Financial Aid FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is a FAFSA?

The FAFSA is the Federal Department of Education's Free Application for Federal Student Aid (www.fafsa.gov). This is the most important document that needs to be completed by every student as it will open the door for all forms of possible financial aid while the student is attending college.

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What is a PIN?

A PIN serves as your electronic signature and provides access to your personal records. The PIN is a 4-digit number necessary for you to sign and fully complete your FAFSA. You can apply for a PIN at www.pin.ed.gov. If you are "dependent" student, then your parent must apply for a PIN, as well, since you and your parent would need to "sign" the FAFSA. Your PIN is also necessary if you need to make corrections on your FAFSA.

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I forgot my PIN. What do I do?

If you have lost or forgotten your PIN you need to request a duplicate. You can request a duplicate PIN by selecting "Request A Duplicate PIN" from the list on the left side of the PIN Home Page (www.pin.ed.gov). You must provide your Challenge Answer in order to request a duplicate PIN.

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I have completed and submitted my FAFSA. What is the next step?

After completing your FAFSA, the Department of Education will process your application to determine your eligibility. In about two to three weeks after submission of your FAFSA, you will be receiving a Student Aid Report (SAR), through letter mail or email.

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What is a Student Aid Report (SAR)?

Your Student Aid Report (SAR) will list all of the answers you provided on your FAFSA. You should review these answers carefully to make sure they are correct. Also, the report will state your eligibility for financial aid.

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I need to make corrections on my SAR, what do I do?

Corrections to a SAR can be made by the student on the actual SAR. This corrected SAR needs to be mailed to the Department of Education. If you filed your FAFSA electronically, corrections can be made online at www.fafsa.gov.

If you need to make any corrections, go to the home page of the FAFSA website (www.fafsa.gov) and select "Make Corrections to a Processed FAFSA" under the FAFSA Follow-Up section. You can also make corrections on the paper SAR, if you received one, and mail it back to the address provided.

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I'm transferring next semester, how do I get my Financial Aid transferred to another school?

Financial Aid eligibility information can be submitted to another institution by adding the school code of the institution you will be attending to your Student Aid Report. Adding an additional school code to your SAR can also be done by calling the Department of Education and informing the representative that you will be attending another college, tel: (800) 433-3243. You must have your Data Release Number (DRN), which is found on the bottom left hand corner of your SAR, to make changes on your SAR and/or to release copies of your SAR electronically to schools you did not list on your FAFSA.

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What is an EFC?

The EFC is a student's Expected Family Contribution which is the amount of money according to the Federal formula a student or parent is expected to contribute toward educational costs. The EFC is based on the information you submitted on your FAFSA application. The EFC is not based solely on the income information you provided on your FAFSA. Other factors provided on the FAFSA are taken into account to calculate an EFC, such as household size, number of family members attending college, etc.

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What kind of Financial Aid can I apply for?

By completing a FAFSA your eligibility is determined for the Pell Grant, FSEOG, Federal Work Study, the Direct Loan Program and the Parent PLUS Loan Program. For more information about each kind of student aid, please visit our "What is Available" information page. If you complete a California Student Aid Commission GPA Verification Form by March 2nd or September 2nd (Community College students only) along with your FAFSA your eligibility can be determined for the Cal Grant.

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What is the deadline to apply for Financial Aid?

The priority application deadline for the FAFSA is March 2nd of every year. We strongly encourage all students to apply before the March 2nd deadline date to be considered for all the available federal funds. The earlier you apply, the more priority you are given, if eligible, to the funds available. However, if you are not able to submit your FAFSA before the deadline, the Financial Aid Office will be continuously processing student applications until May of each year. You may submit an application for financial aid until the last day of school to see if you are eligible to receive funding for that academic school year. Please do note that it can take between 8-12 weeks to process files, appeals, loan requests, and other financial aid documents. If corrections need to be made, the processing time is prolonged.

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I am not a U.S. Citizen. Can I still apply for the FAFSA?

Yes, if you are an eligible noncitizen. According to federal policies, you may be eligible for aid if you are a permanent U.S. resident with a Permanent Resident Card, a conditional permanent resident, or the holder of an Arrival-Departure record from the Department of Homeland Security showing any of the following designations: "Refugee," "Asylum Granted," "Parolee," "Victim of human trafficking," T-Visa holder, or "Cuban-Haitian Entrant."

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Do you have financial aid for International Students?

