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FAQ

  1. How do I apply for financial aid?
  2. What types of financial aid are available at Pennsylvania Highlands Community College?
  3. Should I be aware of any deadline dates?
  4. Do I have to meet any academic requirements for financial aid?
  5. Are there other requirements for receiving aid?
  6. What is Pennsylvania Highlands Community College’s Title IV school code?
  7. My parents no longer support me and I live on my own. Why do I still need to supply their information on the FAFSA?
  8. What is a PIN number and how do I get one?
  9. What is the FAO Institutional Code of Conduct for Educational Loans?
  10. How many federal Pell grants can I receive?
  11. Do online/hybrid classes and developmental classes impact state grant eligibility?
  12. What happens if I have a reduction in income since completing my FAFSA?
  13. Are there penalties for a student convicted of a drug-offense while receiving Title IV financial aid?
  14. What resources are available at Penn Highlands on alcohol and drug abuse prevention?
  15. Are there limits to subsidized loans?


How do I apply for financial aid?

You should apply for financial aid each academic year by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You can complete the FAFSA online at www.fafsa.ed.gov.


What types of financial aid are available at Pennsylvania Highlands Community College?

Grants, scholarships, loan and work-study are available at Pennsylvania Highlands Community College for those students that have completed a FAFSA and meet eligibility requirements.

  • Grants: Money which is awarded based on financial need and does not have to be paid back such as the Federal Pell Grant, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) and the PHEAA State Grant.
  • Scholarships: Money generally awarded based on some sort of academic criteria, but can also be based on financial need. Scholarships do not have to be repaid.
  • Loans: Money which a student must repay, but the school determines the amount and types of loans the student is eligible for such as the Federal Subsidized or Unsubsidized Stafford Loans.
  • Federal Work-Study: A federal award based on financial need that provides the student the opportunity to earn money through a part-time job offered through the college.

Should I be aware of any deadline dates?

Yes, application deadlines are very important. You should apply before:

  • April 1st (complete your FAFSA to this date) of each academic year to meet Financial Aid Office priority deadline date for the Fall semester
  • October 1st to meet Financial Aid Office priority deadline date for the Spring semester if you are a new student or transferring in from another college
  • May 1st of each academic year to meet Pennsylvania's deadline date for state grant.

Do I have to meet any academic requirements for financial aid?

Yes, there are academic requirements for aid eligibility:

    • You must be enrolled at least half-time (six credits).
    • Audited courses do not qualify for financial aid.
    • You must maintain academic progress towards your program of study by completing at least two-thirds of all attempted credits.
    • You must maintain a 2.0 GPA (grade point average) in conjunction with College Policy.
    • You must complete your program within a 150% time frame.

NOTE:

    • The Financial Aid Office counts all withdrawals and incomplete grades as non-completed course work.
    • The Financial Aid Office counts transfer credits as credits attempted/completed.
    • If, for any reason financial aid is reduced or lost, the student is still obligated to pay any balance due.
    • Students have the right to appeal a determination of ineligibility for financial aid based on lack of academic progress.
    • Students considering a total withdraw from the College should first check with the Financial Aid Office to determine what impact there is on financial aid eligibility. You earn your aid by going to class. If you withdrawal prior to 60% mark of the semester, you will only be eligible for a portion of your aid, depending on how many days you attended. We will perform a Return of Title IV Calculation to determine how much eligibility you have earned.

Are there other requirements for receiving aid?

Yes, only matriculated students, defined as regular students enrolled for the purpose of obtaining a degree, certificate, or diploma at Pennsylvania Highlands Community College, are eligible to receive financial aid.  Non-degree seeking students are not eligible.


What is Pennsylvania Highlands Community College’s Title IV school code?

Pennsylvania Highlands Community College Title IV school code is 031804. This code identifies Pennsylvania Highlands Community College as the school you wish to attend on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.


My parents no longer support me and I live on my own. Why do I still need to supply their information on the FAFSA?

