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What is a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?

The FAFSA is a confidential statement of income and assets which is used to determine your eligibility (financial need) for Federal, state and institutional need-based forms of financial aid.

If you want to receive any of the following forms of financial aid, you MUST file a FAFSA EACH year:

* Messiah College Grant
* Federal Academic Competitiveness Grant
* Federal Stafford Loan
* Federal Work Study

* Federal Pell Grant
* Federal SMART Grant
* Federal Perkins Loan
* Federal Suppl. Education
* Opportunity Grant

The FAFSA is a Federal document and the Federal government requires that you file a FAFSA if you want to receive most forms of Federal student aid. At Messiah College, we also use the FAFSA results to determine eligibility for our need-based institutional financial aid.

What is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) deadline at Messiah College?

The Messiah College priority deadline for receipt of the FAFSA results is April 1. In order to meet this deadline, we encourage you to mail your FAFSA, or complete it electronically, as soon as possible after January 1. It will take about one month for the FAFSA to be processed and to reach our office, so we recommend that the FAFSA should be mailed or transmitted no later than March 1 so that the results will get to the Federal processor and back to Messiah College by our priority deadline of April 1. Using FAFSA on the Web, these timeframes might be somewhat shorter, but we recommend applying as early as possible to allow for any problems that might occur.

Missing the April 1 priority deadline does not mean that you will not get any financial aid. Often, we are able to continue to offer good financial aid packages after the deadline, but missing the deadline can mean that you might not get as much financial aid as you otherwise would have.

The FAFSA filing deadline for the Pennsylvania State Grant is May 1.

If you are from another state and you think that you might be eligible for a state grant that would transfer into Pennsylvania, check with your high school guidance office or state grant agency to learn the deadline for your state, or check out the Grants page.

What is the Messiah College Federal school code (the code I would enter on my FAFSA so that my FAFSA results will get to Messiah College)?



How can I tell if you have received my FAFSA results, or if I need to submit any other documents to complete my financial aid application file?

Log into your MCSquare account.

Choose the My Finances tab.

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After I have filed my FAFSA, when can I expect to get my financial aid package from Messiah College?

In March we start sending completed financial aid packages to students who are planning to enroll for the first time in the upcoming fall semester. All students who have completed all of their application requirements will receive their final award notice at that time. Throughout the spring, on a weekly basis, we continue to send final award notices to students as they complete their application requirements.

Your financial aid award notice will be delivered on-line via your MCSquare account. Specific instructions on how to access your award notice will be sent to you when your award notice is ready.

What is the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)? I’ve heard it’s just a number and I shouldn’t really pay any attention to it.

A primary outcome from filing a FAFSA is the EFC. The financial information analyzed from the FAFSA provides a foundation for the equal treatment of all financial aid applicants. In other words, it is a standard by which all applicants are evaluated without regard to any factors except the criteria used to analyze the family's financial strength.  There is no special treatment for any particular group.  The EFC must be used by the Financial Aid Office to determine a student’s maximum financial aid eligibility. But, every financial aid administrator recognizes that, in many instances, the calculated EFC is not a true indicator of what the family can contribute to college costs.  In fact, we wish that it would not be called the 'Expected Family Contribution' because that terminology frequently leads to misunderstanding.  It should not be viewed as the maximum that a family will have to pay for the education.  The EFC should really be viewed as an index that we must use to determine the maximum financial aid eligibility that we can assign to a student.  The Federal government requires that this standard be used to determine eligibility for Federal financial aid programs and Messiah College uses it to determine eligibility for our need-based institutional financial aid programs.

How can I tell if my financial aid package is completed?

As soon as your financial aid package is completed, we will send you a message (in the form of both an email and a printed letter) alerting you that you can view your on-line award.

This item still in progress.

I’ve tried to view my on-line financial aid package and I can’t seem to get to it on MCSquare. What should I do?

If you have misplaced your username for the MCSquare system and would like us to send it to you, please complete the Username and Password Request form.

If you still cannot view your on-line award after following these instructions, please contact Student Computer Services. They will help you resolve your problem. You can contact Student Computer Services at: resnet@messiah.edu; or call (717)697-5039.

What is the cost to attend Messiah College?

Tuition, Room and board and basic fixed costs

Many people are confused by the difference between fixed costs and the student cost of attendance budget that is used for determining financial aid eligibility.

The fixed cost shown in the above link is what your bill from Messiah College will be based on. It is the known fees that the institution charges you.

The Student Cost of Attendance Budget includes the fixed costs (tuition, fees, room, and board), but also includes our estimate of personal, travel, and book costs. The Student Cost of Attendance Budget is used ONLY for the purpose of calculating financial aid eligibility and it is not what your bill from Messiah College will be based on. Your bill will be based only on the fixed costs.

