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Financial Aid FAQ

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Financial Aid FAQ


What aid is available through the Financial Aid Office at LCC?

Scholarships*
Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Washington State Need Grant*
Federal and State Work Study (student employment)*
Direct subsidized loan*
Direct unsubsidized loan: non-need based

*Require financial need which is determined by your FAFSA

How do I apply for LCC scholarships?

LCC offers over $200,000 each year in scholarships. The scholarship application process is a separate application process from the financial aid application process. You can apply for scholarships at on the LCC website by searching for scholarships.

Where and when do I apply for financial aid?

Apply using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) available at www.fafsa.gov. The FAFSA determines which aid programs and the amount of aid for which you are eligible. Your FAFSA form will be electronically sent to the school 5-7 business days after you complete the form. You must apply with the FAFSA even if you are only applying for student loans. Your financial aid is not automatically renewed. You must apply one time each academic year with the FAFSA. You do not need to reapply during an academic year even if you stopped attending one or more quarters

Is there a deadline to apply for financial aid?

Yes, the deadline is a suggested date that allows for adequate processing of your financial aid award, ensures most students will likely receive their financial aid check by the end of the first week of classes, and reduces the risk that grant funding is depleted. If you missed the priority deadline, you are likely to receive a check for any remaining amount after tuition and fees are paid, up to 6 weeks after you completed your financial aid file. Priority deadlines to complete your entire financial aid file are as follows:

  • Summer 2016: May 24, 2016
  • Fall 2016: August 10, 2016
  • Winter 2017: November 22, 2016
  • Spring 2017: February 20, 2017
  • Last day to apply and submit documents to complete your financial aid file for 2016-17: April 7, 2017

I submitted my FAFSA, what’s next?

As required by the Department of Education, once your FAFSA is received by LCC your file goes through a multi- step process designed to make sure that all required forms and documentation are received, that you are eligible for financial aid, and you receive the correct amount of funds. Due to thousands of applications received each year, this process requires a minimum of 3-6 weeks to complete. Front Office Staff: are available to assist you in determining whether you have correctly submitted all required forms. They are not able to inform you of your financial aid eligibility. Submitting all of your required forms is not an indicator of whether you are eligible for financial aid. Your aid eligibility can only be determined by staff in the back office. A positive response from office staff of ‘your file is complete’ is not an indicator that you are eligible for financial aid or will receive financial aid.

I was told my file is complete, what’s next?

Back Office Staff: will process your file through all required steps set by the Department of Education. As we move your file through the process we may have additional questions or need additional information to satisfy the requirements of the Department of Education. We may contact you more than a few times to obtain all the information we need. Please be patient with us as we attempt to move your file through the process as efficiently as possible. Your immediate response to any additional information requested is appreciated and helps us to process your financial aid award faster. The final check to determine your eligibility for financial aid cannot take place until all information is received and all steps are complete on your file. We process all files in strict date order of completion. We cannot move your file ahead in line as students before you have been waiting longer and are equally in need of financial aid. If you change your enrollment level your financial aid will be delayed, please be patient as we reprocess your file. Remember that financial aid is only meant to ‘assist’ you with your educational related expenses. Students should have a back-up plan in place at all times for how they will meet their living expenses while they are waiting for financial aid.

What is the Financial Aid Portal?

The Financial Aid Portal allows you to view and upload documents required to complete your financial aid application, view messages from financial staff to you, view your financial aid award and see the date your financial aid check was processed. You are required to log into the portal frequently as it is the only notification of documents required and awards offered from the Financial Aid Office. LCC must receive your FAFSA before you can log into the Portal. Instructions for logging into the Portal are available at lowercolumbia.edu/finaid.

What other forms do I need to turn in?

You may be asked to turn in additional forms. You will be notified of any additional forms required through the Financial Aid Portal. All financial aid forms are at lowercolumbia.edu/finaid.

How long does it take to receive an award?

Minimum 3-6 weeks, possibly longer during peak award times. All documents including loan paperwork, if a loan was requested, must be received before processing can begin. Completed financial aid applications are processed chronologically in order of date completed.

How is financial need determined?

The FAFSA collects information needed to determine your eligibility for aid. Based on the information you provide, the Financial Aid Office considers you for all aid programs for which you are eligible. The Financial Aid Office determines your financial need by subtracting your estimated family contribution (EFC) from your cost of attendance (COA). The Federal Processor of your FAFSA determines your EFC by using the needs analysis formula approved by Congress.

