Eligibility Requirements for Federal Financial Aid Please be aware that each financial aid program has its own eligibility requirements. The following requirements are basic eligibility requirements for aid given by the federal government. • Have a high school diploma or its recognized equivalent. • Be enrolled in an eligible program leading to an associate degree, 16 or more unit certificate, or transfer to a university. • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen. • Submit all required forms and documents requested by the Financial Aid Office. • Meet and maintain satisfactory academic progress requirements for financial aid. • Have financial need as demonstrated by a completed FAFSA and Financial Aid Office review. • Be in compliance with all Selective Service registration requirements (males only). • Do not owe a refund or repayment on a federal grant. • Not be in default on a federal educational loan. • Have a valid Social Security Number (SSN) for federal aid. Parents of dependent students are not required to have a valid SSN. • Not be convicted of possessing or selling illegal drugs while enrolled and receiving federal financial aid. Eligible Non-Citizens: US Permanent Residents with a Permanent Resident Card (I-551) or Conditional Permanent Residents (I-551C) or those with an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) showing the designations of Refugee, Asylum Granted, Parole or Cuban-Haitian Entrant or those with an Immigration Court document approving Asylum or documentation of entering the U.S. under provisions of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act are eligible for federal financial aid.
Financial Aid Office Hours Visalia/Tulare/Hanford:
Monday – Friday: 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.*
Monday – Thursday: 7:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.* Friday: 7:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. * Hours subject to change
Eligibility Requirements for California Dream Act The California Dream Act allows undocumented and nonresident documented students who meet AB 540/AB 2000 criteria to apply for and receive private scholarships funded through public universities, state-administered financial aid, university grants, community college fee waivers, and Cal Grants. AB 540 criteria: • Must have attended a California high school for three (3) or more years AND • Must have or will graduate from a California high school or have attained a GED or received a passing mark on the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE) AND • If undocumented, the filing of an AB 540 affidavit with the college or university stating that they have applied for a lawful immigration status or will apply as soon as they are eligible to do so. Complete and submit the affidavit to the Admission & Records Office at any one of our three campuses. AB 2000 criteria: • Must have attended a California high school or graduated early from a California high school with the equivalent of three (3) or more years of credits; if the student graduates early, they must have attended a California elementary or secondary school for a cumulative total of three (3) or more years.
DACA Students Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a federal process that defers removal action of an individual by US Citizenship and Immigrations Service for a specified number of years. • It is not the same as financial aid • It does not grant lawful immigration status • It does allow individuals to apply for a SSN for work purposes only
DACA students are not eligible to complete a FAFSA application, but, if AB 540/AB 2000 criteria is met, they are eligible for Dream Act and may complete a Dream Act application. DACA students will need to provide their SSN on Dream Act application. For more information on Dream Act and to complete a Dream Act application, please visit https://dream. csac.ca.gov.
Financial Aid Application Process The first step to receive financial aid is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or Dream Act application. The steps below are intended to be a quick reference, please be sure to carefully read and follow all other instructions given on the forms. FAFSA Users: You must apply for an FSA ID in order to electronically sign your FAFSA application. See “How to create an FSA ID” in this guide for instructions on how to obtain your FSA ID. Parents may also apply for an FSA ID to electronically sign student’s FAFSA application, but only parents with an SSN may do so. Step 1 Decide how to apply: Apply online or download a paper application. FAFSA at www.fafsa.gov Dream Act at https://dream.csac.ca.gov/ Step 2 Collect Financial documents for the student and parents if applicable* (tax returns, payroll stubs, bank account statements, etc.) Step 3 Complete the FAFSA or Dream Act File the FAFSA or Dream Act as soon as possible after October 1st If you would like to apply for Cal Grants, complete the Cal Grant GPA Verification Form (if applicable)** File both forms by March 2nd Step 4 Receive, Review and Respond You will be receiving: - SAR (Student Aid Report) - CAR (California Aid Report)** - COS document request e-mail Respond promptly
Step 5 Watch for the Financial Aid Award E-mail You will be informed of: - Amount and type of award(s) - Refund (Payment) Date - Receive COS Debit Card in the mail (new students) – Activate at www.cosdebitcard.com
Important Dates October 1st: New FAFSA and Dream Act applications available online October 1st - April 30th: COS FAFSA Priority Filing Period March 2nd: Deadline for Entitlement Cal Grant Award (FAFSA and GPA Verification Form due) AND Deadline for the Dream Act Application (NonGPA Verification Form due for Cal Grant (Dreamers)) April 30th: Have all forms submitted to COS for priority consideration September 2nd: For community college students only - deadline for competitive Cal Grant awards (FAFSA only and GPA Verification Form required) *To determine if parent information is needed, please read “Independent Student Status” later on in this guide. If you or your parents have an unusual circumstance that might affect your need for financial aid, please contact the Financial Aid Office as soon as possible. **Only students who submitted GPA Verification forms before March 2nd deadline will receive the California Aid Report (CAR). If your high school or college electronically submits your GPA, you will not be required to complete the GPA Verification Form. Communication is Key • Initial communication and the COS Debit Card will be sent to your mailing address on file with the COS Admissions & Records Office. Please keep that information updated. • Financial Aid Office communications will be e-mailed to your giant.cos.edu account. This e-mail account will be your access to all official communications from the College District as well. • Check your financial aid status, awards, payment dates, etc., on Banner Web - http://banweb.cos. edu. • For other general financial aid information, policies, or forms check out the COS Financial Aid Website at www.cos.edu/financialaid.
