Paying For School

What is Financial Aid

Financial aid is the combination of scholarships, grants, loans and work-study funds packaged together and subtracted from your tuition and fees. Financial aid can come from multiple sources, including the federal government, state grant programs, private awards and scholarships.

Are you wondering if you qualify for financial aid? It’s likely that you do. At HACC, we’re here to guide you through the process.

What is the FAFSA?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is how you request grants, work-study funds and loans from the federal government in one application.

The FAFSA is also how schools determine financial need. The FAFSA is also used to determine state aid eligibility in Pennsylvania and may be used to help determine if you qualify for some scholarships. Even if you are not planning on taking out loans, it is still in your best interest to file your FAFSA.

How does FAFSA work?

After you submit your FAFSA application, the U.S. Department of Education will process it, and you’ll receive an email with instructions to view your summary. This summary includes your estimated eligibility for a Pell Grant and federal student loans.

Once the U.S. Department of Education processes your FAFSA, the schools you send your information to will use that information to determine e your financial aid package. HACC will include your federal aid eligibility, institutional scholarships and state grants in your financial aid package.

How do I get started
  • Get Your FSA ID: This serves as your digital signature. Parents of dependent students will also need one. Your username will not expire. Your password must be changed every 18 months.
  • Complete the FAFSA: You can conveniently fill it out online at HACC’s school code is 003273.

We encourage families to use the IRS Data Retrieval tool to download financial figures into the FAFSA. This tool works after the tax return has been submitted electronically to the IRS.

When should I apply for financial aid?

The 2024-25 FAFSA is available now. It’s never too early to apply, and filing early can significantly impact the aid you receive. Some grants operate on a first-come, first-served basis, so don’t miss out. 

Am I eligible for financial aid?

Most of our students qualify for different types of financial aid. However, there are some basic criteria to keep in mind. You must:

  • Enroll in an eligible program
  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
  • Possess a valid social security number
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress
  • Meet certain legal requirements
  • Have a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) certificate, or have completed homeschooling (Follow this link for more information on high school documentation.)
  • Not owe a refund on a federal student grant or be in default on a Federal student loan
  • Have not  maxed out federal student loan or grant eligibility

Your financial need is determined by comparing the cost of attendance with your student aid index (SAI).

How much will it cost to go to college?

Financial aid calculators provide financial aid estimates. They can estimate how much aid you may receive. They can also estimate how much you should borrow from the student loan program. 

  • HACC's Net Price Calculator —This gives an early estimate of the amount of money you might receive from grants or scholarships.
  • Federal Student Aid Estimator – This tool provides an estimate of how much federal student aid you may be eligible to receive. These estimates are based on the Student Aid Index (SAI), an index to determine federal student aid eligibility.
  • Loan Simulator - This tool helps you estimate monthly student loan payments and choose a loan repayment option that best meets your needs and goals. You can also use it to help you decide whether to consolidate your student loans.

Don’t let financial concerns hold you back from achieving your goals. Reach out to us for guidance throughout your financial aid journey.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Colleges base financial aid eligibility for 2024-25 on the following equation:
Cost of Attendance (COA) - Expected Family Contribution (EFC) = Financial Need (Financial Aid Eligibility)

The Cost of Attendance is also known as the “student budget.” It includes almost all college expenses for one academic year. These may include:

  • Tuition and fees
  • Living expenses
  • Books
  • Course materials
  • Supplies
  • Equipment
  • Transportation
  • Miscellaneous educational expenses

The Student Aid Index (SAI) is an eligibility index number that your school’s financial aid office uses to determine how much federal student aid you would receive if you attended the school.

Financial need is an eligible student’s cost of attendance (COA) minus expected student aid index (SAI) minus other financial assistance (OFA).

Your total financial aid package includes money from the following:

  • Federal government
  • State grant agency
  • College/institutional funds
  • Other financial assistance

Your total financial aid package cannot exceed your Cost of Attendance (COA). Other types of funding may reduce your eligibility for federal and state financial aid.

Any other financial assistance you receive will determine the types and amounts of financial aid for which you are eligible. Some examples of other financial assistance may include:

  • Certificate of Residency
  • Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) funds
  • Scholarships
  • Employer reimbursement/tuition assistance
  • Trade Act or TRDW sponsorship

It is possible to apply for aid any time during the academic year. However, it is best to apply as early as possible. For the summer session, students must file the FAFSA by June 30.

Please note: It is a federal regulation that HACC cannot offer financial aid after a semester has ended. Even if you have submitted all of your financial aid forms before the end of the semester, we may not have enough time to process your information and provide an aid offer before the last day of classes.

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