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Financial Aid Offer Terms & Conditions


All financial aid offers are based on enrollment and are dependent upon a determination of eligibility based on grade level, whether priority application deadlines have been met (if applicable) and other program-specific criteria at the time of the offer. Offers are contingent upon continued funding from federal, state and institutional sources. Action by federal and state governments – including, but not limited to insufficient funds or discontinuation of funds – may result in rescinding or reducing offer amounts.

A financial aid offer is based on information that the student and the student's family (if applicable) submitted in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as well as any other supporting documentation. SNHU is required by federal law to resolve any conflicts of information that become evident as part of the application review process. It is the student's responsibility to complete and submit application materials to the appropriate agencies within the required timeframes. It is also the student's responsibility to notify Student Financial Services of any circumstantial changes to the information reported in the FAFSA and/or supporting documentation.

False or incomplete information submitted by a student, or on behalf of a student, may result in the cancellation of an offer and may require repayment of all or part of the funds disbursed to the student. In the event a student has received aid to which they are not entitled, it will be the responsibility of the student to repay those funds. Generally, students are not eligible to receive federal student aid from two different schools when attending two schools at the same time.

Students should carefully review and ensure they understand all financial aid related materials sent from SNHU and/or other agencies that offer financial aid. Students are advised to keep copies of these items for their records.

During a student's application for aid or at any subsequent time thereafter, they will have the right to receive a thorough explanation of the financial aid offer process, including the conditions of any student loan that may be offered. Conditions may include but are not limited to interest rates for student loans, deferment options, repayment periods and programs, etc. The student will also be responsible for complying with the provisions of any promissory note or other agreement which they may sign, including repayment of any student loans. Students accepting an employment offer as part of the Federal Work-Study (FWS) program will be entitled to disclosure of the terms and conditions (including pay rate) for any position that is offered.

Rights & Responsibilities

Students are obligated to know the rights and responsibilities associated with being a financial aid applicant and recipient as well as a student loan borrower and a Federal Work-Study employee (if applicable).

Students have the right to know:

  • All the federal, state, institutional and private student aid programs available, including both need-based and non-need-based programs.
  • Procedures, forms, deadlines, eligibility and requirements to apply for assistance; the criteria for selecting aid recipients and determining the amount of aid offered.
  • The authorized educational expenses included in the cost of attendance and how they are determined.
  • How the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is calculated, how financial need is determined and how outside resources may affect eligibility.
  • Terms and conditions of any loans, employment, scholarships or grant aid received.
  • The institutional refund schedules and the return of federal aid as a result of withdrawing from all coursework.
  • The standards required for maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) to maintain financial aid eligibility and the appeal process if they’ve lost eligibility.
  • How and when disbursements of financial aid are made.
  • Confidential protection of a financial aid record in accordance with the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Students have the responsibility to:

  • Accurately and honestly complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Errors can result in delays. False or misleading information is a criminal offense and subject to fine, imprisonment or both.
  • Respond promptly and return all required additional documentation, corrections and/or new information.
  • Report all outside funding resources that may be received throughout the aid year.
  • Read, understand and accept responsibility for agreements signed. SNHU recommends maintaining copies of all forms and agreements signed.
  • Use any federal, state, institutional or private aid received during the academic year solely for expenses related to attendance at SNHU.
  • Know and comply with the timelines and deadlines for verification or requests for additional information from Student Financial Services.
  • Complete Loan Entrance Counseling and Loan Exit Counseling if borrowing Direct Loans.
  • Notify student loan servicers of changes in name, address and school status.
  • Perform and complete satisfactory work assignments accepted through the Federal Work-Study (FWS) program.
  • Know and comply with SNHU's procedures related to financial aid, enrollment status for disbursement, Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), withdrawals, refunds, repayment and debt management.
  • Review and understand the specific rights and responsibilities associated with being a Direct Loan borrower.
  • Review and understand specific rights and responsibilities associated with being a Federal Work-Study (FWS) employee.

Offering of Aid

There are two types of calculations used to determine a student's financial aid offer. The following definitions are required to understand these calculations:

  • Cost of Attendance (COA) is an estimate of educational expenses that a student may incur while attending SNHU. The COA includes estimates for tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, transportation, miscellaneous expenses and loan fees (Direct Loan borrowers only). To learn more about a program’s COA, review SNHU’s Cost of Attendance.
  • The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is calculated according to a formula established by federal law and is based on the information reported on the FAFSA. This information may include the student’s family’s taxed and untaxed income, assets and benefits (such as unemployment or Social Security), as well as family size and number of family members who will attend college that year.

