Policies and Things to Know

▼   Important Dates

Use this timeline as your guide throughout the financial aid process. Take the time to note events as they occur so that you have a record of when you complete them. Also, look ahead to plan for upcoming events.

Bench Mark Event
October 1

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is available for new and returning students.



Complete federal tax returns

Spring term classes begin. Financial aid is disbursed to eligible students beginning on the first day of classes.


Monitor your PAWS and JagMail accounts for updates regarding your FAFSA and outstanding requirements. Please submit all outstanding requirements promptly.

April The Financial Aid Office will begin reviewing financial aid files and awarding for the upcoming Fall term. Respond to all requests for information from USA in a timely manner.

The Financial Aid Office will begin sending Award Notifications via JagMail email accounts for the upcoming Fall semester to students who have completed their files with USA and have eligibility.

May 1st is the priority deadline for FAFSA completion. Students may continue to apply for aid by completing the FAFSA but their aid may not be processed by the time Fall payment is due.

Complete Electronic Direct Deposit Forms.

Forms for EDD only have to be submitted once. It is not necessary to re-enroll each semester provided your bank account information stays the same.

The Department of Education will release the upcoming academic year’s federal Direct loan interest rates.

Master Promissory Notes, Entrance and Exit Counselings, and Graduate PLUS loan applications are available to complete online at studentaid.gov for the upcoming year.


Third and Fourth year classes begin for the Fall semester, and financial aid will disburse. If a student has outstanding requirements, their financial aid will not disburse on time.


Orientation for first year students.


Fall Semester begins for first and second year classes, and financial aid will disburse. If a student has outstanding requirements, their financial aid will not disburse on time.

Student Accounting will process refunds as quickly as possible.


Set up a one-on-one budgeting session to discuss ways to save money in medical school.

December  Complete Electronic Direct Deposit Forms for the Spring semester if needed. Forms for EDD only have to be submitted once. It is not necessary to re-enroll each semester provided your bank account information stays the same.
▼   How is Financial Aid Awarded
Data you provide on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will be analyzed according to federal, state and institutional guidelines. A formula established by the United States Congress will be used to determine the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Medical students are awarded federal Direct Unsubsidized and Graduate PLUS loans based on their loan eligibility.
▼   Disbursement Information

Financial Aid will be applied to student accounts and will officially 'pay' toward institutional charges beginning the first day of classes if all outstanding, eligibility requirements are met. All credit balances and refunds of financial aid are handled by the Office of Student Accounting.

The amount of financial aid you will receive will depend on your year in school. Classes MUST BE taken for credit and be required for your program and degree to count toward financial aid. Classes taken as audit or for a certificate program will not count for financial aid. The amount of financial aid you receive may be different from that shown on your award letter.

Direct Loan Borrowers

A student must be enrolled at least half-time at the time loan disbursements are made to be eligible to receive loan funds. A new USA student must complete a Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling in order for their unsubsidized loans to disburse on time. If a student wants to pursue the Graduate PLUS loan, the student must complete the Graduate PLUS loan application and Graduate PLUS loan Master Promissory Note. Go to PAWS to see any outstanding requirements. The Exit Counseling is required for student borrowers who withdraw, drop to less than half time, graduate, or do not return to USA. To complete any of these documents, please go to https://studentaid.gov/.


Every student has the right to decline receipt of a loan disbursement or to cancel a loan entirely. Simply notify the Financial Aid Office, sroote@southalabama.edu, to cancel a loan disbursement. Enrollment in less than half-time credits may cause cancellation of all loan disbursements for the remainder of the academic year and will be reinstated by request only. Cancellation of the first disbursement of a loan causes the entire loan to be canceled. If a student remains eligible, the student can request loans again in future terms.

▼   Rights and Responsibilities

Students Have the Right to Know:

  • The names of organizations which accredit and license the University
  • The University’s programs, instruction, laboratories, physical facilities, and faculty
  • The cost of attending the University and its refund policy
  • The type of financial assistance offered by the University from federal, state, local, and private programs
  • Who the financial aid personnel are and the location of the Financial Aid Office
  • What the procedures and deadlines are for applying for financial aid
  • How the University selects its financial aid recipients
  • How the University determines financial need
  • How much financial need has been met
  • How financial aid is received
  • About each type of financial assistance offered
  • Information about all student loans offered
  • When and how financial aid awards are adjusted
  • About special facilities for the handicapped
  • The University’s Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy
  • USA Complaint Policy

Students Have The Responsibility To:

  • Review and consider all information about the University before enrolling
  • Pay special attention to the application for financial aid, complete it accurately, submit it on time and to the right place
  • Know all deadlines for applying for aid and meet them
  • Provide all required documentation, corrections, and/or information requested by the Financial Aid Office
  • Notify the University of any information that has changed since the financial aid application was submitted
  • Read, understand, and keep copies of all forms
  • Repay any student loans borrowed
  • Perform an entrance and exit interview
  • Notify the Financial Aid Office of a change in name, address, or enrollment status (half-time, full-time, three-quarter-time)
  • Understand the University’s refund policy.
▼   Budget

Because the cost of medical school is so high, the Financial Aid Office in the College of Medicine is here to help with budgeting tips and advice from the AAMC. Here is the budget worksheet to assist any student with setting up a budget.