NSU Catalog 2013-2014 
    Jul 20, 2024  
NSU Catalog 2013-2014 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Financial Aid Information

Financial Assistance

During the 2011-2012 award year, about 90 percent of Northern State University students received more than $18 million in financial aid. Assistance comes in the form of grants, long-term loans, part-time work and scholarships. A brief description of the financial aid programs is listed below. Additional information is available at www.studentaid.gov.

Applying for Financial Assistance

Most financial aid is awarded on the basis of need. Need is determined by deducting the amount that a student and/or his or her parents can contribute toward educational expenses from the cost of attending Northern State University (tuition, fees, room, board, books, personal, and transportation expenses). To apply for federal financial aid, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). For accurate and efficient processing the FAFSA should be electronically submitted at www.fafsa.gov. To be considered a priority applicant, the FAFSA must be submitted by March 1 prior to the beginning of the academic year. Students applying for federal assistance for summer sessions must also complete the Northern State University Summer Financial Aid Application. The Financial Aid Office has both FAFSA and Summer Application forms.

Types of Financial Assistance

Federal Pell Grant: Available to undergraduate students who do not already have a bachelor’s degree. Grant money does not have to be repaid.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG): Available to undergraduate students pursuing their first bachelor’s degree who are enrolled at least half-time. Priority must be given to neediest students and Pell Grant recipients.

TEACH Grant (Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education): This grant program provides up to $4000 per year for both undergraduate and graduate students. Students must be majoring in education and have at least a 3.25 GPA, or score above the 75th percentile on an admissions test such as ACT, SAT, or GRE. Students must teach full-time for at least four years within eight years of completing a program as a highly-qualified teacher in a low-income school district, in an identified critical-need area. If the teaching requirement is not met, the grant must be repaid as an Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, with interest from the date(s) of original disbursement.

South Dakota Education Access Foundation (SDEAF) Grant: A grant program available to students pursuing their first undergraduate degree who are enrolled at least half-time. Recipients must complete the FAFSA in order to be considered for this grant.

Federal Work-Study: Available to students who demonstrate financial need and are enrolled at least half-time. Individuals on the Work-Study program are paid on a monthly basis for hours worked. Student workers are paid an hourly rate of at least federal minimum wage, as established by the student’s supervisor. These funds cover indirect costs since they are not available at the beginning of the term when tuition and fee payment is due.

Federal Perkins Loan: Available to students who demonstrate financial need and who are enrolled at least halftime. Repayment and 5 percent interest begin nine months after the student is no longer enrolled at least half-time.

Federal Direct Stafford Loan: Available through the federal government to eligible undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need. Undergraduates may receive a loan up to the amount of need, but not more than $3,500 for freshmen, not more than $4,500 for sophomores and not more than $5,500 per year for the remaining years of undergraduate study. The amount of the loan may not exceed the cost of attendance minus the expected family contribution and other financial aid.

Interest on the Direct Stafford Loan (3.4% currently) is paid by the federal government until six months after the student graduates or is no longer enrolled at least half-time. A 1% net origination fee is deducted from the proceeds of the loan prior to disbursement.

Federal Unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loan: This is similar to the Direct Stafford Loan except for the following: 1) need is not a factor; the student may borrow to replace the expected family contribution, and 2) interest accrues and may be capitalized or paid during school and grace periods. The interest is a fixed rate of 6.8%. Loan limits for undergraduate students are the same as the Direct Stafford Loan, but the total combined amount cannot exceed the annual limits. The annual loan limit for graduate students is $8,500.

Direct PLUS Loan: Available to credit-worthy parents of dependent students. Maximum eligibility cannot exceed the student budget minus any other financial aid. The interest rate is a fixed rate of 7.9%. Repayment begins within 60 days after disbursement but may be deferred while the student is enrolled at least half-time.

Additional Federal Unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loan Eligibility: Dependent students may be eligible for an additional $2,000 Unsubsidized Stafford Loan if they have already received the maximum Stafford/Unsubsidized Stafford Loan based on their current grade level. Independent students and dependent students whose parents were denied a PLUS loan who are freshmen and sophomores may receive an additional $6,000 in Unsubsidized Loan, juniors and seniors an additional $7,000 and graduate students an additional $12,000. A student can borrow no more than the cost of attendance minus other financial aid. Interest rate and repayment provisions are the same as for the regular Unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loan program.

Alternative Loans: In addition to the federal aid programs listed above, there are several alternative loan programs available for students and/or parents to borrow. The eligibility criteria, loan limits, interest rates, and repayment terms will vary from one program to the next. Contact the Financial Aid Office for further information about the various programs available.

