Financial Aid Terms and Conditions

To apply for federal, state, and Howard University student aid programs students must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) annually to be considered for each academic year. A student has the right to decline all or a portion of any aid offered. By accepting financial aid awards, the student agrees to comply with the terms and conditions listed in the Howard University Terms and Conditions information.

The terms and conditions information is subject to change as a result of action by federal and/or state governments, the trustees of Howard University, and the Administration of Howard University. Questions concerning the content of the terms and conditions information should be directed to the Howard University Office of Financial Aid.

Financial Aid Definitions

Financial Aid Conditions

Billing and Disbursement Process

Financial Aid Definitions (What does that mean?)

Howard University has a strong tradition of helping students finance their undergraduate education. The following definitions should help students/families understand some of the terms used in financial aid programs.

Types of Aid

Scholarships and Grants: Scholarships and grants are financial aid that does not have to be repaid or earned through employment and is awarded on the basis of merit and/or need.

Educational Loans: Loans are a type of aid that is borrowed money to help cover the costs of attending college and must be repaid. Student loan programs offer low interest rates and are not repaid until after students graduate (or drop below half-time status). Parent loan programs offer the parents the opportunity to borrow to assist with educational expenses.

Work-Study (WS): Work Study is state and federal employment programs that subsidize wages for needy students to help them pay for educational expense.

Cost of Attendance

Estimated Cost of Attendance: is used to determine your need for financial aid and to prepare an aid package budget. This includes estimates for fixed costs such as fees and tuition and allowances for variable costs such as books and supplies, housing and food, transportation, dependent care and personal expenses (including expenses that are not billed by the University).

Tuition/Fees: are estimated on the Financial Aid Award Notice and are to be paid directly to the University .This Financial Aid Award Notice is not a tuition/fees bill. You will receive a bill for the amount due from the Bursar's Office after you register for classes. Electronic bills for the fall term are emailed to students in July. See

Books/Supplies: an expense allowance for the materials required for class.

Housing/Food: is an expense allowance for food and shelter while living on campus, off campus or commuting from home during the period of enrollment. Expenses for housing and food and how they are paid will vary depending on where you will live. Charges for University housing are assessed by the University according to the residence hall and meal plan selected and are billed by the Bursar.

Transportation: a personal expense allowance for travel back and forth from permanent place of residence and around campus.

Dependent Care: an expense allowance for students with dependents who may incur dependent care expenses to enable them to attend classes.

Personal Expenses: a personal allowance for miscellaneous expenses such as clothing, laundry, recreation, cell phones and personal hygiene.

Loan Fees: an expense allowance based on fees charged to the loan borrower.

Calculating Aid Eligibility

Expected Family Contribution (EFC): represents the amount you and your parents (if classified as a dependent student), or you (if classified as an independent student) and your spouse (if married) are expected to be able to provide to help meet your expenses for the enrollment period. You will not receive a bill for the EFC. Your EFC was calculated using a federal formula based on information you and your family provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and other documents submitted to our office.

Parental Contribution (PC): represents the parent portion of the EFC for dependent students.

Student Contribution (SC): represents the student portion of the EFC.

Total Financial Aid Eligibility: is the sum of the assistance for which you are eligible.

Total Financial Need: is calculated by subtracting the EFC. From the Cost of Attendance.

Unmet Financial Need: is the difference between your need and total aid that is considered in meeting your financial need.

Award Messages: provide information and/or conditions of a particular type of aid, assumptions we have made in determining your eligibility, actions you need to take, reasons for revisions, etc. Read these messages carefully and take any action that may be required. These messages are found on your award Notice (or if there is a student portal there)

Financial Aid Conditions

By accepting your financial aid awards, you agree to comply with the terms and conditions listed below and within the Financial Aid Award Notice.

