Common Financial Aid Terms
Adding Classes – can positively affect the amount of financial aid you are entitled to receive when you go from half-time to full-time.
Auditing a class – financial aid does not pay for audited classes.
Cost of Attendance – how much it will cost to attend a particular college. The COA varies by type of school, the direct and indirect costs associated with that school, and it may vary from one program of study to another. The types of expenses that SFCC normally uses to determine COA are listed below:
- Room and Board
- Loan Fees
Dependent versus Independent Status - your answers to seven questions on the FAFSA determine if you are classified as a dependent (and thus your parent’s information is used in the EFC calculation) or as an independent (and only your information is used to determine the EFC). The questions that determine your status ask if you are under 24 years of age; if you’re married; enrolled in a master’s or doctoral program; have children; have other dependents; you’re an orphan or ward of the court; or if you are a veteran of the U.S Armed Forces. You may appeal this through the SFCC Financial Aid Office by completing a Dependency Override Request Form. Please keep in mind that you would be asking SFCC to override federal guidelines. Simply moving out of your parents house is not justification in and of itself to approve your request.
Dropping Classes – can negatively change the amount of financial aid you are entitled to receive. Before you drop a class please make sure you understand how it will affect your financial aid. Dropping classes may also cause you to fall out of compliance with SFCC’s Academic Progress Standards. If this happens you will be placed on Financial Aid Probation for the next semester and you could ultimately lose your financial aid eligibility.
Expected Family Contribution (EFC) – a federally established calculation that is used to determine your family’s ability to help pay for your college education. Keep in mind, that federal financial aid law is based on the concept that parents and students have a responsibility to pay a portion of a student’s educational costs.
Federal Work Study/Student Employment – provides jobs for undergraduates who are in need of such earnings to meet a portion of their educational expenses.
Financial Aid Appeals – Students may appeal the denial of financial assistance by written request to the Director of Financial Aid. Students should explain any mitigating circumstances relating to their academic situation.
Financial Aid Probation – A student whose cumulative GPA is less than the required minimum GPA as shown on the chart for the number of credit hours attempted and/or fails to complete the needed total hours will be placed on financial aid probation.
Financial Aid Suspension – Students whose GPA at the conclusion of the probationary semester is less than the required cumulative GPA as shown on the chart for the number of credit hours attempted and/or have failed to complete the needed percentage of total hours attempted will be suspended from receiving financial aid. Once a student regains a satisfactory GPA, and/or completes the needed total hours attempted may reapply for financial assistance.
Financial Need – Is the student’s calculated eligibility for financial assistance. Financial Need is determined by subtracting the EFC from the COA. Financial aid in the form of grants, loans, employment and scholarships is awarded to meet a student’s financial need. Unsubsidized Stafford loans are available to assist in meeting educational expenses of students without calculated need.
Grants – money you do not have to pay back.
Loans- money you have to pay back. Under the Federal Family Education Loan Program a lender, a bank or credit union provides the loan funds. The interest rates are set at 6.8 percent. The rate is subject to change on July 1 of each year. Eligibility for a student loan is not based on the student’s credit history. However, loan amounts are limited based on your grade level. A freshman can receive up to $3,500and sophomores can receive up to $4,500.
Maximum Length of Time to Receive Financial Aid – Students whose cumulative attempted hours exceed the maximum time frame will be suspended from financial aid benefits. Financial Aid recipients are to be degree seeking students and as a result, should be taking classes that pertain to that educational goal. Federal financial aid law allows a student to take up to 150% of the total number of credits needed to complete a degree. This leaves some room to change degrees and still receive financial aid.
Need-based – aid from most financial aid programs is given based on the financial need of the student. The information you provide on the FAFSA is used to calculate your financial need.
Professional Judgment – circumstances such as loss of job, divorce, unusually high medical expenses, national disasters, and other significant changes in your family’s finances may warrant you to request the financial aid office consider reviewing your financial aid application to adjust your cost of attendance or the information used to calculate your EFC to take into account your special circumstances. Please keep in mind, there has to be very good reasons, that can be documented, and as a result very few requests are approved. You may complete a Special Conditions Request Form at the Financial Aid Office. You will need to provide additional documentation as outlined in the special conditions form. The Financial Aid Office will evaluate the situation and documentation and determine if any adjustments can be made to your financial aid. Please keep in mind very few of these requests are approved.
Repeating a class – classes taken more than one time will count toward your financial aid award. This means if you repeat a class because you failed it earlier, you can use the Pell Grant or loans to pay for that class. However, the A+ program and VA benefits will not pay for repeated classes.
Subsidized Stafford Loans – the interest is paid by the government while the student is in school.
Unsubsidized Stafford Loans – the interest is paid by the student borrower.
Withdrawals – If you decide to completely withdraw from your classes you should visit the Registrar’s Office and complete a withdrawal form to begin the withdrawal process. This will help SFCC to correctly calculate your refund in order to refund the maximum possible institutional charges. The date used when calculating the refund will be the date of withdrawal documented in the Registrar’s Office. The exception would be in instances when the student’s last documented date of attendance was significantly earlier than the withdrawal date. The federal law requires that if you withdraw from all of your classes a Return of Title IV Funds calculation must also be performed on the financial aid you received. The calculation determines if you must return any of the financial aid you received.