Financial Need Aid Calculation: COA minus EFC equals financial need.
Financial need is the student's eligibility for the following need-based programs: Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), state grants, SNHU need-based grants, Federal Work-Study (FWS) and Direct Subsidized Loans.

Non-Need-Based Aid Calculation: COA minus need-based aid offered equals eligibility for non-need-based aid. Non-need-based aid is financial aid that is not based on a student’s EFC. The student's COA and offered assistance is what matters in the calculation. Non-need-based programs include Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Direct PLUS Loans, SNHU merit scholarships and other SNHU scholarship programs.

Financial aid is offered for an academic year or remaining period of study and distributed equally between the terms or payment periods that define the academic year or remaining period of study.

  • The payment period is the academic term for all programs except SNHU online undergraduate programs.
  • The payment period for SNHU online undergraduate programs is the trimester, which is comprised of two academic terms.

Direct loan proration is required when a student is enrolled in a remaining period of study that is shorter than a full academic year.

Direct loans are offered to maximum eligibility or a per term amount based on academic program. If less than maximum eligibility is offered, the student’s financial aid offer will indicate the possibility for additional eligibility. Students can contact Student Financial Services to discuss their options. SNHU promotes responsible borrowing to minimize student loan debt upon graduation.

Reporting Additional Financial Aid Offers

If a student receives additional funds not listed on their financial aid offer (including but not limited to employer reimbursement or assistance, tuition waivers, private scholarships, fellowships, veteran’s benefits, veteran readiness benefits, etc.), they are required to report funds to Student Financial Services.

Should the additional funds result in a change to a student's financial aid eligibility, they will receive notification of the change in eligibility. If a student receives additional assistance, their aid may be adjusted or reduced, even if already disbursed.

Overawards of Aid

Overawards can occur when SNHU receives additional information not accounted for in the student’s initial financial aid offer. SNHU is required to resolve any overaward on a student’s account. Common examples that cause overawards include but are not limited to:

  • Receipt of internal or external scholarships
  • Notification of exemptions or tuition and fee waivers
  • Enrollment changes
  • FAFSA corrections
  • Change to housing plan

Overawards can result in a balance due to the university, which is the student’s responsibility to pay.

College Financing Plan

SNHU complies with the Principles of Excellence Executive Order 13607 and participates in the Department of Defense Voluntary Education Partnership Memorandum of Understanding (DoDMOU) to provide the College Financing Plan to all military-identified students who are offered federal student aid.

The College Financing Plan is a standardized form that is designed to simplify the information about costs and financial aid so students can make informed decisions about where to attend school. This is in addition to the SNHU offer for all military-identified students who file a FAFSA and are offered federal aid. The College Financing Plan also comes with a supplemental guide to assist with projecting estimates for total costs, costs covered by military benefits, availability of financial assistance, estimated student loan debt, graduation rates, placement information, acceptance of transfer credits, additional program information and consumer tools for college choice. Review a sample of the College Financing Plan to further understand the information provided.


In some instances, SNHU is required by federal and state regulations to review financial aid applications through the process of verification. Student Financial Services reserves the right to request verification of any data submitted by applicants or the parents/spouses of applicants (if applicable).

Verification requires that the university review additional documents to verify the information reported on the FAFSA for the student, parent(s) and/or spouse (if applicable). Information that may be verified includes income, high school completion, number of family members in the household and number of children in the household who are enrolled at least half time in college.

Required documentation may include:

  1. Verification worksheet, based on dependency status.
  2. Federal tax information: SNHU encourages all students and parents/spouses who filed taxes to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) as this is the preferred method for FAFSA filers to report federal tax information.
  3. Non-tax filer documentation, evidence of high school completion, statement of educational purpose and any related documentation deemed necessary to validate information on the FAFSA.

Failure to submit requested documents in a timely manner may result in a delay or cancellation of a financial aid offer. If during the verification process data is found to be incorrect, the data may be corrected and the offer revised. If a student is found to have knowingly submitted false or intentionally misleading information, SNHU shall reserve the right to (1) refuse to offer financial aid, (2) cancel all aid that was previously offered even if aid has already disbursed and/or (3) dismiss the offending student from the university. Additionally, at SNHU’s discretion, all fraudulent information shall be forwarded to the U.S. Department of Education Office of the Inspector General for further investigation.

