Frequently Asked Questions
How do I apply for Federal Financial Aid at Estrella Mountain Community College?
You complete your application electronically by accessing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on the web at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Be sure to use the federal school code 031563 for both Estrella Mountain Community College and the Southwest Skill Center. It is also recommended that the IRS Data Retrieval Tool be used when completing the FAFSA application. Generally within 5-7 days after you have submitted your FAFSA with all required signatures, it is sent to the school. If additional documents are required from the student, please understand additional processing time is required. Depending on the time of year and the number of financial aid applicants, the processing time may be anywhere from three to 15 business days. Students should always plan ahead and submit paperwork as early as possible. This applies to all types of forms, Federal Financial Aid forms, scholarship forms, public assistance forms etc...
How often do I need to complete a Financial Aid application?
A new FAFSA must be submitted for every new academic year. The new year for Estrella Mountain Community College begins in every fall semester. Every student should complete the FAFSA form as soon as possible after January 2nd of the calendar year they plan to attend college.
What records will I need to complete my FAFSA?
When completing the FAFSA application there is an option to retrieve tax information directly from the IRS by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. If the retrieval is used it is advised to go over the information that is retrieved to verify that it is accurate. Generally, you will need federal tax return (IRS 1040, 1040A, or 1040 EZ). You may also want to have your W-2 forms and any other records of money earned in the tax year you are using to complete the FAFSA. This would include records of untaxed income. You may also need to use current bank statement, business or farm records and any records of stocks, bonds or other investments etc...
What happens after Estrella Mountain Community College receives my information from the Federal Processor?
It is the student's responsibility to check their financial aid status on the my.maricopa.edu online system regularly. You can view missing financial aid documents (under your "To Do" list or the "Message Center"), see if you've been awarded financial aid (click on the "View Financial Aid" link toward the bottom of the page), review your charges, etc. Students must submit all information requested to complete their financial aid file. Federal Financial Aid and/or scholarship awards may hold your enrollment in classes at EMCC.
You must notify our office if you are receiving awards or benefits not listed in your "Award Summary", or if you need to reduce and/or decline any loan(s).
You will be able to view awards on your my.maricopa account, click on View Financial Aid OR your my.maricopa account will detail any required additional documentation. You need to respond to our office with this documentation to have your file completed. After your file is complete, you will be awarded and the award amount will be posted on my.maricopa.edu in the "View Financial Aid" link.
Entrance Counseling and Master Promissory Note - If you wish to pursue a loan through the Direct Loan Program, you must complete Entrance Counseling and a Master Promissory Note, if you have not already done so.
If you receive financial aid and do not attend classes, Federal regulations may require you to repay some or all of the money you receive. It is your responsibility to officially withdraw from classes through Enrollment Services and to review the refund policies if you do not attend. See below for Book Charge & Financial Aid Disbursement Information or view it on the "Book Advances and Check Disbursements" link.
Note the following important information:
Federal financial aid may only be received from one institution for the same period of enrollment. Should your award include a loan, you have an obligation to repay those funds, even if you withdraw from your course(s) Students are expected to understand their responsibility in regard to the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements for federal financial aid recipients. Failure to maintain SAP may result in withholding or cancelling part or all of your financial aid awards. All awards are subject to review and/or modification based on changes in eligibility, academic status, failure to comply with federal/state laws/regulations and/or college policies, and etc. For assistance logging into my.maricopa.edu, please call 1 888 994 4433 or go to www.maricopa.edu/portal/new/student-center/help.
When is the deadline to apply for Federal Financial Aid?
See Book Advances/ FA Disbursement Section here.
How many credit hours must I take to be considered for Federal Financial Aid?
You will be considered for Pell Grant when you take one (1) or more credit hours. To be considered for other campus based grants you will be considered when you take six (6) credit hours or more. To be considered for Federal Loans you need to be in six (6) or more credit hours.
Students who are awarded aid before the census date cannot have their Pell Grant increased for classes that are added after the census date for that term. This applies to students adding classes at EMCC or turning in consortium agreements for classes taken at other colleges.
In order to be eligible for the Pell Grant for the classes, the student must be registered by the census date or the Financial Aid office must have a completed the consortium agreement by the census date. Students who apply for aid after the census date will have their Pell Grant awarded based on the number of credit hours they have when their Financial Aid application is complete.
