Financial Aid Frequently Asked Questions

Are there FAQs about Financial Aid?

Yes, you can locate more information under Financial Aid

Are there FAQs about the Health Information Technology Program?

Yes.  You can read more about the program in the academic section for Health Information Technology Program/Medical Coding.

Can I get a job on campus to pay for my education?

The Federal Work-Study Program provides jobs to earn money to pay for educational expenses. You may be assigned to work on campus or at approved off-campus locations. You may work up to 20 hours per week. However, you may not work during class periods.

Do I have to apply for financial aid each year?

Yes. Your financial situation must be reevaluated each year. You must complete the FAFSA each year that you intend to receive financial aid. The FAFSA may be completed any time after January 1st each year. You should complete your FAFSA between January 1 and March 1 each year to receive maximum consideration for aid.

Do I have to enroll as a full-time student (at least 12 credit hours) to receive financial aid?

No. In order to be eligible for financial aid, you must be registered at least half-time (6 credit hours for fall/spring) each semester. The financial aid office will initially offer your aid based on the assumption that you will register as a full-time student. If you do not enroll as a full-time student, your aid will be reduced. If you are eligible for a Federal Pell Grant, you may be eligible for a small portion of Pell Grant even if you enroll on a less than half-time basis.

Do I need to be admitted before I can apply for financial aid at SUSLA?

No. You should apply for financial aid any time after January 1. However, to actually receive the funds you must be admitted and enrolled in classes. For more information on admissions, please contact the admissions office at 318-674-3426.

How do I apply for a Pell grant and other types of aid?

Submit a FAFSA. To indicate interest in student employment, student loans, and parent loans, you should check the appropriate boxes. Checking these boxes does not commit you to accepting these types of aid. You will have the opportunity to accept or decline each part of your aid package at a later date. Leaving these boxes unchecked will not increase the amounts of grants you receive.

How do I check the status of my financial aid?

You can see your awards or check to see if the financial aid is missing documents to complete your file by logging into SUSLA Banner Web Services. This is a secure site so you must sign in using your User ID (your SSN or Banner ID) and SUSLA Banner 6-digit PIN.

How do I get financial aid?

To apply for financial aid, you must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and release your data to SUSLA by filling in SUSLA's School Code, 007686, in Step Six. You may complete the FAFSA online or use a paper application available from our office or your high school guidance counselor's office. You should complete the form as soon as possible after January 1st to receive aid the following fall semester. If you are a dependent student, you will need your parent(s) and your own income information. If you are an independent student, you will only need your income information, and your spouse's if married. It is recommended that you review the form and gather all information needed to complete the form before you start entering the data. Be sure to answer all questions. If you have questions about what the form is asking, be sure to contact our office for assistance. To avoid delays in processing your financial aid file, please quickly respond to requests our office may make for additional information.

How do you apply for admission to the HIT Program?

Southern University at Shreveport is an open admissions university. Health Information Technology is a five semester program for a total of sixty-nine (69) hours and is offered through the Division of Allied Health. The HIT Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics Information Management Education (CAHIIM).

Our graduates have traditionally been successful in passing the RHIT exam and we also assist graduates with job placement. Interested students will need to complete an application for acceptance into the program. For more information navigate the university website at susla.edu or contact:

Kim Madden, MA, RHIA
HIT Program Director
318.670.6644
kmadden@susla.edu

How do you get started on your HIT career?

You need to complete an associate degree or an associate of applied science degree in HIT from an institution accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics Information Management Education (CAHIIM). Program graduates are eligible to sit for the national certification examination administered by the American Health Information Management Association. After successfully completing the examination, the graduate is entitled to use the credentials Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT). The credentials, RHIT, are recognized throughout the U.S. and internationally and do not require an additional examination in other states or countries.

How does Campus Email work?

Instructions for accessing SUSLA email via the internet can be found under Student Email.

How does the financial aid office decide how much aid I will receive?