How to create an
The FSA ID ― a username and password ― has replaced the Federal Student Aid PIN and must be used to log in to certain U.S. Department of Education websites. Your FSA ID confirms your identity when you access your financial aid information and electronically sign Federal Student Aid documents. If you do not already have an FSA ID, you can create one when logging in to fafsa.gov, the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS®) at www.nslds.ed.gov, StudentLoans.gov, StudentAid.gov, and Agreement to Serve (ATS) at www.teach-ats.ed.gov.
Tip: Important: Only the owner of the FSA ID should create and use the account. Never share your FSA ID.
When logging in to one of the websites listed above, click the link to create an FSA ID.
Create a username and password, and enter your e-mail address.
Enter your name, date of birth, Social Security number, contact information, and challenge questions and answers.
If you have a Federal Student Aid PIN, you will be able to enter it and link it to your FSA ID. You can still create an FSA ID if you have forgotten or do not have a PIN.
Review your information, and read and accept the terms and conditions.
Confirm your e-mail address using the secure code, which will be sent to the e-mail address you entered when you created your FSA ID. Once you verify your e-mail address, you can use it instead of your username to log in to the websites.
You can use your FSA ID to sign a FAFSA right away. Once the Social Security Administration verifies your information in one to three days, or if you have linked your PIN to your FSA ID, you will be able to use your FSA ID to access the websites listed above. For help, visit StudentAid.gov/fsaid.
Independent Student Status
Don’t know if you need to provide parental information on your FAFSA or Dream Act application? The Department of Education and the California Student Aid Commission defines an “independent” student by the following criteria:
In cases where family income is expected to decrease, or if you have a special circumstance we should take under advisement, such as excessive medical costs, you may request a review of family contribution and financial aid eligibility. The Special Circumstance Request form is available online or at the Financial Aid Office. The Special Circumstance Request form with suggested documentation should be submitted for review to the Financial Aid Office.
• Age 24 or older during academic year applying for • Married • Working on master’s or doctorate degree • Have children who will receive more than half of their support from you during the school year • Active duty or veteran of U.S. Armed Forces (Reserves doesn’t count) • Any time since age 13 orphaned, in foster care, or ward of the court • Emancipated minor • In legal guardianship (not biological or adopted parent) as determined by a court (not a notary) • Homeless, unaccompanied, or at risk of being homeless If you do not meet any of the criteria above, you are required to provide parental information on your application and are considered a “dependent” student for financial aid purposes.
Dependency Override Eligibility for assistance is based on the assumption that students and their parents are primarily responsible for paying for education. If the directions on your financial aid application instruct you to provide parents’ information, then by law you are dependent on your parents. In extreme hardship cases, the Financial Aid Office may be able to assist a student who is technically dependent, but who does not or cannot have contact with their parent(s). In such cases, the student must complete a Request for Dependency Override form. The student will need to provide written documentation from a third party professional (e.g. minister, psychologist, social worker, etc.) Additional documentation may be requested if warranted by the situation. The Request for Dependency Override form is available in the Financial Aid Office. The Dependency Override form and appropriate documentation should be submitted for review to the Financial Aid Office.
