Financial Aid FAQ

What do I have to do in order to apply for financial aid?

  • File a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Apply online at FAFSA.
  • Apply every year after January 1st.
  • Be sure to include the PDCCC federal school code, 009159, on your application.
  • For scholarships, there is a separate application process at www.pdc.edu/scholarships.

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What are the deadlines to file for financial aid?

The final deadline to apply for aid is the end of the academic year; however to ensure aid is in place by the time tuition is due, generally the student should file by:

  • May 15th for new or returning Fall students
  • October 15th for new Spring students
  • April 15th for Summer students

Students who are awarded for Fall term will also be awarded Spring aid, and do not need to reapply for Spring aid.
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How do I apply/re-apply for Summer Financial Aid?

  • For Summer Financial Aid, any remaining Pell will automatically be offered to students.
  • If the Pell is not sufficient to cover tuition, additional request forms are required. Students, who have a current year FAFSA, do not need to re-apply to FAFSA, but they may need to fill out the summer state grant application, particularly students who were full-time both fall and spring semesters.
  • Students will be awarded based on actual enrollment status.

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Do I have to file my taxes before I fill out the FAFSA?

  • Ideally, yes, but estimated information may be used. If estimated information is used to meet specific school deadlines, the FAFSA must be updated after filing taxes.
  • We STRONGLY encourage students to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool within the FAFSA to retrieve tax information from the IRS. The Department of Education will not select applications for verification if the IRS Data Retrieval Tool was used and no adjustments were made to the tax data.
  • If estimates were used to file the FAFSA and final tax numbers are very different, expect that aid may be cancelled or revised.

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What standards are used when determining financial aid eligibility?

  • The Federal government does a complex calculation using the FAFSA information.
  • See Eligibility for Aid section for more information.
  • The only way to determine eligibility is to apply.

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How many credits do I have to enroll in to be eligible for financial aid?

  • It depends on your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), and the types of aid for which you qualify.
  • Most Pell recipients can receive financial aid for as little as one class.
  • Some types of aid require at least half time enrollment.
  • Aid could be cancelled altogether, if enrolled for less than the minimum number of credits required for that specific type of financial aid.
  • Be sure to read the messages on the Financial Aid Notice (award letter) for aid-specific requirements.

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How much money can I get for school?

  • Financial aid varies for each student depending on the FAFSA, the enrollment level, cost of attendance for the school, and aid available to each school.
  • Students who apply by the priority filing deadline may have access to other funds that deplete quickly.
  • After receiving the FAFSA, the Department of Education takes that information and calculates an EFC.
  • Financial aid is determined based upon the EFC and the cost of attendance for each student, at each college.
  • Here at PDCCC, a full Pell grant recipient (EFC=0) receives enough aid to cover all in-state tuition/fees and books, and usually has money left over to help pay some living expenses.

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When do checks go out?

  • Refund checks are disbursed 40-60 days after classes start.

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I received my Student Aid Report (SAR), now what?

  • Look over the information on your SAR to see if the data is correct. Make corrections if necessary.
  • If you are selected for verification, contact the Financial Aid Office.
  • When the student receives the SAR, the school also receives the information provided on the FAFSA within a week.
  • Once the school receives this information, financial aid processing can begin.
  • Check your assigned student email account each week for updates from the Financial Aid Office.  We do not mail paper award letters.

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What is verification?

  • Verification is when the Federal government audits the submitted FAFSA applications for potential mistakes.
  • The Financial Aid Office must verify the income information reported on the FAFSA before awarding aid.
  • Students must provide Federal tax transcripts (if filed) or proof of income, and a verification worksheet.
  • Students who do not have a copy of the tax return, will have to download a copy from the IRS or make a correction to the FAFSA and use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.
  • Verification worksheets are available on the Forms page.

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Why is my school asking for a tax transcript?

  • The Federal government no longer allows us to use the student’s or parent’s copy of the tax form.

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If you get a refund from the IRS, would it affect applying for Financial Aid?

  • No. Getting a refund on taxes has no direct bearing on financial aid eligibility.

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The FAFSA is asking for parent information, but I don’t live with them. Do I have to include that?

  • Yes, typically, a student under 24 years of age must provide parent information on the FAFSA regardless of living arrangements.
  • The exceptions are listed on Step 3 of the FAFSA. If a student does not answer yes to any of these questions, parent information is required.
  • For special circumstances (parents incarcerated, abandonment, abusive environment), download a dependency override form and provide both a written statement and documentation of the circumstances.

