Frequently Asked Questions
- What types of financial aid are available?
- My FAFSA was selected for verification. When will be verification be complete?
The time it takes to complete the verification process varies depending upon the time of year. During our peak season of May to September, it may take several weeks to complete the verification process after we have received your documents. It is best to turn in your documentation as soon as possible to ensure that your financial aid is applied to your bill before the billing due date.
See FAFSA for more information.
- My financial situation has changed and is not reflected on the FAFSA. Can my aid be adjusted?
In some cases, your financial aid can be adjusted if you have extreme changes to your financial situation such as the loss of a parent or spouse due to death or divorce, or the loss of a job. If you have had drastic changes to your income, and the numbers on the FAFSA do not reflect the changes, please send us an email or letter describing the changes. Please be sure to include amounts that have changed. Your financial aid counselor will then determine if your situation merits requesting documentation. When your counselor has the requested documents, he/she will recalculate your aid and notify you of your new financial aid award package. Please note that special condition appeals are considered based on federal regulations and professional judgment policies.
- I submitted documentation for a special condition request. When should I expect to hear the results?
Special condition requests may take up to eight to 10 weeks during the summer months. Please be sure to submit all documentation as quickly as possible to help expedite the process.
- Who's my parent when I fill out the FAFSA?
Printable pdf version: FAFSA-Parent
- I submitted my FAFSA by the January 2 (freshmen) or April 1 (upperclassmen) deadline. Why have I not been offered any financial aid?
You should receive an email in your Clemson account with instructions for accessing your financial aid around the first week of April (freshmen) or by mid-June (upperclassmen). You must include Clemson University as a school on your FAFSA. Please also check your financial aid status in iROAR to see if you have any missing requirements under the Financial Aid Eligibility tab. If your academic progress is unsatisfactory, you are ineligible for federal aid and may consider appealing if you had extenuating circumstances that affected your grades.
- What does my “EFC” mean on the FAFSA?
The expected family contribution (EFC) is assigned to you after you submit the FAFSA. It is an index that tells us the types of aid for which you are eligible. It is not the amount you are expected to pay (your out-of-pocket expenses may be significantly more or less), but it allows us to see what aid we can offer you based on federal regulations and our policies.
- How will Clemson know that I have financial need?
We determine your need based on the information found in your FAFSA, so your first step should be completing the FAFSA and listing Clemson as one of your college choices. (Federal School Code 003425.) A federal formula will determine your financial situation compared to Clemson's cost of attendance.
Grants & Loans
- Will I qualify for a federal grant?
Students with significant need might be eligible for the Federal Pell Grant and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG). These grants are awarded to students whose families have very few resources for college, according to the results of their FAFSA. For example, a dependent student in a family of four whose parents’ adjusted gross income is less than $30,000 would be likely to receive federal grant assistance. Eligibility is determined by Federal law and varies depending on family size, number of children in college, assets, the parents' and/or student's income.
- Will I have to take out student loans?
Fewer than half of Clemson’s graduates borrow funds to finance part of their education. However, subsidized or low-interest loans can be a good resource to meet college costs that are not covered by scholarships or other resources. Undergraduate students with financial need may be eligible for the Federal Direct Subsidized Loan. For parents who need assistance with the remainder of college costs, the Federal Direct PLUS Loan application is available online at studentaid.gov.
A graduate student who completes a FAFSA is eligible for the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan. If additional funding is needed and within the cost of attendance, a graduate student may also be eligible to apply for the Federal Direct GradPLUS Loan on studentaid.gov.
Almost all applicants are eligible for some type of loan assistance, regardless of income level or creditworthiness.
- I just accepted my Federal Direct Loans, and I am expecting a refund. When should I receive it?
During peak seasons, it may take several weeks to process Federal Direct Loans. Your loan must be approved by the federal government before it is paid to your bill. When it is paid to your bill, Student Financial Services will process your refund, usually on a weekly basis. Please note that no funds will pay to your bill until 10 days before classes start, and you will not receive a refund before the first day of classes.
- I am applying for a private loan, and the lender said they are waiting on school certification. What does that mean?
