Financial Aid Philosophy
The Financial Aid Office administers federal, state, institutional, SFCC Foundation, and other funds to support eligible students in achieving their education goals. While a student and their family have primary responsibility for the costs of education, most students can qualify for some type of assistance. Types of financial aid incorporate need-based and non-need based funds that include grants, scholarships, loans and part-time student employment.
Students applying for federal financial aid must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) available at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Most types of financial aid assistance require a completed FAFSA. Financial Aid staff and computers are available to assist students in filing the FAFSA online. To optimize opportunities for need-based financial aid at SFCC, students should file the FAFSA by May 1 each year, and use the SFCC school code: 016065. Additional information is available at www.sfcc.edu/financial_aid. The following is a summary of financial aid policies and programs.
Determination of Financial Need
Each source of financial aid funding has specific eligibility requirements. Many sources require a student to demonstrate financial need. The first step in establishing financial need is to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Using a federal formula and data from the FAFSA, the U.S. Department of Education will compute the amount the student (and their family) can reasonably contribute to the student’s college expenses, referred to as the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is used to determine unmet need and Title IV financial aid eligibility.
The Cost of Attendance for a student is established by the school and includes allowances for tuition, fees, books, supplies, room and board, transportation and personal expenses. The Financial Aid Office calculates a student’s financial need by subtracting the EFC from the Cost of Attendance. The difference is the student’s financial need and is used to award the student’s financial aid package. A student’s financial aid package cannot exceed the established unmet need if it includes any type of need-based funding.
||Cost of Attendance
Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
General Eligibility for Financial Aid
Most sources of financial aid require a student to meet the following eligibility criteria:
- Must be enrolled as a regular student in a degree program or eligible certificate program and taking courses directly from the declared program;
- Must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen (for state programs, must meet the state residency requirements);
- Must have a high school diploma or a high school equivalency. New students or students who have not attended for more than one academic year will need to have an official high school transcript on file in the Registrar’s Office. Students enrolled in the Alternative Licensure Certificate Programs are exempt from this requirement.
- Cannot be enrolled in elementary or secondary school;
- Must be making satisfactory academic progress;
- Must not be in default of a federal student loan;
- Must not owe money or be in overpayment on a federal student aid grant;
- Must be registered with the Selective Service, if required;
- Must not have exceeded annual or aggregate loan limits on federal student loans, as defined by the U.S. Department of Education;
- Must not have met or exceeded a lifetime Pell grant limit of 600 percent or six years of full-time Pell payment;
- Must not have had federal benefits suspended or terminated as a result of a drug conviction;
- Must meet financial need, if required, and other program-specific eligibility requirements;
- Must meet minimum enrollment status requirements (e.g., full-time, half-time, or less than half-time);
- Must not receive federal aid at more than one institution during the same term.
NOTE: Additional requirements may apply to particular sources of financial aid.
When the FAFSA is filed, the U.S. Department of Education may select a FAFSA for further review. The student will be notified of the additional documents that must be submitted to the Financial Aid Office to verify data reported on the financial aid application. A student’s financial aid file will not be complete and financial aid will not be awarded until the verification is concluded. Corrections to data will be filed on the student’s behalf by the school, based on the documentation submitted by the student. If a student needs to make a correction to the FAFSA information, they should contact Financial Aid staff for assistance.
Financial Aid Awards
Financial aid recipients receive a Financial Aid Offer Letter notifying them of their eligibility for aid. All financial aid awards are based on information provided by the student, the availability of funds and eligibility requirements for the sources of aid. Any award may be revised based on changes in enrollment, changes resulting from verification, cost of attendance, family contribution or failure to meet satisfactory academic progress. Withdrawals or changes in enrollment may affect a current award and any future awards.
- Federal Pell grant recipients are undergraduate students without a bachelor’s degree. Pell grant awards vary per academic year depending on the U.S. Congress, Expected Family Contribution (EFC), and enrollment status.
- An additional summer Pell grant is available to students enrolled in six credit hours from their primary declared degree. The additional Pell grant is included in the established Pell Grant Lifetime Limit.
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) recipients must be Pell eligible and demonstrate exceptional financial need.
- New Mexico Student Incentive Grant (NMSIG) recipients must demonstrate financial need, be New Mexico residents, and be enrolled in at least six credit hours each semester.
- New Mexico College Affordability Grant (NMCAG) recipients must demonstrate financial need, be independent students, be New Mexico residents, and be enrolled in at least six credit hours each semester.
- A student cannot receive an NMSIG, SEOG and NMCAG for the same term of enrollment.
SFCC awards numerous scholarships including:
- Road to Success scholarships are need-based scholarships that help fund potential New Mexico Legislative Lottery recipients during their qualifying semester. To apply for the Road to Success scholarship a student must be a New Mexico Resident, file a FAFSA, complete an SFCC scholarship application (I wanted to add a link to this, but I could not find this online), and declare an eligible major. To activate the qualifying semester a student must be enrolled full time within the first 16 months following graduation from a New Mexico high school or a New Mexico high school equivalency program. To successfully complete the qualifying semester, the student must complete 12 or more credit hours with at least a 2.5 Grade Point Average (GPA). Students with a documented disability may provide the Financial Aid Office with a disability waiver for the qualifying semester. The waiver allows for a reduction in required credit hours and must be generated by the Student Accessibility Services Office. The Road to Success scholarship assists with tuition and the annual scholarship amount is based on New Mexico legislation.
