frequently Asked Questions page, the Office of Financial Aid also provides a series of FAQ’s specific to financial aid programs and process. They are available in PDF format and can be found by visiting our Publications Section.
Aid Related FAQ’s
I probably don’t qualify for aid. Should I complete a FAFSA anyways?
Yes! Many families mistakenly think they don’t qualify for aid and prevent themselves from receiving assistance by failing to apply by the College’s published deadlines (see Applying for Financial Aid section). There are a few sources of aid, such as the William D. Ford Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan and the Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS), that are available regardless of need. The FAFSA form is free and is required by Providence College if your family would like to apply for a PLUS loan during the academic year.
What are Providence College’s school codes for FAFSA and CSS Profile?
What is the difference between merit and need-based financial aid?
Merit scholarships are strictly based upon academic achievement prior to entering college. Determination of eligibility for all merit-based scholarships is made by the Office of Admission in conjunction with acceptance to the College. Students who receive a merit-based scholarship will receive notification in their acceptance packet. Please note that students not offered a merit-based scholarship at the time of acceptance are not considered for these scholarships in subsequent years even if they are invited to join the Liberal Arts Honors Program. For more information about this program please contact the Office of Admission at 401-865-2535.
Need-based financial aid is strictly based upon the financial information provided by you on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and/or College Scholarships Service’s Profile Application each year. Need-based eligibility is reevaluated each year based upon new tax year information and changes in household size and number of family members in college.
Do I have to complete the FAFSA and/or CSS Profile in order to be considered for merit-based aid?
No! If the only type of assistance you are looking for from Providence College is merit-based, then you are not required to complete the FAFSA and/or CSS Profile. However, we recommend that all interested applicants complete both financial aid applications as an incoming freshman so that we can offer the maximum amount of assistance based on our packaging policies to those students who demonstrate any financial need.
Do I need to be admitted before I can apply for financial aid?
No! In fact, it is strongly recommended that returning students begin applying for financial aid at any time after Jan. 1 for the following school year. Incoming freshman should follow the published deadlines outlined on the Application & Deadline page. However, to actually receive funds, you must be admitted and enrolled.
As a prospective student, how do I compare my award letters from different schools?
It is important to keep in mind that not every school has the same type and amount of funds available to distribute to prospective students. Schools will often offer more than their annual allocation knowing that a percentage of students will not select their institution. Schools don’t necessarily recover funding for the students that choose not to attend; rather they anticipate that the class that commits to their institution will have financial aid that falls within their budgeted expenditures.
Since schools do not have the same resources it is very difficult to compare award offers between schools. The most important thing is not the size of the aid package but how much you are expected to pay out of pocket to the school after the aid offer. You can evaluate this by taking the total cost of attendance at each institution and subtract out the aid you have received and evaluate what you would be responsible for out of pocket at each institution and see which one you would owe the least too.
Can I transfer my aid from another school to Providence College?
Most financial aid awards cannot be transferred from one institution to another. If you are planning to transfer to Providence College from another institution, you must make sure that the results of your FAFSA and/or CSS Profile are sent to Providence College by our published application deadline (see Applications & Deadlines section).
Are work-study earnings applied to my bill?
Federal Work Study (FWS) is a unique component available in the federal student aid program that affords students the opportunity to earn funds by working a part-time job throughout the academic year to support some of their educationally related expenses. These earnings paid to the student for hours worked in a bi-weekly paycheck and are never applied as a credit on the student’s bill.
I was not awarded or eligible to participate in the Federal Work Study Program. Can I still work on campus?
Students who were not awarded or eligible for Federal Work Study can view and apply through Handshake. These applications will not be considered by hiring managers until after October 1st since preference for the first month of the academic year is given to work study recipients.
What happens to my financial aid if I move off-campus?
If you decide in your junior or senior year to move from on-campus to off-campus (not with parent) it most likely will not affect your aid in a subsequent year. The annual cost of attendance the Office of Financial Aid uses in part to determine your eligibility for aid uses very similar budget components for on and off-campus students (i.e. housing and food). Moving off-campus alone would not affect your aid, however, if other elements on your FAFSA & CSS Profile applications change in addition to moving off-campus (i.e. income increase, one less in college) then there is a potential that your aid could be adjusted in the year you are moving off-campus.
