Financial Aid FAQs

How do I check the status of my financial aid application?
Once you have completed your FAFSA, you should receive a confirmation e-mail from the Department of Education that your FAFSA has been processed. Lewis University usually receives your FAFSA within 2-4 business days from the time your FAFSA has been processed. We encourage students to check their online financial aid records for any additional documents that we may need in order to process your aid. This is also where you can view your awarded financial aid.

Do I need to complete a FAFSA every year?
Yes. Returning students must complete a FAFSA every year. In order to ensure you meet all federal, state and institutional deadlines, your FAFSA should be completed as soon after October 1 as possible.

Can I take a leave of absence from Lewis without losing my financial aid?
Students are allowed to stop-out for up to one year and keep their academic scholarship eligibility, provided they do not attend another university in that time. For all other aid types, a student must be enrolled as at least part-time status to be eligible.

Will my financial aid cover summer school programs?
Students who are enrolled in graduate or adult accelerated programs will be awarded automatically with their financial aid being distributed equally between the fall, spring and summer semesters. For traditional undergraduate students, summer aid eligibility is based on remaining aid eligibility not used in the fall and spring semesters, otherwise they may obtain a Parent PLUS loan for the summer session.

Will my financial aid cover study abroad programs?
Financial aid is available for some study abroad programs. Please check with the Office of Financial Aid Services for additional information.

If my parents are divorced or separated, whose financial information would I use on my FAFSA?
If your parents are divorced or separated, use the financial information of the custodial parent or the parent whom you have lived with the most over the past 12 months. In the case that you don't live with either parent, or have spent equal time with both parents, use the parent who has provided you with the most financial support over the past year.

Why does my sibling's financial aid eligibility differ so much from mine?
If you and your sibling attend different schools, the difference between the costs of attending each school could explain this. If you both attend Lewis University, the difference between each person's earnings and assets during the last calendar year as well as grade level may affect eligibility.

Do you offer aid packages for veterans?
Lewis is proud to be distinguished as a GI Jobs Military-Friendly University and a perennial member of the Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program. Learn more about our scholarship offerings for qualified Post-9/11 veterans.

If I become a commuter student next semester, will that affect my financial aid?
Any decrease in your total cost of attendance could affect your aid eligibility and increase your need for additional loans. If a change in your commuting status does occur, you must inform the Office of Financial Aid Services right away.

I have a credit balance on my account. How do I request a refund?
Students may request a Credit Balance Refund through the Business Office. Credits will be applied to any outstanding accounts with the University before a refund is issued. Refund requests will be processed within 14 working days.

I have been selected for verification - what does this mean?
The Department of Education may randomly choose you for document verification, or in the case of conflicting aid information, Lewis University may as well. If you have been selected for verification, before we can continue processing your financial aid application, we will require:

  • Signed and completed Verification form
  • Signed Student's Federal Tax form
  • Signed Parent(s) Federal Tax form (dependent student)

Click here for information on how to request a federal tax transcript.

I would like to speak to a counselor in person. How can I make an appointment?
You can come into or call the Office of Financial Aid Services on the 1st floor of the LRC building at (815) 836-5263, Monday through Friday, 8:30am - 5:00pm and request to speak with a counselor or make an appointment. Appointments can also be made through e-mail at

How do I know the amount granted is the amount disbursed for my Stafford Loan?
Students can track their indebtedness by reviewing their loan disbursements on the National Student Loan Database Services website. Students can see what was borrowed each academic year. This is a good way to ensure that the awarded and actual loan amounts are the same.

How much am I eligible to borrow as a graduate student?
Graduate students are eligible to borrow up to $20,500 in Federal Direct Stafford Loan funds each academic year. An academic year at Lewis University comprise of fall, spring and summer semesters. Should a student begin mid-year the academic year is whatever semester(s) remain.

I was awarded for fall, spring and summer semesters, but I plan to graduate at the end of fall term.
Return your financial aid notice indicating that you are graduating and cross off the semesters in which you are not attending. Indicate the maximum loan amount that you would like to borrow. (Note: The amount requested and the amount eligible to receive may be different. We will award the lesser amount.)

Can I change my loan amount?
Loan amounts can be changed at any time during the academic year, even if the funds have been released to the school. Students should return their financial aid notification within the 15 days indicated on their award letter so that the adjustments are applied before funds we requested are refunded to the student.

When are financial aid funds applied to students account?
Financial aid funds are applied to students’ accounts at the beginning of each semester. Student should expect to see their loan funds applied to their account within the first few weeks of class. However, institutional aid and state grants may not apply until after the add/drop period. During the summer semester, these funds are not released until after July 1.

Why are my loans at an "estimated" status?
Loan funds are estimated until we request them from the Department of Education. They will remain at an estimated status until the first week of classes each semester. If the loans are at that status beyond that point, verify whether the Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling were completed at Also, be sure that 15 days have passed from the time that the financial aid notice was mailed.

What is a best-practice for dealing with financial aid?
To best utilize the resources available students should understand their costs of attendance. Knowing the costs, both direct (tuition and fees) and indirect (books and personal expenses) will allow students the opportunity to better plan for college. Often times adult and graduate students over borrow. Miscellaneous, travel and personal expenses are part of a student’s financial aid budget. However, students should try to keep indirect costs to a minimum. For example, even though a line item of their budget is designated for travel a student should not think their financial aid would cover car payments.