Financial Aid

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there important deadline dates I need to know?

What is the first step in applying for financial aid?

What information is required to complete the FAFSA?

What is prior/prior year income and how does it affect my FAFSA?

Do I have to be a high school graduate or have my GED to receive financial aid?

Why do I have to give my parent's information on the FAFSA?

If my parents do not claim me on their tax return, am I independent for financial aid?

I am thinking about getting married; should I wait to file the FAFSA until after I am married?

My parent's marital status has changed; whose information should I use to complete the FAFSA?

What does it mean to be in legal guardianship?

What does it mean to be homeless or at risk of being homeless?

I support/am supported by a significant other with or without child. Do I need to provide their information, even if we are not married?

What if I want my FAFSA to go to multiple schools?

What is EAC's FAFSA Federal school code?

How long does the FAFSA take to go through the system?

Why do I have to do verification?

What do I do if I do not remeber my FAFSA PIN number?

What if I cannot remember my FAFSA password?

Do I have to renew my FAFSA every year?

What does my EFC mean and how is it calculated?

How does the financial aid office use my Expected Family Contribution (EFC)?

Do I have to declare a degree and/or major in order to receive a Pell Grant?

Do I have to maintain a certain grade point average and complete a certain number of courses to keep my financial aid award?

If I withdraw from a class, do I have to repay my financial aid?

How will my tuition and fees get paid if I am receiving financial aid?

What happens to the rest of the money after tuition, fees and, if on campus, board and room are paid?

 

Are there important deadline dates I need to know?

Yes, here are some important dates to remember for the upcoming 2016-2017 financial aid cycle:

January 2016 - The FAFSA for the 2016-2017 award year becomes available on line at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov.

March 1, 2016 - Priority deadline for completing the FAFSA for 2016-2017 in order to qualify for Federal Work Study (FWS) and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG).

July 5, 2016 - Deadline to have completed financial aid process to ensure classes are held and not dropped due to non-payment for fall semester 2016.

August 18, 2016 - Anticipated first fall semester disbursement of scholarships and financial aid.

August 22, 2016 - First day of fall semester classes

January 9, 2017 – Anticipated first spring semester disbursement of scholarships and financial aid.

January 11, 2017 – First day of spring semester classes

June 30, 2017 - Last day to complete a 2016-2017 FAFSA

 

What is the first step in applying for financial aid?

The first step in applying for financial aid is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This is done on line at: http://www.fafsa.ed.gov. Applications are signed with a FSA ID that can be requested at: https://fsaid.ed.gov/npas/index.htm. A FSA ID can be requested prior to completing the FAFSA or as part of the application process.  A dependent student's parent must also receive an FSA ID. A tutorial for the FAFSA on the web is at: http://www.finaid.ucsb.edu/FAFSASimplification/. It is advised that all students watch the tutorial before completing the FAFSA online.

 

What information is required to complete the FAFSA?

In addition to self-identifying data the FAFSA will require information regarding you and your parent's 2015 federal tax returns for the 2016-2017 academic years; if a tax return is to be filed and in some instances asset information. Follow the directions carefully and report only the data requested. The FAFSA will allow tax filers to actually obtain the required tax information from the IRS directly through a process called IRS Data Retrieval Tool.

 

What is prior/prior year income and how does it affect my FAFSA?

In October 2016 students will be able to file a FAFSA for the 2017 – 2018 award year using income from the 2015 tax returns. This is prior/prior year income. The purpose is to make completing the FAFSA easier as nearly all tax filers will have completed prior/prior year taxes by October. In addition, almost everyone will be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to transfer tax information directly to the FAFSA.

 

Do I have to be a high school graduate or have my GED to receive financial aid?

Yes, an eligible applicant must have a high school diploma or a GED certificate or been homeschooled and graduated in accordance to state guidelines. When completing the FAFSA the student will be asked the name of the high school, city and state where located and the high school code which can be retrieved online. Failure to report this data will result in the student being required to document graduation through an official high school transcript. Students with a GED are required to verify this to the financial aid office with a copy of their GED test scores. Home schooled students must provide a copy of the district's release to the parents to home school their student and a transcript created by the home school teacher that includes a graduation date.

 

Why do I have to give my parent's information on the FAFSA?

The U S Congress establishes the criteria for determining whose income and assets should be used in determining financial aid eligibility. It is based on the assumption that financing a higher education is a partnership between the family, the student, and the college. The purpose of financial aid is to bridge the gap between what the family can pay and the cost of a higher education. When completing the FAFSA you will be asked a number of questions such as: Were you born before January 1, 1993? Are you married? Were you in foster care since turning age 13? Were you in legal guardianship? Are you homeless or at risk of being homeless? If you can answer yes to any of these questions, and there are others, you would not be required to report parent's information. If you are required to report parent's information and your parents are unable or unwilling to help with your educational expenses, please request an appointment with a financial aid advisor to discuss your situation.

