Frequently Asked Questions
- What does "need based aid" mean? What is "need"?
- By what date must I submit my application to receive top scholarship consideration?
- I'm not going to qualify for financial aid. Do I still need to fill out the FAFSA?
- My family's income has changed and no longer reflects the information we reported on the FAFSA. What should I do?
- I'm a transfer student. Can I qualify for an academic scholarship?
- What is Verification?
- Can I fax my paperwork in?
- What is a Student Aid Report, and what should I do with it?
- What is an Award Letter?
- When will I receive my Award Letter?
- I haven't received my Award Letter yet. What should I do?
- I've been awarded Federal Work-Study. What does that mean?
- What if my address or name changes?
- What does Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) mean and to whom does it apply?
- How do I find out my loan amount and who my lender is?
- What if I have a problem with my lender?
- When will I have to repay my loan?
- What are my options for repayment?
- What if I still can't pay?
- When is the Financial Aid Office open?
- What is Claremont's federal school code?
- Where can I get information on tax benefits for higher education like the Hope Scholarship or Lifetime Learning Credit?
What does "need based aid" mean? What is "need"?
"Need" is determined by using this formula: Cost of Attendance (COA) - Expected Family Contribution (EFC) = Financial Need. Cost of Attendance includes tuition, fees, books, supplies, transportation, room and board, and miscellaneous costs. (Please note that Claremont has an average COA for both on-campus and off-campus students.) The EFC is derived from the information you provided on the FAFSA. This is the amount that the federal government reasonably expects your family to be able to contribute towards a student's education for that school year. The government determines your EFC. (If you have questions about how the government determines your EFC after you receive your SAR, please contact the U.S. Department of Education at (800) 4FED-AID.) If you subtract your EFC from the School's COA and you end up with a positive number, then you have "financial need" (or "need"). If you end up with a negative number, then you do not have "financial need" or ("need"). You will only receive "need based aid" if you have "need".
By what date must I submit my application to receive top scholarship consideration?
Potential Ph.D. students need to submit their admissions applications by January 15th and their FAFSA and Claremont Supplemental Financial Aid Applications by February 1st. Master of Divinity and Master of Arts students need to submit their admissions applications, FAFSA by February 15th to be considered for top awards.
I'm not going to qualify for financial aid. Do I still need to fill out the FAFSA?
Yes. Financial aid includes scholarships and loans. You may not qualify for scholarships, but almost all students are eligible for Stafford or Alternative Education Loans.
My family's income has changed and no longer reflects the information we reported on the FAFSA. What should I do?
Go to http://www.fafsa.ed.gov and correct your information. If you have questions as you are updating your information, contact FAFSA directly at (800) 4FED-AID.
I'm a transfer student. Can I qualify for an academic scholarship?
Yes. Transfer students must complete the FAFSA and Claremont Supplemental Financial Aid form to be considered for an award. Decisions regarding scholarship awards are made at the time you are admitted into a degree program.
What is Verification?
By law, the U.S. Department of Education randomly selects 30% of all Claremont students who file a FAFSA. It is the responsibility of the Financial Aid Office to collect necessary financial documentation and verify the accuracy of the listed information. If selected, you will be asked to turn in signed tax information, you/your spouse's W2 forms, and an Independent Verification Worksheet provided by the Financial Aid Office. If you are selected for Verification you must turn in all financial documentation that the school requests before your Financial Aid Award Letter will be processed and sent to you.
Can I fax my paperwork in?
You will complete the FAFSA online at http://www.fafsa.gov and can submit the Claremont Supplemental Financial Aid form online. If you are under time constraints, feel free to fax your Claremont Supplemental Financial Aid form to (909) 447-6389 and send a confirming copy with your original signature for your file.
What is a Student Aid Report, and what should I do with it?
You will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) from the Department of Education after they process your FAFSA. Please check the information to make sure it is accurate. If it is not, make corrections to it, sign it, and send it back to the Department of Education. DO NOT THROW AWAY YOUR SAR. KEEP IT FOR YOUR RECORDS. Be sure to keep track of your PIN that you used to complete the FAFSA as you will use it each time you may need to make changes to the FAFSA.
What is an Award Letter?
An Award Letter is the school's offer of federal, state, institutional financial aid and other aid such as private loans and outside scholarships. (Outside scholarships are granted by other institutions or organizations other than Claremont.) Please note that private loans and outside scholarships will not appear on the Award Letter if you do not inform the Financial Aid Office that you have received them.
When will I receive my Award Letter?
First and foremost, make sure you have turned in your FAFSA and the Claremont Supplemental Financial Aid Application form. With either of these documents missing, an Award Letter will not be generated. Incoming students should expect to receive their Award Letter a month from the date your financial aid file at Claremont is complete or May 1st, whichever is later. Continuing students will begin to receive their Award Letters in May for the upcoming academic year.
I haven't received my Award Letter yet. What should I do?
Don't panic. Did you remember to complete the FAFSA and select Claremont as one of your schools to send your information to? If yes, please contact the Financial Aid Office to discuss your status.
