Financial Aid Frequently Asked Questions

Browse through the categories listed below to learn details about acquiring financial aid at Brandman University. If you still have questions and concerns, contact your One Stop Specialist on the campus where you attend. If you’re a fully online student, call and set up a phone or virtual meeting. For financial aid forms, visit the Resources page.


What is the purpose of the FAFSA?

The FAFSA form determines a student’s eligibility for financial aid. To fill it out, you need to provide your Social Security number and other identification. You need to include federal tax and other financial information. This helps to clarify your need for assistance. And since situations change from year to year, each student needing assistance needs to submit the form each year.

What are the deadlines for filing my FAFSA?

FAFSA filing deadlines for students wanting to receive aid for the upcoming academic year is June 30.

The preferred filing date is March 2 of each year for the upcoming school year. Preference will be given to students who apply by March 2. Applicants are asked to respond promptly to any requests for additional information. All data provided to the Financial Aid Office and the federal government must be accurate in order to minimize processing time.

How do I obtain tax transcripts for filing?

As you complete your FAFSA you may be asked to provide your federal tax information or tax returns, including IRS W-2 information, for you and your spouse if you are married, and for your parents (if you are a dependent student). You may obtain your tax transcript using the Data Retrieval Tool when you complete the online application, or collect it in PDF format directly from the IRS website at, which becomes available Oct. 1.

The website is fully secure and a warning notifies users of the federal penalties for fraud for any misuse of the system. You will need to create an account if you do not already have one and a security code will be sent to your provided email address which you will need to enter before proceeding to the secured site.

Who decides how much Financial Student Aid money I receive?

The financial aid office at your school will determine how much financial aid you are eligible to receive. At Brandman University, your One Stop Specialist will assist you through the process. Once you are presented with your financial aid package, you can choose which options you want to use.

The two major factors of determining your award amount are your cost of attendance (COA) and your expected family contribution (EFC). Your COA is estimated by adding up the cost of tuition and fees, room and board if you live on campus (which doesn’t apply at Brandman), cost of supplies, transportation, an allowance for child or dependent care if needed, costs related to a disability, and other miscellaneous expenses. Your EFC is calculated according to a formula established by law. Factors considered in the formula include your family’s taxed and untaxed income, assets, benefits, family size and the number of members who will be attending college during the year.

Once these two factors are estimated, Brandman will determine how much need-based aid you can receive by subtracting your EFC from your COA. The final step is to add in how much non-need based aid you are eligible for by taking your COA and subtracting any financial aid you have already been awarded. The product of these outcomes will determine how much money you will receive.

You can always get a head start on estimating your investment by taking advantage of Brandman’s Financial Aid Net Calculator that is based on the university’s current academic year costs.

How do I check the status of my financial aid application?

Log in to MyBrandman, click on the Self-Service tab, then click on the Financial Aid tab, then select the Financial Aid Portal.

 Federal Aid

Am I eligible for Federal Student Aid?

There are very specific requirements for qualifying for financial aid. The FAFSA4caster tool makes it easy for you to understand your options and determine your eligibility. It follows the U.S. Department of Education eligibility criteria that you must meet in order to qualify for Federal Student Aid:

  • You must demonstrate financial need (for most programs).
  • You must be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen with a valid Social Security number.
  • You must have proof of a high school diploma or recognized equivalent, such as a General Educational Development (GED) certificate or home school setting approved under state law.
  • You must be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a regular student in an eligible degree or certificate program and maintain satisfactory academic progress in college.
  • For any of the Direct Loans, you must be enrolled at least half-time to be eligible. At Brandman, a half-time student if you takes only one class per eight week session, or six credits per trimester.
  • If you are male you must also be registered with Selective Service in order to apply for aid.

All students applying for financial aid must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online document stating that you are not currently in default on a federal student loan and do not owe money on a federal student grant. The agreement also confirms that you will use federal student aid only for educational purposes. When completing your FAFSA you will be asked to include your institution’s federal school code. Brandman’s federal school code is 041618.

Am I eligible for a Direct Subsidized Loan or a Direct Unsubsidized Loan?

You may be eligible for a direct subsidized loan or direct unsubsidized loan if you are an undergraduate student who is enrolled at least half-time in an eligible program leading to a degree or certificate. If you are a graduate or professional degree student, you may be eligible to receive a Direct Unsubsidized Loan. The difference between Direct Subsidized Loans and Unsubsidized Loans is that Direct Subsidized Loans have slightly better terms to help out students with financial need.

