- AOP: Academic Orientation Program
- FAFSA: Free Application for Federal Student Aid
- MAD: Minimum Amount Due
- OFA: Office of Financial Aid
- SAR: Student Aid Report, a.k.a. your FAFSA results
Estimate your costs
Estimate your costs by school year and semester using the cost calculator provided by the Controller's Office.
Apply for financial aid
As soon as possible after the January 1 preceding your fall semester, file the FAFSA. If you or your parents haven't filed taxes yet, use estimated data on the FAFSA and correct it later if necessary.
Keep all the records you use to file the FAFSA, like tax returns, W-2's, child support payment records, etc. You may need to send copies to MSU later, but please don't send them until you are asked to do so.
Filing the FAFSA gives you access to grants, scholarships, loans and work-study. In addition to filing the FAFSA, you may want to conduct your own scholarship search. And please ask any organizations you belong to if they offer scholarships as well.
Review your SAR and make corrections
You will receive your SAR from the federal processor a few weeks after you apply. Look it over carefully and make any needed corrections immediately. If you have questions, call the federal processor at 1-800-433-3243 (1-800-4-FEDAID) or contact OFA. You may also check the status of your application online at any time.
Set up your MSU NetID and e-mail account
Open your MSU NetID account as soon as you receive instructions. You won't want to miss any information that is sent by MSU via e-mail. We will only send e-mails to your MSU e-mail account.
Enroll in classes
If you are a new student, attend the AOP during summer and enroll in your classes.
Watch for your financial aid offer
Beginning in March, OFA starts sending award notifications which list the financial aid for which you are eligible, assuming that:
- You listed MSU on your FAFSA,
- Your SAR is acceptable to the feds, and
- You have been admitted to MSU.
Follow all directions carefully. This is also a good time to compare your expected costs (remember the cost calculator?) to your anticipated resources (savings, summer job, financial aid and family help).
View your aid in StuInfo
Your aid notification will include instructions on how to finalize your aid in StuInfo, MSU's secure student information system. You will be able to view your aid and take actions to accept your loans.
Your aid may be reviewed/revised so watch for messages from OFA
If your financial aid application is selected for review, we'll notify you. Send all requested documents promptly. Your aid may change as a result of the review, and you will want to know the actual aid you're receiving as soon as possible.
Financial aid can change
OFA must follow Federal, state, and MSU guidelines which can affect your aid. Report any significant changes to OFA, such as a change in your residency classification, a graduate assistantship, other scholarships you receive, a loss of employment, or any severe situation that may affect your ability to pay for your education.
Your MSU bill
You will receive your registration bill once you enroll in classes, and your initial payment will usually be due in August if you attended AOP. If you don't pay at least the MAD (or confirm your attendance if no payment is required), your classes will be dropped, you will have to re-enroll and pay an additional enrollment fee. There's no guarantee you'll be able to get the same classes.
Any financial aid that is "ready" when the bill is produced will appear on the bill and reduce the amount you owe. You can defer part of the payment, but each semester's charges are due in full before the end of the semester.
If you need more money for school...
Many students earn $3,000 or more in a school year via student employment and/or federal Work-Study programs.
Apply for a Parent PLUS loan
Parents of dependent students may apply for a Parent PLUS loan. But just because "Parent Loan (PLUS)" appears on your award offer does NOT mean you'll receive the PLUS. The borrower (a parent) must apply through MSU and receive a credit approval from the PLUS servicer.
Apply for a Grad PLUS loan
Graduate students who file the FAFSA may be eligible for a Grad PLUS loan, which requires a credit approval.
File a Special Condition Application
If after reviewing your SAR and receiving your financial aid offer, you believe your application data does not represent your current situation, you may be eligible for reconsideration by submitting a Special Condition Application.
Apply for a private (alternative) loan
Educational loans are available from private lenders for students whose cost of attendance has not been met with other financial aid. If you have already taken advantage of federal grants and loans and still find the need for funds, see our page on private (alternative) loans for more information.
File a new/revised FAFSA each year and apply separately for summer
You must reapply for aid each year, as well as separately for each summer semester. File the new year's FAFSA each January, and let our office know (in StuInfo) before March 1 if you want aid for summer semester.
If you have questions...
Please remember that the Office of Financial Aid is here to help you sort through the financial aid process. We want you to receive all of the aid to which you're entitled.