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Apply for Financial Aid

+When Do I Apply?

If you are beginning classes during the current academic year (fall through summer), you should apply for financial aid immediately. If you are attending college in the fall semester, the calendar below is a timeline for early consideration.


  • The FAFSA aid application is available for submission beginning October 1st each year.   Remember:  You will submit your FAFSA using the tax information from 2 years prior. Most students and parents should be able to download their tax information into the FAFSA using the IRS data retrieval tool.
  • TU’s FAFSA Priority Deadline is February 28th but apply for financial aid earlier than later! The initial FAFSA filing date is used for awarding limited funds so earlier is better. FAFSA applications submitted after February 28th may still be eligible for federal financial aid such as the Pell Grant, Stafford Direct Loans, and PLUS Loans.


  • Now is a good time to start applying for other financial aid such as scholarships for the next year. There are many resources available to aid you in your searches, such as the Thomas University Scholarships, and a number of online search engines as well!  Don’t neglect local resources.  Many community clubs and organizations provide scholarships to graduating seniors.  Be sure you keep up on any deadlines that are tied to scholarships to ensure you don’t miss out on an opportunity!


  • Financial aid award letters are sent to incoming priority deadline applicants.

+How Do I Apply?

The first step in applying for financial aid is completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  The U.S. Department of Education offers a free online application process for your convenience. Be sure you select the correct FAFSA year for the school year you will attend Thomas University. Each school year at TU begins fall term in August.Before completing the FAFSA make sure to:

Be sure you complete the appropriate form for the year you intend to begin classes.

Complete the form for the academic year you plan to begin classes. Academic years run fall, spring and summer.

Make sure student and/or parents taxes are linked using the IRS retrieval tool when completing the application.

You will submit your FAFSA using the tax information from 2 years prior. We encourage students and parents to download their tax information into the FAFSA using the IRS data retrieval tool  you are prompted.  This reduces the likelihood of mistakes.

Once completed, you will receive notification by mail and/or email from the Department of Education confirming your application has been received, processed, and notifying you if you are selected for verification. If selected, additional forms and processes are necessary to process your funds. Please contact the Financial Aid Office at (229) 584-2460 or email us at for assistance.

You can complete the Application for Financial Aid is at this site:

Be sure to send a copy to Thomas University.  Our school code is 001555.

+First Time Students

Once you submit your financial aid application, you’ll need to check your TU Student Account to see if additional documents are needed to process your financial aid award, accept your award, set up your refund preference with the Business Office, and, if you’re taking out a student loan, sign a federal Direct student loan Master Promissory Note or complete new borrower entrance counseling.

+Transfer Students

If you transfer to/from another institution, the financial aid you were awarded at your other school or, at Thomas University does not automatically transfer to the new institution. Your financial aid application will have to be received and evaluated at the new school. There are a number of steps to take to ensure that your financial aid is processed in a timely manner at the new institution.

First, contact the financial aid office and cancel your financial aid at your old school. This request can take several weeks to process. After your financial aid is canceled at your old school, be sure to obtain a copy of your updated award letter from the financial aid office to present to your new school as proof that you do not have any pending financial aid elsewhere (you can only receive financial aid from one school at a time).

Once your financial aid is canceled at your old school, add your new institution’s school code to your FAFSA. (TU School Code 001555) This will allow your new school to receive and review your FAFSA and determine your financial aid eligibility. Once your FAFSA is updated, follow up with your new school to ensure that your financial aid is being processed and you do not have any additional requirements.

Financial aid that you received at your prior school will be deducted from your annual and aggregate eligibility and may affect your eligibility at your new school.

+Graduate Students

Graduate students typically pay for their education through a combination of loans, scholarships, grants, fellowships and employment through their institution.

There are some departments who are able provide some funding through various grants and fellowships as well as teaching assistantships and research assistantships.

Graduate students should apply for financial aid as soon as possible.

Federal Financial Aid

Degree-seeking graduate students may apply for financial aid by completing the FAFSA application at each year. If the student is eligible, the FAFSA will result in an offer for an unsubsidized Ford Direct loan. The FAFSA application will also allow the student to apply for the Graduate PLUS loan online if they need additional aid. Both of these federal loans require the student to be enrolled at least halftime in a degree-seeking program. Graduate students are not eligible for federal Pell grants or federal subsidized Ford Direct loans.

