Top 10 Obama Scholars Program FAQ's

Top 10 Obama Scholars Program FAQ's

Financial Questions

Why does my Obama Scholarship not cover everything?

Remember, this program is designed to cover your direct costs, minus your EFC as determined from the FAFSA, with gift aid and Federal Work-Study. Special class fees associated with your specific major are not covered. In addition, if you made residence hall and meal plan selections that exceed our standard allowances, those costs are above the amount of gift aid and work-study provided for the program. View current residence hall prices online.

You may need to use your work-study award or accept loans you were offered in order to pay your remaining costs. Remember that work-study funds are disbursed as you work (i.e., in a paycheck) and not before the semester begins like most other aid. This means you may need to accept loans you were offered to pay your ASU charges in a timely manner. You may consider changing your housing and/or meal plan selections in order to minimize the amount you may need to work or borrow.

I was not awarded anything titled "Obama Scholarship" in my financial aid package. Do I still need to participate in the First Year Success Program?

Although your financial aid package does not have funding specifically titled Obama, the aid you were awarded meets the promise of the program and you will remain a participant in the Obama Scholars Program. Your estimated direct costs (minus your Estimated Family Contribution (EFC)) are being covered with gift aid and a federal work study award. Direct costs covered include actual tuition and mandatory fees plus a standardized allowance for books/supplies, room and board.

You will retain your eligibility as an Obama Scholar in future years if you continue to meet all eligibility requirements. One advantage to being an Obama Scholar is that if you lose any scholarship or grant funding in the future and continue to meet the Obama Scholar renewal criteria, the Obama scholarship will be available to replace that funding through your estimated direct costs (minus EFC).

As a part of this scholarship program, you have the benefit of one-on-one success coaching during your first year at ASU to ensure a successful transition to university life. Success Coaches and Scholars meet regularly, providing the opportunity for connections to valuable resources and helpful referrals for you.

Does the Obama Scholars program require that you accept loans and work-study?

ASU’s goal with the Obama Scholars Program is to help minimize the amount of money you borrow while attending ASU. Federal Work-Study (FWS) opportunities, along with federally funded Direct Stafford Student Loans, are programs designed to help students invest in themselves and their education.

You are encouraged to apply for on-campus employment if you have an offered FWS award. Working on campus not only allows you to earn money for college, it also creates valuable on –campus support networks while you develop marketable skills for your resume. To search for current job openings, visit here.

Low interest rate loans are also available to you as an additional self-help option. If you are eligible for student loans, they will be listed on your award letter and on MyASU at https://my.asu.edu. You are encouraged to discuss your alternatives for financing your education with a counselor in the Financial Aid and Scholarship Services office

How do I apply for a Federal Work-Study position?

To search for current job openings, visit https://students.asu.edu/employment. You will need to narrow the job type to "work-study jobs" and choose the campus location where you would like to work. This will provide you a list of all the current work-study job openings available at ASU. Each employer will provide information on how to apply for their positions.

What is the maximum/minimum amount you can receive for financial aid?

A student's total financial aid cannot exceed their need as defined by cost of attendance minus Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) which is determined by your FAFSA. In the case of a $0 EFC, total aid cannot exceed the cost of attendance. Minimum amounts may vary by financial aid program, but generally speaking, there are no strict minimums.

What if I am not meeting the required 2.5 cumulative GPA and/or 24 ASU credit hours by the end of the academic year (spring semester)?

ASU has annual cumulative ASU GPA and credit hour standards for renewal. Students who meet the 2.50 cumulative ASU GPA and 24 ASU credit hour requirements each year are fully renewed. Students not meeting those requirements will receive one year of probation at the full award amount. Failure to maintain the renewal criteria after the year of probation will result in a decrease of the award amount to tuition, fees and books. Students can be reinstated to the full award amount for the next academic year by achieving a 2.50 cumulative ASU GPA and completing 24 ASU credit hours at the end of any academic year.

If you are not meeting the 2.50 cumulative ASU GPA and/or 24 ASU credit hour requirements after your one year of probation, you may enroll for ASU summer courses to remain eligible in the Obama Scholar program for the following academic year. Your Obama scholarship will not be available for the summer semester. We will conduct a final review of your academic records at the end of the summer session.

If you experience challenges throughout the year, such as difficulty with classes, time management, work or family responsibilities, or other co-curricular commitments, consult your academic advisor and use ASU resources to ensure you receive the guidance and assistance necessary to remain on track and continue to meet criteria for renewal and graduation.
For other renewal criteria visit here.

How does a study abroad program work when you are an Obama scholar?

