From the 2013-2014 Catalog (edited 12/5/2013)
Financial Assistance to Students
The purpose of financial aid is to provide financial assistance to students who would otherwise be unable to attend college.
Housatonic offers financial aid to students who have been determined to have financial need, according to Federal need analysis. The financial aid awarded depends on the financial need, the availability of funds at Housatonic, and any other aid the student is receiving. The financial aid package may include grants, loans, work-study, or a combination of these funds. All financial aid awards are subject to change.
Applying for Financial Aid
All applications for financial aid should be completed by May 1 for students enrolling in September, and November 1 for students enrolling in January. Applications are accepted throughout the academic year, but awards made after the recommended deadlines depend on fund availability. A new application must be completed for each academic year.
Eligibility is determined by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Apply online at www.fafsa.gov.
For more information on financial aid application procedures, please visit the financial aid website at www.housatonic.edu
The information provided in the FAFSA provides a consistent way of measuring the ability of families and/or students to pay educational costs. The student is determined to have need if the cost of education exceeds the student’s available resources, based upon a standardized formula that was established by Congress. All allowable educational expenses are considered when financial aid applications are reviewed.
The Student Aid Report that the student will receive after filing the FAFSA need not be submitted to the Financial Aid Office. The Financial Aid Office will download reports electronically.
Requirements for Student Financial Aid
In order to receive financial aid, students must have completed the entire admissions process and be accepted into a degree or eligible certificate program. You may be eligible for financial assistance if you are:
A citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. or Trust Territories;
In good academic standing and making satisfactory academic progress according to the standards and practices of HCC (see Appendix XI for Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy For Student Financial Aid Recipients);
In compliance with draft (Selective Service) registration requirements;
Not in default in the repayment of any educational loans or owe a refund on any Title IV grant program at any institution.
How Financial Aid Works
Financial aid awards are based on your enrollment status as of the 14th calendar day of the semester. Any course added after that time will not be covered by financial aid and will be billed directly to you.
Students should remember that:
Financial aid cannot be used for non-credit courses offered through the Continuing Education Program.
Financial aid cannot be used for audited courses.
Withdrawal during the first two weeks of any semester will result in the cancellation of all financial aid. Students will be billed by the business office for 50 percent of their tuition, all fees, and any bookstore charges. For students that fall into this category, a Return of Title IV funds calculation will be completed to determine if the students are eligible for a post withdrawal disbursement.
More information regarding withdrawals after the first 14 days of the semester is available in the section entitled “Policy for Refunds & Repayments of Cash Disbursements of Title IV Financial Aid (Withdrawal Information)”.
Financial aid does not cover the cost of any course and/or related books for which a student registers and never attends. The charges for any such course become the responsibility of the student who will be billed directly by the business office.
Financial aid is NOT available for the Winter session.
All financial aid applicants are assumed to be familiar with the contents of the HCC catalog. Students are responsible for reading and understanding all forms they are asked to sign and should keep copies of all documents submitted to the Financial Aid Office. Students and their families should be aware that they are completing applications for federal, state, and college funds.
Financial aid recipients must inform the Financial Aid Office in writing of any change in name, address, marital status, family size, or financial circumstances. Deliberately misreporting can result in criminal and civil liabilities.
Housatonic Community College expects you, the student, to initiate the application process in a timely manner, and considers it your responsibility to complete the application on time. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.
Students with questions concerning the accuracy or completeness of their applications should contact the Financial Aid Office. If your application is in any stage of processing or review and you have not received an official notification of financial aid at the time you wish to enroll, you will be responsible for your tuition bill at the time of registration, and must make payment arrangements with the Business Office. If payment arrangements have not been made and you do not have an official notification of financial aid, your classes will, in all probability, be cancelled.
Late applications will be awarded on a funds available basis. Application materials cannot be accepted after a student’s last date of attendance.
The only formal announcement of financial aid is an award letter or email sent by the Financial Aid Office. Information online at myCommNet is not official unless you have received an official email award notification or have been sent an award letter.
Please note… Applicants are responsible for completing all Federal eligibility and file completion requirements as soon as possible. Under NO circumstances will financial aid be available for the fall semester unless ALL requirements are satisfied by November 15, or for the spring semester by April 15.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy For Student Financial Aid Recipients
A student receiving Federal Title IV financial aid or other financial aid directly administered or certified by the college must maintain satisfactory academic progress towards the completion of a certificate or degree program of study. Satisfactory academic progress for financial aid recipients is measured by both quantitative and qualitative standards and is an assessment of a student’s cumulative academic record at the college. Students should be aware that the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for financial aid recipients differs from the institutional Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.
