FAQ

 
What is the cost of attending WNCC?
Learn more by visiting Tuition and Fees.
 
What is the refund policy?
Review WNCC's refund policy before deciding to drop a class. Also, see the Return of Federal Funds page or check with the Financial Aid Office to find out how dropping classes might affect your financial aid.
 
Is it better to apply for your FAFSA online or by paper?
The quickest way for WNCC to receive your information is if you fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online. The online application is available at www.fafsa.gov. Applying at this Web site is FREE. Other online sites may want to charge you to apply.
 
Where can I apply for a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID to sign my FAFSA?
You can apply for a Federal Student Aid ID online at wwwfsaid.ed.gov. Your FSA ID can be used each year to electronically apply for federal student aid and to access your U.S. Department of Education records online. Your FSA ID serves as your electronic signature and provides access to your personal records. You should NEVER give your FSA ID to anyone, including commercial services that offer to help you complete your FAFSA. Be sure to keep your PIN in a safe place.
 
What is a Student Aid Report (SAR) and why was I sent one?
Your Student Aid Report (SAR) is the Department of Educations way of telling you they received your FAFSA. It is important that you read your SAR to determine if mistakes were made on your FAFSA. If your SAR indicates you made an error, you will need to make corrections online at www.fafsa.gov. Your SAR will also let you know your EFC.
 
What is my EFC?
Your EFC, or Expected Family Contribution, is the result of calculations from the financial information you enter on your FAFSA. The Federal Philosophy for determining eligibility for financial aid is that the student and his/her family bears the primary responsibility of paying for college costs and federal financial aid is intended to supplement, not replace, family resources. The EFC considers taxable and non-taxable income, asset equity, family size, age of parents, number in college and has built-in allowances for taxes and living expenses. The EFC is not a bill or an amount you or your parents have to come up with to attend school, it is measure of your family's financial strength and an estimation of what you might be able to contribute to your educational costs. Pell grants are awarded based on your EFC; for 2017-2018 an EFC of $5,328 or below is considered Pell eligible. EFC also determines eligibility for Federal Work Study and subsidized student loans.
 
I sent in my FAFSA more than four weeks ago, but I haven't heard anything. What should I do?
First, be sure you actually submitted your FAFSA. You must click the "Submit" button (don't just hit "Enter") for your online FAFSA to be electronically submitted. You will receive a confirmation page that indicates the date and time you submitted your information. If you still haven't received a Student Aid Report (SAR), call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (toll free) or 1-319-337-5665. You must provide them with your Social Security number and date of birth as verification. You can also email FederalStudentAidCustomerService@ed.gov.
 
How do I qualify for federal, state and institutional aid?
Filing your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will not only calculate your eligibility for federal Pell Grants, it will also consider you for Federal Work Study and Stafford loans. State aid is awarded institutionally, but is based on your FAFSA information. Institutional scholarships are not tied to the FAFSA, but are based on your scholarship application, although evaluating your financial circumstances may be necessary to determine eligibility for some need-based scholarships.
 
How much Pell grant can I get?
The maximum Pell Grant award for the 2017-2018 academic year is $5,920. The amount you receive, however, depends not only on your financial need, but also on your status as a full-time or part-time student each semester as well as general eligibility requirements.
 
I probably will not qualify for aid, should I apply anyway?
Definitely. Many families mistakenly think they do not qualify for aid. The only way to know for sure if you qualify or not is to apply. You may be eligible for Federal Direct Student subsidized and unsubsidized loans, but both require a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be completed. Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) also rely on FAFSA information and are available regardless of need. In addition, many scholarships are merit-based (academics, talent, leadership or skill) and do not rely on FAFSA information for awarding.
 
