Frequently Asked Questions

Based on historical data, the Financial Aid Office at VGCC has compiled a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) for students. The following questions provide answers to common issues that arise as students plot a course of action as they matriculate through college.
 

 

  1. Do I have to re-apply for financial aid each semester?
    No, students that are interested in receiving financial aid need to apply each academic year by completing the FAFSA application.

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  2. Why do I need parent information when I live on my own and am over 21 years of age?
    Federal guidelines require students that do not qualify for independent status to submit their parent's income information.

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  3. If I am a high school student taking dual-enrollment classes, can I apply for financial aid?
    No, you will not be eligible to receive financial aid until you have received your High School or GED certificate prior to applying.

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  4. When can I purchase my books since I will not receive my financial aid until later in the semester?
    Students may charge their books using their Financial Aid award during the Bookstore's advertised Financial Aid charge period. Contact the Bookstore for dates and times each semester. Students are encouraged to attend their classes prior to going to the VGCC Bookstore. For verification purposes student must provide their updated VGCC identification and their schedule.

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  5. Can I qualify for Federal and State grants if I have a bachelor's degree?
    No, students that have their Bachelor's Degree are not eligible for need-based grants. However, you may be eligible for work study and scholarships. Completed FAFSA and other applications may be required.

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  6. Why do I have to get transcripts from previous schools attended if I did not earn credits from these schools?
    The Financial Aid Office is required to ensure that all admissions issues are resolved prior to awarding financial aid.

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  7. Why can I not use W-2 forms to complete my FAFSA?
    W-2 forms do not contain the necessary information needed to complete the FAFSA application.
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  8. Why do I have to provide copies of tax return information for verification purposes?
    Applicants must provide copies of their tax returns because tax returns portray an accurate source of income.

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  9. What happens to my financial aid if I do not use it all during the academic year? Can this amount be carried forward to the next school year?
    No, financial aid funds can not be carried forward to be used for the next school year. Students must re-apply for federal aid each year. Any funding that is not utilized during the academic school year will be returned to the Department of Education

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  10. I submitted two applications for the same year. What will happen?
    We use only the first application we receive. All other subsequent applications are deleted from the system. Subsequent applications delay the awards process.

    To make corrections to your application, use your Student Aid Report (SAR). You will receive it either by mail or by e-mail. The SAR includes instructions for making corrections.

    Or you could use Corrections on the Web to make your changes.
    You may also check with the financial aid office at your school to determine if they can do electronic corrections for you.

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  11. What is my Expected Family Contribution (EFC)?
    The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) measures your family's financial strength, and is used to determine your eligibility for federal student aid during one school year. You receive an EFC based on the processing results of your FAFSA.

    For more information:

    Call the Federal Student Aid Information Center. Refer to the Customer Service page for contact and assistance information.

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  12. I have my EFC. How much financial aid am I eligible to receive?
    The financial aid office at your school will use your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and other information to determine the amount of financial aid for which you are eligible to receive. A financial aid award is determined by each school based on your eligibility and the cost of attendance for the program you are enrolled. Your school's financial aid office will notify you by mail regarding your eligibility.

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  13. I am a dependent student. Does my parent have to sign for every correction I make using Corrections on the Web?
    If you change parental information, your parent is required to sign the correction. He/she can sign electronically on the Web using his/her PIN or he/she can print, sign, and mail in a paper signature page from Corrections on the Web.

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  14. If I forget the password I used to save my application, what should I do?
    If you forget your password, your application cannot be retrieved, and you will have to start the process again. Neither Customer Service nor the U.S. Department of Education can access your password or be able to give you a new password if you forget yours.

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  15. I get the error message "Application Not Found" when checking my application status online. What should I do?
    You can check the status of a FAFSA on the Web, Renewal on the Web, and Corrections on the Web form immediately after filing them. You can check the status of a paper FAFSA or Renewal application after it has completed processing (roughly 7-10 days from the date mailed to the U.S. Department of Education).

