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Student Financial Aid

Maintain Your Aid Eligibility 

You’ve met the criteria and received financial aid. This is your guide to maintaining your scholarships, grants and loans throughout your academic journey at Clemson.

Your First Step to Financial Aid — the FAFSA 

Your first step to financial aid is to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online and include Clemson University's school code (003425) so that our office receives your information. To be considered for need-based scholarships, we must receive your FAFSA before March 1 for first-year students and April 1 for continuing students. New students do not need acceptance from admissions before applying for financial aid.

You should complete a FAFSA as early as possible every year after it opens in December to ensure the maximum award. Please review FAFSA Tips & Common Mistakes to Avoid provided by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA).

Aid Eligibility Factors  

  • Financial Need 

    How Financial Need is Determined  

    Cost of Attendance – Student Aid Index (SAI) number – Outside Scholarships and Other Resources = Financial Aid Need

    Cost of attendance is determined each year by the University and includes tuition and fees, housing, food, books, course materials, supplies, travel expenses and cost of living expenses. This number is only for planning purposes and for determining your financial need, which will differ from your actual Clemson bill and will vary with each student. It is important to note, however, that the total amount of financial aid a student receives cannot exceed the cost of attendance.  

    The Student Aid Index (SAI) is determined by the Department of Education using your FAFSA information. This is based on a need-analysis formula calculated from information provided by you and your contributor(s0 on your FAFSA.

    When Student Aid Index (SAI) is More Than the Maximum Pell Grant Amount 

    If your SAI is greater than the maximum Pell grant amount, then you don’t qualify for need-based aid. However, there are other financial aid programs available regardless of your financial need, such as the unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan, the Federal Parent PLUS loan and private loans. 

  • Verification

    Verification is the process mandated by the U.S. Department of Education to ensure the accuracy of data submitted by applicants for federal financial aid. The Office of Student Financial Aid is charged with the responsibility of requesting various documents needed to verify an applicant’s financial information. 

    If you are Selected for Verification 

    If you are selected for verification for the current academic year, the documents you need to complete will be available on your account under Financial Aid in the iROAR portal. The documents will appear as Unsatisfied Requirements under the Eligibility tab. Please be sure to check your email and iROAR account regularly until verification is complete because additional information may be required.

    How to Submit Verification Information

    Our office prefers the use of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on FAFSA to provide your tax return information.

    Alternatively, you may submit an IRS Tax Return Transcript. To request the IRS Tax Return Transcript, you may go to the IRS website and click “Get Transcript ONLINE” or "Get Transcript by MAIL." Mailed transcripts will arrive seven to 10 days after the request has been made.  

    Please note an IRS Account Transcript is not the same as the IRS Return Transcript and will not be accepted.

    Verification documentation must be submitted through the secure uploads located within the iROAR portal. Please ensure the student’s name and Clemson University ID number are on all documentation submitted to our office. 

    Please keep in mind that communications via email over the internet are not secure.

  • Dependency Review 

    For financial aid purposes, you must meet one of the following requirements to be considered independent.  

    • You are 24 years or older.
    • You are legally married.
    • You are an orphan or ward of the court.
    • You were in foster care or legal guardianship as determined by the court.
    • You were determined to be an unaccompanied youth or homeless.
    • You are working on a graduate or professional degree.
    • You are serving active duty or are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces.
    • You have a child for whom you provide more than half the support or
    • You have a dependent (other than a child or spouse) for whom you provide more than half the support.

    Additional details and information on these requirements can be found on the FAFSA. If you do not meet one of the above requirements, then your parents’ financial information will be considered when determining your SAI, regardless of living arrangements, family disagreements or your parents’ unwillingness to contribute to your education costs. 

  • Degree-Seeking Status

    To qualify for federal financial aid, you must apply and be accepted into a degree-seeking program at Clemson University. Most types of financial aid require a student to enroll in at least half-time credits each semester. Half-time status for undergraduate students is defined as six credit hours. Half-time status for graduate students is defined as five credit hours. Enrollment in courses that do not apply to your program of study may not count toward your enrollment status for financial aid purposes.

