BLUEFIELD COLLEGE FINANCIAL AID FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

 

1. What is the FAFSA and how do I submit it? Is it required to complete?

FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Can be completed at www.fafsa.ed.gov or through the mobile app MyStudentAid. It is required to complete if you are interested in applying for federal aid or need-based aid at the institution. This also includes federal student loans. Some non-federal scholarships require FAFSA completion to assess eligibility. This is an annual application and must be completed every year if the student is interested in federal and/or need-based aid. Our office recommends that all students complete the FAFSA even if they do not think they will be eligible for grants or scholarships.

 

2. Which FAFSA do I need to complete?

Bluefield College operates on a fall/spring/summer schedule. If you are starting classes in the summer, you will need to complete the FAFSA for the following academic year. If you are starting classes in the fall or after, you will need to complete the FAFSA for the upcoming school year. For example, if you are starting classes in the summer of 2019, you will need to complete a 2018-2019 FAFSA. If you are starting classes in Fall of 2019, you will need to submit a 2019-2020 FAFSA instead. Keep in mind that if you are starting in the summer and plan to continue to enroll in the fall, you will need to complete both applications and submit to our office for processing.

 

3. How do I know what documents I need to submit?

Students can see what documents they need through their MYBC portal. Access to the financial aid portal depends on each student’s enrollment status. Before enrolling, students can access their Financial Aid status by clicking on the admissions tab, then choosing the correct program. From there, the financial aid portal should be available to click to view documents and awards. If the student is already enrolled, they can access the financial portal through the student tab.

 

4. Where can I access financial aid documents?

Financial aid documents can be found at www.bluefield.edu/fin-aid or through the MYBC student tab or admissions tab.

 

5. Why haven’t I received a financial aid award letter yet? When will I hear what I am awarded?

Students are not reviewed and/or awarded for financial aid until they are accepted for admission. If the student has not received a financial aid award letter yet, check the admissions stage/status. Students will receive an award letter once the financial aid counselor receives notification that the student has been accepted. Generally, we send a notification regardless of whether a FAFSA has been completed but we cannot process a full award package until a FAFSA has been received.

If you have been accepted and submitted your FAFSA but still have not received anything, check your email for either a Student Aid Report (SAR) from the FAFSA or a FAFSA correction needed letter from our office. If there is a problem with your information, this could be preventing awarding! We must receive either a FAFSA correction or additional documentation before we can assess your financial aid eligibility and provide an award letter to you. Make sure to check the email you reported on your FAFSA!

 

6. What is verification? Why am I selected? Why do I have to submit this documentation?

Verification is the process in which the financial aid office is required to verify reported FAFSA information. Students can be selected due to conflicting information reported on the FAFSA or from a random selection. If selected, this process is required by the Department of Education to receive any federal aid such as Pell, SEOG, direct loans…etc. Initial awards are assessed based on what is originally reported on the FAFSA. Federal and need-based aid may be affected upon verification completion. Updated award letters are sent to notify students of award changes if applicable.

 

7. I am selected for verification and now I have to provide documentation for my taxes. What am I able to submit?

We are usually required to verify tax and income information when students are selected for verification. We recommend that students and/or parents complete the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) through the FASFA. This option requires that the FSA id username and password be used. Students and parents are required to verify the address that was reported on their taxes to use this option. If you or your parents filed a “married, filing separately tax return”, this option is not available. If you are unable to use this option, we require a tax return transcript be submitted to our office. This can be obtained in one of the following ways:

  • Online Request – Go to irs.gov Under the Tools heading on the IRS homepage, click on the “Get a tax transcript” option. You can choose between two options:
    • Get Transcript by Mail- transcripts arrive in 5 to 10 calendar days at the address on file
    • Get Transcript ONLINE – requires the creation of an account with personal identifiers
  • Telephone Request – 1-800-908-9946
  • Paper Request form – IRS Form 4506T-EZ or IRS Form 4506-T

 

8. Is there a deadline all documents must be submitted by?

Bluefield College’s priority deadline for all financial aid documents for the academic year is June 1st. However, all awards and the corresponding documents may be due at different times. The VTAG application is due by July 31st. We recommend that all documents be submitted to the financial aid office by the beginning of August. Final deadlines per semester are November 30th and April 26th.

 

9. Why is my financial aid not showing up on my student account?

Financial aid awards will not show on a student account if we still need documentation to accept the award. Check your MYBC to see if any documents are requested that need to be submitted. If you are selected for verification, your aid will not be accepted until the verification process is completed. This can take up to a week or even longer to process and finalize. See #4 for more information on verification.