Verification Deadline:

An applicant who is selected for verification for the 2023-2024 aid year must complete the process no later than 120 days after the last date of the student’s enrollment or Sept. 21, 2024.

Secondary Confirmation

In addition to the verification process, SNHU reserves the right to select any student’s file for secondary confirmation. As part of this process, SNHU may request identifying information including but not limited to:

  1. A valid, government-issued photo ID.
  2. A copy of a utility bill showing the student’s physical address.
  3. A notarized statement of identity.

Failure to submit all required items within the allotted seven to 10 business day timeline, or submission of information that cannot be authenticated, will result in a failed review. Failed reviews shall be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, but will result in loss of financial aid eligibility, withdrawal from course(s), administrative dismissal and/or permanent expulsion from the university. Additionally, at SNHU’s discretion, all fraudulent information shall be forwarded to the U.S. Department of Education Office of the Inspector General for further investigation.

Expectations after Successful Completion of Secondary Confirmation

Following a successful review for secondary confirmation prior to enrollment, a previously selected student shall be expected to maintain strict adherence to course participation requirements for online students in their first term of enrollment. Failure to comply with these requirements will result in loss of financial aid eligibility, withdrawal from course(s) and removal from the university. Students removed from the university in this manner shall have the option of returning but will be required to use non-federal payment (cash, check, credit card, employer benefits, etc.) to fund their educational costs.

Direct Loan Borrower Requirements

First-time direct loan borrowers must complete the following requirements before a loan will be disbursed to their account:

  • Loan Entrance Counseling: assists in learning about Direct Loans, how the borrowing process works, how to manage educational expenses and how to understand the rights and responsibilities of a borrower.
  • Master Promissory Note (MPN): legal document that serves as a promise to repay any amount borrowed and any accrued interest to the U.S. Department of Education. The MPN also explains the terms and conditions of the loan(s). SNHU uses the multi-year MPN, which means students can borrow Direct Loans for up to 10 years after completing the MPN, even if completed for a different institution.

Offer amounts are based on cumulative credits earned toward a specific degree program. Annual borrowing limits for dependent undergraduate students are $5,500 for a freshman (zero to 29 credits), $6,500 for a sophomore (30-59 credits) and $7,500 for a junior or senior (60 or more credits). Independent undergraduate students may borrow an additional Direct Loan of $4,000 in their freshman year and up to $5,000 in both their junior and senior years. Graduate students can borrow up to $20,500 each year and may also be eligible for a Graduate PLUS loan.

SNHU promotes responsible borrowing and encourages students to borrow only what they need to assist with the cost of their education as opposed to borrowing the maximum amount they are eligible to receive. Repayment for direct loans typically begins six months after a student ceases attendance or their enrollment status is less than half time. Students should contact their loan servicer directly to review repayment responsibilities. The standard repayment term is 10 years. Interest rates will vary based on the type of loan borrowed and its disbursement date.

To learn more about direct loan requirements, annual borrowing limits and lifetime borrowing limits, review important student loan information.

Lifetime Limits

Federal Pell Grant: Students who are eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant will have a lifetime limit of 12 full-time semesters or six full years of eligibility if the student remains eligible each award year upon completing a new FAFSA. This policy is retroactive to colleges or universities that the student attended prior to SNHU.

Federal Direct Loan: All students are subject to aggregate lifetime borrowing limits.

Financial Aid Enrollment Status Criteria

As mandated by the U.S. Department of Education, for financial aid purposes, only courses that are considered a requirement to complete the program can be included in the student’s enrollment status.

For repeat coursework, students may retake coursework until a grade above an F is received. If a student passes a course but would like to receive a higher grade or it is required by their program, the student may retake the course one time while receiving financial aid.

Students’ financial aid eligibility is based on two parts: enrollment status and participation. The student’s enrollment status is reviewed at time of disbursement and throughout the given term of enrollment. The student’s participation is defined as the submission of a graded project or discussion for online forums. The student must participate in any given class in order to receive disbursement.

Direct Assessment Competency-Based Education Programs

As mandated by the U.S. Department of Education, for financial aid purposes, only competencies that are considered a requirement to complete the program can be included in the student’s enrollment status.

Credit Load

Credit load is determined by total trimester credits. Based on either full-time, three-quarter-time or half-time credit load status, student loans will automatically go into deferment. Based on less than half-time academic load status, student loans will not go into deferment.

