Financial Aid FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Please find a brief listing of questions and answers below.  For additional information, please visit your college's financial aid webpage.
 
Can you get financial aid for online classes?
If you are enrolled as a regular student in an eligible program, you may be eligible to receive federal student aid.  To determine your eligibility, please check out your home college's website or contact the Financial Aid Office at the college that will be granting your degree/diploma.
 
Who is eligible to receive financial assistance?
To determine your federal and state aid eligibility, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and list the school that you will be attending on the FAFSA. Your school will determine what types of federal and state aid for which you qualify using the Student Aid Report (the results of the FAFSA) and any other documentation that the school requires you to provide.
 
To receive federal student aid, you must meet the basic student eligibility requirements outlined by the U.S. Department of Education:
- Be qualified to enroll in a postsecondary education
- Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a regular student working toward a degree or certificate in an eligible program
- Meet satisfactory academic progress standards
- Be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen
- Have a valid Social Security number
- Certify that you are not in default on a federal student loan and do not owe money on a federal student grant
- Comply with Selective Service registration, if required.
 
How do I apply for financial aid?
To apply for federal and state student aid, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the appropriate deadlines. Complete your FAFSA on the web at www.fafsa.ed.gov .  Please check with your home college to see if there are any institutional forms or processes that must be completed.
 
I am an older student.  Am I eligible to receive financial assistance?
Age is not a factor in determining eligibility for Federal Student Aid programs.
 
Do I make too much money to get financial aid?
Every student, regardless of income, can be eligible for a student loan if other eligibility criteria are met. Students should fill out the FAFSA early each year so that they will have the opportunity to consider all of their student aid options.
 
When will I find out if I have received financial aid?
After you have completed the FAFSA, verification (if required), and returned any other documents requested by your home college, the institution should notify you in some format of your financial aid award package. If you have any questions as to the status of your financial aid, please contact the Financial Aid Office at your home college. Some schools may require you to apply for admission before they begin processing your financial aid.
 
If I have questions about my financial aid award, who should I contact?
Visit your college's Financial Aid webpage, college portal or contact the Financial Aid Office  at your home college. The Financial Aid Administrator at a postsecondary institution combines various forms of aid into a "package" to help meet a student's need. Using available resources to give each student the best possible package of aid is one of the aid administrator's major responsibilities. Because funds are often limited, a financial aid package might fall short of the amount for which a student is eligible. Also, the amount of federal student aid in a financial aid package is affected by other sources of aid received (scholarships, state aid, etc.).
 
Can my financial aid pay for textbooks?
Federal financial aid is awarded to help cover school expenses, including tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and transportation. Aid can also help pay for a computer and for dependent care.  There are three categories of student aid: grants/scholarships, work-study, and loans. Check with your home college to see what aid programs are available and how any funds awarded to you can help with the cost of textbooks.
 
How do I know that my college has received my financial aid funds?
There are a variety of ways in which financial aid funds may be received by your college and subsequently disbursed to you. Schools must disburse at least once per term (semester, trimester, or quarter). Schools that do not use formally defined, traditional terms must disburse funds at least twice per academic year. Check with your home college to see how and when you will receive the aid awarded to you.
 
Where can I find scholarships?
First, check with your home college to see what scholarships are offered; be sure that you know the deadlines for applying for these scholarships. Finding outside or private scholarships (grant money other than that provided by your college) can be challenging and time consuming, but it is a worthwhile task. It is always helpful to use one of the many free scholarship search services available on the internet. (Many colleges recommend using FastWeb Scholarship Search.)  These sites will compile a profile of your activities, interests, achievements and academics to match you to scholarship sources for which you may be eligible.
 
Beware of scholarship scams. Do not provide payment or credit card information until you have checked to see that a reputable business is offering a service for which you are willing to pay.
 
Can I use my GI Bill for online courses?
The Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB AD) (Active Duty) is available for active duty and veterans to help with education costs. The Bill provides up to 36 months of education benefits for:
  • College, Business Technical or Vocational Courses
  • Distance Learning including Correspondence Courses
  • Certification Tests
  • Apprenticeship/Job Training (Veterans and Reserve Only)
  • Flight Training
  • Call 1-888-GI-Bill1 for additional information or contact the Veterans' Advisor at your home college.

Basic Definitions

Financial Aid:  Funding intended to help students pay for college education expenses including tuition & fees, room & board, books and supplies.
 
Grants:  Free money available through state and federal programs that may be awarded on the basis of need.
 
Scholarships:  Free money awarded on the basis of scholastic achievement, merit and/or need.
 
Loans:  Money to be paid back with interest; includes all types of federal loans and private loans.