Am I eligible for a Direct Grad PLUS Loan?

You may be eligible for a Direct PLUS Loan, if you are a graduate or professional degree student enrolled at least half-time in a program leading to a degree and meet the general eligibility requirements for federal student aid (see question #1 under Federal Aid). You must also have good credit or provide an endorser with good credit.

How do I apply for a loan?

To apply for a Direct Loan, you must first complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). We will use the information from your FAFSA to determine how much student aid you are eligible to receive. Direct Loans are generally included as part of your financial aid package.

What is the deadline when applying for a Federal loan?

You must apply prior to finishing your enrollment process (at least half-time) for the academic year.

  • Complete loan entrance counseling if you are a first time loan borrower (graduate students must complete the graduate version).
  • Complete and sign the Direct Loan Master Promissory Note.
  • If you are applying for GradPLUS, complete the GradPLUS application, the Master Promissory Note (MPN).

Are there limits to how much I can borrow and what are the current interest rates?

Yes. There are limits on the maximum amount in subsidized and unsubsidized loans that you are eligible to receive each academic year (annual loan limit) and over your academic career (total loan limits). These limits depend on what year you are in school and whether you are a dependent or independent student. If you are a dependent student whose parents are not eligible for a Direct PLUS Loan, you may be able to receive additional funds.

See Federal Student Aid for information and current interest rates. In addition, limits for credential students are $5,500 for dependent students and up $12,500 for independent students with a $5,500 limit on subsidized loans.

What if I have already been receiving loans when I apply for aid?

This is a common question for students who are transferring into Brandman from a community college or other institution. Since the annual loan limits are based on an academic year, if you transfer from another school into Brandman there will be an overlap in academic years. This overlap may affect the amount that you are eligible to borrow at Brandman or for your new program.

Although the explanation here applies primarily to transfer students, the same principles apply in the case of current students who change programs within Brandman.

What if I’m having trouble repaying my loans?

Federal student loans must be repaid, just like car loans and mortgages. However, in certain situations, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness, cancellation, or assistance. Below are some programs Brandman students may find beneficial.

Programs for Teachers:

Programs for Military:

Programs for Public Service:

Programs for Health Care:


What is the difference between a loan and a grant?

A loan has to be paid back with interest while a grant is a one-time gift that doesn’t have to be paid back. The exception is a TEACH grant, which needs to be repaid if service requirements are not met.

What types of grants are available?

The most commonly awarded grants are the Pell Grants provided by federal government. Cal Grans come from the State of California. They are available to undergraduates only. Check out the Undergraduate Financial Aid page for all the details.

 Personal or “Alternative” Loans

What exactly is a Private student loan?

Private student loans are made available to students through banks, savings and loans, credit unions and other financial institutions. Although regulated by the federal government, these loans are not subsidized or guaranteed by the government. They are instead a private arrangement between you and the lender. Brandman University does not recommend any particular lenders. A private student loan should be funding of last resort. We encourage you to exhaust all financial aid sources before pursuing this option.

Am I eligible for a Private student loan?

All lenders require different criteria – most will require a satisfactory credit rating. Some lenders may require co-signers, some lenders require that students be enrolled in specific majors or graduate programs. There may be requirements that borrowers enroll full time, possess specified minimum GPAs, have incomes above a defined amount, and so forth.

How much can I borrow?

Federal rules somewhat limit the amount you can borrow, but lenders also can restrict the amount they wish to lend you based on their policies and your eligibility.

What should I ask about?

Ask about the interest rate –whether it’s variable or fixed and if there’s anything you can do to decrease it (pay through automatic withdrawals). Ask about loan fees – will depend on lender’s policy but usually will include loan origination fees, processing fees, late payment fees, and penalties and adjustments to principal based on defaults or late payments.

How do I apply for a personal loan for school?

The easiest way to obtain information about loan terms and apply for a loan is to visit the lender’s web site. Local branches may have some information, but it is usually limited. The lenders’ websites customarily provide toll free telephone numbers so that you can contact loan officers specializing in private educational loans. The lenders are important sources of information about their loans, but Brandman is here to assist you. Please contact your One Stop Specialist should you desire more information about the loan application process.

How long does it take to process the loan?