Ford Direct Unsubsidized Loan

  • A graduate (non-professional) student may receive up to $20,500 per year in ford direct loans.
  • The aggregate maximum for a graduate (non-professional) student is $138,500.
  • The interest rate and origination fee for the Federal Direct unsubsidized loan can be found on the FSA website.
  • You must complete the Entrance Counseling and Ford Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) online at

Graduate PLUS Loan

  • The Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loan is a credit-based loan borrowed by graduate students to assist with educational expenses.
  • You may borrow up to your remaining cost of attendance after all other aid.
  • The loan does not have an aggregate limit.
  • The loan is unsubsidized meaning you are responsible for paying the interest during times of deferment.
  • The interest rates and origination fees on the Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loan vary by year and can be found on the FSA website.
  • You must complete a Direct PLUS Loan Application, Entrance Counseling, and Master Promissory Note (MPN) online at
  • The credit check, run as part of the application, is only valid for 180 days. Do not complete the application before May of the year you will start attendance.
  • For applicants who have been determined to have an adverse credit history, but qualify for a Graduate PLUS loan by documenting extenuating circumstances or obtaining an endorser must complete a new Master Promissory Note and PLUS Counseling online at

Enrollment Requirement for Federal Loans

To receive federal loans, a graduate student must be enrolled at least halftime (5-8 credits each term). Aid is packaged based on the expectation of full-time enrollment. To avoid disbursement delays, you must submit an enrollment revision form to let us know if you plan to be less than fulltime for the year. If our office has not been notified of your enrollment plans, your aid will be adjusted and disbursed after the Financial Aid Census Date for that term.

*Graduate certificate-seeking students may only receive aid based on credits that are required for their certificate program.

Private Supplemental/Alternative Loans

Private/Alternative loans are loans obtained from a bank, credit union or other lending agency. For most students, federal loans are a better option and should be utilized before private loans are considered. Alternative loans require a credit check and may have higher variable interest rates. They also do not offer the flexible repayment, consolidation, and loan forgiveness options that you get with federal loans.

Graduate Certificate Programs

Not all graduate certificate programs are eligible for federal financial aid. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid for a list of programs that are currently aid eligible. Further information about both aid eligible and non-eligible programs may be found on our Gainful Employment page.

Students in an aid eligible graduate certificate programs may only receive federal loans based on enrollment in courses that are required for that program. Other courses may not be counted towards the minimum halftime enrollment that is needed for federal loan eligibility. For the list of required courses, please review the course catalog or contact your academic advisor.

+Returning Students

Before each school year you’ll need to re-submit your FAFSA application as soon as the applications open, check to see if additional documents are needed to process your financial aid application, review and accept your financial aid award and make sure that you’re making satisfactory academic progress towards your degree.

Each Term

Whether you’re a new or returning student, you’ll need to maintain eligibility for your financial aid such as making sure that your enrollment level each term matches your financial aid award with the Financial Aid Office. If you’ll be attending less than full-time, submit a revision request form and make sure that you’re making satisfactory academic progress towards your degree.

Applying Isn’t the Last Step

Your FAFSA has to be processed, and then you get an Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which TU will use to determine how much aid you can get.

Find out more about what happens after you fill out the FAFSA, including how aid is calculated and when and how you’ll get your aid.

+Application Verification

Once you complete the FAFSA, Federal Student Aid may select your application for verification and notify both you and the school. During this process, FAFSA asks the school to request and review your financial and household information to confirm the accuracy of your FAFSA. If corrections to your FAFSA are needed, the school will correct your application on your behalf and you will be sent an updated Student Aid Report (SAR).You can see if your FAFSA has been selected for verification on your Student Aid Report (SAR). TU will also send you an electronic notification to your TU email requesting additional documents such as income tax data from the IRS or household size information (or other types of documentation).

+Next Steps - Submit Verification Documents

If FAFSA or the school notifies you that your application has been selected for verification: Log into your TU Student Account at and go to the Financial Aid tab. In this tab, you'll see a link to Outstanding Requirements. Click on my To Do list to review and submit these documents to the TU Office of Student Financial Aid as soon as you can but before August 1st for the following fall term.