Special Circumstances Request
Financial Aid Determination Formula Student Budget
(Determined by the College)
— Expected Family Contribution (Determined by federal processor)
(Such as BOGFW, Book Vouchers, etc.)
College of the Sequoias Financial Assistance Programs Board of Governors Fee Waiver (BOGFW)
California residents who attend community colleges may be eligible to have their enrollment fees waived by the State of California. There are three ways to qualify: use the Board of Governor’s Fee Waiver application for Method A or B, use the FAFSA for Method C. Method A This method is available for families who are receiving TANF/CalWORKs, SSI/SSP or General Assistance. Verification is required. The following special classifications are also eligible for fee waivers: some dependents of Veterans or National Guard; recipient or the child of a recipient of the Congressional Medal of
Honor or a dependent of a victim of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack; or a dependent of a deceased law enforcement officer or fire suppression personnel killed in the line of duty. Submit supporting documentation. Method B This method is available for families who meet established income standards. Dependent students must use their parents’ income (do not include the student’s income). Income includes adjusted gross income, wages not reported on a tax return and untaxed income. Method C Complete the FAFSA. The Financial Aid Office will determine unmet need after an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) has been established. A Board of Governor’s Fee Waiver will be issued to anyone with at least $1,104 of unmet need.
Cal Grant Program
The Financial Aid Office awards eligible students Cal Grants to help meet their unmet financial need to attain their education. Cal Grants are awarded in accordance with state financial assistance regulations as established by the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC). There are three (3) types of Cal Grants that students may be eligible for depending on their educational goals. Cal Grants do not need be repaid. Students apply to receive a Cal Grant by submitting the FAFSA and Cal Grant GPA Verification Form.* If you’re a high school senior, graduate from a California high school, meet the eligibility requirements and apply by March 2nd, you’re guaranteed to receive a Cal Grant. Cal Grant A provides grant funds to help pay tuition/ fees for California residents at qualifying institutions offering undergraduate academic programs of not less than two academic years. Awards are guaranteed for those who meet the program eligibility criteria. If a student receives a Cal Grant A award but decides to attend a California community college first, the student may choose to hold his or her award in reserve for up to two (2) years. Cal Grant B Cal Grant B provides grant funds for access costs for low-income students. This grant is to be used for living expenses and expenses related to transportation, supplies and books. Beginning with the second year of Cal Grant B benefits, Cal Grant B also helps pay for tuition/fees for California residents attending qualifying institutions offering undergraduate academic programs of not less than one (1) academic year. Awards are guaranteed for those who meet the program eligibility criteria.
Cal Grant C Cal Grant C provides grant funds to assist students with tuition/fee and training costs for occupational or vocational programs. Awards are for vocationally oriented students from low- and middle-income families. Recipients are selected based on financial need and vocational aptitude and must be enrolled in a vocational program at a California Community College, independent college, or vocational school, in a course of study lasting from four months to two years. * College of the Sequoias Community College District’s Financial Aid Office electronically submits the grade point averages (GPA) of all students who have completed sixteen (16) or more degree applicable units to the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC).
The Chafee Grant is federal and state funded grant for former or current foster youth who plan to attend a college or receive career training. To qualify, foster youth dependency of the court must have been established between the ages of 16 and 18. Students apply to receive the Chafee Grant by submitting the FAFSA application and by submitting the Chafee Grant application at www.chafee.csac.ca.gov.
Federal Direct Loans
Direct Loans, from the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, are low-interest loans for eligible students to help cover the cost of higher education at a four-year college or university, community college, or trade, career, or technical school. Eligible students borrow directly from the U.S. Department of Education at participating schools. For more information, please contact the Financial Aid Office. Direct Subsidized Loan The Direct Subsidized Loan is made available to eligible undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need to help cover the costs of higher education at a college or career school. Direct Unsubsidized Loan The Direct Unsubsidized Loan is made available to eligible undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, but in this case, the student does not have to demonstrate financial need to be eligible for the loan. Direct PLUS Loan The Direct PLUS Loan is made available to graduate and professional students and parents of dependent
undergraduate students to help pay for education expenses not covered by other financial aid.
Federal Pell Grant
The Federal Pell Grant is awarded usually only to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor’s or a professional degree. Pell Grants are considered a foundation of federal financial aid, to which aid from other federal and nonfederal sources might be added. Students apply for the Pell Grant by submitting the FAFSA application.
