FAQs about Financial Aid
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about financial aid.
General Questions about Eligibility and Applying
1 I probably don't qualify for aid. Should I apply for aid anyway?
Yes. Many families mistakenly think they don't qualify for aid and prevent themselves from receiving financial aid by failing to apply for it. The FAFSA form is free. There is no good excuse for not applying.
2. Do I need to be admitted before I can apply for financial aid at LBWCC?
No. You can apply for financial aid any time after January 1. To actually receive funds, however, you must be admitted and enrolled at the college.
3. What is LBWCC’s Federal School Code?
4. Why can't I submit my financial aid application before January 1?
The need analysis process for financial aid uses the family's income and tax information from the most recent tax year (the base year) to judge your eligibility for need-based financial aid during the upcoming academic year (the award year). Since the base year ends December 31, you cannot submit a financial aid application until January 1. After all, your parents might earn a year-end bonus or realize capital gains from selling stocks on December 31. If you submit the financial aid application before January 1, it will be rejected.
5. Do I have to reapply for financial aid every year?
Yes. Note that your eligibility for financial aid may change significantly, especially if you have a different number of family members in college. Renewal of your financial aid package also depends on your making satisfactory academic progress toward a degree, such as earning a minimum number of credits and achieving a minimum GPA.
6. How do I apply for a Pell Grant and other types of need-based aid?
Submit a FAFSA. To indicate interest in student employment, you should check the appropriate boxes. Checking these boxes does not commit you to accepting these types of aid. You will have the opportunity to accept or decline each part of your aid package later. Leaving these boxes unchecked will not increase
7. I received an outside scholarship. Should I report it to the financial aid office?
Yes. If you are receiving any kind of financial aid from college or government sources, you must report the scholarship to the financial aid office.
Unfortunately, the university will adjust your financial aid package to compensate. Nevertheless, the outside scholarship will have some beneficial effects. At some universities outside scholarships are used to reduce the self-help level.
8. Are work-study earnings taxable?
The money you earn from Federal Work-Study is generally subject to federal and state income tax, but exempt from FICA taxes (provided you are enrolled full time and work less than half-time).
1. Where can I get a copy of the FAFSA?
You can ask your guidance counselor for a copy. You can also get the FAFSA from the financial aid office at a local college, your local public library, or by calling 1-800-4-FED-AID. The online version of the form is available at http://www.fafsa.gov.
2. Are photocopies of the FAFSA acceptable?
No. Only the original FAFSA form produced by the US Department of Education is acceptable. Photocopies, reproductions, facsimiles and electronic versions are all not acceptable.
3. How soon after January 1 should the FAFSA form be sent in? Is it better to wait until the income tax forms have been completed?
Send in the form as soon as possible after January 1. If you are planning to attend LBWCC, and plan to apply for a LBWCC Scholarship, applications must be submitted by March 1st. Otherwise, the priority deadline for Fall semester is July 1st. Although it is better to do your taxes early, it is ok to use estimates of your income, or the previous year’s taxes, and correct the figures to reflect actual amounts listed on the tax return at a later date. If you wait too long, you might miss the deadline for state aid. Most states require the FAFSA to be submitted by March 1st, and some even as early as early or mid-February.
4. I sent in my FAFSA over four weeks ago but haven't heard anything. What should I do?
If you haven't received a Student Aid Report (SAR), call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (toll free) or 1-319-337-5665. You must provide them with your Social Security number and date of birth as verification. You may also visit www.fafsa.gov to check the process of a submitted FAFSA. If it is submitted and you have not heard for the financial aid office within a reasonable amount of time, you should contact the office at the location you are planning to attend.
5. I was born on January 1, when I will be 24 years old. Can I check Yes in the answer to the FAFSA question "Were you born before January 1, ..." to qualify as an independent student?
The official answer is no. If you check yes, your SAR will be flagged for verification. However, most financial aid administrators would use professional judgment to override the default dependency determination for a student born on January 1 who also demonstrates financial self-sufficiency.
6. What do those acronyms on the Student Aid Report (SAR) mean?
The acronyms on the bottom of the SAR represent intermediate results in the need analysis. To fully understand their meaning, you will need to be familiar with the federal need analysis methodology, such as is used by the EFC Estimator. The meanings of the acronyms are as follows:
EFC Expected Family Contribution
TI Total Income
ATI Allowances Against Total Income
STX State and Other Tax Allowance
EA Employment Allowance
IPA Income Protection Allowance
CAI Contribution from Available Income (Independent Student)
DNW Discretionary Net Worth
APA Education Savings and Asset Protection Allowance
PCA Parents' Contribution from Assets
AAI Adjusted Available Income
TPC Total Parents' Contribution
TSC Total Student's Contribution
PC Parents' Contribution
SIC Dependent Student's Income Contribution
SCA Dependent Student's Contribution from Assets
If an asterisk appears next to the EFC figure, the student has been selected for verification. The asterisk is followed by a code that explains the reason why the student was selected for verification.
7. I qualify for the Simplified Needs Test. Should I fill out Section G anyway?
Home Schooling and Financial Aid
1. Are there any programs that provide student financial assistance to homeschooled children?
Homeschooled students are eligible for federal student aid for college 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" (Section 484(d)(3) of the Higher Education Act of 1965). Homeschooled students have not been required to take the GED or take an ability-to-benefit test since the Higher Education Amendments of 1998. High school dropouts must take a GED exam or an ability-to-benefit test, but students who have completed a home schooled secondary education that satisfies the requirements of state law do not. For additional information, see Federal Requirements for Homeschoolers Seeking College Admission and Financial Aid, Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), May 2003.
There aren't many scholarships specifically targeted at homeschooled students, other than those sponsored by the Home School Foundation.
NOVEMBER – DECEMBER
Start a financial aid folder to keep all of your financial aid documents and information organized. Be sure to keep this folder throughout your years in college. Much of the information will be needed in subsequent years.
Begin searching for private scholarships. Information on outside scholarships are often available from high school guidance counselors. You can also use one or more of the free on-line scholarships searches mentioned earlier in this brochure.
You should plan to complete the FAFSA on the Web and you will need a PIN to sign your application. A PIN number is needed to access your account with the U.S. Department of Education and it serves as your electronic signature. If you are a dependent student, one of your parents will also need a PIN to sign the application. For more information, go to www.fafsa.gov and to apply for a PIN go to http://www.pin.ed.gov.
Parents and students should file income tax returns as early as possible, since the information is required for the FAFSA.
File the FAFSA between January 1 and March 1 for priority consideration. This will determine your eligibility for financial assistance. You may list up to 10 colleges and all the schools you list will automatically receive your financial aid information.
After filing the FAFSA, you will receive the Student Aid Report (SAR), which summarizes the information you provided and specifies a dollar amount for your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Be sure to read this report thoroughly and submit any necessary corrections. This must be completed before you will be considered for federal and state aid.
LBWCC will send you a card when we have received your application. This card must be return to us for your aid to be processed. Some students will be chosen by the Department of Education for a process called Verification. In this process, the information you provided on the financial aid application will be compared to your recent tax form and W-2(s). If you are chosen, a verification worksheet will be sent to your home address. This form, along with your signed tax forms and W-2(s), other income documentation and any other requested documentation, must be returned to the Financial Aid Office before you can receive any aid. Verification may cause significant changes in your aid. Therefore, it is important that you send the information requested as soon as possible. LBWCC will mail you and award letter listing the financial aid for which you qualify when your application is complete and processed.