- What is financial aid?
- How will I know what I am eligible for?
- Do I need to be full time to receive financial aid?
- What is the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)?
- How is financial need determined?
- I receive no help from my parents and live on my own. Does this qualify me as an independent student?
- What is verification?
- I have a bachelor’s degree. May I still apply for financial aid?
- I am divorced/separated. What should I include on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?
- I was recently married. Do I have to include my spouse’s income on the FAFSA?
- What if I lost my job or have other special circumstances?
- Can I get financial aid for the summer term?
- What are the Standards of Academic Progress (SAP)?
- What if I need to change my address?
- What if I receive more financial aid than my cost of tuition?
- What will happen to my financial aid if I drop a class or just stop attending?
- How often do I apply for financial aid?
- How can I check the status of my financial aid?
- How will the College contact me concerning my financial aid?
What is financial aid?
Financial Aid is money provided by various agencies (federal, state and local governments, universities, community organizations, and private corporations or individuals) to assist students in meeting the cost of attending college. It includes gift aid (grants and scholarships) and self-help aid (loans and student employment).
How will I know what I am eligible for?
When a student files the FAFSA, he/she is considered for all federal, state and institutional aid administered by the Financial Aid Office. One or more types of aid are awarded to make up the financial aid package. You will receive award notification by email when your file is complete.
Do I need to be full time to receive financial aid?
NO! The amount of financial aid awarded is determined by the number of credit hours that the student is enrolled, but you DO NOT have to be full time (12 credit hours) to receive financial aid. You must be enrolled in 6+ credit hours to receive a student loan. If you are eligible for grant funds, your award will be adjusted based on your level of enrollment.
What is the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)?
Expected Family Contribution is the amount of money that the family is expected to contribute toward educational expenses from resources other than financial aid and is based on ability to pay. Factors used to determine a family’s contribution include: the previous year’s adjusted gross income, assets, size of family, and the number of individuals in the family attending college. The EFC is calculated using the information provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
COA – EFC = Financial Need
I receive no help from my parents and live on my own. Does this qualify me as an independent student?
Not necessarily. For the 2022-23 school year, in order to be considered an independent student for purposes of financial aid, you must be able to answer yes to at least one of the following statements:
- For the 2022-23 school year, the student was born before January 1, 1999; or
- the student is married; or
- the student has a child or children who receive more than half their support from the student; or
- the student has dependents (other than a child or spouse) who receive more than half their support from the student, and who also live with the student; or
- the student is enrolled as a graduate or professional student (pursuing a master’s degree or doctoral degree); or
- the student is a qualified veteran of the U.S. military, or currently serving on active duty in the U.S. armed forces for purposes other than training; or
- the student is an orphan (both parents deceased) or ward of the court or in foster care at any time after turning age 13, or was a ward of the court until age 18; or
- the student is/was in legal guardianship; or
- the student is/was an emancipated minor; or
- the student was an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or at risk of being homeless on or after July 1, 2020; or
- the student has special and unusual extenuating circumstances that can be documented for his or her college financial aid administrators, who may then request a “dependency override” on the FAFSA application. (Note: Exceptions are granted very rarely and only in extreme cases.) Students should contact the financial aid office at the school they will be attending for additional information.
If you cannot answer “yes” to any of these statements and you feel there are circumstances that warrant you an independent student, call or stop by the Financial Aid Office to set up an appointment so we can review your situation.
What is verification?
The Department of Education selects approximately 30% of all FAFSA applicants for a process called Verification. If you are selected, you will be asked to complete a verification worksheet and provide copies of your tax returns to the Stark State College Financial Aid Office. Spouse or parents’ information and other documents may also be requested. Verification must be completed before financial aid eligibility can be determined.
I have a bachelor’s degree. May I still apply for financial aid?
Students with bachelor’s degrees may still apply for the Federal Work-Study Program, Federal Stafford Loan and Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan by filing a FAFSA. These students are not be eligible for the Pell, or SEOG grants.
I am divorced/separated. What should I include on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?
Students who are divorced or separated should not include their ex-spouse’s income on the FAFSA. For more information on detailed or complicated questions, please contact a Stark State College Financial Aid Representative.
I was recently married. Do I have to include my spouse’s income on the FAFSA?
Yes. A student should include his/her spouse’s information on the FAFSA if he/she is married at the time the application is completed. If separate federal income tax returns were filed, combine the adjusted gross incomes from the tax returns and include them on the appropriate line of the FAFSA. Do the same for the amount of taxes paid and other amounts.
We recognize that the FAFSA may not always accurately reflect your financial situation and/or dependency status. Although considerations for specific situations are limited, we may be able to give additional consideration for certain situations as described below.
- Special circumstances refer to the financial situations that justify an aid administrator adjusting your FAFSA to accurately represent your family’s current financial situation.
- Unusual circumstances refer to the conditions that justify an aid administrator making an adjustment to a student’s dependency status based on a unique situation, more commonly referred to as a dependency override.
A student may have both a special circumstance and an unusual circumstance. Financial aid administrators may make adjustments that are appropriate to each student’s situation with appropriate documentation.
Can I get financial aid for the summer term?
Yes. You need to complete the appropriate FAFSA by March 1 in order to have your aid ready for the summer. After you have been awarded, you can log into mySSC and you will need to answer ‘YES’ to the pop-up asking if you plan to attend summer semester. Within 48 business hours, your award will be adjusted to add summer term. You can then accept any loans you wish to borrow, Pell will automatically be accepted.
What are the Standards of Academic Progress (SAP)?
Standards of Academic Progress is a Federal Policy that the school is required to enforce to ensure that you are making progress toward your degree. Please refer to the Standards of Progress Policy for Stark State College.
What if I need to change my address?
If your address has changed, you need to immediately update your address with the Academic Records / Registrar’s Office. This can be done via the mySSC portal or by filing a form in the Academic Records / Registrar’s Office.
What if I receive more financial aid than my cost of tuition?
If you have excess money after tuition and fees are paid, you can be issued a refund. Please keep in mind that all students approved for Federal Direct Loans will have their loan funds paid out in two equal disbursements during each semester. If the first disbursement of your loan funds (combined with other applicable financial aid or out-of-pocket payments) is not enough to cover the full balance of your student account, you will not be issued a refund at that time. How your individual credit balance will be handled is based on the selections you make when filing your Title IV Authorization Form. If you are eligible for a refund, you will need to set up your refund preference online on mySSC. How do I set up my refund method? It’s easy. All you need is your bank account number and routing number or debit card number, then:
1. log in to mySSC
2. click the myBill+payment link
3. click on the Refunds tab
4. follow the instructions on the screen to sign up for direct deposit to your bank account or a prepaid/debit card.
What will happen to my financial aid if I drop a class or just stop attending?
Attendance and academic performance are important! Withdrawing or ceasing attendance before the 60% point of the term will cause you to owe the College and/or the Department of Education money. Also, you will jeopardize your future eligibility for financial aid. PLEASE see Gateway Student Services before any withdrawal so that you may be made aware of the potential impact of your decision.
How can I check the status of my financial aid?
Students are welcome to call the Financial Aid Office at 330-494-6170, ext. 4301. Student requirements, financial aid status, and award can be viewed through mySSC by checking under My Financial Aid >> Financial Aid Home >> Your Financial Aid Dashboard..
How will the College contact me concerning my financial aid?
The Financial Aid Office will contact you through your Stark State e-mail and provide you with access to mystarkstate. It is important that you check your student email account daily for updates.