Starkle Dream Up. Stephens College

Undergraduate aid: frequently asked questions

What are the various types of financial aid available?
Financial aid comes in the form of scholarships, awards, grants, loans and student employment and is available through Stephens College, the state and the federal government. Merit-based financial aid takes into account your academic credentials (i.e. SAT I and ACT scores, and grade point average). Need-based aid takes into account your financial need, which is the difference between the cost of a Stephens education and your expected family contribution (EFC). Various factors affect the EFC, including the size of your family, your family's income and the number of family members currently enrolled in college. 

What is the difference between gift aid and self-help aid?
Gift aid includes scholarships, awards and grants that do not have to be repaid. Self-help aid includes loans, which need to be repaid, and student employment for which the student earns funds to be used for education costs.

How do I apply for financial aid?
To determine the amount of financial aid you are eligible to receive, you must first file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at after October 1 using your last filed income tax returns. In addition, please note that the priority deadline for work study and the Access Missouri Grant is February 1.

Although you don't have to be accepted at Stephens College before applying for financial aid, you do have to be admitted to Stephens before any financial aid can be awarded.

It will be necessary for you to file a FAFSA each year you are a student at Stephens in order to reapply for financial aid. Even if you are certain you won't qualify for need-based assistance, it's a good idea to file the FAFSA so that you may be able to qualify for aid if your financial situation changes.

If you are a graduate or continuing studies student, call us at (800) 876-7207 or email [email protected]

What if my FAFSA is selected for verification?
Your FAFSA information may be selected for verification. It doesn’t mean you did anything wrong – a random number of applications are chosen by the Department of Education as process double-check. To make this easier for you, we are pleased to announce that we have established a partnership with Inceptia to expedite the federal verification process using a Verification Gateway online portal.

If your FAFSA application is selected for verification by the U.S Department of Education, you will receive an introductory email to the email address you provided on the FAFSA. If no email was provided, you will receive an introductory postcard. The postcard will have our school logo along with Inceptia’s, so you will know it is official. 

Please note the deadline for submitting these documents is August 1. Failure to provide the requested documents could result in the delay or denial of financial aid.

A custom school link will be included in the introductory communication requesting you access Verification Gateway. You will need to do the following*:

  • Confirm your identity (authentication).
  • Create a secure user name and password.
  • Decide if you want to receive text messages and approve to e-sign.
  • Access your Action List and begin the verification process (the list may consist of some combination of online forms and the request to upload specific documents to Verification Gateway). 

*Dependent students that provided parental information on the FAFSA are required to have one parent also authenticate and create an account. This parent will be required to e-sign or provide an ink signature once all documentation has been submitted.

Upon receipt of all required documents, Inceptia will begin the verification process. Students will be notified if there are any questions or if any additional documentation is required via email, text or postcard. Once verification has been completed, the student and our school will be notified. 

If you have any questions about the verification process, please contact Inceptia, Monday through Friday from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm Central at 888-374-8427 or by email at [email protected]

How do I apply for outside scholarships, and how do they affect my financial aid award?
Outside scholarships can be found through various sources: parents' employers, large and small corporations, high schools and community resources.

See our list of "Helpful Websites" for help getting started.

You must notify Stephens of all outside scholarship aid received so that the aid may be applied toward meeting your financial need at Stephens. If a reduction in the amount of aid awarded is necessary by federal law, the Office of Financial Aid will first try to reduce self-help aid. Rarely is gift aid reduced as a result of outside scholarships received. 

What if my financial situation changes?
Please contact the Financial Aid Office at (573) 876-7106 or [email protected] to request a “Special Circumstances Form.” The Director of Financial Aid will review all situations on a case-by-case basis and notify you once a decision has been made.

What can I do if my parents are unable to help pay for my education?
The federal and state governments expect parents to assist their children when it comes to financing a college education. If there is a gap between the expected family contribution, as determined by the FAFSA, and the actual contribution, contact the Office of Financial Aid to find out about alternative loans or financing programs.

What happens if I withdraw from school?
Complete withdrawal prior to first day of class:
Except for a $100 administrative fee, Stephens will refund all of the student's tuition and fees if he or she cancels his or her enrollment before the first day of the semester.

Complete withdrawal after the first day of class, but prior to 60% completion of the semester:
In the event that a student completely withdraws, after the first day of classes, either voluntarily or at the request of the College prior to 60% of the completion of the semester, a pro-ration of tuition, room and board is calculated based on the number of days attended compared to the total number of days in the semester. Calendar days (including weekends) are used, but breaks of at least five days are excluded. The student's tuition, room and board charges are credited and financial aid is charged back to the student's account according to this pro-rata share of time spent at the institution. Federally funded aid will be charged back in accordance with Federal regulations in the following order: Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford loans, Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford loans, Unsubsidized Federal Stafford loans, Subsidized Federal Stafford loans, Federal Perkins loans, Federal Direct PLUS (Parent) loans, Federal Pell Grants, and Federal SEOG (Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant). "Official" notification of withdrawal must be given to the Dean of Students in all cases of voluntary withdrawal. "Official" notification is a verbal or written notice provided to the Dean of Students. If no "official" notice is given, the documented last date of attendance will be used.

Complete withdrawal after 60% completion of the semester:
After the 60% point in the semester, a student will be charged 100% of all fees and will be deemed to have earned 100% of their financial aid.

Refund of Fees
If a student changes his or her class schedule during the first three weeks of classes, fees will be added or deducted at 100% of the charge. Beginning with the first day of the fourth week of classes, no adjustment to the additional fees for a course will be made.

Partial Withdrawals
Refunds of tuition and financial aid will not be calculated for partial withdrawals.

Summer Session Withdrawal and Refund Policy:
The above policy also applies to the summer session.

What grade point average do I need to maintain?
Students need to maintain satisfactory academic progress to receive any financial aid. Merit scholarships require students to maintain a 3.0 or higher cumulative GPA and merit awards require a 2.5 cumulative GPA.


Does Stephens participate in tuition exchange programs?
Yes. Stephens participates in two exchange programs. Students who are dependents of employees of other colleges in the exchange programs might be able to attend Stephens at discounted tuition rates. Learn more about the Council of Independent Colleges Tuition Exchange Program and about the Tuition Exchange program.

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