Financial Aid

You must reapply each year

To apply for financial aid at SHSU, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online. The FAFSA form may be obtained online to print at usually in early January. Additional applications or other data forms may be required depending upon the program(s) from which you are awarded funds.

If you do not qualify for assistance under any of the need-based programs, there are alternatives. Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans are available to undergraduate and graduate, independent or dependent students. The PLUS (Parent Loan) is available to undergraduate, dependent students.


Applying for Financial Aid at SHSU

Avoiding Processing Delays

Document Do's and Don'ts

Essential Document

Getting Your Money

Where to Get Information




Applying for Financial Aid at SHSU

  1. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), listing SHSU school code 0003606.
  2. Approximately 3 business days after you submit the online application, the Processing Center will send electronic data to the SHSU Financial Aid & Scholarships Office (FASO).
  3. You will receive the same data in paper form or by email on your Student Aid Report (SAR). Carefully follow the instructions on the SAR form and make corrections if necessary.
  4. If requested by FASO, be prepared to present a signed copy of your and your parent's federal tax returns, child support record, copy of divorce decree, marriage license, copy of your social security card and detailed listing of medical/dental expenses, etc. Veterans should also be prepared to present a copy of the DD Form 214-Report of Separation and a letter from SHSU Veterans Affairs person, located in the Office of the Registrar and/or Veterans Administration, verifying type of VA benefits and monthly amount.
  5. After your electronic data is received, the FASO will:
    • Review electronic file for completion and data integrity.
    • Request additional documents and/or missing information if necessary.
    • Evaluate and Verify Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).
    • If you pass SAP, you will be assigned a Cost of Attendance (COA) expense budget and your financial need will be calculated.
    • Make an Award Package for you based on your academic and financial eligibility and the availability of aid funds.
  1. After preparing an award package, the FASO will email you through your SAM Email account with award details and further instructions.
  2. Award details may also be viewed through the Financial Aid Requirements section of the My Account tab on My Sam.



Avoiding Processing Delays

FAFSA & Renewal Applications

  • Qualifying for Independent Student Designation
    Many students fail to recognize the federal government's strict definition for what is termed an independent student. Those who do not qualify under that definition must submit parental information. Be advised that students who fail to include accurate and complete information regarding parents are subject to lengthy delays and/or rejection of their applications.
  • Include Step-parent's Income Information
    You must include the required information about your step-parent. Read instructions carefully and complete accordingly.
  • Amount of U.S. Income Tax Paid
    This area causes some of the most common errors result in lengthy delays. U.S. income tax paid is not the same thing as income tax withheld. The FAFSA will direct you to the specific tax line for the answer to the income tax question.
  • Earned Income Credit is Untaxed Income
    Another common error causing application processing delays is failing to include earned income credit as untaxed income. This is an oversight on the part of many students and parents, causing a processing delay.
  • Never Abbreviate College References (School Code)
    On Step 6 of the FAFSA (list of colleges selected to receive the data), students often list colleges by initials and/or list the incorrect address. Errors in this area mean that the colleges may not receive you information.
  • To ensure that Sam Houston State University receives you application, write out the name "Sam Houston State University" (do not abbreviate SHSU or shorten to Sam Houston). Additionally, you should list the college code number "003606" for Sam Houston State University.
  • Housing Status in Step 5
    You are asked to indicate your living arrangements while attending college. If you leave the housing question blank, you will automatically be assigned the lowest Cost of Attendance (COA) expense budget. Therefore, if you are uncertain as to where you will live (at the time you are filling out this form), choose the most likely option.
  • Federal Deadline
    The date listed on the FAFSA is the absolute last day that the Federal Processor will process your application. Do not confuse this deadline with SHSU's priority award deadline (November 1).



Document Do's and Don'ts

To Avoid Delays in Your Application

  1. Check the Financial Aid Application matrix below to determine the documents you need to submit for the financial aid you are seeking or check your status in Banner.
  2. Applying for University admission is a separate process and has a separate deadline.
  3. Transient students (those seeking their degrees elsewhere) are not eligible for financial aid at SHSU.
  4. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid can be submitted online at as early as October 1. Submit the FAFSA form to the Federal Processing Center as soon as Income Tax forms are filed. Note the SHSU priority award deadlines.
  5. Read the FAFSA application and instructions before filling it out.
    • Follow all instructions carefully. Make sure you read everything.
    • Complete all pages of the FAFSA form. Do not leave blanks. If an item does not apply, put zero or "N/A" whichever is applicable.
    • Specify the semester(s) for which you are applying. At Sam Houston State University, the summer 1 and 2 sessions are at the end of our award year.
    • Verify your entries for completeness and accuracy.
    • Sign the FAFSA. (If you are dependent, one of your parents must sign).
  1. Keep photocopies of material submitted. It is wise to write down name of the Financial Aid Office personnel, and the date, when submitting forms and/or making an inquiry.
  2. Apply for Financial Aid as early as possible. You may submit your FAFSA before applying for admission to the University. However, you will not be awarded until you have been accepted to SHSU.
  3. Some consulting companies charge a service fee to process aid applications. The Student Financial Aid Office provides the same services free of charge.
  4. Be familiar with the SHSU Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy standards, which all applicants must maintain in order to receive financial aid.
  5. Applying for financial assistance does not guarantee that funds will be available before the first payment date.  Please refer to the Bursar's Office information for payment deadlines. 



