What is Federal Student Aid?
It is financial assistance given by the federal government to students who demonstrate financial need and who are enrolled in an eligible program as a regular student at a school participating in the Title IV Federal Student Aid Programs.
The three primary types of federal student aid are grants, loans, and part-time employment opportunities.
Federal aid covers school expenses such as tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, transportation.
How do I apply for Federal Financial Aid?
Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online. Using the Web version is faster and fewer mistakes are made because of built-in edits that help prevent costly errors. By listing our school code, we will be allowed to receive your information from central processor within three weeks from the date you file online.
Do I have to apply every year?
Yes, you must apply every year! The priority date for SFSC is March 15 each year. The state aid deadline date for Florida is May 15 each year. The FAFSA application is available after Jan. 1 each year.
How will the school I wish to attend know if I have filed the FAFSA?
Step Six of the FAFSA form asks which colleges you want to receive your FAFSA information. If SFSC is your choice, you will enter SFSC Federal School Code of 001522.
Why do I need to provide my parents’ information on the FAFSA?
If you are not able to answer yes in Step Three of the FAFSA, you are considered a dependent student and must report your parents’ income and assets as well as your own information on the FAFSA. Federal student aid programs are based on the principle that students (and their parents or spouse, if applicable) are considered the primary source of support for postsecondary education. Not living with parents or not being claimed by them on the tax form does not determine dependency status.
If I am considered an independent student, am I still required to report my parents’ information?
No, as an independent student, you only report your income and assets (and those of a spouse, if married). Remember, if married, your tax filing status is married filing jointly or married filing separate.
How is my eligibility determined?
Student’s general eligibility criteria:
- Must be enrolled or accepted for enrollment in eligible program of study
- Must be pursuing degree, certificate, or other recognized credential
- Must be U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
- Must be registered with Selective Service (if male and required)
- Must have a valid Social Security number (SSN)
- Must not owe an overpayment of federal grant or loan funds
- Must not be in default on a federal or state student loan
- Must be making satisfactory academic progress (as defined by school)
How do I know if I qualify for financial aid?
Federal Methodology is the formula created and used by Congress to determine the family Expected Family Contribution (EFC) based on the information you report on the FAFSA. The EFC is the number that’s used to determine your eligibility for federal student aid. To be eligible for the Pell Grant, your EFC must be below a certain number, which may vary from year to year. Your EFC will appear on your Student Aid Report (SAR) or your Electronic Student Aid Report (ESAR).
For the 2015-16 award year, the Pell Grant eligible EFC is $5,198. A student with EFC below this amount is eligible to receive the Pell Grant.
How do I determine the cost of attendance (COA)?
The COA is the total amount it may cost a student to go to school. The COA includes tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, transportation, etc.
What is an FSA ID/Password, and what is it used for?
The FSA ID/Password is an electronic access code number that serves as your identifier and signature. You can create this at the Create a New FSA ID/Password Web page.
With your FSA ID/Password, you are able to:
- Apply for federal student aid online by completing the FAFSA.
- Sign your application electronically. If you’re a dependent student and your parents have a FSA ID/Password, they can sign the application electronically. Signing the application electronically gets your results faster.
- Make corrections to your FAFSA.
- Access and make corrections to your Student Aid Report.
- Access all your federal student aid records online, including any federal student loan information.
Why do I have to provide documentation to the school?
The Federal Processor randomly selects approximately 35 percent of all applicants for the process called VERIFICATION every year. If you are selected for this process, you must submit all requested documentation to the Financial Aid Office at SFSC immediately. This will allow for processing of your file in time for the specified priority date requirements.
When do I get my refund check?
Distribution of any excess financial aid funds (after tuition, fees, and books have been deducted) will be disbursed within 30 days after the drop and add period for each term. After initial distribution, all checks will be issued as they become available from the SFSC Business Office.
Can I pick up my refund check?
Yes! All checks will be available after the initial distribution (date posted at the Cashier’s window) for one week. After the first week, all checks will be mailed to the student address on file in the Registrar’s Office.
Can I receive Federal Student Aid at more than one school during the year for the same semester?
No. If you are enrolled at more than one school in the same term, you can only receive federal aid at the school you are considered degree seeking.
However, you can receive federal student aid at one school one term and at another school the next term as long as it is within the same academic year contingent upon you being degree seeking meeting that school’s eligibility requirement for federal aid.
Note: This must be within the same academic year.
Will bad grades and withdrawing from classes affect my eligibility for financial aid?
Yes, they will! Our office is required to monitor a student’s academic performance, check completion of hours and make sure a student stays within a time frame for completing a degree. As a student, you would want to make yourself familiar with our satisfactory academic progress (SAP) policies and seek counseling immediately from our office if you have SAP concerns.