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Frequently Asked Questions

At Ferrum College we are committed to making the financial aid process as easy as possible for families. We understand that applying for aid can be a daunting and frustrating venture. Below we have gathered a listing of the most frequently asked questions and have posted the answers here. As always, we want our families to feel comfortable in the process and know that our office can be contacted at any time for questions.

Select a question to jump to an answer:

General Questions Regarding Aid at Ferrum College

Applying for Aid at Ferrum College

 

Completing the FAFSA

 

Work Study at Ferrum College

 

Satisfactory Academic Progress

 

Verification

 

Loans: Stafford, PLUS (Parent), and Alternative Loans

 

Paying Tuition and Costs

 


 

General Questions Regarding Aid at Ferrum College

How much aid can I expect to receive?
Aid will depend on the results of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In 2012-2013, the average financial aid award for all students was approximately $29,180 which includes scholarships, grants, work study and loan programs.

Will moving off campus change my award package?
Students who move off campus, whether with a relative or in their own apartment will see a change in their financial aid award.  Merit funds and other need based funds will be reduced for students who move off campus.  You should make an appointment to speak with the Financial Aid Office to learn of any changes should you wish to live off campus.

I’d like to participate in a Study Abroad course. Is there financial aid for this?
In some cases students may be eligible to receive aid for study abroad but it depends on which course you are planning on enrolling in. You should contact the Financial Aid Office to discuss your options for aid for study abroad.  Students must work with the International Coordinator regarding any Study Abroad information.  Once the Registrar's Office has certified that the credits earned are eligible for transfer to Ferrum, the student will be considered as enrolled at the home institution (Ferrum) and the Financial Aid Office will complete and monitor the required Consortium or Contractual Agreement to assist with applying for federal aid options. 

Is there a way to help me pay for travel costs in E-Term?
Yes. Since all new students are required to enroll in at least 1 E-Term course, there are scholarships available to help pay some of the cost of an E-Term course whose total costs is greater than $2000. Applications will be made available during fall registration from advisors. You should also speak to the Financial Aid Office as well since there may be additional loans that you may be able to apply for to help with travel costs in E Term. Those students who are participating in their second or more additional E Term courses are not eligible for scholarship and will be charged an additional tuition fee, along with the travel costs of the course selected.

I need more scholarships. Can you help?
We always encourage students to look for outside scholarships. Visit our website under the scholarships tab to find links to general scholarship information. If you are an active member of the United Methodist Church, there may be scholarships for you as well. Visit our United Methodist tab to find out more!  However, if the student needs additional assistance, they should always contact the Financial Aid Office.

Will outside scholarships affect my financial aid?
It is possible. Traditionally, we do not reduce your grant/scholarship dollars due to the receipt of outside funds unless it is absolutely necessary. We will reduce your self help funds first (Perkins Loans and then work study) so that you have less loan debt and can focus on academics. You are required to report any outside funding received to the Financial Aid Office.

Do you cover the cost of books?
No. You should always come prepared to buy your books. We estimate books costs to be between $800-$1000 per year.


 

Applying for Aid at Ferrum College

How do I apply for financial aid at Ferrum?
Merit scholarships (based on academics) are awarded upon acceptance from the Admissions Office so you will be notified by letter of any academic funds you may be eligible to receive shortly after your acceptance. We also request that students complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after January 1 before the fall semester that you plan to enroll so that we can determine any need-based scholarships, grants, work study, or loans you may be eligible for.

Are there state funds I can apply for?
Yes! You should apply for the Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant (VTAG) before July 31 of the year you will enroll. This is a grant program available to residents of Virginia (for at least 1 year prior to your date of enrollment) attending a private school. Applications can be printed from our website under Forms and Downloads and submitted to the school.

Is my aid guaranteed each year?
Unfortunately, there is no way we can guarantee your aid each year. However, your merit scholarship is renewable for an additional 3 years assuming that you maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress. Since you must complete the FAFSA each year for need-based programs, there is no guarantee you will receive the same amount of aid each year.

My parents make a lot of money….should I still apply?
Absolutely! You really never know what kind of aid you may receive if you don’t apply. Applying for the FAFSA is free and you may still wish to apply for student or parent loans.


 

Completing the FAFSA

What is the FAFSA?
The FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It essentially the form schools use to determine your eligibility for federal and state need-based assistance. Schools determine their institutional need based financial assistance on the FAFSA as well.