Part of processing a private loan requires that our office sends the lender a school certification to confirm the amount you can receive based on your cost of attendance. There are several steps involved in the process so it may be several weeks before your loan is processed and approved for disbursement to your student bill. Typically, we will receive a request for school certification approximately 1 week after you have completed the lender's application process, including any borrower or co-borrower requirements, and your credit has been pre-approved. Our standard processing of private loans requires that your account be reviewed for federal, state, and institutional aid first. This means any outstanding requirements, such as being selected for the Verification Process on your FAFSA, must be completed so that your eligibility for other aid can be determined. You should respond to all requests for additional information promptly to ensure all aid, including loans, are processed as quickly as possible.
Once your file is complete and your eligibility for other aid has been determined, your loan will be certified and submitted to your lender within approximately one to two weeks. Your lender will send you a disbursement notification that will include the earliest disbursement date permitted by federal regulations. The standard time from final approval to actual disbursement is approximately 10-15 days.
Please note that your loan approval will need to be finalized before the loan is applied to the bill. If it is not finalized by the billing deadline and you have an outstanding balance, your payment will be considered late, and any consequences of late payment (e.g., late fee and class cancellation) will be applied.
- I just applied for a private loan, and I am expecting a refund. When should I expect to receive it?
During the months of May to September, it may take several weeks to process and obtain approvals for private loans. After receiving the lender’s final approval, a memo credit may be applied to your bill until the funds are received if the final approval is received before the scheduled memo expiration date. Memo credits are set to expire and are no longer issued around the mid-term of each semester. Additionally, memo credits will not generate a refund. A refund will not be generated until Clemson receives the actual disbursement from the lender. The standard time from final approval to actual disbursement is approximately 10-15 days. The student and/or co-borrower must complete all paperwork (promissory note/final loan disclosures) before the loan will be scheduled for disbursement.
Private Loan lenders must abide by federal regulations that require specific loan disclosures and mandated borrower waiting and rescission periods. Based on their federal obligations, the lenders’ schedule the earliest actual disbursement date. This is the reason for the 10-15 day delay in receiving an actual disbursement of loan funds.
When disbursements are paid to your bill that exceed your balance due, Student Financial Services will process your refund. Please note that no funds will pay to your bill until 10 days before classes start, and you will not receive a refund before the first day of classes.
- How much does Clemson cost?
- What are my payment options?
To avoid lump sum payments, families should consider the University’s payment plan options. Clemson University also accepts eCheck payments for FREE or credit card payments through VISA, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express. A 2.85% non-refundable fee will be assessed at the time of the transaction for all credit card payments. Families who pay all or part of their tuition with loans or with their own resources might qualify for federal tax credits, such as the HOPE Scholarship Tax Credit or the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit, which reduces the amount of federal income tax due the following year.
- Can I work to pay part of my costs?
Yes! There are student jobs and UPIC internships available online through the Center for Career and Professional Development. If you are a student with significant financial need based on your FAFSA, you may be eligible to receive Federal Work-Study (FWS) aid as part of your financial aid package. Once you have accepted this part of your financial aid package, you will receive an email in July which explains how to apply for jobs of interest on the FWS website. Federal Work-study employees typically work 10-12 hours per week. All University employees, including student workers, will be paid twice per month.
General Financial Aid
- When should I apply for financial aid?
Entering freshmen are automatically considered for Academic Recruiting Scholarships if they apply for admission by December 1 and the admissions process is completed by December 31. Continuing undergraduate students are also automatically considered for University scholarships. See the information above regarding "What are my chances for receiving a scholarship?".
You should submit the FAFSA as soon as possible after October 1 each year. In order to be considered for need-based scholarships, the Federal Supplemental Opportunity Education Grant (SEOG), Federal Work-Study, and the S.C. Need-Based Grant, you must submit your FAFSA by the priority deadline of January 2 for freshmen and April 1 for upperclassmen. All of our recommended deadlines are listed here.
- When will I hear about my financial aid package?
If you are an incoming freshman who applies by the admission deadline, then you will be notified of any Academic Recruiting Scholarships by the first week of March. If you meet our priority deadline of January 2 for completing the FAFSA, then your federal aid and other need-based aid will also be awarded by the first week of March as well. For upperclassmen, you will receive notification about your financial aid package after spring semester grades are posted for all students. We do continue to process aid during the summer and even after the fall semester starts. You can apply at any time, but remember that some programs have deadlines, and it may take several weeks for your aid to be available.
