Frequently Asked Questions

What is financial aid?

Financial aid is money in the forms of grants, loans, and employment to assist in paying for your college education. The two main types of aid are:

  • Merit-Based Aid: Usually a scholarship.
  • Need-Based Aid: Awarded to students who can show need according to a formula. The three types of need-based aid are:
    • Grants: gifts that do not have to be paid back. The three types of grants available at ENMU are Pell Grants, SEOG and NMSIG.
    • Loans: borrowed money that has to be paid back over a period of time, usually after a student leaves school. ENMU participates in the Perkins Loan program, the Stafford Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loan programs, and the Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students.
    • Workstudy: money that a student earns by working at a part-time job. Funds used to pay for the major portion of a work-study student's earnings come from either the Federal Work Study Program or the State of New Mexico Work Study Program.

What is financial need?

Financial need is the difference between your total annual educational expenses and the amount you and your family are expected to pay. The amount that you and your family are expected to pay is called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The cost of attendance will be different at each school, but the Expected Family Contribution remains the same. Your financial need will differ from school to school because the costs differ.

Cost of Attendance – Expected Family Contribution = Financial Need

What is included in the cost of attendance?

The cost of attendance usually includes:

  • Tuition and fees
  • Books and supplies
  • Room and board
  • Transportation
  • Personal and miscellaneous expenses

Am I supposed to help pay the cost of attendance?

Yes, one of the principles behind need-based aid is that students and their families should pay what they can afford for educational expenses. This means that you will be expected to help pay for your education, and if you are a "dependent" student, your parents may also be expected to help out.

How is dependency status determined?

You are considered a dependent student for financial aid purposes until you meet one of the following criteria:

  • Born before January 1, 1985
  • Are an orphan or a ward of the court
  • Veteran of the U. S. Armed Forces
  • Have legal dependents other than a spouse whom receive more than half their support from you
  • Will be a graduate student in 2008/2009
  • Are married before the date you complete your FAFSA or
  • Can document to ENMU unusual circumstances indicating independent status. In order to do so you must complete the Change of Dependency form.

The FAFSA Asks for Previous Tax Year Income Information. There has been an extreme change of Income in my family. what should I do?

Answer all the questions as asked and mail the FAFSA to the processor. When you receive your Student Aid Report (SAR) in the mail you should contact Financial Aid and explain your special circumstances. We may be able to assist you. You will need to complete the Special Circumstances form.

How is expected family contribution calculated?

A standard formula is used to calculate a student's expected family contribution. You and your parents, if you are a dependent student, provide the information used in the formula by completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The standard formula looks at family size, number of people, excluding your parents, who are attending college at least half time, family income and assets. Assets include cash, checking and savings accounts, equities in a business, investments and real estate, and in some cases, farm equity. Equity in the family home is not included. From this information an expected family contribution is calculated. If the family contribution is not enough to cover your educational expenses, as determined by the school, you may be eligible for need-based financial aid.

How do I apply for need-based financial aid?

You will need to apply for need-based financial aid every year by completing a Free Application for Federal Student Financial Aid (FAFSA), preferably by Feb. 14 each year. The FAFSA includes all the information necessary to determine your expected family contribution and must be completed if you want to be considered for any of the federal programs sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education.

How do I apply for merit-based aid?

You will need to check several sources to apply for merit-based aid. One important source is your high school guidance counselor's office. Your guidance counselor will have details about many local scholarships. Upperclassmen need to check with their academic department.

ENMU offers Freshman Academic Scholarships based on ACT/SAT scores, Lottery Success and Starter scholarships, and scholarships for transfer and international students. The ENMU Foundation Scholarships Guide contains valuable information on available scholarships.

There are various other sources you may want to check out. You should never pay a fee for a scholarship search! Other valuable scholarships guides are Peterson's Guide and Lovejoys Guide. You may also want to surf the Internet. Check out the following sites: or

How will I hear about my aid eligibility?

If you are eligible for financial aid, you will receive an Estimated Aid Notification that tells you the types and amounts of aid you have been awarded at ENMU. We ask that you decline the aid that you do not want by sending us notification within two weeks using a Request to Cancel Financial Aid.

I find the financial aid process very confusing. Should I pay a fee to a company that specializes in financial aid?

Beware of companies that charge a service fee to process aid applications. ENMU's Office of Financial Aid provides the same service at no charge!

Also beware of services that charge a fee to help you locate scholarships. Your chances are just as good if you invest the time doing the research at your local libraries and high school guidance offices.

What is the "Return of Title IV funds?"

The Department of Education requires ENMU's Office of Financial Aid to recalculate federal financial aid eligibility for students who withdraw, drop out, are dismissed or take a leave of absence prior to completing 60 percent of the semester. Federal Title IV aid includes Pell Grant, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (LEAP), the Perkins Loan, the Stafford Loan and the PLUS loan.

A student who receives all F's for the semester will owe a refund to the Title IV Aid Programs. The refund will be calculated as if the student withdrew at 50 percent of the semester, unless the student's last day can be determined through an academically related activity.