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Payment Reporting

Payments and other financial assistance

The purpose of this dialogue is to outline the policy for payments to students that directly or indirectly made that are not for employment purposes.

To comply with the US Department of Education, any payments to students (i.e., cash, awards, prizes, and gifts) must be reported to the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid and will be counted as other financial assistance (OFA).

  • Any form of award, payment, reimbursement, or other transaction that is paid directly or indirectly to a student for the purpose of aiding in their education, studies, training, or research is considered in this policy.

Policy overview

Any payments to students who are receiving other forms of financial aid are considered a form of financial assistance and may require one of the following steps to be taken, regardless of the system used to make the payment:

  • An adjustment to the financial aid award that the student has or will receive in the current semester/subsequent semester, and/or
  • An adjustment to the student’s overall cost of attendance budget

The Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid has the responsibility to determine whether adjustments are necessary.

Unit representatives have the responsibility to inform OSFA of the additional assistance and for what term the assistance will be effective.

Adjustments resulting from other financial assistance

  1. Payments with offsetting education expenses:
    1. If the payment is for an educational expense, and the expense equals or exceeds the amount of payment, OSFA will offset the payment with a Cost of Attendance (COA) budget adjustment.
    2. If the payment amount is lower than the full COA, the unmet financial need will be increased, and the student may be eligible for more financial aid.
    3. Examples of this type of payment are allocations for conference attendance, which may not completely cover all the required costs to attend the conference. Conference costs can only be covered if the conference is REQUIRED by a student’s program of study. OSFA can increase students’ Cost of Attendance in this case.
  2. Payments without offsetting educational expenses:
    1. If there are no offsetting educational expenses for the payment, this is counted toward the students overall financial aid for the academic year. If the payment causes their total aid to exceed COA, other financial aid resources will be reduced.

Examples of this type of payment are cash payments or gift cards, used as an award or prize.

Examples of payments

Awards and Prizes (include but are not limited to):

  • Third party payment or scholarship
  • Funds awarded due to special circumstances (i.e., personal emergencies)
  • Recognition awards (achievement, services, etc.)
  • Scholarship competition
  • Fitness awards
  • Student organization sponsored events
  • Student-life sponsored events

Reimbursement of Supplies (course supplies purchased by the unit to complete an educational assignment, include but are not limited to):

  • Editing
  • Transcription
  • Translation
  • Binding
  • Datasets
  • ICPSR Classes
  • Computer software or hardware

Conference registration fees and travel:

  • Students Cost of Attendance can only be increased for conference attendance IF the conference is REQUIRED by their program of study.
  • If a conference is recommended but not REQUIRED by a student’s program of study, it cannot be included in their Cost of Attendance.

When the payment or expense is incurred for furtherance of the student’s own education:

  • Student attends to further their education by listening and learning.
  • Student received travel award/funds for conducting/presenting research associated with their degree.

Reporting payments

If a student is receiving a gift, award, prize or another sort of financial assistance that is not related to employment in your department, please reach out to The Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid by email at and inform us of this assistance. We will then follow up with further instructions.