International Students attending Diablo Valley College on a F1 or F2 student visa, a J1 or J2 exchange visitor, or a G series visa are not eligible for federal student aid. However, international students are still eligible for scholarships. Please visit the Scholarship Program Office located on the first floor of the Student Services Center or their web pages. In addition, international students may also be eligible to apply for Student Assistant jobs on campus by contacting different offices on campus to see if there are any current job openings.

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Can I apply for a loan?

Yes, you may apply for a loan by reading the Student Loan Policy, completing the Student Loan Request Form (available in the Financial Aid Office). If approved, and you are a first time borrower you must meet with the Financial Aid Director and attend the Loan Workshops.

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I'm attending Diablo Valley College and Los Medanos College/Contra Costa College. Am I going to get paid at both or all three schools?

Diablo Valley College, Los Medanos College and Contra Costa College have a Consortium Agreement regarding financial aid students who are enrolled at two or more Contra Costa Community College District colleges during the same academic year.  You will receive your financial aid from the institution where you have enrolled in the majority of your units.

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Do you have Financial Aid during the summer semester?

The Pell Grant award and Federal Work Study award is available during the summer if a student has not received all of the eligible funds during the Fall and Spring term of the previous academic year. You must have a completed FAFSA on file to be eligible for Federal Work-Study. Students should also apply for the Board of Governor's Waiver grant.

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How long can I receive financial aid at DVC?

A student can receive Financial Aid at DVC until they reach 150% of their declared educational goal. For example, if your educational goal is to receive a certificate that requires completion of 24 units, you can receive financial aid until the completion of 36 units (24 units x 150% = 36 units). Students who have exceeded the Maximum Time Frame (Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy) may request to appeal this decision by submitting a Request for an Academic Evaluation.

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I'm 18, and don't live with my parents, why am I still considered a dependent?

According to the Department of Education, a student is considered "independent" when one of the following criteria is met: must be 24 years of age; is married; has dependent children or a dependent that you provide 51% of financial support; is an orphan or ward of the court; is a veteran; or working on a graduate degree. This is the case even if you do not live with your parents and/or they do not claim you when filing taxes. If you do not meet any of this criteria and you still believe you are independent due to an extenuating circumstance please come into the Financial Aid Office to discuss the possibility of requesting a Dependency Review.

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I am required to submit additional forms and documents according to my Missing Information Letter on WebAdvisor, what should I do?

If you are determined eligible for financial aid, you may be required to submit further documentation to verify the information you submitted on your FAFSA. Read, complete and submit the forms to the Financial Aid Office, along with any other documentation that has been requested such as tax forms, selective service registration, citizenship verification, online seminars, amongst other forms. The sooner you complete and submit requested documents, the sooner you will receive your financial aid.

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I submitted all my verification paperwork to the Financial Aid Office. Now what do I do?

Once a student submits all required paperwork, it is completely processed and reviewed by a Financial Aid Coordinator. This process takes about ten business days. Once the paperwork is processed, a student will either receive an "Award Letter" or a "Corrections/Missing Information Letter," which will state if a student has missing documents and/or if a student needs to make specific corrections to his/her paperwork. You can also stop by the Financial Aid Office to ask about your financial aid file. Please do note that it can take between 4-6 weeks to process files, appeals, loan requests, and other financial aid documents.

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Can I call or email the Financial Aid Office about my financial aid file?

Over the phone, we may answer general questions about financial aid. However, any specific information that deals with looking into a student record must be taken care of in the Financial Aid Office or by emailing us with your DVC InSite Portal email account. Due to confidentiality policies and procedures, we are not able to discuss personal student information over the phone. Students can also access their financial aid information on WebAdvisor.

In addition, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student educational records, both financial and academic. In order to grant access of your financial aid information to individuals of your choice, you can fill out a FERPA Release Form to allow individuals to access your student information only from records maintained by the DVC Financial Aid Office.

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What is Selective Service?

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By law, Selective Service registration is required for men between the ages of 18 and 25 for the Armed Forces. You may be ineligible for student aid if you do not register. Registration forms are available in the Financial Aid Office or you can register online and/or check your registration status at www.sss.gov.

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Why do I need to report my income from last year?

Previous year income is used as part of determining a student's eligibility for Financial Aid. When verification of income is required, the only tax returns that are completed are from the previous year.

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Our income is lower this year than it was last year, what can I do?

If your income or your parent's income has decreased since last year, you can complete a Reduction of Income Appeal Form. The circumstances by which the income has decreased will be reviewed to determine if you are eligible to use the present year's income instead of the previous year's income on your FAFSA/SAR.