I've been awarded Federal Work-Study. What does that mean?
The Federal Work-Study Program was established to stimulate and promote part-time employment for students who are in need of earnings to finance the cost of higher education. The law requires that participants be in good academic standing, be citizens or permanent residents of the United States and demonstrate financial need. Students may work up to 15 hours per week during school periods and up to 30 hours per week during vacation periods. The amount of the award is based on the student's need as determined by the Claremont Financial Aid Office and available funds. All Federal Work-Study jobs are located on campus. To find out more about jobs on campus, you can contact the Financial Aid Office at (909) 447-2504.
What if my address or name changes?
You must contact your lender within 10 days of any change of name or address.
What does Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) mean and to whom does it apply?
SAP means that students must maintain a certain qualitative and quantitative requirement to remain eligible for federal and state aid. The SAP policy applies to any student who receives federal and state aid. Please review the current catalog for additional information.
How do I find out my loan amount and who my lender is?
Go to http://www.nslds.ed.gov (you will need your FAFSA PIN number).
What if I have a problem with my lender?
The Federal Student Aid Omsbudsman's office exists to help borrowers when other approaches to resolving student loan problems have failed. Their phone number is 877-557-2575 or visit their website at http://www.fsahelp.ed.gov. Students should be sure to retain copies of all correspondence and record dates, times and name of person spoken to when conversing on the phone with their lender or the Omsbudsman's Office.
When will I have to repay my loan?
Students have a 6-month (Stafford Loan) grace period once they drop below half-time enrollment.
What are my options for repayment?
Standard: provides for fixed annual (substantially equal) payment amounts over 10 years. The amount of payments may be adjusted to reflect annual changes in the variable interest rate. Monthly payment amount cannot be less than $50.
Graduated: installments that are smaller at the beginning of the repayment period and gradually increase over time during the 10-year repayment schedule. No single installment may be more than three times greater than any other installment. The payments may be adjusted to reflect annual changes in the variable interest rate.
Extended: Only for loans made after October 7, 1998. Student must have a minimum of $30,000 in loans. The payment options can be either standard or graduated. Maximum repayment term is 25 years. This is a very good option when interest rates are high at the time you graduate. When interest rates are very low and likely to rise, consolidation may be a better option.
Income Contingent: As the name implies, this plan bases the monthly payment amounts on earnings, family size and loan amount. The monthly payment is adjusted annually to reflect changes in income and family size. This option is very good for those who choose low-paying jobs. Currently, the income contingent plan is only available through the federal government. Students with a Federal Family Educational Loan (all Claremont Students) will need to consolidate their loans into a federal direct consolidation loan to arrange an income contingent payment schedule. The maximum repayment is 25 years. The remaining loan balance, if any, will be forgiven after 25 years.
Income Sensitive: This plan is similar to the Income Contingent plan in that monthly payments are based on earnings. However, this plan is available through your lender and so does not require Consolidation through the Federal government. The maximum repayment period is 10 years. Unlike the Income Contingent plan, the entire balance must be repaid in 10 years.
Consolidation: With a consolidation loan, you can combine any or all of your outstanding federal student loans into a single loan. This new loan will have a longer repayment period, new terms, and a new interest rate. Your monthly payments may be smaller but you will pay more interest over time. Consolidation loans have the option of a standard, graduated or income sensitive repayment schedule. When you consolidate you lose your repayment benefits, but get new (generally not as favorable) ones. You may also lose your grace period.
What if I still can't pay?
You have options, but YOU must initiate the process with your lender.
Deferment: Allows you to temporarily postpone payments of your loan. Deferments are not automatic; you must apply and be approved. On a Subsidized Stafford loan, interest payments are billed to the federal government and principal payments are postponed. Unsubsidized interest continues to accrue. Three common reasons for deferment are returning to school at least half-time, unemployment, and/or economic hardship.
Forbearance: If you do not qualify for deferment but are having difficulty repaying your loans, you may be eligible for a forbearance. Forbearance is the temporary postponement or reduction of your monthly payments. It often results in extending the repayment period. Regardless of the loan type, interest continues to accrue during forbearance. Poor health or a loan payment that exceeds 20% of your total monthly gross income are good reasons for forbearance. However, forbearance is allowed at the discretion of the individual lender.
Loan Cancellation (Discharge): In some cases, a Stafford loan may be discharged or cancelled. Some of these reasons include: Teaching, military, law enforcement or volunteer service, permanent and total disability. Consult http://www.finaid.org/loans/forgiveness.phtml for a complete list. Outstanding Stafford loans are cancelled at the time of death unless they have been consolidated with a spouse's loans.
When is the Financial Aid Office open?
Office Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. (excluding holidays and administrative days of closure).
What is Claremont's federal school code?
Where can I get information on tax benefits for higher education like the Hope Scholarship or Lifetime Learning Credit?
For Information on tax benefits for higher education, please visit the official Internal Revenue Service website, http://www.irs.gov or contact your tax accountant. Claremont's Financial Aid Office will not counsel students on how to prepare their taxes.