  1. I understand that my financial aid eligibility is determined in accordance with laws, regulations and appropriations (existing or anticipated) of the U.S. Congress, the State Superintendent of Education, Howard University, and other donors.
  2. I understand that my financial aid eligibility is subject to adjustment or cancellation in the event changes occur in laws, regulations or appropriations during the period of my award.
  3. I agree to notify the Office of Financial Aid (OFA) of the sources and amount of my financial assistance that I may receive from other sources including scholarships, loans, counsellorships, assistantships, fellowships, educational benefits, etc., which do not appear on my Financial Aid Award Notice. I further understand that if additional assistance reduces my eligibility, an adjustment in my awards may be necessary. This adjustment may include the return of loan funds to my lender or the necessity to repay other types of assistance already received.
  4. I understand that my aid eligibility is based on the financial information provided by me and/or my family, and that it is subject to adjustment or cancellation if changes occur or if errors are subsequently discovered.
  1. I understand that in order to receive financial aid I must be making satisfactory academic progress toward my degree as described in the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.
  2. I understand Pell Grant eligibility is limited to the equivalent of 12 full-time (12 or more credit hours) semesters.
  3. Unless otherwise indicated in the message section of my Financial Aid Award Notice, I understand that I must be enrolled full-time to receive all of my financial aid awards (12 credit hours each semester as an undergraduate; 9 credit hours each semester as a graduate or professional student).
  4. If I withdraw from the University, stop attending classes before the end of the term or do not initiate course participation in any classes, I understand that I may be expected to repay all or a portion of my aid funds. I agree to follow the Howard University withdrawal procedures available from the  Dean or advisory center of each college.
  5. I understand that I must meet repayment obligations on any educational loan and repay any financial aid funds due as a result of withdrawal or an overaward situation, or I will not be eligible for future financial aid and I may have a hold placed on my University records.
  6. I understand that I may have to take additional action before my aid will be finalized (on my Financial Aid Award Notice) if an award is listed as "anticipated" or "estimated." Furthermore, I understand that no funds will be disbursed from these aid types until all required actions are completed.
  7. I understand that if I am a transfer student my aid eligibility is subject to adjustment or cancellation based on information received regarding aid usage at my previous institution.
  8. If I am offered and accept Work-Study (WS), I understand it is my responsibility to secure a WS position, turn in all required forms to my employer and earn my award money in wages paid by my employer, as described on the Federal Work-Study page.
  9. If I accept a loan, I understand that I am required to sign a promissory note. I understand I am fully responsible for repaying the loan and meeting all other terms and conditions of the loan, including notifying the lender or loan servicer if I move or change my address or if I change my name.
  10. I understand that I must not be in default on any federal education loans or owe any refunds on federal funds that I have received at Howard or any other post-secondary institution.
  11. I understand that if I want to borrow from the Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized or PLUS Loan programs or borrow private loans; I must follow the instructions provided with the Financial Aid Award Notice. I also understand that Federal PLUS and private loans require a credit check before any application will be processed and that I am responsible for any balance owed if a loan is denied.
  12. I understand that I must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year that I wish to be considered for financial aid.
  13. I understand that eligibility for all student aid will be based on the number of credit hours in which I am enrolled as of the end of the add drop period for classes of each semester.
  14. I understand that the OFA communicates updates and important reminders via email to a student's Howard email account. It is important to read any email from as this is the listed sender for all OFA email contacts. It is also important to read any email from list bursar email for important financial aid disbursement information.
  15. As a student loan borrower I have the right to:
    • Written information on my loan obligations and information on my rights and responsibilities as a borrower
    • A payment grace period and explanation of what this term means
    • A disclosure statement received before I begin to repay my loan that includes information about interest rates, fees, the balance I owe and the number of payments
    • Deferment of repayment for certain defined periods, if I qualify and if I request it
    • Forbearance if I qualify and if I request it
    • Prepayment of my loan in whole or in part any time without an early-repayment penalty
    • A copy of my promissory note either before or at the time my loan is disbursed
    • Documentation that my loan is paid in full


Billing and Disbursement Process

By accepting your financial aid awards, you agree to comply with the terms and conditions listed below and within the Financial Aid Award Notice.

