FAQs

Do you have questions about the financial aid process at UH? Check here for answers. If your question isn't addressed here, feel free to contact the Financial Aid Office.

Cost of Attendance (COA)

How is my cost of attendance calculated? To calculate your financial aid, the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid will estimate what it will cost you to attend the University of Houston. Items included in the cost of attendance:
  • Tuition and Fees - The average cost of tuition and fees for a typical student is based on enrolling for 30 hours per year. The actual costs that a student incurs will vary depending on the student’s degree or certificate program.
  • Room and Board - A reasonable estimate of what it would cost to live in Houston while attending school. Actual costs may vary by individual choices related to location and circumstances.
  • Books and Supplies - The average cost of books and supplies for a typical student for an entire academic year.
  • Transportation - Represents travel to and from parent's residence and transportation costs to and from class and work.
  • Personal - Personal items not included in room and board expenses.

FAFSA Verification

I've been selected for verification. What does this mean?
Verification is a random quality-control method used by the U.S. Department of Education to check the accuracy of information submitted on the FAFSA. All schools that disburse Federal Title IV Funds are required to participate in the verification process. The verification process is a manual review of your application and requires a minimum of 2-3 weeks for processing. For more information on the verification process, please contact your Financial Aid Advisor or the myUH Enrollment Services Call Center at 713-743-1010, option 5.
What information is subject to verification?
  • Household size
  • Number in college
  • Receipt of food stamp benefits
  • Child support paid
  • For tax filers
  • Adjusted gross income (AGI)
  • Income tax paid
  • Untaxed IRA distributions
  • Untaxed pensions
  • Education credits
  • IRA deductions
  • Tax-exempt interest
  • For non-filers
  • Income earned from work
What additional application requirements might be requested if I am selected for verification?
Once your FAFSA is submitted, your information will be verified by matching the information on your FAFSA with a series of federally mandated data (Social Security Number, date of birth, name, selective service status, citizenship status, and default status). You may also be selected for the verification process by the U.S. Department of Education, which is a random quality control method used to check the accuracy of information submitted on the FAFSA.
What is the difference between a tax transcript and a tax return?
Any request for taxes beginning 2012/2013 school year will now have to be an IRS tax transcript. The University of Houston will no longer accept 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ or 1040X tax documents. The IRS provides additional information on the difference between a tax transcript and tax return.
How can I request a tax transcript?
You may contact the IRS using one of the below methods to request a tax transcript. Please allow 7-10 business days for delivery.
Online: www.irs.gov
Telephone: (800) 908-9946
IRS Form: 4506T-EZ (Short Form Request for Individual Tax Return Transcript)*

*Transcripts requested via IRS Form 4506T-EX can be sent directly to the University of Houston.
How soon after I file my tax return can I request a tax transcript?
You can request a tax transcript as soon as your return is processed. For online returns, the processing time is usually three weeks. For paper returners, the processing time is six to eight weeks.

Funds Disbursement

What does "Disbursement" mean?
Financial aid disbursement is a process that takes place on or after the first class day of each term. Financial aid is defined as “anticipated or pending aid” until it actually "disburses" into a student’s account.
When will financial aid disburse to my student financial account?
Financial aid is posted to students' accounts as pending/anticipated aid prior to the start of each semester. Beginning Fall 2013, financial aid funds will disburse into students' financial accounts in myUH based on the following schedule. All Federal Loans and Scholarships will begin disbursing the first week of classes. All Grants will disburse immediately after the 12th class day of the term (the university's Official Reporting Day). This allows students to make changes to their enrollment status prior to the Official Reporting Day without adversely affecting their financial aid status.

Spring 2014 Disbursement Schedule
Disbursement Date Refund Generation Date
Loans and
Scholarships

