Most people are eligible for financial aid. Different types of aid have different rules. The amount of aid available to you also depends on if you are a Dependent Student or Independent Student.
2015/16 Financial Aid Process
Dependency Determination Questions
If you meet one of these conditions (you can say YES to one or more of these questions) you are considered an Independent Student and will have to provide information for you, your spouse and children. If you do not meet any of the below conditions you are a Dependent Student and will have to provide information for you and your parent’s household.
- born before January 1, 1992?
- as of today are married (including same sex couples, and separated but not divorced)?
- as of July 1, 2015 will be working on a Master’s or Doctorate Degree?
- are currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training?
- are a veteran of the US Armed Forces?
- have children who receive at least half their financial support from you between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016?
- have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and receive more than half their financial support from you now and through June 30, 2016?
- at any time since you turned age 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care or were you a dependent or ward of the court (not ward of the state)?
- are you or were you an emancipated minor as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?
- are you or were you in legal guardianship as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?
- at any time on or after July 1, 2014, did your high school or school district homeless liaison determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?
- at any time on or after July 1, 2014, did the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?
- at any time on or after July 1, 2014, did the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?
Click on the appropriate checklist for the financial aid forms and further information we need from you to process your financial aid. The checklist will tell you which forms and information we need and how to submit them.
Federal student aid helps students who qualify to pay for college. To receive student aid you need to:
- Have a high school diploma or a recognized equivalent such as a General Educational Development (GED) certificate (HiSET, TASC, or California High School Proficiency Exam are also accepted), or have completed a high school education in a homeschool setting approved under state law
- Be accepted for enrollment as a regular student
- If you are male, you must have registered for Selective Service between the ages of 18 and 25
- Have a valid Social Security Number unless you are from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau (eligible for Federal Pell Grant only, no Federal Student Loans)
- Sign certifying statements on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) stating that you are not in default on a federal student loan and do not owe a refund on a federal grant AND you will use federal student aid only for educational purposes
In addition, you must:
- Be a U.S. Citizen or U.S. National
- Have a Green Card
- Have an Arrival-Departure Record:
- Showing a status of: Refugee, Asylum Granted, Cuban-Haitian Entrant (Status of Pending), Conditional Entrant (issued prior to 1980), or Parolee
- Have Battered Immigrant Status
- Have a T-Visa
Before you apply for financial aid, determine how much aid you will need to cover your tuition, fees, and books. If taking out student loans, be mindful that these loans must be paid back whether or not you graduate. We encourage you to take the least amount of loans possible so that your loan repayment amount is manageable.
Please pursue all other avenues of financial assistance available to you to reduce your student loans, which may include: Company Tuition Assistance, Military Education Benefits, non-federal grants (BIA, Tribal Assistance, etc.), State Vocational Rehabilitation benefits, private alternative loans, Workforce Investment Act (WIA), Training Assistance Act (TAA), gifts, etc.
To apply for federal financial aid, you need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Completing this form doesn’t take a lot of time. The information you provide on this form helps determine the type and amount of aid you are eligible to receive. Fill out the FAFSA now.
A private loan is a much better option than a credit card. However, you want to make sure that you have exhausted all of your other financial aid options before deciding a private loan is necessary, such as Federal Financial Aid, Scholarships, and other aid such as state aid or even your savings. Grants and scholarships don’t generally have to be paid back and Federal Student Loans generally offer low interest rates as well as flexible repayment and consolidation options. Have you submitted your Free Application for Federal Student Aid? Have you received your Financial Aid Award Letter?
Only if you have exhausted all of your federal options, scholarships and other aid should you consider a private loan.
Visit FASTChoice, the starting place to apply for a Private Loan. It contains a list of Private Loans and borrower benefits available from certain lenders. You have the right to choose any lender you wish to make your loan, even if you have used a different lender for one or more previous loans.
Your federal loans are like any other type of loan. Whether or not you complete your degree, you will need to repay them. Your financial services advisor will discuss this process with you once you complete the necessary documents to determine your loan eligibility.
Loan Consolidation is an option to consider when it’s time to repay your loans. There are pros and cons – read more on loan consolidation.
If you have any questions or need assistance completing these applications, please do not hesitate to contact your financial services representative. You may also e-mail your Financial Service Representative using the appropriate e-mail address below.