The financial aid determines your need for financial aid by assigning an estimated cost of attendance that includes your tuition and fees, an allowance for room and meals, transportation, books and supplies, and personal miscellaneous expenses. From this total cost of attendance, the amount you and your family are expected to contribute towards your education, which is called your Estimated Family Contribution (EFC), is deducted. Your EFC is determined by the U. S. Department of Education using the data you provided on your FAFSA. Once your need is determined, we begin to review your eligibility. We review grant eligibility first. If you indicate that you are interested in receiving work-study, work-study is awarded (provided that funds are still available). If you have indicated that you wish to apply for a student loan, loans are awarded. However, you must complete a loan application/promissory note to acknowledge that you understand it is a loan that must be repaid. Please note that you must meet the eligibility criteria for each program and that the Federal Work-Study and Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) programs have a limited amount of funds available. We strongly encourage you to apply early each year to assure maximum consideration for available funds.

I need help! Who should I call?

If you have questions or need additional information, feel free to contact our office at 318-670-6221. You may schedule an appointment to discuss questions or concerns with your Financial Aid Advisor.

I need help! Who should I call?

If you have questions or need additional information, feel free to contact our office at 318-670-6221. You may schedule an appointment to discuss questions or concerns with your Financial Aid Advisor.

I submitted my Student Aid Report (SAR) to another school but I'll be attending SUSLA. what should I do?

If you listed SUSLA's school code, 007686, then you will not need to do anything because we will receive your FAFSA information electronically. If you did not list our school code, you will need to add SUSLA. You can do this if you provide us with certain information from your SAR including your Data Release Number (DRN). You can also call the federal processor at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) or 319-337-5665 and have SUSLA added by phone. You will need to provide SUSLA's school code, as well as, information from your SAR.

If my situation changes after I complete the FAFSA, what should I do?

If something changes after you submit the FAFSA, you should meet with your financial aid advisor to discuss your individual situation. Your financial aid advisor will determine if these changes are cause for reevaluating your financial aid. In some instances, such as a loss of income, your financial aid can be reevaluated. Other changes may not make a difference to your eligibility. We will determine the correct course of action on an individual basis.

What are my responsibilities as a recipient of financial aid?

It is your responsibility to:

  • Read directions thoroughly, complete all application forms accurately, and to comply with deadlines
  • Provide supplemental information or documentation required by the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships or other agency as applicable
  • Read, understand, and keep copies of forms you are required to sign
  • Repay any student loans you may receive
  • Attend an entrance interview and an exit interview if you receive federal student loans while in attendance at SUSLA
  • Notify the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships of any change in your enrollment or financial aid status (including any scholarships or grants received from outside sources). Changes of address and enrollment status must also be reported to your lender if you have a loan
  • Satisfactorily perform the work agreed upon in a Federal Work-Study job
  • Know and comply with all requirements for continuation of financial aid, including satisfactory academic progress requirements

What are my rights related to financial aid?

You have the right to know:

  • The cost of attendance
  • The refund policy for students who withdraw
  • What financial assistance is available from federal, state, and institutional sources
  • Procedures and deadlines for submitting applications for financial aid
  • How financial aid recipients are selected
  • How your eligibility was determined, including all resources the aid office considered available to you
  • How and when the funds will be disbursed to you
  • An explanation of each type of award you receive
  • For any student loan you receive, the interest rate, total amount you must repay, when you repayment begins, the length of your repayment, and the cancellation and deferment provisions applicable to your loan
  • For any Federal Work Study job: a description of the job, the hours you must work, the rate of pay, and how and when you will be paid
  • The criteria used to determine satisfactory academic progress for financial aid purposes
  • How to request a review of a decision by the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships concerning your aid package

What does the future hold for RHITs?

Projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, to be one of the 20 fastest growing occupations in the U.S., Health Information Technology is an excellent career choice and is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through 2008.

What does the Registered Health Information Technician do?

