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 Frequently Asked Questions

What is financial aid?
Any kind of funding to help pay for college is considered to be financial aid. Financial aid comes from four different sources – the federal government, the state government, private sources and the College itself. Grants and scholarships are considered gift aid; students are not required to repay the money received. Loans, typically offered at low interest rates, are to be repaid by students usually after completion of the degree.

I don’t want to miss the FAFSA filing deadline for Thaddeus Stevens, but my parents don’t file their federal tax return until April 15. What should I do?
You may use estimated tax information on the FAFSA based on you and your parents’ W-2’s. When your parents have completed their tax returns, you can correct the information on your Student Aid Report to update the FAFSA. It is recommended that you have your tax returns prepared early so the information you report is accurate and to avoid having to correct the data later.

When will I find out how much aid I can expect to receive?
The Financial Aid Office processes the aid and sends a paper award letter to students beginning in March. Any changes to a student’s award letter will be sent to the student via a revised award letter. The award notice lists the type of aid and the amount of each type of aid you can expect to receive for the fall and spring semesters.

How much aid will I be eligible to receive?
The amount of financial aid a student is qualified to receive is determined by the results of the FAFSA. The FAFSA asks about your family size, the number of family members in college and the student’s and parents’ income and assets. The calculation tells the Financial Aid Office how much aid you are eligible to receive. Grants and scholarships are applied to your aid package, if you are eligible for any, and then the student loan is processed.

I was selected for verification. What does that mean?
Verification is a process the Department of Education uses to make sure that the information reported on the FAFSA is accurate. Some applications are selected because of inconsistent information and others are chosen at random. For files that are selected, the Financial Aid Office requests copies of the student’s and parents' federal tax returns (1040, 1040A or 1040EZ) along with completion of the verification form. The Financial Aid Office compares information on the tax returns to the FAFSA and corrects errors. The family is notified of corrections made and the effect any changes have on the student’s aid eligibility.

I received my award letter and I still need more money. What can I do?
Your parents may consider applying for a Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Student (PLUS). If a parent is denied a PLUS loan, the student may borrow more in the unsubsidized Stafford Loan. There are also non-federal alternative loans available. In addition, the college offers a payment plan that allows you to pay 1/3 at the time the semester bill is due, 1/3 a month later and the final 1/3 a month after that.

Why do I have to put my parents’ tax information on the FAFSA if they are not paying for school?
The federal government expects both parents and the student to contribute to the student’s educational costs. Regardless if a parent will or will not contribute to your education, their income and assets must be reported and are used to determine your eligibility for financial aid. If you live with a parent and stepparent, both the parent’s and stepparent’s income information will be used to determine your aid eligibility. Whether or not your parents claim you on a federal tax return, you will still need to use their income information on the FAFSA.

How does dropping or failing a course affect future financial aid eligibility?
Withdrawing from a class after Drop/Add may mean that a student will be short the number of credits needed for satisfactory academic progress. Progress is measured based on a student’s enrollment at the end of Drop/Add. A typical full-time student who was enrolled full-time at the end of Drop/Add must earn 24 new credits for the academic year and have an overall Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.0.

One of my parents lost their job and my family is in a financial bind. Can the Financial Aid Office help me?
If your family experiences a change in income due to unusual circumstances (e.g. loss of employment, separation or divorce, high non-reimbursed medical expenses, etc.), contact the Financial Aid Office about a possible reevaluation of aid eligibility.

What happens to my financial aid if I drop a course during the semester?
Aid may be adjusted if a change in enrollment occurs during Drop/Add period (first week of classes). If a class is dropped and the student is still full-time with at least 12 credits, no adjustment is made to financial aid for that semester. If dropping a class results in going from full-time to at least half-time (6-11 credits), the student’s grant aid will be reduced. The Stafford and PLUS loans remain the same as long as the student is at least 6 credits.  If dropping a class results
in going from at least half-time (6 credits or above) to less than half-time (less than 6 credits), the student is strongly advised to seek specific guidance from the Financial Aid staff. The potential exists for aid to be cancelled depending on the particular situation and the policies in effect which regulate administration of aid.

When will I receive my refund?
If a student receives more Financial Aid than their charges a credit balance will occur.  When this occurs the business office will issue a refund in the form of a paper check for the student to pick up in the business office.  Students who expect to receive a refund from Loan monies can expect that refund to occur the second or third week of classes.  Students who expect to receive a refund from Grants and/or Scholarships can expect to receive that refund to occur during October.


I need proof that I am enrolled full-time
Students that need an enrollment verification for health insurance, car insurance, loans deferments, or other reasons may contact our office and we can complete an enrollment verification for you.