The current Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy is available online at myCommNet, in Appendix XI of the college Policies section of the catalog, or in the financial aid office.
Policy for Refunds & Repayments of Cash Disbursements of Title IV Financial Aid (Withdrawal Information)
Students who officially withdraw between the 15th day and the 60% point (generally the 9th week) in any semester will be subject to a Title IV calculation to determine how much federal financial aid was actually earned.
The college will return unearned Title IV funds to the Department of Education as soon as possible but no later than 45 days after the date the college determined that the student withdrew.
Students who stop attending classes at any time during a semester or register and never attend are considered unofficial withdrawals. The college will perform the Title IV calculation and will assume that 50 % of your federal financial aid was earned.
In both of the above situations, a letter will be sent to you explaining your financial obligation to the college and the U.S. Department of Education. You will have 45 days from the date of that letter to pay the college.
Treatment of Title IV Aid When a Student Withdraws
The law specifies how Housatonic Community College must determine the amount of Title IV program assistance that you earn if you withdraw from school. The Title IV programs that are covered by this law include, but are not limited to: Federal Pell Grants, Stafford Loans, and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants.
When you withdraw during your period of enrollment, the amount of Title IV program assistance that you have earned up to that point is determined by a specific formula. If you received (or Housatonic Community College or your parent received on your behalf) less assistance than the amount you earned, you may be able to receive those additional funds. If you received more assistance than you earned, the excess funds must be returned by Housatonic Community College and/or you.
The amount of assistance that you have earned is determined on a prorate basis. For example, if you completed 30% of your period of enrollment, you earn 30% of the assistance you were originally scheduled to receive. Once you have completed more than 60% of the period of enrollment, you earn all of the assistance that you were scheduled to receive for that period.
If you did not receive all of the funds that you earned, you may be due a Post-withdrawal disbursement. If your Post-withdrawal disbursement includes loan funds, Housatonic Community College must get your permission before it can disburse them. You may choose to decline some or all of the loan funds so that you don’t incur additional debt. Housatonic Community College may automatically use all or a portion of your Post-withdrawal disbursement of grant funds for tuition and fees. Housatonic Community College needs your permission to use the Post-withdrawal grant disbursement for all other school charges. If you do not give your permission, you will be offered the funds. However, it may be in your best interest to allow Housatonic Community College to keep the funds to reduce your debt at the school.
There are some Title IV funds that you may have been scheduled to receive that cannot be disbursed to you once you withdraw because of other eligibility requirements. For example, if you are a first-time, first-year undergraduate student and you have not completed the first 30 days of your program before you withdraw, you will not receive any Direct Loan funds that you would have received had you remained enrolled past the 30th day.
If you receive (or Housatonic Community College or your parent receives on your behalf) excess Title IV program funds that must be returned, Housatonic Community College must return a portion of the excess equal to the lesser of:
Your institutional charges multiplied by the unearned percentage of your funds, or
The entire amount of excess funds.
Housatonic Community College must return this amount even if it didn’t keep this amount of your Title IV program funds.
Regarding the order of return of Title IV loan funds, unearned funds returned by the institution or the student must be credited to outstanding balances on Title IV loans made to the student or on behalf of the student for the payment period or period of enrollment for which a return of funds is required. Those funds must be credited to outstanding balances for the payment period or period of enrollment for which a return of funds is required in the following order:
Unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford loans
Subsidized Federal Direct Stafford loans
Federal Direct PLUS loans received on behalf of the student
Regarding the order of return of Title IV remaining funds, if unearned funds remain to be returned after repayment of all outstanding loan amounts, the remaining excess must be credited to any amount awarded for the payment period or period of enrollment for which a return of funds is required in the following order:
Federal Pell Grants
FSEOG Program aid
If Housatonic Community College is not required to return all the excess funds, you must return the remaining amount. Any loan funds that you must return you repay in accordance with the terms of the promissory note. That is, you make scheduled payments to the holder of the loan over a period of time.
Any amount of unearned grant funds that you must return is called an overpayment. The maximum amount of a grant overpayment that you must repay is half of the grant funds you received or were scheduled to receive. You do not have to repay a grant overpayment if the original amount of the overpayment is $50 or less. You must make arrangements with Housatonic Community College or the Department of Education to return the unearned grant funds.
