Financial Aid Policies
Housatonic Community College offers financial aid to students who have been determined to have financial need, according to Federal need analysis. The financial aid package is based 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 at any time.
Applying for Financial Aid
Applications are accepted throughout the academic year, but awards made after the priority processing dates 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 student and parent must apply for a FSA ID at FSAID.ed.gov. The FSA ID is required for use in signing the online FAFSA application.
The student should complete the FAFSA on the web at FAFSA.gov. The Federal School Code for Housatonic Community College is 004513.
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 may receive after filing the FAFSA does not need to be submitted to the Financial Aid Office. The Financial Aid Office will download the information from the FAFSA electronically.
Eligibility for Financial Aid Assistance
In order to receive financial aid, students must have completed the entire admissions process and be accepted into a degree or eligible certificate program.
To be eligible a student must:
- Be a citizen or eligible non-citizen.
- Be in good academic standing and making satisfactory academic progress according to the standards and practices of Housatonic Community College.
- Certify registration for Military Selective Service (if applicable).
- Not in default in the repayment of any educational loans or owe a refund on any Title IV grant program at any institution.
Types of Financial Aid
Grants - These are gift aid programs. Funds are generally not required to be repaid.
Federal Pell Grant - This is a federal grant based on need and restricted to students pursuing a first undergraduate degree.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) - This federal grant is generally awarded to Pell Grant recipients. Priority is given to those students with exceptional need.
Housatonic Community College Grant - This is an institutional grant awarded by the college in various amounts to full or part-time students with demonstrated financial need. Eligibility requires that a student must be a Connecticut resident.
The Roberta B. Willis Governor’s Scholarship - This 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.
Loans - These funds must be repaid and approval of these loans is not automatic.
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. Students must be enrolled at least half-time. The loan must be used for reasonable educational expenses.
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 the interest does not accrue on the loan while in an in-school, grace, or deferment period.
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan eligibility is not based on the student’s financial need. Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans are student loans for which the borrower is fully responsible for paying the interest regardless of the loan status. The government does not pay the interest to the lender; the student can choose to either pay the interest while in school, or have the interest added to the loan principal to be repaid later.
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 under Financial Aid.
Federal Work Study (FWS)
The federal college work-study program 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. Awards vary according to financial need and the availability of funds. Students must be enrolled at least part-time (6 credits) and be making satisfactory academic progress. Students interested in this program should contact Career Service Office.
Student’s award disbursement status will be measured as follows:
|12 credits or more
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.
Tax Credit Programs
The American Opportunity 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 Credit 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
How Financial Aid Works
Financial aid awards are based on your enrollment status as of the 14th calendar day of the semester institutional freeze/census date. During 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.
- Dropping during the first two weeks of any semester prior to the institutional freeze/census date will result in the cancellation of all financial aid. Students may 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 institutional freeze/census date 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.
Responsibilities of Students Receiving Financial Aid
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.
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.
The Financial Aid information online found at myCommNet is not an official award, unless you have received an 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.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for Students 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.
A student must successfully complete a percentage of the credits (earned credits/attempted credits) s/he attempts. All attempted credits resulting in either an academic grade or administrative transcript notation will be included in the quantitative calculation. Incomplete courses, course withdrawals, course repetitions, and noncredit remedial courses (with appropriate credit equivalency evaluation) will be included in this assessment. Transfer credits will be counted as attempted and earned credits in the calculation for determining satisfactory academic progress. A student must also maintain a cumulative minimum grade point average to be making satisfactory academic progress and be eligible to receive financial aid.
|| Minimum GPA
||Minimum % Pace
|| Minimum GPA
||Minimum % Pace
|0 - 11.99
|12 - 30.99
|31 - 49.99
|50 - 59.99
A student’s cumulative academic history will be evaluated prior to each term’s financial aid disbursement. This policy will be used to evaluate full-time and part-time students.
Financial Aid Warning
Any student who fails to meet the minimum satisfactory academic progress standard will be placed on Financial Aid Warning. The Warning period will be the student’s next semester or period of enrollment at the college. The college will communicate the Warning status to the student and inform the student that s/he must meet the academic progress standard by the end of the subsequent enrollment period in order to maintain eligibility to participate in the financial aid programs at the college.
Any student who fails to meet the minimum satisfactory academic progress standard at the end of the Warning period will become ineligible from the financial aid programs at the college. The college will communicate the Termination status to the student and inform the student of the available Reinstatement and Appeal Process.
Maximum Credit Hours
A student may receive student financial aid for any attempted credits in his/her program of study that do not exceed 150% of the published length of the student’s educational program at the college. For example, a student enrolled in a 60-credit degree program may receive financial aid for a maximum of 90 attempted credit hours. Similarly, a student enrolled in a 30-credit certificate program may receive financial aid for a maximum of 45 attempted credit hours. Any attempted credits at the college must be included in the calculation. This 150% maximum credit hours rule is applicable to students who change majors or who pursue a double major.
A student’s financial aid eligibility will be automatically reinstated at such time as the student meets the minimum satisfactory academic progress requirements. Reinstatement to the financial aid program may also occur upon a successful appeal by the student.
A student may appeal the status of not making satisfactory progress under unusual circumstances. Generally, such circumstances would be related to a death, illness or extraordinary circumstances that resulted in the student’s inability to complete their course work. A formal appeal process is required and involves supplying valid documentation and an appeal process form which can be obtained in the financial aid office. Appeal applications are approved or denied by the Director of Financial Aid. After a decision has been reached, students may request an additional review by the Dean of Student Affairs.
Return of Title IV Funds
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, Direct Loans, and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants.
In addition to the College’s “Refund Policy”, the College is required to return to the federal government the portion of Pell and SEOG grants (Title IV funds), which are not earned for that semester. This regulation requires the college to calculate the following:
- Official date of withdrawal
- Total number of days in semester
- Percentage of Title IV funds earned and unearned
- Amount of funds to be returned by the student
The college will notify the student within 30 days of the determination of return of funds. The student then has 45 days to retain Title IV eligibility by either returning the amount in full or making satisfactory arrangements to repay funds to the U.S. Department of Education. Failure of the student to do either in the 45 days, obligates the college to report the overpayment to the U.S. Department of Education and the student will lose Title IV eligibility on the 46th day.
Title IV funds must be returned to the following programs in this order:
- Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans
- Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans
- Federal Pell Grant
- Federal SEOG
Students who stop attending classes at any time during a semester are considered unofficial withdrawals. The college will perform the Title IV calculation and will assume that 50% to determine the percentage of your federal financial aid that was earned.
A letter will be sent to the student 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.
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 may 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.
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 loans
- Subsidized Federal Direct loans
- 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 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.gov.
Processing of Financial Aid Credit Balances
Students must remain in attendance to be eligible for refunds of financial aid funds 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.
Housatonic Community College Foundation, Inc. Scholarships
The Housatonic Community College Foundation, Inc. (HCC Foundation) is committed to the education of Housatonic Community College (HCC) students.
Information about scholarship applications and deadlines are publicized regularly throughout the HCC community. It is required that all students apply for financial aid before applying for scholarships. Current full-time and part-time students in good academic standing, students whose financial aid does not cover their classes and who have completed at least 9 credits at Housatonic may apply. Students who do not have 9 or more credits at Housatonic are required to upload their prior school’s transcript when applying. Students with 70 credits or more, or have a college degree (associate, bachelor, or master degree) are ineligible for scholarships. For more information see the HCC website.