The Process

Your financial aid checklist

  1. Apply for financial aid
  2. Setup your MSU NetID and email account
  3. Watch for your financial aid offer
  4. Accept your financial aid in
  5. Manage your guests in
  6. Submit all of the documents that our office requests
  7. Pay your MSU bill
  8. Check your MSU email regularly for changes to your aid
  9. Look for additional funding resources
  10. Complete a new FAFSA each year and apply for summer aid

Apply for financial aid

Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible. The 2021-2022 FAFSA is available starting October 1st, 2020.

Keep all the information you used to complete the FAFSA, such as tax returns, W-2's, and child support payment records. You may need to send copies to MSU later, but please don't send them until you are asked to do so.

Completing the FAFSA gives you access to grants, scholarships, loans and work-study. In addition to completing the FAFSA, you may also want to conduct your own scholarship search. Don't forget to ask if the organizations you belong to offer any scholarships!

Setup your MSU NetID and email account

Setup your MSU NetID and email account as soon as you receive the instructions. For security purposes, MSU will only send messages to your MSU email account.

Watch for your financial aid offer

Beginning in March, the Office of Financial Aid starts mailing award notifications which list the grants, scholarships, and other financial aid that you are eligible to receive, assuming that:

  • You listed MSU on your FAFSA,
  • Your FAFSA has no errors, and
  • You have been admitted to MSU.

Accept your financial aid in

Your award notification will include instructions on how to finalize your aid in, MSU's secure student information system. will allow you to view your aid and take action to accept your loans. This is also a good time to compare your expected costs (via the cost calculator) to your anticipated resources (e.g. savings, earnings from work, financial aid, and family help).

Manage your guests in

You may have a parent or other individual that is helping you through the financial aid process. You can assist them by creating an account of their own that will allow them to view your information in and receive a copy of financial aid and billing emails. For more information, visit our Guest Access page.

Submit all of the documents that our office requests

Our office will notify you if your financial aid application is selected for review. Send all requested documents promptly. Your aid may change as a result of the review and you can monitor those changes via

Pay 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 the New Student Orientation (NSO) program over the summer. If you don't pay at least the minimum amount due (or confirm your attendance if no payment is required), your classes will be dropped and 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. Each semester's charges are due in full before the end of the semester, but there are deferred payment plans available through the Controller's Office.

Check your MSU email regularly for changes to your aid

Our office must follow federal, state, and MSU guidelines which can affect your financial aid. Things like a change to your residency classification, a graduate assistantship, or other scholarships that you've received can all result in a revision to your aid package. If that happens, you will be notified via an email to your MSU account.

Look for additional funding resources


Many students can 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. The parent borrower must complete an application form and receive credit approval to receive the loan.

Apply for a Grad PLUS loan

Graduate students who complete the FAFSA may be eligible for a Grad PLUS loan, which requires credit approval.

File a Special Condition Application

If after reviewing the results of your FAFSA 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, visit our page on private (alternative) loans for more information.

Complete a new FAFSA each year and apply for summer aid

You must reapply for financial aid each year, as well as separately for each summer session. Complete the FAFSA for the new aid year each October, and let our office know (in before March 1st if you need aid for summer.

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.