Frequently Asked Questions About the Financial Aid Process
1. How do I determine if I am eligible for Financial Aid?
2. How will I know my FAFSA has been processed?
3. What do I need to do if I am selected for Verification?
4. How is Financial Aid awarded?
5. How is Financial Aid Disbursed?
6. If I receive Financial Aid, what are my responsibilities? Are there restrictions regarding what classes I can take?
7. What is Financial Aid Warning or Suspension?
8. What will happen if I withdraw from my classes?
1. How do I determine if I am eligible for financial aid?
In order to be eligible for financial aid you must:
· be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen;
· have a high school diploma or GED;
· have demonstrated financial need;
· be admitted into an approved degree or certificate program;
· maintain satisfactory academic progress;
· not be in default on a loan at any school;
· not owe a refund on a grant at any school;
· be registered with Selective Service, if required;
· be enrolled for at least six (6) credit hours (not including audited courses). Some students enrolled for less than six credit hours may be eligible for Pell.
2. How will I know my FAFSA has been processed?
You will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) from the U.S. Department of Education. This report is generated from the information you provided on the FAFSA. Keep the SAR for your records. It means your FAFSA has been processed and forwarded to the school(s) of your choice. Within 3 – 10 days, the school should receive your information electronically. Once the college has received and reviewed your FAFSA, you will receive a letter from us regarding documents that are required to complete the process. You can also view your TO-DO LIST on your FCC People Soft account. The Financial Aid process cannot be completed until you turn in all requested information to our office
3. What do I need to do if I am selected for verification?
Your application for financial aid may be "selected for verification." This means that the Financial Aid Office is required to verify the accuracy of the information you submitted on your FAFSA. Your eligibility for assistance cannot be confirmed until all requested documentation has been provided and your application has been verified.
Files are either randomly selected for verification by the federal processor, or selected due to changes in the application information or other discrepancies. The Financial Aid Office may select any file for verification.
Financial Aid Programs Affected by Verification
· Federal Pell Grant Program
· Federal College Work Study Program
· Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
· Maryland State Part-Time Grant
· Federal Direct Loan Program (Stafford & PLUS)
· FCC Grant
Time Frame to Respond to Verification Requests
If your financial aid file is incomplete, you will be sent a letter from the Financial Aid Office requesting documents necessary to complete your file, including verification items. Please submit requested information within two weeks from the date of the letter. Federal and Institutional financial aid will not be awarded until the verification process is complete.
If you are selected for verification, you will be required to submit a Verification Worksheet , along with Income Tax information. We are no longer allowed to accept personal tax forms. Please read the following regarding how to obtain acceptable tax information
Additional verification documents may include:
· Social Security Administration statement of benefits
· Alien registration card
· Military leave and earnings statements
· Social Security card
· Proof of child support (paid or received)
· Proof of separation/divorce
· Social Services statement of AFDC/ADC/TANF
· Proof of receipt of SNAP benefits
· Proof of high school diploma
· Transcripts from prior colleges
4. How is financial aid awarded?
Financial Aid Awarding Procedures
When the Financial Aid office receives your Student Aid Report (SAR) data from the federal processor, you will receive a letter that will list the required documentation items that you need to submit to our office before an official award can be made. If you do not submit the documentation items, your application will not be processed.
After your file is verified, your award will appear on your People Soft account. All financial aid awards are initially based on full-time enrollment (12 or more credit hours) and will be adjusted each semester after the refund period.
All financial aid awards are made according to your ability to pay for your education, which is determined by a federal formula. The formula considers your family income (including your parents' income, if you are dependent on your spouse's income, if you are married), the size of your family, and sometimes, the number of family members attending college at least half-time and your family's assets.
Federal, state, and local taxes paid, social security paid, and an allowance for supporting the family are factors that reduce your income and are also used to determine your Expected Family Contribution. The Expected Family Contribution represents what the formula says your family can contribute.
Each year, the Financial Aid Office develops average student budgets that include tuition, fees, books, transportation, and living expenses. These budgets are the Cost of Attendance budgets
. The Financial Aid Office subtracts the Expected Family Contribution from the Cost of Education. The difference between the Cost of Education and the Expected Family Contribution is your financial need.
· Applications for financial aid are reviewed and awarded in the order they are received.
· When your file is complete, an official award letter will be mailed to you.
· You can also view your financial aid online
· All financial aid awarded prior to the semester, except student loans, is based on projected full-time enrollment.
· Your awards are adjusted after the second week of classes based on actual enrollment at that time. We will check attendance at that time. Aid cannot be awarded to students who do not attend their classes.
· Financial aid does not cover courses that are audited or courses that are part of continuing education.
Please report any changes in your family situation, address, phone number, or school enrollment (including attendance) to the Financial Aid Office.
5. How is Financial Aid Disbursed?
All financial aid proceeds, including student loans, will be credited directly to your student account. The awards will be used to pay all outstanding bills owed to the college for the semester, based on prior approval. If you have a credit balance after all outstanding obligations have been met, you will be issued a refund to your myFCC eFunds card. The amount of financial aid that you are eligible for is determined by your enrollment at the end of the second week of classes. Students will not receive financial aid for classes that are dropped during the refund period
. Refunds will not be available until after that time.
· Maryland State Scholarships are paid in full to students' accounts if students attend classes through the first three weeks of the semester. Otherwise, the awards are refunded in full to the State Scholarship Administration.
