Financial Aid

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The Cost of Attendance (COA) is an estimate of the expenses a student may incur during the academic year.  Direct and indirect costs will vary among students.  Actual costs will vary based on the number of credits enrolled in, housing and dining options selected, and the student's personal expenses.  

Click here to view more on tuition, fees and cost of attendance.

Our Financial Aid staff can

  • Help you fill out your FAFSA forms
  • Offer guidance in paying for college
  • Give you advice on how to manage your money
  • Tell you about grants, loans, and other funding you can use
  • Help you with other financial questions

Notification of Financial Aid
You’ll be notified when you’ve been awarded various federal, state, and instructional funds.

  • Returning students – through your DSU email
  • First-time first year students – by paper letter

You must electronically accept/decline your award(s) in Campus Connection before payment will be made.

  • Click on the Financial Aid tile
  • Select the correct Federal Aid Year
  • Click Accept/Decline.

You must notify the Office of Financial Aid of changes in enrollment status or of additional resources received. 

Entrance and Exit Loan Counseling
If it’s your first time receiving a Direct Subsidized Loan or a Direct Unsubsidized Loan, you must

You must go through entrance counseling before receiving your loan.

You must complete exit counseling when you graduate, drop below half-time enrollment, or leave Dickinson State. You'll receive confirmation after you complete the session, and the Office of Financial Aid will be notified that you've completed the loan counseling.

Find Q&As on subsidized and unsubsidized loans here.

Disbursement of Funds
Unless otherwise noted in your financial award package, financial aid is paid out in two installments: one half for fall semester and one half for spring semester. (Summer semester financial aid is paid in one installment). 

About 2-3 weeks after each semester begins, your financial aid funds will be applied toward your DSU charges (including tuition, fees, books, and room and board).

If you owe more than you’re receiving in financial aid, you’ll be responsible for paying the balance due by the fee payment deadline.

If your financial aid total is greater than the balance you owe DSU, the extra funds may be direct deposited into your personal bank account. If you haven’t signed up for direct deposit, you'll have an excess financial aid check available at the Business Affairs office in May Hall, room 212.

The fastest, easiest way to get your extra funds is by direct deposit. Set it up on Campus Connection:

  • Click the Financial Account tile
  • Click the Direct Deposit tab

If you have questions about your direct deposit information, please contact the Business Affairs office.

Verification is a requirement under the federal financial aid program regulations (34 CFR, Part 668). In this process, DSU will confirm, through documentation, that the information provided on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is correct. The verification process ensures that eligible students receive all the financial aid to which they are entitled and prevents ineligible students from receiving financial aid to which they are not entitled. Financial aid funds cannot be disbursed until verification has been completed.

Dickinson State University Verification Policy

If you’re currently enrolled and have no outstanding charges, you can buy books and supplies at the University Store and charge them to your DSU account. You don’t have to buy your books and supplies at the University Store, but if you choose to buy them somewhere else, you must pay for them another way or wait until your financial aid is distributed and you have leftover funds available.

Remedial classes count toward financial aid. If you’re admitted into an eligible program and take remedial classes within that program, you can be considered a regular student. The remedial courses must be at least at the high school level.

If you fail a course, you can retake it indefinitely and have it count toward enrollment status for financial aid purposes. Once you pass the course, you can only retake it ONE time and have it count toward enrollment status for financial aid purposes. Subsequent repeats are not eligible to be included in enrollment status for financial aid purposes.

If you decide to withdraw from DSU, you must complete a Cancel/Withdrawal Form. You can also pick up this form at the Financial Aid office.

Withdrawing could have a negative impact on your Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) and could possibly disqualify you from federal financial aid. You will need to meet SAP requirements or get an approved appeal to have your aid reinstated.

Refund and Return Title IV (Federal Financial Aid) Funds
If you withdraw from school, you might need to pay back federal aid funds you’ve received.

