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Financial Aid — FAQ

How long does it take to get Financial Aid?
The Financial Aid process can take six weeks or longer, depending on what documentation is required, and how quickly the student fulfills these requirements. Apply early; some types of Federal Aid are awarded to eligible students on a first-come first-serve basis. Holmes’s priority date is June 1 for Federal Financial Aid preceding the fall semester. You can apply for Federal Financial Aid online.

How can I check on my Financial Aid?
Holmes Community College students can check their Financial Aid through their My Doghouse account, which is a convenient and secure portal to access important information and web-based services 24/7. In order to view your Holmes Financial Aid information such as: status, award, requirements, etc., log-in to your My Doghouse account. Once in My Doghouse click My Holmes tab. From there Financial Aid has two channels on the left hand side. You can view your required documents for Financial Aid, or view your Financial Aid awards.

How do I apply for Financial Aid?
If you apply online for Financial Aid, the Department of Education (DOE) will process the application in 2-3 weeks. If you fill out the paper application, it can take up to 6 weeks to process. For faster processing of your online Financial Aid application, you will want to get a PIN from the DOE before applying online. Having a PIN, allows you to electronically sign your application for Financial Aid, thus eliminating the need for mailing any paper work to the DOE. To apply for a DOE PIN, check here.

What happens to my Financial Aid if I drop a class?
If you drop a class, your Financial Aid can be reduced, and you may be required to repay some or all of your Financial Aid. Financial Aid amounts are based on the number of credit hours for which a student enrolls for that semester. If a student drops a class their Financial Aid will be pro-rated based on their new enrollment status. The date that is used for a student’s drop is the last day they attended that class. In addition, dropping a class can cause you to be placed on either Financial Aid Probation or Suspension (refer to the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy for details)

Do I have to re-apply for Financial Aid every semester?
You do not have to re-apply every semester for Financial Aid; however you do have to update FAFSA yearly. Holmes Community College’s Financial Aid year starts with the fall semester, and includes the following spring and summer semesters. Every fall, a new Financial Aid year begins.

How can I charge my books and supplies to Financial Aid Funds?
Book vouchers are normally available one week prior to the beginning of classes each semester. To be eligible for a book voucher, processing of a student’s Financial Aid must be complete and have an award. There also must be Financial Aid available after the student’s Tuition and Fees are taken out. My Doghouse will have a channel explaining how to use the voucher and show you how much you are eligible for. Once you have verified that you are eligible for a book voucher take a copy of your current semester schedule and picture ID (Holmes ID or driver’s license) to the bookstore to receive your books.

What is Holmes Community College Federal School Code?
Holmes Federal School Code is 002408.

My parents make too much for me to qualify for Financial Aid. What can I do?
Most students are eligible for at least an Unsubsidized Loan, even if their parents’ income is too high to qualify for a Pell Grant, or other need-based aid. The following are criteria to be eligible for Federal Student Aid:
  1. Enroll in an eligible program of study leading to a degree, diploma, or certificate.
  2. Be a U.S. citizen, or an eligible non-citizen.
  3. Have a high school diploma, or complete the GED before receiving federal aid.
  4. Not be in default on any loan, nor owe repayment on grants previously received.
  5. Be registered with Selective Service, if required.
  6. Maintain the standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
How many hours do I have to be enrolled in to receive Financial Aid?
The minimum number of credit hours required varies for different types of Financial Aid. To be eligible for a Federal Direct Loan, a student must be enrolled in a minimum of six (6) credit hours. The minimum number of credit hours to be eligible for a Federal Pell Grant varies from student to student, but can be as little as 3 hours in certain circumstances. For scholarships students must be enrolled in 15 credit hours; however, there are some exceptions. Please contact us if you have any questions.

What determines my grade level?
Your grade level for a Federal Direct Loan is based on how many hours of college credit that you have passed. Students are classified as a “freshman”, if they have passed between 0 and 24 credit hours of college credit. Students are classified as a “sophomore”, if they have passed 25 or more credit hours.

Why do I have to use my parents’ income if I do not live with them, and I pay my own bills?
The Department of Education uses the following criteria to determine if a student must provide their parent’s income information on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA):
For the 2011-2012 Academic Year – (for classes during Fall 2011, Spring 2012, and Summer 2012)
  1. Were you born before January 1, 1988?
  2. As of today (the day you sign your FAFSA), are you married? Answer yes if you are separated but not divorced.
  3. Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training?
  4. Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?
  5. Do you have children and support them?
  6. At any time since you turned 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care or were you a dependent or ward of the court?
  7. As determined by a court in your state of legal residence, are you or were you an emancipated minor?
  8. As determined by a court in your state of legal residence, are you or were you in legal guardianship?
  9. Has it been determined that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?
What is verification?
The U.S. Department of Education and our office randomly select students for verification of information submitted on the FAFSA. The Office of Financial Aid will notify you of the proper documentation to submit to our office.

What determines if I am eligible for aid?
The main factor of eligibility is your financial need. All students, regardless of family income level, are encouraged to apply. By comparing the cost of attending Holmes with the ability of you and your parents to finance your education, your need is evaluated. The information for making that evaluation comes from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

I probably don’t qualify for aid. Should I apply for aid anyway?
Yes. Many families mistakenly think they don’t qualify for aid and prevent themselves from receiving financial aid by failing to apply for it. In addition, there are a few sources of aid such as unsubsidized loans that are available regardless of need.