+Verification FAQs

Being selected for FAFSA Verification can be frustrating but the TU Office of Financial Aid is here to help. Below you will find answers to the most common questions people have about navigating the Verification process. Please feel free to contact our office if you have any questions or concerns. Helpful Links: If you were selected for tax verification be sure to check out this helpful video on how to use the Data Retrieval Tool to download your tax information directly from the IRS into your FAFSA. If that tool doesn’t work for you, the IRS Web page has additional information on obtaining your tax return transcript or using the 4506-T form to get your Verification of Non-Filing Letter. 1: I’ve been selected for verification, what does that mean? The U.S. Department of Education is requiring Thomas University (TU) to review your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) information and verify the data entered on your FAFSA is accurate. We complete the verification process by comparing FAFSA data with federal tax documents and other forms you must provide to the TU Office of Financial Aid. Corrections to your FAFSA may be necessary if discrepancies are found. 2: What is the deadline to submit verification documents? For full consideration of all aid resources, required verification documents need to be submitted for review to the TU Office of Financial Aid no later than 45 days after the initial request for information. Verification documents received after the 45-day deadline can still be verified, but the types of financial aid offered may be limited. The Office of Financial Aid must complete verification before the end of the academic year, or before your last term of attendance in the year, otherwise, you may not be eligible for financial aid, including aid already disbursed. 3: What information is required to complete the financial aid verification process at TU? Not every student selected for verification will be required to submit the same verification documentation. Please review the Admissions and Financial Aid Checklist or your financial aid eligibility requirements in your My Hawklink account to see what verification documents have been requested. 4: I must verify my high school completion and Identity & Educational Purpose. What must I provide to complete these requirements? Please provide the TU Office of Admissions a copy of your final official HS transcript, certification of passing scores on GED and similar equivalency tests or other alternatives to satisfy the high school completion requirement. For the Identity & Educational Purpose, please refer to the form found in your Admissions and Financial Aid Checklist for detailed instructions. 5: I’ve been asked to provide income information with a verification worksheet. What is acceptable income documentation for verification? The verification worksheet must be completed and submitted with income information as described below.
  • If you Filed an IRS tax return, you can
    • Successful transfer 2016 IRS tax information using the Data Retrieval Tool when filing the FAFSA. Note: If you have already completed the FAFSA, you can login again and make corrections and use the Data Retrieval Tool.
    • Submit the 2016 IRS Tax Return Transcript from the IRS site. NOTE: If you filed your taxes as "married, filing separately" each person will need to submit a copy of their their Tax Return Transcript.
  • If you worked but were not required to file an IRS tax return
    • Parents/Independent students can provide photocopies of 2016 earnings statements (W2's, 1099's, etc.) AND IRS "Verification of Nonfiling Letter for the 2016 tax year.
    • Dependent students provide photocopies of 2016 earning statements (W2s, 1099's, etc.)
  • If you did not work and were not required to file an IRS tax return>
    • Parents/Independent students need to indicate this on the Verification Worksheet and provide a copy of the IRS "verification of Nonfiling Letter"
    • Dependent students will need to indicate this on the Verification Worksheet
  • If you Filed an amended IRS tax return
    • Please provide a signed photocopy of the IRS 1040X amended IRS tax return and EITHER a Tax Return Transcript OR successful transfer or use the Data Retrieval Tool when filing (or updating) your FAFSA.
  • If you are a victim of IRS tax-related identity theft and cannot get a tzx return transcript or use the FAFSA Data Retrieval Tool
    • Call the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490 to request a "Tax Return Data Base View" for the 2016 tax y ear and sign the Verification Worksheet affirming the tax-related ID theft
  • If you filed a foreign return or had foreign income
    • Provide a signed photocopy of your original tax document, translated into English, and converted in to US dollars
  • If you filed a US Territory Tax Return
    • Provide a transcript obtained at no cost from the IRS or other relevant tax authority of a US territory, Commonwealth or a foreign government that lists 2016 tax account information for the tax filer.
  • If you were granted a federal tax filing extension beyond the normal 6-month extension
    • Provide a copy of IRS Form 4868 "Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File US Individual Income Tax Return"
    • Provide a copy of the IRS' approval of the extension
    • Confirmation of nonfiling from the IRS dated on or after October 1, 2017
    • A copy of IRS Form W2 for each source of employment income received or an equivalent document OR if self-employed, a signed statement certifying the amount of Adjusted Gross Income and US income tax paid.
    • NOTE: TU may require that, after the income tax return is filed submit tax information using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool or by obtaining a Tax Transcript. This will be used to re-verify the FAFSA information.
6: What if my marital status has changed since filing my federal taxes? The questions on the FAFSA asks about your marital status at the time you file your FAFSA, and also asks about your federal tax filing status as it was filed. These two may be in conflict with each other if your marital status has changed since you filed taxes, or since you filed your FAFSA. If you filed a “married, filing joint” tax return but are now separated, divorced, or widowed, file your FAFSA with your current marital status and your accurate tax filing status as they were filed, and then contact our office to discuss updating your FAFSA information to separate out your former spouse’s income on your FAFSA. If you are a dependent student and were single at the time you filed your FAFSA with your parent’s information but you are now married, please contact our office to discuss your change in marital status. 7: What if my current financial situation is no longer consistent with my tax information on the FAFSA? We recognize that students and parents may have concerns about using their tax return information on the FAFSA because that tax data may no longer reflect your current financial situation. FAFSA filers are still required initially to file FAFSA using the tax return information for the year required, though there is a possibility we may be able to adjust your FAFSA information after that. Federal financial aid regulations allow schools to reevaluate the student’s, or parent’s, financial situation due to a change in circumstances that occur after the FAFSA is filed. After you have submitted your FAFSA you can contact our office to discuss the Special Conditions Appeal option. 8: I am a dependent student, who should/can be included in my household size? If you are a dependent student, the people reported in your parent(s) household should include you, the student (even if you’re not living at home,) your parent(s) and siblings, if they receive more than half of their support from your parent(s). This may also include any other dependents that live in the household and receive more than half of their support from your parent(s). Your verification worksheet has further instructions regarding whom to report in the household size. 9: I am an independent student, who should be included in my household size? If you are an independent student, your household should include you, the student, your spouse, and dependents (if applicable). This may also include any other dependents that live in the household and you provide more than half of their support. Your verification worksheet has further instructions regarding whom to report in your household size.