Federal regulations require all institutions to develop a policy which determines the amount of Title IV grant or loan assistance that a student has earned as of the student’s withdrawal date. A refund of institutional charges or the percentage of Title IV aid earned for a student, who withdraws from Dickinson State University is calculated through the 60% point in an enrollment period. Unearned funds must be returned in the order specified by law. View our refund schedule

DSU Policy 830.2.001 Withdrawals, Refunds and the Return of Title IV Funds Policy

Consortium agreements between eligible institutions apply to all the financial aid programs. Under a written agreement, you may take courses at a school outside the NDUS and have those courses count toward your DSU degree or certificate. Contact the Office of Financial Aid for more information.

When students and/or their families experience a change in financial circumstances, the information on the FAFSA may no longer accurately reflect their financial situation. In some cases, Dickinson State University Financial Aid Office may be able to adjust income information based on these special circumstances.

Special circumstances

Adjustments may be considered for loss of income for the following reasons that include, but is not limited to:

  • Job termination or loss of income (due to change of job, reduction in hours worked or retirement)
  • Divorce or separation after the FAFSA was completed.
  • Death of a parent or spouse after the FAFSA was completed.
  • Reduced earnings due to disability or natural disaster
  • Loss or reduction of untaxed income or benefits
  • Medical or dental expenses paid out of pocket in excess of $3000

Special circumstances impact

If the special circumstances review results in increased eligibility for aid and if funds are available, you may receive additional assistance. If your review results in increased eligibility, you may be asked to provide documentation (such as federal income tax documents) at the end of the calendar year to verify the accuracy of your income projections or projected expenses. If changes need to be made and these changes result in reduced eligibility, you may have to repay aid. Additionally, student loan amounts are limited by federal regulation.

How to request a special circumstances review

  1. Complete the relevant aid year FAFSA at
  2. Contact the Financial Aid Office to discuss your changed financial circumstances.
  3. The financial aid counselor will assess eligibility for special circumstances, and if they determine the circumstances justify further review, they will request a written narrative and supporting documentation.  The special circumstances form can be found at

The special circumstances review cannot be processed until all documentation is submitted. Once all documentation has been successfully submitted, please allow up to two to three weeks for processing.

Submitting the Special Circumstances Form does not guarantee that you will be offered additional financial aid.

Budget adjustments

All DSU students have an estimated cost of attendance, or a budget, and financial aid staff cannot award financial aid above that amount. However, there are some scenarios where we can adjust the cost of attendance so that additional financial aid can be awarded. Adjustments to Cost of Attendance do not guarantee additional financial aid will be awarded. If you have increases based on one or more of the following types of non-discretionary expenses, adjustment of your academic year cost of attendance may be possible.

  • Childcare expenses
  • Computer purchase during the academic year
  • Additional required educational expenses
  • Additional tuition or transportation expenses

If you would like to request a budget adjustment, please complete the corresponding form at Budget adjustment requests are evaluated only after the original FAFSA and all supporting documents have been reviewed. It may take 2-3 weeks to evaluate your request.

If your request results in increased eligibility for aid, you may receive additional assistance if funds are available. Federal Direct loans amounts are limited by federal regulation. However, additional aid options may come in the form of a Parent PLUS loan (undergraduate dependent students only), a Graduate PLUS loan (graduate students only) or a private/alternative loan.

Unusual Circumstances

Changes in family dynamics that justify applying as an Independent student (dependency override):

  • Abandonment by parents
  • An abusive family environment that threatens the student’s health or safety
  • The student's inability to locate his/her parent 
  • Parents are incarcerated

The following are NOT considered unusual or extenuating family circumstances:

  • You do not live in your parents' home
  • Your parents cannot afford or refuse to help with college or living expenses
  • You are not claimed as a federal income tax exemption on your parents' income tax return
  • Your parents are unwilling to provide their financial information to complete the FAFSA
  • You and your parents had disagreements resulting in a breakdown in your relationship

If a student pursues an adjustment for unusual circumstances and the financial aid administrator does not determine that the student should be considered independent, the student will only be eligible for dependent-level Direct Unsubsidized Loans unless they subsequently complete the FAFSA form as a dependent student by providing parental information.