Step 1

The first step to apply for scholarships and financial aid is to be admitted to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

  • Undergraduate students should submit an application for admission, high school transcript, college transcripts (if applicable), and application fee to the Office of Admissions. Returning students who must be readmitted must also submit all application materials necessary for readmission.
  • Graduate College and Law College students must submit all application materials to their college admissions office and be admitted in a degree program prior to being awarded financial aid.

Step 2

To apply for all need-based financial assistance (Federal Pell Grant, FSEOG, Nebraska State Grant, University Tuition Assistance Grant, Tuition Assistance Program Grant, UNL Opportunity Grant, FWSP, Federal Perkins Loan, and Federal Student Loans), you and usually your parents must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA may be filed electronically at www.fafsa.gov.

To avoid any delays in processing your FAFSA, please follow these helpful hints:

  • File your 2013 tax returns electronically.
  • File the 2014-2015 FAFSA using IRS data retrieval process (IRS data will be available two weeks after filing your tax return electronically).
  • Complete your FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1. Federal Perkins Loans, FWSP, Federal SEOG, Nebraska State Grants, University Tuition Assistance Grants, Tuition Assistance Program Grants, and UNL Opportunity Grants are awarded on a first-come basis to needy students with completed financial aid files as long as funds are available. Due to fund limitations there is no guarantee that applicants will receive all or any of these funds.
  • Read the instructions carefully.
  • Always use your correct Social Security number. Your Social Security number is the primary means of identifying your records.
  • Designate the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as a recipient of the information on your FAFSA (federal school code is 002565).
  • Independent student status? You are automatically considered an independent student if:
  • you are at least 24 years of age by December 31 of the award year (e.g., by December 31, 2014, for 2014-2015);
  • you are a United States Armed Forces veteran or serving on active duty for other than training purposes;
  • you are an orphan or ward of the court, or were a ward of the court until age 18;
  • you have children who receive more than half of their support from you;
  • you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half of their support from you now and through June 30, 2015;
  • you are married prior to filing the FAFSA;
  • you will be a graduate or law student during the first term of the academic year; or
  • you are an emancipated minor, are in legal guardianship, or are an unaccompanied homeless youth.

Students who do not meet any one of these criterion are considered dependent for financial aid purposes and are required to list parental information on the FAFSA. A financial aid administrator can exercise professional judgment on the basis of unusual circumstances such as dysfunctional family situations or if the custodial parent is deceased and the student has no contact with the remaining natural parent. Situations such as a student choosing to put him/herself through college rather than rely on (step)parent(s) support or (step)parent(s) who have chosen not to assist the student with college expenses, do not qualify for professional judgment overrides, however students may complete the FAFSA without parental information to be considered for limited loan eligibility. Students who wish to apply for dependency overrides should contact the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid (OSFA) for an application.

  • Parents divorced and remarried? If the natural parent for whom you are listing information on the FAFSA has divorced but is now remarried, you must include information about your stepparent on the FAFSA as well.
  • Planning to get married? You should complete your FAFSA as early as possible with the correct marital status as of that date.  If you will be married before the start of the academic year (1st day of classes in the fall semester), you may contact our office to update your marital status.   
  • Students who receive free room and board as compensation for serving as a Student Assistant or Conference Assistant at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln or any other college/university should report the value of the room and board received in 2013 as untaxed income on the FAFSA.
  • Properly sign the application.
  • Don't leave anything blank unless the instructions specifically tell you to do so.
  • When filling out the income, earnings, and benefits section with a 2013 federal income tax return, use the appropriate line number references.  It is recommended to use the IRS data retrievial process when completing the FAFSA.   

Step 3

Current undergraduate students may apply for scholarships by following the scholarship application procedures for currently enrolled undergraduate students.

Step 4

Respond quickly to all requests from our office and other agencies to avoid processing delays.

Step 5

Keep good records. Make photocopies of all forms before you mail them. Keep a careful record of when you mail forms. Keep and date financial aid correspondence sent to you.

Step 6

Follow up. Check on the status of your application.

Step 7

Ask questions. If you are unsure about any part of the application process, contact the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid.

What is a completed financial aid file?

Undergraduate students must:

  • Submit the FAFSA to the processing center.
  • Submit an application for admission, high school transcript, college transcripts (if applicable), and application fee to the UNL Office of Admissions. Returning students who must be readmitted to UNL must also submit all application materials necessary for readmission.
  • Submit all documentation requested as required for verification.

Graduate or Law students must:

  • Submit the FAFSA to the processing center.
  • Be admitted to the UNL Law College or Graduate College in a degree program.
  • Submit all documentation requested as required for verification.

Verification

Some financial aid applicants will be required to verify the accuracy of financial data based upon federal regulations. The University of Nebraska participates in the Department of Education's Quality Assurance (QA) Program which involves institutional commitment to quality and customer service. As a result of this project, criteria for the selection of applicants for verification may vary according to population segments or data elements where inaccuracies occur most frequently. If you are selected for verification, you will be instructed to complete an institutional verification form.  Other documents that may be requested include tax transcripts, W-2 forms, marriage certificate or military discharge papers. When verification is complete, you will be notified of your eligibility for financial aid through an email directing you to MyRED.

Enrollment Status

Awards made before the beginning of a semester are based on expected full-time enrollment status. Student enrollment status will be checked on the census date of each semester/term. If your hours are less than full-time, your budget and awards will be adjusted at that time. This could cause delays in the processing or disbursement of your financial aid. If your undergraduate enrollment is less than half-time, you may be eligible for only a Federal Pell Grant. Graduate students who are enrolled less than half-time (less than four credit hours) per semester, but are certified full-time by the Graduate College, will be eligible to receive financial aid. The tuition/fee portion of the student budget will be adjusted to a less than half-time amount. The full-time certification will also be used for deferment purposes on prior student loans.

Planning to start classes in the Spring or Summer?

Spring Semester Assistance
New students and transfer students beginning their enrollment in the Spring semester 2014 will need a 2013-2014 FAFSA on file with the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid and need to be admitted to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for the spring semester. Funds are awarded on a first-come basis to students with completed financial aid files. Currently enrolled students need not reapply each semester as they are automatically considered for financial aid for the entire academic year.

Summer Assistance
Most students are expected to obtain summer employment to generate savings for the upcoming academic year. If it is necessary for you to take summer courses, and if funds are available, we will allocate assistance based on your need as determined by the FAFSA completed for the 2013-2014 academic year. You must complete the online Summer Financial Aid Application; this application will be available in March. If you are interested in the full-time Federal Work-Study Program during the summer, you will also have to complete the online Summer Financial Aid Application in March and demonstrate financial need based on the 2014-2015 FAFSA. If you have already filed a 2013-2014 FAFSA, you do not need to file the FAFSA again for summer assistance. Students cannot exceed their annual maximum loan limit (see chart) over a combination of the fall semester, the spring semester, and the summer terms. If you plan to apply for 2014 summer financial aid, you may want to reserve some of your loan eligibility from the previous academic year. 

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid

This website explains in a series of steps how to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It also explains the purpose of the FAFSA questions.