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Financial Aid Process

1. Apply to BJU

  • You may apply as early as your high school junior year.
  • If you have submitted your application form, be sure to complete the items listed on your online admissions checksheet.

2. File the FAFSA

The FAFSA opens Oct. 1 every year, so you can begin it the year before you plan to enter college.

FAFSA is required to be considered for BJU scholarships and grants. File your FAFSA by March 1 for best consideration.

File FAFSA (

School Code: 003421

FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Essentially, it’s the U.S. Department of Education’s way of qualifying which students are eligible for financial aid. We also use it to qualify students for aid from BJU.

The U.S. Department of Education uses the financial and family information provided on your FAFSA to determine your Student Aid Index (SAI). Your SAI represents the amount of money the Department of Education believes you and your family should be able to provide to help pay for your college expenses. This amount is not what you will pay, but what money may be available for you to contribute. You will be notified of your SAI number when you receive confirmation of the submission of your FAFSA.

The SAI number is used by the Department of Education to determine your level of need for financial aid assistance. The lower your SAI the more need-based aid, such as the Pell Grant, may be available to you.

Submitting the FAFSA also establishes your eligibility for federal loans. Your SAI helps to determine the type of loan money, subsidized or unsubsidized, that is available to you. For more information about federal loans, go to

What is verification?

Verification is a method used by the Department of Education to check the accuracy of information submitted on the FAFSA. The verification process also helps to ensure that all students receive the appropriate amount of financial aid. All schools that disburse federal Title IV funds are required to participate in the verification process.

What happens if I am selected?

If the student’s FAFSA is selected for verification, our office will notify the student by email. The documents the student must provide with any necessary instructions will be listed in the student’s BJU StudentForms account.

Verification must be completed before federal aid, as well as some state* and/or institutional need-based aid can be awarded. It is very important to respond promptly to all requests for verification information. Delays in response or submission of incomplete verification documentation will prevent the processing of a student’s financial aid. The final deadline for verification for federal aid for the academic year in which the student is selected is the student’s last day of attendance or the last day of final exams, whichever comes first.

* The South Carolina Tuition Grants program requires eligible S.C. students to complete verification by November 15 of the current academic year.

The verification process generally takes two weeks from the date all required information has been received. The student will receive notification from BJU StudentForms when our office has completed verification. If verification documents reveal inaccuracies on the FAFSA, the accurate data will be corrected electronically by a staff member. The student will receive notification of any changes from the Department of Education through an updated FAFSA Submission Summary that will be sent to the email address listed on the FAFSA. A BJU financial aid offer will be sent to the student if any awards change because of verification.

Note: It’s a federal crime to deliberately falsify any information on the FAFSA form to receive federal financial aid inappropriately. If it is determined that tampering with FAFSA information occurred deliberately, the Financial Aid Office is required to inform the Inspector General’s Office.

Special and Unusual Circumstances

Some students and their families experience unique circumstances that are not reflected on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The financial aid office can use professional judgment to get a more accurate understanding of the student’s circumstances. Professional judgment refers to the discretion that the Department of Education gives to financial aid administrators to make adjustments to certain elements of a student's FAFSA because of special or unusual circumstances on a case-by-case basis.

Please understand that our office has limits on what we can do based on federal regulations, and a request for review does not guarantee changes in aid eligibility, but we will look at your individual situation carefully. You are still responsible for any outstanding charges or late fines while under a special circumstances or unusual circumstances review.

Special Circumstances

Special circumstances are unforeseen conditions that significantly impact a family's ability to pay for college costs.

Special circumstances include but are not limited to:

  • Loss or reduction of income
  • Occurrence of one-time income reported on FAFSA
  • Separation or divorce of student’s parents
  • Death of student’s parent(s)
  • Elementary or secondary school tuition costs
  • Paid out-of-pocket medical/dental expenses

How to Request a Special Circumstance Review

If you believe this may pertain to you, please review our 2024-2025 Special Circumstance Review form. As noted in this form, additional documentation is required for the reevaluation of your financial aid eligibility. You may email our office at [email protected] to specify a category(s) and request a Special Circumstance review. If you already receive the maximum Pell Grant, we cannot adjust any data elements to your FAFSA because you have received the maximum eligibility for federal grants.

