I probably don't qualify for aid. Should I apply anyway?

Yes. Many families mistakenly think they don't qualify for aid and prevent themselves from receiving financial aid by failing to apply. In addition, there are a few sources of aid such as unsubsidized Stafford loans that are available regardless of need. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form is free. There is no good excuse for not applying.

How do I apply for a Pell Grant and other types of need-based aid?

Submit a FAFSA online. For student employment and student loans, you should check the appropriate boxes. There is also a separate application for student employment and student loans. File the FAFSA now if you wish.

What is a Student Aid Report?

After filing your FAFSA, it will be processed in approximately four weeks by the U.S. Department of Education. Then, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) in the mail. The SAR will reflect the information from your application and, if there are no questions or problems with your application, your SAR will provide your expected family contribution (EFC), the number used in determining your eligibility for federal student aid. If you listed Copiah-Lincoln Community College (Code 002402) on your FAFSA, we will also receive a copy of your SAR.

When and how will I receive my financial aid?

Financial aid awards are normally credited to your account at the start of each semester. An exception would be a loan made for only one semester, which would be disbursed in two installments. As a financial aid recipient, your financial aid award funds will first be used to pay your tuition, fees, and on-campus housing expenses. After all your expenses are paid for the semester, the balance of your financial aid money will be issued to you in the form of a check from the Business Office after the 10th week of school.

What expenses can I expect financial aid to cover?

Financial aid is awarded based on an average cost of attendance that includes appropriate tuition and fees for your educational program, books and supplies, and other educational expenses. Other educational expenses consist of living, transportation, personal, and miscellaneous expenses during the academic year.

How much will my family be expected to contribute toward my yearly college costs?

Your expected family contribution (EFC) is calculated each year you apply for aid using a national processing formula called the federal methodology. The formula considers your parents' and your income and assets, your family size, and the number of family members enrolled in college. The EFC will be the same at any college you attend.

Do I have to reapply for financial aid every year?

Yes. You must apply for financial aid every year. If your financial circumstances change, you may get more or less aid. Note that your eligibility for financial aid may change significantly, especially if you have a different number of family members in college. Renewal of your financial aid package also depends on your making satisfactory academic progress toward a degree, such as earning a minimum number of hours and achieving a minimum grade point average (GPA).

Can my financial aid change?

Yes. As stated in your award letter, financial aid awards are our best estimate of what you are eligible to receive. Most changes in awards, however, involve factors that are under your control, or of which you should be aware. Your award may be increased, reduced, or even canceled if:

  • Your family financial circumstance changes, causing your need to change.
  • You receive any additional outside resource, such as a privately awarded scholarship, that was not listed on your award letter.
  • You provided incorrect data on your FAFSA.
  • You do not maintain satisfactory academic progress.
  • You are suspended by the College.
  • You do not enroll for the required number of hours to receive aid through the programs awarded to you.
  • You change your enrollment status.
  • You withdraw or cut out of classes.

What are private scholarships?

Private scholarships are awards provided by organizations outside of the College, such as Lions Club, Georgia Pacific, Wal-Mart, your local high school, national organizations, etc. You apply directly to the organization sponsoring the scholarship. The organization then selects the recipients and sends the funds to the College to apply to your expenses.

If I get a private scholarship, what impact does this have on my eligibility for other financial aid?

If you receive a private scholarship award, this may impact your financial aid award since the combination of all financial aid and scholarships cannot exceed your need. If you know that you will be receiving a private scholarship, please contact our office as soon as possible to prevent receiving an over-award, and possible repayment of aid you have already received.

Are scholarships awarded for one year or are there scholarships that are guaranteed for both years?

A number of scholarships, particularly those awarded on academic and need basis, are awarded annually. Scholarship awards made on academic basis are generally renewable for subsequent years, provided the recipient maintains the required grade point average.

How do I compare financial aid awards from several schools?

Financial aid packages should be evaluated based on quantity and quality. A good measure of the quantity of your aid package is to figure out how much financial aid money you will have left after paying your tuition and fees instead of simply considering the total amount.

How is my "financial need" determined?

The federal processor determines your individual family's ability to contribute to the cost of education ("expected family contribution") using the information you provide on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and a formula called "federal methodology." After receiving your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) amount from the processor, the Office of Financial Aid then subtracts your EFC from the standard student budget (average cost of attendance). In formula form: Cost of Attendance - EFC = Student Financial Need.

What is a "standard student budget" or "average cost of attendance?"

The standard student budget is the amount the College estimates it will cost to attend college for the academic year. Costs include tuition and fees, books and supplies, housing, meals, transportation, clothing maintenance, health insurance, and personal expenses. Budgets are calculated for dependent students and independent students.