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I don't have a copy of my taxes or W2s, where do I get a copy?

A copy of your taxes and W2s can be obtained by either calling the Internal Revenue Service at tel: (800) 829-1040 or in person at a local Internal Revenue Service Office. An IRS office is located at 185 Lennon Lane in Walnut Creek.

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What is a Counseling appointment?

A Counseling appointment is a 30 minute meeting with an Academic Counselor to determine a student's Educational Plan and the courses required to complete an educational goal.

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Where do I make my Counseling appointment?

Counseling appointments can be made at the Counseling Center located on the second floor of the Student Services Center. You may also schedule an appointment by calling tel: (925) 685-1230 or (925) 969-2140.

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How will I know when my file is complete?

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You will know that your file is complete upon receipt of an Award Letter via your DVC InSite Portal email account. You can also stop by the Financial Aid Office.

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What is an Award Letter?

You will know that your file is complete upon receipt of an Award Letter via your DVC InSite Portal email account. An Award Letter is notification for the student of the type and amount of Financial Aid that has been awarded. Financial Aid Grant award amounts are based on full-time (12 units or more) enrollment for the semester.

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Do you have to be enrolled as a full-time student (12 units or more) to receive Financial Aid?

No. Payments are adjusted accordingly for three-quarter, half-time and less than half-time enrollment. Students enrolled less than half-time (6 units) are not eligible for CalGrant, student loans, SEOG, and Federal Work-Study. However, all students are encouraged to complete the FAFSA Application form and the Board of Governors Waiver Application to determine eligibility.

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What is the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy?

The Satisfactory Academic Progress policies are the requirements all financial aid recipients need to meet in order to be considered on "Satisfactory Status." It's in the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy. It entails completing the required number of units per semester, that is, 67% of the number of units attempted with a minimum semester and cumulative GPA of 2.0. Per the DVC Admissions' Policy: if you withdraw from classes before 25% of the instruction time has elapsed (before the drop deadline date to not receive a "W"), these units will not be recorded.

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If I drop a class will it affect my financial aid?

You can drop a class, but before doing so be sure that you are still enrolled in 67% of the number of units that you attempted. Refer to Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy and the Satisfactory Academic Progress Grid to see if you are completing 67% or more of all the units you are attempting.

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If I drop a class, will I have to pay back the money?

You will have to pay back a portion of the money if you completely withdraw before 60% of the end of the semester.

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What is Financial Aid Warning?

Financial Aid Warning is the status the student obtains whose semester and/or overall GPA is below a 2.0 or whose overall completion rate is below 67% of the units attempted. Students on Financial Aid Warning will be eligible to receive grants for the next consecutive term only and will continue to receive financial aid if Satisfactory Academic Progress is achieved during the next consecutive term. A student is not eligible to receive a loan in the semester they are on Financial Aid Warning.

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How do I clear Financial Aid Warning?

To clear Financial Aid Probation, you must complete at least 67% of the number of units attempted and earn a semester and cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 in the semester you are placed on Financial Aid Probation. Please refer to the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy (see the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy).

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What is Financial Aid Suspension?

A student is placed on Financial Aid Suspension when a consecutive semester of not meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements are not met (2 consecutive semesters on Financial Aid Warning). In addition, a student is placed on Financial Aid Suspension when a student reaches Maximum Time Frame. A student reaches Maximum Time Frame when he/she has attempted more than 150% of the units required to complete their major and/or educational goal (150% completion includes all previous coursework attempted, even if financial aid was not received). A student on Financial Aid Suspension is not eligible for any Financial Aid until this status has been cleared by completing at least one term of Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements and having a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or above. A student may choose to appeal their Financial Aid Suspension status by completing an Appeal Form if he/she has experienced documented extenuating circumstances.

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How is Financial Aid paid? Do I get the money all at once?

Financial Aid awards such as the Pell Grant, FSEOG, Cal Grant and Stafford loans are paid in the form of a check. The Pell grant payments will be disbursed twice a semester; 50% the first week of school and 50% the fifth week of school. The CalGrant and SEOG will be disbursed by the end of the fifth week of the semester. Loan checks are disbursed approximately the third week of school except if you are a first-time borrower the loan check will be disbursed 30 days from time of the loan award. A Federal Work-Study payment will be disbursed by the Cashier's Office on the 10th of the month.

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Can I pick up my check?

No, all Financial Aid checks are mailed to the student's current address in the DVC database. It is the student's responsibility to ensure that the address on file is correct. Please check with Admissions and Records to verify or make any changes to your address.

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