Parents

Welcome! The HSU Financial Aid Office would like to ensure that all parents and families of our future and current HSU students understand the Financial Aid process at our institution and are well informed about the resources available in order to assist you in making financially responsible decisions for you and your student’s educational career. 

A Parents' Role in the Student Aid Process

A Parents' Role in the Student Aid Process

As students work their way through the financial aid application process, their parents/families worry about such issues as the affordability of schools, whether they'll qualify for aid, and the privacy of the information provided on the Financial Aid application. 

Most families find the financial aid process mystifying and overwhelming and, unfortunately, many rely on inaccurate information from well-meaning friends or school/community professionals. Parents need to know that this whole process is made more manageable because it all begins with a free Financial Aid application for Federal and/or State aid. 

The Financial Aid application was designed to provide a picture of the family's financial strength. If a dependent student is applying for student aid to help pay for college, the parent's financial information is required. Providing information does not commit the parent to contributing anything toward the student's education; it is simply required for the assessment of the family's situation.

Parents must include tax, income, and some asset information on the Financial Aid application. They must also obtain an FSA ID (or create an account for the Cal Dream Act) to serve as their electronic signature for the Financial aid application process. Assets not included in the financial aid calculation include personal property, annuities, cash value of life insurance, retirement accounts, and 529 plans owned by people other than the student or parents.

The information reported by students and parents on the Financial Aid application is encrypted (scrambled using a mathematical formula) so it is unreadable by anyone who might intercept it. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Education does not sell student or parent information and does not share that information with any entities beyond those specified on the Financial Aid application.

Questions regarding a student’s dependency status or what to do if the student has no access to the parent's information can be answered by visiting Federal Student Aid.

Below you will find information and tips that we would like to pass on to parents and families to help them understand their role in their student's financial aid application and process:

  • Students should apply for aid even if they and/or their parents do not think they will be eligible. Even if the assistance they receive is nothing more than an unsubsidized loan, the interest rate on the loan may be less than what they would pay on a private loan.
  • A student should not rule out a school until he or she knows what the net price will be after financial aid is taken into account.
  • The income and assets of the student are weighed more heavily than those of the parents in the assessment of the student's eligibility for federal student aid.
  • The parents' home equity is not considered on the Financial Aid application. Parents should not allow lenders to persuade them to draw equity out of their home (usually to purchase expensive investments or insurance) in order to “qualify” for more aid.

When considering loans to help pay for postsecondary education, parents need to be as upfront with their children as possible. Everyone should be aware of what they can afford and how much they are willing to get in debt for.

How To Make College More Affordable For Your Family

How To Make College More Affordable For Your Family

Many parents believe a college education is out of reach for their child. Please be assured that a great number of financial resources can help make the dream of a college degree a reality. The key is planning ahead and learning about the financial aid process. Here are some things parents can do to bring college costs within reach:

  • Plan Ahead. The FAFSA4caster is a Financial Aid calculator that gives an early estimate of eligibility for federal aid and helps students understand their options for paying for college. It is recommended that students or parents use FAFSA4caster as early as middle school to make them aware of what is available and compare possible aid to the cost of colleges in which they are interested. The College Preparation Checklist helps students (elementary, middle, and high school), as well as adults and parents prepare financially and academically for college.
  • Saving Early = Saving Smart! State-sponsored college savings plans and prepaid tuition plans (529 plans) are available and are more effective the earlier parents start saving. There are also traditional savings accounts for student, parents, and family members. The Watch Your Money Grow With Your Child is a fact sheet for parents with tips on saving money for college or career school.
  • Sources of Funding: Visit and review our Types of Aid webpage for more information.
  • Get Free Money To Help Pay. Encourage students to look for scholarships early—ideally, between 11th and 12th grades. The more scholarships a student gets (even if each one is small), the more affordable college can be. Click here for more info.
  • Encourage Student Employment: Part-time employment helps pay for expenses and provides valuable skills for future professional employment. Search for jobs and internships on Springboard.
  • LoansFederal Direct Loans (for students), Home Equity Loans, Parent PLUS LoansPrivate Loans. Whether a student is starting at a community college to later transfer to a four-year school, the cost of school can be daunting, but most families do qualify for some form of aid.

