The Office of Financial Assistance understands the financial strain the COVID-19 pandemic may be having on our students and their families. In an effort to respond, a financial aid administrator may use professional judgment on a case-by-case basis to adjust a student’s cost of attendance (COA) or the data entered into your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is used to determine your estimated family contribution if special circumstances warrant such an adjustment.
Special circumstances the financial aid office may consider in making an adjustment to the COA or FAFSA data as a result of COVID-19 include a computer purchase, or rental or moving cost associated with moving out of university housing) rentals, etc.
Examples of Special Circumstances for FAFSA Data Adjustment (for undergraduates only)
- The student or parent’s employer closes for a period of time, laying off or furloughing staff
- Death of a parent or spouse
- Lost income due to illness, a quarantine period, or shelter-in-place order
- Medical expenses not covered by insurance
The circumstances mentioned above are examples, however, other circumstances may be considered. Students may contact the Office of Financial Assistance to discuss their individual circumstances to determine eligibility for an adjustment. The forms needed to make a special conditions request are below.
Thank you for your interest in contacting the Office of Financial Assistance! We are available to connect virtually from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Students with Gateway Login Information:
Prospective students and those without a Gateway account:
Call our office at (210) 436-3141 to schedule an appointment with a Financial Aid Counselor.
If you need to submit documents, please submit the online form in Gateway.
The Office of Financial Assistance connects students and families with the financial resources required to finance a St. Mary’s education. Our staff works personally with students and their families to explain available options and help them to choose the best methods to meet the cost of attendance.
The purpose of this site is to provide you and your family with some of the information needed to get you started on the financial aid process. It is not intended to replace the personal and professional attention that the Office of Financial Assistance takes pride in providing to students and families.
If you have any questions or concerns, our counselors will be glad to assist you.
Do I have to apply for financial aid each year?
Yes, your eligibility for financial aid is not automatic each year. You must complete a new FAFSA for each academic year by the March 1 priority deadline. The FAFSA is now made available each October for the next academic year. For example, the 2018-2019 FAFSA form is made available on Oct. 1, 2017.
The FAFSA can be submitted with estimated income information and once your tax documents are filed with the IRS, you can update the correct figures on your FAFSA.
What is St. Mary’s FAFSA code?
How do I check the status of my FAFSA application?
- Go to the FAFSA and click on the “Returning User” button.
- Log in with your FSA username/password.
I forgot my PIN. How do I get one?
The Federal Student Aid PIN was replaced with the FSA ID on May 10, 2015. The new FSA ID consists of a user-created username and password to electronically access personal information on Federal Student Aid Web sites, including FAFSA on the Web. You can use your FSA ID immediately to sign your FAFSA, but must wait for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to verify your information before you can use the FSA ID to create a renewal FAFSA, make corrections to your FAFSA, or view your SAR.
I forgot my FSA ID. How do I get one?
If you have forgotten your username or password, don’t worry. On FAFSA login pages, you’ll find links that give you the option of retrieving your username or password through your verified e-mail address or by successfully answering your challenge questions.
Is the FAFSA application the only application St. Mary’s requires for applying for financial aid?
Yes. St. Mary’s does not require any additional application for financial aid.
How do I compare financial aid offers from several schools?
You should be comparing “apples to apples” instead of “apples to oranges.” Financial aid is awarded in two primary categories: gift aid and self-help. Gift aid consists of financial aid that does not have to be repaid or earned. Examples include grants and/or scholarships awarded by the institution. Self-help is comprised of student loans and/or work-study. Examples include the Stafford loan and the Federal Perkins loan.
Some institutions may inflate your financial aid offer by including an alternative loan (such as a parent loan and/or private loans). St. Mary’s University does not pre-package these loans since this is a family decision and most, if not all, are based on a credit check. In your comparison of financial aid offers, you should only consider similar programs.
If you and your family decide to pursue these alternative loans, St. Mary’s University can assist you in the application process. Keep in mind that you are deciding where you will attend college for the next four to five years. Renewability of financial aid programs will vary from year to year, but the types and quantity should be consistent provided your family’s finances, size, meeting priority deadlines and your academic success are also consistent from year to year.
