Frequently Asked Questions
Can I receive Federal financial aid if I do not have a high school diploma or GED?
No, effective July 1, 2012, Federal regulations changed. Students must have a high school diploma, home school diploma, or GED in order to receive Federal financial aid.
Can I receive Federal financial aid if enrolled less than a full-time student?
Yes, if you are determined to be eligible based on the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) on your FAFSA. You can receive a partial Pell grant for as little as 3 hours or a student loan for as little as 6 hours.
Can I receive financial aid by taking just any course? No, students must declare a major course of study and be working toward a degree in that course of study.
I’m in default because of a previous student loan. Can I receive financial aid?
No, unless you have made “restitution”. Your lender must send you a letter stating that you are in satisfactory repayment on your defaulted loan. Present the letter to the Financial Aid Office, and you may be eligible to receive additional financial aid.
Do I need a certain grade point average to receive financial aid?
Yes, you must comply with the Institution’s Financial Aid Policy on Satisfactory Academic Progress. If you have attempted 21 or more hours, you must have a 2.0 GPA and a 67% completion rate.
If I have already earned a bachelor’s degree, can I receive additional financial aid?
Yes, you can receive a student loan. You are not eligible for grants. Contact the Financial Aid Office to see if you may be eligible.
I have an associate’s degree from Northwest Mississippi Community College. Can I receive financial aid at Northwest to study in another major? Yes, you can receive financial aid for up to a total of 96 semester hours or 150% of your program hours. (Review the Institution’s Financial Aid Policy on Satisfactory Academic Progress.)
If I am on financial aid probation or suspension, can I receive financial aid?
Yes, if you are on financial aid probation you can receive all types of financial aid; however, you cannot receive any type of financial aid, if you are on financial aid suspension.
Do I have to be full-time to receive institutional or state aid?
Yes, certain types of aid, such as scholarships and state grants, require that you be a full-time student (12 hours or more). If you drop below full-time during the semester, you forfeit your scholarship for the next semester.
Is financial aid probation and suspension the same as scholastic probation and suspension? No, you may be on financial aid suspension and still attend college by paying out-of-pocket.
Based on family income, I probably don’t qualify for financial aid. Should I apply for aid anyway?
Yes, unfortunately, numerous families mistakenly think they don’t qualify for financial aid. Financial aid includes Pell grants, student loans, and Federal work-study. Even if you don’t qualify for the other forms of financial aid, you should qualify for a student loan; however, in order to take out a student loan, you must file a FAFSA.
What expenses can I expect my financial aid to cover? Depending on your financial aid award it may cover all or part of the following: tuition, room and board, meal plan, books and supplies, some transportation expenses, personal, school, miscellaneous expenses.
How much will my family be expected to contribute toward my yearly college expenses?
Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is calculated each year you apply for aid using a national processing formula called the Federal Methodology. The formula considers your parents’ and your income and assets, your family size, and the number of family members enrolled in college. The EFC will be the same at any college you attend.
Do I have to apply for financial aid every year? Yes, all students must apply for financial aid every year. The financial aid year at Northwest consists of the fall semester, spring semester, and summer semesters. If you use all of your financial aid during the fall and spring semesters, there will be no aid remaining for summer.
Can my financial aid award change?
Yes, it may change if:
- Your family financial circumstances change, causing your need to change.
- You receive any additional outside resources, such as privately awarded scholarships, which were not listed on your award notification.
- You provided incorrect data on your FAFSA or Renewal FAFSA.
- You do not maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid.
- You are suspended by the College (academic or discipline reason).
- You do not enroll for the required number of hours to receive aid.
What are private scholarships and where do they originate?
Private scholarships are awards provided by organizations outside of the College. The organization selects the recipient(s) and sends the funds to the College. This may impact your financial aid award since the combination of all financial aid and scholarships cannot exceed your need. First the loans that are offered to you will be reduced, and then other aid will be reduced. If you know that you will be receiving a private scholarship, please contact our office to prevent receiving an over-award, and possible repayment of aid you have already received.
Are scholarships awarded for one year or are there scholarships that are guaranteed for both years at Northwest?
Scholarships are generally awarded for a two-year period (4 semesters), and students must maintain enrollment and GPA requirements as stated in the Scholarship Policy. They are generally renewable if all Scholarship Policy requirements are met.
How is my “financial need” determined?
The Federal processor determines your individual family’s ability to contribute to the cost of education (“Expected Family Contribution”) using the information you provide on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and a formula called “Federal methodology”.
What is a “Standard Student Budget,” or “Average Cost of Attendance”?
The student’s Cost of Attendance Budget is the amount the College estimates it will cost to attend college for the academic year. Costs include: tuition, room and board, meal plan, books and supplies, housing, meals, transportation and personal expenses.
Will our savings and other assets be considered when our financial need is being determined?
Yes, the Federal Processor takes this into consideration.
I’m going to be married during the school year for which I am applying for aid. Can I fill out my FAFSA as “married”?
No, you must indicate your marital status as of the date you are completing the FAFSA.
If my parents are divorced or separated, whose financial data should be used when I’m completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?
If your natural parents are separated or divorced, use the natural parent with whom you lived the most in the past 12 months. If you lived with neither parent, or lived with each parent an equal number of days, use the parent that provided the most financial support to you over the past 12 months. If that parent has remarried, you must also include the step-parent’s financial information on the application, and parent and step-parent should report themselves as married on the FAFSA.
What if I have unusual circumstances?
If any of the following circumstances apply to you or your family, check with your financial aid advisor immediately to see if this might affect your financial aid application.
- Divorce of parents, or you from your spouse
- Death of a major wage earner
- Loss of employment of a major wage earner
- Loss of other income or benefits (such as social security or child support)
What happens to my financial aid status if I completely withdraw, F out, or get cut from school?
Check with your financial aid advisor before withdrawing from school. If you withdraw, F out, or get cut from school prior to the 60% mark of the semester, you may be required to repay a percentage of any aid you have received during the term. Check the student loan payment schedule for applicable dates.
Can I get aid for summer school?
If you have not already used up your full eligibility in the student loan program or Pell grant program, you may use either (or both) for summer school. Scholarships, Federal work-study, MTAG, and MESG are not available during the summer.
Why can I not find out specific financial aid amounts by calling my financial aid office?
Due to the Privacy Act, the Financial Aid Office must be certain of who they are releasing information to on the student’s behalf. Therefore, we will not discuss any specific financial aid amounts over the phone. Please feel free to visit the Financial Aid Office on the campus you attend for further assistance with this matter.
Can I receive Federal Financial Aid at two different institutions during the same semester (payment period)?
Students cannot receive Pell grant or other Federal financial aid at two different institutions during the same semester (payment period). Students can receive Pell grant or other Federal financial aid at one of the institutions, but would be required to pay out-of-pocket at the other institution.