What is Financial Aid?
September 1, 2017
What kind of financial aid options do I have?
Grants and Scholarships are “gift” aid and do not need to be repaid. They usually contain certain provisions which students must abide by to meet the criteria of the grant or scholarship.
Loans are available at low interest rates and can be repaid over an extended period of time, usually after graduation. At Northwest Florida State College, loans are regarded as a “last resort” source of financial assistance. Students are strongly encouraged to complete their program of education at Northwest Florida State College without student loans; however, if it becomes necessary to borrow, low-cost federal education loans are available to qualifying students.
A limited number of part-time jobs are also available each year to assist students as part of our Work-Study Program. Students are paid an hourly rate for work performed. The college works closely with each student to arrange a work schedule that does not interfere with scheduled class time. See the Work-Study Program page for details.
Financial Aid Programs
What is it?
The Federal Pell Grant Program provides need-based grants to low-income undergraduate and certain post baccalaureate students to promote access to postsecondary education. Grant amounts are dependent on: the student’s expected family contribution (EFC) (see below); the cost of attendance (as determined by the institution); the student’s enrollment status (full-time or part-time); and whether the student attends for a full academic year or less.
I’m enrolled at more than one school. Can I receive funds from both schools?
Students may not receive Federal Pell Grant funds from more than one school at a time.
How is my grant eligibility determined?
Federal Pell Grants are direct grants awarded through participating institutions to students with financial need who have not received their first bachelor’s degree or who are enrolled in certain post baccalaureate programs that lead to teacher certification or licensure.
Financial need is determined by the U.S. Department of Education using a standard formula, established by Congress, to evaluate the financial information reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and to determine the family EFC. After filing a FAFSA, the student receives a Student Aid Report (SAR) and the institution receives an Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR), which notifies the student if he or she is eligible for a Federal Pell Grant and provides the student’s EFC. By completing the FAFSA, you may also be eligible for other grants.
What is a Direct Loan?
Loans may be available to you as part of your financial aid awards to help fund your education. Remember: A loan is money that must be repaid and may accrue interest. You should only borrow what is necessary to help you with your education. Be sure you understand the terms and conditions of your loan if you decide to borrow.
Visit the Federal Student Aid website to learn more about the William D. Ford Federal Direct Staffed Loan and its application process.
How to Apply
You must have the following on file to submit a Direct Loan Application:
- Valid FAFSA for current aid year
- Complete a paper loan application
- Complete Entrance Counseling (first-time applicants only)
- Must be registered for at least 6 Compliant hours credits
- Completed Master Promissory Note (first-time applicants only)
Please read Steps 1-4 below for more information about the application process.
Step 1: Complete your FAFSA
Click here to complete a FAFSA form for the current aid year. Please note the FAFSA form cannot be pending to receive a loan.
Step 2: Entrance Counseling Session
First time borrowers who want to apply for a William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan at NWF State College must complete an Entrance Counseling session. This session can also take place online, which consists of a class followed by an online quiz. The Financial Aid Office must have proof of your completed counseling requirements before your loan application can be processed.
Please note: When taking the counseling course, please type Northwest Florida State College in the section that asks for Selected Schools.
Step 3: Master Promissory Note (MPN)
The Master Promissory Note is required for students who are requesting a loan for the first time. After the MPN has been completed, you do not have to complete another one for 10 consecutive years.
Make sure you have these items on hand when completing the online Electronic MPN:
- FSA ID
- Your social security number
- The permanent addresses/telephone numbers of your references
- Your driver’s license (if applicable)
Step 4: Loan Request Form
In addition to filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), students who want to borrow funds through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program must complete the Direct Loan Request form available at the Financial Aid Office located on the Niceville campus.
The Financial Aid Office can only originate loans for a student after the student has submitted the Direct Loan Request Application and registered for classes, since the number of credits registered for determines the amount of the approved loan. Disbursement of Federal Direct Loan funds at NWF State College are by a check, mailed to the student from the Business Office. Unfortunately, direct deposit is not available.
Please note that if you have an outstanding financial obligation due to NWF State College, the Business Office will deduct the amount of these charges from your loan fund before the loan is disbursed to you.
Northwest Florida State College has ample scholarship opportunities available to our students. Please visit our Scholarships page for a full list of current scholarships offered, as well as a list of external scholarship resources.
What is it?
The Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program is a need-based program designed to provide part-time employment for students with financial need.
How do I apply?
As with other need-based federal programs, information from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is used to determine eligibility for FWS funds.
I’ve already applied. What do I do next?
Once your FAFSA has been approved, you should visit the Career Center, where staff will help you create a resume. From there, hiring department supervisors will reach out to the Career Center for resumes. From there, hiring department supervisors will reach out to begin scheduling interviews.
Do I qualify?
Once Northwest Florida State College receives your FAFSA, our Financial Aid office will determine whether you qualify for work-study, as well as other financial aid including loans and grants.
You must meet the following requirements:
- Applicant must register for a minimum of 6 compliant credit hours
- Applicant must meet the NWF State College standards of academic progress & maintain a 2.0 GPA.
- Applicant must have financial need based upon the estimated family contribution (EFC) number calculated by FAFSA and includes the cost of attendance, loans, scholarships and grants awarded.
How is Work-Study aid disbursed?
Unlike other forms of financial aid, work-study money is not disbursed in a lump sum at the beginning of the semester. Also, these funds are not automatically applied to a student’s college obligations, but rather are paid directly to the student. Pay rates are at least minimum wage.
Is my Work-Study income taxable?
Work-study income is taxable. You will receive a W-2 from the college at the end of each year, and this form will indicate how much you earned from all employment at the college, including work-study employment. Although you may have to pay taxes on work-study earnings, you should list those earnings as income on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), but then also report them as exclusions on the FAFSA. When filling out the FAFSA, read the FAFSA booklet instructions for the exclusions worksheet carefully.
What are my responsibilities as a Work-Study student?
- Do not work during scheduled classes or exams.
- Work only the number of hours per week awarded, not to exceed total term award.
- Abide by work regulations of the department which employed i.e., schedule, attendance, dress, etc.
- Notify the Financial Aid Office if you do not accept FWS employment.
What should I expect when I start the Work-Study program?
- Students are paid for hours worked.
- Work schedules, attendance, etc. will be decided by the department to which a student is assigned.
- Jobs are limited and will be awarded on a priority basis. Award: up to 20 hours per week at $9 per hour.
How much financial aid can I receive?
The amount and types of financial assistance a student receives are determined through federal, state, and institutional guidelines. Awards are generally offered to students in combinations, or packages, which may consist of grants, scholarships, loans, and/or employment designed to help students meet their educational costs.
How long can I be eligible for financial aid?
Typically, you are not eligible to receive financial aid once you have attempted more than 150% of the normal credits required for your degree or certificate program. For example, a student in a 60 credit hour program can attempt 90 credit hours (60 hours times 150%). An example of a Bachelor program is 120 credits; 150% of that program would be 180 credit hours. If you have questions about your program’s maximum eligibility, please contact Student Services or the Financial Aid Office. The total credits counted in this calculation include all credits attempted by you, regardless of whether you received financial aid for those classes. This includes those attempted from other schools, and those that might have been failed, withdrawn, or repeated.
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