Any type of financial assistance that students use to fund higher education. Financial Aid usually comes in the form of grants, loans, scholarships, sponsorships, and/or work study.
How do I file for Financial Aid?
For federal financial aid, you simply apply for an FSA ID online at https:/fsaid.ed.gov. Three days after you apply for the FSA ID, file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at www.fafsa.gov. If you experience difficulty with these two steps, call 1.800.433.3243 for assistance.
What happens after I file the FAFSA?
ACC will mail you a Financial Aid Award letter that outlines your eligibility for federal grants, scholarships, and work study. This letter will direct you to our loans page if you feel you need additional funds to cover tuition, fees, books, and additional expenses while enrolled.
What's the difference between grants, loans, scholarships, sponsorships, and work study?
- Grants are monies that are awarded and do not have to be paid back as long as the recipient adheres to the terms of the grant.
- Loans are monies that are borrowed during the time the recipient is enrolled in college and they do have to be paid back.
- Scholarships are monies that are awarded to specific groups or for specific achievements. These largely do not have to be paid back as long as the recipient adheres to the terms of the scholarship.
- Sponsorships are outside bodies that pay tuition for the recipient. For example, if a student's employer agreed to pay his/her tuition, this would be a sponsorship. These do not have to be paid back as long as the recipient adheres to the terms of the sponsorship.
- Work study is a program where eligible students actually apply for a job, get hired, work a set number of hours a week at a set wage for the college to earn money for their education & personal expenses.
Terms to Know
- Cost of Attendance (CoA)- This is the estimated cost including tuition, fees, books, transportation, living allowances, etcetera that it will cost you for a full year of college. It is not necessarily how much you will end up paying.
- Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) - This number is calculated by a federal formula that factors in your family's income, number of students in the family attending college, and other information. It is not necessarily how much you will end up paying.
- Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA) - This law says that the College may not discuss your academic records and/or financial information with parents, spouse, guardian, etcetera, without your authorization.
- Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) - This is the first step in applying for federal aid such as Pell Grants and student loans. The form helps calculate your EFC and CoA. You must file every year that you attend school.
- Federal Student Aid Identification (FSA ID) - This is a personal identifier you use to securely electronically sign the FAFSA so that you do not need to mail in an actual signature.
- Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) - This policy states that students must continue making reasonable progress toward their programs to continue receiving financial aid. For example, if you are withdrawing or failing classes, your SAP may be in jeopardy and you may lose your aid. Read more here.
- Subsidized - This means that the federal government or another body pays the interest on your loan while you are enrolled in college.
- Student Aid Report (SAR) - This report is available after you file your FAFSA. It's a summary of all the information the government uses to estimate your eligibility for Financial Aid and it will tell you what your EFC is.
- Unsubsidized - This means that interest will be accruing on your loan while you are enrolled in college.