Scholarships & Financial Aid FAQ

The Office of Financial Aid is here to help you understand your options and answer any questions you have on affording your education. If you have any questions that aren’t answered on this page, you can contact the Office of Financial Aid at financial.aid@garrett.edu or 847.866.3987.

Types of Aid

Every degree-seeking student receives an institutional scholarship upon admission that covers the total number of credit hours required for the student’s degree program.

Unfortunately, no. Institutional scholarships are set at the time of matriculation. This is a promise to students that scholarships will not be reduced, but they also won’t be raised. All credits hours needed for graduation will be covered by the institutional scholarship

Subsidized loans do not accrue interest while a student is enrolled at least half-time in a degree-seeking program. Upon dropping below half-time enrollment, interest will begin to accrue. Conversely, interest begins accruing immediately on an unsubsidized loan regardless of a student’s enrollment status.


Due to changes a number of years ago, only unsubsidized loans are available to students in graduate/professional degree programs.

It depends. If you are not borrowing federal loan aid or wanting to participate in Federal Work-Study, then no action is required to continue receiving your institutional scholarship. If you are wanting to borrow federal loan aid or participate in Federal Work-Study then you must complete a new FAFSA every year.

Yes. If you are receiving any kind of financial aid from university or government sources, you must report the scholarship to the financial aid office. This may affect the amount of loan aid you are eligible to borrow, but will never affect your institutional scholarship aid.

Applying for Federal Aid

To apply for an Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, GradPLUS Loan, or Federal Work-Study, you will need to complete a number of steps:


First, complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The school code for Garrett-Evangelical is G01682.


Second, the Financial Aid Office will email your financial aid award letter to you about one week after your FAFSA submission. Your award letter will indicate your eligibility. Read this email and letter carefully. You will need to complete the audit form attached to your award letter that will allow you to indicate what awards you want to accept and by what amounts.


Third, you will need to complete a master promissory note (MPN) and entrance counseling, both found on StudentLoans.gov. Unlike the other steps, this only needs to be completed once; the first time you borrow in your degree program.

Yes, if you want to borrow federal loan aid aid or participate in Federal Work-Study then you must complete a new FAFSA every year.

FAFSA applications can be completed as early as October 1st for the next academic year. For graduate students, there is no need to apply early. We do recommend you complete your FAFSA in the early summer to ensure timely award processing.

If you’ve reached your annual or lifetime Stafford loan limit and still have unmet financial need according to your award letter, then you may request a Graduate PLUS loan (GradPLUS). These loans do require either credit approval or a co-signer.


Each year a student requests a GradPLUS loan, the student must also complete a Graduate PLUS master promissory note, and GradPLUS entrance counseling found at StudentLoans.gov.

It can take as long as 48 hours for a FAFSA submission to be received by the school. Depending on the time of the year, a student can receive an award letter about a week after submitting a FAFSA.

Provided the school already has your FAFSA, a loan request can be completed in around two business days.

Eligibility for Aid

In general, there are a number of qualifications:


  • be a United States citizen or permanent resident
  • be admitted and enrolled at least part-time in a program leading to a degree
  • not be in default on a federal educational loan or be going through bankruptcy


It is important to remember that final federal eligibility is determined through the Financial Aid Office after the submission of a FAFSA, and is shared by means of a financial aid award letter.

Yes. For financial aid purposes, you should know that graduate students are considered independent regardless of age or tax filing status. Also remember that Unsubsidized Stafford Loans do not consider personal finances when determining eligibility.


A graduate student can also be considered for Federal Work-Study (FWS), which is based on financial need. That means that the student’s Estimated Family Contribution (EFC), which considers the income of the student’s spouse also, is used to determine eligibility.

Scholarship stipulations require students to maintain a cumulative 3.0 GPA. Federal aid requires students to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress, which means that master degree and doctor of ministry degree students must maintain a 2.5 cumulative GPA, and doctor of philosophy degree students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA.

If you do not maintain the minimum GPA required for your scholarship, then your institutional scholarship will be reduced to a 25% scholarship. When you once again begin meeting your GPA requirement, you scholarship will be awarded at the original rate.


If you do not maintain the GPA required by the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards you risk losing access to federal loans and work-study. See the Financial Handbook for details.

Master degree students must be at least part-time status for federal awards, which requires five credit hours per semester. For doctoral students, part-time status requires at least three credit hours per semester.


Master degree students have scholarship registration stipulations that require either full-time or part-time registration to maintain full scholarship eligibility.

Processing Aid

In most cases, scholarship donors will send checks directly to Office of Financial Aid (OFA) for processing, but not always. If a donor sends you a scholarship check, federal law requires that you report it to OFA immediately.


If an outside donor does want to send a scholarship check to the school on your behalf, they can make the check out to Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, but it must include your name and student identification number. The check can be sent to the school and addressed in care of the OFA. Outside scholarship checks are processed and posted to student accounts within 48 hours of being received.

Schools that disburse federal financial aid are required to verify a certain percentage of submitted FAFSAs. This should not in any way be construed as suspicion or doubt on our part or that of the Department of Education. The FAFSA can be a difficult form to fill out, and mistakes are very common. This is just a way of making sure everything is as accurate as possible.

Receiving Aid

Institutional scholarships and federal loans are disbursed 2-3 business days after the drop date for each semester. Please refer to the Financial Aid Handbook for specific dates.

You may make a check request after loans and scholarships are disbursed. Refunds become available 2-4 business days after the financial aid is disbursed. Please refer to the Financial Aid Handbook for specific dates.

Financial aid funds are applied to any outstanding directs education expenses such as tuition, housing, fees, etc. Financial aid funds in excess of your institutional costs are available to you by mail. The remaining funds can then be used toward the purchase of textbooks and other educational expenses associated with attendance.

Yes, however, if part of the excess financial aid is from federal loans, you will need to complete an authorization form that is sent to students at the beginning of each semester.