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Financial Aid FAQ

What is financial aid?

Financial aid is funding to assist in paying for your student's college education.  Gift aid and self-help aid are two categories of financial aid.  Gift aid comes in the form of grants and scholarships and does not have to be repaid.  Self-help comes in the form of loans and employment.  Financial aid at Kent State University is awarded to students based on financial need and/or merit.  A student may have a combination of grants, loans, scholarships and employment for a financial aid award.    

What financial aid does KSU offer? How do I contact the Financial Aid office?

There are four basic types of financial aid: scholarships, grants, loans, and Federal Work Study.  Find out more by visiting the Financial Aid Office at the Geauga Campus or going online: Any financial aid questions can be directed to Donna Holcomb, Financial Aid Advisor, via phone 440-834-3737 or email

How does my student apply for financial aid?

Students may apply for financial aid by going to the federal government's FAFSA website located at

What is a FAFSA?

FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid and it is the almost universal application for financial aid, including loans, grants, college work-study and other federal and state programs.  It is often required before a student can be considered for scholarships as well.  FAFSA can only be submitted online.

What happens after my student applies?

Once Kent State University receives your students' financial aid application results from the federal processors, we determine their eligibility based on their financial need.  At that point the student's record runs through our automated processing programs and an Initial Financial Aid Award Notification letter is mailed to the student.  As subsequent adjustments are made to their financial aid notification, an email will be sent notifying them of any changes. 

How is my student's financial aid award determined?

The federal government has established a formula which determines the expected family contribution, or EFC, and can be found on the top-right corner of the Student Aid Report (SAR).  This formula, which is used by colleges and universities throughout the country, estimates your family's financial strength in order to determine the amount your family should be able to contribute to the cost of education for the academic year. Family income, assets, size of the family, number in college, as well as an allowance for retirement are among a few of the items evaluated by this formula. The expected family contribution (EFC) is subtracted from the cost of attendance to determine financial need.  Once this is determined, the financial aid office is able to determine the types and amounts of federal, state, local and institutional aid your student is entitled to receive.  These include both need and non-need based aid.  Once the awards have been determined, the student is mailed an official financial aid notification, often called an "award letter".


Cost of Attendance


- Expected Family Contribution


= Financial Need


When should my child start the financial aid process?

 Please refer to the timeline below:

 September - December
Start a Scholarship Search. Try the FastWeb scholarship database.  They may also try the Kent State University Scholarship database.   Guidance counselors, the local community, church organizations, libraries, and places of employment are also good places to find scholarships. The Student Financial Aid Office offers assistance on how to start the search as well as publications to help your student get started.

Early January - Mid February
File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year during this time period in order to meet the priority processing
deadline of March 1. Important Note: Students may use estimated tax information if tax returns are not completed
(mail the FAFSA to the federal processor by February 1).

When they receive the Student Aid Report (SAR) from the federal processor, make sure they read it carefully and check it
over for any items that may need to be corrected. If corrections need to be made, they will need to update Part II
of their SAR and mail it back to the address provided on the SAR.

March - April
Respond immediately to any requests for additional information from the federal processor or the Kent State University
Student Financial Aid Office. 
Initial Financial Aid Award Letters are mailed to admitted first-year
students who have completed all necessary paperwork. 

If  additional funding is needed after receiving the financial aid award, your student may contact the
Student Financial Aid Office for alternative sources of funding

April - June
Initial Financial Aid Award notifications begin to arrive for continuing students.

July - August
Master Promissory Notes for Direct Loans will be mailed to students if necessary. Note:  A Master Promissory note is a ten year loan note, so once signed, your student will not need to sign another for 10 years.  Therefore, future loan awards will be automatically accepted once offered, unless your student rejects it on the award letter and notifies the Student Financial Aid office.  If your student would like to take the loan, they will need to complete the service copy of the promissory notes as soon as possible and return it to the Student Financial Aid Office.
Have them retain the borrower copy for their records. 

Payment is due to the
Bursar's Office in August for the fall semester.

What scholarships are available and how does my student apply for them?

Kent State University offers a variety of scholarship opportunities for students enrolled at the Kent Campus and the Regional Campuses. Scholarship awards are based on a variety of criteria.  Selection of winners will be made based on academic merit, demonstrated financial need, field of study, participation in a specific program, organization or activity, and/or any combination of the above. Visit the online scholarship resources for more information.  There are additional scholarships available to those attending college.  For external scholarships, go online to  Your student's high school guidance office, local community service organizations, churches and employers are other good sources to check for scholarships. 

What if my family has a special circumstance that will affect how much we can pay?

Students who have special circumstances (i.e. loss of income, high medical expenses, etc.) should contact Donna Holcomb, Financial Aid Advisor at 440-834-3737 or Each inquiry at Kent State University at Geauga and Twinsburg Academic Center will be reviewed for any allowable changes that may help your student afford the cost of education.  

Will my student receive the same amount of financial aid next year?

If your family situation remains the same with regard to income, number in the family, number in college, and assets, and as long as we receive the results of your FAFSA data by March 1, then you can expect that your financial aid should be approximately the same amount. However, your student's loan limits will change depending on their grade level and their dependency status. In addition, your student must re-apply for financial aid every year they wish to be considered.