Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is financial aid?
  2. How do I apply for financial aid?
  3. Who determines my dependency status?
  4. What is a Board of Governors Fee Waiver?
  5. Do I make too much money to apply for federal financial aid?
  6. My parents are not helping me pay for my college education. Can I declare myself an "independent student" so their income will not be taken into consideration when my financial need is calculated?
  7. My parents are divorced. Which income should I report on my FAFSA?
  8. I live with my mother and she recently remarried. My stepfather is not going to pay for any of my college education. Do I have to declare his income?
  9. My parents refuse to provide the information requested on FAFSA. What can I do?
  10. Has the federal government reduced its commitment to student aid?
  11. Is there any way that I can negotiate with my financial aid administrator?
  12. What should I do if, after I graduate, I cannot meet my payments on my federal loan?
  13. What is the maximum no. of semester/units I can receive financial aid at City College?
  14. If denied financial aid, how can I appeal?
  1. Question:  What is financial aid?
    Answer:  Financial aid helps you meet your college expenses. Although your family and you have the primary responsibility to pay these expenses, financial aid helps you meet the costs you cannot pay. Aid comes from federal, state and local programs.
    Return to the top!
  2. Question:  How do I apply for financial aid?
    Answer:  Feel out a Free Federal Application for Financial Aid (FASFA) on the web www.fafsa.ed.gov.  Complete the application according to the instructions. Be sure to list all the colleges which should receive your application in "Step Six" of the FASFA.
    Return to the top!
  3. Question:  Who determines my dependency status?
    Answer:  The Federal Government determines your dependency status, based on the questions in "Step Three" of the FASFA application.
    Return to the top!
  4. Question:  What is a Board of Governors Fee Waiver ?
    Answer:  The California Board of Governors provides funds to pay the mandatory enrollment fee for all eligible California residents. These funds are offered in the form of fee waivers to students who have already qualified for financial aid, to students who are currently receiving TANF/CALWORKS, SSI/SSP, or GA, or to needy students who meet certain income standards.
    Return to the top!
  5. Question:  Do I make too much money to apply for federal financial aid
    Answer:  There is no income limit that excludes students from applying for federal aid. Furthermore, most colleges and universities require their students to apply for federal aid and will not consider them for school-based aid unless there is a federal application on file. This is also true of many privately-sponsored programs, even the ones based solely on merit. So all students, no matter what their income is, are advised to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
    Return to the top!
  6. Question:  My parents are not helping me pay for my college education. Can I declare myself an "independent student" so their income will not be taken into consideration when my financial need is calculated?
    Answer:  It is understandable why you'd want to declare yourself as an "independent" rather than "dependent" student. Dependent students are viewed as at least partially dependent on their parents for support and, therefore, the income of both the parents and the student is used to determine the amount a family must contribute to the student's education. For independent students, only their own income and assets - and those of their spouses - are considered. However, you can't simply decide to declare yourself independent. The federal government is very strict on this point. To be considered independent under federal regulations, you must generally meet at least one of the following requirements:

    Be 24 years of age by December 31 of the award year. Be married or have legal dependents other than a spouse. Be enrolled in a graduate or professional education program. Be an orphan or ward of the court. Be a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces or currently serve on active duty.

