Financial Aid - Frequently Asked Questions

1The FAFSA

How soon should I apply?

To be considered for financial aid at COCC, you can complete the FAFSA anytime during the school year.  It is recommended that you submit your FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1 to ensure that you do not miss out on available aid.  

Keep in mind that the FAFSA asks for your tax return information for the current year which often is not available until the end of January.  You can either choose to wait until you file taxes or complete the FAFSA using estimated income.  If you elect to use estimated amounts, you will need to return and correct any discrepancy information regarding your income.   File your FAFSA right now!

How do I make corrections to my FAFSA?

There may be occasions were you may need to correct or update your FAFSA. follow the instructions below to make a correction to your FAFSA.

Go to http://www.fafsa.gov
Click on 'Login'
Enter personal information and click 'Next'
Click on 'Make FAFSA Corrections'

Make sure you sign and submit your corrections with your FSA ID.  The Department of Education will update their records within 3-5 days and ready the file for COCC.  If you are finding corrections difficult to make, we encourage you to attend a FAFSA Workshop or contact the Financial Aid Office.  

Do I file as Dependent or Independent?

You may be considered independent if at least one independent criteria applies. Find out what criteria well determine if you are independent or dependent by answering a few questions.

My parent(s) does not have a social security number.

If your parents do not have a social security number do not use a random number or the taxpayer identification number (TIN). We suggest to enter 000-00-0000.

When should I begin to search for scholarships?

Begin your scholarship search today!  Although the best time to begin a scholarship search is in November of each year, scholarships may be available throughout the year. Do keep in mind that most scholarships have deadlines so keep records and track of all deadlines.    

Can scholarships effect my aid?

They may.  Outside scholarships are considered resources to help you pay for your educational expenses and must be taken into consideration.  Federal rules concerning requires schools to reduce the financial aid package when the sum of financial aid (loans, work-study, grants) exceeds the school's cost of attendance.  Certain types of aid (Pell and Oregon Opportunity Grants) cannot be reduce but other types of aid ( Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant, work-study, loans) can be reduced. Contact the Financial Aid Office if you have any questions regarding a scholarship that you have been awarded or would like to know if it will specifically effect your aid.

What are the benefits to receiving scholarship money?

Finances are on the minds of every college student.  You could attend a college and achieve your educational goal all without having to spend a cent from your pocket or having to take out student loans.  Unlike loans, scholarships do not have to be repaid.   Getting free money for your education is always an excellent option.   Sign up for a free account with SALT to help you begin the scholarship search. 

How do I begin my search for scholarships?

There is millions of scholarship dollars to help you pay for college.  SALT will simplify it all for you.  Sign up for a FREE account with SALT.  Another great place to begin is the Financial Aid Office.  Most colleges will offer web sites to help begin your search.  Check out the COCC scholarship web site.

My parents are divorced, whose information should I provide 

You should report the information of the parent with whom you lived longer during the 12 months prior to the date that you complete the application, regardless of which parent claimed you as an exemption for tax purposes.  If you lived equally with each parent or did not live with either one, then you should provide the information for the parent from whom you received more financial support or the one from whom you received more support the last calendar year.  For those dependent students that have parents separate or divorce after the FAFSA has been submitted, will need to submit a Special Conditions form along with proper legal documentation.  Please contact the  Financial Aid Office if you have more questions.

Separations

For a dependent student,  use the rules for divorce to determine which parent's information to report.  For an independent student, you will only report your income information on the FAFSA.  Please contact the Financial Aid Office or attend a FAFSA Workshop for further assistance. 

Domestic partnerships

For financial aid purposes, a student or parent is considered married if the student or parent was legally married in any domestic or foreign jurisdiction that recognized the relationship as a valid marriage, regardless of where the couple resides.  Please contact the Financial Aid Office if you have questions.


2Satisfying Financial Aid Requirements

How do I get may loans out of default?

When you have trouble repaying your educational loans, it will hurt your financial wellness for life along with the ability to receive financial aid.  If you loan(s) is in default or if you have a grant over-payment and not sure who to contact, use the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).  You will be able to review your debt amount, payment history, access forms, interest and your loan servicer.  We encourage you to contact your loan servicer to make payment arrangements.  Once all defaulted loans are in good standing, you may become eligible again for financial aid.  Check out the Department of Education's debt resolution web site for more great information.

Will filing for bankruptcy affect my aid eligibility?