6. If I receive financial aid, what are my responsibilities? Are there restrictions regarding what classes I can take?
Federal regulations mandate that financial aid recipients must attend classes on a regular basis for the entire semester. If you stop attending classes, you are required to officially withdraw. If you completely withdraw from classes or stop attending at any point in the semester, you may have your financial aid adjusted based on the Federal Refund calculation. Contact the Financial Aid Office to find out how your financial aid award will be affected. If you never attend a course for which financial aid was awarded, all aid for that course will be canceled and you will be billed.
Please contact the financial aid office prior to withdrawing to determine changes in eligibility of funds.
7. What is Financial Aid Warning, Probation or Suspension?
If you do not meet the stated academic standards at the end of a semester, you will be placed on Financial Aid Warning. While on Financial Aid Warning, you are eligible to receive financial aid for one more semester. If you do not meet the published standards at the end of the Warning semester, you will be suspended (even if you passed all of your classes).
Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards for Financial Aid
Students receiving any federal, state, or institutional financial aid must be making satisfactory progress toward a degree or certificate in order to continue to receive assistance. If you have attended FCC prior to applying for financial aid, all prior academic coursework is included in the calculation of satisfactory academic progress. Your progress is reviewed at the end of each semester and will be determined by three criteria*:
a. COMPLETION RATE: the percentage of courses (credit and non-credit) completed each semester, including summer sessions;
b. GPA: minimum grade point average for total credits attempted; and
c. MAXIMUM TIMEFRAME: program completion within the specified time frame.
You are required to meet the completion rate and minimum grade point average requirements listed below:
Total Credits Attempted
Completion Rate (of total attempted)
0 - 24
25 - 45
46 & above
* Credits attempted include developmental classes. See the Schedule of Classes for the credit hour equivalent for developmental coursework. Grades of Incomplete (I), Repeat (R), In Progress (Z), Audit (X), Withdraw (W), and Fail (F) are not considered successful completion.
If you do not meet the stated academic standards at the end of a semester, you will be placed on Financial Aid Warning. See FAQ #6
If you receive all non-passing grades for all classes in a semester, you must document your attendance in classes. You will be notified as to procedures to document attendance and all future financial aid awards will be canceled until attendance is documented.
Maximum Time Frame
Financial aid applicants must complete their degree or certificate program within a time frame that is no longer than 150% of the published length of the program.
The time frame includes all attempted coursework at FCC plus transfer and advanced placement credits. Even if you change degree programs, all coursework must be counted. The appropriate time frame is calculated according to your current degree program.
For example, the General Studies A.A. degree program requires a maximum of 66 credit hours. To maintain financial aid eligibility, you may attempt no more than 99 credit hours to complete the degree program.
Students who are enrolled in an eligible program can receive financial aid for up to one year (30 credits) of non-credit (remedial) coursework. Remedial coursework is not counted when determining maximum time frame.
Appeal Process and Reinstatement of Financial Aid
If you become ineligible for financial aid due to academic progress or because the maximum time frame has been reached, you may submit a written appeal to the Director of Financial Aid. If you had mitigating circumstances that affected academic performance, a written appeal with appropriate documentation should be submitted to the Director of Financial Aid at the time ineligibility is determined. You will also be required to speak with an academic advisor to formulate an Academic Plan for success. All appeals are reviewed by a Financial Aid Committee. An Appeal for Financial Aid Suspension, Maximum Time Frame and Unusual Enrollment History
can be found in the Financial Aid Forms section of the web site. Please complete all steps listed on the form
8. What will happen if I withdraw from my classes?
All financial aid recipients receiving Federal Title IV funds who withdraw completely from the semester either officially or unofficially are subject to the Return of Title IV Funds calculation. The calculation determines the percentage of the Title IV funds that have been earned. The Financial Aid Office at FCC will determine the last date of attendance that will be used in this calculation. If you are considering withdrawing from one or more of your classes, please check with our office to determine the ramifications.
If you NEVER attend your courses, all financial aid will be cancelled and you will be billed for all charges.
If you did attend for part of the semester, you are subject to the Return of Title IV Funds. This calculation is based on the percentage of financial aid funds that has been earned. The amount of Title IV Funds that has been earned is determined by taking the percentage of the semester that you attended and multiplying that percentage by the Title IV Funds that have been awarded. For example: if the semester is 120 days in length and you attended for 40 days, you attended for 33.3% of the semester. This means that you have earned 33.3% of the financial aid that has been awarded. If financial aid funds have been disbursed to you, the financial aid office will determine if any of the financial aid funds that were disbursed were unearned and required to be returned. If you are required to refund Title IV funds, you will be notified in writing and will be required to repay the funds to the college. You will be given the option to set up a payment plan. If funds have not been disbursed, the financial aid office will determine if you are eligible for a late disbursement for the amount of funds that were earned.
The college will return unearned Title IV funds to the programs in the order that is specified by law. The order is listed below:
· Unsubsidized Federal Stafford loans
· Subsidized Federal Stafford loans
· Federal PLUS loans
· Federal Pell Grant
· Federal SEOG Program
If you owe a refund based on this Return of Title IV Funds calculation and have not repaid or established a repayment plan with the college within 45 days of notification, you may lose future eligibility of Title IV funds until a satisfactory arrangement has been made. Sample calculations of this policy are available upon request from the financial aid office at the college.
Tuition Refund Request Appeal
If, for extraordinary reasons, you withdraw after the normal refund period, the college will consider granting you a partial refund of tuition and fees. In order to be eligible for consideration, you must submit a Tuition Refund Request form
(available from the Student Accounts Office) with documentation supporting your request.