Financial Aid: Frequently Asked Questions


Should I wait to be admitted before applying for aid?

No. You can file a FAFSA starting October 1 of the year you are submitting your college applications. The financial aid staff will keep your application on file until we receive notice that you have been accepted.

Do I have to file a FAFSA every year?

It depends. If you receive and use federal financial aid, including loans, you must file a FAFSA annually. We also use the information on the FAFSA to award some forms of institutional scholarships and grants. However, if you do not want to use federal financial aid and are not interested in additional scholarship aid, you are not required to file a FAFSA.

What is the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)?

The EFC is the index used to determine your eligibility for need-based financial aid. It is based on information provided on the FAFSA. The formula, determined by Congress, takes several factors into consideration:

  • Dependency status
  • Income
  • Assets
  • Family size
  • Number of family members in college

How is financial need determined?

Financial need is determined by the following formula:

Cost of Attendance - Estimated Family Contribution = Financial Need

Once your financial need is determined, the Office of Financial Aid will attempt to fill it with different types of available awards, including grants, scholarships, work study, and need-based loans. Because funding is limited, we may not be able to fill your entire financial need. The remainder can be filled with other types of loans.

How will my aid change from year to year?

In general, your institutional financial aid will remain the same from year to year. However, federal aid is based on the results of your FAFSA and can vary with changes to your family's income, assets, and household size.

How do I accept or decline my aid?

Scholarships, grants, and work study are automatically accepted for you. If you do not want to use these pieces of aid, contact the Office of Financial Aid to decline them.

If you have access to PilotsUP, you can accept/decline your loans in Self Serve

 1. Log in to Self Serve using your UP network user ID and password.

 2. Select the "Financial Aid" tab from the main menu.

 3. Select "Award" from the Financial Aid menu.

 4. Select “Award for Aid Year” from the Award Information menu.

 5. Select the appropriate aid year from the drop-down menu and click “Submit.”

 6. If the “Accept Award Offer” tab is inactive, you need to review and accept the Terms and Conditions. Select the “Term and Conditions” tab. Review the information and click “Accept.” If you do not accept the Terms and Conditions, you will not be eligible for financial aid.

 7. Select the “Accept Award Offer” tab to review and accept or decline the aid offered to you.

Declining a loan or work study does not mean you will be reconsidered for more scholarships or grants.

How do I accept my Terms and Conditions?

The financial assistance identified on your Offer Letter or displayed on the “Award Overview” tab of Self Serve is subject to Terms and Conditions. This includes your merit scholarship. You must accept these Terms & Conditions before your financial aid will pay to your Student Account. If you do not accept the Terms and Conditions, you will not be eligible for Financial Aid. Log into Self Serve to complete the process.

  1. In Self Serve, select the "Financial Aid" tab from the main menu.
  2. Select "Award" from the Financial Aid menu.
  3. Select “Award for Aid Year” from the Award Information menu.
  4. Select the Current Aid Year from the drop down menu and click “Submit.”
  5. Select the “Terms and Conditions” tab. Review the information and click “Accept.”

Note - You may not be able to complete this process until you have received a financial aid offer letter. If you are unable to complete the process today, please try again in 2 weeks.

Can I borrow money for my living expenses? How much?

Yes. Living expenses are included in the Cost of Attendance calculation. You can borrow up to the Cost of Attendance. You can determine the specific amount allocated for living expenses in your Cost of Attendance by visiting Self Serve and viewing the "Award Overview" tab.

Housing payments are not directly billed through the Office of Student Accounts unless the housing is a UP Residence Hall or UP Rental House. Most off-campus students live in privately owned rentals that require each tenant to pay their portion of rent to the landlord monthly. In these cases, students who use loans to pay rent must carefully calculate their rent expenses for the semester and make sure they borrow enough loan funds to receive a refund after their billed charges are paid. It is the student’s responsibility budget their refund over the course of the semester to pay rent to their landlord on a monthly basis.

To abide by federal regulations, Student Accounts is unable to start the refund process until after classes begin. This means that refunds do not occur until early September for fall semester and mid-January for spring semester. Please keep this in mind when budgeting. Additionally, leases are usually signed for 12-months at a time (often times May-May), however, financial aid awards only cover the 9 months (fall/spring) a student is enrolled in classes. If you have questions about your budget for off campus living, please contact the Office of Financial Aid.

Who has access to my financial aid information?

You, the student, are the only person the Office of Financial Aid will release information to unless you give us permission to release your information to someone else through Proxy Access. This is in accordance with the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). If you would like the Office of Financial Aid to be able to release your financial aid information to someone else, such as a parent, spouse, or scholarship organization, please go to Self Serve select the Proxy Access tab and follow the instructions.