All SNHU undergraduate students (online, on-campus and direct assessment competency-based) and on-campus Mountainview Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program in a 22-week term

Enrollment Status Credit Load
Full Time 12 credits (12 competencies)
Three-Quarter Time 9 – 11.99 credits (9 – 11 competencies)
Half Time 6 – 8.99 credits (6 - 8 competencies)
Less Than Half Time Under 6 credits (fewer than 6 competencies)

NOTE: Undergraduate students are considered full time with any combination of undergraduate and approved graduate courses provided they have met all eligibility requirements as outlined within the Undergraduates Taking Graduate Courses policy.

Undergraduate students in eight-week terms:

  • Credit load is based on total credits over entire 16-week trimester (two consecutive eight-week terms).
  • In order to enroll in more than six credits in any given term, a student must obtain permission from their academic advisor and have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Undergraduate students in all other undergraduate terms:

  • Credit load is based on total credits in a single term.

All SNHU online graduate students, education graduate field-based programs, doctoral programs and Mountainview Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program in a 16-week term

Enrollment Status Credit Load
Full Time 6 credits
Three-Quarter Time 4.5 – 5.99 credits
Half Time 3 – 4.49 credits
Less Than Half Time Under 3 credits

Credit load is based on total credits in a single term.

In order to enroll in more than six credits in any given term, a student must obtain permission from their academic advisor and have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.

On-Campus SNHU Graduate Students: School of Business, Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Second or Other Language, and Education Programs

Enrollment Status Credit Load
Full Time 9 credits
Three-Quarter Time 7 - 8.99 credits
Half Time 5 – 6.99 credits
Less Than Half Time Under 5 credits

Additional Information

Graduate students enrolled in their comprehensive exam or who are in dissertation status are considered full time.

Graduate students who are registered in a continuation course for a counseling practicum or internship are considered half time, due to the academic and experiential requirements of the counseling continuation courses.

International students in F-1 and J-1 student status must be enrolled full time to maintain lawful presence in the U.S. Online classes are limited to one class per term counting toward your minimum full-time course load. Any classes taken over the minimum full-time course load may be in-class or online format.

NOTE: For international students, all reductions in a full course load for academic or medical reasons, as well as terms off, must be approved by the Office of International Student Services prior to the start of the term or class load reduction. In a final term, if only one course is remaining, it must be taken in-class to maintain F-1 or J-1 student status.

Disbursement of Aid

Due to FAFSA simplification updates, disbursements and refunds may be delayed. Students receiving financial aid funds from the 2024-25 FAFSA should anticipate their disbursement and excess financial aid funding around mid-June. These delays may affect students attending in the following terms:

  • Online undergraduate students: 2024 C-3 (May 6, 2024 – June 30, 2024)
  • Online graduate students: 2024 D-2 (May 13, 2024 – July 21, 2024)
  • Campus students: 2024 A-2 term (May 6, 2024 – August 25, 2024) 

Financial aid is disbursed during each payment period or academic term (based on academic program) throughout the academic year or remaining period of study. At the time of disbursement, student eligibility is checked to confirm attendance, program of study, enrollment status and completion of loan requirements (Master Promissory Note, Loan Entrance Counseling, etc.). Financial aid is disbursed as follows:

  • On day 16 of the term for campus and online programs except direct-assessment competency-based education programs
  • On or after day 23 of the term for direct-assessment competency-based education programs

Disbursement of financial aid funds is based on the type of financial aid being paid:

  • Grants and scholarships administered by Student Financial Services are paid directly to the student's SNHU account.
  • Loans administered by Student Financial Services and private lenders are paid directly to the student's SNHU account if all loan requirements are satisfied at the time of disbursement.
  • Federal Work-Study funds earned through on-campus or off-campus employment are paid on a bi-weekly basis.
  • Outside scholarships and state grants are paid to the student's SNHU account upon receipt of payment from the outside source.

Direct loan recipients will receive a disbursement notification to their SNHU email within seven days of funds being applied to their student account. Students should review their account for the types of loans disbursed (subsidized, unsubsidized, PLUS), dollar amount and date of disbursement. Students have the right to request cancellation of all or a part of the direct loan amounts disbursed within 30 days of the notification.

Use of Aid

Funds listed on a financial aid offer may only be used for educational expenses for the respective academic year.

