Frequently Asked Questions
- How is the Pell Grant calculated?The amount of one’s grant is determined by the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) found on the Student Aid Report (SAR), cost of attendance, and enrollment status.
- Am I guaranteed to receive the amount of Pell that is listed on my award in Lighthouse?The award lists the tentative award based on full-time enrollment. If you do not take at least 12 hours per semester, your award will be adjusted based on your enrollment status.
- Does my Pell Grant amount on my award include the summer?The amount on your award letter is your award for the year. If you go full-time in the fall and spring semesters, you will not have any left to use in the summer. You will have some left for the summer if you do not go full-time in the fall and spring. The award will show summer Pell if you have it available.
- If I have the Pell Grant, how do I pay for my fees and books?When you register for classes, your Pell Grant should automatically pay for those classes. If they don’t, you will need to contact financial aid. You will be able to buy your books in the bookstore using your Pell during the published drop/add period.
- Do I have to apply for financial aid every year?Yes! Beginning in January, you can fill out the FAFSA for the upcoming fall. Apply early, because some grants are awarded to eligible students who completed the application early.
- I registered for classes during early registration, but now I don’t want to take them.
If I don’t show up, will they be dropped?NO! It is your responsibility to drop any classes you don’t want to be responsible for during the published drop/add period. If you don’t, you may be responsible for those charges.
- When do I get the check for the balance of my Pell Grant?Pell Grant balances are mailed out approximately 3-4 weeks after the first day of class if all of your classes have started. If all of your classes have not started yet, you will not get the balance until your classes have started. After the drop/add period ends, faculty have to verify your attendance before financial aid can be released.
- I am a nursing student, and some of my classes don’t start until halfway through the
semester. Does that mean that I won’t get the rest of my Pell until those classes
start?You are correct. Your total Pell award will be available to pay for classes and books, but the remaining balance will not be sent out until you start your classes.
Withdrawals & Grades:
- I am withdrawing from all of my classes. Will this affect my financial aid?Yes! Any student that fails to attend more than 60% of the semester will have to repay a portion of their Pell, Stafford loans, and/or SEOG. The withdrawals will also negatively affect your Satisfactory Academic Progress.
- I am really in over my head in my classes, I think withdrawing is my only option.
What can I do?Gulf Coast has resources to help you. Never hesitate to ask your teachers for help. Classmates are often a great resource. There may be tutors and other services available to you. Before withdrawing, talk to Financial Aid and a counselor to see if there are other options.
- Will I lose my financial aid if I don’t keep my grades up?Yes! Every student that receives federal aid (Pell, Stafford Loans, Work-Study) has to make satisfactory academic progress. These standards are published in the catalog and on our website. If you don’t meet these standards, you will lose eligibility for federal aid.
- What are these standards that I have to meet?
In short, the three standards are:
- minimum cumulative GPA of at least 2.00
- completion of an unrounded 67.0% of all courses attempted
- completion of degree within 150% of the program's requirements
- I had a death in my family, and my grades really slipped last semester because of
it. Am I going to lose my financial aid?
If you do not meet the academic standards, you will be ineligible for federal financial aid (Pell, loans, etc.). However, there is an appeal process for extenuating circumstances like yours. You will have to complete an appeal form and provide documentation. If the appeal is approved, you will be eligible for another semester.
- The amount of my award in Lighthouse doesn't look right. Can I call you and discuss
it?Due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, we are very limited to what we can discuss on the phone. This is for your own protection, since we cannot verify who is over the phone. We prefer that you come in and discuss it with us. You can also email us from your GCSC email account.
- marked that I am interested in Stafford loans on my FAFSA. Will I automatically get
one?No! You must go to our web page and follow the 3-step process.
- Can I receive federal financial aid for a class that I am repeating?
- A course that you are repeating, which has not been previously completed with a passing grade, may count towards enrollment status with regard to the awarding of Title IV funds as long as you are achieving Satisfactory Academic Progress or are on an approved SAP appeal.
- A course that you are repeating for the first time, after having previously completed with a passing grade once, may count towards enrollment status with regard to the awarding of Title IV funds as long as you are achieving Satisfactory Academic Progress or are on an approved SAP appeal.
- A course that you are repeating that has already been passed once and already repeated after the first passing grade may not count towards enrollment status with regard to the awarding of Title IV funds.