After you apply for a loan and the lender approves your loan, the lender will request that Brandman verify your enrollment, tuition charges, and some other demographic information. This request typically is made electronically, and Brandman will respond promptly. The entire process from submission of your application to your lender to disbursement of loan funds onto your student account could take as long as four weeks, so please allow sufficient time. A small number of lenders do not wish to exchange data and transfer funds electronically. If you choose to borrow from one of these lenders, the process may take six weeks.


What Is Verification?

Verification is a federally required process to confirm the accuracy of information you provided on the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form. Verification selection can be random or because your FAFSA data was incomplete, estimated or inconsistent. Typically, the government selects 30% of financial aid applicants for verification.

If you have completed the FAFSA and you have received a Student Aid Report that indicates you have been selected for verification, you must complete a Verification Worksheet and attach a copy of your federal tax transcript.

  • If you were not required to file a tax return, copies of your W-2 forms are required with an IRS confirmation of non-filing.
  • If you are a dependent student, we will also request a copy of your parent's federal tax transcript.
  • We may also request documentation from you regarding: high school completion, identity and educational purpose, child support paid or received and other untaxed income or benefits.

Once you fill out the appropriate verification worksheet, print it out, complete all sections, sign it and mail your paperwork to:

Brandman University
Financial Aid Office, Third Floor
16355 Laguna Canyon Road Irvine, CA 92618
or fax to 866-659-1147

How do I get a copy of my tax documents for Verification?

There are two ways:

  1. Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to transfer tax data to your FAFSA (Recommended)
  2. Request an IRS Tax Transcript.
Using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool

If you did not use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when you filed your FAFSA, you may still do so. We highly recommend this option for providing your tax information.

  1. Login at to "Make FAFSA Corrections"
  2. On the FAFSA, in the Financial Information section, click "Link to IRS'"
  3. On the IRS website, fill out the form and click on "Transfer my tax information into the FAFSA"
  4. Request an IRS Tax Transcript (a copy of the 1040 form is not acceptable).
Requesting an IRS Tax Transcript

If you are selected for verification and are unable to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you must submit an official IRS TAX RETURN TRANSCRIPT, (not an Account Transcript.) There are 3 ways to do this:

  1. Request one electronically on the IRS website at In the Tools section of the homepage click "Order a Return or Account Transcript" Under Choice 3, click "Order a Transcript"
  2. Call the IRS at 1-800-908-9946 and follow the prompts to request a Tax Transcript
  3. File Form 4506T-EZ

If you filed an amended return, submit the original IRS Tax Transcript and a signed copy of the IRS 1040X form. REMEMBER: Include your Brandman ID number on your tax transcript before you submit it to the Financial Aid Office.

What is the Verification deadline?

The verification review process can range from 2-6 weeks. Additional information may be required based on the documentation that you submit. Send copies of any requested documentation within 30 days.

Brandman University requires verification to occur before determining eligibility for loans. A federal loan application cannot be originated for a period of enrollment that has already passed if you are no longer enrolled or enrolled less than half time. As a result, if you do not complete verification within sufficient time to allow for processing, awarding and completion of loan applications prior to ceasing half-time attendance, you will be ineligible to receive loans. Failure to submit all requested documentation will result in the forfeiture of your financial aid eligibility.

What can I do to avoid delays in Verification process?

  • Submit all documents within 14 days of receipt of the verification notice.
  • Make sure all documents are completely filled out and signed. Incomplete documents will result in processing delays.
  • Remember to make copies for your records.
  • Print your name and Brandman ID number on each page of the documents that you submit.

Submit all documents at the same time to the Financial Aid Student Portal where you can directly upload all documents requested. You may also submit documents by fax or mail:

Fax: (866) 659-1147
Mail to: Brandman University
Financial Aid Office, Third Floor
16355 Laguna Canyon Road Irvine, CA 92618

What happens once Verification documents are submitted?

If we find differences between the data reported on your FAFSA and the information that you submitted to us, we are required to make corrections to your FAFSA. You can monitor your FAFSA verification status on Self Service.

If the data reported on your FAFSA is accurate, the Financial Aid Office can determine your eligibility for financial aid. We will notify you to check your financial aid eligibility on Self Service. Check your Brandman email regularly for important correspondence.

How do I check my Verification status?

To view your financial aid status, as well as the forms required to complete verification at Brandman, login to Self-Service.

  • Log in to Self-Service:
  • Select the Financial Aid tab
  • Click on the box title, “Financial Aid Portal”
  • Scroll down to view the status of required documents