COA - EFC = NEED

Your COA includes tuition/fees, books/supplies, personal expenses, transportation costs, and room/board costs. To treat all students equally, we use standard budgets and apply them to all applicants.

2015-16 Standard 9 Month Budgets

  • Tuition/Fees: $4,281 (living with parents); $4,281 (not living with parents)
  • Books/Supplies: $1,155 (living with parents); $1,155 (not living with parents)
  • Room/Board: $3,597 (living with parents); $10,758 (not living with parents)
  • Personal: $1,848 (living with parents); $2,046 (not living with parents)
  • Transportation: $1,518 (living with parents); $1,485 (not living with parents)

  • TOTAL: $12,399 (living with parents); $19,725 (not living with parents)

Federal regulations require that additional resources such as scholarships, agency funding or tribal funding be considered a resource when awarding financial aid. If you have received additional resources you are required to inform our office so we may evaluate your financial aid eligibility.

How many credits do I have to enroll in to receive aid?

  • Pell Grant: minimum 1 credit
  • Federal Supplement Educational Opportunity Grant: minimum 6 credits
  • State Need Grant: minimum 3 credits
  • Work study: minimum 6 credits
  • Direct Loan: minimum 6 credits

What is my enrollment level?

  • Full time: 12+ credits
  • 3/4 time: 9-11 credits
  • 1/2 time: 6-8 credits
  • Less than 1/2 time: 1-5 credits

Your award is based the on the number of credits you are attending. To be considered full-time, you must take at least 12 credits during the term you register, including Summer Quarter.

Can I get financial aid for all four quarters including Summer Quarter?

Yes, your total annual award amount will be split over the four quarters instead of three quarters for some aid programs.

I see my award in the portal what do I do now?

Read the Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards, and Conditions of Your Award, in this handbook. Applying for financial aid in addition to registering for classes implies your intent to receive financial aid funds. If you decide not to attend, notify the Financial Aid Office before the 100% refund date (see Registration) and return all financial aid checks you receive to the LCC Cashier or you will owe a repayment of student aid funds.

What happens when I am awarded?

If you registered for classes, the cashier will use it to pay your tuition and fees and a check will process for the remainder, if any, after tuition and fees have been paid. The LCC finance office begins mailing checks 1-2 business days prior to the start of the quarter and daily thereafter. This is not a guarantee that your check will be mailed 1-2 business days before the start of the quarter because it’s dependent on the date you completed your financial aid 12 file and your full enrollment for the term. See financial aid deadlines.

What if I want to change my enrollment level?

Prior to the start of the quarter, go to the Financial Aid Office to find out if your award will need to be adjusted. Your enrollment level in Registration must match Financial Aid or your tuition and fees will not be paid and the system will not process your financial aid award or a calculate a financial aid check, if there is a remaining amount, after tuition and fees are paid.

What is an Administrative Hold?

If you submitted a FAFSA and all required documents by the Last Day to Receive an Administrative Hold, you will be automatically held in your classes while you are waiting for your financial aid award and you do not need to pay your tuition and fees. Students who have been subjected to a 30 day delay on loan funds are eligible for an Administrative Hold during this time provided they met the Last Day for an Administrative Hold deadline. See Important Financial Aid Dates and Deadlines available on the LCC website.

What if my financial aid is not enough to cover tuition and fees or I missed the deadline for an Administrative Hold?

You are responsible for paying your tuition and fees or the balance not covered. Make payment at the cashier’s window or online. Tuition Deferments and Payment Plans are also available, see the cashier for information and deadlines.

How do I receive a financial aid check?

If you have financial aid funds available after tuition and fees have been paid, you will receive the funds in the form of a check that will be mailed to you generally 1-2 business days prior to the start of quarter depending on when you completed your financial aid file. Make sure that LCC has your current address on file in the Registration Office at all times to avoid a delay in receiving your check. Your name must be on the mailbox at the address you provided or the US Post Office will not deliver your check.

I received my check, what do I do with it?

Cash it and then purchase your books and supplies. If there is any amount remaining, it can be used for education related expenses: housing, transportation, and personal expenses that you are incurring BECAUSE you are attending school. It cannot be used for non-education related expenses such as hobbies, entertainment, vacations, court/probation fines, etc., as those are not expenses you have incurred BECAUSE you are attending school.

What is work study?

