Frequently Asked Financial Aid Questions

Will I qualify for financial aid through the FAFSA?

To qualify for financial aid through the FAFSA, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be enrolled as a student at least half-time for each term you are seeking aid.
  • Cannot be in default on a student loan.
  • Cannot have had any drug convictions while receiving federal aid.
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.
  • For males, must be in compliance with Selective Service registration requirements.

What types of financial aid can I get through the FAFSA?

With your FAFSA information, APU is able to offer you a package of Federal Direct Loans that will be comprised of Stafford and Graduate PLUS loans.

How does my income affect my loan package?

Your income and financial standing will determine the level of your loan subsidy only if you are in a credential or certificate program that allows you to qualify.

Is there any free money (scholarships, grants, etc.) that I can apply for?

There are a variety of resources available to assist you as a graduate student. APU grant and scholarship opportunities are listed by college and school:

Also, be sure to inquire about scholarships offered within your specific program or department, and review our listing of outside scholarships. You may also look independently through such sites as or

How much in loans will I be offered?

APU awards students up to their cost of attendance. This includes all tuition costs, plus a small living expense, for each term that you meet eligibility requirements within the academic year. The exact amount of the cost of attendance varies from student to student depending on a variety of factors, including academic program and living arrangements. For credential and certificate only students, the maximum loan amount is $12,500, so it is possible to have an unmet need.

How do I get money for books and living expenses?

Money for books and living expenses is provided by your refund check. All incoming loan funds pay the current owing balance of the academic term for which the loan has been borrowed. If there are excess loan funds after your term balance has been paid, this will generate a refund check. We will send you this refund check in the mail. It can be cashed or deposited into your personal account.

Sample refund check calculation

If you accepted loans totaling $20,500 for the academic year, and you attend 9 fall units, 7 spring units, and 3 summer units in the School of Education ($622/unit) then your loans and refunds might break down as shown:

Fall disbursement $6,833 ($20,500 ÷ 3 terms)
Fall tuition $5,598 (9 units x $622)
Refund check $1,235
Spring disbursement $6,833 ($20,500 ÷ 3 terms)
Spring tuition $4,354 (7 units x $622)
Refund check $2,479
Summer disbursement $6,833 ($20,500 ÷ 3 terms)
Summer tuition $1,866 (3 units x $622)
Refund check $4,967

When does my refund check get mailed?

Refund checks are usually mailed at the beginning of each term. Providing that you have fulfilled all loan requirements and are enrolled in all of your units for the term, your refund check should be mailed within the first one to two weeks of the start date of your classes for the term.

I don’t want to borrow loans for books and living expenses. Can I borrow just enough to pay for tuition?

Yes. Though we may award you in excess of your tuition amount, you do not have to accept the full amount that is awarded to you. During the loan process, you will have the option to specify how much money you want to accept.

How do I get started on the loan process?

Fill out your FAFSA at and submit a Graduate Information Worksheet.

I completed a FAFSA before and got student loans. Do I have to submit it again?

Yes. You must complete a new FAFSA for every academic year that you wish to receive loans. You will also need to complete a Graduate Information Worksheet each year.

I completed my FAFSA. What happens next?

If you have been fully admitted, once you have completed your FAFSA, you will receive a letter of instruction from Graduate Student Financial Services. Complete the instructions, which include an institutional worksheet. You will receive a financial aid offer letter within 6 to 8 weeks.

I already completed my FAFSA and got my offer letter in the mail. What do I do now?

Please read your offer letter carefully. On the reverse side of your offer letter, you will find instructions detailing the steps necessary to secure your financial aid loans.

How do I defer my old student loans?

Loan deferment is normally an automatic process. APU verifies half-time enrollment for the student to the National Student Clearinghouse. Your lender or servicer should also check with the Clearinghouse and refrain from collecting on students who are enrolled at least half-time. If you are attending at least half-time and your lender is still trying to collect from you, please contact your lender to notify them of your status. If they request that you fill out an in-school deferment request form, please contact the Graduate Registrar’s office at (626) 815-4570 for assistance.

How can I find my outstanding loan and what lenders hold the loans?

The federal government administers the National Student Loan Data System that provides detailed information on the outstanding loans that you have.