Financial Aid FAQ

Q? How is my eligibility determined?

Eligibility for Federal Financial Aid is determined for students who annually complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Award packages are determined as early as March of each calendar year for the upcoming academic year for early applicants. Awarding continues as Financial Aid applications are processed. A student is eligible only for those Federal programs that have funds available at the time your file is fully processed and the student meets eligibility guidelines.

Eligibility for Federal Financial Aid is determined according to Federal guidelines and College policies. The following key concepts are used in this determination;

    • Cost of Attendance (COA)- an estimate of your anticipated costs for the term(s) you are awarded. It includes your costs only, not costs for other family members. HCC estimates your costs for the following allowable components in the COA: tuition/fees, books/supplies, room/board, transportation, and miscellaneous personal expenses. Your actual costs may vary.

    • Estimated Family Contribution (EFC)- based on information you reported on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and/or other documentation collected by the Office of Financial Aid (OFA). It represents the amount the Federal Government has determined you and your family can afford to pay toward your COA.

    • Need- the difference between your COA and EFC. The office of Financial Aid will attempt to meet your need with a combination of available funding sources; however, we are not always able to meet every student's financial need. With the exception of Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans and Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS), your total Financial Aid award package cannot exceed your documented Financial need. Unsubsidized Federal Direct or PLUS loans may be used to replace your EFC.

Q? My award letter shows a full time award. What if I'm not attending full time?
A: ll estimated award notifications are based on full time enrollment. Actual awards are posted to student accounts based on the following enrollment criteria:

Full time

12 or more credit hours per semester

3/4 time

9-11 credit hours per semester

1/2 time

6-8 credit hours per semester

Less than 1/2 time

1-5 credit hours per semester

You must be in at least 6 credit hours to be eligible for a Federal Student Loan, College Work-Study, or FSEOG. If you are eligible for Pell, your grant will be prorated based on your enrollment status.

Note: The amount of your award is an estimate based on information you supplied on your FAFSA. Actual amounts may be re-calculated. Adjustments may be required.

Q? I am receiving awards that do not appear on my award letter. What do I do?
A: If you have been awarded grants, scholarships, loans or other aid programs that do not appear on your award notification, the award MUST be reported to the Office of Student Financial Aid. Failure to report grants, scholarships, or other aid may result in the partial or full loss of all financial aid, and may result in the repayment of funds awarded.
Q? What happens if I completely fail or withdraw from a term?
A: This is outlined in our Return of Title IV Funds Policy.
Q? Why has my award letter been revised?
A: Adjustments may occur when you receive a reduction in your costs (i.e., waiver of non-resident tuition rates)or when you receive additional resources not previously included in your aid package (i.e., scholarships, loans, etc). When any part of your need calculation changes, the Financial Aid Office must re-evaluate your eligibility for all aid programs included in your award package.
Q? How do I apply for a Federal Direct Student Loan?
A: W.D. FORD DIRECT loans will not be packaged automatically for students. Rather, if you are interested in applying for a Direct Loan will be required to complete the following to be considered for a student loan:
  • Your financial aid file MUST be complete, accurate, and awarded
  • You MUST complete a Direct Loan Request Worksheet

  • First time borrowers MUST complete Entrance Counseling

  • Master Promissory Note (MPN) MUST be completed accurately at Paper MPNs are available upon request. If you have completed a Direct Loan MPN in the past, you may not be required to sign a new MPN. First-time borrowers loan funds must be held for 30 days from the start date of the academic term. One semester only loans may be required to be split between two disbursements within the same term. All borrowers must complete an Exit Counseling Session upon graduating, leaving school, or dropping below half-time status.

Borrowing limits are listed on the chart below. The Department of Education also establishes cumulative loan limits. Loan limits are not subject to appeal.

Freshman Loan Limits
(0 -23 credit hours earned)

Sophomore Loan Limits(24 or more credit hours earned)

Federal Undergraduate
Aggregate Loan Limits




$5,500.00 per year

$6,500.00 per year

$23,000 subsidized, $31,000 total

(only 3,500. may be subsidized)

(only 4,500. may be subsidized)