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Financial Aid 101

Everything you need to know to get
started with Federal Financial Aid.

Fund Your Future with Financial Aid

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) encourages students to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine eligibility for federal, state and institutional aid programs. Every student could benefit from financial assistance so you should fill out this free application to determine eligibility for financial aid programs. This can be a lot to digest, so let’s break it down together.

We'll cover:

  • Applying for Financial Aid
  • Reviewing & Understanding Your Financial Aid Offer
  • Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid
  • Financial Aid Tools & Resources
  • Statement of Ethical Principles & Code of Conduct for Financial Aid Professionals
  • Financial Aid Frequently Asked Questions
Financial Aid Glossary icon

Financial aid can be confusing

Take advantage of SNHU’s financial aid glossary PDF to easily learn the terms and concepts that are important to you.


Applying for Financial Aid


The FAFSA asks for basic information to determine your eligibility for all the financial aid programs sponsored by the federal government.

Financial aid could look like grants, work-study, loans or scholarships. Billions of dollars in aid is provided to help students pay for college each year.¹

The application only takes an hour to complete – it’s worth it to see just how much you might be eligible for.

To be eligible for federal financial aid, you must:

  • Enroll as a degree-seeking student
  • Be a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress
  • Not be in default on a federal educational loan
  • Not owe a refund on a federal educational grant or loan
  • Possess a high school diploma or equivalent

1. Plan Early

  • Develop your road map to pay for college
  • Talk to a financial services counselor

2. Fill Out the FAFSA Form

  • Include the school code for each school you’re applying to.
  • Available to fill out Oct. 1 - SNHU’s school code is 002580

3. Review Your Offer Package

  • Compare the aid each school is offering
  • Cost of attendancetotal aid offered = net price

4. Get Your Money

  • Aid will automatically be applied to the amount you owe your school
  • Don’t forget to reapply each year you’re in school

5. Pay Back Your Loans

  • Find an affordable repayment plan
  • You have 6 months after graduation before repayment

Helpful Tips

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Paying for college can feel overwhelming. Find out how submitting your FAFSA can help manage costs.

ReviewingReviewing & Understanding Your Financial Aid Offer

When we receive your FAFSA from the Department of Education, we evaluate your eligibility for federal, state and institutional aid programs.

The Department of Education doesn't award or deny funds; rather, it uses a formula to calculate your Student Aid Index (SAI) based on your self-reported family resources, family size and number of family members in college. This process ensures that all students are treated consistently and fairly. Student Financial Services verifies your eligibility and creates an offer based on factors such as federal and state regulations and institutional policy.

You should know that your SAI is not the amount of money your family will have to pay for college, nor is it the amount of student aid you’ll receive. It's a number determined by the Department of Education that we are required to use to calculate the amount you're eligible to receive in student aid.

SFS evaluates your SAI and offers all types of grants, scholarships and loans that you may qualify for through a financial need calculation first and then a non-need-based aid calculation. You'll always be considered for grants first and loans last. This process is called "packaging."

And remember, you'll be responsible for paying back any student loans you take, even if you don't complete your degree. That's why it's important to borrow responsibly — keeping in mind that you don't need take out loans for the full amount you're approved for. Talk to the SFS team to learn more.

Academic ProgressStandards of Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid

In order to remain eligible for funds, you must make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) by meeting qualitative and quantitative standards. You can review the full SAP policy in the Academic Catalog.

Tools and ResourcesFinancial Aid Tools & Resources

There are lots of tools you can use to learn more about the financial aid process, the FAFSA form, scholarship information, and other resources available to you.

Tanzania Fair, a 2020 graduate of Southern New Hampshire University, wearing her cap and gown and holding her framed SNHU diploma.

Find Out How You Can Get a Degree on Your Budget

With Southern New Hampshire University’s Net Price Calculator, you can get an estimate in just 10 minutes showing you how affordable SNHU can be.

Ethical PrinciplesStatement of Ethical Principles & Code of Conduct for Financial Aid Professionals

As required by the Higher Education Opportunity Act, SNHU has established a Title IV Loan Code of Conduct that all employees and agents must comply.

Frequently Asked QuestionsFinancial Aid Frequently Asked Questions

Still have questions about financial aid? Learn more about how it works, from submitting your application to accepting your loans.