Filing the FAFSA

To receive financial aid, you must first complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The sooner you do this after October 1, the better. We strongly recommend that all students complete the FAFSA. Although they may not qualify for federal grants, they may qualify for state grants.

We’re happy to walk you and your parents through it. 

Federal Student Aid Identification Number (FSAid)

Before beginning the FAFSA, you should apply for a  U.S. Department of Education Federal Student Aid personal identification number (FSAid). The FSAid will allow you to sign your FAFSA electronically and to correct your processed FAFSA information online. Because you are providing parent information on the FAFSA, one of your parents must also sign your application. To sign electronically, your parent must also apply for his or her own FSAid. Each FSAid applicant will need to provide personal information such as social security number and date of birth.

When applying for your FSAid, we recommend that you make it something easy to remember. Please don't share your FSAid with anyone.

If a student completes the FAFSA online without the appropriate FSAid(s), the application will not be processed unless the student submits the signature page with the appropriate signature(s) via mail.

Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

You may

  • complete the FAFSA online
  • or you may request a paper copy by calling 800-4-FED-AID.

When filling out your application, you will be asked for University of Detroit Mercy's school code, which is 002323.

Answer the questions honestly and to the best of your ability.

The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) offers guides with tips for completing your FAFSA if you have a unique situation that makes it difficult to answer the questions.

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    More on question 23: Student Convicted of the Possession or Sale of Drugs

    Additional information regarding question 23

    If you fill out your FAFSA online and answer “yes” to question 23, you will be asked to answer a series of questions to determine your eligibility.

    Similarly, if you fill out a paper copy of the application and answer yes to question 23, you will receive a worksheet with a series of questions along with your Student Aid Report. You must complete the questions to determine whether the conviction affects your eligibility to receive federal student aid.

    • If the date you regain eligibility falls before July 1 of the current year, the worksheet will instruct you to change your response to a   “1,” indicating full eligibility for the award year.
    • If the date falls between July 1 of the current year and June 30 of the next year, you are only eligible for part of the award year, and must change your response to a “2.”
    • If the date falls after June 30 of the next year, your response remains a “3,” and you are not eligible for federal student aid during the entire award year unless you complete a qualified drug rehabilitation program.

    Students convicted of federal or state offenses related to selling or possessing illegal drugs that occurred while they were receiving federal student aid should still complete and submit the FAFSA because they may still be eligible for financial aid, and even if they aren’t, they may qualify for state or institutional aid.

    Students who leave question 23 blank cannot be paid Title IV aid until they respond by submitting a corrected SAR or ISIR.

    Student Convicted of the Possession or Sale of Drugs
    (Source: 2009-2010 Federal Student Aid Handbook, Volume 1: Student Eligibility)

    If the student was convicted of both possessing and selling illegal drugs, and the periods of ineligibility are different, the student will be ineligible for the longer period.  A federal or state drug conviction can disqualify a student for FSA funds.

    Convictions only count if they were for an offense that occurred during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving Title IV aid; they do not count if the offense was not during such a period. Also, a conviction that was reversed, set aside, or removed from the student's record does not count, nor does one received when they are a juvenile, unless they are tried as an adult.

    The chart below illustrates the period of ineligibility for FSA funds, depending on whether the conviction was for sale or possession and whether the student had previous offenses (a conviction for sale of drugs includes convictions for conspiring to sell drugs).

    Period of ineligibility for FSA funds for drug related offenses
    # Offense Possession of Illegal Drugs Sale of Illegal Drugs
    1st Offense 1 year from date of conviction 2 years from date of conviction
    2nd Offense 2 years from date of conviction Indefinite period
    3rd+ Offense Indefinite period

    The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) established the requirement for schools to provide each student who becomes ineligible for Title IV aid due to a drug conviction a clear and conspicuous written notice of his loss of eligibility and the methods whereby he can become eligible again.

    A student regains eligibility the day after the period of ineligibility ends or when they successfully completes a qualified drug rehabilitation program. Further drug convictions will make them ineligible again. Students denied eligibility for an indefinite period can regain it only after successfully completing a rehabilitation program as described below or if a conviction is reversed, set aside, or removed from the student's record so that fewer than two convictions for sale or three convictions for possession remain on the record. In such cases, the nature and dates of the remaining convictions will determine when the student regains eligibility. It is the student's responsibility to certify to the school that they have successfully completed the rehabilitation program.

    When a student regains eligibility during the award year, schools can award Pell, Academic Competitiveness Grant, National SMART,TEACH, and Campus-based aid for the current payment period and Direct and FFEL loans for the period of enrollment.

    Standards for a qualified drug rehabilitation program
    A qualified drug rehabilitation program must include at least two unannounced drug tests and must satisfy at least one of the following requirements:

    • Be qualified to receive funds directly or indirectly from a federal, state, or local government program.
    • Be qualified to receive payment directly or indirectly from a federally or state-licensed insurance company.
    • Be administered or recognized by a federal, state, or local government agency or court.
    • Be administered or recognized by a federally or state-licensed hospital, health clinic, or medical doctor.

