Q. How much money do I need to go to school?
While there is not a set amount, you may want to consider the cost of direct school expenses, tuition, books and related supplies, everyday living expenses, housing, food, clothing and entertainment.
Will you work while going to college? Most students work at least part-time. As you look at your class schedule, calculate the amount of time you can work and estimate how much you will be able to earn while attending college.
Q. Am I eligible for financial aid?
For specific eligibility requirements, you may view the Federal Student Guide at www.studentaid.ed.gov or obtain a copy from the Financial Aid Office. In general, to be eligible for financial aid, a student must:
- Be a U.S. citizen, or eligible non-citizen.
- Have a high school diploma, GED, or its recognized equivalent.
- Be enrolled in a diploma or degree program.
- Be making satisfactory academic progress.
- Not be in default of a federal or state student loan, nor owe a repayment on any federal grant.
- Meet requirements specific to the financial aid program for which the student is applying.
- Register for the Selective Service, if required
Q. Will there be grant money available if I apply late?
Pell grant money and student loans will be available. State-funded grants have a filing deadline and campus-based funds are limited. The sooner you apply, the greater your chances for receiving all sources of aid, if you are eligible.
Q. Am I eligible for as much money if I have a BA degree?
Students who have a degree are not able to receive federal grant dollars. They may be considered for federal work-study and student loans, however.
Q. How do I apply for Financial Aid?
Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This considers you for federal- and state-funded aid. Applying for scholarships is done more on an individual basis. Kirkwood has scholarship information available, but you should also do your own research on other scholarships.
Q. How long does it take to process a FAFSA if it is filed electronically versus mailed?
If you file electronically, you will receive a response in 3-5 business days. If you mail your application, it can take up three to four weeks to receive a response. Please note that if you do not provide a signature on your FAFSA, your processing will be delayed two weeks.
Q. What is a SAR and when will I receive one?
After the U.S. Department of Education processes your application, you will be sent a Student Aid Report (SAR). The SAR outlines the information you provided on the FAFSA and reports your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is then used to determine your eligibility for federal student aid. The results are sent to you and the schools you listed on your application.
If it's been more than six weeks since you submitted your application and you haven't received anything, you can check on the status of your application at FAFSA on the Web or by calling the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).
Q. What do I need to do after I receive my SAR?
If there are no corrections needed (make sure Kirkwood is listed as your college) keep the paper for future reference. If you need to make corrections, sign the signature block before you send in the corrections. You can send your corrections to Kirkwood and we will make the corrections for you.
Q. How can I check my application and award status online?
Log in to EagleNet. Once you have logged in, you may view your award letter, view your award by year, or view your award by term. If no award appears, it is likely additional information is required. You may check to see what is still needed by clicking on the My Documents link on EagleNet. For an explanation of the codes listed on the My Documents page, click on FA Documentation Help link.
Q. What do I do if my Financial Aid is not processed before my tuition bill is due?
Sign up for the Kirkwood Payment Plan, an interest-free monthly installment plan, a great option for those who applied late.
Q. Why haven't I been awarded financial aid yet?
These are some of the most common reasons why you may not have received your offer of financial aid:
- You did not list Kirkwood's school code (004076) when you completed your FAFSA. You can return to the FAFSA on the Web by visiting www.fafsa.ed.gov, log-in using your PIN, and add Kirkwood. Or you can call 1-800-4-FED AID to request that Kirkwood receive your FAFSA results.
- You may have forgotten to sign you FAFSA form (paper or Web-based). You can sign electronically with your PIN at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Can't remember your PIN? You can obtain a duplicate at www.pin.ed.gov.
- We require additional documentation that has not been provided yet.
- You have not activated your student loans.
- The Financial Aid Office has not had enough time to determine your eligibility. This may take four to six weeks during peak processing times (March-October for the fall and spring semesters and April-June for summer terms).
- You may have a HOLD on your account. Students must resolve any holds before receiving an offer of financial aid.
Q. I just want a loan. Do I have to fill out the FAFSA?
Yes. The application is for both grant or loan eligibility.
Q. I am separated/divorced. Should I include my ex-spouse's information on the FAFSA?
No. Use your income only. We may request documents when finalizing your file.
Q. My ex-spouse has custody of the children, but I pay child support. Can I include my children on the FAFSA?
You may include them if you provide more than 50 percent of the child/childrens' support.
Q. My spouse/parent passed away during the tax year. Do I include that income on the FAFSA?
No. If the person has passed away, you do not provide that income information on the application.