The requirements for Title IV program funds when you withdraw are separate from any refund policy that Housatonic Community College may have. Therefore, you may still owe funds to Housatonic Community College to cover unpaid institutional charges. Housatonic Community College may also charge you for any Title IV program funds that the school was required to return. The Housatonic Community College Financial Aid, Bursar, and Registrar’s Offices can provide you with more information about the school’s refund policy and the requirements and procedures for officially withdrawing from the school.
If you have questions about your Title IV program funds, you can also call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FEDAID (1-800-433-3243). TTY users may call 1-800-730-8913. Information is also available on Student Aid on the Web at www.studentaid.ed.gov.
How Financial Aid Credit Balances Are Processed
Students must remain in attendance to be eligible for refunds of financial aid monies after all debt to HCC is satisfied. If a student does not remain in attendance, the excess aid will be returned to the Federal government. In the case of students who withdraw, payment will be prorated based on length of attendance according to the Federal Title IV Refund calculation.
Refunds of any amount after eligible educational expenses are deducted are normally made by the State Controller’s Office.
What Programs Are Available
Federal Programs -
Pell Grant is a federal grant based on need and restricted to students pursuing a first undergraduate degree.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant is a federal grant usually awarded to Pell Grant recipients with the greatest financial need.
Federal Work Study is a federal program for students with financial aid eligibility which provides an opportunity for students to work and earn an income. It is expected that any earnings will be used for costs relating to attendance at the college.
William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program includes Federal Direct Subsidized Loans and Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans. Financial aid eligibility must be determined before loan applications can be processed.
Federal Direct Subsidized Loan eligibility is determined by the student’s FAFSA Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Federal Direct Subsidized Loans are student loans for which in some cases a borrower is not responsible for paying the interest while in an in-school, grace, or deferment period.
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan eligibility is not based on the student’s FAFSA EFC. Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans are student loans for which the borrower is fully responsible for paying the interest regardless of the loan status.
Direct PLUS Loan Program includes loans for eligible parents of dependent undergraduate students to help pay for the cost of the student’s education. Parent borrowers of a Direct PLUS Loan must not have an adverse credit history or must obtain an endorser.
Housatonic Community College observes the Connecticut Community College System’s Code of Conduct when working with providers of education loans. For more information, please visit the HCC Financial Aid web site at www.housatonic.edu and download the Financial Aid Code of Conduct from the "Helpful Links" section.
State Programs -
Connecticut Aid for Public College Students is a state grant awarded by the college in various amounts to full or part-time students with demonstrated financial need. Students must be Connecticut residents in order to qualify.
Connecticut Community College Grant Program is a state program awarded by the college as a grant for full- or part-time students with demonstrated financial need. Students must be Connecticut residents in order to qualify.
State Work Study is a state program for students with financial aid eligibility which provides an opportunity for students to work and earn income. It is expected that any earnings will be used for costs relating to attendance at the college. Students must be Connecticut residents in order to qualify.
Awards of all Federal and State Financial Aid resources are determined by the Financial Aid Office. Contact the Financial Aid Office regarding any additional requirements for these programs.
Veteran's Educational Benefits
Housatonic is approved by the State Department of Higher Education for student benefits under appropriate chapters of Title 38, U.S. Code. Under specific circumstances, spouses, widows, widowers, and children may also be eligible for these benefits. Veterans or their dependents should contact the Veteran’s Representative in the Registrar’s Office for assistance in effecting certification of eligibility.
Housatonic, through the State of Connecticut, is also able to offer veterans tuition waivers for General Fund courses. To be eligible, a veteran must have served honorably on active duty during qualified war eras and fulfill residency requirements. Please refer to the Admissions section for more information.
Each veteran must present a valid Form DD-214 when applying for student benefits under the G.I. Bill or Tuition Waiver.
Note: The Advanced English Proficiency (ESL) certificate is not a vocational program approvable for veteran benefits. However, veterans and eligible dependents may be paid for remedial, deficiency, or refresher courses (such as ESL) when it is determined that they need the courses in order to pursue a program for which they would be otherwise eligible. Certification of need (as determined by testing) can be made to the VA.
Tax Credit Programs
The American Opportunity Tax Credit provides for qualified education expenses. Eligible students can receive up to a $2,500 tax credit for the first four years of post-secondary education.
The Lifetime Learning Program helps students offset the cost of education by providing a Lifetime tax credit of 20% of qualified tuition and fee expenses, up to $2,000 per year, with some income-based limitations.
For more information on these programs, consult your tax advisor or the IRS website at www.irs.gov