General Questions about Financial Aid Eligibility and Applying for Financial Aid
- I probably don't qualify for financial aid. Should I apply for aid anyway?
Yes. Many families mistakenly think they don't qualify for aid, and prevent themselves from receiving financial aid by failing to apply for it. In addition, there are a few sources of aid such as unsubsidized Stafford and PLUS loans that are available regardless of need. The FAFSA form is free. Apply at fafsa.gov.
- Should I apply for admission to FSCC before applying for financial aid?
Not necessarily, however, the financial aid office will not be able to complete your file and provide you with an award letter until you have done so. Apply here.
- Do I have to reapply for financial aid every year?
Yes. You are required to apply for financial aid every year. If your financial or family circumstances change, your eligibility for financial aid may change significantly, especially if you have a different number of family members in college.
- How do I apply for a Pell Grant and other types of need-based aid?
Submit a FAFSA. The financial aid office will determine your eligibility based on the information provided to us by the US Department of Education.
- I received a scholarship from an organization outside of FSCC. Should I report it to the financial aid office?
Yes. If you are receiving scholarships or aid of any kind, you must report them to the Financial Aid Office.
- I have not yet received a diploma or completed the GED, can I still receive financial aid?
To qualify for federal aid, a student must have either a high school diploma or its recognized equivalent (GED). Students without either a high school diploma or equivalent should contact the Financial Aid Office.
- What do I have to do to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress for my financial aid?
A student must maintain a minimum grade-point average of 1.75 for the first semester at any post-secondary institution and a cumulative GPA of 2.00 for all following semesters. Additionally, students must complete enough hours each semester to maintain the level or status for which they were paid (full time: 12 or more hours, ¾ time: 9-11 hours, ½ time: 6-8 hours). If a student is considering a withdrawal from a class, they should visit the Financial Aid Office to find out how their eligibility for financial aid might be affected. (For more detailed information regarding the policy for Satisfactory Academic Progress, see page 22 of the Student Catalog.)
- I would like to transfer to FSCC mid-year. What do I need to do?
First, add the FSCC school code to your FAFSA by logging back in to your FAFSA online account, or follow this link: https://fafsa.ed.gov/help/fotwfaq63.htm, and add school code 001916. Next, contact the financial aid office at your current school and have them cancel all aid awards, including loans. (Loans do not transfer with you to FSCC. You will be required to complete a new Master Promissory Note for your file at FSCC). Also, request that an official academic transcript be sent to the FSCC Registrar’s Office from all of your previously-attended colleges.
- I have received my award letter and I am eligible for a Pell Grant refund. When can expect my refund?
Pell Grants will be disbursed no later than three weeks after the 20th day of school each semester. (The 20th day is calculated by actual school days, not calendar days). Any charges for tuition, fees, books, dorm, etc., will be deducted from your financial aid award before any refunds to students are released. The business office does not issue paper checks to students. Your FSCC issued student ID is also a debit card where any refunds are electronically sent. You can also set up a direct deposit to your own personal bank account through your GIZMO account.
- When will I receive my Stafford loan funds?
All loan proceeds begin disbursing 30 days after the beginning of the academic period. (Please remember that since loans disburse before Pell Grants, any balance owed to FSCC may be deducted from your loan funds first.) Federal regulations require that each loan approved be disbursed in two payments. This will mean two disbursements if a student chooses to apply for a semester loan period rather than an annual loan period. A student must also complete entrance and exit counseling sessions before receiving loan proceeds.
- Is there a time limit on how long I can receive loans?
Yes. If you are a first-time borrower on or after July 1, 2013, there is a limit on the maximum period of time (academic years) that you can receive Direct Subsidized Loans. This time limit does not apply to Direct Unsubsidized Loans. The time limit set forth by the U.S. Department of Education is 150% of the published length of your program. For example, if you are enrolled in a two-year associate degree program, the maximum period for which you can receive Direct Subsidized Loans is three years (150% of 2 years = 3 years). If you are enrolled in a one-year certificate program, the maximum period for which you can receive Direct Subsidized Loans is one and a half years (150% of 1 year = 1.5 years). Because your maximum eligibility period is based on the length of your current program of study, your maximum eligibility period can change if you change to a program that has a different length. Also, if you receive Direct Subsidized Loans for one program and then change to another program, the Direct Subsidized Loans you received for the earlier program will generally count toward your new maximum eligibility period. A student who loses eligibility for additional subsidized loans may lose interest subsidy on previously received subsidized loans, if –
- Student did not complete their program, and
- Continues in the same program or,
- Enrolls in another undergraduate program of the same or shorter length
- Is my program of study eligible for financial aid?
There are certain criteria that have to be met by the program you are enrolled in for financial aid eligibility. A student must be seeking either a degree or a certificate in order to qualify. While most programs are eligible, some of the shorter certificate programs are not (Manicuring, Allied Health, Truck Driving). If you are unsure of your program’s eligibility, please contact the Financial Aid Office.