Full-Time Student Success Grant
The Full-Time Student Success Grant is a new grant for Cal Grant B recipients attending a California community college full time. This grant pays an additional $600 annually to full-time Cal Grant B recipients. Full-time attendance is 12 units or more per term and students apply the same way they do for a Cal Grant.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants are for undergraduates with exceptional financial need. Pell Grant recipients with the lowest Expected Family Contributions (EFCs) will be the first to get FSEOGs. Students apply for the FSEOG by submitting the FAFSA application.
Federal Work Study (FWS)
eligibility requirements and/or for more information contact CalWORKs at (559) 730-3864, or online at www.cos.edu/calworks . Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education (CARE) The CARE Program serves Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS) students who are transitioning from receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) to becoming economically self-sufficient. The CARE program provides grants, child referral assistance and self-advocacy support. Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS) The EOPS Program is dedicated to recruit and successfully retain college students of educationally and socioeconomically challenged backgrounds from Kings and Tulare Counties. The primary purpose of the EOPS Program is to prepare students to transfer to a four-year university, complete an Associate Degree or vocational certificate in order to acquire desirable career-related skills to attain rewarding employment as a result of their educational experience. The EOPS program provides grants and book vouchers to eligible students. Students who are interested in learning more about the EOPS/CARE programs should contact the EOPS/ CARE Office by calling (559) 730-3818 or visit their website at www.cos.edu/eops.
Federal Work Study provides part-time, subsidized employment for undergraduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. The program encourages community service work and work related to the student’s course of study. Students apply for FWS by answering “yes” to the work study question on the FAFSA application. For more information, please call (559) 730-3856.
Scholarships Scholarships are generally awarded on the basis of academic achievement and promise, and may also be partially based on financial need. Information on current scholarships as well as links to other resources is available at www.cos.edu/scholarships. For more information, contact the Foundation Office at (559) 730-3878.
Other Financial Resources
Veterans’ Education Benefits There are several educational financial assistance programs available through Veterans Administration and the County to assist veterans and their dependents. If you are a veteran or the dependent of a veteran, please contact the COS Veterans’ Resource Center at (559) 730-3854 or by visiting their website at www.cos.edu/ veterans.
California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) The mission is to provide a wide range of opportunities that will improve the self-sufficiency skills of lowincome students and enhance their ability for long term employment. This program provides occupational training and job transition services for persons receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). For
Government Regulations California Licensure Examination Reporting In accordance with California State Assembly Bill 2086, the College of the Sequoias has identified undergraduate programs that lead to employment for which passage of a state licensing examination or state certification is required. For more information on these programs, visit www.cos.edu/FinancialAid/ Regulations/calicenseexam. Consumer Information The U.S. Department of Education requires that every institution of higher learning that participates in the federal Title IV financial assistance program provide consumers with information that will allow them to make informed decisions about enrollment, academic program selection, access to financial aid, overall student success, and gainful employment upon completion. We encourage prospective and current students to visit the following website to learn about Consumer Information as defined by the U.S. Department of Education. www.cos.edu/FinancialAid/consumerinformation. Gainful Employment In accordance with federal regulations, College of the Sequoias has identified academic programs that lead to gainful employment upon successful completion. For more information on these programs, visit: www.cos. edu/FinancialAid/Regulations/gainfulemployment. Net Price Calculator In accordance with federal regulations, College of the Sequoias has instituted a Net Price Calculator to help prospective and current students and their families learn about the expected cost of attendance per academic year. To calculate an estimated amount that students paid, after grant aid and scholarships but before student loans, to attend College of the Sequoias in a given year, visit: https://webprod.cccco.edu/npc/561/npcalc.htm. For a complete list of government regulations, visit: www.cos.edu/FinancialAid/Regulations. California Student Aid Commission For helpful information about college costs in California and various state financial aid programs that include Cal Grant and Chafee Grant for Foster Youth, visit: www. csac.ca.gov.
