You may find the information you seek in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) below.

If you still have questions, you can email our customer service team at

Financial aid funds are provided from federal, state, and institutional sources, which are administered by a financial aid office.  Broadly speaking, two categories of financial aid exist: gift aid (grants and scholarships) and self help (loans and employment).

No. JMU does not base its admission decisions on a student's financial status.

All students interested in federal aid must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and submit it to the federal processing center.  To receive priority financial aid consideration at JMU, the FAFSA must be received at the federal processor by March 1st prior to the academic year you will be attending.  For example, if you will begin at JMU in Fall 2014, then March 1, 2014 is your FAFSA priority filing date.  The FAFSA can be obtained from your high school guidance counselor, your college's financial aid office, or online at

In completing the FAFSA, read all directions carefully.  Errors cause delays!

You will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) from the federal government shortly after filing your FAFSA.  If you submit the FAFSA on-line, then you will receive your SAR electronically.  If corrections are necessary, make them, and send the corrected SAR back to the federal processing center.

You can still apply for financial aid after the priority filing date, but some funds may be limited.

The FAFSA is the only form required to apply for all forms of federal (including the Parent PLUS Direct Loan), state, and institutional (grants) financial aid during the fall and spring terms at JMU.  In the summer an additional institutional form is required, but that only applies to summer.

There are additional forms that need to be completed to accept Federal Direct Loans, Federal Perkins Loans, Federal Work-Study, Federal Grad PLUS Direct Loan, and Federal Parent PLUS Direct Loans.  These will all be outlined when the student and/or parent is notified of his/her financial aid eligibility, and are only necessary should a student or parents wish to accept any of these programs that are offered.

Financial aid is not automatically renewed or guaranteed from one year to the next.  You must reapply for financial aid every year by completing the FAFSA or the Renewal FAFSA!  Make sure you apply by the priority filing date to maximize your aid potential!

By comparing your Expected Family Contribution to the cost of attendance at JMU, your "financial need" is determined.  This need dictates your eligibility for federal student aid as well as some other aid sources.  Please see the How Financial Aid is Determined at JMU section of the JMU Terms and Conditions for Financial Aid-Consumer Information document at

All students who are U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens may apply for federally funded financial assistance which includes the Federal Pell Grant, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), the Federal Work-Study Program, the Federal Perkins Loan the Federal Direct Loan, Federal Grad PLUS Direct Loan, and the Federal Parent PLUS Direct Loan.  However, only Virginia residents are eligible to receive aid provided by the Commonwealth of Virginia such as the Commonwealth Award (CA) and the Virginia Guaranteed Assistance Program (VGAP)

Federal and state financial aid funds are available to students enrolled in qualifying JMU Study Abroad programs.  Financial aid eligibility is generally determined the same way it is for a student studying on campus at JMU.  The major difference in most cases is that your Cost of Attendance will be based on the anticipated expenses applicable to your study abroad program, which will be provided by the Office of International Programs.  Consequently, the student does not need to contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships for special consideration.  In most cases, the increased costs associated with a study abroad program will generate additional PLUS or alternative loan eligibility, as federal and state grants are not increased based on participation in a study abroad program.  Federal loan limits still apply.

Students who apply for aid by the March 1st priority filing date are awarded aid based on available federal, state, and institutional funds.   Much of the federal and state financial aid funds are need based, so students with a higher need are generally eligible for more money than those with a lesser need.  However, eligibility for more money and the actual awarding of more money do not always go hand-in-hand.  Awarding depends on fund availability at that time, which is why it is imperative that you apply early. 

No. There are limits to the amount of money available for awarding to students at JMU.  This is determined by the allocation JMU receives from the federal and state governments, as well as available institutional funds, and is another reason to apply early.  Students can generally be considered for the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Direct Loan, Federal Grad PLUS Direct Loan, and Federal Parent PLUS Direct Loan programs throughout the school year, but aid from other programs may not be available to late filers.