The New Mexico Legislative Lottery Scholarship begins when a student successfully completes the qualifying semester. The student must be a New Mexico resident and have graduated from a New Mexico high school or a New Mexico high school equivalency program. There is no requirement to file a FAFSA, although SFCC encourages all students to do so. The scholarship assists with tuition for up to three semesters at SFCC, and the scholarship amount is based on annual New Mexico legislation. Students are evaluated at the end of each semester for full-time completion with at least a 2.5 cummulative GPA. To be potentially eligible for the New Mexico Legislative Lottery Scholarship, students must begin their qualifying semester of full-time enrollment within the first 16 months after graduating from high school or receiving a high school equivalency. The first full-time semester after graduation will activate the qualifying semester. A student may enroll part time for approximately two semesters during the 16-month period without activating the qualifying semester. Students with a documented disability may provide the Financial Aid Office with a disability waiver generated by Student Accessibility Services. A waiver must be submitted each semester to allow for a reduction in required credit hours and an increase in eligible semesters at a community college. Submission of the disability waiver during the initial 16-month period after graduation will automatically activate the qualifying semester.
- Institutional and SFCC Foundation scholarships are competitively awarded with preference given to those students who meet or exceed the minimum qualifications and who submit completed applications within required time frames. Students must be residents of New Mexico to be considered for an SFCC scholarship. Some SFCC Foundation scholarships are available for international and immigrant students. A FAFSA is required for all scholarships with one exception: In lieu of the FAFSA, international students and immigrant students may complete the Dreamers Financial Aid form available online at www.sfcc.edu/offices/financial-aid. The SFCC scholarship application is available year-round.
Specific scholarship descriptions and eligibility criteria are provided in the Student Handbook and at www.sfcc.edu/financial_aid/scholarships. All students are encouraged to apply.
On-campus student employment may be available for eligible students who meet the minimum requirements. Interested students should meet with the Student Employment Manager and fill out a Student Employment Application. If positions are available, students may be referred for interviews. Student employees earn the current living minimum wage and can work a maximum of 20 hours a week.
To be eligible for student employment on campus, students must meet the following criteria:
- Apply for financial aid (complete a FAFSA);
- Be registered for at least six credit hours from their primary declared degree. For the summer semester students must be enrolled in at least three credit hours from their primary declared degree to maintain student employment eligibility;
- Be pursuing a degree or qualified certificate offered by SFCC;
- Be in good academic and financial aid standing;
- Possess a valid Social Security number;
- Be an undergraduate student without a bachelor’s degree;
- Be at least 16 years of age;
- Have graduated high school or earned a high school equivalency;
Eligibility requirements may be different for international students, and they should check with an international student advisor and/or the Student Employment Manager.
Federal and State Student Loans
Loan Eligibility Requirements: In accordance with our Default Prevention Management Plan, SFCC has implemented the following requirements for student loan borrowers:
- Students must meet the general eligibility requirements for financial aid and have a completed financial aid file;
- Students applying for a student loan must have all previous college transcripts on file in the Registrar’s Office before submitting a loan application;
- Students must be registered in at least six credit hours in their current primary declared degree program;
- Students who have never received student loans at SFCC in the past and students who have paid their outstanding student loans to a zero balance are considered First-Time Borrowers. All First-Time Borrowers are required to attend an In-Person Entrance Loan Counseling class with the Loan Coordinator before applying for student loans;
- Students must complete an electronic loan application, undergraduate Entrance Loan Counseling and a Master Promissory Note.
For federal student loans, the annual loan maximum is based on grade level and dependency status. A first-year student may qualify for up to $3,500 and a second-year student for up to $4,500 in subsidized loans. A dependent student may qualify for up to $2,000 in unsubsidized loans; an independent student may qualify for up to $6,000 in unsubsidized loans. More information is available from the Financial Aid Office or at www.sfcc.edu/financial_aid/loans
General Financial Aid Policies
It is the student’s responsibility to become familiar with both financial aid and SFCC regulations and policies concerning withdrawals, incomplete grades, repeats, audits, degree plan requirements and any other policies that may affect financial aid eligibility. Offical college policies are posted online: https://www.sfcc.edu/policies/.
Changes in Enrollment Status
Initial awards are based on full-time status. If a student drops or withdraws from any class prior to the close of the drop/add period of the course, awards will be adjusted to reflect the change in enrollment. Grant aid is disbursed after the beginning date of a student’s course and prorated based on credit hours attending. Students receiving financial aid who are planning to drop classes or withdraw completely should visit the Financial Aid Office to learn about the implications.
Tuition Refund Policy
SFCC’s tuition refund policy is explained in SFCC Policy 3-9 Credit and Noncredit Course Refunds.