How do I access the financial aid forms that I need to complete?

All required forms will be linked on student's Self-Serve requirements page. Login to Self-Serve, select the Financial Aid tab, Award Overview tab and then Outstanding Requirements. 

All Financial Aid Forms are also located on the Financial Aid page in Pilots Portal. Login to Pilots Portal, go to Pages and select Financial Aid. 

How do I submit requested documentation?

The best way to submit requested documentation to the Office of Financial Aid is by fax, mail or our secure Document Upload Form. Contact our office to request the link to our Document Upload Form. 

Do not send documents containing sensitive or personally identifiable information via email. This includes tax documents, W2s or anything else that may compromise your identity. 

Electronic Forms

Why can't I log into Dynamic Forms?

Current UP Students: Check that you’re typing your UP network credentials correctly. If you need to reset a forgotten password, visit the UP Password Management Site and select Reset a Forgotten Password.

New UP Students: If you are logging in for the first time and need to activate your account, visit the UP Password Management Site and select Activate a New Account. 

If you need to reset a forgotten password, go to the UP Password Management Site and select Reset a Forgotten Password. When prompted for your preferred delivery method, select Personal Email.

If you don't know your username, contact or 503.943.7311 for assistance.

I’m a parent trying to fill out a form that requires a parent co-signature. Why am I unable to enter data or sign the form?

All forms requiring a parent co-signer must be initiated by the student first. Once the student has completely filled out their portion, the parent will receive an email with a link to the partially completed form.  Parents then create an account for themselves using the parent email address the student supplied on the FAFSA. Parents may then sign forms electronically, using their birth date and the last four digits of their social security number for identity verification.

I'm a parent who is having trouble logging in to Dynamic Forms. How do I reset my password?

If you have locked your parent Dynamic Form account or forgotten your password, you will need to follow the "Forgot Password" link at the bottom of the page to reset your password. You will not be able to log back in to your Parent Dynamic Form account until you change your password.

I have clicked the “Save Progress” button on the form but when I return to the form my information has not been saved.

Make sure when you return to the form you are logging in to your Dynamics Form account and selecting the Pending/ Draft Forms option then find the draft of the form that you saved. If you click the direct link to a form again you will start a new version of the form rather than continue your saved form.

Federal Work-Study

Can I used my federal work-study offer to pay my bill?

No, federal work-study cannot be used to pay your bill at the beginning of the semester. You must get a job and earn funds by working. You will be paid bi-monthly for your hours worked. You may choose to use earnings for education expenses, including tuition in a future semester.

How do I decline my federal work-study offer?

Federal work-study is automatically accepted for you. If you do not want to use it, email and request that we decline it for you. Declining your federal work-study will increase your eligibility for loans but will likely not increase your grant or scholarship aid.

Health Insurance

What is the cost of health insurance through UP?

  • Undergraduate Students - $2,511 (estimate) for the 2019-20 academic year (includes summer 2020 coverage)
  • Graduate Students - Contact Student Accounts for pricing and purchase instructions.

Your cost of attendance can be increased to include the cost of health insurance. For most students, this will increase their eligibility for loans but will not increase their gift aid. Contact the Office of Financial Aid for additional information or to make that request.

If I have my own health insurance, can I waive the UP health insurance?

Students who have their own health insurance can check to see if they have equivalent coverage to the UP health insurance. If they do, the UP health insurance waiver can be found on the Student Accounts' website.


What are interest rates and fees on federal Loans?

Federal loans disbursed between October 1, 2018 and September 30, 2019 have the following origination fees:

  • Nursing loans—0%
  • Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans for Undergraduate Students – 1.062%
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans for Graduate Student – 1.062%
  • Direct Parent and Graduate PLUS loans – 4.248%

Federal loans disbursed after July 1, 2019 have the following interest rates:

  • Nursing loans – 5%
  • Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans for Undergraduate Students – 4.53%
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans for Graduate Students – 6.08%
  • Direct Parent and Graduate PLUS loans – 7.08%

Federal loans disbursed between October 1, 2019 and September 30, 2020 have the following origination fees:

  • Nursing loans – 0%
  • Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans for Undergraduate Students – 1.059%
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans for Graduate Student – 1.059%
  • Direct Parent and Graduate PLUS loans – 4.236%

How is the interest rate on federal student loans determined?

The Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013 ties federal student loan interest rates to financial markets. The rates are calculated using a 10-year Treasury Note Index plus a fixed margin (2.05% for undergraduate subsidized and unsubsidized loans, 3.6% for graduate unsubsidized loans, and 4.6% for parent and graduate PLUS loans), depending on the loan program. Interest rates will be determined each spring for new loans being made for the upcoming award year, which runs from July 1 to the following June 30. Each loan will have a fixed interest rate for the life of the loan.

How do I calculate my loan origination fees?

Loan fees can be calculated using our Loan Origination Fee Calculator.  

Is there a limit on the amount of time I can receive Direct Subsidized Student Loans?

Yes. New borrowers may receive the interest subsidy for up to 150% of the published length of their program (6 years for most students at the University of Portland; varies by program and student type).

Who do I repay my loans to?

Perkins, Nursing, Doucette and Eagin loans are paid back directly to UP. Contact Student Accounts with questions. All Direct Loans (student and parent) are repaid directly to the federal government through a loan servicer.

If I decline a loan, can I get it back if I change my mind?

In most circumstances, yes. There is some flexibility in reinstating and declining the entire loan or portions of it. However, Nursing, Doucette and Eagin loans have limited funding. If you decline one of these loans, the funds may be awarded to another student, making them unavailable to you.

All reinstatement requests must be made by the loan holder in writing.

What is loan entrance/exit counseling?

Loan entrance counseling is required by federal regulations for all first-time borrowers at a school. The session gives an overview of the Federal loan program, discussing the types of loans, interest rates, borrower rights and responsibilities, etc. 

Loan exit counseling is required when borrowers graduate or leave college to make sure that you understand your rights and responsibilities as a borrower.

Why are federal student loans a better option than private loans?

Federal student loans offer low fixed interest rates, income-based repayment plans, loan forgiveness and deferment options, including deferment of loan payments when a student returns to school. For these reasons, students and parents should always exhaust federal student loan options before considering a private loan.

If my grade level changes during the academic year, how do I request more loans?

You can notify the Office of Financial Aid and complete a Loan Change Form requesting additional loan funds based on the higher grade level. You will not need to sign another MPN for the increased amount. When the loan is processed it will credit your student account.

Can I combine my federal loans if I have multiple lenders?

Yes, you can consolidate all your federal loans through the Federal Direct Loan Consolidation program.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

What is SAP?

Financial aid recipients are required to maintain the following standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress:

  • Full-time undergraduate students are required to complete 12 or more credits each semester; three-quarter and half-time students are required to complete 9 and 6 credits respectively.
  • Undergraduate students are expected to maintain at least a 2.0 semester GPA and a 2.0 cumulative GPA after attempting 60 credits. However, students receiving scholarships, named scholarships, department awards, and talent awards may be required to maintain a significantly higher GPA.
  • Full-time graduate students are required to complete 9 or more credits each semester; half-time students are required to complete 5 credits.
  • Graduate students are expected to maintain at least a 3.0 semester and cumulative GPA.
  • Undergraduate students are expected to complete the baccalaureate degree within 150% of the maximum number of credits required for the degree.
  • All students are expected to complete at least 67% of the credits attempted in order to maintain satisfactory pace towards graduation.

What is Financial Aid Warning?

Financial Aid Warning is the result of a student not making Satisfactory Academic Progress for one semester. Students who are on warning may still receive financial aid. Students who successfully complete Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements in the next semester that aid is received from the University will have their warning status removed.

What is Financial Aid Suspension?

Financial Aid Suspension generally occurs when a student who is currently on Financial Aid Warning fails to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements for a second consecutive semester. All financial aid is suspended. This includes all federal, state, and institutional aid including tuition remission and tuition exchange, and most outside scholarships. For a complete policy please refer to the Financial Aid Handbook.

Financial Aid Suspension can also occur as a result of a student who is placed on disciplinary probation at the discretion of the Vice-President of Student Services or the student faculty court. The probationary student can lose all or part of the aid the student has been given from the date such action is taken. In such instances, the student will be required to make arrangements immediately with the director of the Office of Student Accounts for payment of any balance due the university.

Can I appeal my Financial Aid Suspension status?

Students placed on Financial Aid Suspension status and denied financial aid have the right to appeal their status to the Director of Financial Aid. To appeal you must submit a written petition to the Director of Financial Aid. The petition should include:

  1. A Request for Reinstatement of Financial Aid form.

  2. A statement in the student’s own words explaining why the student failed to achieve the required credits, required GPA, and/or pace.

  3. A description of the specific actions the student has taken or will take to recover the failed or withdrawn courses or missing credits.