In order to be eligible to receive financial assistance, you must be making satisfactory progress toward graduation as defined by the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships and federal regulations.  State and federal aid programs (including Parent PLUS Direct Loan and Graduate PLUS Direct Loan) are included under this policy.  In addition, some institutional programs are subject to this policy as well.  A copy of JMU's Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy can be found at

Students not meeting the minimum Satisfactory Academic Progress standards cannot receive federal or state financial aid.  However, an appeal process is available for students who are not meeting the standards due to extenuating circumstances.  If the appeal is approved, then it is possible to receive federal and/or state financial aid.  If the appeal is denied, then students must secure financial assistance from other sources until they begin meeting the minimum standards.  Some private loan lenders will approve loans for students who do not meet the minimum Satisfactory Academic Progress standards. 

Financial aid is typically credited to your student account in two equal disbursements, one-half in the fall and one-half in the spring.  Once your university charges have been paid (tuition, fees, room, board, etc.), any additional monies will be refunded to you.  You can use the refund to help pay for educational expenses such as books and supplies.  Federal Work-Study funds are an exception to this rule.  Students must work to earn their Federal Work-Study funds, and are paid twice a month for what was earned during the pay period.

Returning JMU Students
The process of notifying returning students of their financial aid eligibility for the next academic year starts in the end of June. When awarded, returning students are sent an e-mail to their JMU e-mail account directing them to MyMadison to accept or decline their financial aid offer, as well as submit any other forms needed to complete the application process. Paper financial aid award notices are not sent to returning students.

Prospective & First Time JMU Students
The process of sending preliminary financial aid award notices to prospective students for a new academic year begins around the first of April.  Students cannot accept any financial aid based on the receipt of a preliminary financial aid award notice.  Notices will be sent electronically to the same e-mail address used by the Admissions Office when students are notified that they have been accepted to JMU.  Aid can only be accepted after a student has received an official financial aid award notice.  The process of sending official financial aid award notices to first time students for a new academic year starts around the end of June.  These notices will be sent electronically to the student’s JMU e-mail account with directions to go to MyMadison in order to accept or decline a financial aid offer, as well as submit any other forms needed to complete the application process. 

Parents of a first time or returning student who are eligible to apply for a Federal Parent PLUS Direct Loan are mailed a paper Financial Aid Parent PLUS Direct Loan Award Notice explaining their Parent PLUS Direct Loan eligibility. The notice contains instructions regarding how to apply for this loan. The award notice is sent to parents at the same time students are notified of their eligibility, as ONLY a parent can accept a Parent PLUS Direct Loan.  They may apply for a Parent PLUS Direct Loan by completing the following documents:

  1. FAFSA.  If your student received a Financial Aid Award Notice, then you already completed the FAFSA.
  2. Parent PLUS Direct Loan Application
  3. Parent PLUS Direct Loan Master Promissory Note
  1. Go to MyMadison
  2. Enter E-ID and Password
  3. Under “Student,” “Student Center,” “Finances,” click “Accept/Decline Financial Aid”
  4. Click on the applicable award year (e.g., “2015” for the 2014-15 academic year)
  5. Click in the “Accept” box for the Direct Loan (the Direct Loan is the only loan that can be accepted at MyMadison). If you were offered a Perkins Loan, please click on the words “Perkins Loan” and follow the instructions given.
  6. Hit the “Submit” button

Grad PLUS Direct Loan borrowers cannot accept their loans in MyMadison.  They may apply for a Grad PLUS Direct Loan by completing the following documents:

  1. FAFSA.  If you received a Financial Aid Award Notice, then you already completed the FAFSA.
  2. Grad PLUS Direct Loan Application
  3. Entrance Loan Counseling
  4. Grad PLUS Direct Loan Master Promissory Note

Please review the Self Service Instructions here to learn more about the financial aid acceptance process for loans.

Once your awards are showing as accepted on MyMadison they will then appear under pending aid, which indicates that the funds are expected to come in.  However, the business office will not deduct the amount from the bill until the funds actually arrive and are credited to your bill.

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