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Understanding Your Award

Understanding Your Award

Need Analysis

GCSC begins reviewing FAFSAs for the upcoming academic year in the spring.  You will be awarded financial aid according to your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and "Financial Need".  The information provided on the FAFSA you submit to the U.S. Department of Education (ED) is used to calculate your EFC.  Your EFC number is the amount that ED expects you and your family to be able to provide toward your college costs in a given academic year.  If your cost of attendance at GCSC is greater than your EFC then you are considered to have a "financial need" for assistance with paying for your education.  Please visit https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/next-steps/how-calculated for more information.

Cost of Attendance

2016-2017 COST OF ATTENDANCE
For Nine Months
(Estimated)

In State Residency, Living w/Parent or On-base
Tuition 1,750*
Fees 620*
Books/Supplies 1,035*
Room 0
Board (food) 3,580
Transportation 985
Miscellaneous Expenses 1,200
Federal Loan Fees 102**
Total 9,272
In State Residency, Living Away from Parent
Tuition 1,750*
Fees 620*
Books/Supplies 1,035*
Room 4,000
Board (food) 3,580
Transportation 985
Miscellaneous Expenses 1,200
Federal Loan Fees 102**
Total 13,272
Out-of-State Residency, Living w/Parent or On-base
Tuition 7,065*
Fees 1,570*
Books/Supplies 1,035*
Room 0
Board (food) 3,580
Transportation 985
Miscellaneous Expenses 1,200
Federal Loan Fees 102**
Total 15,537
Out-of State Residency, Living Away from Parent
Tuition 7,065*
Fees 1,570*
Books/Supplies 1,035*
Room 4,000
Board (food) 3,580
Transportation 985
Miscellaneous Expenses 1,200
Federal Loan Fees 102**
Total 19,537

* The values marked with an asterisk are calculated dynamically for each individual student based upon their actual enrollment. The figures shown above are based on a hypothetical student enrolled in 12.0 credit hours for fall and 12.0 credit hours for spring.

** The values marked with a double asterisk are calculated dynamically only for individual students who are awarded federal loans. The figures shown above are based on a hypothetical freshman student awarded $9,500 of federal loans.

Please note: 

  • Students enrolled less than half-time (< 6.0 credit hours) may be awarded financial aid (e.g. Pell Grant) based on a less-than-half-time cost of attendance which includes only tuition, books, and transportation.
  • Adjustments to budgets may be considered on a case-by-case basis with appropriate documentation
  • Students may have their federal loan award amounts corrected due to the dynamic nature of the cost of attendance components with asterisks above.  Students with such 'Cost of Attendance loan adjustments' will be notified if their overall federal loan award amount decreases.

Award Notification

You will receive an official award notification via email once you are admitted to GCSC and your financial aid file is reviewed & complete.  Your official award notification will direct you to your Financial Aid Shopping Sheet, which is a consumer tool that GCSC uses to inform you about your financial aid package.  Your Financial Aid Shopping Sheet is a standardized form that is designed to simplify cost and financial aid information so you can easily compare institutions and make informed decisions about where to attend school. View an example of a Financial Aid Shopping Sheet.  Once posted, your Financial Aid Shopping Sheet may be accessed in your Lighthouse anytime.

Please note that these awards are estimates based upon full-time enrollment for the fall and spring terms only.  The posting of awards does not guarantee your eligibility.  Your actual enrollment will determine the disbursement amount(s) you receive.  Specific disbursement dates vary depending on which sessions you enroll into each term.  Funds authorized for payment by the Financial Aid Office will be disbursed to you by the Business Office. 

You are responsible for keeping track of your financial aid file, before and after you receive your award notification, so check your Lighthouse account and your GCSC email regularly for the most up to date financial aid information. 

Bookstore Authorizations

Students who are eligible for financial aid and who've completed all their financial aid requirements at least 10 days before the beginning of a payment period (i.e. semester) may use their expected financial aid to purchase books and supplies at GCSC's bookstore.  The amount of expected financial aid that a student may use to purchase books and supplies equals the amount of a student's anticipated credit-balance refund.  Students may begin purchasing books and supplies with a bookstore authorization 3-4 weeks before the start of a semester. Students who do not purchase their books and supplies by the end of each semester's 'A' & 'B' session add/drop will be assumed to have opted-out of their bookstore authorization.

Enrollment Snapshot and Disbursement

Each semester, make sure you register at the beginning of the semester for all classes you plan on attending. GCSC awards aid based on enrollment at certain points in time also known as census dates. For each semester (fall, spring, summer), there is an add/drop period followed by a “no show” reporting period of about a week. Instructors will verify your attendance during this time. After the no show period, a snapshot of your enrollment is taken. Your aid for the semester is calculated using this enrollment snapshot. Mini-session classes added later will not be included in your enrollment snapshot.

Subsequent enrollment snapshots for mini-sessions will be taken only for those students who were not registered at the beginning of the semester and who do not already have a snapshot of enrollment. Students in the Educator Preparation Institute are the only exception to this rule, as their enrollment snapshot is updated after session C’s “no show” reporting period.

Gift aid is initially disbursed to students’ Lighthouse accounts approximately one week after the “no show” reporting period as long as all of their classes have started. Credit balance refund checks will be mailed within 14 days of the date of disbursement.

Glossary of Financial Aid Terms

Academic Year:  A time-frame component used to determine a student's eligibility for Title IV (federal) financial aid.  GCSC utilizes:

  • Standard Academic Years (SAY) consisting of 24.0 credit hours & 30 weeks of instructional time for Title IV eligible programs measured in credit hours
  • Borrower-Based Academic Years (BBAY) consisting of 900 clock hours & 30 weeks of instructional time for Title IV eligible programs measured in clock hours

Cost of Attendance (COA): The estimated cost of attending this institution for one academic year. This amount includes the following:

  • Expected charges for one year of tuition and fees

    • Tuition – Charges assessed for classes
    • Fees – Charges assessed for other college services
  • Room and board for resident students
  • Estimated living expense -- allowance for rent, utilities, and food for off-campus living
  • Estimated transportation costs
  • Estimated books and supplies
  • Miscellaneous costs

Direct Costs: Expenses the student/family pays to the college.