  4. A description of the specific actions the student will take or has taken to prevent the situation from reoccurring.

  5. An approved educational plan completed with an academic advisor.

  6. Depending on the circumstances, any supporting materials that may be helpful to the Director of Financial Aid in reviewing the appeal (e.g. a letter from the student’s academic advisor or dean, medical documentation, etc.).

Students who successfully appeal their suspension status may have their aid reinstated for one semester. During this probationary semester, students must meet all satisfactory academic progress requirements or follow their approved education plan in order to continue to receive aid beyond the probationary semester.


Will my institutional scholarships increase if I do well in school?

While your initial merit award will not increase if you do well at UP, you may be offered one of our privately-funded endowed and annual scholarships if you are successful academically. You may also be eligible for more private scholarships.

I have a private scholarship. How does that affect my aid?

Private scholarships are used to fill unmet need first. Then they are used to replace work study and loans. If you have been awarded an outside scholarship, please report it to the Office of Financial Aid.

A scholarship check was sent directly to me. What do I do with it?

Bring it to the Office of Financial Aid. If the check was made out directly to you, endorse the back as well. We will apply it to your financial aid package.

Special Circumstances

What is considered a special circumstance?

We realize that the FAFSA does not always capture the true picture of a family’s financial situation. The federal government allows us to consider certain special circumstances and/or expenses when determining a student’s aid eligibility.

These include but are not limited to:

  • Loss or reduction of income (layoff, illness, forced reduction of hours, temporary employment, etc)
  • Catastrophic medical/dental expenses
  • Death, divorce, separation of parents or spouse
  • Non-recurring payments receiving during the prior tax year that will not be repeated
  • Loss of unemployment, disability, social security, veterans, child support, or alimony benefits

We recognize that the current economic situation may be hitting some families rather unexpectedly. If your family is experiencing a hardship because of the current financial situation, let us know. While we cannot guarantee an increase in the financial aid package, we may be able to direct your family to other options for covering college expenses.

How do I report special circumstances to you?

Call, email, or stop by the Office of Financial Aid to request a Special Circumstances Form. Forms will only be distributed after you have received your initial award letter for the current aid year. You will also be required to submit current year tax returns and W2s along with other documentation. Your special circumstance will not be considered until you can provide all of the requested documentation.

If your family has a situation that you feel is not accurately reported on the FAFSA, let us know. Each family's situation is unique and will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by a counselor.

When will my special circumstances be reviewed?

We will review your special circumstances after all requested documentation is submitted. Files are reviewed in the order in which they are completed. The review process can take 6-8 weeks (longer during peak processing times, such as spring and summer). You can speed up the process by making sure that all requested documentation is submitted in a timely manner.

Do I have to report special circumstances every year?

Yes. If special circumstances continue they have to be reaffirmed and re-documented each year.

Study Abroad

What aid is available to me if I study abroad?

Federal and state financial aid is available for both institutional study abroad programs (hosted and run through the University of Portland) and IES study abroad programs. Institutional financial aid is available for institutional study abroad programs only. French majors studying abroad with IES (to fulfill a major requirement) in Nantes, France during fall or spring semesters are eligible for institutional, federal, and state aid as long as their participation is approved by the Director of the Studies Abroad. Please refer to the Studies Abroad website for details on whether a specific program is eligible for financial aid.

Can I use my tuition remission for study abroad?

Tuition remission may be used for University of Portland Institutional study abroad programs, ILACA study abroad programs or IES abroad programs that are required for a student’s major. Tuition remission may only be used for studies abroad during the fall and spring terms. Summer studies abroad and E-scholars extra program changes are not eligible for tuition remission. Tuition remission for study abroad programs may only be used to cover tuition charges. Note that some study abroad programs have single charges that cover expenses beyond tuition. In such cases, tuition remission will cover only the portion of the charges that are derived from tuition expenses. 

Tuition exchange may not be used for any study abroad programs regardless of the semester.

Is there aid available for summer study abroad?

Federal financial aid such as federal loans and grants are available to use for summer programs to eligible students. Institutional aid is not available for summer semesters. Contact financial aid directly with questions about specific programs.

What if I want to study abroad with a program not affiliated with the University of Portland?

Students who want to study abroad with another university or program, not affiliated with UP, will be required to take a leave of absence and apply for financial aid with their host university. Financial Aid from UP will be forfeited for the duration of the leave of absence. Contact the Office of Financial Aid for the Non-UP Study Abroad Checklist and make an appointment to discuss your options with a Financial Aid Counselor.


Why was I selected for verification?