Essential Document

Check the Financial Aid Application Forms Chart to determine which documents you need to submit according to the type of financial aid you are seeking.

After October 1st complete either the FAFSA , Renewal Application, or Electronic Application and forward to the Processing Center early enough to be received at SHSU by the November 1, priority award deadline. If you submit your FAFSA application after November 1, your aid may not be available until after the beginning of the fall semester.

Applying for admission is a separate process and has a separate deadline. Note: Transient students are not eligible for financial aid at SHSU.


Tax Transcripts
Federal Grants State Grants


Federal Direct Loans *
Federal Direct Parent Loan


Federal Perkins Loan *













* Required for applications selected for verification and for certain independent students.



Getting Your Money

Your Rights and Responsibilities

You have the right to know ...

  • Which financial aid programs are available.
  • The deadline for submitting applications for each of the programs.
  • How financial aid will be distributed, how decisions on distribution are made, and the basis for these decisions.
  • How financial need is determined. (How costs for tuition, fees, room, board, transportation, books and supplies, personal and miscellaneous expenses are considered in your budget).
  • What resources (current assets, parental contribution, other financial aid, etc.) Are considered in the calculation of need.
  • How much financial need, as determined by the institution, has been met.
  • The details of the various programs in the student aid package.
  • What portion of the financial aid is a grant and what portion is a loan that must be repaid. For a loan, the interest rate, the total amount that must be repaid, and the date repayment is to begin.

Method of Disbursement

Disbursement of funds to eligible students is made in equal installments, one in the Fall and one in the Spring.  Loan funds are always disbursed in two payments, even if you applied for only one semester. 

Funds from the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Texas Public Educational Grant, and the Federal Perkins Loan are credited to the student's actual costs at the time of registration. If the creditable amount of aid is less than the minimum due, the student must be prepared to pay the difference.

In those cases where the amount of aid applied exceeds charges, the balance will be paid to the student through the student's Bearkat OneCard profile. Students have two options for receipt of funds: (a) Bearkat OneCard deposit or (b) direct deposit to existing bank account. For more information on refund options, please contact the Bearkat OneCard office at (936) 294-2273.

Delayed Disbursement

Proceeds from the Federal Direct Loan may or may not be available during the late registration payment period. It depends upon whether or not the office has completed the loan certification process, which is different from being awarded a loan. It also depends on whether or not the government has processed the application and delivered the funds to SHSU. We encourage students to have alternate sources of funds available in case loan proceeds are delayed.

Student Eligibility

All students receiving assistance from any of the federal and state financial aid programs must meet specific program requirements. Generally, these include being enrolled on at least a half-time basis (6 semester hours), making Satisfactory Academic Progress toward the completion of a degree, and being a U.S. citizen or eligible nonresident. Transient students are not eligible for aid.

Definition of "Transient Student"

Student attending SHSU now, but seeking their degrees at another institution.  (For example, a student attending SHSU only during summer sessions.)


Withdrawing or Dropping Below 6 Semester Credit Hours

Withdrawing or dropping courses during the school year may result in accelerated repayment of financial aid. Withdrawing during the fall semester will result in the cancellation of spring financial assistance. Furthermore, dropping below six (6) semester hours may render applicants ineligible for funds not yet disbursed. For detailed information, refer to the Financial Aid Refund Policy.


Changing Schools

Financial aid does not automatically go with you when changing schools. You should contact the financial aid office at the new school as soon as you decide to transfer.



Where to Get Information

Key Advice

As an SHSU Bearkat, take advantage of all the programs, workshops, and publications available to you through the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office.  Preparation and knowledge are the keys to any successful financial aid applicant!.  If you have questions, ask!  We are her to serve you. 

The Financial Aid & Scholarships Office at SHSU offers students information explaining financial aid and which form of aid they qualify to receive. Applying for financial aid can sometimes be a lengthy and confusing process, but SHSU offers several programs and publications to help students make sense of it all!



If it's printed information you're after, Financial Aid & Scholarships has that too!  The "Funding Your Education Beyond High School" (U.S. Dept. of Education) is an excellent source for details on federal financial aid programs and on the application process. 

Interested in scholarships? SHSU Scholarship Information. Note: Applications for a scholarships at SHSU are unrelated to the application for financial aid.


During Financial Aid Literacy Week in February, FASO promotes understanding of financial aid and the application process. Counselors are on hand to answer questions, as well as help applicants complete their financial aid applications.

FASO also disseminates financial aid information and updates through the SHSU radio and television stations, which highlight facts and tips for students throughout the week.


Loan Counseling Programs

Pre-loan Counseling and Exit Counseling are two of the best programs to help students understand Federal Student loans. They are both offered online and are available year-round.

You MUST complete a pre-loan session before your loan information may be processed and guaranteed.



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