Why is the deadline for applying for aid so early in the year?
Some funding is limited and is available on a first-come, first-serve basis only. It is important to meet our March 1 priority deadline each year to be considered for supplemental grants, state grants and scholarship funds. Missing deadlines can jeopardize your opportunity for aid. You should also apply early so you can get your award letter early to help you in making budgeting decisions and choosing a college that you can afford and that is the best fit for you. Remember: You don't have to have your tax returns completed by the FAFSA priority deadline. You can indicate on the FAFSA that you have not yet filed your tax returns. Then you can estimate your income and tax amounts from a previous year's tax return or your W-2s and go back online later, when your tax returns are done, and make any necessary corrections.
 
How early can I submit my FAFSA?
The FAFSA will be released as early as October 1 for the next academic year! For example, if you are planning to attend classes in the 2017-2018 academic year (Fall 2017, Spring 2018, or Summer 2018), you may complete your FAFSA beginning October 1, 2016. You will use your tax information from two years prior to the academic year (i.e., 2015 tax information for the 2017-2018 FAFSA).
 
Do I have to reapply for financial aid every year?
Yes. Most financial aid is contingent upon reapplication every academic year. Because your financial circumstances may change from year to year, you may be eligible for more or less aid. After your first year, you can do a renewal application online at www.fafsa.gov, which contains information from your previous year's FAFSA. To retain financial aid eligibility, you must also maintain satisfactory academic progress toward a degree, such as earning a minimum number of credits each semester and achieving a minimum GPA.
 
Do students receive the same amount of aid every year?
Not necessarily. You must reapply because eligibility is re-evaluated annually. Based on your most current financial information, the actual aid award may change. Aid will remain about the same if your family financial situation remains about the same; the number of family members in the household and in college remains the same; your application meets the deadline dates; and you are making satisfactory academic progress. Scholarships may be renewable if you meet eligibility requirements, but you may have to request a renewal or resubmit an application. Refer to the directions and criteria for each scholarship to which you are applying.
 
What is Satisfactory Academic Progress?
In order to receive financial aid, a student must be making satisfactory progress toward completion of a diploma, certificate, or degree. Academic progress is reviewed at the time awards are made, and again at the end of each fall, spring and summer semester. The WNCC financial aid requirements outlined here are designed to comply with federal regulations.
 
Are there other eligibility requirements?
Yes. To qualify for federal financial aid, you must have a high school diploma or GED certificate, or have completed home schooling; be enrolled in an approved program at WNCC for the purpose of obtaining a diploma, certificate or degree; be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen; have a Social Security Number; be making satisfactory academic progress toward completion of a diploma, certificate, or degree; certify that financial aid funds will be used only for educational purposes; not be in default of a federal student loan; not owe a repayment of a federal grant; and be registered with Selective Service, if required.
 
I want to fill out my FAFSA but my parents and I have not yet completed our tax returns. What do I do?
You can estimate your tax amount either by using last year's tax information or by estimating your income using your most recent pay stub. You must update your FAFSA with your actual tax information when it is complete. Note that this may result in a revision of your awards.
 
If my parents do not claim me on their tax returns, can I be independent on the FAFSA and not provide their income?
Simply claiming yourself for income tax purposes does not make you independent on the FAFSA. To determine whether you qualify to be independent and, therefore, not have to use your parent's income on the FAFSA use this Dependency Status Worksheeet from the FinAid website.
 
If my parents are divorced, whose income do I provide?
The parent you lived with most is the parent whose financial information you will need to provide on your FAFSA. If you lived equal time with both parents, then use the financial information of whichever parent provides for more than 50% of your financial support. If that parent is remarried, you will need to include the step-parent's information as well.
 
My parents had a dual income when they filed their tax returns, but now one of my parents is unemployed. What do I do?
You will need to use both parents' financial information on the FAFSA, but will want to contact WNCC's Financial Aid Office at 635-6011 or 1-800-348-4435 to alert us of the change in circumstances so we can advise you as to what to do next. WNCC realizes that family situations are dynamic and unexpected events can adversely affect a family's ability to meet educational costs. We will work with you individually to help meet your needs.
 
If I live with my grandparents/uncle/aunt/sister, do I need to put their income on the FAFSA?
The only people whose information you need to include on the FAFSA are your biological or adoptive parents. If you do not have contact with your parents, you should contact WNCC's Financial Aid Office at 635-6011 or 1-800-348-4435, to discuss your options.
 
