Frequently Asked Questions


Applying for Aid

Q: How do I apply for aid at SMWC?

A: The first step is to be admitted into a degree-seeking program. Next, you must file the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), which you can find at  Certain types of aid, usually loans, do require additional paperwork AFTER you have been awarded, but only the FAFSA is required to determine your eligibility.

Q: What records will I need to complete the FAFSA?

A: You will need the following documents to complete the FAFSA:

Q: What is the deadline for submitting my FAFSA?

A: We suggest that you submit your FAFSA by February of the year you are planning on attending. This will leave plenty of time for your application to be received by the federal aid processor. If we receive your FAFSA after March 10th, you will NOT be eligible for any Indiana state grants. For example, if you are attending school starting in August, you will need to have a complete FAFSA filed by March 10th to receive state grant funds.

Q: What is SMWC's Title IV Code?

A: SMWC Title IV Code is: 001835. This code is required on the FAFSA.

Q: How can I get a scholarship?

A: Most SMWC students with scholarships receive these awards from outside sources (such as hometown civic organizations, professional groups, and businesses). The academic scholarships awarded by SMWC are granted based on the information contained on your admissions application and your FAFSA. A complete list of institutional scholarships is posted on our website.

Q: I have current student loans that I am paying. Will I be able to defer (stop making payments) when I re-enroll at your school?

A: As long as a student is enrolled at least half-time (six hours) they can request a deferment for loans that are currently in repayment. Students should contact their loan servicer regarding deferment information.

Q: I just received my student aid report; now what do I do?

A: Review your report for errors. Please make corrections electronically at FAFSA’s web site. Our office will email you an award letter telling you of your aid amounts. However, if you are selected for Verification, you will need to provide us with signed copies of your and your parents’ (or spouse’s) tax returns, W-2 forms, and verification worksheets.

Q: Who should I contact if I am going to apply for Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits?

A: Once we recieve your form 1905 we will complete and return it to your Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for processing. You should begin this paperwork approximately 10 – 12 weeks before you plan to enroll. The Business Office will send your billing information to Voc Rehab.

Q: What should I do if I am a Veteran?

A: Please contact Veterans Affairs and complete your paperwork with them. Additionally, let the Office of Financial Aid know that your are a veteran so we can process your aid accordingly.

Office Information

Q: What are your office hours?

A: The Office of Financial Aid is open from 8:00 - 5:00, Monday thru Friday. Our office is located on the second floor, room 224, of Guerin Hall.

Q: Where do I go if I have a comment or concern about the Financial Aid process?

A: The Office of Financial Aid welcomes feedback from students and parents. Please direct all comments and concerns to the counselor whom you are working with. If your needs are not satisfied at this level, a letter can be written to the:

Director of Financial Aid
Guerin Hall, room 224
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, IN 47876

You may also schedule an appointment with the Director, if necessary.

Q: What are your phone and fax numbers?

A: Our phone number is (812)535-5100. Our fax number is (812)535-5113.

Awarding, Changes in Aid, and Aid Reconsideration

Q: How long does the awarding process take?

A: From the time you receive your Student Aid Report (SAR), the results of your FAFSA, to the time you receive your SMWC award letter is about 4-6 weeks during peak processing. If you have not heard anything from us after that time period, please contact us to make sure that we have everything that we need.

Q: What if I need more aid and/or the FAFSA does not reflect my present situation?

A: A Professional Judgment may be requested to make any adjustments if you, your spouse, or your parents (if dependent) have a reduction in income(i.e, loss of job, death of income earner) or medical expenses not covered by insurance, please notify Financial Aid, in writing, for a list of required documents.  For an appeal of Institutional grants please submit an email to the Director at dhopper(at) and it will be forwarded to a committee.

Q: My financial aid awards were reduced. How can you reduce aid after you awarded it to me?

A: Your awarded aid is always an estimate. Federal and state financial aid laws state that a student cannot receive financial aid over the cost of attendance minus any other aid (also taking into account, in the case of need-based aid, the EFC figure determined by the FAFSA). SMWC is obligated to reduce your federal or state aid if outside aid or scholarships cause you to become over-awarded on your federal or state aid. For example, if a student receives a new scholarship midyear, and this makes the student over-awarded, then the aid package would need to be reduced to compensate for the scholarship. Had the financial aid office known about this scholarship when the original financial aid letter was calculated, the aid would have been a lower amount in the original letter. To clear an over-award, normally we reduce the federal PLUS loan first, then the Federal Stafford Direct Loan, before we review remaining eligibility for grants.