Educational Loan: A form of financial aid that must be repaid with interest. Educational loans have varying interest rates and repayment terms. Students and/or parents are required to sign a promissory note when accepting an educational loan.

  • Student Loan -  Funds awarded to the student that must eventually be paid back to the lender by the student.
  • Federal Direct Student Loan - Loan funds provided to the student by the U.S. Department of Education, through the school. Repayment of principal begins six months after the borrower ceases to be a student on at least a half-time basis. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the annual application. There are two types of Federal Direct Student Loans: subsidized and unsubsidized. Students with financial need can qualify for a subsidized loan, and the government pays the interest on the loan while the student remains enrolled at least half time. Students who don't demonstrate financial need qualify for an unsubsidized loan and interest accrues while the student is in school.
  • Federal Perkins Loan - A low interest loan for educational expenses provided by the federal government for qualified individuals with exceptional financial need as defined by the institution. .The Federal Perkins Loan needs to be repaid with interest once the student is no longer enrolled at least half-time.
  • Private (Alternative) Loan - A loan from a commercial, state-affiliated or institutional lender used to pay for up to the annual cost of education, less any financial aid received. Private loans usually require the applicant to be creditworthy or have a co-signer and have varying interest rates, fees and repayment options. Repayment of interest (and often principal) generally begins immediately, with some lenders offering deferment options for in-school periods.
  • Federal Parent Loan (PLUS) - A federal loan program that allows parents who have no adverse credit history to apply for up to the Cost of Attendance each year, less any financial aid. PLUS loans must be repaid with interest.  

Enrollment Level: Level of the degree-granting program in which a student is enrolled. Basic levels of enrollment include undergraduate (students seeking an associate's degree, a certificate, or a baccalaureate degree) and post-baccalaureate (i.e. teacher certification); . The amounts and types of financial aid a student is eligible for is determined, in part, by their enrollment level.

Enrollment Status: Academic workload (or course load), as defined by the institution, that a student is carrying for a defined academic period. This normally relates to the number of credit hours or clock hours taken by a student during a given academic period. For most traditional undergraduate term-based schools:

  • Full-time status = at least 12.0 credit hours / 24 clock hours per week
  • Three-quarter time status = 9.0 - 11.99 credit hours
  • Half-time status = 6.0 - 8.99 credit hours.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC): A measure of how much the student and his or her family can be expected to contribute to the cost of the student's education for the year. The EFC is calculated according to a formula specified in the law and is based upon the information provided by the student and his or her family during the FASFA filing process.

Family Financial ResponsibilityMany schools award institutional scholarships and grants based upon a more comprehensive calculation of family financial circumstances using information provided on the CSS PROFILE or the College's own financial aid form. This can result in a higher (or lower) financial responsibility for the student (and his/her family) than the FAFSA might indicate with its Expected Family Contribution (EFC) estimate.

Federal Pell Grant:  A grant provided by the federal government to qualified undergraduate students who demonstrate exceptional financial need and have an Expected Family Contribution below a threshold designated annually by the U.S. Department of Education, based on the amount of program funds appropriated by Congress.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG): A grant provided by the federal government to qualified undergraduate students who demonstrate exceptional financial need. Priority is given to Pell Grant recipients and funds must be awarded by the school in lowest EFC order.

Federal Work-Study (FWS): A program that provides part-time employment to students attending institutions of higher education who need the earnings to help meet their costs of postsecondary education and encourages students receiving FWS assistance to participate in community service activities.

Gift Aid: Funds awarded to the student that do not have to be repaid, unless the student fails to meet certain terms, such as a service requirement, specified as a condition of the grant. Gift aid includes awards with titles such as grants, scholarships, remissions, waivers, etc. Gift aid can be awarded based upon many factors, including (but not limited to) financial need, academic excellence, athletic, musical, and theatrical talent, affiliation with various groups, or career aspirations.

Grant: Gift aid awarded to the student that does not need to be repaid. Grants are typically based on financial need.

Indirect Costs: Expenses incurred as a result of attendance that the student/family may pay to a third party (merchant, landlord, etc.) other than the college.

Net Cost: Amount of direct and indirect costs remaining after all gift aid (scholarship and grant) is subtracted.

Out-of-pocket CostDifference between the cost of attendance and all gift aid. Out-of-pocket cost can be covered through a variety of sources, including: savings, income and educational loans.

Remedial Coursework Coursework that prepares a student for study at the postsecondary level. A student enrolled solely in remedial coursework is not eligible for Title IV aid, however, if a student is enrolled in an eligible program which contains some remedial coursework, he/she can be considered a regular student and potentially eligible for Title IV aid for up to 30 credit hours, even if he is taking all remedial courses before taking any regular courses. 

ScholarshipGift aid awarded to the student that does not need to be repaid. Scholarship awards are typically based on merit or a combination of merit and need, such as academic excellence, talent, affiliation with various groups, or career aspirations.

Self-help: Financial aid in the form of loans or student employment. Loans are used to help pay the remaining net costs after gift aid is deducted. Student employment earnings (including Work-Study awards) are generally not deducted from billed costs but can be used to help cover indirect costs and are paid in the form of wages to the student.

Verification: Process to confirm the accuracy of data provided by the applicant on the FAFSA. In order to complete the verification process, students are required to provide certain documents to the school for review.

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