What to Expect After You Have Completed FAFSA

FAFSA / Award Notification


After you have completed the FAFSA, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) via email from the United States Department of Education with instructions on how to view it. If you did not provide an email address, you will receive a SAR in the mail.

Or you may receive an SAR in the mail if you did not provide an email address or if you did not sign your FAFSA.

How Your Aid is Determined

Your financial aid is based on your FAFSA results as well as your "Cost of Attendance", a figure that is estimated based on your tuition and fees, housing, transportation and other expenses for an academic year.

Academic Year

At the University of Detroit Mercy, an academic year consists of Fall, Winter and a Summer semester. With the exception of a few programs that require year round attendance, financial aid is generally packaged for Fall and Winter.

Students that would like financial aid for a summer term, not enrolled in a year round program will need to submit a institutional Summer Financial Aid Application. Please stop by the Financial Aid Office in March to obtain your Summer Financial Aid Application for the upcoming summer semester.

Award Notification

Expect to receive your award notification by email when your file becomes complete. The emails will be sent to official Detroit Mercy student email accounts. Students will use the My Portal to access student account information, including financial aid awards.

Determine how much financial aid you will need by using the budget information found in the My Portal, or by using the Detroit Mercy Fees Card. Confirm the award in the My Portal by "Accepting", "Declining" or reducing the aid offered. It's that simple!


The University of Detroit Mercy will process Federal Student Loans, including Direct, PLUS and Grad PLUS through the Federal Direct Loan Program. ALL new borrowers to the Direct Loan Program will be required to complete a new Master Promissory Note (MPN). Students borrowing for the first time will also be required to complete an Entrance Interview as well. The Entrance Counseling is an online tutorial about the loan programs. You must respond to your award notification within 30 days of its date to receive awarded funds.

Parents accepting the PLUS loan will need to complete and return a Parent PLUS Loan Application as well as completing an MPN.


ALL AWARDS ARE SUBJECT TO AN ADJUSTMENT if any of the following take place:

Number of Credit Hours
Enrollment Status Full-time Three-Quarter Time Half-Time Less than Half-Time*
Undergraduate 12+ 9-11 6-8 1-5
Graduate 9+ 7-8 4.5-6 1-4
Dental students are usually full-time
Law School students indicate credit hours on their Institutional Application
* Funding limited to Federal Pell grant, if eligible
  • Your enrollment status changes
  • Your living arrangements change
  • Received aid not listed on the original award
  • Your employer or another source contributes to your education
  • Your FAFSA information changes after verification
  • The granting authority (state or federal government, private agency, ect.) revises its award

If your award changes, you will receive a notification of a change to your award with instructions about reviewing the current award in the My Portal. If you know that a change is necessary, please contact financial aid at 313-993-3350.

Request for Additional Information

Some applications require that additional information be submitted before it is complete. Please respond promptly to all requests and include your student number on each document. You may also be selected for Verification. It is important that you respond promptly as federal financial aid cannot be released to your account until verification has been completed.

Special Circumstances/Professional Judgments

In some cases, the information presented on the FAFSA may not reflect the family's true ability to contribute towards a students education. In cases where an unusual circumstance, such as, loss of work/income, death or birth in the family, etc. may affect the ability to contribute, financial aid professionals can sometimes make adjustments that more accurately reflect the family circumstances. To be considered for this type of review, students must submit the Special Circumstances form, with all pertinent documentation to the financial aid office.

Dependency Overrides

On rare occasion there may be a need to override a student's dependency status. A financial aid administrator (FAA) may do dependency overrides on a case-by-case basis for students with unusual circumstances. If the FAA determines that an override is appropriate, she must write out the determination and retain it and the supporting documentation. However, none of the conditions listed below, singly or in combination, qualify as unusual circumstances meriting a dependency override:

  • Parents refuse to contribute to the student’s education.
  • Parents are unwilling to provide information on the FAFSA or for verification.
  • Parents do not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes.
  • Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency.

Unusual circumstances do include (and may cause any of the above conditions) abandonment by parents, an abusive family environment that threatens the student’s health or safety, or the student being unable to locate their parents. In such cases a dependency override might be warranted. If your circumstances warrant a dependency override, contact your financial aid advisor for guidance.

Disbursement Information

Financial aid is expected to be released to student accounts 10 days prior to the start of classes for each semester. Aid cannot be disbursed until the requirements are met for each program. Disbursements to student accounts continue as requirements are met. If the disbursement of aid to student accounts create a credit balance, refunds will be released to students within 14 days of the financial aid payment. The University of Detroit Mercy recommends students set up Direct Deposit for financial aid refunds as students will have access to the funds earlier than those who are issued paper checks.