I transferred from another university. Does my financial aid transfer to St. Mary’s?
No, your financial aid will not transfer. Your financial aid eligibility is determined at St. Mary’s. If you have already filed a FAFSA for the academic year you will be attending, you will not need to submit a new FAFSA. You must add our Title IV code to your existing FAFSA. Access your current FAFSA at www.fafsa.gov and add 003623 to the list of schools so that we receive your FAFSA information.
How do I apply for scholarships?
Academic scholarships are awarded by the Office of Undergraduate Admission during the admission process. Priority consideration is given to students who apply by January 15. Students are also encouraged to seek additional scholarship opportunities in their communities.
How do I accept my St. Mary’s University financial aid offer?
Review the letter detailing your financial aid offer, then sign and return it to us promptly. You can also accept your offered financial aid via Gateway.
In addition, you’ll need to choose St. Mary s University by making your enrollment deposit and residence hall deposit, if you will be living on campus. Then, attend an orientation session and register for classes (most financial aid programs require full-time enrollment).
What is an Award Letter?
The award letter is the official notification of the types and amounts of financial aid offered you. If you are a new student at St. Mary’s, you will receive an official award letter by U.S. mail and it can also be viewed electronically via Gateway. All continuing students access their award letters on-line via Gateway.
Will I receive more financial aid If I live off-campus?
No. If you decide to live off campus, you will not receive any additional assistance.
Why does my friend have more financial aid than I do?
In awarding financial aid, we consider several factors:
- When was your financial aid file completed?
- How much financial need do you have?
- How much does your family make and what is the size of your family?
- What is your cumulative grade point average? If all things were equal, awards would be similar. Typically this is not the case; therefore, awards vary for each student.
Do I need to complete any additional requirements if I have accepted the loans, work study, or any scholarships/grants on my award letter?
Yes, all loans requires a MPN (Master Promissory Note) and Entrance Counseling Session to be completed in order for your funds to be released to St. Mary’s. These requirements are only required for first-time borrowers at St. Mary’s. The link to access the MPN and Entrance Counseling Session will be available once the loans are accepted under the Requirements tab under Gateway.
How do I receive a work-study assignment?
Work-study is awarded as part of the financial aid award; however, it is not automatically assigned. If you are eligible for federal work-study, you will receive an email from our office providing the ApplicantPro link with the available openings so that you can apply.
How do I report an outside scholarship to St. Mary’s?
Send our office a copy of your scholarship notification letter as soon as you can so that we can update your financial aid award with this additional resource and provide this information to the Business Office to assist you in determining your balance owed.
What happens if I drop below full-time status?
It depends on when you make the change. We award undergraduate financial aid on the basis of full-time enrollment (and full-time charges). If you drop during the tuition credit period, you will no longer be charged full-time tuition, which is what your aid is designed to cover. In this situation your aid will be reduced.
If you drop after the tuition credit period, your aid will not be changed. However, to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress, students must complete 67 percent of the hours attempted. Please review the information under the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) section of our web page.
I would like my loan information. Where do I find that?
- Go to www.nslds.ed.gov and click the “Financial Aid Review” button.
- You need your active PIN to access this information (see question above if you forgot your PIN).
- Need additional information? Review NSLDS for contact information with your loan servicers.
What if I have more questions?
You may contact our office at 210-436-3141 or 1-800-367-7868. We are located in St. Louis Hall, Suite 301. Normal business hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Financial Aid FAQs
The Basics of Financial Aid
The theory underlying the financial aid system is that parents and students contribute to the cost of college attendance to the extent they are able. If they are unable to contribute the entire amount, financial aid is available to meet the remaining cost.
The basic formula to determine financial aid eligibility or need is:
Cost of Attendance
– Expected Family Contribution
= Financial Need
Keep in mind, students from families of all income levels can demonstrate financial need based upon their particular circumstances. Most students who apply are eligible.
St. Mary’s students have the opportunity to take advantage of free confidential financial coaching. We understand handling your finances and paying for college takes much planning and consideration. Our partnership with AIE provides our students a wealth of information in financial education.
For more details and links to important consumer information and institutional practices and reports, please visit our compliance page.