No, each office is separated by law, in order to prevent conflict of interest between those who bill students and those who award financial aid (scholarships, grants, loans, etc) to students. Therefore, the two offices deal with different aspects of student finances.

The Finance Office

The Finance Office is part of Bethany International Administration and is located inside Entrance A of the T.A. Hegre Ministry Center; up the short set of steps, through the double doors and directly across the lounge.

The Finance Office conveys what you need to pay and when you need to pay it. This includes issues such as the following:

  • Billing (invoicing) you for your school costs
  • Confirming what you owe and when
  • How to make payments and the acceptable methods of payment
  • Setting up payment plans
  • What to do if you are going to miss/be late on a payment
  • How being in default on a payment affects your enrollment
  • How withdrawing from school or being expelled will affect what you owe the school/whether a refund or credit is due

Contact information for the Finance Office:

Phone number: 952-996-1477 or 952-946-4197

Financial Aid

Financial Aid is part of Admissions and is located in the Admissions Office, inside Entrance B of the T.A. Hegre Ministry Center.

Financial Aid deals with helping you get the financial assistance you need to pay for school. This includes issues such as the following:

  • How to complete your FAFSA
  • How to complete your VFAO student interview
  • How to meet the requirements if you are selected for FAFSA verification
  • How to correct errors or make changes to your FAFSA or VFAO
  • How to understand your student loan options
  • How changes in enrollment status (withdrawal, dropping below full-time status, etc) can affect your financial aid

Contact information for Financial Aid:

Phone number: 952-996-1459

For questions pertaining to filling out your FAFSA or for technical issues you are having on the FAFSA site:

For questions pertaining to FAFSA verification requirements or for technical issues you are having on the VFAO site: Submit a ticket on the VFAO Student Support portal at: (you will need to Sign up the first time you use this system)

Additional Resources for Financial Aid Information

The shared Files of your online student profile (Populi) account – look for files starting with FIN. These are mainly BGU-specific information documents.

The Federal Student Aid website at

Help on the FAFSA website at (many questions are addressed on this page – it is a wealth of information!)

FAQs on the VFAO website at (again, the answers to many of your questions can be addressed here.)


The VFAO Student Support at – We strongly suggest you sign up for this (it requires a separate user name and password), as this portal will be needed to submit tickets notifying the VFAO of any changes you make to your FAFSA. You can also submit a ticket to ask questions here if you cannot find answers on the FAQs.

Financial Aid

You must complete the entire financial aid application process in order to qualify for the tuition-paid benefit at BGU. If you do not wish to receive this benefit you are not required to apply for financial aid, but please let our Financial Aid Office know by emailing

Yes – if you want to receive the tuition-paid benefit from BGU, you must complete the entire financial aid application process, even if you know you do not qualify for the Pell Grant based on your family income.

Possibly. If you are an “eligible noncitizen” as described here: If you are NOT an eligible noncitizen, then you will not qualify for the tuition-paid benefit and, instead, will be charged lower tuition rates, based on your country of citizenship. So, make sure you are aware of what your actual costs would be, even without federal aid.

No, you cannot qualify for the full tuition-paid benefit, but you can receive financial aid from BGU to pay for most of your tuition. Also, you can still apply for federal student loans by completing the FAFSA and VFAO interview.

Possibly. If you have NOT reached the lifetime maximum amount of Pell Grant used (the equivalent of six years of Pell Grant funding), then you can still receive the tuition-paid benefit. Otherwise, you can only qualify for Practical Training Tuition Scholarship and student loans.

BGU’s financial aid deadlines for new students are:

For Fall 2018-19 enrollment: May 14, 2018

For Spring 2018-19 enrollment: October 15, 2018

If you have missed the deadline, or are a late applicant, you must contact the Financial Aid Office to discuss your situation.

The tax year upon which your FAFSA is based, is from 2 years ago; not the most recent year. So, if you are completing your FAFSA for the 2018-19 school year, you must have completed your tax returns for 2016; not 2017. If your parents/you still have not submitted tax returns from 2 years ago, you can enter estimates on your FAFSA, but they/you must correct your FAFSA after filing taxes.

Step OneComplete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) at – you can do this before you are accepted at BGU. Just enter BGU’s federal school code (042278) or search for our name in the FAFSA. It is highly encouraged that you use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when completing the FAFSA to save time and effort.


Step TwoComplete the VFAO student interview

Once you are accepted to enroll at BGU, we will send you an email with information on how to log in to our VFAO (Virtual Financial Aid Office) and complete the VFAO student interview. The student interview is specific to BGU and collects information necessary to confirm and apply your federal student aid awards to your costs at Bethany.


Step ThreeComplete the FAFSA verification process (if selected)

If you are selected for verification by the U.S. government you will be notified by email that additional documentation, such as W-2s, tax return transcripts, etc, are required to be submitted. The Department of Education randomly selects students for verification from all schools that receive student financial aid. Being selected does not mean that you have done anything wrong or are in danger of losing your aid.


Step Four – Respond to any requests for corrections to errors, additional information needed, confirmation of information, etc.


