Ask Before You Act
The financial aid programs at the Community College of Allegheny County are designed to assist students with a variety of options that will support the student's educational goals and attendance at CCAC. Most awards are based upon the student's demonstrated financial need for funds. Financial need is defined as the difference between the cost of attendance (tuition, fees, textbooks, living and personal expenses) and the amount the family, through a needs analysis formula, is expected to contribute toward those costs. The following questions may assist you in further understanding the financial aid process at CCAC.
"The Community College of Allegheny County operates on a semester basis. This includes a fall and a spring term or two major terms of 15 weeks of instruction with a final examination period. This also includes two summer sessions. This schedule follows the traditional financial aid calendar typically parallel to the Federal Student Aid Application. The fall term begins in late August or early September and the Spring Term begins in January of the following year. Students taking 12 credits (semester hours) or more are considered full time for enrollment purposes".
How am I considered for financial aid?
You must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Sign your FAFSA electronically using a FSA ID. Request an FSA ID at www.fsaid.ed.gov.
The college code for CCAC:
The college code for all CCAC Campuses and Centers is 003231
What if I need help completing the forms or have unusual circumstances?
The Staffs at the Campus Financial Aid Offices are available to assist you in completing the forms if you have questions or need help. If you have unusual or unique circumstances (i.e., divorce, separation, unemployment, etc.), you should bring it to the attention of the Financial Aid office. Please contact the office at email@example.com or 412-237-CCAC(2222).
Why do I have to give the financial aid office a copy of my and/or my parents' federal tax return?
Written documentation (tax returns, copies of W-2 forms) to support the accuracy of your request for financial aid, including the Stafford Student Loan program, may be requested from the Financial Aid Office before the award process begins. Students selected for verification will be notified by the Financial Aid Office of what is needed to complete your request for financial aid. You may also check what documentation is needed by going to My CCAC at my.ccac.edu. A CCAC Net ID and Password are necessary in order to log in. Once you are logged in, navigate to CCAC Central e-Services. Click on Students then on Financial Aid Self Service. All requested information must be provided within 10 days from the date of the request. Information received after the 10-day period will be considered late and processed in the order of date received.
When do I apply for financial aid?
You should apply for financial aid as soon as possible after October 1. The priority deadline for the submission of complete applications for Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant Program funds and certain other program funds is May 1 for Fall term enrollment and November 1, for Spring term enrollment. Applications CAN be filed after the deadline but will be processed according to the date received. You must reapply for financial aid every academic year (July 1 - June 30), not every semester.
Do I have to be full-time to apply for financial aid?
No. However, to qualify for most aid programs you do have to enroll at least half-time (6 or more credits).
Am I eligible for financial aid if I am currently in default on a student loan?
You are not eligible for financial aid if you are currently in default. If you have paid off your student loan or have made satisfactory repayment arrangements, you will need to provide proof of this to the Financial Aid office at the campus you are attending.
How will I know how much money I am eligible to receive?
The Financial Aid Director will evaluate your request for financial aid and determine if you are eligible for the many programs offered at the college. You are automatically considered for all federal grants administered at the college if you meet the application deadline and financial aid criteria for these funds. By logging into Financial Aid Self Service, you can access your award letter indicating the type and amount of aid you are eligible to receive. You can also check your award status at Financial Aid Self Service (my.ccac.edu).
How will I know if I am eligible for a PHEAA state grant?
PHEAA will send you an award notice telling you the amount and conditions of the grant. The Financial Aid Director will review all PHEAA state grant awards and will determine if you meet the conditions of the award. You can check your financial aid status at Financial Aid Self Service (my.ccac.edu).
How do I apply for a loan?
In addition to completing the FAFSA, you must complete a loan request form through the Financial Aid Self-service portal at my.ccac.edu. You must be registered for at least 6 credits before a student loan will be certified for you. First-time borrowers at CCAC are required to participate in Entrance Loan Counseling at www.studentloans.gov. All borrowers must also sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) electronically at www.studentloans.gov. If at any time you have questions on loan processing or your ability to receive loan funds, you are strongly encouraged to contact the Financial Aid office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-237-CCAC.