Starting
January 13, 2014

Starting
January 14, 2014
Grants Starting
January 30, 2014
Starting
January 31, 2014
How do I calculate how much I owe to secure my classes for each term based on my pending/anticipated Financial Aid?
Once financial aid funds are posted to your myUH account (and you have accepted the aid offer) as pending/anticipated aid, you can subtract the semester's aid amount from your semester's "Charges Due." The calculated difference is either the amount you owe the university or the amount the university will refund to you. This difference is shown in your myUH account under "Account Summary." For example, let's say you have semester "Charges Due" due of $2,000. Your accepted pending/anticipated financial aid amount is $1,000. At that time, the amount you would need to pay in order to secure your classes would be $1,000; therefore, your "Account Summary" would show $1,000. Students are always advised to check their myUH financial accounts daily during the start of each term as balances and Financial Aid is subject to adjustment at any time.
What can I do if I do not have enough funds to cover my total term balance?
Prior to the university payment due date, students can select one of three payment plans offered by the university in order to secure enrollment: 90-Day Emergency Deferment Plan, Short-Term Tuition Deferment Plan (45 Day), or Installment Pay Plan.
After my university debts are paid, when will I receive any remaining financial aid funds?
Once financial aid funds are disbursed to a student's account and all university debts are paid, UH will release any remaining funds (refund) to Higher One. All UH student refunds are then distributed by Higher One. These funds will be sent to Higher One within 24 hours of appearing on a student's account. Thereafter, refund processing times are determined by a student's refund preference in Higher One. Visit cougarone.com to select your method of refund processing (direct deposit to bank account of choice or deposit into a Higher One Account).

Loans

I'm not eligible for a Federal Direct or Perkins loan. What are my options?
Many banks and other private lenders offer educational loans to help you pay for your education. Interest rates may not be as low as the federal programs can offer, but some lenders are able to offer attractive loan options.
What is the difference between subsidized and unsubsidized Federal Direct loans?
Subsidized Federal Direct Loans are based on financial need, and the government pays the interest to the lender while you are in school at least half-time, as well as during any deferment periods. Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans, on the other hand, are not based on need, and borrowers are responsible for all interest accrued on the loan. Interest payments can be deferred until graduation and then will be capitalized and added to the principal of the loan. You also can make payments on the interest while in school by contacting your lender.
How will I receive my loan?
Your funds will be received electronically and will be applied to your myUH student account. Any remaining funds will be credited and distributed to you by Higher One. Visit cougarone.com to select your method of refund processing (direct deposit to bank account of choice or deposit into a Higher One Account).
I have accepted my Federal Direct Loan. Why has it not disbursed?
If you are waiting for your Federal Direct Loan from financial aid, please make sure you have completed your Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling at www.studentloans.gov. Everyone receiving a direct loan must complete a MPN and Entrance Counseling.
What are the consequences of default?
  • You may be subject to court action requiring total repayment of your loan.
  • Your credit rating can be severely damaged, making it difficult to borrow money for a car or home, or to receive credit cards.
  • The default status can remain on your credit report for several years after you pay the loan in full.
  • Your federal Treasury payments (including federal tax refunds) and state income tax refunds may be withheld.
  • Up to 15% of your disposable income can be garnished (administrative wage garnishment) without a court order.
  • You won't be eligible to receive any more federal financial aid (and possibly state aid) unless you make acceptable arrangements to repay what you already owe.
  • You may be ineligible for assistance under most federal benefit programs.
  • You'll be ineligible for deferments or forbearance.
  • You'll be liable for the costs associated with collecting your loan up to 24% of your principal and interest balance, plus court costs and attorney fees.
  • You may not be able to renew a professional license you hold or may jeopardize your chances for certain types of employment.
  • Your loan may be assigned to a professional collection agency.
What is an incentive repayment plan?
Most lenders offer an incentive plan for borrowers who make timely payments (i.e. interest rate and/or fee reductions for borrowers who make 48 consecutive on-time payments). Check with your lender for available options.

Scholarships

How do I apply for a scholarship at the University of Houston?
For most UH-funded scholarships, your application for admission serves as your scholarship application as well. Others require that you submit the FAFSA and provide additional documentation. Check our Scholarships page for detail.
How do I send a private scholarship to the Financial Aid Department?
Full detailed instructions can be found on the Private Scholarship Processing Guide.

Student Rights and Responsibilities

What are my student rights and responsibilities? As a student consumer you have the right to:
  • know what financial assistance is available, including information on all federal, state, and institutional financial assistance programs;
  • know the deadlines for submitting applications for financial aid;
  • know how your financial need is determined. This process includes how costs for tuition and fees, room and board, travel, books and supplies, and personal expenses are decided in developing cost of attendance budgets;
  • know what resources (such as parental contribution, other financial assistance, student assets, etc.) are considered in the calculation of your financial need;
  • know how your financial need, as determined by the University, has been met, and how and when financial aid funds are disbursed;
  • request from the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid (OSFA), an explanation of the various programs in your student aid package. If you believe you have not received the financial assistance for which you are eligible, you may request in writing a review of your aid application;
  • know what portion of the financial assistance received must be repaid, and what portion is scholarship/grant aid. If the aid is a loan, you have the right to know what the interest rate is, the total amount that must be repaid, the payback procedures, the length of time you have to repay the loan, and when repayment is to begin;
  • know how the OSFA determines whether you are making satisfactory academic progress, and what happens if you are not; and
  • you have a right to privacy.  All records submitted with your application for financial aid are confidential, and subject to legal requirements concerning disclosure of such information. For more information, please see the university’s explanation regarding The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

