Frequently Asked Questions About Financial Aid


Can I borrow less than the amount listed on my award letter?

Absolutely. We list the maximum subsidized Stafford Loan (if any) you are eligible for on your award letter. However, we encourage you to borrow the least amount possible. If you would like to change your loan amount, simply e-mail Centre's Student Financial Planning Office with the new amount requested.

Can international students apply for financial aid?

Only United States citizens and eligible non-citizens can file the FAFSA to apply for federal and state need-based aid. All other students, including those in the US on an F1 or F2 student visa, are ineligible to file the FAFSA. International students can apply for merit scholarships through Centre's Admission Office. You must file the required paperwork (admission application and foreign student application for financial assistance) by February 1st to be considered. Contact Sarah Miller for more information.

How do I determine whether I am a dependent or independent student for financial aid purposes?

Centre uses the FAFSA guidelines to determine dependency status. To be considered as an independent student, a student must be able to answer “yes” to one of the following questions:

  • Were you born before January 1, 1986?
  • Will you be working on a master's or doctorate program (MA, MBA, MD, JD, or PhD, etc.?
  • As of today, are you married?
  • Do you have children who receive more than half their support from you?
  • Do you have dependents (other than children or a spouse) who live with you, and receive more than half their support from you now and through June 30, 2010?
  • Are both of your parents deceased, or were you a ward of the court until age 18?
  • Are you currently serving on active duty in the US Armed Forces for purposes other than training?
  • Are you a veteran of the US Armed Forces?

If you cannot answer yes to at least one of these questions, then you are considered a dependent student. Your dependency status for financial aid purposes is not affected by whether you file your own tax return, or whether you are listed as a dependent on your parent's tax return.

How much will my books cost, and how can I pay for them?

We estimate that the average Centre student will spend approximately $1,400 per year for books. Books cannot be charged to your student account, so plan to bring a check, cash or a major credit card to purchase them. If you plan to use the proceeds of a Federal Stafford or PLUS Loan to pay for your books, contact Centre's Finance Office at 859-238-5452 for information on when those funds will be available to you.

How will scholarships from agencies other than Centre affect my financial aid award?

It really depends on the amount of the outside scholarships and on whether or not we have been able to meet your need with other aid. Please notify us when you find out you have received an outside scholarship, and we will notify you of any changes to your existing aid award by sending you a revised aid award. Generally speaking, scholarships up to $1000 will first reduce your loan and/or work-study. Scholarships over $1000 may reduce your Centre Endowment Grant. Please keep in mind that outside scholarships do not replace the expected family contribution. Instead, they must be counted as financial aid and deducted from the amount of aid eligibility. Centre encourages students to pursue scholarships from other agencies.

I’m interested in finding a campus job, but Federal Work-Study was not listed on my aid award. Am I eligible for it?

Work-study is a need-based program, so if it is not listed on your aid award, you probably are not eligible for it. Some Centre students do find employment on campus outside of the work-study program. Contact the SFP office to obtain an application for a non-work-study job.

My financial aid award does not cover all my costs. What are some ways I can pay for the balance?

If your family is not able to pay your balance, we first recommend that you maximize your Stafford Loan. If you do not have a Stafford Loan, or if the amount listed on your award letter is less than the maximum you can borrow per year, ($5,500 for a first-year student, $6,500 for a second-year student, and $7,500 per year for a third-or fourth-year student) then contact the Student Financial Planning Office to add or increase your Stafford Loan. If you have maximized the Stafford Loan and still need additional funds, your parent can apply for a PLUS Loan. Creditworthy parents can borrow up to the cost of attendance, minus any financial aid you receive. Contact the Student Financial Planning Office for details.

Centre parents can also take advantage of the payment plan offered through the TuitionPay Monthly Plan. This is not a loan. Rather, the TuitionPay Monthly Plan allows you to pay off your balance in 10 monthly payments, interest free. There is an annual enrollment fee of $55. Once you enroll, they will send you monthly reminders of your payment amount. This is a very popular option for many Centre families. For more information, contact Centre's Finance Office at 859-238-5452, or call TuitionPay Monthly Plan at 800-635-0120.

My parents make over $100,000 a year. Should I apply for aid?

We encourage all students to complete a FAFSA for their first year in college. Parental income is not the only factor that determines aid eligibility, and some people are pleasantly surprised to find that they qualify for aid. Keep in mind that families who do not receive other need-based aid can still borrow a Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, but must file a FAFSA first. Students who wish to apply only for merit scholarships at Centre do not need to file the FAFSA, unless eligible for a state match scholarship.

Should I participate in commercial scholarship or financial aid searches?

We discourage our students from participating in any search which requires you to pay a fee in order for an agency to find scholarships or grants for you. Applying for need-based aid is free, and in our experience these search agencies only tend to turn up federal sources of aid or other funds you could most likely locate on your own. We have very few, if any, students who tell us they found additional aid by using a commercial search company.

We heard that tax credits exist for families who pay higher education tuition. Can you explain more about them?

In 1997 the Taxpayer Relief Act was introduced, allowing eligible families to receive tax benefits for higher education costs. The Hope Scholarship Credit and Lifetime Learning Credit are outlined fully in IRS Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Higher Education. For more information, download the publication from the IRS Web Site or call 800-829-3676 to request a copy. Centre cannot offer families tax advice concerning these or other tax issues. For detailed information and advice, we recommend you consult your tax preparer. If you have a student enrolled at Centre, and need more information concerning the 1098-T form that was mailed to you, contact Centre's Finance Office at 859-238-5452.

Will my financial aid package change from year to year?

You must re-apply for need-based aid each year. Assuming that your financial situation stays the same and you maintain satisfactory academic progress, your aid should stay about the same from year to year. Keep in mind that changes in your household size, in the number in college, or in your or your parents' income or assets can have an effect, either positive or negative, on your financial aid award. Merit scholarships are automatically renewed each year provided you maintain the required GPA for your scholarship.

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