Q: I already signed for a certain amount on my student loan and then you reduced it. Can't I just pay it back after I graduate?

A: The loan promissory note that you signed does not have a specific borrowed amount on it, as it is a Master Promissory Note, good for all Stafford student loans that you borrow over the years at SMWC. SMWC is legally obligated to reduce your loan and return those funds to the lender if you become ineligible for all or part of those funds.

Q: What happens if I over-estimate and borrow too much money, do you keep it for me?

A: You will receive a refund from the Business office. Refunds to the student are usually generated about 10 days after your account has a credit balance. Refunds are usually done on Fridays. You may want to send the excess funds to your lender to reduce your loan amount or you can keep it until your next semester. Always remember to use your loan money wisely!

Q: Who should I contact if I am going to apply for Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits?

A: Please let us know as soon as possible that you plan on using Vocational Rehabilitation to finance your education. Our office will complete and return the Information and Fact sheet (form 1905) to your Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for processing. You should begin this paperwork approximately 10 - 12 weeks before you plan to enroll. Please work closely with the SMWC Bookstore and Business office concerning your bill and allowable charges at the Bookstore.

Q: How much money do I need to bring when I come for my Online residency if I am using Financial Aid?

A: If you are using Financial Aid to cover your courses, texts and fees you will not be responsible for any cash payment as your aid and or loans will be your payment. You may want to bring some extra money for personal expenses or souvenirs which you can purchase at the Bookstore.

Tax Information, Parental Income

Q: Should I send in my tax forms and other paperwork before you ask for it?

A: No, you should not submit tax forms unless we specifically ask for them. Paperwork that is not required causes us to take time away from reviewing information that WAS requested.

Q: Must my parents and I complete our federal tax forms before filing the FAFSA?

A: No, the FAFSA allows estimates for income and tax information if the applicant and/or applicant's parents have not yet completed federal tax forms. On the FAFSA, just select "Will file". If you do estimate, keep in mind that you must correct your FAFSA later with the actual tax figures, since you are obligated by law to report an accurate picture of your family's finances. We prefer that you file the FAFSA with estimates instead of waiting for a completed federal tax return, if waiting for your tax return will prevent you from meeting our priority-processing deadline. Students whose FAFSA's are recorded after March 10th will be considered late, and will only receive consideration for the Federal Stafford loans, Federal parent PLUS loan, and the Federal Pell grant - no state grant funds.

Q: If my parents are divorced or separated, do I include both parents' income information on the FAFSA, even though they no longer live together?

A: The FAFSA instructions give the following explanation:
"If your parents are divorced or separated, answer the questions about the parent you lived with more during the past 12 months. (If you did not live with one parent more than the other, give answers about the parent who provided more financial support during the last 12 months, or during the most recent year that you actually received support from a parent.)". If this parent is remarried as of today, answer the questions on the rest of the FAFSA about that parent and the person whom your parent married (your stepparent).

Q: If my parents are divorced, and either my mother or father remarries, do I have to include my stepparent's income information on the FAFSA, even though that person does not provide any financial support for me?

A: Yes, you do. Federal financial aid law states that if your biological parents are divorced, and you live with the parent who has remarried, you must include the stepparent's income information on the FAFSA, since you are considered part of that person's household. This is the case even if your parent and your stepparent file separate federal tax returns. You complete the FAFSA by adding the amounts from both of the tax returns together.

Common Financial Aid Myths

MYTH: I consider myself independent because (either one or more of the following):

FACT: Dependency, according to federal financial aid law, is not determined by any of the above situations. For example, a student who is classified as independent for federal tax filing purposes may or may not also be classified as independent for financial aid filing purposes. In general, your answers to the questions on the FAFSA determine whether or not you can file the FAFSA as an independent student (that means not including parent information on your FAFSA). Please look at Step 3 of the FAFSA to determine independency. If you can answer "yes" to any of these items, then you are considered independent for financial aid purposes, and can complete the FAFSA without parent data. We do offer the option of a dependency override by appeal for certain students. Please see our dependency appeal form on our website.

