Campus Advisory
Financial Aid

Financial Aid Frequently Asked Questions

Applying for Financial Aid

After You Complete Your FAFSA

Classes and Your Financial Aid

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Student Loans


Applying for Financial Aid

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How do I apply for financial aid?

Please see these instructions for applying for financial aid.

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What is the deadline for applying for financial aid?

Housatonic Community College accepts applications throughout the year. However, in order to receive priority consideration for financial aid, you should complete your application by the following dates:

  • May 1 is the priority deadline for filing your FAFSA for the Fall Semester.
  • July 1 is the priority deadline for submitting all financial aid documents requested by our office. Please note: Documents submitted after July 1 will not be reviewed by the financial aid office until after September 1. Students submitting documents after July 1 must make alternate plans for payment if they wish to register for Fall classes.
  • November 1 is the priority deadline for filing your FAFSA for the Spring Semester.
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My parents don’t support me.  Why do I need their tax returns to apply for financial aid?

The federal government does not consider you to be independent for financial aid purposes until you are 24 years old or have met other requirements.  If one or both of your parents are alive, they are responsible for your education as long as you are under the age of 24.

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I can’t find a copy of my tax return.  How can I get another copy?

There are three methods for obtaining a copy of your federal tax return transcript from the IRS:

  • Call the toll-free number 1-800-829-1040.  Select option 1 from the main menu and follow the instructions.
  • Complete form 4506-T and mail it to the IRS.
  • Visit the Federal Building on Lafayette Boulevard in Bridgeport and ask for a copy of your tax transcript.

The IRS charges no fee for the first copy of your tax transcript.  According to the IRS, it make take up to two weeks for you to receive your tax transcript if you request it by mail or by phone.  Please note that after you receive a copy of your taxes from the IRS, you must SIGN that copy before submitting it to the financial aid office.

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Why do I have to fill out the FAFSA again if all the information is the same?

Federal regulations require that the information on the FAFSA reflect the last year for which complete information is available.  For each academic year, the information needed is from the previous tax year.  Even if it is very similar to the previous year, you must complete the new FAFSA and submit it for processing in the correct academic year.

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What is the Title IV Federal Code number for HCC?

The Title IV Federal Code for HCC is #004513. 

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I have already been awarded financial aid at another school.  How do I transfer it to this school?

Your financial aid award is not transferable.  The financial aid office at each school must determine your eligibility at that school, since it depends on the costs, number of credits, etc. at that school.  HCC can only access your FAFSA information if you include it in the “school” section of the application.  This can be done on the FAFSA website.   HCC’s school code is 004513.  Please allow six weeks to process the application and review the file.


After You Complete Your FAFSA

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How do I find my financial aid information on myCommNet?

Read this document for instructions on finding your Financial Aid informaiton on myCommNet...

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Do I have to keep making payments on my payment plan if I am getting financial aid?

If you entered into a payment plan agreement (installment plan) with the bursar, you must continue to make payments until your financial aid request has been reviewed and finalized.  An official award notification will be sent to you.  If you have paid more than the balance owed, you will be refunded any overpayment after financial aid funds are disbursed.

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What happens after I complete the FAFSA?

Once you submit your electronic application your information goes to the U.S. Department of Education’s Central Processing System (CPS).  If you have listed HCC as one of your schools and you have been admitted to the college, it typically takes us about two weeks for us to receive CPS’s analysis of your financial need.  You will be contacted by mail or email if additional information is needed.  It is your responsibility to continue the process with the Financial Aid Office until eligibility is determined and your file is completed.  You can check your financial aid status anytime by going to myCommNet.

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I received my Student Aid Report (SAR) in the mail and there are some errors.  Do I have to mail it back in order to correct it?

With electronic filing, you have access to your application on the FAFSA website at http://www.fafsa.gov.  You may correct your information on the website or correct it on the SAR.  Contact the financial aid office if you have any questions.

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Why aren’t I eligible for grants?  -OR-  Why aren’t I eligible for more?

The formula for determining financial aid eligibility is:

COA (Cost of Attending the school)
- EFC (Expected Family Contribution, from the SAR)
= NEED (Eligibility)

If your EFC is high, you may be eligible for only partial aid.

If your EFC is larger than the cost of attending HCC, you will not be eligible for grant aid.


Classes and Your Financial Aid

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I need to buy my textbooks.  How do I authorize my financial aid so that it can be used to pay for my books as well as my tuition and fees?

Read this document for information on purchasing textbooks with your financial aid award...

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Can I take more credits than I was awarded?

Yes, your financial aid will be adjusted based on the amount of credits you are taking, up to 17 credits. An additional tuition charge shall apply when total registered credits exceed 17 for the semester.

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If I drop a course, will it affect my financial aid?

