Official Award Offer

The Official Award Offer will be available in MyMadison for students to view.  Once a student’s offer has been generated, an e-mail will be sent to the home e-mail address he/she listed on the Admission’s application stating the notice is there to be viewed. 

To view your Official Financial Aid Award Offer:

  1. Log into MyMadison
  2. Click on the "Student" tab
  3. Select the "Student Center"
  4. Click on the "View Official Award Notice" link in the "Financial Aid" section of the "Student Center" and you will be able to view your notice.

NOTE: You will be required to complete an "Aid Year Survey" the first time you access your award.

Accepting Aid
PLUS Application
Official Award Offer
Student Loans
Topics From Videos:

Official Award Offer Frequently Asked Questions

General Financial Aid and Verification

 Where can I find general information about financial aid?

We recommend reviewing information contained in the JMU Terms and Conditions for Financial Aid – Consumer Information document on our website.  We keep the Announcements section of our main website at www.jmu.edu/financialaid updated with key information applicable to the current time of the year.

 Why haven’t I received an Official Financial Aid Award Offer? 

The most common reasons are:

  1. You have not submitted Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the applicable aid year.
  2. You have outstanding items that need to be completed to finish the financial aid review process. This could be outstanding Verification items, the need to submit a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) appeal, or other reasons. 

While we will e-mail you at your JMU e-mail account when something is needed, we suggest checking your ToDo list in MyMadison as well.  Many times, items needed will be posted to your ToDo list to notify you of their need for completion.

It’s also important to note that some reasons for not receiving an award offer may not generate communication from us.  For example, if you are not enrolled in a degree program, your FAFSA will not be reviewed to determine your aid eligibility.

 Can we drop off our Verification documentation at the Financial Aid Office? 

Yes. Our office located on the 5th floor of the Student Success Center and will be open during normal business hours.  Or, if you prefer, you may fax (540-568-7994) or mail your documentation to us. Please make sure that documents submitted are signed, especially any tax returns submitted, and include the student’s JMU ID.  Our mailing address is:

James Madison University
Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships
Student Success Center
738 S. Mason Street, MSC 3519
Harrisonburg, VA  22807

 Can I receive more financial aid if my parents do not claim me on their taxes?

Unfortunately, no.  The FAFSA contains very specific rules on whether a student needs to include their parents on the application.  At no point in the process is who claims whom on their taxes part of the consideration.  While the decision of claiming students on their taxes, or not, has implications on taxes, it plays no role in determining financial aid eligibility.

Grants

 How do I apply for grants at JMU?

In order to apply for any grants at JMU, you need to file your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the applicable aid year.  This is the only application JMU uses in order to determine grant eligibility.  You can find information about JMU’s priority filing date at www.jmu.edu/financialaid.  Students can submit the FAFSA after this date, but funds could be limited when the priority filing date is missed.

 I am a Virginia resident who filed my FAFSA but was not offered any grants, why not?

The results of your FAFSA were used to determine your grant eligibility.  If you did not receive a grant offer, then that means you did not qualify based on the awarding criteria used at JMU, or that you filed your FAFSA after the March 1st priority filing date.

You can learn more about this at Section 1: How Financial Aid is Awarded at JMU and General Eligibility Requirements in our Financial Aid: Terms and Conditions document.

 My brother goes to a different Virginia public college and receives a VGAP grant, why don’t I receive one at JMU?

Every public school in Virginia receives an allocation of state grant money, which includes VGAP.  The allocation received by each school is not the same size, so you will see different award amounts from the various institutions.  In fact, some schools receive two or three times more in their state grant allocation than JMU. 

Outside of ensuring the students we offer these awards to meet some basic criteria mandated by Virginia, schools have flexibility in determining the amounts awarded to students at their institution.  As a result, the awards will not be the same between all public institutions, and it’s even possible for one school to offer a grant to a particular student when another does not.

 What grants are available to out of state students at JMU?

As a public institution, we are prohibited from using state grant dollars for out-of-state students. Therefore, the only grants available for out-of-state students are the Federal Pell Grant, and in some situations the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG).  The only application you need to file to be reviewed for these grants is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). 