When should I apply for a student loan?
You can apply for a student loan at any time before the end of the academic term for which you are enrolled at the college. Loan processing can take six to eight weeks, so be sure to plan ahead so that you can have your funds in time for the start of the term.
What is "work-study" and how do I apply?
Work-study is an employment program available to students who show eligibility by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and interest in part-time work at the college. A separate work-study application is required of students interested in being considered for the program. Students are notified of their work-study assignment approximately one month before classes begin.
How and when will I get my money?
Any grant or scholarship you receive will be credited against the amount of tuition and fees that you are charged for the term. These funds are credited on approximately the 30th calendar day of the semester. Student Loan funds are credited in two installments beginning with the 60th calendar day of the semester. Any outstanding balance not covered by financial aid is your responsibility and outstanding balances will be turned over for Collections. In some instances, grant and scholarship aid may exceed your tuition and fee charges. The Student Accounts office will send any excess monies to you for your other educational-related expenses, such as textbooks, transportation and personal expenses. Financial Aid refunds are released to students within 14 days of the funds being credited to the student account.
William D. Ford Direct Loan funds are sent directly to CCAC by the Department of Education, either electronically or in some rare cases, by check.
Work-study funds must be earned. Therefore, after you complete a payroll cycle, normally a two-week period, you will be paid. Work-study checks are either mailed directly to the student's home or are distributed at the campus Business office, Student Accounts office or Bookstore. Details of where you receive your pay will be included in your work-study contract.
What do I do if I want to add or drop a class?
Always check with the campus Financial Aid office before you add or drop any classes to see if your financial aid will be affected. Adjustments to your financial aid can be checked at Financial Aid Self Service at my.ccac.edu. To avoid being charged for classes, you MUST drop any classes that you don t want to take, prior to the first day of the term.
What do I do if I want to completely withdraw from classes?
The Financial Aid office is required by federal statute to recalculate federal financial aid eligibility for students who withdraw, drop out, are dismissed, or take a leave of absence prior to completing 60% of the semester. The federal Title IV financial aid programs must be recalculated in these situations. If a student leaves the institution prior to completing 60% of a payment period or term, the financial aid office recalculates eligibility for Title IV funds. Recalculation is based on the percentage of earned aid using the following Federal Return of Title IV funds formula:
Percentage of payment period or term completed = the number of days completed up to the withdrawal date divided by the total days in the payment period or term. (Any break of five days or more is not counted as part of the days in the term.) This percentage is also the percentage of earned aid.
Funds are returned to the appropriate federal program based on the percentage of unearned aid using the following formula: Aid to be returned = (100% of the aid that could be disbursed minus the percentage of earned aid) multiplied by the total amount of aid that could have been disbursed during the payment period or term.
If a student earned less aid than was disbursed, the institution would be required to return a portion of the funds and the student would be required to return a portion of the funds. Keep in mind that when Title IV funds are returned, the student borrower may owe a debit balance to the institution. If a student earned more aid than was disbursed to him/her, the institution would owe the student a post-withdrawal disbursement which must be paid within 120 days of the student's withdrawal. The institution must return the amount of Title IV funds for which it is responsible no later than 30 days after the date of the determination of the date of the student's withdrawal.
If a student earned more aid than was disbursed to him/her, the institution would owe the student a post-withdrawal disbursement which must be paid within 120 days of the student's withdrawal. The institution must return the amount of Title IV funds for which it is responsible no later than 30 days after the date of the determination of the date of the student's withdrawal.
Aid to be returned is allocated in the following order:
- Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans
- Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans
- Federal Parent (PLUS) Loans
- Federal Pell Grants
- Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grants
- Other assistance under this Title for which a Return of funds is required