The Department of Education selects students for verification – some at random, others based on the likelihood that an error was made. You may also be selected by the Office of Financial Aid. Don’t assume that being selected means you did something wrong. We just want to make sure your application is accurate to give you the maximum amount of aid you are eligible to receive. 

Do I have to complete the verification process?

The verification process is required to receive all federal and state aid as well as some institutional aid. While verification is not mandatory to attend classes, it is required to receive most forms of financial aid. Failure to complete the process will result in cancellation of a large portion of your award.

How will verification affect my aid?

The verification process ensures that students and families receive all of the aid they are eligible for. Your aid may be adjusted, up or down, depending on the accuracy of the information reported on your FAFSA. If you are selected for verification, your award is considered an estimate until verification is complete.

How long does the verification process take?

Once all forms have been completed and submitted to the Office of Financial Aid, verification can take 2-4 weeks (longer during peak processing times) to complete. Submitting incomplete or unsigned documents will delay the process.

How do I use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?

Use the these helpful steps to successfully use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. If you are not able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, contact the Office of Financial Aid for further assistance.

Why has your office not received my data match?

Our office typically receives the data match within 48 hours of its completion. If we have not received it after this window has passed, it is likely that the match was invalid or incomplete.

Problems can happen for a variety of reasons, including the following:

  • Tax information was entered manually (i.e. by typing) instead of using the data match
  • Changes were made to the data imported from the IRS Data Retrieval 
  • The FAFSA was not signed and resubmitted after you imported the tax information from the IRS. Please return to your FAFSA to sign and resubmit.

Who can utilize the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?

Applicants must have a valid Social Security Number to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. The applicant will need to authenticate himself or herself to the IRS in order to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.

You cannot utilize the IRS Data Retrieval Tool if: 

  • Applicant is married and files separate federal income tax returns or a dependent applicant's parents are married and file separate federal income tax returns (e.g., married filing separately or head of household) 
  • If there has been a change in the marital status of the applicant or parent (if the applicant is a dependent student) after the end of the tax year
  • Foreign income tax return instead of or in addition to a US income tax return will be unable to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. For example, taxpayers who file both a US income tax return and a Puerto Rican tax return will be unable to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. 
  • Taxpayers who file income tax returns using a Tax ID Number (TIN) will not be able to use the tool 

What if I cannot use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?

If you cannot use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool then you will need to submit a copy of your signed Federal Tax Return with all schedules 1-4, or you may request an IRS Tax Return Transcript. Please see below for details on how to request an IRS Tax Return Transcript. 

How do I complete Verification if I am a victim of identity theft?

Students and families who have been victims of tax related identity theft are not going to be able to follow the normal verification process. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid at 503-943-7311 or for alternative guidance for completing the Verification process. 

Why do I have to fill out the Verification Worksheet if I already updated my FAFSA using the data match?

The verification worksheet serves to confirm or correct information on your FAFSA that is not included in the IRS Data Retrieval process. 

What if I worked and did not file taxes?

If you were not required to file taxes for your earnings, you can indicate that in Section B of the Verification Worksheet. You will also need to provide copies of all W-2s for the past year.  If you are not sure if you need to file taxes, please use the IRS tool Do I need to file?.  Two common reasons students are required to file are, they made more than $400 net self-employment (independent contractor) income or they earned more than $6,300 W2 earnings and can be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return – even if they are not claimed.

What types of things should be listed in the "other income" box?

“Other Income” would include items that do not fit the other categories provided on the worksheet. “Other Income” might include income such as gambling earnings, taxable scholarships, etc. Please provide a description for the “other income” listed on the worksheet. 

What can I submit to your office as proof of taxes if I am a Guam or American Samoa resident?

If you are a resident of Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands you will not be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. If you are from Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands you will need to submit a signed copy of his or her income tax return that was filed with the relevant tax authority. 

If you are a resident of American Samoa, you must provide a copy of your Tax Account Information filed with the tax authority for American Samoa (must come from the American Samoa Tax Authority). 

If you have further questions please contact the Office of Financial Aid at 503.943.7311 or

I live with one parent during the week and the other on the weekends. Who do I list on my verification worksheet?

If you are unsure of who to list on your Verification Worksheet, please contact the Office of Financial Aid at 503.943.7311 or

Withdrawals and Refunds

What date are refunds calculated from?

Refunds are calculated from the date attendance is discontinued. You need to process the appropriate course drop or withdrawal paperwork by the deadlines specified in order to be eligible for a refund. The withdraw process begins in the registrar’s office. That office will provide you with the application for withdrawal form.

What is the institutional refund policy?

Please check with the Office of Student Accounts to see if you qualify for a refund.