What is the FAFSA and why do I have to fill it out every year?
The FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It is required by the Federal Government to determine what types of aid each student is eligible for. We will not be able to award any need-based institutional or government aid, nor government loans without the FAFSA. It has to be completed every year. You can begin filing the FAFSA January 1 of each year. As your taxes are required to complete the FAFSA, you can use the previous year's taxes as an estimate. However, you will need to update your FAFSA once your taxes have been completed which may adjust your aid. Apply online at fafsa.ed.gov.
My parent(s) doesn't want to fill out the FAFSA. Can I still get aid?
If you are under the age of 24, single, and/or childless, you will need your parent's information on the FAFSA to receive aid. We cannot simply treat you as an independent student because your parent does not want to help.
What is my Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and why is it so high?
Your EFC is the amount of money that the government expects you to be able to spend out-of-pocket for college. The EFC amount was determined by the government based on the information on your FAFSA.
Do I need to send the school a copy of my FAFSA?
No. Once the government has finished processing your FAFSA they will send a copy to all schools listed on your FAFSA. Once we have received the FAFSA into our system, you will receive a system generated email letting you know that we have it. If you did not list our school code, you can go back into your FAFSA account and add our code (003767) or contact us and we can add our code to your FAFSA (we will need to know your DRN in order to add our code – your DRN is listed on the SAR that the government emailed to you).
Where do I apply for loans?
The Sub/Unsub loans listed on the student's award letter are already guaranteed to the student as a result of the FAFSA. However, the student will need to complete Entrance Counseling and a Master Promissory Note online at studentloans.gov before we can receive the money. If you would like to apply for a DPLUS Loan, you can do that online at studentloans.gov. The DPLUS Loan is borrowed in the parent's name and requires a Master Promissory Note. (See page 6 of the Financial Aid Catalog) If you would like the student to be the borrower, you can apply for an Alternative Loan online at www.elmselect.com. The student will need a credit-worthy co-signer.
What if I get denied for the Parent DPLUS Loan?
If a parent is denied, the student will be eligible to borrow an additional unsubsidized loan in his/her name. The additional loan will be $4,000.00 if the student is a freshman or sophomore, and $5,000.00 if the student is a junior or senior. If the parent wishes, he/she can instead get an endorser for the loan, similar to a co-signer, and the student will not be eligible for the additional unsubsidized loan. If the student still needs to find a loan, he/she can apply for an alternative loan at elmselect.com but will need a credit-worthy co-signer. (See page 10 of the Financial Aid Catalog)
What is the difference between the Sub and Unsub loans?
The Sub loan is subsidized by the government. It is a need-based loan with a 6.8% fixed interest rate; the government will pay the interest while the student is in school. The Unsub loan has a 6.8% fixed interest rate and the government does not pay the interest while the student is in school. Repayment on both loans begins six (6) months after the student graduates or drops below a part-time enrollment status. You can make payments ahead of time without penalty. If the student is a first-time borrower with the government, he/she will need to complete Entrance Counseling and sign a Master Promissory Note at studentloans.gov.
What if I cannot afford my loan payment?
Repayment begins on your Subsidized and/or Unsubsidized Loans six (6) months after graduation or if you are enrolled in an accredited institution less than half-time. During the six (6) months, also known as the grace period, you will receive notices from your loan servicer concerning repayment of your loans. You will automatically be enrolled to participate in the Standard Repayment Plan, but you may be eligible to participate in other payment plan options. The plans that are currently available can be found at www.studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/understand/plans or contact your loan servicer. To find who your loan servicer is, please visit www.nslds.ed.gov.
I lost my financial aid folder, can I get another one?
You can view the folder here. What is verification and why do I have to complete it? Verification is a random audit which the Department of Education selects students for in order to ensure that the FAFSA was completed correctly. We will email the student to let them know what documentation we will need from them or their family to complete this process. Without this information we will not be able to disburse any government or institutional/state need-based aid.
My parent(s) lost his/her job, can you give me more aid?
If you are facing some sort of extenuating circumstance, you may be eligible for additional aid. You will need to complete the extenuating circumstance form (downloaded from our website) and verification (as outlined above). Once we review all of your documentation, we may be able to adjust your FAFSA to give you additional government or institutional aid. However, depending on the original EFC and individual situation, results will vary.
Will my scholarship increase if my grades improve?
No. The scholarship that you are awarded as an admitted applicant will not increase. If you are doing well on campus, and have a 3.0 GPA or higher, then you can apply for the Blue Marlin scholarship each spring. This scholarship is very competitive but can help cover a portion of the next year's costs.
What is the Scholarship of the Week?
Every week we email the student body the Scholarship of the Week. This scholarship will be awarded from an outside source and will be available to all different types of students (depending on grade level, GPA, race, religion, area of study, etc.). You can also view them on our website, under types of financial aid. The requirements and applications for each scholarship will differ, but this is a good starting point to find additional aid.
What is work-study?
Work-study is a federal program that allows students to work on campus. Students are paid minimum wage ($7.25 per hour) and can earn up to $750 per semester, working an average of 8-10 hours per week. Students do not have to participate in work-study, but can apply for jobs beginning August 1. If selected for a position, the student will receive a regular paycheck, biweekly. The student can spend the money him/herself, or return the money to the business office to apply toward the next semester's expenses.