    If you are checking the status of an application and receive the "Application Not Found" page try the following:

    • If it was a paper FAFSA be sure to wait 7-10 days from the date it was mailed before checking the status. (You won't be able to check the status until the application is processed.) If it has been more than 10 days since you mailed the application, contact Customer Service at 1-800-433-3243 for assistance.
       

    If it was a FAFSA on the Web, Renewal on the Web, or Corrections on the Web form be sure that the Social Security Number and first two letters of your last name that you are entering match what is shown on the Confirmation Page you received at the end of those applications. If you do not have a confirmation page, contact Customer Service at 1-800-433-3243 for assistance.

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  16. What is a PIN?
    A PIN is a 4-digit numeric code or a 6-digit alpha code that you need to:
    • Sign your FAFSA, Renewal FAFSA or Corrections on the Web electronically (no paper signature page required).
    • View the status and/or results of your FAFSA, Renewal FAFSA or Corrections on the Web over the Internet.
    • Access the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) Web site (www.nslds.ed.gov) and view information about loans and other federal student aid you may have received.
       

    To protect the privacy of the information you are submitting, you must keep your PIN secret. If you do not have a PIN, have lost or forgotten your PIN, or if you think someone else knows your PIN, you can request a new one at www.pin.ed.gov. If you are a dependent, one of the student's parents should have his/her own PIN to electronically sign your FAFSA and any correction you need to make. Even if your parents have more than one child in school, they only need one PIN.

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  17. What is a Student Aid Report (SAR)?

    A Student Aid Report (SAR) is a document you will receive after your FAFSA is processed. Your SAR will list all of the answers you provided on your FAFSA. You should review these answers carefully to make sure they are correct. If you need to make any changes, you can do so on the SAR and mail it back to the address provided, or you can go to www.fafsa.ed.gov and select "Make Corrections to a Processed FAFSA" from the FAFSA Follow-up section.

    Your SAR will also contain your EFC (Expected Family Contribution), which measures your family's financial strength, and is used to determine your eligibility for federal student aid. Your school will use this number to decide how much financial aid you are eligible to receive based on your school's cost of attendance. If you did not provide electronic signatures or paper signature pages with your FAFSA, you must sign the SAR and mail it back to the address provided for final processing.

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  18. What is a Data Release Number (DRN)?
    Your Data Release Number (DRN) is a four-digit number assigned to your application by Federal Student Aid. Both the electronic and paper Student Aid Report (SAR) have the DRN in the upper right corner.

    Do not give out your DRN to anyone unless you have agreed to give them access to your FAFSA information.

    You will need the DRN if you contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center to make corrections to your mailing address or the schools you listed on your FAFSA (1-800-433-3243). The DRN also allows you to release your FAFSA data to schools you did not list on your original FAFSA.

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  19. What is a signature page?
    If you choose not to sign your FAFSA electronically, then you (and at least one parent if you are a dependent student) can sign a paper signature page. For Corrections on the Web, a signature page from one of your parents is necessary only if parental data is provided or altered.

    The signature page contains your Student ID and address. Your Student ID is made up of the type of application you completed, your Social Security Number, and the first two letters of your last name.
    Once you print and sign the signature page, mail it to the address printed on the page.
    If you purposely give false or misleading information, you may be fined $20,000, sent to prison, or both.

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  20. Is electronic filing really faster?
    Yes, electronic filing is faster than filing a paper form. In fact, it may be as many as 14 days faster if you sign your application with your PIN as soon as you complete it. TIP: FAFSA on the Web also edits your application before you submit it. This helps ensure that the data you submit is ready to be processed.

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  21. Can I submit a FAFSA with pre-filled data from last year using FAFSA on the Web?
    Yes. You can use FAFSA on the Web to submit a pre-filled FAFSA, but you will need a PIN to access the pre-filled FAFSA on the Web application.

    From the FAFSA on the Web home page (www.fafsa.ed.gov), select the Fill out a FAFSA option from the "Filling Out a FAFSA" section. Then select the correct school year (2008-2009 FAFSA or 2007-2008 Renewal FAFSA).