Registered Health Information Technicians (RHITs) are responsible for ensuring the quality of health records and healthcare data by verifying completeness, accuracy, and proper entry into computer systems. They use computer applications to assemble and analyze patient data to improve patient care and control healthcare costs. RHITs specialize in coding diagnoses and procedures in patient records utilizing ICD-9 and CPT-4 classification systems for reimbursement and research purposes or they may supervise coding or other clinical data management functions.

What employment opportunities exist for RHITs?

RHITs work in hospitals and in a variety of other healthcare settings including office-based physician practices, nursing homes, home health agencies, behavioral health facilities, public health agencies, and private corporations.

Opportunities exist in any organization that uses patient data or health information such as pharmaceutical companies, law and insurance firms, software companies and consulting companies.

HIT professionals enjoy a broad selection of job opportunities and options for professional growth. Based on your skills, education, and interests, here are some positions available to you:

  • Health Data Analyst
  • Insurance Claims Analyst
  • Records Technician Specialist
  • Clinical Coding Specialist
  • Physician Practice Manager
  • Patient Information Coordinator

What is a complete file?

A complete file consists of your Student Aid Report, the SUSLA Data Form and, if selected for a process called verification, a Verification Worksheet, the previous year's tax return for you, your parent(s) and/or your spouse (if applicable).

What is a PIN and do I need one?

The PIN (Personal Identification Number) is used as an electronic signature. All students and their parents are encouraged to apply for a PIN to speed up the FAFSA process. You may apply for a PIN online. By having a PIN, you reduce processing time by eliminating mail time. The PIN is valid for your future years of enrollment. As with other PINs, you should refrain from giving it to others and keep it safe. For questions regarding problems or difficulties using the PIN Web site, or specific questions about the PIN, call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) or 1-319-337-5665.

What is Health Information Technology?

Health Information Technology combines a profession in health care with information technology that offers individuals the opportunity to pursue a business-related career that is essential to the healthcare industry. It is an excellent career choice for the individual who is seeking a healthcare profession that combines interest in computer science, business, management, legal procedures, and healthcare research.

What is SUSLA's school code?

SUSLA's school code (used on the FAFSA) is 007686.

What is verification?

Each year, the U.S. Department of Education selects approximately 30% of all FAFSA filers for a process known as verification. During verification, the Financial Aid Office will collect documents to determine whether certain questions on the FAFSA were completed accurately. If you are selected for verification, you must:

  • Complete a Verification Worksheet and return it to the Financial Aid Office. You may download a copy from the Documents and Forms Tab on the e-FAO or pick up a form from the Financial Aid Office.
  • Submit signed copies of your and/or your parent's (if you are dependent), and/or your spouse's (if you are married) Federal Income Tax Return (including all schedules and W-2s) for the previous year (example: if you are applying for the 2006-2007 award year, your 2005 tax return is needed).

If other documents are needed, you will receive notice from our office. You may also monitor your status by using Banner Web Services. Upon receipt of these documents, if corrections are necessary, we will submit the corrections electronically. If corrections are not necessary, the review of your file will continue.

In past semesters, a large percentage of students waited until the summer (June - August) to complete FAFSAs. As a result, they experienced delays in getting through the verification process and delays in the disbursement of their financial aid. For this reason, we strongly encourage you to submit documents as soon as you receive notice that they are needed.

What types of aid are available at SUSLA?

SUSLA awards the following types of aid: Federal Grants (Pell and SEOG), Federal Work-Study, Loans, and Scholarships.

When is the financial aid office open?

We are open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. When classes are in session, the office is open until 6:00 p.m. on Tuesdays.

When should I complete the FAFSA?

The earlier you complete the FAFSA, the earlier the financial aid office may complete your financial aid award package. You may complete the FAFSA as early as January 1st of each year. We encourage you to complete the FAFSA by February of each year.

Where is the financial aid office located?

The financial aid office is located in the L.C. Barnes Administration Building, Room A-43