    However, there is some flexibility in the process. Your financial aid administrator (FAA) - based on your documentation - may change your status from dependent to independent.
    Return to the top!
  7. Question:  My parents are divorced. Which income should I report on my FAFSA
    Answer:  If your parents are divorced or have separated before you apply for aid, you must report the income of the parent with whom you have been living for the greatest amount of time during the past 12 months. If you didn't live with either of them (or lived with them equally), then you must report the income of the parent who has provided the greater amount of financial support (cash, food, clothing, housing, medical care, contribution to college costs, etc.) during the past 12 months.
    Return to the top!
  8. Question:  I live with my mother and she recently remarried. My stepfather is not going to pay for any of my college education. Do I have to declare his income
    Answer:  There's no flexibility on this one. Your stepparent's income and asset information must be reported, even if he is not supporting you. There are no exceptions to this rule (even if your stepparent submits in writing that he is not going to support you).
    Return to the top!
  9. Question:  My parents refuse to provide the information requested on FAFSA. What can I do?
    Answer:  Unfortunately, if your parents refuse to supply this information, you will not be able to apply for aid. Try explaining the situation again to your parents. Hopefully, when they understand the importance, they will reconsider.
    Return to the top!
  10. Question:  Has the federal government reduced its commitment to student aid?
    Answer:  It is not true that the federal government is backing away from funding student aid. The federal government continues to be the largest provider of college aid.
    Return to the top!
  11. Question:  Is there any way that I can negotiate with my financial aid administrator?
    Answer:  Yes. There are three kinds of adjustments your FAA can make, using documentation that you provide:
    • Change your student status from dependent to independent based on special circumstances.
    • Adjust the individual data elements used to calculate your Expected Family Contribution (for example, if your father lost his job at the end of 2008, your FAA can recalculate your expected EFC for 2009).
    • Adjust your cost of attendance figure (for example, if you live a considerable distance from campus, your transportation allowance could be increased).
    Return to the top!
  12. Question:  What should I do if, after I graduate, I cannot meet my payments on my federal loan?
    Answer:  Whatever you do, don't default. Defaulting could seriously affect your credit rating for many years. If you find yourself in a precarious financial position, discuss the situation with your lender. More than likely, some arrangement can be made. Often, lenders will permit you to stop making payments temporarily or reduce the amount of each of your payments. This is called "forbearance".
    Return to the top!
  13. Question:  What is the maximum number of semester/units I can receive financial aid at City College?
    Answer:  You can receive financial aid at City College for up to 90 units of academic course work. Therefore, it is extremely important that you meet with an academic counselor to develop your educational plan and to determine your course load each semester. Please remember that all the credits that you have earned, whether you receive aid or not, including non-credit (NC), repeats (R), and withdrawals (W) will count toward the maximum 90 units. You must earn at least 67% of the units you were enrolled in and funded for during the semester with the grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 or higher.
    Return to the top!
  14. Question:  If denied financial aid based on the Satisfactory Academic Progress criteria, how can I appeal?
    Answer:  If you are denied financial aid and wish to request a waiver of the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy, you have the right to appeal. Appeals are submitted to and reviewed by Financial Aid Academic Counselors.
    Return to the top
    !

 

Question:  What is financial aid ?

Answer:  Financial aid helps you meet your college expenses. Although your family and you have the primary responsibility to pay these expenses, financial aid helps you meet the costs you cannot pay. Aid comes from federal, state and local programs.
Return to the top!

2. Question:  How do I apply for financial aid?

Answer:  Feel out a Free Federal Application for Financial Aid (FASFA) on the web www.fafsa.ed.gov.  Complete the application according to the instructions. Be sure to list all the colleges which should receive your application in "Step Six" of the FASFA.
Return to the top!

3. Question:  Who determines my dependency status ?

Answer:  The Federal Government determines your dependency status, based on the questions in "Step Three" of the FASFA application.
Return to the top!

4. Question:  What is a Board of Governors Fee Waiver ?

Answer:  The California Board of Governors provides funds to pay the mandatory enrollment fee for all eligible California residents. These funds are offered in the form of fee waivers to students who have already qualified for financial aid, to students who are currently receiving TANF/CALWORKS, SSI/SSP, or GA, or to needy students who meet certain income standards.
Return to the top!

5. Question:  Do I make too much money to apply for federal financial aid?

Answer:  There is no income limit that excludes students from applying for federal aid. Furthermore, most colleges and universities require their students to apply for federal aid and will not consider them for school-based aid unless there is a federal application on file. This is also true of many privately-sponsored programs, even the ones based solely on merit. So all students, no matter what their income is, are advised to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Return to the top!