When should I complete the FAFSA?
You can complete the FAFSA any time after January 1 of the year you plan to enroll. Most schools have a priority deadline as well. At Ferrum, we request that new students complete the FAFSA before March 1 and returning students by April 1. This does not mean that if you file after these dates that you will not receive aid. If you apply before the priority deadline you have the greater likelihood for a great aid award.

Where can I get the FAFSA?
You can apply online for the FAFSA at www.fafsa.gov. Remember that you and your parent both need to have Personal Identification Numbers (PIN) so that you can sign your application online electronically. You can request PIN’s at www.pin.ed.gov and use them year after year. PIN’s also are used if you need to make corrections to your submitted FAFSA and can be used to access NSLDS and other federal financial aid websites.

What is EFC?
EFC means Expected Family Contribution. Based on what you have reported on the FAFSA, a formula prescribed by the US Congress is used to determine what you and your family can contribute to your education. This number is not a bill. It may also not match the amount you and your family will end up contributing.

What does Cost of Attendance and Financial Need mean?
Cost of Attendance (COA) is a budget that the school has put together based on direct costs (tuition, fees, room, board) and indirect costs (books, travel, personal etc.) the student may incur. You cannot exceed the school’s COA with all educational programs (including loans). Financial need is calculated by the following equation: COA-EFC=Financial Need

My parents don’t help me with money….can I be independent?
Even though you may not be receiving money from your parents to help with educational expenses, it does not necessarily make you an independent student. Questions on the FAFSA will help you in determining your status as dependent or independent. To be independent you must meet one of the following criteria:
       i.  You are 24 years of age or older as of January 1
       ii. You are married
       iii.You are working on a master’s or doctorate degree
       iv. You are a veteran of the Armed Forces
       v.  You have children who receive more than ½ of their support from you
       vi. You have dependents other than children who receive more than ½ their support from you
       vii. When you were 13 years or older, both parents were deceased, you were in foster care,
             or a dependent/ward of the court
       viii. You are an emancipated minor as determined by a court
       ix.   You are in a legal guardianship as determined by a court
       x.    You are considered an unaccompanied youth by your high school, homeless liaison, the director of an
              emergency shelter program, or by the director of a runaway or homeless youth center

The Financial Aid Office has leeway in determining dependency status based on extenuating circumstances. You should contact the Financial Aid Office if you feel that you have mitigating circumstances that may affect your dependency status.

What is a SAR?
A SAR is a Student Aid Report that you will receive back from the Federal Government after you submit the FAFSA. Essentially it is a copy of what you reported on the FAFSA along with next steps and helpful information. The SAR should be reviewed to ensure that you have completed everything correctly. If changes need to be made, you can do so online.

I completed my FAFSA but I haven’t received an award letter yet. What do I do?
You are always welcome to call or email the Financial Aid Office to see where you stand in the process. It may be that we need extra documentation or more information before we can proceed with your aid award. Please be aware that no aid award is final until all forms and documents are received and processed.

My family has some unusual circumstances that I cannot list on the FAFSA. What do I do?
If you or your family have extenuating circumstances, please contact the Financial Aid Office to see what other options may be available. Some of the circumstances may include: Death of a parent/spouse, loss of employment, divorce or separation, receipt of a one time lump sum of money, support of a disabled or elderly relative. You will need to document these circumstances to the Financial Aid Office. There is no guarantee that the circumstances will change your aid award.  Check out our Forms and Downloads webpage for the Special Conditions instructions informational sheet.


 

Work Study Questions

Does Ferrum offer work study?
Yes. Work Study eligibility is based on the results of the FAFSA and is a need based work program.  Students who are awarded work study will see this program listed as part of their financial aid award.  The maximum amount we will allow is $2500 per year.

How do I get a job?
The Student Employment Office will be happy to assist you in applying for available positions. Positions are listed online through Panther Portal for returning students and Panther Tracks for new students. You are required to complete an application for student employment, and all tax forms such as an I-9, W-4 forms etc. Once your application is received, it is sent to the supervisor of the position you have requested. The supervisor will contact you for an interview and will decide if you will be accepted for the position. If accepted for the position, you will be notified by the supervisor. You should apply for multiple positions since you may not be hired for your first choice.  Work study positions are work and can be used as a reference so students should take their position seriously and work closely with their supervisor on hours earned, hours available, etc.

How many hours do I have to work?
This will depend on the amount of work study you have been awarded. For a $2500 per year award, the estimated amount of hours is 12-13 hours per week.

How much do I get paid?
Students are paid at least the federal minimum wage which is currently $7.25 per hour.