Q. I am getting married in two months. Can I say I'm married on the FAFSA?
No. Report your status as of the time you fill out the application.
Q. I can't find my tax returns. What can I do?
You can call the I.R.S. and request a copy of your tax account information. Call (800) 829-1040.
Q. I am considered a dependent student and my parents won't provide financial information - can I still fill out the FAFSA?
Yes, but it would be easier to have parent information. You might make them aware they would not be responsible for any loans you incur as the loans would be in your name. If there is no contact with your parents, perhaps there is a counselor or someone who knows the situation and would be willing to write a letter to the Financial Aid office to document this fact. In any case, you should contact a financial aid advisor for more assistance.
Q. I used the IRS Data Retrieval on my FAFSA, and my untaxed pension or untaxed IRA distribution rollover was incorrectly brought forward. What do I do?
Do not change the data imported into the FAFSA. Submit a copy of your 1099-R along with a signed statement with student name and k number to the Financial Aid office. The 1099-R is necessary to confirm that the amount is a rollover. With this documentation, we will remove the rollover amount from the FAFSA.
Q. Do I have to apply for financial aid every semester?
No, just once per academic year.
Q. Can I enroll without an award?
You can enroll without an award if you are able to make full payment on your own. If you pay in full and receive an award later, a check will be mailed to you. If you are unable to pay on your own, you should continue to check EagleNet daily for updates to your award status.
Q. When will I receive my balance refund check?
Refund checks are mailed approximately two weeks after classes begin. The checks are issued by Kirkwood Community College and mailed to the address on file. Be sure to keep it current! To check on a disbursement, log in to EagleNet and select My Bill by Term. Remember, if you have a hold on your account, your refund will not be issued until it is resolved.
Q. How much income can I have and still qualify for grants? Why don't I qualify for Federal Pell Grant?
There is not a set dollar amount that determines whether a student receives financial aid. Most of the data requested on the FAFSA is used in a formula created by the federal government to calculate eligibility. Some of the major factors are: Household size, number in college, age of parents, income and assets information. A simple formula calculation is available. You can input your information and receive a calculation that explains how the data was used to arrive at the rate of eligibility. The calculation also estimates whether you will receive a Pell Grant.
Q. What is the difference between a Perkins loan and a Federal Stafford Loan?
Perkins Loan funds are borrowed through the school at a 5 percent interest rate and go into repayment nine months after the student graduates or leaves school. The school sets the amount that can be borrowed up to the federal maximum. Kirkwood students borrow Stafford Loan funds through the federal government under a program called the Direct Loan Program. Subsidized Stafford Loans for the 2009-10 academic year have a 5.6 percent interest rate and go into repayment six months after the student graduates or drops below half-time. Unsubsidized Loans have a 6.8 percent interest rate. Both loans require a minimum of at least half-time enrollment.
Q. What is the difference between subsidized and unsubsidized loans?
With the Subsidized Federal Stafford Loan, no interest accumulates while the student is enrolled in school because the government is subsidizing it during the deferment period. Interest begins to accumulate after the six month grace period that begins once the student graduates or drops below half time enrollment. With the Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan, interest accumulates immediately after the loan is disbursed. The student will be billed quarterly while attending school. If the student does not pay the interest, it will be deferred. However, we recommend student pay the interest on unsubsidized loans because if they do not, they will owe more than they received as the interest is capitalized (added to the principal).
Q. How much can my parents borrow on a PLUS Loan?
The formula for determining the maximum dollar amount is the cost of the attendance minus the financial aid received. Check with the Financial Aid Office and they will do the calculation for you.
Q. Do I have to reapply for financial aid if I transfer to another school at semester?
You do not have to reapply, but dollar amounts do not transfer from school to school due to varying tuition cost. Check with the school you are transferring to about having your current year FAFSA information sent to them.
Q. Can I receive financial at more than one school at the same time?
No. You may only receive financial aid from one school at a time. If you are enrolled at two schools, the school from which you are receiving your degree will process your financial aid.
Q. How can I get my loans deferred?
Kirkwood participates in the industry-sponsored consortium, the National Student Loan Clearinghouse. Kirkwood reports student status to the Clearinghouse and it is responsible for providing status and deferment information to guaranty agencies, lenders, servicers, and the Department of Education’s National Student Loan Data System. Therefore, after your enrollment is reported to the Clearinghouse, your loans should be atuomatically deferred if you are enrolled at least half time. It is important to continue to make payments on your loan until that time.
If you have other specific questions, you may wish to download this publication from the U.S. Department of Education: Funding Your Education.