We're here to help!

Contact the TU Office of Student Financial Aid if you need assistance submitting or correcting your FAFSA, reviewing your Student Aid Report or submitting verification documents. We can be reached at or 229-584-2460

Helpful links:

SCHOLARSHIPS Scholarships are a form of aid (free money) to help you invest in your future. Thomas University offers many scholarships for students. No matter what your level of education is, it’s always a good idea to apply for scholarships at the same time as you apply for admission to TU. Scholarship Application Tips: Requesting Letters of Recommendations/Reference
  • Choose appropriate references (academic, personal) based on the instructions on the application.
  • Contact your references ahead of time and ask them if they are willing and able to provide a reference for you. Some references may decline if they feel they do not know you well enough to make a recommendation.
  • Make sure your references have the information they need to provide a good recommendation. It can be helpful to provide them with a copy of your personal statement or resume. Also, let them know what they are providing a reference for (scholarships, mentorship), so they can direct the recommendation appropriately.
  • Give your recommenders time to complete the reference. You should give them several weeks' notice. In the case of the online scholarship application, complete the reference section early so the references will receive the email link and have plenty of time to complete their section before the due date.
  • Remember to thank your references and let them know the outcome of your application.
Writing Scholarship Essays
  • Read the essay question carefully to make sure you answer all parts of the question.
  • Organize your ideas before writing, perhaps creating an outline of major points to address.
  • Write your essay by elaborating on the points in your outline. Introduce each point with a topic sentence, then elaborate on the point in the remainder of the paragraph.
  • Use specific examples, rather than broad generalizations.
  • Use clear, concise, and simple language.
  • Make sure the final sentence(s) pull together the points of your essay and provide a strong, memorable finish.
  • Carefully check spelling and grammar.
  • Reread the original essay question, then review your essay to make sure it addresses all points.
  • Ask someone with good writing skills to proofread the essay.
Standing Out From the Crowd
  • Understand the purpose of the scholarship.
  • Distinguish yourself from the crowd by writing an essay that is as unique as possible.
  • Be descriptive – The reader needs to be engaged.
  • Make sure you end your essay strong.
  • Make your essay memorable!

Private Supplemental/Alternative Loan

You may need additional funding for school and opt to apply for funding through a private lending agency. For most students, federal loans are a better option and should be utilized before private loans are considered. Alternative loans require a credit check and may have higher variable interest rates. They also do not offer the flexible repayment, consolidation, and loan forgiveness options that may be available with federal loans.

Thomas University cannot recommend private lenders, but we have provided additional information on questions to ask and things to consider in our Alternative Loans publication. Our best advice is to explore options with a lender you may already do business with and feel comfortable using. We also recommend doing your research to be sure that you will not be in for any surprises later. The Federal Student Aid website provides some additional information on how to compare federal and private loans. More information about taking out a private loan may also be found on the Federal Trade Commission and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau websites.

Federal Work Study Program

This federally funded financial aid program enables students to earn money toward college expenses by working on campus, in the government, or in selected nonprofit agencies serving the community. Students may work up to twenty hours a week while classes are in session and receive a bi-weekly paycheck (based on an hourly wage) that they can use for educational expenses.Applicants must complete a FAFSA and have an Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) no greater than $7000 to qualify. Federal Work Study funding is very limited, and are typically exhausted very quickly. At this time there is no waiting list for students who were eligible but not awarded Work Study funds.Undergraduates must enroll in 6 credit hours or more for Work Study employment. Graduate students must enroll in 5 credit hours or more for Work Study employment. Students awarded Work-Study must present a Certificate of Eligibility (available in the Office of Student Financial Aid) to their employer.Students may also be eligible to earn Work Study funds during Summer term if they are awarded Work Study for the upcoming award year, the funds of which can be applied to summer. If you have been awarded Federal Work-Study, have accepted it and are enrolled at least half-time, complete a request to begin using your work study in Summer semester. The Summer Work Study Request Form is located in HawkLink.

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