question mark graphic

Financial Aid Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to be enrolled full-time to receive my financial aid?
No.  Federal grants may be available for as little as one (1) credit hour, depending on the calculated EFC (expected family contribution).  Federal loans and state grants require you to be enrolled in at least six (6) credit hours (i.e. half-time).

 

What programs or classes are/are not covered by financial aid?
While all Associate Degree programs qualify, some diploma and certificate programs only qualify for a pro-rated amount of financial aid (Alternative Transportation, Light-Duty Diesel diplomas, Esthetics, Esthetics Instructor, Cosmetology Instructor), while some certificate programs do not qualify at all.  For a current list, check with the Financial Aid Office. Aid does not cover audited classes, continuing education classes (except BLET and CNA for VA purposes only), repeat courses with a grade of ‘C’ or better, credit-by-exam courses, or courses not required in the PRIMARY program of study.

 

What is the impact on my financial aid if I drop a class?

Any changes in your academic status might result in a loss or change in aid awarded.  A drop report is run prior to every posting to look for the following – 1) last dates of attendance prior to the census date, and 2) ceased attendance in all courses.  The first item may adjust financial aid that has already posted, thereby leaving the student with a balance due to the College.  The second requires a federal Return to Title IV (R2T4) calculation (and state withdrawal calculation for state aid) to determine if the student ‘earned’ all of their aid or if the institution must return money. The ‘magic’ date is 60% of the semester. However, we also check at the end of every semester for ‘unofficial withdrawals’ (i.e. 0.00 GPAs) for Last Date of Attendance.
 

I see student loans on my award letter. Do I have to take out student loans?

No, you don’t! Student loans are completely optional! One of the benefits of attending a community college is that the tuition is low enough that most students eligible for grants can have the majority of their educational expenses covered by their grant. If tuition is not covered by a grant, the college offers a convenient tuition payment plan. The resources found in “Manage Your Money” can assist you in planning your personal finances so you can avoid having to take out a student loan.​

 

How do I apply for a student loan?

BRCC provides you with your federal loan eligibility as part of your financial aid package. Student loans appearing on your award letter are an “offer” of student loans. You have the option of accepting the full amount, accepting a lesser amount, or declining the student loan offer. If you want to borrow money to attend school, you should complete a Direct Loan Active Confirmation Form and turn it in to the Financial Aid Office.  A Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling must also be completed. You must be enrolled at least half-time (6 credit hours) to qualify. Loan funds are disbursed in two payments (usually half in the fall and half in the spring) as part of the regular financial aid refund process. Student loans may be used to pay for educational expenses (tuition, fees, textbooks, school supplies, etc.) and living expenses (rent, gas, food, utilities, etc.).
 

What responsibilities come with receiving financial aid?

Students must be making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), which requires a 2.00 cumulative GPA and a 67% cumulative pass rate (hours earned divided by hours attempted).  Students who have been granted an appeal of their financial aid suspension, may be placed on an Academic Plan – the requirements of which must be met each semester thereafter until they reach good standing.

Students must also be able complete their program of study within 150% of the credit hours required for the program, and all hours attempted will be counted even if the student changes programs or graduates from one program and starts a new one.  

[Example:  AA – 60 credit hour program; therefore a student has up to 90 credit hours to complete the program. If they have attempted 50 credit hours of courses, they must be able to complete the program in another 40 credit hours.]  

We must cease financial aid eligibility at the time of determination they cannot complete the program within the time frame. They still have the right to appeal and possibly be placed on an Academic Plan.

 

How will the new degree audit system be used by financial aid?

This will catch students taking courses outside of the primary program of study, as well as assist in determining grade level for loan eligibility. Colleague will check this prior to financial aid posting, so it is crucial that all course substitutions be entered at the beginning of the semester. Make sure you are checking the graduation requirements for the correct catalog year.

 

Is there a limit on financial aid paying for developmental courses?

Yes.  Students may only receive aid for up to 30 credit hours of remedial coursework.

 

What is the FAFSA File Complete Deadline?

This is the date by which students must have their financial aid complete in order to be protected from the Deregistration Process for non-payment of tuition and fees.  A Financial Aid File is complete when the FA Office has received a processed FAFSA with a calculated Expected Family Contribution (EFC), all verification documents required have been received, and all admissions steps are complete, and all eligibility criteria are met.

 

How/When is financial aid processed?

The first posting of the semester occurs approximately 4-5 weeks into the semester. Once aid is posted, there is a two-week process of getting out credit balances (so, refunds are available approximately 6-7 weeks into the semester).  This allows the College to allow for book charges through the bookstore as well as checking attendance rosters through the 10% point in the semester.  Additional postings usually occur every two weeks.  Aid is posted only when that class has begun attendance.  Refunds are sent as a paper check to the address on record with the Registrar’s Office.

 

Is financial aid available for summer term?

Yes!  A student must be enrolled at least half-time in order to access additional Federal Pell Grant for summer term IF they have already used their full-time award Fall & Spring semesters.  If the student has not utilized their full Pell Grant or Direct Loan for the Fall and Spring semesters, they have eligibility remaining for summer semester.  Check with the Financial Aid Office.

 

What is the process for awarding Foundation Scholarships?

Applications are due April 15th - requiring at least two letters of recommendation (either a personal letter or use the Excel Recommendation Form).  The FA & Scholarship Committee begins reviewing applications in May and meets weekly through July.  Students are required to attend the Scholarship Luncheon with donors in September. A 2.0 cumulative GPA is required.

 

What if my financial circumstances have changed since last year?

If the student’s financial situation has changed significantly from the previous year, they may complete a Special Circumstances Form and submit it, along with supporting documentation, for consideration to have their aid eligibility re-evaluated.  Examples of circumstances may include loss of job, divorce/separation, large medical bills, etc.

 

Are there lifetime aid limits?

Yes.  A student may only receive a Federal Pell Grant for 12 full-time equivalent semesters (i.e. 600%).  There are also lifetime Federal Loan limits - $31,000 for dependent students and $57,500 for independent students.  State grants are limited to ten (10) full-time semesters. ​ ​