In determining eligibility for need-based assistance, which income figure is important (gross, net, adjusted)?

The adjusted gross income is used.

Will our savings and other assets be considered when our financial need is being determined?

Family assets, such as stocks and bonds, net business worth, and savings, are taken into account in determining the student's expected family contribution toward his or her education. Eligibility for federal financial aid funds is determined by rules set by the government that provide, among other things, allowances for retirement needs in computing this contribution.

How do I become an independent student for federal aid purposes?

You may be considered independent if you can answer 'Yes' to any one of the questions in Step 3 of the FAFSA.

I'm going to be married during the school year for which I am applying for aid. Can I fill out my FAFSA as "married"?

No. You must indicate your marital status as of the date you are completing the FAFSA.

If my parents are divorced or separated, whose financial data should be used when I'm completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?

If your natural parents are separated or divorced, use the natural parent with whom you lived the most in the past 12 months. If you lived with neither parent or lived with each parent an equal number of days, use the parent that provided the most financial support to you over the past 12 months. If that parent has remarried, you must also include the stepparent's financial information on the application, and parent and stepparent should report themselves as married on the FAFSA.

Example: You have been living with your mother and stepfather for the past 12 months. You would use your mother's income and stepfather's income, and you would report on the FAFSA as the number in family: yourself, your mother, your stepfather, and any other children that they support.

What if I have unusual circumstances?

If any of the following circumstances apply to you or your family, check with your financial aid advisor immediately to see if this might affect your financial aid application.

  • Divorce of parents, or you from your spouse
  • Death of a major wage earner
  • Loss of employment of a major wage earner
  • Loss of other income or benefits (such as Social Security or child support) by you, your parents, or your spouse

What is verification?

Verification is a federally mandated quality control process in which files are selected at random to check certain data elements on the FAFSA. If your file is selected for verification, the school is required to compare these data elements with the information on your tax returns to verify their accuracy. Your SAR will tell you if you have been selected for verification.

What if I am selected for verification?

You will need to submit to the Financial Aid Office signed copies of parent and student tax returns and a completed Verification Statement verifying household size, untaxed income, and number in college.

I want a federal work-study job. How can I get one?

Because work-study is a need-based financial aid award, to qualify recipients must apply for financial aid and be determined to have financial need. Please note that to be considered for federal work-study as part of your financial aid award, you MUST apply early in the year—by the April 1 priority deadline—since the work-study funds are often depleted early in the year.

Do I have to pay taxes on the money I earn through federal work-study?

Yes, work-study income is taxable. You will receive a W-2 form from the College at the end of each year, and this form will indicate how much you made from all employment at the College including work-study employment in the prior year. Note that although you may have to pay taxes on work-study earnings, you should list those earnings as income on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), but then also report them as Title IV exclusions. When filling out the FAFSA, read the FAFSA booklet instructions for Worksheet #3 carefully.

What is the difference between the subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford Loan?

The subsidized Staffoard loan is awarded to students who demonstrate financial need. The government pays the interest on this loan while the student is in school. The interest on the unsubsidized Stafford loan is not paid by the government while the student is in school, rather it is the responsibility of the student, who has the choice to either make interest payments or defer the payments until after graduation, at which time it will be added to the principal of the loan.

Who is my lender?

The "lender" is the lending institution (bank, credit union, etc.) that makes your student loan funds available to you.

What is loan counseling and why do I have to have it?

Loan counseling is required by federal regulations for all first-time borrowers at a school. The session gives an overview of the federal loan program, discussing the types of loans, interest rates, borrower rights and responsibilities, etc. Loan counseling can be done over the internet. http://mappingyourfuture.org/Borrowers/

How will I know when my loan money arrives?

The Financial Aid Office will notify you by mail with the date and the amount of your scheduled disbursement after they receive the loan guarantee. The loan refund checks are picked up in the Business Office on the Friday after the disbursement date.

How can I get an in-school deferment on repayment of my loan?

Request the deferment form from your bank and have our Registrar's Office complete it, then send it back to the bank. Continue to make all payments until your bank sends you confirmation of your deferment.

A letter is required from the agency, or holder of the defaulted loan, stating that the default has been cleared.

What happens to my financial aid status if I withdraw from school?

Check with the Financial Aid Office before withdrawing from school. Depending on when you withdraw from school, you may be required to repay a specified percentage of any aid you have received in the term in which you are withdrawing since the funds you receive are designed to help you meet your living expenses for the entire term. You may also forfeit some types of financial aid you have been awarded.

Can I get aid for summer school?

Yes, provided you have eligible funds remaining. If you plan to attend summer school, you will need to make sure your file is complete on or before May 1.