May I attend two schools and receive Federal Financial Aid for the courses at each school?
Students attending two schools in the same enrollment period must inform both Financial Aid Offices at each school. Students cannot receive funds at both schools. In some instances, it is possible for one school to fund enrollment for classes at the other school. To determine eligibility, complete the Consortium Agreement Form.
Your financial aid must be processed at the college where you plan to receive your degree or certificate and are attending more than 50 percent of the credits for that term. You also need to be taking at least six credit hours per term at the school that awards your aid.
The courses you take at the other school need to be 100 or 200 level courses and count toward your degree. Students who are awarded aid before the census date cannot have their Pell Grant increased for classes that are added after the census date for that term. This applies to students adding classes at EMCC or turning in consortium agreements for classes taken at other colleges.
In order to be eligible for the Pell Grant for the classes, the student must be registered by the census date or the Financial Aid office must have a completed the consortium agreement by the census date. Students who apply for aid after the census date will have their Pell Grant award based on the number of credit hours they have when their Financial Aid application is complete. The course work at the host institution may not overlap the end date of the prior term or start date of the subsequent term at the home school.
How will I receive my Financial Aid funds?
Upon receipt of funds, awards are credited toward any tuition and fees that you owe the college. Federal Work Study earnings are paid every two weeks for hours worked. All aid disbursements are handled by Enrollment Services. You now have the choice to receive your refunds to an existing bank account via electronic funds transfer (EFT) or to a personalized Discover® prepaid debit card issued by My Money Network® through the Maricopa Student Refund Program (MSRP)! This great new program is intended to give students faster and more convenient access to their financial aid disbursements and tuition and fee refunds. Specific information can be found under the "Important Dates - FA Disbursements, Book Charge, Tuition, etc" section of this website.
Who can apply for Financial Aid?
- You must be over 16 years old and not concurrently enrolled in high school, an elementary or secondary program or taking college credit to earn a high school diploma or GED.
- You must have a high school diploma or GED
- Be a U.S. Citizen, U.S national or permanent resident of the U.S. as verified through your FAFSA.
- You must be enrolled in a degree or eligible certification program at Estrella Mountain Community College and this information must be documented in your my.maricopa.edu account. If the information listed in your my.maricopa.edu account is not accurate, contact Enrollment Services at 623 935 8888.
- You cannot be in default on a federal loan or owe a repayment of a federal grant.
- If required, you must be registered with selective service.
- You must maintain satisfactory academic progress as outlined in Estrella Mountain's "Standards of Academic Progress for Financial Aid Eligibility."
- You must have not been convicted of certain drug related crimes.
How do I apply for scholarships?
To apply for scholarships, please visit the "Scholarships" webpage for a listing of scholarships currently available. The scholarship webpage also provides links to outside search engines to assist you in using the internet to locate additional scholarships. Scholarships can also be found on the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation website: http://www.maricopa.edu/foundation/apply/index.php
Treatment of Title IV Aid when a student withdraws
The law specifies how schools must determine the amount of Title IV program assistance that is earned when a federal financial aid recipient withdraws from school. The Title IV programs that are covered by this law are: Federal Pell Grants, National SMART Grants, TEACH Grants, Federal Direct Loans, Federal Direct PLUS loans, Federal Supplemental Educations Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), Federal Iraq Afghanistan Grant, and Federal Perkins Loans.
When the student withdraws during the payment period, the amount of federal grant and/or loan assistance earned up to that point is determined by a specific formula. If less assistance is received than what was earned, the student may qualify for those funds. If more assistance is received than earned, the unearned funds must be returned by the school and/or student to the appropriate federal program(s).
The federal code of regulations 34 CFR 668.22 defines the treatment of withdrawals, the calculation of earned and unearned aid, the disbursement or return of federal funds, and the timelines for each.
NOTE: The requirements for Title IV program funds when a student withdraws are separate from any refund policy that the school may have. Please refer to the specific school website for information on the institution’s tuition refund policy and requirements and procedures for withdrawing from school.