SNHU applies all financial aid directly to institutional charges (charges may include but are not limited to tuition, fees, housing, book vouchers, etc.). Following deduction of these charges, any remaining financial aid funds will be released to the student in the form of a refund. If subsequent charges are incurred after the refund process in any given term, the student will be responsible to pay the new charges.

Students may provide authorization to apply federal student aid to non-institutional charges by completing the Federal Aid Authorization form under the Financial Information tab in their mySNHU portal.

Parents may provide authorization to apply federal student aid to non-institutional charges. Please contact Student Financial Services to obtain an authorization form. Non-institutional charges may include but are not limited to residence hall damage fees, parking fees, health insurance, library fees, etc.

Students and parents have the right to cancel or modify the authorization at any time. A cancellation or revision is not retroactive and will take effect on the date that SNHU receives the authorization.

Credit Balances & Refunds

Using federal funds to obtain books and supplies

SNHU provides students using federal financial aid with a method to purchase books and supplies prior to the beginning of the term if (1) SNHU can disburse the federal funds to the eligible student and (2) the student would have a credit balance created from federal funding.

Depending on program and location, students have the option to use their Penmen Cash account or an online book voucher.

  • Online students are issued a book voucher code to their SNHU email to be used in the Online Bookstore powered by Barnes & Noble College.
  • For campus students, funds are moved to the student's Penmen Cash account 10 days prior to the start of the term to be used at the campus or online campus bookstore. During the second week of the term, unused funds will be moved back to be available during the scheduled refund process.

Students may opt out of either program by not using the process or funds provided. Opting out will not result in an expedited refund. To understand the process and learn more, please visit the University Store.


When the disbursed financial aid and/or payments made on a student account total more than the billed cost, the additional amount will be returned to the student as a credit balance. The university processes credit balances to students based on a refund processing schedule in a manner that complies with U.S. Department of Education requirements for refunding financial aid. All credit balances will be processed according to a student's refund preference with BankMobile Disbursements, a technology solution, powered by BMTX, Inc. For more information, visit the BankMobile Disbursements Refund Choices page. Learn more about our our third-party servicer contract for refund management on our client contracts and profiles page.

If financial aid funds are disbursed in error, the student agrees to repay the full amount to SNHU. If a mistake was made, whether by the student, Student Financial Services or another agency, federal regulations require that the mistake be corrected and balances billed back as necessary.

SNHU may use a current credit balance created by financial aid to satisfy a past due balance for allowable unpaid charges within the current academic year. The current academic year is defined as:

  • Current academic year for a student who receives Pell/FSEOG and direct loans is July 1-June 30.
  • Current academic year for a student who receives only direct loans is the loan period.

SNHU can apply up to $200 from a current financial aid credit balance to pay prior year charges. Prior year is defined as:

  • Any loan period or federal aid year prior to the current loan period or federal aid year.

Return of Financial Aid Funds

If a student withdraws before the completion of a payment period for which financial aid has been received, federal regulations govern the procedural guidelines that SNHU must follow to return the aid. These regulations require Student Financial Services to recalculate financial aid eligibility for students who withdraw, are dismissed or take a leave of absence prior to completing 60% of an academic term or payment period. Visit the Return of Title IV Funds information page to learn more about the effect of withdrawals on financial aid.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

To remain eligible for federal financial aid programs, students must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). Federal regulations require Student Financial Services to monitor the progress of each student toward degree completion. Students who fail to achieve the defined minimum standards for grade point average and/or fail to maintain the standards for pace and completion of their program may lose eligibility for all types of federal and/or institutional aid. Learn more about SNHU's current SAP standards for all programs.

Duration & Renewal of Aid

Financial aid is offered one academic year at a time. Students intending to use financial aid in future academic years will need to file a FAFSA that corresponds to the appropriate federal aid year. The new FAFSA becomes available on Oct. 1 of each year.

Student Information & Confidentiality

The student shall be responsible for notifying the university of any change in status including but not limited to marital, academic, enrollment, legal name, etc. Additionally, the student will be expected to keep their permanent mailing address on file with the Office of the University Registrar.

Pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), all records and data submitted with an application for financial aid or documentation in support of the student's verification or financial aid appeal, will be treated as confidential information. Additional information is available under the full FERPA Student Right to Privacy policy. It should be noted that university staff members may be required to disclose information about certain issues that relate to the health and safety of SNHU community members, and other exceptions that are detailed in the FERPA policy.