If I am married but my spouse and I filed separately, do I still have to put my spouses income on the FAFSA?
Yes. Your combined income will need to be reported on the FAFSA.
 
How is financial aid awarded?
Pell grants, other grants, and scholarships are applied to your student account directly if you are registered for the required number of credit hours to qualify for your aid, you are not on suspension, and you are enrolled in an approved program of study. If your financial aid funds exceed your direct WNCC charges, the remaining amount will be available to you in the form of a check in the Business Office in Scottsbluff or at the Sidney or Alliance campuses as indicated in your WNCC profile. For questions about your account or refund, please contact the WNCC Business Office at 308-635-6020.
 
How can I pay my bill if my financial aid does not cover it all?
You can make an online payment by logging into MyWNCC Portal, sign up for the automatic payment plan through Nelnet, or you can stop by the Business Office to make a payment.
 
Where do I pick up my financial aid checks?
Checks can be made available at any one of our three campuses--Scottsbluff, Sidney or Alliance. Contact the Scottsbluff campus Business Office at 308-635-6020 to designate a location other than the campus where you attend classes.
 
When will I get my money?
Students who have received award letters from the Financial Aid Office by the start of the each semester AND who meet all other eligibility requirements should have checks available the end of the fourth week of the semester. Specific dates will be posted in the Important Dates section of the website and you may visit the Disbursement Updates page for more information.
 
What is Federal Work Study?
Federal Work Study is an employment program funded by the federal government and WNCC. It provides students with part-time jobs to help meet the cost of education. Jobs pay at least minimum wage and generally average 10 hours per week. Advantages of this program include: A variety of jobs are available, with some involving community service, which can be included on your scholarship applications and resume, Federal Work Study income does not affect your financial aid eligibility for next year, you gain valuable work experience, and you can avoid student loan debt by working to pay for your education.
 
How do I apply for Federal Work Study?
The Financial Aid Office does not place you into specific positions. It is up to you to check on job availability and to complete paperwork. Even if you've previously had a work study job, you will need to complete a new contract before beginning work. New employees will need to provide identification for completion of the I-9 form. You are not allowed to work during your scheduled class times. You must submit your time worked through MyWNCC Portal and have it approved by a supervisor to receive your paycheck. You are paid twice a month for the previous two weeks. Paychecks may be picked up in the Business Office or other location indicated on your profile. Check here for a listing of work study positions, employment guidelines and manuals.
 
Are work-study earnings taxable?
The money you earn from Federal Work Study is generally subject to federal and state income tax, but exempt from FICA taxes (provided you are enrolled full time and work less than half time). Work-study earnings for the calendar year should be included in the totals for adjusted gross income (AGI) and in the Additional Financial Aid Information section of the FAFSA. Work-study earnings should only be included on the FAFSA when they represent financial aid to the student, since the answer to this question is used as an exclusion from taxed income. The student should also be careful to report amounts based on the calendar year, not the school year.
 
I want to take some classes at another college that will apply to my WNCC degree. How do I get financial aid for those credits?
You can fill out a Concurrent Enrollment form to receive funding for credits at another institution at the same time you are enrolled in WNCC.
 
Are my parents responsible for paying back my student loans?
No. Parents are only responsible for your educational loans if you are under 18 and they were required to co-sign for you to get the loan. Parents are only obligated to repay the Federal Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS).
 
How do I apply for scholarships?
Apply online for the general WNCC scholarship. The priority deadline for scholarship applications each year is March 1, although if there is funding left, we will open the application process back up for spring and summer sessions. Watch for postings online, around campus and in the Pit area in the main building for postings. Also watch these areas for listings of outside scholarships that may apply to you and your specific degree. Check Resources for other areas you can research for funding sources.
 