Students can sign up for Direct Deposit in the My Portal, on the Student tab, under Personal Profile, and then under Direct Deposit. Students who do not select to receive refunds by Direct Deposit will be issued a paper check, which will be mailed to the Home Address listed in their the My Portal Account.

Accept your award online

Students can review and accept their financial aid award online using the My Portal. Applicants will be notified about their financial aid awards, missing requirements and loan disbursements via their the My Portal email account.

The information provided on this website explains the financial aid process, as well as available scholarships, grants, college work-study, loans and more. It is designed to answer frequently asked questions and provide helpful information.

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    Verification Process

    Each year the federal government selects families to verify the information submitted on the FAFSA.

    Verification must be completed no later than 30 days after the last date of the term you are enrolled in. Failure to do so will result in loss of any federal or state aid, including grants and loans. The student will be responsible for any resulting balance.

    If your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is selected for verification, you may be required to verify one or more of the items listed below.


    1. Household size, taxable household income, untaxed household income

    If your application is selected for traditional verification, the Verification Worksheet is available in our office, or you may view the verification worksheet. Please complete ALL sections of the Verification Worksheet. This form must be signed and dated by both the student and one (1) parent (if the student is dependent). Please read the verification request carefully and follow the instructions to avoid delays.

    Because this form of verification includes taxable household income, we must request that the student and/or their parents provide Federal income tax information before funds may be paid to the student's account. If you are completing the 2022-2023 FAFSA, please use 2020 tax information. Students/Parents may provide this information by doing one of the following - EITHER a. OR b.:

    a. IRS Data Retrieval - When completing the income sections of the FAFSA, the applicant is given the option to have this data retrieved directly from the IRS. If the IRS tax retrieved information is changed on the FAFSA, the applicant will be required to submit an IRS tax transcript. However, the IRS data can be retrieved by the applicant when a correction is made to the FAFSA. If the retrieved data is not changed, then an IRS tax transcript will not be required. The applicant must have a 2020 IRS tax return on file with the IRS for the 2022-2023 FAFSA.

    b. If the applicants decide not to use the IRS data retrieval process and the application is chosen for verification, the applicant and the parents will be required to submit a 2020 IRS Tax Return Transcript.

    2. High School Completion

    Students who are selected to verify high school completion must provide either the Admissions Office or the Financial Aid Office with proof of graduation from a high school or equivalent. For complete instructions, please see our High School Completion Verification Instruction Sheet.

    3. Identity & Educational Purpose

    Students who are selected for identity and educational purpose must visit the Financial Aid Office in person to verify their identity and sign a statement declaring that their financial aid will be used for the purpose of paying for their education. To verify identity, the student must present a government issued ID such as a driver's license or passport. For complete details, please see our Statement of Educational Purpose.


    The IRS Tax Retrieval may not be available for the applicant in the following circumstances:

    • If the student or the student's parents have filed the FAFSA with a marital status of separated, divorced or widowed, but a joint tax return was filed for 2020 with the IRS;
    • If the tax filer is married to someone other than the individual included on the 2020 joint tax return;
    • If the parent or student was not married in 2020 but is married at the time the FAFSA is filed. The current spouse's income must be reported on the FAFSA;
    • If the parents or the student are married but filed tax returns separately;
    • If an amended tax return was filed.
    • Please indicate the student's I.D. number or SSN on each form.


    Here are two (2) ways tax filers can request a tax transcript:

    1. ONLINE Go to and request a copy of your 2019 Tax Return Transcript. For more detailed instructions, please see our IRS Tax Return Transcript Request Instructions. A paper transcript will be mailed to the requestor within 5 to 10 days. THIS CANNOT BE SENT DIRECTLY TO UDM. Please sign the tax transcript and send it to UDM.

    2. VIA TELEPHONE You may call the IRS at (800) 908-9946 and request a 2020 TAX RETURN TRANSCRIPT.


    In general, tax filers can anticipate that the IRS data will be available within either:

    • Two weeks if the tax return has been filed electronically with the IRS OR
    • Eight weeks if the tax returns have been mailed to the IRS.

    If the tax filer has changed or corrected the federal income tax return, the amended information may not be available through the IRS data retrieval process. You will be required to submit both the original IRS tax transcript as well as the amended IRS tax transcript.


    The filers must attest that an IRS 1040 has not and will not be filed and that the IRS 1040 is not required to be filed. Copies of all 2020 W-2 forms from ALL employers must be submitted to the office of Scholarships and Financial Aid.

    Applicants filing a Puerto Rico tax return or a foreign tax return may not use the IRS Tax Retrieval and must send a signed copy of their 2020 tax documents.


    We may require additional documentation to complete the verification process.


    All Federal/State Aid listed on the My Portal award will remain an estimate until the verification process has been completed by the financial aid office. If your financial aid award changes as a result of verification, you will receive an email to your My Portal account informing you that your financial aid has been revised.