There are also special fees that are assessed based on courses and other considerations.  We will include some of these fees in your cost of attendance if they apply to you. List of Special Fees

What if I have received my financial aid award notice and it just isn’t enough to allow me to attend Messiah College?

Each year the Financial Aid Office completes a rigorous process of determining how much money we can award to each student who wants to attend Messiah College. The amount of financial aid available is fixed by the institution’s budget and we have very little flexibility to adjust awards. In other words, for the most part, the award that we send you in your financial aid award notice is all that we can give you.

The Financial Aid Office is certainly willing to work with families to help them plan how to finance the education, but there are some things we can and cannot do in this process. Here are a few important points to keep in mind:

  • Being willing to work with you does not mean that we can simply give you more money. In the limited cases in which we can increase an award over the initial offer, there must be some basis for doing so. This typically involves an unusual circumstance, such as in the following examples:
    • Loss of employment by the parent (or the student in the case of an independent student).
    • Injury or illness of the parent or student that has caused loss of income or unusual unreimbursed medical expenses.
    • Natural disaster or other unusual emergency that caused unexpected expense.
    • Extreme unmet financial need.

We will reconsider awards when a circumstance such as this exists and there is a basis on which to award additional aid, but here are some examples of things we cannot do:

  • Increase the amount of merit scholarships, such as the Trustee’s, President’s or Provost’s Scholarships. These scholarships are awarded by the Admissions Office base on published, objective criteria. Each recipient is treated equally and it would be inappropriate to give special treatment to certain students.
  • Award additional need-based aid, such as Federal or state grants or the Messiah College Grant, to students who have no unmet financial need.
  • Award any additional aid simply by request without the student demonstrating additional eligibility for a particular financial aid program.

How do I go about applying for student loans and when should I start that process?

A) Federal Stafford Student Loans: If you indicated that you wanted student loans on your FAFSA, a Federal Stafford loan will automatically be part of the Financial Aid award. A freshman may receive a total Stafford loan amount of up to $5500, a sophomore up to $6500, and juniors and seniors up to $7500. Depending on your need, some of this may be subsidized (no interest accrues) or unsubsidized (interest accrues). Subsidized Stafford loan has a fixed interest rate of 5.6% for 2009-2010, 4.5% for 2010-2011, and 3.4% for 2011-2012. Unsubsidized Stafford loan has a fixed interest rate of 6.8%

Messiah College is a Direct Loan school, which means you do not need to apply for a Federal Stafford loan from a bank or lender. However, there are two requirements which must be completed before any Stafford loan can be disbursed to your student account:

1) Complete Loan Entrance Counseling, if you are a first-time Stafford loan borrower, at: www.dl.ed.gov.

2) Complete and electronically sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) at: www.dlenote.ed.gov. You will electronically sign the MPN using your student FAFSA PIN number.

Messiah College will be notified that these two requirements have been completed, and your loan will be disbursed in two disbursements - the beginning of the fall semester, and the beginning of the spring semester.

B) Federal PLUS Loans: A parent may apply for a Federal PLUS loan. A credit check is part of the application process. These loans have a 7.9% fixed interest rate and there is a 2.5% fee deducted from the disbursement. A PLUS deferment may be requested while the student is enrolled at least half-time (6 credits or more). More information on Plus loans

C) Private/Alternative Student Loans: If you are interested in a private/alternative student loan, please see our website for more information.  There are many different private/alternative student loans, and most of them have variable interest rates that change monthly or quarterly, some loans have fees. Interest does accumulate on the loan while the student is in school and can be deferred until repayment, or it may be paid at any time while the student is in school. Most of the lenders we work with capitalize the unpaid interest only once at repayment. If the student does not have sufficient or acceptable credit history, a credit-worthy cosigner will be required.

Why can’t I get an athletic scholarship at Messiah College?

Messiah College is a member of Division III of the NCAA. The core Division III financial aid tenet states:

Athletics ability, participation and performance may not be considered when compiling the financial aid package of a Division III student‑athlete. Specifically, athletics ability, participation or performance may not be considered as criterion under any category (e.g., a leadership activity, extracurricular activity) when determining the financial aid package of a Division III student‑athlete. For example, athletically related activities, including serving as a team captain, may not be considered under the broader category of "leadership activities." Athletics participation must be removed from consideration when determining financial aid.

In summary, student athletes at Messiah College who meet the criteria for any of our existing programs can receive financial aid through those programs on the same basis as any other student, but they cannot receive aid on the basis of any athletic involvement.

Additionally, coaches cannot be involved in any way in the determination of the financial aid package of a student athlete.

Messiah College strictly adheres to this standard and we do not have any procedures which circumvent it.