MYTH: I heard that if I didn't get a satisfactory financial aid and scholarship package from SMWC then I could negotiate a better package. Is this true?

FACT: SMWC financial aid and scholarship offers are not negotiable. We believe in offering students up front the very best package we can. As a private institution, we have very limited federal, state, and institutional funds with which to negotiate. If you are trying to decide which college to attend, make sure that a college degree will be a good investment for you.

MYTH: My husband and I are both employed; I know that we will not qualify for any Financial Aid.

FACT: If a student files the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) they are eligible to participate in the Stafford Direct Student Loan Program. The loan amount is based upon your grade level and FAFSA information.


Q: Why wouldn't you tell my parents what kind of aid I received?

A: Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act commonly known as FERPA prohibits us from discussing any of your specific financial matters with anyone without your written permission. To sign an authorization form so that we may discuss your financial aid with your parents, come by our office or mail a notarized statement.


Q: Why does Financial Aid need copies of my taxes and my W-2s?

A: The Department of Education selects, at random, students for verification. Verification means that our office will compare the tax information that the student has submitted and the same information on the tax documents. We will make the corrections as necessary. Students could be picked each year so please keep copies of all forms for completing your FAFSA.


Q: How do I receive a loan?

A: The first step in receiving a loan is to go online to and complete Entrance Counseling and the MPN (Master Promissory Note). There are three types of loans: the Stafford (both Subsidized and Unsubsidized) the PLUS (Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students), and the Student Signature Loan. Once you have filled out the application for the loan and been approved, the application will come to the school and we will certify based on your award letter. All loan processing is electronic, there is no paperwork to complete. More information can be found on our Federal Loans page.

Q: How are the funds from the loan disbursed to me?

A: Once our office has certified the loan for the amount you are eligible for (or, if the number is less, the amount you requested), the lender will send the loan money electronically to SMWC. When your account is paid in full and there is a credit balance remaining, the Business Office (not Financial Aid) will send you a refund for the difference. Campus students can expect this refund within the first few weeks of the start of the semester. For WED students, the loan money will disburse in two amounts: one, a month after your start of term (30 days) and the other about a month after that (60 days).

Q: How much can I get in loans?

A: This topic is discussed on the various loan pages on this site. Please visit the Federal Loans page, and the Perkins Loans page for more details.

Q: My parents were denied a PLUS loan. What do I do?

A: Should your parents be denied a PLUS loan, the Office of Financial Aid can award you additional Unsubsidized Stafford loans. The amount will vary depending on your grade level and need. If additional Stafford loans do not cover your expenses, you may consider taking out a Signature loan (applicants with limited credit will need a credit-worthy cosigner). To initiate this process, please notify your financial aid counselor.

Q: I still do not have enough funds to cover my expenses! What now?

A: The Office of Financial Aid recommends you continue to search and apply for scholarships. Resources such as FastWeb or can help you find outside scholarships to help cover the costs of your education.


Q: I need to drop (withdrawal) from a class what should I do?

A.  The Registrar's Office is the designated primary contact point to drop a class. You will need to contact the Financial Aid Office before you drop a class to discuss the ramifications regarding your aid eligibility.  You will also need to contact the FA office if you receive Veterans benefits when you drop or add a class(s).   Dropping a class could result in the student owing funds to the school.

Q: I need to withdrawal from all my classes, what should I do? 

A. The Registrar's Office is the designated primary contact point to withdraw from classes.  Students who withdraw (officially or unofficially) from all of their classes before 60 percent of a semester is completed, may be required to repay some or all of the financial aid.  The Federal Return of Title IV formula determines the type and amount of financial aid the student earned and/or the amount and type of financial aid to refund to the various financial aid programs. 

Q: I never withdrew, but I stopped attending or submitting assignments why did you return funds?

A.  Students are unofficially withdrawn when the institution realizes that the student is no longer attending classes or submitting assignment.  Faculty members are required to communicate to the Registrar the student’s last date of attendance (Campus students) or the last academically-related activity for Distance & Graduate students.  The Financial Aid office then uses the Federal Return of Title IV formulat to determine the amount & type of aid the student earned and/or the amount and type of aid to refund to various financial aid programs.