Frequently Asked Questions

Financial Aid

▼   How and when should I apply for Financial Aid?
The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is available beginning October 1 for the upcoming academic year (for example, the 2020-2021 FAFSA is available beginning October 1, 2019). You must apply for Financial Aid every year. The best time to apply is as soon as possible after October 1 for the following school year (Fall, Spring & Summer semesters).
Submit your FAFSA online at
▼   What is your federal school code?

The federal school code for USA is 001057. To find others, check online at  and select "Find My Schools Codes".

▼   How long will it take before I get my Financial Aid Award Notice?
It may take 6-8 weeks after you complete your file at USA before you'll find out what aid you're eligible to receive. Ensure the fastest processing time by turning in all requested information in a timely manner. Check your PAWS account and JagMail regularly for updates. 
▼   How many hours must I take to be eligible for student loan funds?
You must enroll at least half-time to receive student loan funds. As an undergraduate student, half-time is 6 hours. For a graduate student, half-time is 3 hours. The classes you take must be required for your declared program and major.
▼   What happens if I drop all of my classes (completely withdraw)?

Federal student aid regulations have defined that a student who completely withdraws or stops attending prior to completing 60% of a term has not earned 100% of the federal student aid that was received. If you drop all of your classes the Office of Financial Aid may be required to return a portion of the federal student aid that was applied to your student account. More information can be found here on the Return to Title IV Funds Policy.

You must also make satisfactory academic progress towards your degree in order to maintain federal student aid eligibility, and any classes dropped or failed may affect your progress. For more information, refer to the Academic Progress Policy.


▼   How do I apply for USA scholarships?
To apply for scholarships here at South you must use JagSPOT, USA's Scholarship Program Opportunity Tracker– found on the Office of Scholarship Services' website. Freshmen students are automatically considered for the Freshman Admission Scholarship Program, provided they complete the admission process by Dec 1st. But additional opportunities are available!! All current and incoming students should use Jag$POT to fill out their General Application - which in turn will help match them to potential scholarship and award opportunities. However, take note, students desiring to be considered for need-based scholarships must complete the FAFSA by March 1. Additional deadlines vary by scholarship award.
▼   Typically, what are the deadline for scholarships?
The deadlines vary by scholarship. Prime months for most scholarship deadlines are January through April, for awards starting the following fall term. But, keep in mind that many scholarships are only awarded once a year, so missing a deadline can mean missing out until the next cycle. Please refer to the specific information for each scholarship to verify actual application deadlines.
▼   How does my enrollment status effect my institutional aid and scholarships?

Your initial award is based on full-time enrollment. Census occurs at the end of the day on the last day to drop/add courses for the semester (typically the Friday of the first week of classes). Your aid will not disburse at less than full-time status and your enrollment will be evaluated for aid purposes at that time.  

If eligible, exceptions for Institutional Scholarships can be completed in JagSPOT. For other scholarships and awards, distributed through the colleges, schools, and programs, please contact the Office of Scholarship Services directly.  

Additional courses registered for after the census date will not be taken into consideration with regard to your scholarship and aid eligibility.

▼   What effect will outside scholarships have on my financial aid package?

If you have earned any outside scholarship funds, you are required to notify the Office of Scholarship Services so the information can be used in calculating your financial aid award package. If your current scholarship opportunities have met 100 percent of your demonstrated need and subsequently you receive an outside scholarship, one or more of your financial aid sources may need to be adjusted. Loan assistance is adjusted first, wherever possible.

Please contact the Office of Financial Aid for more information about aid adjustments.

▼   Where should an external scholarship donor send my award check?

University of South Alabama
Office of Scholarship Services
Meisler Hall, Suite 1225
390 Alumni Circle
Mobile, AL 36688

The donor must include the student's name and Jag Number (Student ID) on the check or on attached documentation. Donors should specify what semester(s) and aid year the check should be applied to in addition to minimum enrollment hours for disbursement (full-time, half-time, less than half-time).

 Student Accounting

▼   When will I receive my financial aid refund?
Refunds should be processed within 10 business days after the drop/add period. Please see the University’s financial calendar for specific dates.

Electronic Direct Deposit is required for financial aid and other student refunds. Refunds may be due from the University of South Alabama for a variety of reasons, such as excess financial aid. An unexpected refund could be due to late class cancellations, schedule changes, academic program changes, etc. To ensure your refunds go directly into your bank account, sign up for direct deposit.

Direct Deposit means you will receive your refund faster, with the refund being directly credited to your checking account, instead of waiting on the postal service to deliver your check. It also eliminates address problems with your refund checks and possibly having to take your check to the bank. This convenience is being provided at NO COST to you.  
Here are five easy steps for signing up for direct deposit:
1.       Go to PAWS (
2.       Sign on to "Enter Secure Area"
3.       Click Student Services and Financial Aid
4.       Click Student Records
5.       Click Direct Deposit Information (Enter Banking Information)

Enter your bank information via the secure Update Direct Deposit Information option. Please ensure that you input your bank routing and account numbers accurately. There is no verification process to validate your input. Direct deposit will remain in effect while you are attending the University of South Alabama.  If your bank information changes, you will need to update your Electronic Direct Deposit information in PAWS.

Once your bank information has been updated successfully, your next refund will be electronically transferred into your bank account. Notifications will be sent to your email address when a direct deposit transaction has been initiated.
▼   How do I enroll the USA Payment Plan?

You can sign up in the USA Payment Plan through PAWS, by selecting “Student Account Access” under the “Student Records” section. Select “Payment Plans” to begin the enrollment process.

▼   What if I get to the cashier in the bookstore and they do not allow me to charge books?

If you are unable to charge your books to your student account, you have either not been awarded financial aid at USA or you did not have sufficient aid available to allow for a bookstore charge.

▼   PAWS indicates that my financial aid refund was processed but I have not received it? What should I do?

If you have not received your refund (check or EDD) after 7 days from the refund process date on your student account, contact the Office of Student Accounting. It takes approximately 10 days for check refunds to be received back by mail and approximately 5 days for financial institutions to return EDD resulting from closed accounts.

▼   How do I make a payment towards my student account?

Students can view and pay for their charges each semester through PAWS, by selecting "Student Account Access" under the "Student Records" section.  You can view the breakdown of charges and aid on your account by selecting "View Activity," or you can simply select "Make Payment" to pay on your balance. 

▼   How do I give my parent or guardian access to view my student account?

Students can add users to their account so that a family member may view their charges and make payments. In your PAWS account, select "Student Account Access" under the "Student Records" section. Then on the left side of the screen, select "Authorized Users" to add another user to your account.