Why hasn’t my financial aid been posted to my account?
You have not fulfilled your student requirements; therefore, your file is not complete. Log in to your My Doghouse account and view your status. Once all requested documentation has been submitted, your file will go through the verification process, and then any aid for which you are eligible will be posted to your account. Check your MyDoghouse account and student e-mail frequently, in case other information is needed. Loans will only be processed after all grant eligibility has been determined and only for those students completing a separate Loan Request form. This form can be picked up at any financial aid office.

How do I accept/confirm my awards?
It is not necessary to accept/confirm your awards. If you are enrolled, it is assumed you want the awards to pay your account. However, it is necessary to confirm your attendance for each semester.

 
My parents are divorced. Whose information do I need for the FAFSA?
The parent with whom you lived the most during the past year should complete the FAFSA. If you did not live with either parent or lived equally with each parent, the parent who provided the most support should complete the FAFSA.

How do I get my aid transferred to another college?
Go to the FAFSA website and under option 3, click on add/delete a school code. Add Holmes’ school code 002408.

How do I apply for Federal Work Study?
Work study applications can be found on the Holmes’ website www.holmescc.edu. Select future or current student tab at the top, and then select the Financial Aid link in the list on the left. Select the work study link to access the application. Students are responsible for finding an instructor/supervisor to work for. This application is not complete until you print the confirmation page, get your Supervisor’s signature, the appropriate Dean, Director, or Vice President’s signature, and turn it in to the Financial Aid Office on your campus .The priority deadline for the work-study program is June 1. This means that those students who have all of their paperwork complete (FAFSA) and on file by this date will receive first consideration of available positions.

What is Federal Work Study and how do I qualify?
Federal Work Study is an employment program sponsored by the Federal Government. The Federal Work Study Program provides on-campus employment to eligible students who are enrolled at least half-time and who show a need for the earnings. Selections and assignments are based upon federal guidelines and the availability of funds.
You must complete the FAFSA each year, and meet the priority deadline dates as well as the federal eligibility requirements.

How do I apply for a student loan?
Holmes is a direct lending institution; therefore, you will need to complete a separate loan application after you complete your FAFSA. Loan applications can be picked up at the Financial Aid Office before semester deadline dates. If you have never had a student loan from Holmes before, then you will need to do an Entrance Counseling Exam, which will explain the responsibilities of having a loan.

I did a loan application and still have not heard anything?
All required documents must be submitted and other aid awarded prior to a loan being processed. It takes about two-three weeks to process a student loan from the time that you submit it, if your financial aid file is complete. You will also need to log in to your student e-mail and MyDoghouse account to obtain further instructions from us regarding your loan.

I did an Entrance Counseling Exam and MPN for my loan, but it is still showing up as needed under my student requirements.

The Financial Aid Office may still be waiting on verification of your information from the Department of Education.

What is the difference between a ‘subsidized’ loan and ‘unsubsidized’ Direct Loan?
The Federal government pays the interest on subsidized loans while the student is enrolled in school for at least half-time.
With an unsubsidized loan, the interest payments are the responsibility of the student. Students can elect to pay the interest on the unsubsidized loan while in school or can choose to let the interest accrue. Arrangements for payment should be made through the Direct Loan Servicing Center, not the school.

If I have a break in enrollment, do I have to start repaying my loans?
Not immediately. The subsidized loan has a grace period of 6 months before the student must begin repaying the loan. When you have a break in enrollment you will not have to repay your loan until the grace period is used up. If you use up the grace period, however, when you graduate you will have to begin repaying your loan immediately. It is possible to request an extension to the grace period, but this must be done before the grace period is used up.

 
Do I have to do ‘Entrance Counseling’ for my student loan every year?
No, you only need to do the Entrance Counseling once while at Holmes. You can print out a confirmation page of your entrance counseling exam and use it for each subsequent year.

Do I have to do ‘Exit Counseling’ for my student loan if I am not graduating?
Yes, Exit Counseling must be done as you exit Holmes. If you come back, even the very next semester, and take out another loan it must be done when you exit again.
 
Why are the loan amounts I signed for and the loan amounts I received different?
An “origination fee” is charged for Student Loans per the regulations governing the loan programs. The fee is deducted proportionately from each payment before the loan funds are disbursed to the school by the government. The fee is paid to the Federal government to defray the cost of the loan programs.
How many hours do I have to be enrolled in to qualify for a student loan?
Students must be enrolled in at least 6 hours in their degree program.

What will happen to my student loan if I drop below half time?
You will go into your grace period starting the day you drop below half time and any future disbursements will be cancelled. You will also be required to complete Exit Counseling.

 
What will happen if I fail to complete student loan Exit Counseling?
You will have a Financial Aid hold placed on your account and you will not be allowed to receive an official college transcript until you complete the Exit Counseling.

What is the satisfactory academic progress policy?
Federal regulations state that all students who receive assistance from the Federal Work Study, Federal Direct Loan, Federal Pell Grant, or Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant Programs will be required to make measurable academic progress toward a degree. Failure to maintain satisfactory progress will result in the termination of your financial assistance. You may re-establish eligibility for financial assistance when the minimum requirements of the policy are satisfied.

If you fail to meet the standards of the satisfactory academic progress policy, financial assistance will not be available to you until the required progress is met, or an appeal is approved. You may make up the deficiencies at your own expense. After completing the requirements it is your responsibility to notify the Financial Aid Office. Eligibility may be continued, upon appeal, for students who, through no fault of their own, were unable to complete a semester under normal circumstances, ex. accident, unexpected medical problems, or a death in the immediate family (brother, sister, mother, father, spouse, child).