 

Loans

 What is the difference between federal student loans and private educational loans?

Federal education loans are federally backed loans provided by the government for your student’s education. These consist of the Federal Subsidized Direct Loan, Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan, and Federal Parent PLUS Direct Loan. To qualify for federal education loans, you must submit a FAFSA. Private loans are non-federal educational loans offered by private lenders (i.e. banks, credit unions) to assist with educational expenses. Private loans can help fill the gap between need-based financial aid and your total educational costs. Because the federal government does not back them, private loans may have terms and conditions less favorable than federally-funded student and parent loans; take advantage of all your federal student aid opportunities before considering a private loan.

You can learn more about loan programs on Learn My Financial Aid Options section of our website, or by watching the brief “Student Loan” video in the Financial Aid Videos section of our website.

 When can I apply for a private educational loan?

Please do not apply for a private educational loan for the fall/spring award year earlier than June. If you submit an application prior to June, your credit may expire before the loan can disburse. 

We suggest you review the private educational loan information at the Financial Aid: Apply for a Private/Alternative Loan section of our website before submitting an application with a lender.

 How do I apply for a private educational loan?

JMU has compiled a list of preferred lenders for our student and parent borrowers to assist in the navigation and research of potential lenders. The preferred lender list and other guidance is found on the Financial Aid: Apply for a Private/Alternative Loan section of our website.

We strongly encourage students to consider the Federal Direct Loan Program before applying for a private educational loan.

 When should I apply for a Federal Direct Loan?

The Official Financial Aid Award Offer contains your Federal Subsidized Direct Loan, Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan, and Federal Parent PLUS Direct Loan eligibility. Please do not submit applications until after you have received your award offer.  

All the instructions for how to complete the loan process will be included in the award offer.  You can also watch the brief videos in the Financial Aid: Official Award Offer Information section of our website explaining the process.

 How do I apply for a Federal Direct Loan?

Once you have been offered your Federal Subsidized Direct Loan and Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan eligibility via your Official Financial Aid Award Offer, the loans may be accepted through your MyMadison account.  If this is your first time borrowing, you will also need to submit a Subsidized/Unsubsidized Master Promissory Note as well as complete Entrance Loan Counseling via studentaid.gov. Parent PLUS Loan applications and Master Promissory Notes must be submitted by the parent borrower via www.studentaid.gov.

All of these steps will be outlined in your Official Financial Aid Award Offer.  If you have questions, you may want to watch the “Accepting Aid,” “Student Loans” or “Parent PLUS loan application” videos on our Financial Aid: Official Award Offer Information website.

 How will I receive my loan money?

All loans, except for a few private lenders, disburse loans directly to JMU.  Once received, these funds are applied directly to your JMU bill to be applied to those charges first.  Any funds in excess of the bill are then refunded to the loan borrower by the University Business Office.

 What’s the difference between taking out a federal loan (student or parent) versus applying for a private educational loan?

You can read information created by the Department of Education about these loans at Comparing Federal Student/PLUS Loan versus Private Loans.  Prior to applying for any loan, we encourage you to consider more than just the interest rate.  For example:

  • Private loans are often taken out by a student with someone (generally a parent) serving as the co-signer. That means the student and parent are both legally responsible for the loan, and it impacts both credit files. 
  • Parent loans are single borrower loans, meaning a single parent is responsible for the loan. The spouse and/or student has no responsibility for this loan, even if the borrower passes away.  The same may not be true for private educational loans.
  • The terms and conditions of private loans are created by each lender and are not federally mandated as they are Federal Direct Loans, nor do they contain any of the protections or benefits provided with federal loans.
Scholarships

 How do I know if I was awarded a scholarship if it is not on my Official Financial Aid Award Offer?

Scholarship offers are sent to students from the department making the award, which may be a department outside of the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships.  With that said, students who are also receiving financial aid based on the FAFSA will be able to see the scholarship listed on that offer, provided we are aware of it at the time the Official Financial Aid Award Offer was generated. 

 My sister goes to another school and received a scholarship, but I have not received one from JMU even though my grades are better than her grades.  Why is that?