Despite living on your own and receiving no support from your parents, you are not considered independent for financial aid purposes. A student is considered independent if they are at least one of the following:

      • 24 years of age on or before the January 1 preceding the academic year
      • A graduate student
      • Married
      • Have legal dependents who you provide more than 50% of their support
      • An orphan or ward of the court
      • A veteran of the armed forces
      • Currently serving on Active Duty in US Armed Services for purpose other than training

If you do not meet any of these requirements and there are mitigating circumstances regarding your situation, contact the Financial Aid Office to have your dependency status determined. On a case-by-case basis, professional judgment may be exercised by a financial aid administrator.


What is a PIN number and how do I get one?

The PIN is a four digit number assigned by the U.S. Department of Education for the duration of your college career. This PIN serves as your electronic signature for online documents, such as the FAFSA and Stafford Loan Master Promissory Note. If filing the FAFSA online, the student and one parent (if the student is dependent) will need a PIN number in order to sign it. You can request a PIN online at www.pin.ed.gov.


What is the FAO Institutional Code of Conduct for Educational Loans?

PENNSYLVANIA HIGHLANDS COMMUNITY COLLEGE
FINANCIAL AID OFFICE
INSTITUTIONAL CODE OF CONDUCT FOR EDUCATIONAL LOANS

Pennsylvania Highlands Community College is committed to providing students and their families with the best information and processing alternatives available regarding student borrowing. In support of this and in an effort to rule out any perceived or actual conflict of interest between Pennsylvania Highlands Community College officers, employees or agents and education loan lenders, Pennsylvania Highlands Community College has adopted the following:

    • Pennsylvania Highlands Community College does not participate in any revenue-sharing arrangements with any lender.
    • Pennsylvania Highlands Community College does not permit any officer, employee or agent of the school who is employed in the financial aid office or is otherwise involved in the administration of education loans to accept any gifts of greater than a nominal value from any lender, guarantor or servicer.
    • Pennsylvania Highlands Community College does not permit any officer, employee or agent of the school who is employed in the financial aid office or is otherwise involved in the administration of education loans to accept any fee, payment or other financial benefit (including a stock purchase option) from a lender or affiliate of a lender as compensation for any type of consulting arrangement or contract to provide services to a lender or on behalf of a lender relating to education loans.
    • Pennsylvania Highlands Community College does not permit any officer, employee or agent of the school who is employed in the financial aid office or is otherwise involved in the administration of education loans to accept anything of value from a lender, guarantor, or group of lenders and/or guarantors in exchange for service on an advisory board, commission or other group established by such a lender, guarantor group of lenders and/or guarantors. Pennsylvania Highlands Community College does allow for the reasonable reimbursement of expenses associated with participation in such boards, commissions or groups by lenders, guarantors, or groups of lenders and/or guarantors.
    • Pennsylvania Highlands Community College does not assign a lender to any first-time borrower through financial aid packaging or any other means.
    • Pennsylvania Highlands Community College recognizes that a borrower has the right to choose any lender from which to borrow to finance his/her education. Pennsylvania Highlands Community College will not refuse to certify or otherwise deny or delay certification of a loan based on the borrower’s selection of a lender and/or guarantor.
    • Pennsylvania Highlands Community College will not request or accept any offer of funds to be used for private education loans to students from any lender in exchange for providing the lender with a specified number or volume of Title IV loans, or a preferred lender arrangement for Title IV loans.
    • Pennsylvania Highlands Community College will not request or accept any assistance with call center or financial aid office staffing.

How many federal Pell grants can I receive?

The Consolidation Appropriations Act, 2012, limits the number of student's lifetime eligibility for Pell grants to 12 semesters. This limit applies to all students.


Do online/hybrid classes and developmental classes impact state grant eligibility?

Taking online, hybrid or developmental classes, will impact state grant eligibility.
Online and hybrid classes are considered as Distance Learning:

PHEAA requires State Grant recipients to earn at least 50% of their program of study through classroom instruction. Distance learning or on-line courses are monitored by the College on a semester basis to ensure this requirement is met. Therefore, to be considered for a State Grant, a student must take at least 6 credits in a semester, 3 of which must be regular degree credits taken through classroom instruction. If at any point during a student's program of study it is determined more than 50% of coursework earned was taken by means other than classroom instruction, PHEAA requires the College to return all State Grant funds from current and prior years. For example, a student in their first year of an associate degree program receives two full-time State Grants in the Fall and Spring semesters earning a total of 30 credits. The student earned 15 of those credits through classroom instruction. The second year (Fall and Spring), the student enrolls in a total of 30 credits all through on-line courses. Since the student has not enrolled in at least 50% classroom instruction in the second year, they are not eligible for a State Grant and PHEAA requires all State Grant funds from the first year to be refunded.