Work study allows you to obtain a job on campus and receive a regular paycheck. If you have financial need according to your FAFSA you may be eligible for a work study job. The Financial Aid Office can tell you if you are eligible. You must be enrolled in a minimum of 6 credits each quarter you work except summer quarter. If you are not registered for classes summer quarter, you may sign an Intent to Enroll form for fall quarter and still work during summer quarter. You receive a paycheck for the hours you work and will be paid once a month at the cashier’s window. To find a job, go to Career and Employment Services located in the Admission Center and tell them you would like to find out about available work study jobs. If you find a job you want to apply for bring the job detail to the Financial Aid Office and we will send paperwork with you to the supervisor of that position.

How do I apply for a student loan?

You may apply for a loan in the 2016-17 academic year until April 7, 2017. If you are requesting a loan for the first time you must complete and submit the Federal Direct Loan Worksheet, Entrance Counseling, and Master Promissory Note. We also request you complete a money management module in SALT. If you have received a Direct Loan at LCC in the past 10 years, generally you do not need to complete a new Master Promissory Note. Go to lowercolumbia.edu/finaid, click on Financial Aid Forms, and click on Federal Direct Stafford Loan Worksheet. Follow all instructions to complete and submit the required forms.

* The lifetime maximum on subsidized loans, for students who have financial need, is 150% of your program length for all students who are a new borrower or had a zero loan balance as of July 1, 2013. Example: if your program is 2 years in length you are eligible for up to 3 years of subsidized loans. If you request a student loan and are eligible for a subsidized loan, the Department of Education does not allow students to decline a subsidized loan for the purpose of saving eligibility for future use. *First time borrower’s loan checks are not available until 30 days after the quarter begins. *If you met all financial aid application deadlines and you owe tuition and fees during this time, you will automatically be held in your classes. If you are held in your classes, you will not need to pay your tuition and fees until your loan check is available. *Loan checks for students receiving a loan for only one quarter during the academic year will be split in half with the second half available at approximately mid-term. *The annual maximum a first year student can borrow is $3,500 in a subsidized loan. Unsubsidized loans: $2,000 for a dependent student and $6,000 for an independent student. *The Department of Education allows schools to refuse to certify loans on a case by case basis. If we are unable to certify your loan, you will be notified of the reason via letter.

What is the life time maximum for Pell Grant?

Students may receive Pell Grant for 6 full years. This allows some time for program changes and to complete a full bachelor degree. Students should plan their academic goals carefully to avoid running out of time to complete a degree.

What if I want to drop one or more classes during the quarter?

Federal and state rules require that schools monitor your progress by reviewing the number of credits you were paid for against your transcript and your grade point average. Continued receipt of your financial aid award is dependent upon your satisfactory academic progress. If you drop credits during the quarter including courses with variable credits attached and it changes your enrollment level, your financial aid could be affected by warning, suspension, or even a repayment of student aid funds. See the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards and Conditions of Your Award at the beginning of this handbook.

What if I stop attending LCC and I have a loan?

You are required by federal rules to complete Exit Loan Counseling available at www.studentloans.gov . You will have to start making payment on the loan 6 months after you leave school, regardless of whether you graduate. Since a loan is money you will have to pay back consider loans as a last resort for funding your education. If you fail to make the loan payment, your credit will be negatively affected and the Department of Education could even garnish your tax return to pay the loan. In addition you will be ineligible to receive further aid at any college in the U.S. if your loan payments are not made timely

What if I stop attending all of my classes during the quarter or receive all F grades in my classes?

You could owe a repayment of student aid funds and be placed on warning or suspension. See the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards and Conditions of Your Award at the beginning of this handbook.

What are my responsibilities as a student?

  • Have a plan B - financial aid is usually not enough to live off. Make a plan as to how you will meet your living expenses while you attend school. Suggestions: work study (employment), and scholarships.
  • Read and understand the Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards and the Conditions of Your Award, in this handbook.
  • Log into the Financial Aid Portal on a regular basis to check for award updates and important messages from financial aid.
  • Read and understand your award. Remember loans must be paid back when you stop attending and regardless of whether you graduate.
  • Keep the Registration Office informed of your current address, phone number and email.

What if I have other questions about financial aid?

Contact the Financial Aid Office:

1. Go to lowercolumbia.edu/finaid

2. Email the Financial Aid Office at financialaidoffice@lowercolumbia.edu

3. Call the Financial Aid Office at 360-442-2390.

4. Visit the Financial Aid Office in person in the Admission Center. Office hours vary.

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