Possibly.  If you drop the course within the first two weeks, financial aid for that course will be canceled and you will be billed for 50% of the tuition, plus all fees.  If you drop the course after two weeks, financial aid will have been credited for that course, but you may receive a W, F, or N, which could affect your academic status.  Failure to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for Student Financial Aid Recipients may result in Academic Warning and/or termination from financial aid.  If you withdraw completely, you will be subject to the Title IV refund policy, and will be billed for any balance remaining after “unearned” financial aid is withdrawn from your account.

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Will financial aid cover courses if I am not in a degree program?

No.  You must be in an eligible degree or certificate program to receive financial aid.

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Is there a limit to the number of semesters I can receive a Pell Grant?

Yes.  As of Fall 2012, Federal law now limits students to 12 semesters (or 600%) of Pell Grant eligibility during their lifetime.  This change affects all students immediately regardless of when or where they received their first Pell Grant. 

If you have been a student at any combination of colleges for 4 years or longer, receiving the Pell Grant each year, you may have already exhausted, or may soon exhaust your lifetime Pell Grant eligibility of 12 semesters.  You can view your Pell Grant usage on www.nslds.ed.gov.  In the Financial Aid Review section, it is listed as “Pell Lifetime Eligibility Used”.

As a simple example of how much Pell Grant eligibility you might use in any given year, consider the following:

  • If you are awarded Pell Grant for an academic year and attend college full time for two semesters within that year, then in that year you have used 100% of your total 600% of Pell Grant eligibility.
  • If you are awarded Pell Grant for an academic year and attend college half time for two semesters within that year, then in that year you have used 50% of your total 600% of Pell Grant eligibility.

Whether you have used all your lifetime Pell Grant eligibility or only some, please be conscious about the lifetime limit of the Pell Grant when changing majors and/or scheduling classes.

As always, students who have already earned a Bachelor's Degree are ineligible for any further Pell Grants.

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Is there a limit to the number of times I can repeat a course and receive financial aid for that course?

Per Federal Student Aid regulations, an institution can pay a student for only one repetition of any previously passed course or its’ equivalency.


Satisfactory Academic Progress

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If I’m on Academic Warning, does it mean that I’m not eligible for financial aid?

If you have received an Academic Warning notice from the financial aid office, you are eligible for financial aid for one more semester, but you must correct whatever is wrong academically by the end of that semester, and bring your overall academic standing up to the standards set in the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for Student Financial Aid Recipients

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What if I had an unusual problem that resulted in not maintaining satisfactory academic progress?

If there is a legitimate reason for your not attaining Satisfactory Academic Progress, you may appeal your status.  The financial aid office can explain the appeal process to you.

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I was terminated from financial aid at HCC in a previous year.  I want to return to HCC.  Am I eligible now? 

No.  You must take enough courses (and pay for them on your own) to once again meet the standards set in the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for Student Financial Aid Recipients before you are again eligible for financial aid at HCC.  If there is a legitimate reason for your not attaining Satisfactory Academic Progress, you may appeal your status.  The financial aid office can explain the appeal process to you.

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If I was terminated from another college, will I be eligible for financial aid at HCC?

Yes.  You will be making a fresh start for financial aid purposes.  However, you must maintain the standards set in the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for Student Financial Aid Recipients.


Student Loans

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How do I apply for a student loan?

Once your FAFSA process is complete, you may visit the financial aid office to apply for a student loan.  You must complete a separate application for a student loan.  You must be enrolled for at least six credits to receive a student loan. 

Our office can provide you with the necessary forms and counsel you regarding the loan process.  Please note that all students interested in borrowing a loan will be required to complete an entrance interview before they will be allowed to borrow a loan.

Housatonic Community College observes the Connecticut Community College System’s Code of Conduct when working with providers of education loans.  For more information, please click here to review the full Financial Aid Code of Conduct

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Why do I have to do an entrance interview before I can borrow a student loan?

The financial aid office is responsible for counseling loan applicants.  The entrance interview will give you information regarding your rights and responsibilities as a student borrower.

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When will I get my loan money?

After you have completed all loan application requirements, the financial aid office will submit your application and promissory note to the Department of Education.  When the Department of Education requirements are met, the Department of Education will disburse funds to your account in two separate payments over the course of the semester.  You will get a refund of the unused portion, if any, after all loan payments have been made to your account.  Please note that student loan funds are never available in time to purchase your textbooks at the beginning of the semester.

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Why can’t I apply for more loan money?

Loans are limited by the federal government based on your year in school.

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If I don’t want a loan, and I’m not eligible for grants, how can I pay for my courses?

Housatonic Community College offers a payment plan, which is available through the bursar.  Additionally, if you are a returning student in good academic standing, you may apply for an HCC Foundation scholarship