FAQs | Financial Aid

How do applicants apply for scholarships?
SMU offers a range of merit and leadership scholarships. These are based on competitive standing within the SMU class and are offered without regard to family financial circumstances. In order to apply, a student should submit his or her application for admission by January 15. There are no additional documents to submit other than the application for admission. However, the Hunt Leadership Scholarship requires a student to submit an additional essay outlined on the admission application.  Visit smu.edu/huntapply for more information.

What can I expect in the way of a scholarship?
Applications that are received by January 15 are automatically considered for merit scholarships. Scholarship committees review all applications and award scholarships to many applicants. We do not publish the qualifications of the different scholarship levels because they are based on the applicant pool every year. The majority of merit scholarship awards are mailed with admission decisions.

What types of scholarships does SMU offer? 
SMU offers academic-based and leadership-based scholarships. These options include, but are not limited to, the following: President's Scholars, Hunt Leadership Scholars, SMU Founders’ Scholars, Second Century Scholars, Cornerstone Scholarships, National Merit Scholarships, Mustang Scholars, Dedman College merit scholarships for first-year students and departmental awards for continuing studies, School of Engineering Honors Scholarship Program, Co-op Education Program, Meadows full and partial scholarships based on artistic merit, Athletic Scholarships, and Mustang Band Scholarships. We do not publish the qualifications of every scholarship level because they are based on the applicant pool each year. More information can be found on the Financial Aid website.

Are there special scholarships for Methodist students? 
Methodist applicants receive the same consideration as all other students for SMU financial aid programs. They also can receive consideration for specifically dedicated programs. These include: The Methodist Student Loan Fund, Minister's Family Tuition Awards ($3,500/term), and United Methodist Scholarships (vary in amount).

What kind of financial aid is available? 

A student who demonstrates financial need is awarded an aid "package" that combines SMU funds with governmental sources. Grants, low-cost loans, and part-time work opportunities typically appear in need-based packages. Middle- or upper-level income families who may not meet federal need standards can apply for family loan programs and extended payment plans. See the Financial Aid website for more information on Student Loans and Federal Work Study (Student Employment).

Do I apply for financial aid before or after I apply for admission?
File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as close to February 15 as possible for federal need-based aid consideration. The FAFSA application is available online at studentaid.gov. You also need to file the College Scholarship Service CSS Profile to further assess your financial need for need-based programs. This form can be found at student.collegeboard.org/profile. There is a $25 fee to file the CSS Profile.

After I file the FAFSA and CSS Profile, how will I know if SMU has received my information?
The federal processor will email you the Student Aid Report (SAR) on FAFSA information. If you listed SMU on your FAFSA and CSS Profile, SMU will receive your information electronically.

What kind of financial aid will I receive because I filed the FAFSA and CSS Profile?
You will be considered for all federal, state (Texas residents only), and SMU need-based funding. These programs are awarded on the basis of documented financial need and funding availability.

When will I receive my financial aid award letter notification?
Generally, award letters are mailed beginning March 15. SMU must receive and review your electronic FAFSA and CSS Profilebefore mailing an award letter.

What do I do after I receive my financial aid award letter?
The award letter packet provides details regarding financial aid, as well as instructions on how to respond to SMU's offer. Please read and review the information and instructions carefully. If you have questions, contact your SMU financial aid advisor.

How does SMU determine the amount of financial assistance?
FAFSA and CSS Profileinformation are sent to SMU, which compares the cost of attending SMU with the amount of money a family is estimated to still need after all state, federal, and scholarship money is factored in. Financial aid advisors begin packaging financial aid in March, starting with students who applied early. 

What are my chances of receiving financial aid?
You need to apply to SMU and file a FAFSA and CSS Profileto help the University determine eligibility for financial aid. We have no way of knowing your chances until you apply. SMU has many financial aid avenues, including options for middle-income families.

What is the difference between grants and loans?
Grants are gift aid and do not have to be repaid. Loans must be repaid.

How will I receive the financial aid funds that are awarded?
Before each term begins, the scholarships and grants are applied to your student account. If you have applied for and completed necessary loan processing, those funds will be applied each term to your student account when received from the lender.

What should I do if I have a special financial circumstance (such as the loss of a job) since I filed my FAFSA and CSS Profile?
Contact your financial aid advisor to discuss any special or unusual circumstances.

Are on-campus jobs available, and how do I get paid for working? 
Yes, there are many on-campus jobs available as part of work study (Student Employment). You will be paid every two weeks for the hours you work. Your work study earnings are not applied to your student account.