Typically no.  We encourage that you contact the servicer of your loans to work on a bankruptcy plan.  Once the plan is achieved, you will need to request a letter of good standing to be sent to the Financial Aid Office.  If you have more question regarding how a bankruptcy could affect your aid eligibility, contact the Financial Aid . 

What is Ability to Benefit?

To received federal student aid funds, a student must be qualified to study at the post secondary level.  To do this, a student must have a high school diploma, general educational development (GED) or complete a home school program at the secondary level as defined by state law.  

I am a home schooled student.

Home schooled students may be eligible for aid if they have completed a secondary school education in a home school setting that is treated as a home school or private school under State law. If home school students are required to document their completion, COCC will ask for a signed transcript with a graduation date and a list of classes taken.

I do not have a GED or high school diploma?

We suggest that you contact the Financial Aid Office to discuss your options. 

Is my financial aid status okay?

Click on 'Student Services and Financial Aid'
Click on 'Financial Aid'
Click on 'My Overall Status of Financial Aid'
Select appropriate aid year
Click on 'Academic Progress' 

Do I have any requested documents?

Click on 'Student Services and Financial Aid'
Click on 'Financial Aid'
Click on 'My Overall Status of Financial Aid'
Select appropriate aid year
Click on 'Student Requirements'

Why am I required to complete entrance counseling?

Borrowing student loans is a large responsibility.  These sessions will notify you of your right/responsibilities as a student loan borrower and a requirement before student may receive student loans.  The process is all online and very informative.   Visit our counseling page for more details or complete the counseling online.


3Review and Act On Your Award

How much student loans may I be awarded?

Federal Direct Loans are federally funded student loans for higher education and is provided to students through the Department of Education.  Direct loan amounts will vary depending on grade level and dependency status.   Learn more about loan limits!

What type of student loans are available?

At COCC there are two type of student loans: Subsidized and Unsubsidized.  Learn more about the differences between subsidized and unsubsidized loans.

How do I accept/decline my award?

Click on ‘Student Services & Financial Aid’
Click on ‘Financial Aid’
Click on ‘My Award Information’
Choose ‘Award by Aid Year’
Select appropriate aid year
Click the 'Terms and Conditions' tab
Click the 'Accept Offer' tab 

How do I check my award for the term?

Click on 'Student Services and Financial Aid'
Click on 'Financial Aid'
Click on 'My Award Information'
Click on 'Award Payment By Term'
Select appropriate aid year


4Receive Award Funds

Do I have a bookstore credit?

Click on 'Student Services and Financial Aid'
Click on 'Financial Aid'
Click on 'My Overall Status of Financial Aid'
Select appropriate aid year
Click on 'Messages' 

How do I check the balance on my account?

Click on 'Student Services and Financial Aid'
Click on 'Tuition/Fees and Online Payments' 

Can I update my mailing address?

Click on 'Personal Information'
Click on 'View Address(es) and Phone(s) ' 
Click on 'Update Address(es) and Phone(s)' 


5Maintaining Aid Eligibility

What are the requirements to maintain eligibility?

At the end of each term attended, the Financial Aid Office will review your cumulative completion rate and grade point average (GPA).  To maintain eligibility, your GPA must be at 2.0 or higher and your completion rate at 66.67% or higher.  If one or both do not meet the requirements, you will either be placed on suspension or a 'warning' status.  Please review the complete Satisfactory Academic Policy.

What happens if I am giving a 'SAP Warning'?

At this time, you will need to complete a SAP Warning form understanding which requirement(s) you are not meeting.  You will have one more term to bring up this requirement.  If you are unable, we will be required to suspend your financial aid.  This includes all aid: grants, work-study and student loans.   Students may keep track of these requirements by logging into their Bobcat Web Account and clicking GradTracks

My aid has been suspended, now what? 

You may file a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal form.  This appeal will require documentation of the extenuating circumstances along with your personal explanation of why you were not able to meet standards.  If the appeal is approved, you will be placed upon probation and given a specific GPA and completion rate to meet each term.  If you do not meet these probation requirements, you will lose aid eligibility.

I am having trouble making my student loan payments?

Paying on student loans is very important to you and the school you attended.  If you are having difficulty making your loan payments, we encourage you to contact your loan servicer(s).   Log into the National Student Loan Data System web site to view your aggregate loan amounts and review your loan servicer(s).  If you have any question do not hesitate to contact the Financial Aid Office.

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