Blue Ridge Community and Technical College

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Financial Aid FAQ

What is Financial Aid?

Financial aid is federal or state financial assistance that comes in the form of (1) grants, which do not have to be paid back, (2) work-study, a part-time job on campus, (3) student loans, which are required to be repaid starting six months after you leave school. Students must be enrolled and attending classes in a financial aid-eligible program.

Application

How can I apply for financial aid?

You can apply for financial aid online at www.fafsa.gov.  At the end of the FAFSA process, you will be prompted to electronically sign your application with your PIN number. If you have a PIN, enter it. If not, during the process you can apply. If your parent is required to sign the FAFSA, one parent must also apply for a PIN number.

When do I apply for financial aid?

You can begin applying for financial aid in the January prior to the fall you plan to attend. The earlier you apply, the better, as some resources are limited and may run out. We encourage all students to apply as soon as they and their family complete their taxes for the previous year. All WV residents are encouraged to apply prior to the state deadline of April 16th.

What happens after I apply for financial aid?

Once your FAFSA is processed, you will be sent a Student Aid Report (SAR) via email or by mail. This report details the information that you provided and informs you of any corrections that need to be made. At the same time that you receive the SAR, the Financial Aid Office electronically receives your information if you listed Blue Ridge as one of your school choices. Once we receive your FAFSA information, the Financial Aid Staff will determine if additional information or documentation is required, at which time, the office will send you a letter indicating what is required.

What is BRCTC’s School Code?

039573

Do I need to get a PIN number?

We encourage all students and parents to apply for a PIN when applying for financial aid. It will allow you to sign your application electronically, check the status of your application and make corrections to your application online. If you choose to take a student loan in the future, the PIN number will be used as your electronic signature on that agreement when completing the Master Promissory Note. To request your PIN number, go to www.pin.ed.gov.

What is a Renewal FAFSA?

If you have applied for financial aid this past year, you may be able to fill out a renewal FAFSA rather than a new FAFSA. The renewal FAFSA will include all of last year’s information. You just need to update your (and your family’s) income information and any data that has changed. You will need a PIN number to access your renewal FAFSA online at www.fafsa.gov.

What is the deadline for applying for financial aid?

The sooner you apply, the more likely your funding will be available when you start school. The “Priority deadline” is March 1st of the year you plan to start. However, if this has already passed, we encourage students to apply no later than 6-8 weeks before the semester begins.

How do I make a correction to my FAFSA?

If you need to make a correction to your FAFSA before you receive your award notice, you can do so by making a correction online at www.fafsa.gov . If you have already received your award letter, contact the financial aid office to determine if the correction is necessary.

I originally filled out my FAFSA with a different school listed. How do I add Blue Ridge?

You can go online at www.fafsa.gov to add Blue Ridge CTC’s school code to your FAFSA.

Will I need to fill out forms in addition to the FAFSA to receive financial aid?

If you are selected for a process called verification or the Financial Aid Office needs additional documentation to complete your file, you will need to submit additional forms to receive financial aid. The Financial Aid Office will inform you of any documentation you need to submit. Students can also go their Blue Ridge BRIDGE account and check their status under the financial aid tab. Financial aid forms requested can be downloaded and printed from the website. Please make sure all documentation is labeled with your name and student ID number before turning it in to the office.

Eligibility

How do I know if I will be eligible for financial aid?

Never assume you will not be eligible! You will not know what types of financial aid for which you are eligible until you apply. When you complete the FAFSA application process, you will be considered for Federal and State grants, work study and loans.

How do I know if I am dependent or independent?

Unless you are over the age of 24, in Graduate school, married, have children or other dependents that you financially support, are an orphan or in foster care, a legal ward of the court, homeless, or a veteran or active duty member of the military, you are a dependent student. You are required to submit both your and your parents’ tax information. If you have any questions about a possible special circumstance, please contact the Financial Aid Office.

What if my family income has changed since last year? How will they know?