Withdrawal from All Courses and Return of Federal Student Aid Funds
Federal student aid recipients who audit, fail or withdraw from all classes may be required to repay financial aid. To learn the exact consequences it is best to contact the Financial Aid Office before auditing, failing or officially withdrawing from courses.
When a student officially withdraws from or audits all courses in a term, or earns all non-passing grades (which is referred to as an unofficial withdrawal), a federally prescribed formula will be calculated to determine if the student, the school, or both will be required to pay back a portion of their aid to the U.S. Department of Education and/or student loan lender. If the student had aid that could have been disbursed, they may qualify for a post-withdrawal disbursement. When a student has attended more than 60 percent of a term, the Department of Education considers them to have earned 100 percent of the awarded federal aid. A student is notified by letter when it is necessary to return aid and the amount of the return. If the school is required to return funds, the amount will be charged to the student’s account. As prescribed by federal regulations, funds will be returned in the following order: 1) Unsubsidized Loan 2) Subsidized Loan 3) Pell Grant 4) FSEOG Grant.
Refer to www.sfcc.edu/financial_aid for more information, contact the Financial Aid Office at 505-428-1268 or email@example.com.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards
Federal regulations require that financial aid recipients meet certain academic standards to be eligible for federal financial aid. The Financial Aid Office reviews academic transcripts each semester to determine financial aid eligibility. All terms of attendance are reviewed (Fall, Spring and Summer), including periods during which a student did not receive financial aid. Students will be placed on financial aid Warning or financial aid Suspension if they do not meet the three requirements:
- Qualitative Progress: Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.0
- Incremental Progress: Students must successfully complete 67 percent of the credit hours they attempt. All terms of attendance at SFCC will be reviewed regardless of whether the student was receiving financial aid for those terms. Any course in which the student earns a grade of Failing (F), Withdrawal (W), Incomplete (I), Progress (PR) or Audit (AU) are treated as attempted but not completed coursework. Transfer credits are counted as attempted and completed.
- Quantitative Progress (i.e., maximum timeframe): Students must complete their primary declared degree program within a maximum number of attempted credit hours to continue to qualify for aid. Attempted credit hours include transfer credits, withdrawals, failed courses, and courses changed to audit after the established payment deadline. Preparatory hours (e.g., developmental or remedial courses) are excluded from the maximum timeframe calculation (maximum of 30 credit hours). Part of maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress is to progress at a pace that leads you to graduate within the 150% maximum timeframe established by the Department of Education. When a student exceeds the number of attempted hours it takes to earn their primary declared degree by 50%, they have reached maximum timeframe and are no longer eligible for financial aid at a two-year institution. When a student exceeds the number of attempted hours required to earn their primary declared degree by 20%, they will be immediately placed on Early Alert Maximum Timeframe Suspension and must submit an appeal to request an extension of financial aid eligibility. Given this quantitative guidance, students can only receive financial aid assistance for the completion of one associate degree.
Financial Aid Warning
A student will be placed on financial aid warning if they do not meet the minimum qualitative or incremental progress requirements. That is, students are placed on warning for not maintaining a cumulative GPA of at least a 2.0 and at least a 67 percent completion rate of all course work. Students on financial aid warning are still eligible to receive financial aid during the term that they are in warning status. Aid for the term following the warning term will not be considered until final grades for that term have been posted and Satisfactory Academic Progress has been reestablished. Students on warning status who do not meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards at the end of their warning term will be placed on financial aid suspension.
Financial Aid Suspension
A student’s financial aid eligibility will be suspended when a student has not met Qualitative Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards for two consecutive semesters. Students who exceed the the number of attempted hours required to earn their primary declared degree by 20% are placed directly on financial aid suspension. Students who are on financial aid suspension are not eligible for further financial aid. A student may reestablish financial aid eligibility through the appeal process or by meeting the three Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards.
Financial Aid Appeal Process
Students have the right to appeal the suspension of financial aid. A written appeal must be submitted to the Financial Aid Office explaining the reasons for not maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress and also must include confirmation that the issues that interfered with completion no longer exist. The appeal statement, all supporting documentation, and a current degree plan signed by an academic advisor will be reviewed by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee. Appeals are reviewed in the order in which they are received and a decision is usually made within 10 days after submission. The committee will notify the student of its decision in writing. Students who are approved through the appeal process will be placed on an Academic Plan and will have their aid reinstated for the upcoming term. The first term of the Academic Plan will be called Probation. Students who successfully complete the probationary term will continue onto the Academic Plan for the next term of enrollment. At the end of each term the student’s record will be evaluated for compliance with the conditions of the Academic Plan. The student will remain on the Academic Plan until they reach Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards, complete their program of study or fail to meet the conditions of the Academic Plan. If the student fails to successfully complete the probationary term or fails in a future semester to meet the terms of the Academic Plan, they will immediately return to Financial Aid Suspension.
Federal regulations and procedures for financial aid change frequently. All financial aid information is subject to change without prior notice. If a student has questions regarding the ramifications of a change in eligibility or enrollment status, they should contact the Financial Aid Office at 505-428-1268 or firstname.lastname@example.org.