Calculation of Earned Title IV Assistance
Percentage of Title IV aid earned
The percentage of Title IV federal aid assistance earned by the student will be determined on a pro-rata basis up to the 60% point of a student’s payment period. For example, if the student completed 30% of a payment period, 30% of the aid originally scheduled to be received would have been earned. Once a student has completed more than 60% of a payment period, 100% of awarded aid has been earned.
Amount of Title IV aid earned
After calculating the percentage of aid earned, the amount of aid earned is calculated and rounded to the one-hundredth decimal. Federal Pell Grant, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Federal Iraq Afghanistan Grant, Direct Subsidized Loan, Direct Unsubsidized Loan, Federal Direct PLUS loan, and Federal Perkins Loan aid that has been disbursed or yet to be disbursed will be included in the calculation of amount of aid earned. Federal Work Study is excluded
Withdrawal and Return of Title IV Funds Reporting
The Maricopa Community College District’s (MCCD) Student Financial Services Office will run reports routinely each week to identify and perform Return of Title IV (R2T4) calculations of federal financial aid recipients. The reports will identify federal aid recipients that:
- Completely withdrew
- Received a non-passing grade in the course with the latest end date in the student’s semester. However, if the last date of attendance corresponding to the non-passing grade is at the end of the course, no R2T4 is required.
When the total amount of the Title IV grant and/or loan assistance earned as of the withdrawal date is more than the amount that was disbursed to the student, the difference between the two amounts will be treated as a post-withdrawal disbursement. If a post-withdrawal disbursement includes Loan funds, the school must get student permission before it can disburse them. If a post withdrawal disbursement includes Grant funds, the school may automatically use all or a portion of them for tuition, fees, and room and board charges (as contracted with the school). The school needs student permission to use the post-withdrawal grant disbursement for all other school charges. If a student does not give permission, the funds will be offered. In both cases it may be in the student’s best interest to allow the school to keep the funds in order to reduce any debt owed to the school.
Post-Withdrawal Disbursement of Grant Funds
A post-withdrawal disbursement of grant funds will be applied towards outstanding semester charges on the student's account and may pay up to the amount of the allowable charges (i.e., tuition and fees).
Any remainder of grant aid will be paid to the student. The student will be notified within 30 days of the date of determination of withdrawal of the post-withdrawal disbursement. Student has 14 days from the date of notification to respond to college. A refund will be sent within 45 days of the date that the college determined that the student withdrew.
Post-Withdrawal Disbursement of Loan Funds
A post-withdrawal disbursement of loan funds may be paid if the student is eligible to receive the funds. The student (or parent if a PLUS loan) will be notified within 30 days of the date of determination of withdrawal of the opportunity to accept all or a part of the post-withdrawal disbursement. Upon receipt of a timely response from the student (or parent) (14 days from date of notification), the College will disburse the loan funds within 180 days of the date of determination of the student's withdrawal date. Loan funds will be applied towards the outstanding semester charges on the student's account and may pay up to the amount of the allowable charges (i.e., tuition and fees). Any remainder will be paid directly to the student (or parent).
Note: There are some Title IV funds that a student was scheduled to receive that cannot be disbursed to the student once the student withdraws because of other eligibility requirements. For example, if a student is a first-time, first-year undergraduate student and has not completed the first 30 days of the program before withdrawing, the student will not receive any Direct Loan funds that would have been received if the student remained enrolled past the 30th day.
The College maintains the right to decide whether or not to make a post-withdrawal disbursement in the event that the student responds after 14 days of the date that the notification was sent. If the College decides not to make this post-withdrawal disbursement, it will inform the student in writing.
Return of Unearned Funds to Title IV
When the total amount of Title IV grant and/or loan assistance that was earned as of the withdrawal date is less than the amount that was disbursed to the student, the difference between the two amounts will be returned to the Title IV program(s) and no further disbursements will be made.
Funds returned by the College
If a student has received unearned funds, the College will return a portion of the unearned excess equal to the lesser of:
- The student's institutional charges multiplied by the unearned percentage of funds, or
- The entire amount of the unearned funds.
The funds will be returned in the order below as prescribed by federal regulations, within 45 days from the date of determination that a student withdrew.
- Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans
- Subsidized Federal Direct Loans
- Federal Direct PLUS loans
- Federal Pell Grants
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)
- Federal Iraq Afghanistan Grant
The student will be notified of any funds returned by the College within 60 days of the date the College determined that the student withdrew.