You may choose to spend one semester in an ASU-sponsored study abroad program, only after completion of your first year in the Obama Scholars Program. Study abroad is an option for your second, third and fourth years. This will count as one semester towards the eight semester maximum. Your funding will continue to be based on ASU cost of attendance and will not cover any study abroad program fees.

Please review the Study Abroad Policies for additional information.

Do all Obama Scholar students need to live on campus?

While living on campus is not required for an incoming freshmen, the rate of student success and persistence is higher when students have the opportunity to participate in living in a campus community environment.

ASU Financial Aid and Scholarship Services will reflect your budget and award as living on campus as long as you confirm your housing by June 1 for your housing assignment to be finalized by August 1. If your housing assignment is not finalized by August 1, your budget will be reduced to a commuter budget and your awards will be adjusted accordingly.

Who do I contact if I have questions about the Obama Scholars program?

If you have questions about the Obama Scholars program, please contact Financial Aid and Scholarship Services at 855-278-5080, use the My ASU Service tab to chat or visit one of their office locations.

Housing Questions

Do all Obama Scholar students need to live on campus?

For Obama scholars who started in Fall 2019 or before

  • All first-year students are expected to live on campus. If you do not confirm on-campus housing through ASU’s housing portal, the maximum housing allowance you qualify for will be $1,300.

  • For all continuing students, if your housing status (on/off/with parent) you selected on the FAFSA has changed, your Obama Scholarship will be adjusted to reflect that change in cost for housing and meals. You can view the standard allowances at our cost of attendance site.

  • If you register and confirm on-campus housing, your Obama Scholarship will be budgeted with the standardized allowance for on campus housing.

  • If your actual housing charge is lower than the standard allowance, the amount of your Obama Scholarship will be reduced to your actual housing charges.

  • If your actual housing charge is higher than the standard allowance, there will not be an increase to your Obama Scholarship for the difference.

  • All adjustments to Obama Scholarships, based on changes to housing status, will be made in July.

For Obama scholars who started in Fall 2020 or after

  • For Obama students starting fall 20 and later, you are expected to live on campus. If you do not confirm on-campus housing through ASU's housing portal, the maximum housing allowance you qualify for will be $1,300.

  • If you register and confirm on-campus housing, your Obama Scholarship will be budgeted with the standardized allowance for on campus housing.

  • If your actual housing charge is lower than the standard allowance, the amount of your Obama Scholarship will be reduced to your actual housing charges.

  • If your actual housing charge is higher than the standard allowance, there will not be an increase to your Obama Scholarship for the difference.

  • All adjustments to Obama Scholarships, based on changes to housing status, will be made in July.

Do continuing Obama Scholar students need to live on campus?

ASU expects all first year students to live on campus in the residential college of their major, and does not require Obama Scholars to live on campus their second or subsequent years.

Why doesn't the Obama Scholars Program completely cover room and board like it said it would?

Remember, this program is not designed to cover all of your expenses. If you made residence hall and meal plan selections that exceed ASU's standard allowances, those costs are above the amount of gift aid and work-study provided for the program.

Did you select housing and meal plans that exceed our standard allowances?

ASU uses a standardized allowance for books/supplies, room and board expenses for each student attending ASU, including Obama Scholars. You may need to use your work-study award or accept loans you were offered in order to pay your remaining costs. Remember that work-study funds are disbursed as you work (e.g., in a paycheck) and not before the semester begins like most other aid. This means you may need to accept loans you were offered to pay your ASU charges in a timely manner. You may also want to consider changing your housing and/or meal plan selections in order to best use the gift aid that this program offers and minimize the amount you may need to work or borrow.

If your major requires specific housing that exceeds ASU’s standard allowances, changes will be made to your budget and awards to reflect an adjusted standard allowance provided you have confirmed your housing by June 1. If your estimated direct costs (minus your EFC) are already met with your current awards after your budget adjustment, no additional award will be made. To view current residence hall prices, please visit https://housing.asu.edu/living/costs

Why does my gift aid not cover all my expenses?

This program is not designed to cover all of your expenses. Program fees and special class fees associated with your specific major are not covered.

Did you factor in your EFC and your Federal Work-Study offer to meet your direct costs?

This program is designed to cover your estimated direct costs, minus your EFC as determined from the FAFSA, with gift aid and Federal Work-Study.

You may need to use your work-study award or accept loans you were offered in order to pay your remaining costs. Remember that work-study funds are disbursed as you work (i.e., in a paycheck) and not before the semester begins like most other aid. This means you may need to accept loans you were offered to pay your ASU charges in a timely manner. You may consider changing your housing and/or meal plan selections in order to minimize the amount you may need to work or borrow.

If you have any questions, please call us at 855-278-5080, use the My ASU Service tab to chat with us or submit a question, or visit one of our office locations.