Applying for Financial Aid
What information will be collected?
The FAFSA has four main sections of required information:
- General student information (name, SSN, DOB, etc.)
- Dependency Status (Dependent or Independent)
- Tax and income information about your parent if you are a dependent
- Tax and income Information about you, the student (and spouse, if applicable)
When and how do I fill out the FAFSA?
The FAFSA must be filled out every academic year. See the Dates & Deadlines page for more information. The FAFSA can be completed online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. If you do not have a computer, please come visit us in the Financial Aid Office.
What is the FSA ID?
Students, parents (if applicable) and borrowers are required to use an FSA ID, made up of a username and password, to access certain U.S. Department of Education websites. Your FSA ID is used to confirm your identity when accessing your financial aid information. Students must set up an FSA ID to bring in information from the IRS and to sign and submit your FAFSA electronically. Please note that students and parents must use different email addresses to set up FSA IDs.
How do I know if I am a dependent or independent student?
Most students who are under the age of 24 that are not married and do not have a child that they support more than 50% are considered dependent students. Even if you live on your own, fully support yourself and file your own taxes, the federal government still considers you a dependent student. If you feel there may be extenuating circumstances that will qualify you to file your FAFSA as an independent student, please come visit with the Financial Aid Office.
What is the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?
When you are online filling out your FAFSA, you can choose to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, which links directly to the IRS and transfers your required tax information into the FAFSA. We encourage you to use this process for a few reasons:
- You don’t have to look for and manually input the information from your tax return on the FAFSA.
- Using this process can reduce errors and documents requested by the Financial Aid Office.
- When you submit the request, the IRS will confirm your identity.
- If your tax record is found, the IRS sends real-time results to you in a new browser window and you can then choose whether or not to transfer the information.
***It is very important that you enter your name and address exactly as it appears on your tax return when trying to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. If there are any discrepancies, you will be unable to link to the IRS.***
Dates and Deadlines
Midland College has set priority dates for students applying for federal aid. If all paperwork is submitted by a priority date then all financial aid for which they qualify will be processed and applied by the first day of class.
- Fall - June 1st
- Spring - October 1st
- Summer - March 1st
How long does it take to find out what I am eligible for?
It will normally take 1-3 business days for the U.S. Department of Education to process your FAFSA. If you do not receive an email from them confirming that it has been processed and giving you an estimate of what you may be eligible to receive, please visit the Financial Aid Office to find out why. After your FAFSA has been processed, it will take our office 2 to 3 weeks to import it into our system and determine if any additional documentation is needed to complete your file. Once everything has been processed and your eligibility has been determined, you will receive an award notification from the Financial Aid Office.
Tracking your financial aid process
Within My MC Portal is your financial aid widget. Students can check here for missing paperwork, process completion, and money amounts. Follow these steps to access your financial aid information on My MC Portal:
- Go to My MC Portal
- Under Quick Links
- Select Financial Aid Portal
- Select First Time User and follow instructions to setup your New User account
- Log in
- Click Menu - Accept Awards - Submit
Accept your federal and state award using your financial aid portal
Even if you are awarded federal financial aid, you must formally accept the award by logging onto My MC Portal and entering your financial aid widget on your dashboard. Failure to accept will result in a balance on your account and removal from your courses on scheduled no-pay drop days.
What is Verification?
Verification is a process through which the Financial Aid Office verifies the information you reported on your FASFA. The U.S. Department of Education randomly selects applicants for Verification and the process must be completed before financial aid can be awarded. Not all students are selected for verification.
How will I know if I am selected for Verification?
- You will receive an email from FAFSA that includes your Student Aid Report (SAR). Your SAR will tell if you have been chosen for Verification.
- Once your FAFSA has been imported into our system, you will be notified by email that you have been selected for Verification and what documents you are required to turn in.
How do I complete the Verification process?
You will need to return the Verification Worksheet, as well as all additional documents requested to the Financial Aid Office. If we are requiring that you or your parent turn in a Tax Return Transcript, you will need to visit the IRS website and follow the instructions on how to request it. Please make sure to turn in all Verification documents together at the same time. Our office will not accept incomplete documentation.
Who do I include in my or my parent’s household on the Verification Worksheet?
If you are an independent student, include:
- Your spouse (if applicable)
- Your children (even if they don’t live with you) if you will be providing more than half of their support
- Other people who are now living with you and rely on you for more than half of their support.
If you are a dependent student, include:
- Your parent(s), including stepparent if applicable
- Other dependent children who will receive more than half of their support from your parent(s)
- Other people who live with your parent(s) and rely on them for more than half of their support.
Can I fax in or email my Verification documents to the Financial Aid Office?
You may email or fax in all verification documents to the financial aid office, unless we are requesting the Identity & Educational Purpose Statement/HS Completion Status Form. The federal government requires that the original form be turned into our office, either in person or by mail. If you are unable to return the form to us in person, then you must get it notarized and mail us the original, with a copy of your valid, government-issued photo ID.