Webgrants for Students Webgrants for Students is an online site by the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) which allows students to create an account and check on their award status, view updates, make address changes, or post leave of absences for state funded grants such as Cal Grant or Chafee Grant. Please visit https:// mygrantinfo.csac.ca.gov. Student Aid on the Web For free information from the U.S. Department of Education on preparing for and funding education beyond high school, visit: www.studentaid.gov. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) If a student is selected for verification and does not upload tax return information onto their application by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, the student will need to provide tax return transcripts to the Financial Aid Office. We will no longer accept paper copies of tax returns over the counter. You can request a free tax return transcript from: Online at www.irs.gov/individuals/get-transcript Transcript will be mailed to you. U.S. Mail. Download request form: www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f4506t.pdf Mail to: RAIVS Team, Stop 37106, Fresno, CA 93888 Fax To download request form, go to www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f4506t.pdf Fax to: 559-456-7227 Selective Service If you are a male age 18 through 25 and living in the U.S., then you must register with Selective Service. It’s the law. According to law, a male must register with Selective Service within 30 days of his 18th birthday. This is required to receive federal aid. To register or to check if you are registered, visit: www.sss.gov. You may also register by answering “yes” to the selective service question on the FAFSA application if you are applying for financial aid.
How are financial aid funds disbursed at College of the Sequoias?
Keep your Bank Mobile account active You may be required to verify your identity with Bank Mobile in order to access your financial aid funds from your COS Debit Card. If you need assistance, bring your government-issued identification to the Financial Aid Office. For a list of valid forms of identification for Bank Mobile, please visit www.cos.edu/FinancialAid/ debitcard.
If your debit card is lost/stolen or never received COS has partnered with Bank Mobile VIBE (formerly Higher One). A Refund Selection Kit and Personal Code will be mailed to each potential financial aid eligible student. This is the method used to disburse financial aid funds. Once you receive your personal code, you must go online to www.refundselection.com and select a refund preference. You can select to have your funds deposited to another account, deposited to a Bank Mobile VIBE account, or you can choose to receive a paper check in the mail. Fund availability may vary from payment date posted on Financial Aid Payment Schedule if paper check or deposit to another account is chosen.
ATM Machine Locations COS has two (2) Cardtronics ATM machines that students can use to withdraw money from, using their COS Debit Card, at no charge. The ATM locations are:
Hanford Educational Center • Hanford Hub
Tulare College Center • Building A (Lobby)
ATMs from the Allpoint Network may also be used with no fees. For locations near you, go to www. allpointnetwork.com or you may download the Allpoint Global app for Iphone, Android, or Windows device.
You may contact Bank Mobile at 1-877-327-9515 to report your card lost/stolen or to report that your refund selection kit and personal code was never received. Bank Mobile does charge a $10 fee to replace activated lost/ stolen cards that is due immediately when ordering a replacement card. The Financial Aid Office may also order a personal code (for debit card request), but this only applies to debit cards/personal codes that were never received or never activated. Debit cards/personal codes are mailed to the address that you have on file with the COS Admissions & Records Office, so make sure your address is up-to-date.
FINANCIAL AID TIPS & RESOURCES • Be prepared. It is recommended that you have $300-$400 saved at the beginning of each semester to purchase books, supplies, and other required instructional materials. Financial Aid awards are not disbursed until school begins. • Read and follow instructions on the FAFSA/Dream Act website. • Know what documents/information are needed to complete the FAFSA/Dream Act application. Common documents/information needed: • your social security number (for FAFSA only) • your work social security number (if applicable, for DREAM ACT only) • alien registration number (if you are not a U.S. citizen, for FAFSA only) • your most recent federal tax returns, W-2s, and other records of money earned, bank statements and records of investments (if applicable) • Records of untaxed income (if applicable) • An FSA ID to sign electronically (for FAFSA only) If you are a dependent student, then you will also need most of the above information for your parent(s). • Make sure you submit your FAFSA/Dream Act application by March 2nd. • Check your financial aid status consistently. To access your financial aid status, please login to your Banner Web > Student & Financial Aid > Financial Aid > Financial Aid Status. • Check your COS student email account (giant.cos.edu) for notifications from financial aid and COS. This is the way we communicate with you.
Helpful Websites FAFSA Help https://fafsa.ed.gov/help.htm FSA ID https://fsaid.ed.gov/npas/index.htm Dream Act Help http://www.csac.ca.gov/dream_act.asp Student Loans and Repayment Calculators https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/index.action Estimating Aid Eligibility https://fafsa.ed.gov/FAFSA/app/f4cForm?execution=e1s1 Scholarships http://www.cos.edu/FinancialAid/GrantsLoans/Scholarships/Pages/default.aspx
Alternative Formats In accordance with section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of ADA requirements, this publication can be made in alternative formats as a reasonable accommodation. To request a copy of alternative formats, please contact the Access & Ability Center (559) 730-3805. Guide Revised 7/18/16