Applying for Financial Aid
Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) helps you and/or your family determine what options are available to pay for school, according to a federal calculation. The result is called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). This figure is used by the Financial Aid office to determine how much and what types of aid you may be eligible to receive.
The laws governing the Federal Student Aid (FSA) programs require that a person apply annually for aid with a form provided by the U.S. Department of Education and that no fee be charged for processing it. The form is the FAFSA and its online version is FAFSA on the Web (FOTW). The earliest date a student may apply for Early FAFSA each award year is October 1. Some options have a very limited amount, and once disbursed, may be gone for the year, so it is important to apply as soon as possible.
General Eligibility Requirements
To receive funding from any of the federal or state student aid programs, you must meet all of the following criteria:
- Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
- Demonstrate financial need
- All new students must have a high school diploma, its recognized equivalent (e.g., the GED), or completed homeschooling at the secondary level. If you were enrolled in a program prior to July 1, 2012, and do not meet the previous criteria, you may be eligible for federal student aid if you have demonstrated the "Ability to Benefit". For most students, this means you must pass the COMPASS with minimum scores of 62 in reading, 25 in pre-algebra, and 32 in language/writing; or you must have successfully completed 225 clock hours applicable to your certificate
- You must be pursuing a certificate in a program (career major) that has been approved for Title IV eligibility
- You must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress for your career major
- Certify funds will be used for educational purposes
- Comply with the Selective Service System requirements (men aged 18-25)
- If you have previous loans or grants, you must not be in default on any loans or owe a repayment on any grants
Students Convicted of Possession or Sale of Drugs
A federal or state drug conviction can disqualify a student for FSA funds. The student self-certifies in applying for aid on the FAFSA that he is eligible for. Convictions only count if an offense occurred during a period of enrollment for which the student received Title IV financial aid and do not count if received when the student was a juvenile unless tried as an adult.