 

If my parents do not claim me on their tax return, am I independent for financial aid?

No, being claimed on a tax return is not a determining factor for dependent status. The FAFSA does not ask if you were claimed by someone as an exemption.

 

I am thinking about getting married; should I wait to file the FAFSA until after I am married?

Marital status is "as of today" — the day the application is signed. Marital status cannot be projected. It is often better to wait and file the FAFSA after getting married but you should consult with a financial aid advisor to determine what is best for you.

 

8. Who does and does not count as my parent on the FAFSA?

Biological Parent A parent is a biological or adoptive parent or a person that the state has determined to be a parent (for example, when a state allows another person's name to be listed as a parent on a birth certificate). Biological and adoptive (whether of the opposite or same sex) parents who are unmarried and living together give that as their status in Question 59, and both report their information on the FAFSA.

Stepparent A stepparent is treated like a biological parent if the stepparent has legally adopted the student or if the stepparent is married, as of the date of application, to a student's biological or adoptive parent whose information will be reported on the FAFSA. There are no exceptions. A prenuptial agreement does not exempt the stepparent from providing information required of a parent on the FAFSA.

Divorce of the student's parents If the student's parents are divorced, he should report the information of the parent with whom he lived longer during the 12 months prior to the date he completes the application, regardless of which parent claimed him as an exemption for tax purposes. If the student lived equally with each parent or didn't live with either one, then he should provide the information for the parent from whom he received more financial support or the one from whom he received more support the last calendar year for which it was given. Note that it is not typical that a student will live with or receive support from both parents exactly equally. Usually you can determine that the student lived with one of the parents more than half the year or that he received more than half support from one of the parents.

Separation of the student's parents or the student and spouse A couple need not be legally separated to be considered separated - they may deem themselves informally separated when one of the partners has left the household for an indefinite period and the marriage is severed. While a married couple that lives together can't be informally separated, in some states they can be legally separated. If their state allows this, and if they are still living together and are legally separated, then that is their status on the FAFSA. For a dependent student, use the rules for divorce to determine which parent's information to report.

Common-law marriage If a couple lives together and has not been formally married but meets the criteria in their state for a common-law marriage, they should be reported as married on the FAFSA. Arizona does not have common-law marriage. If the state doesn't consider their situation to be a common-law marriage, then they aren't married; a dependent student would follow the rules for divorce to determine which parent's information to report. Check with the appropriate state agency concerning the definition of a common-law marriage.

 

What does it mean to be in legal guardianship?

Students are independent if they are, or were upon reaching the age of majority, emancipated minors (released from control of their parent or guardian) or in legal guardianship, both as adjudicated by a court of competent jurisdiction in the state of the student's legal residence at the time of the adjudication.

Many students have an agreement between families regarding guardianship. This is not legal guardianship. In some instances grandparents have taken the student because the parents were unable to care for the student. Unless a court has granted legal guardianship the student cannot mark this as yes on the FAFSA.

 

What does it mean to be homeless or at risk of being homeless?

A student is independent for financial aid purposes if at any time on or after July 1, 2015 (irrespective of whether he is currently homeless or at risk thereof), he is determined to be an unaccompanied homeless youth by a school district McKinney-Vento Act homeless liaison (first year of post-secondary education only) or the director (or designee) of an emergency shelter program funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The director (or designee) of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program can determine this as well, plus whether a student is independent because he is an unaccompanied youth who is self-supporting and at risk of being homeless. These authorities make this determination if the student is receiving their programs' services or if, in the case of a school district homeless liaison, the student is in high school and graduated in 2015.

 

I support/am supported by a significant other with or without child. Do I need to provide their information, even if we are not married?

This is a complicated question that can only be answered by a Financial Aid Counselor. An appointment should be scheduled for the student to meet with a counselor. In general, only cash support from the significant other would be counted as untaxed income. An example might be if the student's name is on the rental agreement or home, half the payment would be counted as other untaxed income for the student.

 

What if I want my FAFSA to go to multiple schools?

On the FAFSA (http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/) it allows a student to send their information to multiple institutions. All you need to do is enter the institution(s) Federal School Code for the schools that you would like to receive the information. If you don't know the institution's school code you can go to "Find School Code" and follow the instructions.

 

What is EAC's FAFSA Federal school code?

EAC's code is 001073, which is the same for all EAC campuses.

 

How long does the FAFSA take to go through the system?

