Five Steps to Apply

The Five Steps to US Financial Aid


This guide serves to assist U.S. citizen and non-citizen undergraduate and graduate students eligible for U.S federal financial aid. 

Students should apply for federal financial aid beginning January 1.  The earlier a student applies the earlier decisions can be made.  Students who apply for aid on January 1 and who complete these steps in a timely fashion, and who are accepted for admissions can expect to receive their financial aid award notice by late March.


Step 1: Complete FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) available January 1, 2016.

Complete the FAFSA application online at FAFSA website.

  • Select “foreign” from the State drop-down list
  • Enter the school name and AUC School Code:   American University in Cairo - G05034

You must have a Federal Student Aid User ID and Password to complete your FAFSA online.


  • Students, parents, and borrowers are required to use an FSA ID (formally known as Federal Student Aid PIN), made up of a username and password, to access certain U.S. Department of Education websites. Your FSA ID is used to confirm your identity when accessing your financial aid information and electronically signing your federal student aid documents. If you haven’t logged in to a Federal Student Aid site (such as or since May 10, you will need to create an FSA ID before you can log on in the future. If you already have a PIN, you can link your information to your new FSA ID by entering your PIN while registering for your FSA ID. (This will save you time when registering for your FSA ID.) If you’ve forgotten your PIN you can either enter the answer to your PIN “challenge question” during the FSA ID registration process to link your PIN, or you can just create your FSA ID from scratch. A PIN is not required to create an FSA ID.


  • The DOE defines “Dependent” a student who is under the age of 24, not married or head of a household. Both the student and his or her parents must provide their information on the FAFSA. Each must have their own user ID and Password. “Independent” is a student who is enrolled in the graduate portion of the program or a student who is 24 years old or married or the head of a household.


  • Undergraduate students should complete an Entrance Interview


  • Graduate Students should complete an Entrance Interview for Graduate Professional Students.


Be sure to keep documentation of all information you supply on the FAFSA

A Student Aid Report (SAR) will be emailed to you and AUC by the FAFSA office.

  • Always retain the SAR for your records.


Step 2: Complete the MPN (Direct Loan Master Promissory Note)

The MPN is the legal document which is your Promise to Repay the loan and any accrued interest and fees to the U.S. Federal Government. It explains the terms and conditions of your loans. Although you may have previously signed an MPN to receive a Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) or Direct Loan Program loan, previous MPN’s cannot be used to borrow Direct Loans. Because AUC is a foreign institution you must complete the MPN with each award year.


Complete the Direct Loan MPNs online at

  • You will need your Federal User ID and Password to Log In.
  • You need to complete a MPN for each loan you are requesting (Direct loans and PLUS loans)
  • A parent borrower must sign the MPN with their own User ID.
  • Retain a copy of your MPN(s) after you complete the form electronically.
  • You do not need to provide us with a copy as we will receive notification from the DOE.


Note: You also have the option to complete a paper Direct Loan MPN. To do so, call the Department’s Applicant Services staff at 800-557-7394 and then return the completed paper MPN to the Department at the address included in the instructions that are provided to you. They will notify us of your completion. (We do not recommend using the paper application as it will cause delays in the process.)


Step 3: Apply for a Parent PLUS or a Graduate PLUS loan

Students who need to borrow enough money to cover their entire Estimated Cost of Attendance or at least more than the Stafford Direct loan program offers, should apply for the PLUS/GRAD PLUS loan which requires a credit check.


Request a Direct PLUS Loan

  • Access and click on Request a Direct PLUS Loan.
  • Select the loan suited to your grade level. Undergraduate students need only one parent to borrow a PLUS on their behalf. All Graduate students should select GRAD PLUS which they borrow in their own name.


You will receive a response to the credit decision almost immediately.

  • If your credit is denied, you will have options: Asking for Reconsideration, Appealing or Adding an endorser to the loan. You will receive an email from the DOE with instructions for all these options. SAVE this email as it includes an endorser CODE.
  •  If you need an endorser, click on Add an Endorser. The Endorser must have their own User ID.


Step 4: Complete AUC- Virtual Financial Aid Office (VFAO) Interview

AUC has a virtual financial aid office which acts as its computerized, back room processing center. The VFAO collects and stores all your documents, runs eligibility and compliance checks and then, once the school has confirmed your attendance and grade level, links the approval to the Department of Education’s Common Loan, Origination and Disbursement Center. The student has the ability to log in and see the status of their loans at any time.


Complete the VFAO Interview online. You can access it directly at

  • Register and Log In to the site and then click on the top tab marked “interviews”.
  • Click “Start an Interview” answering the required questions for the 2016-2017 academic year which is two semesters in length (approximately 20 minutes to complete).


The VFAO will communicate information to you via email

  • Once the VFAO has processed your loans, they will send you an Award Notice.
  • You will receive an Award Notice for each loan for which you completed an MPN and receive eligibility approval. In most cases the first Award Notice will include all the awards. However, in some cases you will receive two Award notices.
  • Your loans are released to the school in two disbursements: One each semester. You will also receive a Disclosure Statement that gives you specific information about the expected disbursement dates and the loan interest rate and fees. The date AUC received your funds, the loan type and loan amount. How you can cancel the loan and return it should you no longer want to accept the funds as well as the timeframe in which you can cancel the loan.

You can log into the VFAO or email the VFAO anytime to check on the status of your application.


Step 5: Receiving the loans

The VFAO application processing takes at least 10 business days after the FA officer verifies your enrollment and any institutional aid. The funds are released to the school approximately 10 days prior to the start of the semester (provided the student has completed all the necessary steps). The school will credit the students account within 3 days of receipt and within 14 days deliver any credit balance refund to the student.

Delivery Method

These funds are released to students using the following method:

  • wired to the student’s declared domestic or international bank account
  • check mailed to the student’s preferred US address
  • processed through student accounts office on campus in Cairo


Complete and Return Enrollment Plans and Loan Refund Method Form.

  • After crediting the tuition and fees you owe to the school AUC  will transfer the credit balance refund to you, as per the delivery method you provide to AUC.


Award Letter Information

After you submit your Virtual Financial Aid Office Interview application for financial aid and your enrollment at AUC is verified, you will receive a financial aid award letter. This letter spells out the details of your financial aid package. Please note that AUC will not be able to process your federal loans unless your VFAO interview is complete and matched with your FAFSA. Once your interview is complete your file will go through a verification process.  If additional information is needed in order to process your file, you will receive a tracking letter in your email requesting the specific documentation. Otherwise, once your file has been thoroughly reviewed AUC will start processing your loans within 10 business days. You will then receive an award letter in your email.

That award letter will have all the information you may need in it; the amount of aid, the type or types of aid and the anticipated disbursement dates. After you receive the award letter, you have until the anticipated disbursement date to decline any part of the awarded funds. You will have 30 days from that date your student loans are credited to your student account to decline a portion or all of your student loans. 

Your financial aid awards may be revised for any of the following reasons:

  • Your residency has changed.
  • Your enrollment status has changed.
  • You have declined one or more awards.
  • We have been notified that you received other aid or had other resources (scholarships, private loans, veterans benefits, etc.) of which we were unaware when the previous awards were made.
  • Your data and/or your parent data on the FAFSA was incorrect and the error has been corrected.

If you wish to make changes to your award letter or have questions contact us via VFAO Student Support Site