Funds returned by the Student
In the event there is remaining unearned aid, the student is responsible for returning those funds. Any amount of unearned grant funds that a student must return is called an overpayment.
Return of loan funds
When loan funds should be returned (student or parent if PLUS loan), they will be repaid in accordance with the terms of the promissory note over a period of time. That is, the student will make scheduled payments to the holder of the loan over a period of time.
Return of grant funds
When grant funds should be returned, the law provides that the student may repay 50% of a federal grant rather than 100%. The College will notify the student of the overpayment within 30 days of the date it determined that the student withdrew and requires the student to pay in full or make satisfactory repayment arrangements with the college within 45 days of the date of notification. If payment is not received, the overpayment is reported by the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) and the U.S. Department of Education’s Borrowers Service to collect as soon as possible after 45 days. The student must make arrangements with the Department of Education to return the unearned grant funds.
Note: The student who owes an overpayment remains eligible for federal student aid from the earlier of 45 days from the date the institution sends a notification to the student of the overpayment, or 45 days from the date the institution was required to notify the student of the overpayment.
Unearned Aid Returned and Repayment by Student
All unearned funds returned by the College to the Title IV programs will be charged back to the student's account.
Re-enrollment in the Payment Period after Title IV Funds Have Been Returned
When a student returns to the College within a semester after withdrawing, and unearned Title IV funds have been returned to their respective program accounts, the aid may be reinstated if the College is able to recover the funds for disbursement and the student is eligible.
Timeframe for the Return of Title IV Funds
The Maricopa Community Colleges will abide by the following federal timelines:
- From the Date of Determination of a Withdrawal
- Within 30 days of the date of determination of the withdrawal date, perform the Return of Title IV Funds calculation
- For an official withdrawal, the date of determination of the withdrawal date is the same as the withdrawal date.
- For an unofficial withdrawal, the date of determination of withdrawal must be made within 30 days after the end of the payment period, i.e., semester block.
- Within 30 days of the date of determination of the withdrawal date, notify the student if there is a post-withdrawal disbursement due to the student of loan funds or an overpayment of grant funds, if applicable.
- Within 45 days of the date of determination of the withdrawal date, return the school owed funds to the appropriate Title IV program account.
- Within 45 days of the date of determination of the withdrawal date, pay a student a post-withdrawal disbursement of grant funds
- Within 180 days of the date of determination of the withdrawal date, pay a student a post-withdrawal disbursement of loan funds, if student requested funds within 14 days of notification by the school of their availability.
- Within 30 days of the date of determination of the withdrawal date, perform the Return of Title IV Funds calculation
The requirements for Title IV program funds when you withdraw are separate from any refund policy that your school may have. Therefore, you may still owe funds to the school to cover unpaid institutional charges. Your school may also charge you for any Title IV program funds that the school was required to return. You can view the tuition refund policy and requirements and procedures for withdrawing from school at http://www.maricopa.edu/publicstewardship/governance/adminregs/students/2_2.php#refund
How does Repeated Coursework affect Financial Aid eligibility?
Federal Regulations regarding repeated coursework may impact your financial aid eligibility and awards. Federal Regulations specify that students may receive federal financial aid funding for one repetition of a previously passed course. A passed course is defined as one in which a grade of A, B, C, D, or P is received. If you enroll in a course in which you have previously received passing grades twice, the course will not be counted towards your enrollment level for financial aid purposes. For example, if you are enrolled in a total of 12 credit hours and 3 credits you have repeated in the past, you will only be considered enrolled in 9 hours for financial aid purposes. You may repeat a failed course until it is passed. Your enrollment for financial aid purposes will be calculated accordingly.
Can short term courses affect my financial aid eligibility?
Yes, courses that do not span the entire length of a semester are defined as modular courses and may affect your financial aid eligibility (i.e., amounts, disbursement dates, eligibility, etc.)
For example the Fall semester at EMCC is 16 weeks in length. If a student is registered for the Fall semester in courses that do not span the entire 16 weeks, the financial aid cost of attendance may be affected, which may in turn affect the student’s financial aid eligibility. Students must be registered in all of their classes by the posted census date for that term. After the census date has passed the financial aid will be adjusted for students who are taking short term courses.