Scholarships: Like grants, scholarships do not need to be repaid. They are funded by individuals, organizations, or nongovernmental agencies. At Northern State University, academic scholarships are awarded on the basis of excellent work rather than on need.

Freshman Scholarships range from $500 for one year to $12,000 over four years. For applications and deadline dates for these awards, contact the Financial Aid Office, Northern State University, 1200 South Jay Street, Aberdeen, SD 57401-7198.

Athletic Scholarships are awarded based on sport participation. To apply for an athletic scholarship, contact the Athletic Director, Northern State University, 1200 South Jay Street, Aberdeen, SD 57401-7198.

Music and Art Scholarships go to students who excel in those areas. To apply for a music or art scholarship, contact Dean, School of Fine Arts, Northern State University, 1200 South Jay Street, Aberdeen, SD 57401-7198.

Other NSU and Outside Scholarships are advertised on the NSU Web site at www.northern.edu. Be sure to check periodically for scholarship opportunities and application information.

Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

In order to receive federal student aid, students must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress toward the completion of their degree. Federal student aid includes Pell Grant, Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (SEOG), TEACH Grant, Work-Study, Perkins Loan. Stafford Loan (Subsidized and Unsubsidized), and PLUS Loan. Other federal, state, and private agencies may require students to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress for their aid programs as well.

The academic record of all students will be monitored to ensure compliance with the requirements specified below. Therefore, even the academic record of those who have not received federal student aid in the past may impact future eligibility.

Satisfactory Academic Progress is measured once a year - at the end of the spring semester, or the last semester attended in that academic year. Failure to meet any of the three following standards will result in the suspension of eligibility for federal student aid.


    Undergraduate Students:

    Federal regulations require a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher for undergraduate students. The cumulative GPA is calculated on all NSU and transfer undergraduate credits (excluding remedial and audited coursework).

Graduate Students:

Graduate students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on all NSU and transfer graduate credits.


All students (both undergraduate and graduate) must successfully complete 67% of cumulative attempted credit hours. Attempted credit hours include all hours that would appear on a student’s academic transcript at the end of any given term, including withdrawals, incompletes, repeated courses, remedial coursework, and transfer hours. Audited coursework is not included. Hours that may have been part of a successful academic amnesty appeal will still be included.

Successfully completed hours for both graduate and undergraduate students include grades of A, B, C, D RS and S. A grade of EX for undergraduate students is also considered successful completion. All other grades would not be considered successful completion (such as F (failure), W (withdrawal), U (unsatisfactory), RU (remedial unsatisfactory) or I (incomplete)).


    There is a limit on the number of credit hours a student can attempt and still remain eligible for federal student aid. All credits attempted (except audited coursework) are included. This limit is based on 150% of the credit hours needed to complete the degree that the student is pursuing.
Type of Degree Maximum Credit Hours
Associate Degree (60-hour program) 90
Bachelor’s Degree (120-hour program) 180
Bachelor’s Degree (150-hour program) 225
Master’s Degree (32-hour program) 48
Master’s Degree (36-hour program) 54
Master’s Degree (48-hour program) 72


Students who have had their eligibility for federal student aid suspended may submit an appeal form to explain extenuating circumstances. Such appeals will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis and must be submitted no later than the end of the first week of the term for which the appeal applies. An appeal form is available at the NSU Financial Aid Office or on the NSU web site at www.northern.edu.

Based upon the circumstances of an approved appeal, the Appeal Committee reserves the right to stipulate conditions which the student must meet in order to be considered for financial aid on a probationary basis for subsequent semesters. Note that an academic suspension appeal is a separate process. Being reinstated academically does not guarantee financial aid reinstatement.


Students who have lost their federal aid eligibility, but have subsequently met all three standards as stated above, will have their aid eligibility reinstated. Reinstatement will be considered effective with the next term of attendance. Students should contact the Financial Aid Office once they have completed coursework that would bring them back into good standing.


There are also non-federal sources of financial assistance (institutional, local, private, state), which may require students to meet satisfactory academic progress standards. Students who apply for non-federal forms of aid are advised to review the academic standards in order to determine or ensure continued eligibility.

Other Sources of Financial Assistance

Short-term loans of up to $100 are available during the academic year for students who encounter short-term financial difficulties. There is a service fee of $1.00 per hundred for this loan. An interest rate of 12 percent will be charged for loans not paid by the due date. Students may apply for this loan at the Finance Office. Short-term loans are not available in the summer.

Monthly Payment Plan

Northern State University contracts with Nelnet Business Solutions to offer an interest-free monthly payment plan to students and/or parents. Contracts are done per semester with a $40 Enrollment Fee. Automatic bank payments are made monthly from savings or checking, or by credit card (MasterCard, Discover, American Express). Contact the Finance Office or Financial Aid for more information.