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Federal Student Aid (FSA) Overview

The federal government manages the Federal Student Aid (FSA) program to help eligible students pay for college. The university is qualified to accept and process FSA, which means you can use this source of financial aid to pay for college. In general, FSA covers the cost of:

  • Tuition
  • Fees
  • Housing expenses
  • Books and supplies
  • Personal or miscellaneous expenses

FSA funds are disbursed from the Department of Education directly to the university. After tuition is paid, any remaining funds are delivered to you and may be used to pay for fees and other education-related expenses. Read the Federal Student Aid (FSA) Credit Balance article for complete details.

FSA is available as grants or loans. Typically, grants do not need to be repaid, but loans need to be repaid with interest. To apply for Federal Student Aid you will need to complete the Free Application for Financial Aid (FAFSA) to determine if you are qualified for grants and loans.

Eligibility requirements are clearly explained by the U.S. Department of Education website. You can also learn more by watching the eligibility video on our Financial Aid TV page. Because every student is unique, financial aid packages are calculated based on your individual financial circumstance, eligibility, and educational pursuits.

The university works with a third-party service called BankMobile to issue FSA credit balance refunds. BankMobile will notify you via email or text message when your funds have been deposited. Learn how to set up and manage your BankMobile account.

Doctoral program students receive their credit balance by check directly from the university.

For packaging Federal Student Aid (FSA), APUS requires students take classes within a defined academic year schedule. APUS defines an academic year as two consecutive 16-week academic semesters (32 weeks).

It is important to know that FSA requires you to be enrolled at least half time in each 16-week academic semester to receive loan funds. Enrollment statuses are defined as:

  • Full-time: 12 or more undergraduate or 6 or more graduate credits
  • Half-time: 6 undergraduate or 3 graduate credits
  • Less than half-time: 3 undergraduate credits

Because the university has a rolling academic year with 8- and 16-week course schedules, the start date of your first class defines the start date of your 32-week academic year. Read FSA Academic Years, Semesters, and Course Registration for more details.

When using FSA to pay for school, it is best to register for all planned courses prior to the start of each semester, regardless of when during the semester you plan to take the course (i.e. the first 8 weeks or second 8 weeks in the semester for 8-week courses).

Please select Federal Student Aid as your payment type when registering for courses. Many students borrowing FSA loans, for example, make the mistake of choosing "Loan" as their payment type, but that should only be selected if you are borrowing a private loan.

Once you qualify for FSA, you will need to demonstrate engagement and academic progress to maintain eligibility for funds you have received or anticipate receiving. In addition. the FAFSA must be completed annually if you wish to continue seeking Federal Student Aid.

In addition, be aware of how drops and withdrawals can affect your federal aid eligibility.

Learn more by watching our series of financial aid videos on Financial Aid TV. You can email  finaid@apus.edu or call 855-731-9218 (Mon – Fri 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sat – Sun 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. ET) with specific questions.