Financial Aid FAQ - Applying for Aid

There is a common myth that financial aid is just grants, the money that doesn't have to be paid back. Financial Aid is really everything we include in a financial aid award offer such as grants, scholarships, work-study, federal student loans and non-federal student loans.

Applying for financial aid starts with an online FREE application called the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA. This application can be completed at and must be completed every year.

The FAFSA is available on October 1 for the upcoming Fall and Spring academic year.

MSU’s priority funding deadline is April 15 of every year. However, if you are past the April 15 deadline we will still process your application and award you what you are eligible, some funding for work-study and university grants are limited on a first come first serve basis. It’s important to apply early and submit any requested documents as soon as possible to maximize your eligibility.

All applicants for federal student aid are considered either “independent” or “dependent”. Dependent students are required to include information about their parents on the FAFSA.

A common question asked by students is whether they can declare themselves independent. Unless you can answer “Yes” to one of the questions in the infographic, you are considered a dependent student and must submit your parent’s information on the FAFSA – even if they do not claim you on their taxes or provide any financial support to you.

Only in rare circumstances, when there is documentation of a complete break in the family situation, can our office override the general dependency criteria. If you think your situation qualifies for a dependency override, please contact our office and consult with one of our staff members.

Provide the information for the parent with whom you lived with the most during the twelve months preceding the date you completed the FAFSA. It does not make a difference which parent claims you as a dependent for tax purposes.

If you do not live with either parent or lived equally with each parent, the parental information must be provided for the parent from whom you received the most financial support during the preceding twelve months or the parent from whom you received the most support the last time support was given.

Yes, if your legal parent whom you are providing information on the FAFSA is remarried than you must include income and asset information for both your legal parent and stepparent.