Developmental classes are considered as Remedial Exception:

If a student is taking remedial / developmental or ESL courses, they must also take at least 3 regular degree credits in a semester to be considered for a State Grant. A student is only eligible to receive this type of combined credit payment (remedial exception) for 2 full-time or 4 part-time semesters. After you have received this maximum number of exceptions, only regular degree credits can be used when determining your enrollment status for a State Grant.

For additional information about the state grant program visit: http://www.pheaa.org/funding-opportunities/state-grant-program/.


What happens if I have a reduction in income since completing my FAFSA?

Students who have a drastic reduction in their income, (or that of their parents if dependent students) as compared to their prior income, may request consideration to have financial need calculated based on expected income instead of actual income. If such a request is approved, it may not necessarily make the student eligible for a grant. In addition, this request will only affect the Federal PELL Grant, not the State PHEAA Grant. Questions about the Reduced Income should be addressed to the Financial Aid Office. On a case-by-case basis, professional judgment may be exercised by a financial aid administrator.


Are there penalties for a student convicted of a drug-offense while receiving Title IV financial aid?

Yes, in compliance with 34 CFR 86.100, as a recipient of Title IV funds a student will lose Title IV aid eligibility according to the penalties outlined below for drug-related offenses:

1. A student who is convicted of any offense under any Federal or State law involving the possession or sale of a controlled substance for conduct that occurred during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving any grant, loan, or work assistance under this title shall not be eligible to receive any grant, loan, or work assistance under this title from the date of that conviction for the period of time specified in the following table.

If convicted of an offense involving:
The possession of a controlled substance: Ineligibility period is:
First offense - 1 year
Second offense - 2 years
Third offense - Indefinite

The sale of a controlled substance: Ineligibility period is:
First offense - 2 years
Second offense - Indefinite

2. A student whose eligibility has been suspended under paragraph (1) may resume eligibility before the end of the ineligibility period determined under such paragraph if—

(A) The student satisfactorily completes a drug rehabilitation program that -
(i) complies with such criteria as the Secretary shall prescribe in regulations for purposes of this paragraph; and
(ii) includes two unannounced drug tests;

(B) The student successfully passes two unannounced drug tests conducted by a drug rehabilitation program that complies with such criteria as the Secretary shall prescribe in regulations for purposes of sub-paragraph (A)(i); or

(C) The conviction is reversed, set aside, or otherwise rendered nugatory.

3. DEFINITIONS - In this subsection, the term ''controlled substance'' has the meaning given the term in section 102(6) of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802(6)).


What resources are available at Penn Highlands on alcohol and drug abuse prevention?

Pennsylvania Highlands Community College is an alcohol and drug-free environment (Policy 205). The College's Drug and Alcohol Prevention Program (DAAPP) - in compliance with Section 1213 of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended by the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989 - provides students and employees with the following information:

  • Standards of conduct that clearly prohibit the unlawful use of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees on its property or any College activity.
  • A description of applicable legal sanctions under law for the unlawful possession or distribution of illicit drugs or alcohol.
  • A description of health risks associated with the use and/or abuse of illicit drugs or the abuse of alcohol.
  • A description of drug/alcohol counseling available to students and/or employees.
  • And a clear statement that Pennsylvania Highlands Community College will impose disciplinary sanctions on students and/or employees for violation of this policy.

All students and employees are expected to adhere to this policy. If you need further information, please contact the Director of Security & Safety (for students) or the Director of Human Resources (for employees).


Are there limits to subsidized loans?

Yes, there is a 150% Limit on Subsidized Loans. Due to the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, a new borrower on or after July 1, 2013 cannot receive subsidized loans for more than 150 percent of the published length of the borrower’s educational program. The law also provides that a borrower who becomes ineligible for subsidized loans because of the 150 percent limit is ineligible for interest subsidy benefits on all subsidized loans first disbursed to that borrower on or after July 1, 2013.

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