Financial Aid Offer Guide

Congratulations on your acceptance to Mizzou! We’re excited to welcome you to the Tiger family.

Use this guide as a reference when reading your financial aid offer notification from Mizzou.

What to do if you’re worried about the amount of aid you’ve been offered

When you receive your financial aid offer notification, it’s normal to experience some stress. We understand, and we’re here to help you understand how to maximize your financial aid and make informed decisions about funding your education.

If you’re worried that your initial aid offer doesn’t cover enough of your expenses, check out the “Maximizing Your Aid” and “Managing Your Costs” sections below.

FAFSA

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a form you submit each year at studentaid.gov that the government and universities use to calculate your eligibility for grants, scholarships and student loans. Submit your FAFSA each year to maximize your aid. Learn more at studentaid.gov.

Cost of Attendance (COA)

An estimated amount of education expenses (tuition, books and supplies, housing and food, personal expenses, transportation expenses). This number can change year to year. This estimate includes both direct costs and indirect costs, defined below. Learn more in our Costs of Mizzou tab.

Student Aid Index (SAI)

A number, based on your FAFSA information, that schools use to evaluate your eligibility to receive federal, state, and institutional financial aid.

Financial Need

Financial need is the difference between the cost of attendance (COA) and your student aid index (SAI).

Direct Costs

Includes your tuition, fees, and on-campus housing and food costs. You can choose to make adjustments to some of these costs, as outlined in the “Managing Your Costs” section below.

Indirect Costs

Estimated extra costs associated with going to school, including textbooks, class supplies, off-campus housing and commute costs. These costs are more variable depending on your personal situation, so the amount listed in your COA is a rough estimate. See the “Managing Your Costs” section below for more information.

Additional Authorized Access

To give a parent, family member, or other trusted person access to your billing and payment information (for example, so a family member can make payments on your account), you’ll need to grant them permission in myZou and set up authorized users in the TouchNet payment system. More info here.

Federal Work-Study

This program provides eligible students opportunities for part-time work to help fund their education. Learn more here.

Residency

If you’re from out of state, becoming a Missouri resident makes you eligible for in-state tuition rates. The process takes one year and could save you more than $20,000. An important note, though: becoming a Missouri resident will change your eligibility for certain scholarships, so make sure you read all the available information to make sure this is the right path for you. Learn more on the Registrar’s website.

Renewal Criteria

To remain eligible for scholarships each year, you’ll need to make sure you meet certain academic and credit hour criteria. Find renewal criteria for each of your scholarships in our Types of Aid tab.

Note: the graphic below is just an example. Your individual aid offer will have different amounts listed!

Image shows a chart with a sample financial aid offer. Explanations for each section of the chart are listed below this image.
1-Estimated Cost of Attendance

Each student’s individual COA will be different. We use averages to give you a general idea of your costs. The costs are broken up into direct costs and indirect costs (see “Terms to Know” above). Some indirect costs may appear on your Mizzou bill, but most won’t.

2-Estimated Financial Aid Offer(s)

This section shows estimates for the types of financial aid you qualify for from Mizzou. These estimated amounts are subject to change based on factors like how many credit hours you take and what other forms of aid you accept from outside the university. These types of aid don’t need to be repaid. Many are renewable but have specific criteria you’ll need to meet each time you renew to maintain eligibility.

3-Estimated Student Loan Option(s)

The loans listed here are federal loans offered by the US Department of Education. Some loans are subsidized, and others are unsubsidized. Subsidized loans don’t accrue interest while you’re in school. Unsubsidized loans do. You’ll have to complete a Master Promissory Note and loan entrance counselling, both on studentaid.gov, if you accept any amount of student loans.

4-Additional Funding Options to Consider

This section is only applicable in certain circumstances. It includes federal work-study and the Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS). Learn more about parent loans.

Visit the Types of Aid tab to find information about aid sources listed on your financial aid offer.

If your financial aid offer from Mizzou does not cover enough of your estimated COA, here are some sources of additional aid.

  • Private scholarships from places like local and national foundations, religious institutions, and corporate scholarship funds. Learn more on the “Private, External or Outside Scholarships” section of our Undergraduate Scholarships page, and be mindful of potential scams.
  • Alternative (Private) Education Loans
  • Managing your cost of attendance (see section below).

Here are some ideas to lower or manage your costs at Mizzou.

  • First, review your offer with your family and determine your budget.
  • Choose a different meal plan. If you prefer to make some of your own meals, you can opt for a reduced meal plan after you’ve arrived on campus.
  • Lower your indirect costs by buying used textbooks or borrowing them from a student who has already taken the course. Other class materials may be available used, too.
  • Instead of bringing a car to campus, consider a bike or using the free campus shuttle system and Columbia city bus routes.
  • Nonresident students can save more than $20,000 a year by establishing Missouri residency. The process takes one year, so you can qualify as early as your sophomore year (for incoming freshman), or second year (for transfer students). Learn more about residency.
  • Set up a one-on-one meeting with the Office for Financial Success for personalized counseling to improve your financial well-being.

Use the Financial Aid and Financial Success Task Center in MizzouOne to complete all the following to-do items as early as possible to maximize your financial aid.

Go to the Task Center

All students:

  • Grant e-consent in myZou to get full access to your student account.
  • Grant AAA permissions to the people you want to have access to your online information.
  • Grant FERPA permission to allow us to discuss your info with specific people you trust.
  • Update your direct deposit information in TouchNet so you can receive your refund faster.
  • Use the document uploader in myZou to securely and safely send materials when requested.
  • Notify us if you receive a private scholarship (one not listed on your aid offer notification).
  • Attend our webinars to get answers to any remaining questions. Keep an eye on your email to learn about upcoming webinars and other helpful events.

Additional steps for students with federal loans:

  • Accept, decline or adjust loan amounts in myZou once you’ve carefully considered your financial aid offer.
  • Agree (or do not agree) to “Consent to Pay All Charges” in myZou
  • Electronically sign your direct loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) on studentaid.gov.
  • Complete your direct loan entrance counseling on studentaid.gov.

Important Dates

For the 2024-2025 academic year

Dec. 1, 2023 - Scholarship deadline for first-time college students

Feb. 1, 2024 - Scholarship deadline for current & transfer students

March 1, 2024 - MU's recommended FAFSA priority submission date

Apr. 1, 2024 - FAFSA submission deadline

More dates