6. Question:  My parents are not helping me pay for my college education. Can I declare myself an "independent student" so their income will not be taken into consideration when my financial need is calculated?

Answer:  It is understandable why you'd want to declare yourself as an "independent" rather than "dependent" student. Dependent students are viewed as at least partially dependent on their parents for support and, therefore, the income of both the parents and the student is used to determine the amount a family must contribute to the student's education. For independent students, only their own income and assets - and those of their spouses - are considered. However, you can't simply decide to declare yourself independent. The federal government is very strict on this point. To be considered independent under federal regulations, you must generally meet at least one of the following requirements:

Be 24 years of age by December 31 of the award year. Be married or have legal dependents other than a spouse. Be enrolled in a graduate or professional education program. Be an orphan or ward of the court. Be a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces or currently serve on active duty.

However, there is some flexibility in the process. Your financial aid administrator (FAA) - based on your documentation - may change your status from dependent to independent.
Return to the top!

7. Question:  My parents are divorced. Which income should I report on my FAFSA?

Answer:  If your parents are divorced or have separated before you apply for aid, you must report the income of the parent with whom you have been living for the greatest amount of time during the past 12 months. If you didn't live with either of them (or lived with them equally), then you must report the income of the parent who has provided the greater amount of financial support (cash, food, clothing, housing, medical care, contribution to college costs, etc.) during the past 12 months.
Return to the top!

8. Question:  I live with my mother and she recently remarried. My stepfather is not going to pay for any of my college education. Do I have to declare his income?

Answer:  There's no flexibility on this one. Your stepparent's income and asset information must be reported, even if he is not supporting you. There are no exceptions to this rule (even if your stepparent submits in writing that he is not going to support you).
Return to the top!

9. Question:  My parents refuse to provide the information requested on FAFSA. What can I do?

Answer:  Unfortunately, if your parents refuse to supply this information, you will not be able to apply for aid. Try explaining the situation again to your parents. Hopefully, when they understand the importance, they will reconsider.
Return to the top!

10. Question:  Has the federal government reduced its commitment to student aid?

Answer:  It is not true that the federal government is backing away from funding student aid. The federal government continues to be the largest provider of college aid.
Return to the top!

11. Question:  Is there any way that I can negotiate with my financial aid administrator?

Answer:  Yes. There are three kinds of adjustments your FAA can make, using documentation that you provide:  Change your student status from dependent to independent based on special curcumstances.
 
 Adjust the individual data elements used to calculate your Expected Family Contribution (for example, if your father lost his job at the end of 2008, your FAA can recalculate your expected EFC for 2009).
 
 Adjust your cost of attendance figure (for example, if you live a considerable distance from campus, your transportation allowance could be increased).


Return to the top!

12. Question:  What should I do if, after I graduate, I cannot meet my payments on my federal loan?

Answer:  Whatever you do, don't default. Defaulting could seriously affect your credit rating for many years. If you find yourself in a precarious financial position, discuss the situation with your lender. More than likely, some arrangement can be made. Often, lenders will permit you to stop making payments temporarily or reduce the amount of each of your payments. This is called "forbearance".
Return to the top!

13. Question:  What is the maximum number of semester/units I can receive financial aid at City College ?

Answer:  You can receive financial aid at City College for up to 90 units of academic course work. Therefore, it is extremely important that you meet with an academic counselor to develop your educational plan and to determine your course load each semester. Please remember that all the credits that you have earned, whether you receive aid or not, including non-credit (NC), repeats (R), and withdrawals (W) will count toward the maximum 90 units. You must earn at least 67% of the units you were enrolled in and funded for during the semester with the grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 or higher.
Return to the top!

14. Question:  If denied financial aid based on the Satisfactory Academic Progress criteria, how can I appeal ?

Answer:  If you are denied financial aid and wish to request a waiver of the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy, you have the right to appeal. Appeals are submitted to and reviewed by Financial Aid Academic Counselors.
Return to the top!