FAQs about Financial Aid
General Questions about Eligibility and Applying
I probably don't qualify for 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. There is no good reason for not applying.
Should I apply for admissions 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. You can apply
for free and have this step out of the way by clicking on the following link: FSCC Application
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 got an outside scholarship. Should I report it to the financial aid office?
Yes. If you are receiving scholarships or aid of any kind, you must report the scholarship
to the financial aid office.
I have not yet completed my GED, can I still get 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 (ie: 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, you will want to add the FSCC school code to your FAFSA by logging back in
to your FAFSA on the web, or follow this link:
http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/FOTWWebApp/addschool.jsp, and add school code 001916.
Next, you will want to 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, make sure to request that an official academic transcript be
sent to the registrar’s office from all 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 3 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 I.D. 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 log in.
What about my Stafford loan money? When will I receive it?
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 (ie: 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 more 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.
I plan to enroll in the Cosmetology program. Will financial aid cover the expenses related to this program?
While Cosmetology is an eligible program to receive aid, a student may not charge
the cost of the kit fee against their financial aid. The student must pay for the
kit from their personal funds, but may reimburse themselves if a refund is available
to them from their financial aid.
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 finacial aid office before withdrawing to see if you will owe a repayment. For more information click here.
Where do I get a FAFSA application?
You may choose any of these three methods to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA):
NOTE: If applying online, it may be helpful to print a FAFSA on the Web Worksheet from here.
- Apply online at www.FAFSA.ed.gov (Recommended) or
- Complete a PDF FAFSA (Note: PDF FAFSAs must be mailed for processing) or
- 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.
How soon after January 1 should the FAFSA form be sent in? 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 1st. Wait 2 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
www.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 impose a deadline date for filing my FAFSA?
Please see our Priority Dates listed on our Financial Aid home page for assurance of your aid
being 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
I have been asked to provide tax transcripts. How do I do that?
You may request copies of tax returns and W-2s by phoning the following IRS phone number(s):
(800) 829-1040, (800) 908-9946, or on-line at www.irs.gov.
Click on the following link for the FAFSA on the Web “Frequently asked questions”:
Last updated on: 4/29/2014