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Gadsden State Community College

Current Students

Financial Aid

 

 

Gadsden State Community College

Financial Aid FAQ

 

General Questions

Do I need an appointment? No. Normal operating hours are 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:00 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. Friday. However, during peak times the hours will be adjusted to expedite the processing of student files.  To avoid excessive wait time for students, lines will be closed at an appropriate time to allow students to be served by the published closing time. During the summer months, the office hours could change. Visit the homepage for those hours.

I need to update/change my address. What department should I notify? Always update your address on Self Service Banner when you move. Checks are mailed to the address on file with the Records Office.

I know I won’t qualify for a Pell Grant. Do I still need to complete the FAFSA application? Yes, especially if you are interested in Federal Work Study, a scholarship, or a private student loan.

I am having problems logging into my Self Service Banner (SSB). Who do I contact?  Please contact Alex McLemore (256-549-8341) to let him know the issue you’re having. He may need to reset your password.

Applying for Federal Aid

When do I apply for financial aid? You need to apply for financial aid every year. The easiest way to remember when to file a new FAFSA application is to do so when you file your federal taxes, keeping in mind deadlines.

Is there a deadline to apply? Gadsden State’s priority date is April 15th, for the upcoming school year. To ensure financial aid processing prior to the beginning of classes, FAFSAs must be completed at least 15 business days prior to the first day of the term, and all verification documents must be received at least 10 business days prior to the first day of the term.

What is Gadsden State’s school code number? 001017

How do I apply for federal financial aid?  Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at www.fafsa.ed.gov, or you can click on the FAFSA link on the Gadsden State homepage.  Be sure to add our college code (001017) so your application will be sent to Gadsden State. Follow up on your email and/or Self Service Banner approximately five to seven (5-7) business days after completing your FAFSA to see what

requirements are needed. (The College will not send any notifications for the upcoming Fall school year until after the April 15th priority deadline.) Turn in all documents/forms requested to the Financial Aid Office. We will review your information and make any necessary corrections. Continue to check your Self Service Banner for your award under the Award tab/Award for Aid Year/Award Overview.

I’m nervous about completing the FAFSA online. Can I apply another way? The online application process has been simplified and is relatively user-friendly. It is the quickest way to apply. If you don’t have access to a computer, there are computers available for use on our campus or at your local library. Paper copies are available by calling 1-800-433-3243. Paper applications must be mailed to the Federal Student Aid Programs.

My parents are divorced. Whose information do I need for the FAFSA? The parent you lived with the most during the past year should complete the FAFSA with you. If you did not live with either parent or lived equally with each parent, use the information of the parent who provided you with the most financial support. (It does not make a difference which parent claimed you as a dependent for tax purposes.) Also remember, you will need to enter the step-parent’s personal and tax information if the parent you lived with has remarried.

I do not get along with my parents or live with them. I pay my own rent and bills. Can I apply without my parent's income? Until you are 23 or 24 years old, depending on exact birthdate, or can truthfully answer “yes” to at least one question in Step 3 of the FAFSA, the Federal Government requires you enter your parent’s personal and tax information.

I do not work and my parents do not file a tax return because they receive Social Security benefits.  How do I answer the tax questions? If there is no income earned from work and Social Security benefits are untaxed, your tax-related questions will be answered as Not Filing a Tax Return with zero income.

 

What is the IRS Data Retrieval Tool? Students and parents who have completed their tax returns may be eligible to use the Data Retrieval Tool and transfer tax information directly into the FAFSA.  This is the easiest way to provide your (and your parents’/spouse’s) tax information on your FAFSA.  Your tax information will be accurately entered into your application.  There are some situations where an applicant will not be eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.

 

How do I get a copy of the Tax Transcript? Get transcript here. For step by step instructions, click here.

Why was I selected for verification?  The Federal processing center randomly selects applicants and requires the College to verify the information provided. Again, it is a random process and does not necessarily mean anything is wrong. If selected, no award will be made until all verification is finalized.

Award

How will I know how much I will receive in Financial Aid? Your award notification will be posted on Self Service Banner. Check your SSB under Award by Aid Year (for the yearly amount) or under Award by Term (for the amount by term).

Do I have to attend full time to receive Pell Grant funds? Full-time enrollment is not required to receive Federal Pell Grant funds. If you attend less than full time, your award will be decreased accordingly. However, if your EFC is very high, you may not be eligible unless enrolled full time.

When can I purchase books with my Pell Grant? Bookstore purchases can be charged to your financial aid typically two (2) days before the first day of class. Note, as of the start of classes, aid will be adjusted based on attendance.

Will Financial Aid pay for a Mini Term class?  Mini terms may or may not be covered by Financial Aid depending on the date you register for the class. Financial aid will be based on enrollment as of the census date, which is basically a snapshot of enrollment for the term.  The Financial Aid census, or freeze date, will be one month from the first day of full term classes. If this census date falls on the weekend, the Financial Aid census/freeze date will be the following Monday.   For more information, contact one of the Financial Aid offices prior to registration.

How will my aid be awarded?  The award amount posted on your on SSB is for the academic school year. Typically, you will receive half of your award for the Fall semester (if you are enrolled full time) and the other half for the Spring semester (if you are enrolled full time).  If you are enrolled less than full time for either one of those semesters, the difference will be available for use in the Summer semester. Check your Self Service Banner under Award by Aid Year (for the yearly amount) or under Award by Term (for the amount by term).

Will I have Financial Aid for the Summer semester?  If you are Pell-eligible and have aid remaining for the award year (did not receive a full Pell award for the Fall and Spring semesters at Gadsden State or another college) and you are making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), you should be eligible for Summer funds.

