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Financial Aid: Questions & Answers

General information

Do I have to pay back financial aid?

You must repay any student loans you receive. However, you do not need to repay grants and tuition exemptions as long as you attend classes and meet academic standards for financial aid.

Will financial aid cover my full tuition costs?

Your financial aid awards are not guaranteed to cover the full cost of tuition and fees.

Is my financial aid automatically renewed?

No. Financial aid is not automatically renewed. You must maintain financial aid eligibility and reapply early each year.

What if one of my classes is canceled?

Since the class is no longer on your schedule, your financial aid may need to be adjusted. If a class is canceled, however, you would have an opportunity to register for a different class and avoid changes to your financial aid.

How long will it take to receive my financial aid?

The average processing time is three (3) to four (4) weeks once all documents are submitted. Processing could take longer if you apply for financial aid after the priority date.

Can I get a loan without applying for financial aid?

Loans are a type of financial aid, so you must complete the financial aid application steps to determine whether you are eligible for a student loan.

Can I receive financial aid for any course?

No. You must declare a major course of study and be working toward a degree or eligible certificate.

Can I use financial aid to pay my rent?

You will receive a refund of any financial aid that remains after tuition and fees are paid. This refund can be used for other costs associated with going to college, including textbooks, supplies, and expenses such as rent. See disbursement & refunds.

Can I receive financial aid for summer classes?

Summer financial aid is limited. However, if you have not exhausted your yearly award for loans or Pell grants, you may receive those funds. To apply for summer financial aid, you must complete the financial aid application steps. Be sure to submit the financial aid institutional application for summer.

Where can I find a list of helpful financial aid websites?

How are subsidized and unsubsidized loan amounts determined?

Federal Direct Loans have both yearly and lifetime limits established by the federal government. In addition, the subsidized loan must fit within your financial need for the school year and all aid (including subsidized and unsubsidized loans) must fit within your cost of attendance.

Eligibility & academic standing

Can I get aid if I am not a high school graduate?

If you did not graduate high school, you must have a GED or proof of a home school secondary education to be eligible for financial aid.

Can I get aid after I earn a certificate or associate degree?

Earning a certificate or associate degree will not keep you from receiving aid. For example, earning a real estate certificate will not keep you from receiving aid for a real estate associate degree. Keep in mind, there is a maximum number of hours for which you can receive aid in relation to your current major. All previously attempted hours (including hours for a previously earned certificate/associate) must count toward this maximum. For more information about this maximum time frame, refer to our Academic Standards.

Can I get aid if I have a bachelor’s degree?

If you have a bachelor’s degree, you can apply to receive student loans but cannot receive federal grants. To be considered, you must submit a maximum time frame appeal in addition to completing the financial aid application steps.

Can international students get financial aid?

If you are not a U.S. permanent resident or eligible non-citizen, you are not eligible for federal financial aid. If you are an undocumented student with Texas residency status, you may qualify for state aid. See ACC scholarships.

Do I have to enroll full time to get financial aid?

No, but most financial aid is prorated for students enrolled in fewer than 12 credits per semester. See disbursement and refunds information to find out how much aid you actually will receive.

Do I repay financial aid if I drop or fail classes?

Yes, you may be required to repay financial aid in some circumstances. Review the consequences of dropping or withdrawing from a class.

Can I still enroll while on financial aid suspension?

Financial aid suspension does not prohibit you from taking classes at ACC. However, you are responsible for paying tuition and fees.

How can I regain my eligibility for financial aid?

There are two ways you can re-establish your financial aid eligibility:

  • Raise your GPA and completion rate to the minimum standards. (Notify the Financial Aid Office when you believe you have met the requirements for your aid to be reinstated.) OR
  • Receive approval of a submitted appeal.

Why do I have different GPAs?

There are two reasons for why you would have a different GPA with the Financial Aid Office (FAO) than you do with the Admissions & Records Office (A&R).

