How do I apply for financial aid?
Applying for aid is free by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year online at fafsa.ed.gov, available on January 1st. Be sure to add Pennsylvania Highlands Community College Title IV school code, 031804, so that we can receive your FAFSA results.
If you have questions about applying for aid or the aid process, do not hesitate to contact our Financial Aid Office for assistance. We also recommend that you visit our online FATV tutorial library services, available 24/7, at pennhighlands.financialaidtv.com. Our short video clips answer aid questions and help walk you through FAFSA completion
When should I apply for financial aid? Are there deadlines?
Complete the FAFSA as early as possible each year after it becomes available on January 1st, and adhere to Financial Aid Office priority deadline dates to assure maximum aid consideration and have aid in place by our Tuition Due Dates:
- April 1 for Fall semester
- October 1st for the Spring semester
- Pennsylvania State Grant Deadline: August 1st for community colleges
What types of financial aid are available at Pennsylvania Highlands Community College?
Grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study programs are available at Pennsylvania Highlands Community College for those students that have completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and meet eligibility requirements.
- Grants: Money which is awarded based on FAFSA results and financial need, and it does not have to be paid back. These grants include the Federal Pell Grant (lifetime limit of 12 full-time grants), Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) and the PHEAA State Grant (lifetime limit of 4 full-time grants at a Community College).
- 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. Our Guide to Scholarships and the Scholarship Application are available on the College’s website.
- Student 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. Students are strongly encouraged to borrow wisely and borrow responsibly.
- Federal Work-Study (FWS): 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. Students are awarded FWS based on a first-come/first-serve basis. To inquire about eligibility, contact the Financial Aid Office.
Additional information about Pennsylvania Highlands and financial aid resources is available on the Consumer Information webpage.
Are their academic requirements for receiving financial aid?
You must be enrolled at least half-time (six credits) for most aid programs. You must maintain academic progress towards your program of study by successfully completing at least 67% of all attempted credits while maintaining a 2.0 GPA (grade point average) in conjunction with College Policy and program completion within a 150% time frame.
- Much like a job wherein you go to work and earn a paycheck, you earn your aid by going to class and doing the work.
- 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. Audited courses do not qualify for financial aid. 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 (one-time appeal).
- 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.
If you withdrawal prior to the 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. If you never attended any of your classes, you are not eligible for Title IV 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 students living on their own and receiving no support from parents, federal regulations stipulate they are not considered independent for aid unless they fall into at least one of the following categories:
- 24 years of age on or before January 1st preceding the academic year.
- A graduate student.
- 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 our Financial Aid Office. On a case-by-case basis, professional judgment may be exercised by a financial aid administrator.
Do online/hybrid classes and developmental classes impact aid eligibility?
Yes, taking online, hybrid, or developmental classes will impact state grant eligibility.
Online and hybrid classes are considered Distance Learning.
PHEAA requires State Grant recipients to earn at least 50% of their semester credits through classroom instruction. Distance learning or on-line courses are monitored by the College on a semester by semester basis to ensure this requirement is met. If at any point during a semester it is determined more than 50% of coursework was taken by means other than classroom instruction, PHEAA requires the College to cancel the State Grant.
Developmental classes are considered 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 the 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 Pennsylvania State Grant and other programs, visit PHEAA’s website for more information.
Are there limits to student 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% 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% limit is ineligible for interest subsidy benefits on all subsidized loans first disbursed to that borrower on or after July 1, 2013. Additional information on student loans is available online at studentloans.gov.
When can I expect my refund?
Students can check their Award Letter Notification on the myPEAK Financial Aid link for dates and additional information about Bursar refund distributions.