  1. Estimated Aid is an estimate of available financial aid funds temporarily assigned to the student's account before disbursement occurs. This allows for a more accurate reflection of term balances due based upon the anticipated financial aid. Payments will not be released to the student prior to the receipt of anticipated funds and the "estimated award" becomes an "actual award."
  2. Disbursement is the process by which assigned aid is actually placed on the student’s account. Refunding is the process where the student receives payment of funds from their financial aid in excess of bills and fees due the University.
  3. Students must be officially registered for the semester and meet enrollment criteria (i.e., full-time enrollment) before any financial aid funds will be disbursed. Financial aid funds will be credited to the student's account in the following sequence; a) tuition and fees; b) University housing (if applicable); c) authorized miscellaneous charges (if applicable).
  4. If aid funds remain after tuition/fees and University housing (if applicable) accounts, and any authorized miscellaneous charges are paid for the semester, the Bursar's Office will issue a refund to the student no earlier than the week prior to the beginning of each semester.
  5. The University estimates your eligibility for aid from the Federal Pell Grant. These estimated awards will be used to defer amounts due to the University. Adjustments will be made to the amount assigned to the student's account if the amount of the estimated award differs from the amount of the actual award when finalized. Additionally, if the estimated award is not finalized, the student will be billed by the University. IMPORTANT: Students seeking to drop classes below 12 semester hours for undergraduates or 9 semester hours for graduate students after financial aid awards have been disbursed, and before the end of the add/drop period, should speak to a financial aid counselor regarding their course load; the reduced hours could result in a loss or reduction of their award package.
  6. Award amounts from the Federal Direct Loan Program will also be estimated in order to temporarily defer amounts due to the University when a loan application has been processed by the OFA. If a student does not complete the loan process, they will be billed for the estimated award assigned toward amounts due to the University.
  7. Student Loans accepted by the student will appear as "estimated aid" and credit the bill in anticipation of their arrival. Funds from Federal Direct and PLUS Loan programs cannot be disbursed until the Bursar's Office receives the funds from the Federal Government.
  8. PLUS loan funds will be reflected on the student's account as a credit toward tuition/fees and University housing (if applicable), and any authorized miscellaneous charges.
  9. Special handling is required to process private loan checks received in the form of a paper check made payable to the borrower and the University. In these instances, the paper check will be sent to the borrower, and the student will be responsible for payment of outstanding amounts due to the University.
  10. Academic year Federal Direct Loam and PLUS funds will be disbursed in two equal installments; however, a student may make a request to the Office of Financial Aid to change an academic year Direct loan to a one-semester loan. If the loan period on the student's Federal Direct or Federal PLUS application is for the academic year, the loan funds will be released at the beginning of each semester.
  11. Howard University offers direct deposit for excess aid (the portion after University housing or authorized miscellaneous charges are paid) directly to the student's U.S. checking or savings account. This is the safest and quickest way to have excess funds deposited, and students are notified via email when their deposit has been made. Students can sign up for direct deposit by logging in to their Howard account. For a download of detailed instructions, visit the Bursar website. Students not choosing direct deposit will receive a University check mailed to their local address, which could take 7-10 business days. Because of the delivery method, it is important to keep local and home address information current at all times in the University registration system.
  12. Federal Work-Study funds are not "credited" to a student account; these funds are earned and paid for hours worked on a biweekly basis through Howard's Payroll Department. 
  13. If a student's aid is increased for any reason after the initial disbursement, subsequent payments are refunded by the Bursar's Office. If aid is decreased, a bill may be created listing the current amount due. Failure to pay the amount due will result in a hold placed upon the student account, which can affect future aid eligibility and registration.
  14. Actual scholarship funds from a donor outside the University will be credited to a student account in the same manner as noted in item 3. Funds from scholarship donors outside the University will not apply to University charges prior to the receipt of funds. Please allow 3-5 business days from the time Howard receives a check from a donor for funds to appear on a student's account.
  15. Federal and state aid disbursements are subject to federal and state refund policies; more information on refund policy is available at refund policy site.
  16. Students/parents awarded Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized or Direct PLUS loans have the right to cancel or reduce the loan awarded. Students can contact the Office of Financial Aid to cancel a loan prior to the loan's disbursement. Follow the instructions provided by the Bursar's Office to request a cancellation after loan disbursement.