You are required to use the tax information from the prior year on the FAFSA. If your (and/or your family’s) income information has changed significantly in the current year due to unemployment, death, divorce, medical expenses, or other special circumstances, you may be eligible to be considered for a special circumstance or re-evaluation.  You can download a Special Circumstance form here and submit it with documentation of the changes (pay stubs, more recent tax information, medical bills, or unemployment compensation payout report, etc.). The Financial Aid Office will then consider your current situation to determine if you will be eligible for more financial aid.

I don’t live with my parents. Do I have to have my parents complete their section on the FAFSA? Can I be considered independent?

Living on your own doesn’t automatically qualify you as an independent student. The Federal Government requires parents to complete their information and considers you a dependent until you are 24 years old, married, have children of your own that you provide more than 50% support for, are pursuing a graduate degree, are or were an orphan or ward of the court or homeless, or are a veteran of the US Armed Forces. If there are unusual circumstances, please discuss them with our Financial Aid staff, and they will determine the best way for you to complete the FAFSA.

Do I have to be a full-time student to receive financial aid? Should I bother to apply for financial aid if I am enrolled less than half time?

Students with exceptionally high need may be eligible for a Pell Grant as a less-than-half-time student. Complete the FAFSA, and your eligibility will be determined based on the results of the FAFSA and based on your enrollment status of full time (12 or more credits), three quarter time (9-11 credits), half time (6-8 credits) or less than half time (1-5 credits). The Financial Aid Office will automatically consider you for the Pell Grant and any other type of financial aid for which you may be eligible. Students must be enrolled at least 6 credits or more to be considered for work-study and Federal Direct Stafford Loans.

Does the college take into account my living expenses when determining financial aid?

Yes, when determining the amount of financial aid for which you are eligible, the Financial Aid Office assigns each student a budget, which includes tuition, fees, books, room and board, personal expenses, transportation, and loan fees. Child care expenses, excessive transportation, or disability-related expenses are not budgeted unless the student provides documentation to the Financial Aid Office for consideration.

Do I have to notify the financial aid office if I receive a scholarship from my high school or a community group?

Yes. All types of financial assistance, scholarships, other community agency grants, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation grants, Dislocated Worker benefits, etc. must be reported to the Financial Aid Office to be coordinated with your federal and state aid.

My parent is also taking classes, should I include them as going to college on my FAFSA?

No, parents cannot be included in the number in college.

Financial Aid Awards and Disbursements

Where can I see my Financial Aid award?

You can see your financial aid award package by logging into your BRIDGE account. Amounts awarded as well as details of the individual award types can be accessed after your financial aid package has been created.

Do I need to accept the Financial Aid I’ve been awarded?

Yes. When you log into your BRIDGE account and view your financial aid award, you can accept or decline any financial aid that has been offered to you. Grants and Scholarships will automatically show as accepted, but for student loans, you may accept or decline a type of loan (Subsidized or unsubsidized) or accept or decline a portion of the loan offered.

When will my Financial Aid award be disbursed?

Financial aid is disbursed to your student account two times a semester. Per federal regulations, BRCTC is required to wait until 30 days into the semester before we can disburse financial aid to a student’s account. Federal Grants, State Grants, Scholarships and waivers are disbursed 30 days into the semester. Federal Loans are disbursed in two equal disbursements each semester. See below for an example of disbursements for a semester:

Fall Semester

Type of Aid Fall Semester Award Amount Disbursement Date Disbursement Amount
Pell Grant $2,000 9/16 $2,000
SEOG Grant $375 9/16 $375
Subsidized Loan $1,750 9/16 $875
10/13 $875

What happens after my Financial Aid is disbursed to my student account?

After your financial aid is disbursed to your student account, the funds applied will go towards paying the charges on your account (tuition, fees, books, etc). If your financial aid award is more than your student bill, you will receive a difference in a refund. If your financial aid award is not enough to cover your student bill, you will owe a bill to BRCTC. This bill will need to be paid before you would be eligible to register for future semesters.

 I think I will get a refund. How can I be sure and when do I receive it?