Why don’t I have work study since I had it last year?
Since work study is based on the results of the FAFSA you may not qualify from year to year based on the results of your aid application.

Is work study taxable?
Yes. The funds you earn from work study are subject to federal and state taxes.

Can I still work even though I didn’t receive work study?
There are very few positions available on campus for students that are not work study positions. You should contact the Student Employment Office to see if there are any positions available.


 

Satisfactory Academic Progress

What are Ferrum’s Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards?
These are listed in the college catalog and can be accessed online here.

Will I lose my aid if I don’t maintain these standards?
Yes.  All students who are placed on Academic Probation or those readmitted to the college on Academic Probation from Academic Suspension are considered to be ineligible for federal financial aid.  There is an appeals process for students who are considered to be ineligible for Financial Aid and this is discussed in the College Catalog.  Students who do not meet the published standards will receive notification from the Provost's Office as well as the Financial Aid Office at the end of the semester on their next steps.


 

Verification

What is verification?
Verification is a process required by the Federal Government for FAFSA applications.

Why have I been selected for verification?
Verification is a process to ensure that what you have reported is accurate. Applications can be selected at random or because the information reported seems inconsistent.

What documents will I need to submit?
You will need to submit a Verification Worksheet that the school provides, copies of the IRS Tax Transcripts for the student and parent and possibly W-2 forms from the previous year.  Please see information under Forms and Downloads regarding how to request a tax transcript.  Other documents may be requested on a case by case basis.

What is the Data Retrieval Tool and how do I use it?

The Data Retrieval Tool is new and a great tool to use to satisfy the requirements for IRS Tax Transcripts to complete the Federal Verification process.  Students and parents may wish to submit a correction to their submitted FAFSA and in the Student and/or Parent Financial Information section, click on Link to the IRS.  This will open a new window for you from the IRS website and when you enter the necessary credentials you can move your financial information from the IRS website to the FAFSA!  Remember that when you use this took to submit your FAFSA again with those corrections!

What happens if I don't submit these forms?
Failure to complete the verification process will result in a loss of federal aid.


 

Loans: Stafford, PLUS (Parent), and Alternative Loans

What types of loan programs does Ferrum participate in?
Federal Direct Stafford Loan (Subsidized and Unsubsidized), Federal Direct PLUS (Parent) Loans, Federal Perkins Loans, Various Alternative/Private Loan Programs

Are my parents responsible for my student loans?
For Stafford Loan programs they are not responsible. They are responsible for PLUS Loans and for alternative loans if they are the cosigner and you are not making scheduled monthly payments when you go into repayment.

When do I have to begin repayment?
For Stafford Loans, repayment begins 6 months after you drop below half time status. For PLUS Loans, repayment begins 60 days after the last disbursement for the academic year, normally in November for fall only loans, and March for academic year or spring only loans. There is a deferment option for PLUS Loans so your parent may request a deferment on their loan as long as the student is enrolled at least half-time.  For alternative loans, repayment will depend on the particular loan product that you have received.

What are the differences between Subsidized and Unsubsidized?
Subsidized loans are considered need-based and the government pays the interest on these loans while you are enrolled in school on at least a half-time basis. Unsubsidized loans are non-need based and interest will accrue while the student is in school. While you do not have to pay the interest on an Unsubsidized loan while enrolled, it is better if you can.

What is the interest rate for these loans?
For the 2013-2014 academic year, interest rates are as follows: Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans are 3.86% fixed, PLUS Loans are 6.41% fixed, and alternative loan interest rates will vary depending on the loan product received.  Federal interest rates will change every July 1.

How can I find out how much debt I have accumulated?
You can access the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) using the PIN number you were assigned to complete the FAFSA with. You can request a new or duplicate PIN at www.pin.ed.gov.


 

Payment Questions

How much does it cost to attend Ferrum?
You can view the most current cost information at the Financial Aid Homepage.

Does Ferrum offer a payment plan?
Yes. Ferrum contracts with Tuition Management Systems to offer an interest free monthly payment plan. TMS can be accessed at www.afford.com/ferrum . There is a one time fee to set up the payment plan. Payment plans must be in effect and current for you to begin school.

What happens if I have a credit balance?
You may request that the funds be transferred to your student ID card to use at the bookstore or that a refund to be sent to you or your parents.

I have received my aid award letter and still have a balance. How can I pay my balance?
Your payment options are the Interest Free Monthly Payment Plan, PLUS Loan, Alternative Loan, Cash, Credit Card, Check.