The following questions may help you as you make financial arrangements to attend Southern. You may also download the Financial Help Booklet, which contains additional information.

What is the priority date for financial aid applications?

March 31 is the priority date for financial aid. This is the day Southern begins awarding funds. To meet this deadline, we suggest completing the FASFA by March 1.

If I don't file my FAFSA in time for the March 31 deadline, will I still receive financial aid?

Yes. There are still grants, scholarships, and loans available—including need-based grants from the government, merit or academic scholarships from Southern, and federal Stafford loans. Southern's need-based grants are limited, so file early for the best chance of receiving these grants.

I probably don't qualify for financial aid. Should I apply anyway?

Yes. Many families mistakenly think they don't qualify for aid when they do. In addition, there are a few sources of aid such as unsubsidized Stafford and PLUS loans that are available regardless of need. The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form is free, so it's worth trying.

What is Southern’s Federal School Code (or Title IV Code)? I need this code for my FAFSA.

Southern's Title IV code is 003518.

If I have applied for admission to Southern, have I applied for financial aid?

No. Applying for admission and applying for financial aid are two separate processes.

Do I need to be admitted before I can apply for financial aid?

No. You can apply for financial aid for the following academic year any time after January 1. You must be accepted at Southern to receive a financial aid award letter.

Do I need to reapply for financial aid every year?

Yes. You are required to apply for financial aid every year. If your financial circumstances change, you may qualify for more or less aid. After your first year, you will receive a renewal application that contains preprinted information from the previous year's FAFSA. Note that your eligibility for financial aid may change significantly, especially if you have a different number of family members in college. Renewal of your financial aid package also depends on your making satisfactory academic progress toward a degree.

How do I apply for a Pell Grant and other types of need-based aid?

Submit a FAFSA. For Federal Work-Study, student loans, and parent loans, check the appropriate boxes on the FAFSA.

Are my parents responsible for my educational loans?

In general, the student is responsible for repaying educational loans. Parents are responsible for federal PLUS loans, however. Also, they are responsible for your educational loans if you are under 18 and they endorse your loan.

If I take a leave of absence, will I need to start repaying my loans?

Not immediately. The subsidized Stafford loan has a grace period of six months and the Perkins loan a grace period of nine months before repayment begins. When you take a leave of absence, you don’t have to repay your loan until after the grace period. However, if you use up the grace period you will have to begin repaying your loan immediately upon graduation. It’s possible to request an extension of the grace period, but this must be done before the grace period is used up. If your grace period runs out in the middle of your leave, you’ll have to make a payment on your student loans.

If my leave of absence is as a student missionary or taskforce worker, must I start repaying my loans?

If you enroll in Christian Service (at 6 credit hours per semester) and fill out a deferment form notifying your lender of this, your loans will be deferred.

I received an outside scholarship. Should I report it to the Student Finance office?

If you are receiving any kind of financial aid from university, government, or other sources, you must report the scholarship to Student Finance.

Where can I get information about federal student financial aid?

Call 1.800.4.FED.AID (1.800.433.3243) or 1.800.730.8913 (if hearing impaired) and ask for a free copy of The Student Guide to Financial Aid from the U. S. Department of Education. You can also visit: The Department of Education's Financial Aid website or write to:

Federal Student Aid Information Center
PO Box 84
Washington, DC 20044

Are Federal Work-Study earnings taxable?

The money you earn from the Federal Work-Study program is generally subject to federal and state income tax but exempt from FICA taxes (provided you are enrolled full time and work less than 20 hours a week). Federal Work-Study earnings during the calendar year should be included in the totals for AGI (adjusted gross income) on the previous year's FAFSA (question 39), income earned from work (question 42), and the total from worksheet C (question 46).

Where can I obtain a copy of the FAFSA?

Call Student Finance at 1.800.SOUTHERN or email Student Finance. Please include your name and mailing address in your email message. You can also apply online at

Are photocopies of the FAFSA acceptable?

No. Only the original FAFSA form produced by the U.S. Department of Education is acceptable.

I sent in my FAFSA more than four weeks ago, but haven't heard anything. What should I do?

If you haven't received a Student Aid Report (SAR), call the federal processor at 319.337.5665. You must provide your Social Security number and date of birth as verification. To find out whether your FAFSA has been processed or to request a duplicate copy of your SAR, you may write to:

Federal Student Aid Programs
PO Box 4038
Washington, DC 52243-4038

My parents are separated or divorced. Which parent is responsible for filling out the FAFSA?

If your parents are separated or divorced, the custodial parent is responsible for filling out the FAFSA. The custodial parent is the parent with whom you lived the most during the past 12 months. Note that this is not necessarily the same as the parent who has legal custody. If you haven’t lived with one parent more than the other, the parent who provided you with the most financial support should fill out the FAFSA.

My parents are divorced, and the parent I'm living with has remarried. Must my step parent report his or her income and assets on the FAFSA?

Yes. If your step parent is married to the parent you're living with (your custodial parent), the income and assets of the step parent must be reported—even if the step parent wasn't married to your parent the previous year.

Where does financial aid come from?

The main sources are the federal government, state government, the private sector, and Southern Adventist University.

What is the difference between need-based and merit-based awards?

Need-based awards are given to students based on financial need as determined by the FAFSA. Merit-based awards (scholarships) are given on the basis of student accomplishments, regardless of financial need.

What if I am a Tennessee resident but I miss the May 1 deadline for the Tennessee State Grant?

File your FAFSA anyway. While you won't be eligible for the Tennessee Grant, other funds may still be available.

What information is there about the Tennessee Lottery Scholarship?

Check out the Tennessee Lottery Scholarship website.

How can I find out about private-sector scholarships?

Your local library has helpful publications such as:

  • Scholarships: A Complete Guide to Scholarship Aid From All Sources
  • Don't Miss Out: The Ambitious Student's Guide to Scholarships and Loans
  • The Scholarship Book

You may try searching online for terms such as "scholarships," "financial aid," and "education aid." Check out Fastweb for a comprehensive search on scholarships. Look up the U. S. Department of Education's Student Guide to Financial Aid, or the Financial Aid Information Page.

Are jobs available on campus?

Absolutely! Many students work to help pay their education expenses. For information about on-campus job opportunities, contact any department directly or Human Resources at 423.236.2276 or visit the job listing website.

What documents does Southern need for my financial aid file?

If you are selected in a process the government calls verification, you are required to submit these documents. Student Finance will notify you if this happens. Southern will need a Verification Worksheet from you and a copy of your most recent tax transcripts. An easier option would be to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool that FAFSA provides for you. Just go to and choose the link to "make FAFSA corrections". Here are complete instructions for the process.

If you aren’t selected for verification, you will not be required to submit any documents, and you’ll be awarded based solely on the electronic student aid report (SAR) that Southern will receive from the government. The SAR is based on information you submitted via the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

How much money do I need for books?

Plan on about $550 per semester.

What is "cost of attendance"?

Cost of attendance includes tuition, fees, room, board, books, and miscellaneous expenses. View more about tuition and expenses.

How is "financial need" determined?

Financial need is the difference between your yearly cost of attendance and your expected family contribution. You can think of it this way:
cost of attendance - expected family contribution = financial need.

Can my parents get a loan?

Yes, the Federal PLUS (Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students) is a low-interest loan available to parents. Your student finance counselor can provide brochures with additional information.

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