After financial aid disbursements are made, the Finance Office will process the information. If you are eligible for a refund, you will see “Financial Aid Refund” on your BRIDGE account. Refund check distribution is determined by the Finance Office (not the Financial Aid Office). The Finance Office will send an email to notify students when refund checks will be distributed.

Drops, Withdrawals and Satisfactory Academic Progress

Will I have to pay back my financial aid if I withdraw from my program (classes)?

If a student completely withdraws from school (drops all classes) or quits attending before the 60% point in the semester, the student will be required to repay a portion of the aid he/she received for that semester. A Return of Title IV worksheet is completed using the amount of aid received and the withdrawal date to determine if any repayment is due. Students are notified by mail as to the repayment amount if necessary

NOTE: It is important to consult with the Financial Aid Office prior to withdrawal or dropping to determine how your financial aid eligibility will be affected.

Is there ever a time I would have to pay back a Pell Grant?

There are reasons a student would have to pay back a Pell Grant. First, if a student drops courses which impact enrollment status (for example: full time to three-quarter time, etc.).  If the student drops a class before it starts and receives 100% refund or if a student drops courses and the only classes left on their schedule are short-term courses, they are also subject to repayment. If the student has not received their funds yet, the award will be recalculated, and the student will be notified. If Pell funds have been credited to the account or disbursed; the student will be required to repay a portion of the Pell Grant. If a student withdraws from school (drops all classes) before the 60% point in the semester or quits attending, a Return of Title IV worksheet is completed using the amount of aid received and the last date attended to determine if any repayment is due. You will be notified by mail with the repayment amount if necessary.

Do I need to have good grades to receive financial aid?

Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average (G.P.A.) of 2.0 and complete at least 70% of their cumulative attempted credits, and complete their associate degree program within 96 attempted hours. A Student’s Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) will be reviewed at the end of each semester. Students will be placed on Warning Status if they do not meet the standards at the end of the semester, and will be suspended the following semester if still not meeting SAP standards. If the student’s lack of progress was due to extenuating circumstances, the student can submit an Appeal for Reinstatement of Financial Aid to the Financial Aid Office. The student may be required to complete an Academic Plan with the Financial Aid Academic Coach.

Is there a limit on how long I can receive financial aid?

Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards require students to complete their program before attempting more than 150% of the credits required for their graduation. Example: a program that requires 68 credits for graduation. 68 credits x 150% = 102 credits maximum. Students are not eligible for aid at the point when they cannot complete their program in the 150% time frame.

Transfers

What if I decide to transfer to another college at the end of the semester?

If you received financial aid at Blue Ridge during the first semester and now want to transfer to another college at the end of the semester, it is important to notify the Financial Aid Office to cancel your funds for second semester. You will need to add your new college to the FAFSA at www.fafsa.gov so they have your information to award you at that college.

I’m taking classes at another college in addition to my classes at Blue Ridge. Can I get financial aid there too?

You may only get financial aid at one college for each semester. You should request financial aid through your home college (the school you intend to graduate from). A Consortium Agreement can be used to include the credits from both schools. If Blue Ridge is considered your home school (where you intend to graduate from), you should request your Consortium Agreement through the Blue Ridge Financial Aid Office. If you are pursuing a degree at your other college, contact their Financial Aid Office to initiate a Consortium Agreement. Credits taken must apply toward graduation for your program of study.

Federal Work Study

What is work-study?

The Federal College Work-Study program provides jobs to eligible financial aid students. It gives them the opportunity to earn money like a part-time job as well as gain valuable work experience. Most jobs are on campus and can offer more flexibility than a traditional part-time job in that your class schedule is considered when setting up your work hours. There are some off-campus jobs as well. Contact the work study coordinator for additional information.

How do I apply for a work-study job?

Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and be offered work-study as part of their Financial Aid award. If you are interested in work-study, but were not offered it, contact the Financial Aid Office to review your eligibility for the program. After determining eligibility for FWS funds, you will need to apply for a position through the BRCTC website Human resources page.

How much will I get per hour with a work-study job?

Positions start at $8.08 per hour, but can vary based on the department and the type of position. Please see the individual job postings at the HR website for more details.