It is your responsibility to:

  • review and consider all information about the financial aid programs at the University prior to enrolling;
  • complete all financial assistance applications and forms accurately, and submit them to the OSFA by the appropriate deadlines;
  • complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or Renewal FAFSA (undergraduates) in full. You may experience delays in receiving a decision about financial aid if forms are submitted after the priority filing deadlines or are filled out incompletely or incorrectly. Falsification of information on application forms for federal financial assistance is considered a criminal offense, and you may be subject to penalties under the U.S. Criminal Code;
  • respond quickly to all requests for additional documentation related to verification or corrections;
  • notify the OSFA if there is a change in any of the information reported on the FAFSA;
  • read and understand all forms, both paper and electronic, that you are asked to submit or sign, and keep copies of these forms. You are legally responsible for all agreements which you sign;
  • if awarded a loan, participate in any required entrance/exit counseling;
  • notify your lender of any changes in your name, address, or school status if a loan is part of your financial aid;
  • if employed through Federal Work Study, report to your job according to the schedule you arranged with your supervisor, complete all work to the best of your ability, and notify your supervisor in advance if you are unable to report to work for any reason;
  • maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for financial aid eligibility;
  • know and comply with the University's refund and Return of Title IV fund policies

Proof of Course Completion

Why am I being asked to turn in a Proof of Course Completion Form (PCCF)?
If a student who began attendance fails to earn a passing grade in at least one course during the semester, the institution must assume that the student has unofficially withdrawn, unless the institution can document that the student completed the period. In the absence of evidence of a last day of attendance at an academically related activity, the school must consider a student who failed to earn a passing grade to be an unofficial withdrawal and subject to returning 100% of financial aid received for the semester.
Can you accept late submissions of the PCCF?
The Department of Education has a strict deadline for reporting withdrawal dates within 30 days of the closing of the semester. A submission past the institutional deadline is still considered late for processing purposes and a review is not guaranteed. This includes any necessary supporting documentation submitted after the deadline.
What if I am having a hard time getting in contact with my instructor?
Ideally, it is best to contact the instructor for the course in which you participated the longest. Although only one submission from one instructor is required, you can contact any of your instructors by phone, email, or in-person. If you are unsuccessful, seek assistance from the instructor's department. Failure to contact your instructor does not waive you of this requirement.
Will the PCCF be denied if it is incomplete? What makes a complete submission?
Yes, an incomplete PCCF submission will be denied. A complete submission is essential and it is your responsibility to ensure that the form is complete and all necessary supporting documentation submitted. Examples of academically related activities are examinations or quizzes, tutorials, computer-assisted instruction, academic conferences, completing an academic assignment, paper, or project, and attending a study group required by the institution where attendance is taken. (34 CFR 668.22(c)(3)) Correspondences regarding your inability to complete assignments or lack of attendance are NOT considered academically related activities.
I am considering a medical withdrawal; do I still need to complete a PCCF?
Yes. The medical withdrawal review process can take longer and although it can result in an official withdrawal, it is still subject to financial aid withdrawal guidelines. Any student who officially or unofficially withdraws from the university or fails to earn a passing grade in any class, federal regulations require a return to Title IV calculation for all students receiving Federal Title IV Funds. The calculation of the return of those funds may result in your owning a balance to the university. This calculation occurs within 45 days of the closing of the semester.
What happens once the PCCF is processed?
A date of withdrawal will be determined according to the documentation provided. This date will be used to determine whether the aid you received was earned, according to the last day your documentation shows attendance or that you participated in an academically related activity. The calculation of the return of those funds may result in you having a balance with the university. Students owing a balance to the university will not be allowed to register for subsequent semesters until balance is paid.
What happens if I never turn in a PCCF?
If you do not submit the PCCF form by the deadline, the institution must assume, for Title IV purposes, that you have unofficially withdrawn. 100% of aid received for the semester will be returned. Official correspondence from the university is sent to the e-mail address provided by the student to the Registrar's Office. If the student has failed to correct his or her contact information, they will not be relieved of the responsibility on the grounds that the correspondence was not received.