How long will it take to process my Verification?
It can take as long as 2 to 4 weeks to process verification, depending on if we need additional information from you. As soon as everything is processed and your file is complete, you will receive an award notification from our office. You will need to make payment arrangements in the meantime to hold a spot in your classes. If you are unable to pay in full or set up a payment plan, please come visit us in the Financial Aid Office to discuss getting a temporary emergency loan that will reserve a spot in your classes until your Verification is processed.
To be eligible for federal financial aid, you must:
- Be a US Citizen or eligible non-citizen Eligible non-citizen Information
- Have a demonstrated financial need
- Have a high school diploma from an accredited institution, final high school transcript with graduation date or GED
- Be registered with the Selective Service (males 18-25 years of age) or provide documentation of exemption
- Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a regular student working toward a degree or certificate in an eligible program
- Have a valid Social Security Number
- Make Satisfactory Academic Progress
- Not owe a refund on a federal grant or be in default on a federal education loan
NOTE: Students who are attending another institution and receiving federal financial aid will not be eligible to receive federal aid at Midland College. Federal regulations require that students seek a degree or certificate at the institution they are requesting federal aid from.
Proration of Awards
All federal and state awards, with the exception of the Work Study Program, are prorated based on enrollment status at Census Date (typically the 12th class day of a 16 week course, for example)
- Full-Time (12+ hours) – receive 100%
- Three-Quarter-Time (9-11 hours) – receive 75%
- Half-Time (6-8 hours) – receive 50%
- Less-Than-Half-Time (1-5 hours) – receive 25%
NOTE: Students enrolled Less-Than-Half-Time are eligible to receive 25% of their PELL Grant only. Other grants and work study programs require Half-Time Enrollment. It is Midland College’s policy to place students enrolled in 5 hours or less on the Transfer Monitoring List in the National Student Loan Data System to verify that they are not enrolled at other institutions simultaneously.
To receive federal student aid, you must be one of the following:
- A US Citizen
- A US National (includes natives of American Samoa or Swain’s Island)
- A US Permanent Resident who has an I-151, I-551 or I-551C (Permanent Resident Card)
If you’re not in one of these categories, you must have an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) showing one of the following designations:
- “Asylum Granted”
- “Cuban-Hatian Entrant, Status Pending”:
- “Conditional Entrant (valid only if issued before April 1, 1980)
- “Parolee” - Students must be paroled into the United States for at least one year, and you must be able to provide evidence from the USCIS that you are in the United States for other than a temporary purpose and that you intend to become a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident.
If you have only a Notice of Approval to Apply for Permanent Residence (I-171 or I-464), you’re not eligible for federal financial aid.
If you’re in the United States on certain visas, including an F1 or F2 student visa, or a J1 or J2 exchange visitor visa, you’re not eligible for federal financial aid.
Changing your academic schedule can affect your award amounts and even require the return of funds if after money has been applied to your account. Therefore, it is imperative that you make no schedule changes after you register unless absolutely required for your pathway. Class change on or after the first day of school are absolutely discouraged.
The U.S. Department of Education now flags students who have attended multiple colleges/universities in the last four academic years prior to the current one. The Midland College Financial Aid Department must verify enrollment, as well as the receipt of federal Pell Grants and/or Direct Loans at all of these institutions.
Students flagged for Unusual Enrollment history must sign and return the Unusual Enrollment History form and provide official transcripts from all colleges or universities. If you are unable to obtain official transcripts, grade reports or unofficial transcripts may be used as a last resort. If your official transcripts are already on file with Midland, you are not required to provide them again.
If you did not earn any academic credit at one of the institutions attended, an explanation and supporting documentation, if relevant, must be provided. Failure to provide supporting documentation may result in your request being denied.
The data provided on the FAFSA is intended to determine the amount your family can reasonably be expected to pay toward your college costs.
Occasionally, circumstances arise that make the FAFSA data an inaccurate picture of a family's ability to pay. For example, since filing the FAFSA, you or a parent may have retired, divorced, lost their job, experienced a reduction in untaxed income or had a death in the family that affected the family income.
Sometimes it is possible to reassess a family's unique situation. If you believe your FAFSA does not represent your current situation, contact the Financial Aid Office to see if you are eligible to complete a Special Circumstance Application.
If you are under the age of 24, you are considered a dependent student of your parents, regardless if you file your own taxes and fully support yourself. However, in rare circumstances, you may qualify for a dependency override if both of your parents are deceased, if the relationship with your parent(s) is completely severed or if you were in a court-ordered legal guardianship. If you believe you may be eligible for a dependency override, please contact the Financial Aid Office to complete a Special Circumstance Application.
Special Circumstance Application Deadlines
Fall – October 31
Spring – March 31
Summer – July 1
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