Federal Student Aid (FSA) is available to learners who qualify. Check the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to see what you qualify for.
How to Apply for Federal Student Aid
Prospective learners interested in applying for FSA must:
- Obtain free information from the FA staff at the College or the U.S. Department of Education at www.studentaid.ed.gov or by calling 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).
- Create a FSA ID username and password to log on to the U.S. Department of Education (ED) website. The FSA ID allows learners to access private personal information on the ED websites such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) at fasfa.gov.
- Parents of dependent learners will need to create a personal FSA ID if the parent will be signing the learner’s FAFSA electronically. Parents with multiple learners attending college can use the same personal FSA ID to sign all applications. Please note: Each FAFSA ID user must have a unique e-mail address.
- Learner’s FAFSA ID are used to sign legally binding documents electronically. It has the same legal status as a written signature. Do not release any FAFSA ID information including usernames and passwords. Releasing the information could put the learner at risk for identity theft.
- Complete the online FAFSA at www.fafsa.ed.gov and follow the instructions provided.
- Within a few days, the U.S. Department of Education will send the learner a Student Aid Report (SAR). The learner must review the SAR and, if necessary, make changes or corrections to the FAFSA. The complete, correct SAR will contain the learner’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC), the number used to determine the learner’s FSA eligibility.
- Make an appointment with the FA staff to complete the process.
The federal government provides many choices of FSA for qualified learners under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965. Every year across the U.S., learners and parents receive more than $150 billion in FSA.
FSA may include grants and loans:
Almost all federal grants are awarded to learners based on financial need. Grants do not need to be repaid unless funds were awarded incorrectly or the learner withdraws from school prior to the planned end of the semester.
A loan is a borrowed sum of money that is intended to pay for education and is expected to be paid back with interest. Federal Direct Student Loans usually offers borrowers lower interest rates and have more flexible repayment options than private loans from banks and other sources.
- Private Loans, given to students through a bank. These are higher interest and have to be paid back on while in school.
- Federal Loans. Subsidized and Unsubsidized
Federal Student Aid and Satisfactory Academic Progress
Learners awarded any FSA must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) to continue to qualify for FSA.
Learners who do not meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements will automatically be placed on a Financial Aid (FA) Warning for the following semester. A Financial Aid Warning letter will be sent to the learner within fourteen days of failing to meet SAP. Learners placed on a Financial Aid Warning must meet with the FA staff in order to continue receiving further Title IV funding.
Learners on a FA Warning who do not meet the SAP requirements for the second consecutive semester are not eligible to participate in Title IV FSA programs without a successful appeal. A letter notifying the learner of the loss of Title IV eligibility and the right to appeal will be sent within fourteen days of failing to meet SAP after the second consecutive semester. Only reasonable explanations for not meeting SAP will be considered in the appeal. A learner granted a favorable decision in the appeal will be put on Academic and Financial Aid probation and will be entitled to receive Title IV funding only if he/she is in full compliance with the terms of the probation.
Learners who lose Title IV eligibility and successfully appeal for academic reinstatement may elect to continue their studies at the College on a cash-pay basis.
Learner Financial Responsibilities and Academic Program Progress
Learners are responsible for meeting financial obligations to the College on time, including completion of all financial aid requirements and paperwork, making scheduled payments, and responding to information and documentation requests. Learners must meet all current financial obligations by the end of the add/drop period in every semester. Failure to do so may result in the withdrawal from the College.
What are the Rights and Responsibilities of Students Receiving Federal Student Aid?
Learners with Federal Student Aid have the right to:
- know what financial aid programs are offered at the College;
- know the criteria for continued learner eligibility under each FSA program,
- know how the College determines whether the learner is making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP),
- what the consequences are of failing to make SAP, and how to reestablish eligibility for FSA; know the method of disbursement of FSA funds and the frequency of the disbursements;
- know the terms of any loans received as part of the Financial Aid package, receive a sample loan repayment schedule, and understand the necessity for repaying the loans;
- be supplied with exit counseling information upon graduation, dropping below half-time status, or withdrawing from the College;
- know how financial need is determined;
- know how cost of attendance is determined;
- know the institutional policy and the Title IV policy for refunds; and
- know the terms and conditions under which learners receiving Federal Direct Student Loans may obtain deferments or forbearances.
Learners with Federal Student Aid have the responsibility to:
- complete the FSA forms accurately and submit the form on time. Intentional misrepresentation on the FSFSA is a violation of law and a criminal offense subject to penalties;
- submit the FAFSA and other required paperwork every award year for continued eligibility in the FSA programs;
- maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) to continue receiving FSA;
- check the learner e-mail account for important financial aid information;
- respond promptly to any request for documentation or information from the FA staff;
- complete loan entrance counseling prior to receiving the first disbursement of a Federal Direct Student Loan;
- understand the College’s Refund for Withdrawal policy and Return of Title IV Funds policy; repay any learner loans borrowed in a timely manner;
- complete loan exit counseling when withdrawing, graduating from the College, or dropping below half-time enrollment and holding Federal Direct Student Loans;
- notify the FA staff of any change in name, address, or attendance status;
- understand that all FSA is contingent on the individual learner’s continued eligibility and the availability of funds;
- and understand all forms and agreements signed and keep copies for personal records.
Late Payment Fees
Learners who have not paid the tuition and/or fees balances in full, nor signed up for a College-approved payment plan, nor have submitted proof of third-party financial assistance by the first day of every semester will be charged a $50 late payment fee.
Late payment fees are non-refundable and will not be waived and are in addition to any third-party loan service late fees.
Helpful Financial Aid Terms
FAFSA or Free Application for Federal Student Aid: financial aid (grants, loans, work-study funds) provided under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 by the U.S. Department of Education
Federal Work-Study: part-time jobs for students with financial need
Grant: financial aid that does not have to be repaid unless funds were awarded incorrectly or if the student withdraws from school prior to the end of the semester
Loans: borrowed sum of money that is intended to pay for education and is expected to be paid back with interest; Federal Student Loans usually offers borrowers lower interest rates and have more flexible repayment options than private loans from banks and other sources
Pass-Through Payments: payment that occurs when a non-Title IV over payment occurred on a student account
Personal Identification Number (PIN): a 4-digit number used to sign the online version of the FAFSA
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP): benchmark that all students accepting financial aid must meet in order to continue qualifying for Federal Student Aid