    View the Degree-Seeking Status Policy

Determine Your Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Status 

Your Satisfactory Academic Progress status is listed on your iROAR account. Select the “Financial Aid” tab, then click on “My Financial Aid.” From the main Financial Aid menu, select “Eligibility,” and then click on the “Academic Progress” tab to view your SAP status and requirements, GPA, pacing percentage and attempted credit hours.  

Satisfactory Status 

A “Satisfactory” status means you have met the SAP Requirements to continue receiving your financial aid.  

GPA: Your GPA meets the minimum cumulative GPA requirement according to the number of credit hours you attempted.  

Maximum Timeframe: You are on track to complete your undergraduate degree in fewer than 189 credit hours or graduate degree in fewer than 108 credit hours. 

Pacing: You earned at least 67 percent of the credit hours you attempted in the previous semester.

Warning Status  

In the first semester you do not meet SAP standards, you are assigned a “warning" status. During your “warning” semester, you are fully eligible for federal financial aid for that semester only. If you do not meet SAP standards at the end of your “warning” semester, you will not be eligible for federal financial aid in future semesters unless you appeal and your appeal is granted. 

Unsatisfactory Status

Other than academic forgiveness, there are several reasons your SAP status might be unsatisfactory.

  • You may be meeting the GPA requirement but be deficient in the pace of completion or maximum timeframe requirement. The Academic Progress section in your iROAR account can help you to determine this.

  • Your professor may have resolved an incomplete or changed your grade since Satisfactory Academic Progress was calculated at the end of your last semester attended. In this case, please e-mail for review.

If none of these situations seems to apply, send an e-mail to , and our team will review your account.

  • How to Regain Your “Satisfactory” Status
    1. Explore your resources. 

    Review the Undergraduate SAP Resources or Graduate SAP Resources to determine what on- and off-campus resources might be helpful in your situation and contact these resources directly. We encourage you to use as many resources as possible, as we want to see you succeed in the future. 

    1. Calculate the credits you need.

    Use the Undergraduate SAP Calculator or Graduate SAP Calculator to determine how many credit hours/terms are needed and what GPA you must maintain to meet the requirements in which you are currently deficient.  

    1. Consider transferring credits. 

    Credit hours earned as transfer credits will be added to your Credit Hours Attempted and your Credit Hours Completed. Successfully completing hours elsewhere will improve your pace of completion, but classes taken elsewhere do not make up for GPA deficiencies. Keep in mind that you cannot use financial aid through Clemson for coursework taken at another school. 

    However, if you take classes elsewhere and show significant improvement, this can be considered by the committee as part of an appeal
  • Academic Forgiveness and SAP 

    Due to federal guidelines, we cannot consider academic forgiveness for Satisfactory Academic Progress. If you were not meeting requirements before academic forgiveness, you will still need to appeal using the appeal form and instructions. 

    Keep in mind, when forgiving a D grade, this can hurt your pace of completion for SAP purposes. Generally, if you are not meeting SAP requirements or are close to not meeting SAP requirements, we recommend that you contact us at before using academic forgiveness. We can help you determine if academic forgiveness could hurt your federal aid eligibility in the future. 

Appeal Your SAP Status  

If you are not maintaining SAP, you can appeal your status using the appeal form and instructions. 

To be considered, your appeal must explain why you failed to make SAP and what has changed that will allow you to meet SAP standards at the next evaluation. Appeals can be filed based on academic improvement, death of a family member/close friend, injury or illness of the student, or other special circumstances.  

However, appeals are not automatically approved for any of these reasons. Appeals are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Your documented extenuating circumstances, academic record and plan for improvement are all considered. 

The appeals committee reviews appeals as quickly as possible in the order they are received. During peak processing times, appeals can take three to four weeks to process.