- How long can I receive financial aid at FSCC?
Full-time students may receive aid at a community college for a maximum of 96 credit hours. Generally, students who have already received a degree are not eligible to receive aid for any additional classes at FSCC. However, such students may receive additional aid if they enroll in certain vocational degree or certificate programs at FSCC, which are eligible under federal guidelines. Any students with 96 credit hours or more will be required to complete a 96 Hour Appeal Form and a Degree Audit to determine eligibility by the Appeals Committee.
- What happens if I withdraw from all my classes or stop attending?
Withdrawing or not attending can have major consequences. You may have to repay a portion of your financial aid to either the federal government or FSCC. Always contact the financial aid office before withdrawing to see if you will owe a repayment. For more information click here.
- Where can I get a FAFSA application?
You may choose any of these three methods to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA):
- Apply online at FAFSA.ed.gov (recommended)
- Complete a PDF FAFSA (Note: PDF FAFSA forms must be mailed to FSCC for processing)
- Request a paper FAFSA by calling the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) or 1-319-337-5665. If you are hearing impaired, please contact the TTY line at 1-800-730-8913.
NOTE: If applying online, it may be helpful to print a FAFSA on the Web Worksheet from here.
- How soon after January 1 should I send my FAFSA form? Is it better to wait until the income tax forms have been completed?
Yes. We recommend E-Filing your federal taxes as soon as possible after January 1. Wait two weeks, then file your FAFSA and use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to automatically transfer your income information to the FAFSA. If you do not use this method you will be required to obtain an IRS Tax Transcript to turn into the Financial Aid Office. Call (800) 908-9946 or (800) 829-1040 for a transcript of your federal taxes. Please allow 10 working days to receive it by mail.
- Should I pay for help to fill out my FAFSA?
No, you don’t need to. If you apply using FAFSA on the Web, you get online instructions for each question, and you can “chat” live online with a customer service representative. Regardless of how you apply, you can get free help by calling the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID or by contacting the financial aid office. Be aware that there are web sites that offer help filing for a fee. Those sites are not affiliated with the US Dept. of Education. (Remember: Free Application for Federal Student Aid) If you inadvertently logged on to the fafsa.com web site, rather than fafsa.ed.gov and were charged a fee, you may call (800) 750-3446 and select option #1 to request a refund.
- What is the PIN?
The Personal Identification Number (PIN) serves as your identifier to let you access your personal information in various U.S. Department of Education systems. It's like the PIN you get from your bank that permits you to access your account. The PIN also allows you to sign your federal student aid application online and allows you to correct your application data online. In the interest of keeping your personal information secure, do not share your PIN! You should never give your PIN to anyone. Be sure to keep your PIN in a safe place. You can apply for a PIN by clicking here.
- Why should I get a PIN?
You can use your PIN to access your financial aid data at FAFSA on the Web where you can electronically sign your application, submit corrections to your processed FAFSA, or obtain a copy of your processed FAFSA information. A PIN is also required to use the new IRS Data Retrieval Tool.
- I lost my PIN. What should I do?
If you have lost or forgotten your PIN, you will need to request that it be sent to you again. If you think that someone else may know your PIN, or you believe your PIN may have been compromised when it was lost, the Department of Education can generate a new PIN for you. Click here for instructions for replacing a lost PIN or to request a duplicate of your PIN.
- What is the Data Release Number (DRN)?
The Data Release Number (DRN) is required to make certain changes associated with the FAFSA you filed. Just call the U.S. Department of Education's Federal Student Aid Information Center (1-800-4-FED-AID [1-800-433-3243]). The DRN also allows you to release your FAFSA data to schools you did not list on your original FAFSA. The DRN is printed in the lower left hand corner of your Student Aid Report (SAR).
- Does FSCC have a deadline for completing FAFSA forms?
The priority deadline for submitting the FAFSA is July 1 for the fall semester and December 1 for the spring semester. Submitting your FAFSA by the priority deadline helps ensure your aid is awarded before each semester begins.
While there is no “deadline date”, students should keep in mind that the file must be completed and an award letter must be issued and signed by the student before the last day of the semester in order to be considered for aid that semester. Failure to meet this deadline will result in no aid award for that semester and the Business Office will require full payment for any balance due.
- I have received notice that my Student Aid Report has been selected for verification. What does this mean?
If selected for verification the financial aid office will ask you to submit tax transcripts, W2s, and other documents, as appropriate. Be sure to include ALL requested documents to ensure timely processing of the information. No financial aid will be processed until all documents are received.
- I have been asked to provide tax transcripts. How do I do that?
You may request copies of tax returns and W-2s by calling following IRS phone number(s): (800) 829-1040, (800) 908-9946, or on-line at irs.gov.
Visit the FAFSA.ed.gov frequently asked questions webpage: https://fafsa.ed.gov/help.htm