To supplement the aid the student receives, parents can apply for a Direct PLUS Loan, which is made to the parent to help cover costs for the parent's dependent child. A parent can estimate how much in Direct PLUS Loan funds he or she will receive by using this formula:

Cost of Attendance − Financial Assistance Received = Max Loan Amount availale for Parent Borrower 

Although a student does not need a credit history in order to get a federal student loan, a parent's credit record will be checked when he or she applies for a Direct PLUS Loan. If you are concerned that you will not qualify, you can be assured that a borrower with an adverse credit history can obtain an endorser or document extenuating circumstances. If a parent is unable to obtain a loan, then the student may be able to get additional Direct Unsubsidized Loan funds.

Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan – is an unsubsidized loan for parents of dependent students (who are considered dependent for Title IV financial aid purposes) and are enrolled at least half time. The parent is responsible for the loan repayment. Parents who do not have an adverse credit history may borrow up to the total cost of attendance, minus any other aid received by the student. The Direct PLUS Loan requires a credit check and borrowers generally begin repayment of both the principal and interest begin within 60 days of the award year's last PLUS disbursement, or parents may choose to defer payments on the Direct PLUS Loan until six months after the date the student ceases to be enrolled at least half-time; may pay accruing interest monthly or quarterly, or allow interest to be capitalized quarterly. Federal Direct PLUS Loan Annual Limits: The PLUS Program enables parents to borrow up to the difference between the student’s cost of education and any aid/educational resource received per year for each dependent child, with no aggregate loan limit. Be an informed consumer and a prudent borrower for the sake of your student’s financial future. Apply for a Parent PLUS Loan  (Application will open on June 4, 2018)

LOANS MUST BE REPAID! Prior to you or your student accepting any loan to cover school related expenses, you should consider the cost of the loan over its lifetime versus the advantages of borrowing to finance your education. For instance, Unsubsidized Direct Loans incur interest charges by the student from the time of disbursement, including the interest that accumulates during periods of deferment; the student may opt to pay the interest during periods of enrollment or deferment, but is not required to do so.

More Tips - Encourage Your Student To:

  • Budget Every Month: We have included a Monthly Budgeting Tool for your student. Also, having a family discussion about budgeting and affordability can be an effective way to make family decisions.
  • Borrow Wisely: Be an informed consumer and a prudent borrower for the sake of your and your student’s financial future.
  • Avoid Unnecessary Debt: Have the student decline loans they do not need (they can always request them later). Your student can borrow as they go and request as little as $500.
  • Stick to a 4-year graduation plan: See details in the HSU Catalog & the Major Academic Plans (MAP). Not only will the student graduate in a timely manner but you and your student may also be able to save money in the long run as costs for higher education continue to increase.
  • Assess & Identify: Wants versus Needs. As this will be the first time your student is on their own encourage them to “live within (or below) their means.”

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)

FERPA is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. When a student turns 18 years old or enters a postsecondary institution at any age, all rights afforded to you as a parent under FERPA transfer to the student. To protect your student's privacy, the law generally requires schools to ask for written consent from the student before disclosing your student’s information. If you have further questions about FERPA, please contact the U.S. Department of Education's Family Policy Compliance Office. 

All HSU prospective and current students are prompted to complete an online Authorization to Release Student Information to a Third-Party Designee Form where the student can list the people they are providing consent to and which type of information can be disclosed, whether it be Academic Records, Student Financial Services, or Financial Aid information. Your student would need to provide you or any other designee with a four-digit access code that in turn is provided to the professional on campus that is assisting you in order to disclose student information.

Parent Forms

Parent Forms

Only submit requested forms and please refrain from submitting duplicate documents. By submitting unrequested forms or multiple copies of the same form, you create a delay in service to your student's file as well as other student files. Once forms are submitted, your student's To-Do-List will be updated within 3-5 business days, which indicates your document has been received. However, your student's file will only be reviewed when all documents requested have been received. Counselors review files in the order they completed and the review process may take 3-5 weeks. Printable forms require a PDF viewer. 

The following forms require parent (and/or student) signatures. Print and complete the appropriate form that is being requested. Forms that are illegible, missing pertinent information, or are missing signatures WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. Please submit forms and documents via fax or mail and be sure to include the student's name and HSU ID# on all submissions. FAX: 707.826.5360   MAIL: HSU Financial Aid Office, 1 Harpst St. Arcata, CA 95521 

 

PARENT FORMS: Fall 2018 - Spring 2019
  • Parent PLUS Loan: Click here to learn more about PLUS loans.

 

DREAMER FORM: Fall 2018 - Spring 2019

 

CAUTION:  Using email to send attachments that include a Social Security Number or other private information poses a security risk. Please redact the information or fax the documents.