Financial Aid Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to file a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)?

Students who want to be considered for federal student loans, grants, or work-study must complete a FAFSA. Visit our website at sdsmt.edu/FinAid/Applying-for-Financial-Aid/ for important information. The FAFSA results are used to determine a student's eligibility for federal student aid. The FAFSA is not required for scholarship consideration at South Dakota Mines.

Do I have to file a new FAFSA each year?

Yes. Your financial information must be evaluated each year. The online FAFSA retains a record of your previously submitted demographic information. This is carried forward each year to your new FAFSA for your review and updating if necessary. However, financial information must be added each year.

When should I submit my FAFSA?

The FAFSA is available October 1 prior to the academic year you will attend South Dakota Mines, for example, October 1, 2024 for the 2025-2026 academic year. Since South Dakota Mines does not use a priority deadline for submitting the FAFSA each year, we encourage you to complete the FAFSA on or as soon after October 1 as possible. South Dakota Mines' school code is 003470. Whenever possible, please use FAFSA's IRS Data Retrieval Tool to link IRS income and tax information directly to your FAFSA.

What happens if my FAFSA record is selected for verification?

FAFSA  verification is a systematic means of comparing various financial and informational documents with the FAFSA information you provided. If your FAFSA record is selected for verification, the Enrollment Service Center (ESC) will send an email to you from FinancialAid@sdbor.edu asking you to complete a Verification Form and provide additional tax documentation. Responding promptly to any requests for additional information is necessary to prevent delays in the FAFSA application process. Find information on verification at sdsmt.edu/FinAid/Verification-FAFSA-Data/.

I'm not sure my family will have financial need. Should I complete the FAFSA?

Federal financial aid is intended both to remove financial barriers for families who cannot afford the cost of an education beyond high school and to fill in the gap for families who can afford only part of the cost. Some loans and scholarships are available regardless of "need."

My parents are separated or divorced. Which parent fills out the FAFSA?

The parent you lived with most during the past 12 months. If you didn't live with either parent, or if you lived with each parent an equal number of days, use the parent who provided the most financial support to you during the past 12 months or during the most recent calendar year that you were actually supported by a parent.

The amount of aid listed in Financial Aid Self-Service is not enough to cover my educational costs. What other options are available?

Students and their parents are encouraged to review other options available to assist in making an education at South Dakota Mines more affordable at sdsmt.edu/FinAid/Paying-for-College-Options/.

What is the difference between a Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct Loan?

The federal government pays the interest on Subsidized Direct Loans while the student is enrolled in school at least half-time and during qualified deferments. Interest on Unsubsidized Direct Loans is not paid by the federal government at any time, so paying the accrued interest is the responsibility of the student. For the 2020-2021 school year, Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans have a 2.75% fixed interest rate. Loans with a first disbursement date on or after October 1, 2020 have a 1.057% loan origination fee.

What is a Master Promissory Note, Loan Entrance Counseling, and Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement?

The Federal Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN), Loan Entrance Counseling, and Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement must be completed by new Federal Direct Loan borrowers prior to the disbursement of Federal Direct Loan funds. The MPN is a legal document that obligates students to repay their Federal Direct Loans. The MPN will ask you general contact information and you will agree to the terms of the loan and electronically sign the document. Loan Entrance Counseling is an information session that explains your responsibilities and rights as a student loan borrower. It is designed to help students be familiar with what it means to borrow a loan and what they can expect when they are paying on the loan in the future. The Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement is a new annual loan requirement. This will require that borrowers each year view and acknowledge how much they currently owe in Federal Direct Loans and how much more they can borrow. These items are to be completed at https://studentaid.gov. It should take approximately 30-40 minutes to complete all three items.

What if the information on my FAFSA does not accurately demonstrate my family's current financial status?

Students with special circumstances (job loss, high medical expenses, etc.) should contact the South Dakota Mines Financial Aid Director. Each case is reviewed to see if adjustments can be made. 

Does South Dakota Mines participate in a tuition payment plan that allows installment payments for a student's semester bill?

Yes. South Dakota Mines participates in the SD Board of Regents and Nelnet Business Solutions monthly payment plan. Information is available from the Student Accounts/Cashiering Services Office at 605-394-2372 or sdsmt.edu/Cashier/.