Departmental Scholarships: FAQ


How do departmental scholarships or prizes affect student aid?

 Gifts or awards given to students must be counted as a resource against their cost of attendance (COA) and federal law requires the total aid and awards do not exceed the COA. To determine whether your award will negatively affect a student’s aid package, departments should contact the UAA Office of Student Financial Assistance prior to making the award.


What is counted as a resource?

Resources counted for aid purposes include any funds that are granted to a student by an unrelated third party (private donor, community organization, federal, state, or university department) that are given based upon the student’s status as a student and that are intended to assist with educational costs. The only exception is Veteran’s Benefits or ROTC Scholarships, which are not counted as resources per federal regulation.


What are standard educational costs?

  • Tuition and fees
  • Room and board
  • Books and supplies
  • Personal expenses, including transportation
  • Medical allowance for independent undergraduate and all graduate students

What gifts or awards may qualify for special consideration so as not to require a reduction of existing aid?

Gifts or awards meant to cover:

  • Tuition and fee costs over the amount included in the standard budget
  • Book, supply costs over the amount included in the standard budget
  • Transportation costs over the amount included in the budget if required by the student’s program (e.g., the student must commute during field work)
  • Thesis or dissertation costs or licensing fees
  • Immunizations if required for the program (such as medical students)
  • Additional medical, dental, or mental health expenses for the student in the aid period which are not covered by insurance or the standard medical allowance in the budget
  • Dependent care costs, including child care or elder care costs
  • Allowances for students with disabilities
  • Study abroad or cooperative education costs
  • Computer purchase
  • Conferences (if approved by the student’s department or college)
  • Expenses related to residency relocation
  • Interview costs 

If you are awarding money to a student (regardless of whether it's called a scholarship, gift, prize), the Office of Student Financial Assistance must be notified. If the award is specifically limited to costs associated with one of the special costs above, you must provide written documentation when authorizing payment to arrange for an increase of the student’s COA. This written documentation can be an explanation of what the award was provided for and will prevent the award from counting against the student's COA. 


What resources are not counted against the COA?

  • Work earnings (except Work-Study earnings)
  • Gifts or prizes won in competitions open to students and non-students alike
  • Non-cash prizes that are not items already included in the standard budget

How are Foundation awards made to students that do not require a UAOnline scholarship application?

NEW Procedures FY16

For awards that go through the UAA Office of Financial Aid (i.e. prizes, scholarships, and student awards) the department should send an email to the UAA Scholarship email address [] with the following information bullets:
  • Student recipient name(s)
  • Student ID number
  • Foundation account number
  • Award amount
  • Semester the award should be applied (example: Fall 2015, Spring 2016, etc.)

Also include a statement confirming how the signature authorization requirement has been met. Example statement: "As the fund signature authority, UA Foundation-approved delegated authority, or acting on behalf of the signature authority, I confirm that the request for this scholarship expenditure complies with the current fund agreement on file. Additionally, the appropriate fund signature has been obtained on any internal authorization documents and will be available for examination by the UA Foundation upon request."

Note: If the signature authority on the fund agreement is not the author of the emailed award request, please "cc" them in any communications, so they are aware a transaction has been ordered. 

Payment Dates: There are no longer semester payment deadlines. Payments may be made to students in fall, spring, or summer semesters (including retroactive payments) as long as it is within the same fiscal year. 

For awards that will continue to go through UAA Grants & Contracts (i.e. research, travel, stipends, internships, and fellowships) departments should continue to send payment requests using the Scholarship Payment Request Form and resolve questions or concerns directly with G&C. For fund category questions, please contact the Foundation directly (email link provided).


Still have a question about authorizing or awarding institutional and/or Foundation scholarships? Have a suggestion for a FAQ that should should be added to our website? The Office of Student Financial Assistance would like your feedback! Please use the following form to submit your question for consideration on this website.

Indicate whether you would like to be contacted by a member of the Financial Assistance Office in response to this suggestion.
Please use this text box to suggest a question be added on this website.