Reason one: The FAO treats repeated classes differently than A&R. When you repeat a class for which you already earned a grade (A, B, C, D, or F), A&R replaces the lowest grade with the highest grade. However, the FAO averages together all grades earned for the repeated class. This means you could have a lower GPA for financial aid eligibility than you do for enrollment purposes.

Reason two: The FAO checks Satisfactory Academic Progress using only the grades that are posted at the time of the calculation. If you have a grade posted late by the class instructor, you will need to contact the FAO to have your GPA recalculated.

Do financial aid standards differ for students?

No. Satisfactory Academic Progress standards apply only to financial aid recipients. If you are on financial aid suspension, you may continue to enroll at ACC if you meet the institutional academic standards of progress.

Is course completion calculated differently?

Yes. Students receiving financial aid must have a higher completion rate (67 percent) than the students not receiving aid. A grade of F counts as an incomplete class in financial aid calculations.

Application & verification

Are there deadlines to apply for financial aid?

You must complete your FAFSA before your last day of classes in order to receive aid for that academic year. Because some types of funds are limited, we recommend you complete your application by the priority date. If you apply after the priority date, be prepared to pay the cost of tuition when you register. If you are asked to verify your FAFSA information, you have up to 120 days after your last day of class for the academic year or until the deadline published by the U.S. Department of Education, whichever is earlier, to submit verification requirements.

How often do I apply for financial aid?

Apply once each academic year. ACC’s academic year starts with fall semester and ends with summer semester. The FAFSA is available each Oct. 1 for the next academic year.

Can I fill out a FAFSA before I register at ACC?

You can submit the FAFSA any time after Oct. 1. However, your application will be reviewed only after you complete the financial aid application process.

How do I apply for a student loan?

When you complete the FAFSA, your eligibility for federal loans will be determined. You do not need to complete a separate application (except for the PLUS loan). When you review your financial aid offer posted in Online Services, you can accept or reject the student loan(s) offered. If you accept the loans, you must complete the you must complete the online entrance counseling and promissory note as well as sign up to attend an in-person Loan Information Workshop before you can receive funds.

What is a Student Aid Report?

You will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) after your FAFSA is processed. An SAR contains your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which is based on your family's financial circumstances and is used to determine your eligibility for federal aid for the upcoming academic year. ACC uses this number to decide how much financial aid you are eligible to receive.

How do I decline financial aid?

After receiving an award offer, you must log into Online Services to accept or decline the offer.

Is my tax return OK for income verification?

No. Tax returns are not acceptable proof of income. You must either use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool or submit a tax return transcript from the IRS (go online or call 800-908.9946). See the verification worksheet for instructions.

How do dependent and independent forms differ?

If you do not meet the criteria to be considered independent of your parents, you must include your parent’s information on the FAFSA and complete the dependent form. Complete the independent form if you are not required to report your parent’s financial information on the FAFSA.

How do I complete an MPN and entrance counseling?

You must complete entrance counseling and a master promissory note before you can receive loan funds. For website assistance, follow these instructions. If you are a first-time borrower, please sign up to attend a Loan Information Workshop at an ACC campus. Allow up to three business days for ACC to record your completion of the MPN and entrance counseling.

Can I accept a loan after denying it?

You can request a student loan reinstatement if the request is submitted no less than 30 days prior to the end of the loan period. Submit a student loan request form to any campus Financial Aid Office. Allow four to six weeks for processing. Check ACCmail for notices and respond promptly to avoid delays.

Does my application apply to any ACC campus?

Yes. The financial aid application steps apply to all ACC campuses.

How will I know if I have been awarded aid?

You will receive an ACCmail notice when your file is complete and any financial aid offer requires action in Online Services. You must follow the instructions to accept or reject the offer before any funds will be applied to your tuition and fees.

Why is my FAFSA being verified?

Some students are randomly selected for verification. Others are selected because of inconsistencies reported on the FAFSA such as high taxes paid compared to income or high number of family members in college as compared to the total household size, etc.

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