Upon receipt of documentation, our office should be able to process and communicate the results to you within three weeks. If additional information is needed or information is found incomplete, our office will reach out via email. The average timeframe to complete this process is four weeks. All requests and all required documentation for evaluation of circumstances must be received at least four weeks prior to the end of the enrollment period.

Dependency Status

The Department of Education’s definition of an independent student for federal student aid programs is different than your dependency status for tax purposes. To be considered independent, you must be able to answer “yes” to one of the following questions below.

  1. Are you at least 24 years old?
  2. Are you married?
  3. Will you be working on a master’s or doctorate degree?
  4. Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training?
  5. Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?
  6. Do you have children who will receive more than half of their support from you?
  7. Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half of their support from you?

If you are unable to answer “yes” to one of the questions above, then you are considered a dependent and must include parental information on your FAFSA.

Unusual Circumstances

The Department of Education determines your student dependency status based on the information you provided on the FAFSA. In certain situations, students may request that their dependency status be reviewed through a formal process. The FAFSA Simplification Act provides financial aid administrators updated guidance to assist applicants with unusual circumstances on a case-by-case basis.

None of the conditions listed below, singly or in combination, qualify as unusual circumstances or merit a dependency override:

  • Parents refuse to contribute to the student’s education.
  • Parents will not provide information for the FAFSA or verification.
  • Parents do not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes.
  • Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency.

Some examples of circumstances that may qualify you for a dependency override:

  • The student was a victim of human trafficking.
  • The student was legally granted refugee or asylum status.
  • The student has left home due to an abusive situation.
  • The student has no contact with his/her parents and does not know where they are (and the student has not been adopted by someone else).
  • Incarceration of student’s custodial parent.

Other Unusual Circumstances

The following criteria also determine students to be considered independent:

  • An orphan, in foster care, or a ward of the court at any time since age 13.
  • An emancipated minor or in legal guardianship as determined by a court.
  • An unaccompanied youth who is homeless or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless with a determination from one of the entities listed on the FAFSA form at any time on or after July 1.

Unsubsidized Loan Only

What if I do not qualify for an unusual circumstance? Dependent students whose parents refuse to file the FAFSA or who have ended financial support may request our office to review their eligibility for a Direct Unsubsidized Loan. You will not be eligible for other federal, state or university need-based aid.

How to Request an Unusual Circumstance Review

After reviewing the above information, if you believe that you might qualify for one of these categories, please call our office at 864-241-1637 and ask to speak to the unusual circumstance counselor. This conversation will give us the opportunity to provide you with the procedure and the required documentation for the review. Once our office receives all required documentation, we will make a determination no later than 60 days after enrollment.

Estimate your cost and aid

Estimate only. Official aid is applied for through the FAFSA and communicated to admitted students through a financial aid offer.

3. Receive a Financial Aid Offer

If you’ve included BJU’s school code (003421) on the FAFSA and applied to BJU, the Financial Aid office will send you a financial aid offer. This offer will list all of the federal, state and institutional aid you are eligible to receive.

Some grants and scholarships cannot be processed until your final high school transcript is received.

Filing Date Sending Date of the Financial Aid Offer
By March 1 By the first week in April
After March 1 Within 1 month of receiving FAFSA

Important Dates

Date Notes
October 1 FAFSA available for upcoming year
March 1 Recommended that you complete the FAFSA and all scholarship and grant applications by this date for best consideration
June 15 FAFSA must be completed and all financial aid forms (i.e. verification and loan requests) must be received by this date in order to have financial aid appear as expected aid on the student account statement due August 5
August 1 FAFSA must be completed by all residents of South Carolina in order to be eligible to receive SC Tuition Grant

Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy (SAP)

All students who receive financial aid must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) while working toward an eligible degree. SAP standards are measured in three areas: 1.) Completion rate; 2.) Cumulative GPA; and 3.) Maximum time frame.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy (SAP) for Student Financial Aid: Undergraduate SAP | Graduate SAP

View all financial aid documents

If you have any questions concerning financial aid, email the Financial Aid Office.