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Can I use my grandparents instead of my parents on the FAFSA?

  • No, not unless formally adopted. See answer above for special circumstances requests.
  • Legal adoption is the only way to provide someone else’s information other than the biological parents.
  • Students who are under legal guardianship do not need any parent data (answer the FAFSA question and provide documentation, if requested).

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I have a child, but still live at home with my parents. Am I considered an independent student?

  • A student is not automatically considered independent due to having a child.
  • The true test is whether a student financially supports him/herself and more than half of the support for his/her dependent(s).
  • If the student has a child but is living at home with his/her parent(s), proof may be required to determine financial support.

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My parents are separated, living in different homes; do I use mom, dad, or both on the FAFSA?

  • Identify the parent who provided the most support in the last 12 months.
  • Usually it is the parent the student lives with.
  • If that parent is divorced and remarried, the student must also include his/her stepparent’s tax information on the FAFSA.

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I was married, but am now separated from my spouse; do I have to provide his/her income information?

  • A student does not include spouse information if the two are separated and no longer living together on the date the FAFSA is filed.  Living together negates the separated status.
  • If taxes were filed jointly, and both filers had income, W2 forms are needed in addition to tax forms.
  • Contact the Financial Aid Office for help when filing the FAFSA to avoid common mistakes.

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I did not have a job and I was living with someone other than my parent, should I just put $0 income on the FAFSA?

  • Report $0 earned income on the FAFSA.
  • Report all unearned income (except TANF, SNAP, combat pay or Social Security) by checking the appropriate box and furnishing the amount.
  • Calculate the “money received or paid on your behalf” by determining which of the previous year’s bills in your name were paid by someone else (roommate, family member, etc.), and report as untaxed income.
  • Contact the Financial Aid Office for help determining how much to report, if in doubt.

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If I am in active bankruptcy status, will that affect my financial aid?

  • It depends on if the student has a college loan, and if the loan is part of the bankruptcy.

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If I am in default on a student loan, can I still receive financial aid?

  • No. All FAFSA applications are pre-screened through National Student Loan Database Service (NSLDS).
  • NSLDS will report default status to each school listed on the FAFSA.
  • Schools cannot provide any aid to students who are in default.
  • Students must provide documentation to the Financial Aid Office proving the loan is rehabilitated and no longer in default before regaining eligibility.

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If I received financial aid last year, won’t I automatically be eligible this year?

  • No. File a new FAFSA every year after January 1 so eligibility can be re-determined.
  • Just as tax information changes, so does eligibility for financial aid.
  • The minimums for Satisfactory Academic Progress must also be met in order to receive financial aid.

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What is Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)?

  • A Federal requirement; qualitative and quantitative measurementsare used to determine if a student is making progress toward his or her stated degree objective.
  • All students need to have a degree objective (certificate or associate’s degree) in order to qualify for financial aid.
  • Each school is required to measure progress at intervals by checking 4 areas: grade point averages (GPA); completion rate (percentage of classes completed); maximum time frame allowances (150% rule); and developmental credit classes limit (no more than 30 credits).
  • For GPA and Completion rate violations, one automatic warning semester will be given, then the student must meet SAP when those grades post. No additional warnings are given.
  • An appeal process does exist for students with mitigating circumstances after the warning semester.
  • PDCCC’s SAP policy is mailed with each student’s award letter each year, and is in the College Catalog.

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How can I pay my tuition if I don’t qualify for Financial Aid, but don’t have enough money to pay all at once?

  • Web payment by credit card
  • Cash, check, and charge accepted at the Business Office on campus
  • Monthly tuition payment program
  • Opportunity Inc., an outside agency, should be contacted to determine eligibility for funding at 757.569.6080 in Franklin or 757.923.5268 in Suffolk. The student must file a current FAFSA listing PDCCC, before applying directly to Opportunity Inc.
  • Scholarships
  • Veteran benefits

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If I want to study abroad, can I get Financial Aid?

  • Each school is required by Federal regulation to offer aid for Study Abroad programs.
  • Please contact the Franklin Financial Aid Office for information.

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Can I get Financial Aid at two colleges at the same time?

  • No, you can only have aid at one college or university during any given time period.  They cannot overlap.
  • However, some colleges and universities will allow a consortium agreement. You would still have to pay out of pocket at one school, but the other may count your combined enrollment to determine your aid eligibility.

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What is the name and title of the person responsible for Financial Aid disclosure information? How can I contact this person?

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