If you make a mistake in filling out your FAFSA or VFAO student interview, or if there are inconsistencies in the information you submit or other questions, you may be asked via email to submit additional information or correct problems. Your aid will not be finalized until all questions are resolved.

It is very important that parents and students each create and use your own FSA IDs. The FSA ID acts as a legal signature and should not be shared. Letting someone else create your FSA ID is not allowed and can create problems and delays with the student’s financial aid.

For more information or to create your own FSA ID, go to

This depends on the type of loan that you are applying for:

Federal Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans (student): In the VFAO interview, you must choose a Processing Option that includes Loans. Also, in the VFAO interview, there is a link to the Master Promissory Note (MPN), which is required to be completed before loans can be disbursed.

Federal Direct PLUS Loans (parent): the parent must complete both the PLUS application and the PLUS Master Promissory Note (MPN) at (note that this is separate from the MPN completed by the student). Also, if the application was not completed on the same day as the VFAO interview, please email to notify us that a PLUS application was completed.

Private Loans (student): You can apply for private loans with organizations that we’ve already provided our information to here:

Or you can apply at another organization of your preference.

If you are a dependent (according to FAFSA standards), the maximum possible federal student loan award will not be enough to cover all of your room & board and required fees for your year at BGU. However, if you are independent (according to FAFSA standards), the maximum possible federal student loan award should cover your room & board and required fees for the year.

Also, if you are a dependent, the scenarios below should allow you enough loans to cover all of your BGU direct costs:

  • Your parent applies for PLUS loan and is accepted
  • Your parent applies for PLUS loans and is rejected due to adverse credit history or special circumstances (such as recent bankruptcy), which allows you to receive the independent loan amount
  • You apply for private loans

The rates and fees can change from year to year. For the most current information go to:

Subsidized loans are awarded to students who qualify based on financial need. If you are awarded a Subsidized loan, the government will pay the interest that is accrued on your loan until you begin loan re-payment after you graduate/leave school.

For Unsubsidized loan, the interest does accrue while you are in school and will be added to principal amount of your loan.

For more information about Subsidized/Unsubsidized student loans refer to:

If you are a dependent (according to FAFSA standards) , you will report your information and your parent’s information on the FAFSA. So, yes, your parents will have to provide their financial and tax information in order for you to complete your application. If you are unable to provide parent information due to special circumstances, refer here:

If you are independent (according to FAFSA standards), you will only report your information, and your spouse’s information, if you are married.

Your answers to questions on the FAFSA form determine your dependency status. Undergraduate students who are under age 24 as of December 31 of the award year are considered to be dependent for federal student aid purposes unless they are married, have dependents other than a spouse, are an orphan, are a veteran or active duty member of the US Armed Forces or satisfy other very limited criteria. If you are under age 24 but think you may qualify to be independent you can go through the FAFSA Dependency Worksheet to find out:

If you qualify for federal financial aid, then you will receive an award notice email. You can also track your Financial Aid Status through the Admissions Hub website.

If you receive an email about your financial aid application – don’t ignore it! Follow any links sent to you, read all instructions very carefully and take care of what is being request right away! Failure to do so can jeopardize your financial aid award.

There are a few reasons why you may be getting emails requesting more information:

  1. You may have been selected for FAFSA verification by the U.S. government and, therefore, are required to submit additional information and/or documentation validating what you submitted on your FAFSA.
  2. In the review of your FAFSA and VFAO interview, an inconsistency between the two, an error, or incorrect information may have been discovered and you are being asked to validate or correct that information.
  3. Based on the answers you gave on your VFAO interview, additional information may be needed from you, such as parent tax information.

It is highly encouraged that you use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when completing your FAFSA. Please refer here for further instruction:

When on the website, click on Help, Trending Questions. Also, here is a helpful video from the Dept. of Education:

Financial aid is disbursed within the applicable semester. The anticipated disbursement date is included in the Award Notice that is emailed to you and in the Financial Aid section of your Populi profile.

Typically, loans are disbursed after the semester has started (approximately 10 days after the first day of class for upperclassmen or those who have had student loans in the past, and approximately 30 days after the first day of class for first-year, first-time borrowers). Financial aid that is related to Practical Training is disbursed monthly based on the hours you work.

Please note that aid in excess of the BGU direct costs will not be available to the student until up to 14 days after the actual disbursement date.

Excess aid is provided directly to the student in the form of a check within 14 days of the date of actual disbursement (an email notification is sent whenever aid is disbursed). The check is delivered to the student’s mailbox on campus or made available for pickup in the Student Accounts Office. Student Accounts will communicate the method of availability.

Excess aid can be used for any expenses included in your overall Cost of Attendance. Your Cost of Attendance includes costs that BGU charges you directly, such as tuition, room, board, required fees, parking, etc. However, your Cost of Attendance also includes indirect costs that BGU does not charge you, such as books, supplies, travel expenses, personal expenses, laptop, etc.

Yes, you do. The FAFSA opens on October 1st of the year before the start of a new award year (for example, the 2018-2019 FAFSA for 2018-19 opens on October 1, 2017). The VFAO interview for the upcoming award year opens within a few months of the FAFSA for that year. An email notification will be sent to all accepted and returning students when the VFAO interview is ready for the next award year.