I received an outside scholarship, what will happen to my aid?
Outside Scholarships are considered need-based and your original aid offer may need to be adjusted if the receipt of the outside scholarship exceeds your calculated institutional need or current eligibility. Outside scholarships will always be applied against your unmet need first. If it is necessary to adjust your aid the change or reduction in your award will begin with monies that are least beneficial to you. Your loans will be reduced or reallocated first, followed by work study and then institutional assistance, if necessary.
I lost a copy of my financial assistance. Where can I get another one?
Current students can access their current offer of financial assistance by visiting Cyber Friar. Incoming students can access their current offer of financial assistance by logging into the Admission Status Portal.
How will summer school affect my financial aid?
In general, the amount of federal financial aid that a student is eligible to receive is divided by two, with one half being provided for fall and the other half for spring. If you decide to attend summer school, the annual amount of federal financial aid that you receive would be spread over the three terms: summer, fall, and spring. As a result, any federal financial aid used in the summer will impact the fall and spring semesters. Institutional funds are not available for use in the summer semester.
Loan Related FAQ’s
I took a semester off from school. How do I make sure my loans do not go into repayment?
Once you are enrolled at least half-time (as defined by your program) in a degree granting program then the College will automatically send information regarding your new enrollment status to an agency commonly referred to as the “Clearinghouse”. Updated enrollment information is sent over by the Office of the Registrar several times a semester. Typically, lenders and lending authorities who hold your loans review the Clearinghouse’s website and retrieve enrollment information and update your student loan status according to the new enrollment information (i.e. back in school). If your information was not sent or the lender states they do not have updated enrollment information, you can always have the Office of the Registrar complete an in-school deferment form (provided by your lender).
When do I start re-paying my loans?
Generally, students begin repayment of their Williams D. Ford Federal Direct Stafford Loan(s) six months after they cease to be enrolled at least half-time in a degree-seeking program.
Billing Related FAQ’s
What does it mean to have a financial hold on my account?
If you have a financial hold on your account it means that you have an outstanding bill with the College and until it is resolved you will not be able to register for classes. There are a few reasons why this could occur. If you were using the payment plan through Nelnet Campus Commerce, you may have underestimated your bill and owe the difference to the College or there could be an issue with your financial aid. You may have to contact both offices (i.e. Bursar’s Office and Office of Financial Aid) to figure out the reason for the hold.
How do I waive the Health Insurance off my bill?
The health insurance plan offered by the College is a charge that can be waived from your bill if you are able to provide acceptable documentation of other health insurance coverage to University Health Plans. Any questions about this process should be direct to the Bursar’s Office.
Where to send my Enrollment Deposit?
The enrollment deposit for incoming students (not transfers) needs to be sent directly to Office of Admission. The deposit, must be postmarked (or paid online) no later than May 1.
How do I request a refund check from the Bursar’s Office?
If you have a credit on your bill (meaning you overpaid your bill in a given semester), you are entitled to request a refund for the excess amount on your student account for the semester. You may also leave the credit on your student account to apply to charges for a subsequent semester. If interested in receiving a refund, you can call the Bursar’s Office at 401-865-2284 or email email@example.com to initiate the process. A check can be mailed home or picked up in person. Typically the turn around time is 10 business days.
When am I billed and when is it due?
Undergraduate students are generally billed mid-July and mid-November and are due August 15 and December 15 respectively. Please note if you are a Continuing Education or Graduate Student you are never billed by the College since payment in full is expected at the time of registration.
What is a Banner ID?
A Banner ID number is a 9 digit number that is automatically assigned to a student when they apply to Providence College. It is a unique identifier which replaces the need to search for students in our database by using a social security number thus increasing a student’s privacy and security.
What is a FERPA Agreement?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 as Amended, also known as the Buckley Amendment, help protect the privacy of student school records. If the student wishes to have any information disclosed or discussed with a parent(s) or any other designated individual, a FERPA Release and Photo Release Form must be filed with the Office of the Registrar. Once the appropriate written authorization by the student is received in this office, designated individuals may be informed of the student’s status at Providence College including but not limited to financial information, grades, academic standing, and disciplinary violations.