Disbursement Checks

What if I have funds remaining after charges (tuition, books, etc.)?  Remaining funds should be mailed approximately two weeks after the drop/add period ends. Checks will be mailed to the address on file in the Records Office. It is recommended you confirm your address is correct via Self Service Banner.

I see a negative balance amount (example: -$706) on my Self Service Banner. What does this mean? This is the amount of your credit balance.  This amount should be mailed to you approximately two weeks after the drop/add period. You can find these dates posted on the Financial Aid overview page.

Can I pick up my Pell Grant check? No. It is College policy that all checks are mailed.

When will Pell Grant checks mail? The first credit balance checks are issued approximately two weeks after drop/add.  After this initial disbursement, credit balance checks are issued by the Financial Services Office weekly and are typically mailed on Fridays.

What if I don’t receive my check? You should wait two weeks from the date your check mailed in order to allow sufficient time for the Post Office to deliver the check or for the check to be returned to the College if undeliverable. Once two weeks have passed, please contact the Financial Aid Office if you would like to request a stop payment on your check and have another check issued. Please note, once a stop payment has been issued, that check is null and void.

Why is the amount of my check incorrect? Several issues may have caused your check to be reduced. If your instructor indicates you never attended class, funds are reduced. Enrollment in a class outside of your major could cause your funds to decrease. In addition, if you are taking a class that begins later in the term (Mini II), your award will be decreased until you begin attending that class and attendance is reported.

 

My check was returned to the College. What department should I notify? Always update your address on Self Service Banner when you move. Checks are mailed to the address you have in Records. If/when your check is returned to the College, you will receive a call from the Financial Aid Office.

 

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) and Financial Aid

If I withdraw from a class how will it affect my financial aid? Withdrawing prior to the census date and/or completely withdrawing from the College before the 60% date could cause your aid to decrease, thereby possibly making you owe money. Withdrawing from classes will also affect your SAP, possibly causing you to lose your financial aid eligibility. It’s best to talk with someone in the Financial Aid Office before you withdraw from a class or completely withdraw.

Why does my eligibility status show Warning? If you fail to achieve the required cumulative GPA or do not successfully complete the required percentage of hours (pace), you will be placed on financial aid warning for one semester. You can still receive Pell funds in your warning semester. Warning will be lifted in a subsequent term if you attain the required cumulative GPA and successfully complete the required percentage of hours. If you do not achieve required SAP, you will lose your eligibility.

I am on Warning. Can I register early for classes? Your financial aid (Pell Grant/Loan) cannot be applied until grades have officially posted for the classes you are currently taking and until your SAP has been re-evaluated.  Of course, if you want to register for classes before grades are officially posted, you can register and make payment. If you are meeting SAP after grades post, your aid will apply to your tuition charges.

Why is my eligibility (SAP) status showing MAX?  Per federal regulations, you have one and a half times the length of your chosen program to complete it. Once you reach this maximum time frame, MAX will appear as your eligibility. Since Gadsden State is a two year college, degree-seeking students can attempt 96 hours before reaching MAX. Students with MAX status are not eligible to receive federal financial aid.

 

How does the Appeal process work?  If a student failed to make SAP or has reached MAX, the student may file an appeal by submitting a Financial Aid Appeal Form and any required documentation to the Financial Aid Office. These forms are available in the Gadsden State Financial Aid Office and under Forms. If an appeal is approved, be sure to follow all instructions of the appeal decision. Note, incomplete appeals will not be reviewed; and, there is no appeal for Lifetime Eligibility.

 

How do I find out the results of my Appeal?  Appeal decisions will be posted on SSB the afternoon of the appeals meeting (listed on the appeal form). To view this decision, click the Financial Aid tab, select the Eligibility option, select the correct Aid Year, click Submit, and select the Academic Progress to view your new SAP status. You can also check your Self-Service Banner messages or your Gadsden State e-mail.

Will it help my eligibility (SAP) if I bankrupt a semester?  Filing academic bankruptcy will not help your percentage of hours completed (pace) but it could possibly raise your GPA.  If you file academic bankruptcy on a semester in which you have a passing grade, this could lower your GPA and/or pace. If you are interested in academic bankruptcy, please visit the Records Office or reference the catalog for this information.

Lifetime Eligibility

What is Pell Grant Lifetime Eligibility? The maximum Pell Lifetime Eligibility a student is eligible to receive is limited to 12 full-time semesters (6 years) or 600%.

 

How do I find out how much of my Lifetime Eligibility I have used? To find out the amount you have used, Click here. (NSLDS navigation instructions) If you have questions about the percentage used, please call the Department of Education at 1-800-621-3115. 

Loans

I know I won’t qualify for a Pell Grant. Do I still need to complete the FAFSA application? Yes, especially if you are interested in Federal Work Study, a scholarship, or a private student loan.

What type of loans does Gadsden State offer?  Gadsden State accepts private loans. Visit the Loans page for participating lenders. In addition to the lenders listed, Gadsden State will certify a private educational loan from any lender for eligible students.

Does Gadsden State accept Direct, FFELP, PLUS or Stafford loans?  No. Gadsden State only accepts private loans.

Scholarships

What type of scholarships can I apply for?  Please review our Scholarship Listing page.

How will I know if I’ve received a scholarship?  You will receive an award letter from the Scholarship Office.  To accept or decline a scholarship offer, please sign the letter and return it to the Scholarship office. No notification will be sent unless an offer is made.