Yes, it is. The amount of financial aid that you are eligible for depends on the timing of your withdrawal/expulsion and when you last attended class. Your aid is prorated based on these factors and you may end up owing BGU and/or the U.S. government. This is outlined in our Refund Policy. Depending on the timing of your withdrawal or expulsion, you may have to pay back the U.S. government for all or a portion of the aid that has been disbursed. We strongly encourage enrolled students to meet with the Financial Aid Director about their situation if they are considering withdrawal or are in danger of being expelled.

Student Billing and Payments

After you complete the FAFSA and the VFAO interview, you will be invoiced (billed) for the whole award year in your online student profile ( – aka “Populi”). This process can take up to 10 business days to complete after receiving your award notice.

In the Financial section of your Populi account, you can view a list of all of your invoices, the amount Paid/Credited, Pending Aid, and the Amount Due after Paid/Credited and Pending Aid is applied to the invoice. So, to see the amount that you will need to pay for the year, look at the Total amount at the bottom of the Amount Due column. Please note that the Pending Aid will not be up-to-date until you finalize the financial aid process which includes completing FAFSA, the VFAO interview, and FAFSA verification, if necessary.

The payment due dates are listed on the right side of that same page. You are expected to make payments by the listed due dates unless you have a Payment Plan Agreement. In that case, make payments according to the Payment Plan Agreement.

Check with the Student Accounts Office if you are unsure about how to read your student account or have questions about how much to pay and when to make payments.

There are three ways to pay for your year of school after your institutional (BGU) aid and federal financial aid has been applied to your account:

  1. Pay in advance for the entire year by the First Payment Deadline (you will receive a $300 discount off your total annual costs if you choose to pay in advance). Please indicate that you plan to do this when filling out your VFAO interview.
  2. Pay for your entire balance using Federal Direct (student) loans, PLUS (parent) loans, and/or private loans.
  3. Pay for each semester in full by the First Payment Deadline of the applicable semester.
  4. Make payments on a BGU student payment plan.

See the Payment Plan Agreement Policy for your academic year for details about the terms of the standard payment plan or contact the Student Accounts Office for details about the payment plan.

There is a late charge of $25, and if the payment goes into default (not paid by the 25th of the month in which it is due), you will meet with a dean about whether you need to take a leave of absence to attend to your finances.

Yes. Contact the Student Accounts Office about making these arrangements.

All payments made online automatically apply to the oldest invoice on your account, not to a specific fee. If you wish to apply the payment to a different invoice, notify the Student Accounts Office to adjust, and apply your payment to correct invoice.

This can be the result of a few issues:

  • If you are trying to use a foreign/non-US bank card, it will not process without calling the Student Accounts Office, so they can notify our receipting company.
  • Make sure you are entering correct data for your card, such as the billing address zip code for that card, the correct expiration date, the exact name and address for the card holder, etc.
  • Some banks have maximum transaction limits (ex: no more than $1,000 per transaction). In this case you may be able to make several transactions to make your payment, as long as none of them are over the bank limit.
  • Your bank may also have a limit on the number of transactions you can make in a day. Sometimes the frequency of transactions is also dependent on the dollar amount of the transaction.
  • If the information you have entered is correct and you suspect the problem has to do with bank transaction limits, contact your bank to explain that you are trying to make a school payment. They will often be able to lift those limitations for a short period of time to enable you to make your payment.

Yes. You can send them the link titled, “Someone else paying”, found on the dashboard of your Financial tab in Populi. The link is good for 30 days and can be sent to anyone who would like to make a payment on your account. Anyone can also send a personal check in U.S. Dollars, from a U.S. bank, made out to BGU, with a note indicating your name and to what the payment should be applied.

Paying a room deposit lets the university know that you are planning to enroll. This allows us to save a place for you in the dorms, arrange your roommate and Student Life group/advisor, set up a mailbox for you, assign keys to you, assign you to a course section, and many other administrative tasks to prepare for your arrival.

If you are accepted and wish to defer to a future term (up to one year from your original enrollment date), we require that you pay your room deposit in order to ensure that you are serious about deferring and not just uncertain about whether you want to attend at all.

If you are not certain about enrolling, we ask that you instead withdraw your acceptance and contact us about entering in a later term, when you are truly ready to do so. At that time you will be required to pay a room deposit and the admissions department will add you to the roster for the upcoming term.

The room deposit is not refundable until you have attended the first day of class and you will no longer be attending BGU. Once you have attended class you fall under the “enrolled student” policy of receiving a full refund of your room deposit and possibly a full or partial refund of other payments on your account, if you have accrued no fines or fees and do not owe the university money. The timing of your decision not to attend is a strong determining factor. See the BGU Refund Policy for details.

Once you have attended class you fall under the “enrolled student” policy of receiving a full refund of your room deposit and possibly a full or partial refund of other payments on your account, if you have accrued no fines or fees and do not owe the university money. The timing of your withdrawal or expulsion is a strong determining factor. See the BGU Refund Policy for details.