Scholarship levels are generally determined based on the endowment size at the institution.  While the JMU endowment has increased significantly over the past several years due to the generosity of our donors, there are many institutions with endowments larger than ours.  This will impact the number of scholarships we have to award.  Additionally, scholarships generally have very specific criteria, so it is possible for a student with lesser academic qualifications than another to receive a scholarship based on the criteria associated with the award.

Make sure you utilize the Madison Scholarships Hub to improve the possibility of receiving a scholarship.

 How will I be notified if selected to receive a JMU scholarship?

JMU scholarship notifications typically come from individual university departments.  The method of communication may vary.  However, email is probably the most common method to ensure your earliest awareness.

 How do I qualify for need-based scholarships?

To be eligible for need-based scholarships at JMU, you must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  The federal government uses this form to calculate an Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which is a measure of your family’s financial strength.  The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships subtracts your EFC from your cost of attendance (COA), which reflects the total amount it will cost you to go to college each year.  The difference is your financial need. If you have any amount of financial need, you may qualify for need-based scholarships.

 How do I qualify for merit-based scholarships?

Selection criteria vary by scholarship and awarding department.  However, the primary determinant for merit-based awards is exceptional academic performance.  Other selection criteria may include leadership, involvement, geographical background, major field of study, and career goals. 

 What are some tips for seeking scholarships within my community?

A large percentage of outside scholarships come from churches, high schools, and organizations such as the Elks and Moose lodges.  Also, large companies in your area or your parents' employers may be good resources. In some instances, you may not have to be directly associated with an organization to qualify for a scholarship.  You can find some commonly used national search engines on the Outside Scholarships section of our website.

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

Receipt of scholarship funds from any source may reduce your eligibility for need-based state and federal financial aid.  JMU is required to include your private (or outside) scholarship when preparing your financial aid package.  Therefore, you should submit a Supplemental Information Sheet as soon as you are aware of your selection to receive one.

 Can I apply for scholarships in future years?

The answer is “yes”.  However, the scholarships available will differ from those awarded to incoming freshmen and new transfer students.  Your primary application tool will be the Madison Scholarships Hub, our scholarships management system.  You can access Madison Scholarships Hub from your MyMadison account.  Typically, the application in Madison Scholarships Hub opens in December-January for the following academic year (be sure to visit the website for specific dates).  You would need to complete a new application for each academic year in order to be considered for scholarships.

Student Employment

 How do I find a job on campus?

On-campus jobs through the Work Study and Institutional Employment programs can be found through JobLink. Students looking for jobs should check this website frequently, as job postings can change frequently.

 If I have Work Study, does that guarantee me a job? 

Having Work Study eligibility does not guarantee a student a job.  Instead, having a Work Study offer gives you the ability to apply for Work Study jobs through JobLink.

 If I have Work Study, does that apply to my bill?  How do I get the money?  

Work Study wages are not credited to your student account.  Instead, Work Study wages will be paid to you via direct deposit through JMU Payroll Services, and are based on the number of hours you work in that pay period.  You are limited to earning no more in total Work Study wages during the school year than what you see on your Financial Aid Award Offer.

 Can I work a job other than Work Study? 

Yes, as a student carrying at least a half-time course load (6 credit hours) at JMU, you are eligible to work as an Institutional Employment student employee.  While you are not required or limited to only Work Study jobs, we encourage Work Study eligible students to look at Work Study positions before applying for Institutional Employment positions due the benefits of being employed through Work Study.

 What is the benefit of working in a Work Study position? 

Wages earned through a Work Study position are not counted as income when you file your FAFSA for the next school year.  While they are taxable if you file income taxes, the FAFSA removes them so they do not count against your next year’s financial aid eligibility.  That means you can earn wages this year that will not reduce your aid next year.

Contacts

 What if I would like to email a question?

If you would like to e-mail us any questions you have, please do so at the appropriate e-mail address below:

Scholarships – scholarships@jmu.edu
Special Circumstances – finaid_pj@jmu.edu
Loans – loans@jmu.edu
Verification – verification@jmu.edu
General Financial Aid – fin_aid@jmu.edu

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