I found a company who will guarantee me a scholarship for a fee. Should I apply?
No. Beware of any company, no matter how reputable sounding, that wants to charge you to find scholarships for you. Be cautious about anything that wants you to pay a fee, has a residential or box number address, is unsolicited, or has hype or pressure to participate. Always check for guarantees and check with the Better Business BureauFederal Trade Commission or the U.S. Department of Education to research the company's background. Follow your own ethical principles and follow the general rule that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don't get scammed. Free information and assistance is available to you through the Financial Aid Office. Always check with us first before getting involved in anything that could cost you money you could be applying to your educational costs. Click here for other scholarship scam tips: www.finaid.org/scholarships/scams.phtml.
 
Are there other ways I can get funding other than through the FAFSA or scholarships?
Yes. WNCC offers Upward Bound, Veterans Upward Bound and Your Educational Success (Y.E.S.) programs through its TRiO programs. Other commonly used resources in our area are Workforce Development, Vocational Rehabilitation, or the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Also, check out our Resources guide for online sources of information.
 
I received an outside scholarship. Should I report it to the financial aid office?
Yes. If you are receiving any kind of financial aid from WNCC, government sources, or any outside organization, you must report the additional aid to the Financial Aid Office. Your federal awards may need to be adjusted because of these supplementary funds, but this can be beneficial in reducing your loan burden.
 
Is there aid available to veterans?
Yes. Visit WNCC's Veterans Upward Bound for information on veteran's benefits and how to apply. Veterans should also apply for federal financial aid by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and institutional aid with WNCC's general scholarship application.
 
I'm thinking about applying to be a Resident Assistant (RA). If I am selected, what will the impact be on my financial aid?
Resident Assistants receive a remission for single room and meal plan, which is applied directly to your account. Applicants are selected based on their application for the position, two references (one from a current RA and one from a WNCC coach/faculty/staff), and personal interview. See Residence Life for more residence hall information. This can significantly reduce your educational costs and reduce your potential loan debt.
 
Are there any programs that provide student financial assistance to homeschooled students?
Homeschooled students are eligible for federal student aid for college if they have completed a secondary school education in a home school setting that is treated as a home school or private school under State law (Section 484(d)(3) of the Higher Education Act of 1965). Students who do not meet the requirements of state law must complete a GED exam before receiving federal aid. For additional information, see Federal Requirements for Homeschoolers Seeking College Admission and Financial Aid, Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), May 2003. Homeschooled students are encouraged to fill out WNCCs scholarship application and are eligible for institutional aid dependent on individual scholarship requirements. The Home School Foundation, www.homeschoolfoundation.org/, is one of few organizations with scholarships targeted directly at homeshooled students.
 
What resources are there for homeless students?
Yes!! Homeless students are eligible for the same federal and institutional aid as any other student and should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and WNCC's general scholarship application. You should also contact your Financial Aid Office to see if there are other scholarships available to you. Some good online sources for homeless youth include:
 
Why can't my parents/spouse talk to you about my financial aid?
Because of FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as amended by the Higher Education Amendments of 1998 (34 CFR Part 99), we cannot disclose any information about your financial aid without your permission. If you'd like to have a parent/spouse have access to your records, you must fill out an authorization for release of information through MyWNCC Portal .
 
Why am I not getting my WNCC financial aid mail?
Is your address correct with us? Make sure you have your mailing address current with us. You can go online and update your address through MyWNCC Portal, or you can call (308-635-6104) or come into the Student Services Office to make the change.
 
Why do I keep receiving a bill when I have financial aid?
Your financial aid is not accessible until the first disbursement date. This is the date when all qualifying funds are transferred to the Business Office and applied to your account. Before that date, the Financial Aid Office is working behind the scenes to confirm you are attending class and meeting the requirements set forth by the Department of Education. Approximately three weeks into the semester, approved financial aid is transmitted to the business office and is applied to the your account. The bills will stop once the account balance is $0.00. As long as you have a balance on your account, you will receive a bill, regardless of your financial aid award. Check the important financial aid dates on the WNCC website for the first disbursement date. If you think an award has not been applied properly to your account, please contact the Financial Aid Office.