When your financial aid package is available on the iROAR portal, you will receive notification through your Clemson email account. If your financial aid awards are in an "Offered" status on the iROAR portal, you must accept them before the aid will be applied to your bill.
When Clemson awards a Federal Direct Loan, you will have the opportunity to accept, reduce or decline the offer. Before your Federal Direct Loan(s) can be finalized, you will need to sign the Master Promissory Note and complete the Entrance Counseling on studentaid.gov if it is your first loan. Be careful to read and follow the instructions on any form or email that you receive regarding financial aid.
If necessary, Clemson might ask you to submit additional information and/or copies of your family's IRS Tax Return Transcripts for a federally mandated process called Verification. To speed up processing, please respond as quickly as you can, and make sure all forms are signed and complete. We will process your aid as soon as possible, but we must follow strict federal guidelines if your application is selected for review. No federal aid will be confirmed for disbursement until the verification process is complete, which may take several weeks.
- How many times am I allowed to retake a course and receive Federal Aid (i.e., Federal Pell Grant and Federal Student Loans)?
If you haven’t passed the course previously, you can take the course and receive federal funds granted you are making Satisfactory Academic Progress. You may only repeat the same course once if you have earned a grade of D or better. Further, a second retake of a course could affect your enrollment status for federal aid and may affect your Pell Grant and student loan eligibility.
- I am taking summer courses and would like to use my remaining financial aid to cover the cost. What do I need to do?
Please submit the summer enrollment form. The summer enrollment form is normally available online in March/April prior to the start of summer school. Please note that you will not be offered additional financial aid for the summer automatically. If you did not accept the entire amount of Federal Direct Loans offered to you in the fall and the spring, or if you progressed to a higher grade level with a higher annual loan limit you may use the remaining amount in the summer. If you participated in a co-op, you may be eligible to receive un-used scholarships in the summer as long as you are enrolled in at least 12 hours. Please be sure you are meeting the annual amount of credit hours required for each of your scholarships when enrolling in summer courses.
- I received my financial aid letter, but my aid is not credited to the bill. What do I need to do?
No funds will pay to your bill until 10 days before classes start, and you will not receive a refund before the first day of classes. Your financial aid will show as an estimated amount before that time. If it is after that time, please check the following items:
First, please make sure you have submitted all documents under the Eligibility section under the Financial Aid tab in iROAR. Some items may take several weeks to process, depending on the time of year. We cannot pay your financial aid to your bill until all required items have been processed.
Next, check your Financial Aid Status. If your academic progress is unsatisfactory, you are ineligible to receive federal aid, and you should consider appealing if you have extenuating circumstances that affected your grades.
If your financial aid status is satisfactory and you have no outstanding documents, be sure you have accepted all of your individual awards. To accept your awards, log into your iROAR account and go to the Award section under the Financial Aid tab. Then select Award for Aid Year which will prompt you to select a specific academic year. The next screen will have several tabs. You should select the Accept Award Offer tab and accept or decline the individual awards.
- How will a co-op or internship affect my financial aid?
Most types of financial aid require that you are enrolled in courses full-time. If you are not enrolled in any credit hours during your co-op or internship, you cannot use financial aid during that semester. You can receive a partial Pell Grant if you enroll less than full-time, and you can receive Federal Direct Loans if you are enrolled at least half-time. If you are in a co-op or internship during one semester, you cannot use the full-year amount of your aid in the semester during which you are enrolled in courses full-time. However, you can defer most scholarships to a later semester if you stay at Clemson for more than eight semesters and continue to meet the eligibility requirements. Please notify our office if you participate in a co-op or internship so we can adjust your aid accordingly.
- I have more questions, where can I find help?
Call the financial aid office at 864-656-2280, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us at G-01 Sikes Hall. Our fax number is 864-656-1831 if needed.
- Any other advice?
With all the forms, deadlines and acronyms that are involved, financial aid can seem very confusing. Your best strategy is to apply early, read and follow all instructions, keep copies of documents and respond promptly to follow-up requests. Please call on us at 864-656-2280 or visit us in G-01 Sikes Hall if you have concerns.