If everything is correct, it generally takes 5 to 7 days for the Central Processor to process a FAFSA. Once EAC receives the FAFSA results, students will receive an e-mail notification informing them to log into their EAC "My Financial Aid" account which will provide them with their award information and any additional required documents. This may take up to two weeks from the time the FAFSA was completed. There are a number of edit checks that could result in the rejection of a FAFSA. Students should check the status of their FAFSA on line at: http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/ . EAC students can also keep track of their financial aid application at: https://www.eac.edu/NetPartnerStudent/Logon.aspx.

 

Why do I have to do verification?

The FAFSA Central Processor randomly selects financial aid applicants to be verified. If your application is selected for verification you will be required to submit federal tax documents and complete a verification worksheet. Verification worksheets are tailored to each student's circumstances. In order to complete the correct worksheet, EAC students must log into their "My Financial Aid" account at: https://www.eac.edu/NetPartnerStudent/Logon.aspx. To view what other documents may be needed students can simply click on the 'documents' tab.

 

What do I do if I do not remember my FAFSA ID username or password?

If you have forgotten your username or password, don't worry. On http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/ log-in page, you'll find links that give you the option of retrieving your username or password through your verified e-mail address or by successfully answering your challenge questions

 

Do I have to renew my FAFSA every year?

Yes, but you can choose the FAFSA renewal process which takes much less time to complete. The web site is: http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/. A tutorial for the FAFSA on the web is at: http://www.finaid.ucsb.edu/FAFSASimplification/index.html. It is advised that all students watch the tutorial before completing the FAFSA on line.

 

What does my EFC mean and how is it calculated?

The EFC stands for "Expected Family Contribution." The EFC is a result of the FAFSA information submitted to the Central Processor. There are a number of EFC formulas established by the U.S. Congress that determine a family's financial contribution. The EFC is not calculated by the Financial Aid Office. Your Pell Grant award is determined by your EFC. Your EFC can range from 0-99,999 (0= provides the largest Pell Grant).

 

How does the financial aid office use my Expected Family Contribution (EFC)?

The EFC has two purposes. The first is to determine eligibility for a Pell Grant. In 2016-2017 a student's EFC that exceeded 5202 was ineligible for any Pell Grant. The second purpose is to determine if the student is eligible for Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) Federal Work Study (FWS), LEAP, need based scholarships, etc.  The formula is the student's cost of attendance (COA) budget minus Expected Family Contribution (EFC) equals need (COA-EFC=Need).

 

Do I have to declare a degree and/or major in order to receive a Pell Grant?

Yes, in order to receive financial aid a student must be accepted as a regular student at EAC and declare a degree program.  Students will only be paid for the courses required to complete their declared degree.  When registering, follow the degree requirements outlined in the EAC catalog from the academic year when you first declared your program of study.  The EAC catalog can be found on line at: http://eac.edu/Academics/Catalogs/ . It is imperative that you follow the catalog curriculum from the year you began your degree program.  If the curriculum has changed for the degree program, you must see an Academic Counselor to determine acceptable substitutions.  Beginning with 2015 -2016 students can choose in Gila Hank the catalog year they desire for their chosen degree.

 

Do I have to maintain a certain grade point average and complete a certain number of courses to keep my financial aid award?

Yes, in general a student must maintain a 2.0 cumulative grade point average and complete 67% of the course work attempted. In addition, a student is allowed 150% time frame to complete a degree program which is generally 96 credit hours for associate's degrees. It is important to know the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy in its entirety. It can be found at: http://eac.edu/Student_Services/Financial_Aid/sap.shtm.

 

If I withdraw from a class, do I have to repay my financial aid?

Sometimes: if a student withdraws from a class during add/drop period the Pell Grant will be adjusted based on the current enrollment. So if a student were paid at full time and dropped a class during add/drop period which brought their enrollment to half time; the student would be required to repay half of their Pell Grant.

After add/drop period, if a student withdraws with record from one or more classes but not all courses, no repayment is required. However, the student might not comply with Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards which could result in a warning or suspension status for future financial aid.

If a student withdraws from all courses the financial aid office will calculate what is called a Return to Title IV Funds and the student may be required to repay some of the financial aid received. There is more information on the Return to Title IV calculation at: http://eac.edu/Student_Services/Financial_Aid/repay.shtm.

 

 

What happens to the rest of the money after tuition, fees and, if on campus, board and room are paid?

If after tuition, fees, and, if on campus, board and room are paid, and a credit balance remains, it will be paid to the student through a check by EAC if requested and if not by EAC check through Higher One. After registering for courses at EAC, each student should receive in the mail a letter from Higher One with a secure log in code. It comes in a green envelope that many mistake for junk mail or a credit card solicitation; don’t throw it away. Follow the instructions in the letter to select a method for receiving your residual balance. It can be deposited on the debit card that will be provided by Higher One, sent to the student's personal account at another bank or credit union or Higher One can issue a check to the student. For more information visit www.EACDebitCard.com or call the EAC Fiscal Control Office at (928) 428-8221.