Financial Aid Frequently Asked Questions
- What is financial aid?
- How will I know what I am eligible for?
- Do I need to be full time to receive financial aid?
- What is the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)?
- How is financial need determined?
- I receive no help from my parents and live on my own does this qualify me as an independent student?
- What is verification?
- I have a bachelor’s degree. May I still apply for financial aid?
- I am divorced/separated. What should I include on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?
- I was recently married. Do I have to include my spouse’s income on the FAFSA?
- What if I lost my job or have other special circumstances?
- Can I get financial aid for the summer term?
- What are the Standards of Academic Progress (SAP)?
- What if I need to change my address?
- What if I receive more financial aid than my cost of tuition?
- What will happen to my financial aid if I drop a class or just stop attending?
- How often do I apply for financial aid?
- Is there anyway I can check the status of my financial aid?
- How will the College contact me concerning my financial aid?
What is financial aid?
Financial Aid is money provided by various agencies (federal, state and local governments, universities, community organization, and private corporations or individuals) to assist students in meeting the cost of attending college. It includes gift aid (grants and scholarships) and self-help aid (loans and student employment).
How will I know what I am eligible for?
When a student files the FAFSA, he/she is considered for all federal, state and institutional aid administered by the Financial Aid Office. One or more types of aid are awarded to make up the financial aid package. You will receive award notification by email when your file is complete.
Do I need to be full time to receive financial aid?
NO! The amount of financial aid awarded is determined by the number of credit hours that the student is enrolled, but you do not have to be full time (12 credit hours) to receive financial aid. You must be enrolled in 6+ credit hours to receive a student loan. If you are eligible for a grant funds, your award will be adjusted based on your level of enrollment.
What is the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)?
Expected Family Contribution is the amount of money that the family is expected to contribute toward educational expenses from resources other than financial aid and is based on ability to pay. Factors used to determine a family's contribution include: the previous year's adjusted gross income, assets, size of family, and the number of individuals in the family attending college. The EFC is calculated using the information provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
How is financial need determined?
Financial need is the difference in the cost of education (COE) and the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) number (family’s ability to pay for those college costs).
COE - EFC = Financial Need
I receive no help from my parents and live on my own does this qualify me as an independent student?
Not necessarily. For the 2015-2016 school year, in order to be considered as an independent student for purposes of financial aid, you must be able to answer yes to at least one of the following statements:
- For the 2015-16 school year, the student was born before January 1, 1992; or
- the student is married; or
- the student has a child or children who receive more than half their support from the student; or
- the student has dependents (other than a child or spouse) who receive more than half their support from the student, and who also live with the student; or
- the student is enrolled as a graduate or professional student (pursuing a master’s degree or doctoral degree); or
- the student is a qualified veteran of the U.S. military, or currently serving on active duty in the U.S. armed forces for purposes other than training; or
- the student is an orphan (both parents deceased) or ward of the court or in foster care at any time after turning age 13, or was a ward of the court until age 18; or
- the student is/was in legal guardianship; or
- the student is/was an emancipated minor; or
- the student was an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or at risk of being homeless on or after July 1, 2014; or
- the student has special and unusual extenuating circumstances that can be documented for his or her college financial aid administrators, who may then request a “dependency override” on the FAFSA application. (Note: Exceptions are granted very rarely and only in extreme cases.) Students should contact the financial aid office at the school they will be attending for additional information.
If you cannot answer “yes” to any of these statements and you feel there are circumstances that warrant you an independent student, call or stop by the Financial Aid Office to set up an appointment so we can review your situation.
What is verification?
The Department of Education selects approximately 30% of all FAFSA applicants for a process called Verification. If you are selected, you will be asked to complete a verification worksheet and provide copies of your tax returns to the Stark State College Financial Aid Office. Spouse or parents' information and other documents may also be requested. Verification must be completed before financial aid eligibility can be determined.
I have a bachelor’s degree. May I still apply for financial aid?
Students with bachelor's degrees may still apply for the Federal Work-Study Program, Federal Stafford Loan and Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan by filing a FAFSA. These students are not be eligible for the Pell, or FSEOG grants.
I am divorced/separated. What should I include on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?
Students who are divorced or separated should not include their spouse's income on the FAFSA. For more information on detailed or complicated questions, please contact a Stark State College Financial Aid Representative.
I was recently married. Do I have to include my spouse’s income on the FAFSA?
Yes. A student should include his/her spouse's information on the FAFSA if he/she is married at the time the application is completed. If separate federal income tax returns were filed, combine the adjusted gross incomes from the tax returns and include them on the appropriate line of the FAFSA. Do the same for the amount of taxes paid and other amounts.
What if I lost my job or have other special circumstances?
The Financial Aid Office can take into account special circumstances, which may affect your financial need. These may include loss of income due to layoff, disability, divorce, separation or loss of untaxed benefits. You can obtain a Special Conditions Form from the Financial Aid Office. Once the Special Conditions Form is filled out and all necessary documents are compiled, an appointment is required.
PLEASE NOTE: Not all requests for special conditions can be approved.
Can I get financial aid for the summer term?
Yes. You need to complete the appropriate FAFSA by March 1 in order to have your aid ready for the summer. After you register for summer courses, your financial aid will automatically be repackaged to include funds for summer session.
What are the Standards of Academic Progress (SAP)?
Standards of Academic Progress is a Federal Policy that the school is required to enforce to ensure that you are making progress toward your degree. Please refer to the Standards of Progress Policy for Stark State College.
What if I need to change my address?
If your address has changed, you need to immediately update your address with the Registration Office. This can be done via the mystarkstate portal or by filing a form in the Registration Office.
What if I receive more financial aid than my cost of tuition?
If you have excess money after tuition and fees are paid, you can be issued a refund. How your individual credit balance will be handled is based on the selections you make when filing your Title IV Authorization Form. If you are eligible for a refund, you will want to activiate the Stark Stat ePlus Card to select your refund preference - www.starkstate.edu/pluscard. This card will be mailed to you approximately 14 days after you initially register for classes.
What will happen to my financial aid if I drop a class or just stop attending?
Attendance and academic performance are important! Withdrawing or ceasing attendance before the 60% point of the term will cause you to owe the College and/or the Department of Education money. Also, you will jeopardize your future eligibility for financial aid. PLEASE see the Financial Aid Office before any withdrawal so that you may be made aware of the potential impact of your decision.
How often do I apply for financial aid?
Each year, after you file taxes, you need to begin the financial aid filing process for the new year.
How will the College contact me concerning my financial aid?
The Financial Aid Office will contact you by your Stark State email. It is important that you check your student email account daily for updates.