Most Common Myths Regarding Financial Aid
Myth: There's no need for me to complete the FAFSA, I know I won't qualify for a grant.
Fact: The FAFSA serves several purposes, not just determining eligibility for a grant. Students applying for scholarships also need to complete the FAFSA. Eligibility for loans and federal work study are also based on the FAFSA.
Myth: I didn't apply for a Pell Grant because I can't attend full-time.
Fact: Students do not have to attend full-time to receive a Pell Grant or a Student Loan. Pell Grant eligibility is based on the student's income and family size. The amount of Pell Grant received is based on their enrollment level. There are four levels of enrollment used to determine Pell Grant amounts. 1-5 hours is less than 1/2 time, 6-8 hours is 1/2 time, 9-11 hours is 3/4 time and 12 or more hours is full-time. Students receiving loans must be enrolled and attending at least 6 credit hours at Cowley College to be eligible for the loan.
Myth: I thought I didn't have to apply for federal aid every year, so I didn't complete the FAFSA this year.
Fact: Students must reapply for federal aid every new school year, no matter what. This also includes completing loan applications again too. Federal aid does not carry forward from one academic year to another. Our academic year includes the Fall, Spring and Summer semesters. Each Fall semester starts a new academic year for financial aid.
Myth: I was not doing well in two of my classes and I didn't want my GPA to be affected so I dropped them. Because I received a 4.0 in the other classes, my Pell Grant will not be suspended.
Fact: Students receiving federal aid must complete 2/3 or 67% of the classes they attempt each semester to maintain their aid for the next semester. They also must earn at least a 1.75 gpa each semester. Students on federal aid should contact the Admissions Office before dropping any classes.
Myth: If I cannot complete my classes for a semester and must withdraw, I will not owe the semester's aid that I received back to the program.
Fact: When a student on federal aid withdraws either "officially" or "unofficially", the financial aid office must document the withdrawal date or the last date of attendance (for an unofficial withdrawal) then prorate the aid based on the percentage of the semester the student actually attended. The rest or "unearned" portion of the aid must be sent back to the appropriate program. If it is determined that the student received more aid (in refunds) than they incurred in costs for the time they were in classes, they will owe some funds back to the program. No prorations will have to be done on withdrawals that take place after 60% of the semester has been completed.
Myth: If my account is paid in full, I cannot receive a Pell Grant and a Student Loan.
Fact: Students can receive Pell Grants and Student Loans even if they have paid their accounts in full out of pocket.
Myth: If my parents did not claim me on their tax return, I don't have to use their income on my FAFSA.
the student cannot legally answer "yes" to any of the "Student Status"
questions on the FASFA, the student is considered dependent and will
have to provide a parent(s) information on the FAFSA.
The Higher Education Act allows a Financial Aid Administrator (FAA) to make dependency overrides on a case-by-case basis for students with unusual circumstances. However, none of the conditions listed below, singly or in combination, qualify as unusual circumstances meriting a dependency override:
- Parents refuse to contribute to the student's education;
- Parents are unwilling to provide information on the FAFSA or for verification;
- Parents do not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes;
- Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency.
Unusual circumstances do include an abusive family environment or abandonment by parents. Documentation of this must come from an "uninterested" third party (such as a teacher, counselor, employer or member of the clergy) The student will be required to submit documentation from at least three third parties that know the student's situation.
Myth: I don't have to complete a FAFSA if I only want an Unsubsidized Loan.
Fact: At Cowley, yes you do. We require all students to complete the FAFSA to receive Federal Aid, which includes student loans.
Myth: Even though my family income has been drastically reduced since last year, it cannot be considered on my FAFSA.
Fact: If the family income will be less for the current year as compared to the tax return, we can reduce the income due to a "special condition" on the FAFSA. Special Conditions will include the following "involuntary" situations: layoff, termination, closing of facility, medical disability, or the death of a parent or spouse. Documentation of the situation will be required.