 

10. How do I know if I am getting a credit check?

Your student account will reflect if a credit check is due. If the amount showing “owed” is a negative amount, this indicates a credit due to the student and/or parent. It’s important to note, however, that the student account is not official until after the add/drop period for the upcoming semester and enrollment has been confirmed. We recommend reviewing your account to ensure that all charges and financial aid are correct before assuming credit is due. Any additional charges on the account may cause a decrease in the credit check or even a balance owed.

 

11. What do I need to do if I want federal work-study but it is not awarded to me?

Contact the BC Central office at and request to be reviewed for federal work-study (FWS). If you are eligible and we have funds available, we may be able to award it to you. If you are eligible but we do not have any funds available, you will be placed on a waiting list per request. You will be notified by email if you are able to receive this in the future. Make sure to keep an eye on your email and review all updated award letters sent to you.

 

12. What do I do if I am awarded federal work-study (FWS)? Where do I find out what jobs are available?

If you are awarded Federal Work-Study, your first step would be to come to BC Central where you will be told what offices are hiring federal work-study students. At that time, we will also see what office we feel would be a good fit for you and the potential office. You will be sent to offices that are hiring and at that time, be interviewed for the position.  If hired, then you return to BC Central and obtain a Federal Work-Study contract that will need to be completed by your new supervisor and yourself. This must be returned to us before you begin work. You will also be required to visit the Human Resource office to complete payroll tax information sheets.  You must bring two types of identification with you when you visit the Human Resources office, 2nd Floor of Lansdell, room 214.

 

13. Where can I get a copy of my FAFSA?

You can view your FAFSA by accessing your Student Aid Report (SAR). This is either emailed or mailed to you for your records upon completion of the FAFSA. You can also view your SAR through www.fafsa.ed.gov for a limited time. For more information, visit: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/next-steps/student-aid-report

 

14. I submitted my FAFSA a while ago but I still haven’t heard back from anyone. What do I need to do?

We recommend that you check the following:

  • Make sure you have submitted your FAFSA to the correct school! Our school code is 003703
  • Make sure that you have actually signed and submitted your FAFSA. Sometimes students will save at the end of the application and never hit the submit button. If you never received a confirmation email, this may be an indicator that the form was never successfully submitted. You can access your FASFA at fafsa.ed.gov or through the MyStudentAid app.
  • Check that you have been accepted! Bluefield College will not submit information about your FASFA or award package until you have been accepted. We may have received your FAFSA and waiting until you are accepted to send you more information!

 

15. When can I start applying for financial aid?

You can start applying for federal aid as soon as October 1st of the year prior to attending! You do not need to be accepted to our college to complete a FAFSA form. We recommend completing this document as soon as possible to ensure that you will receive as much “first come first serve” aid as possible! The FAFSA can be completed at www.fafsa.ed.gov or through the MyStudentAid app.

 

16. I already submitted all my financial aid documents last year but I keep getting a missing document notification. What do I do?

Financial aid must be applied for every single year that you intend to enroll and receive financial aid assistance. This includes the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and an annual awards. It is important to understand the criteria and requirements for each award received. It is also important to review the missing document notification that you receive to see what documents we are requesting and reach out to our BC Central office if you have questions such as why you need specific forms and how to access them. BC Central can be reached at or at 276-326-4215.

 

17. What if I have to withdraw from school or drop below full-time enrollment during a semester?

Your enrollment greatly impacts your eligibility for financial aid. Withdrawing from school may impact your financial aid depending on how and when you withdraw. Throughout the semester you are “earning” your aid as you attend class. Anytime you drop a class, cease participation or withdrawal from school, we are required to calculate how much aid you have earned and can retain for the semester. Your charges are also accessed based on this as well and could be adjusted or affected by a change in enrollment during the semester. Keep in mind that any institutional aid requires full-time enrollment and dropping or not participating in an online class that is placing you in full-time enrollment status could jeopardize your financial aid awards. Ceasing enrollment and failing to earn passing grades could also result in a calculation based on the last date of attendance. If you are thinking about dropping or withdrawing, we recommend that you connect with our BC Central office before doing so.

 

18. I pay for all my own bills but my FAFSA is telling me I have to provide parental information, why?

The DOE requires that your parent(s) information must be included on the FAFSA unless you meet one of the following independent criteria:

  • At least 24 years old by December 31 of award year covered by the FAFSA
  • Graduate or professional student
  • Married
  • Has children or dependents (other than a spouse) for whom the student provides more than half of support
  • Orphan or ward/dependent of the court
  • A veteran of U.S. Armed Forces
  • Determined to be “independent” by financial aid administrator based on unusual circumstances

Total self-sufficiency does not qualify a student to be considered independent according to federal requirements.  

 

 19. I do not want loans. What do I do?

You can decline or adjust your loan amount by completing a student change in aid form. You can access this form through your MYBC financial aid portal under the student tab.

 

 20. How do I know what loans are available to me as an undergraduate or graduate student?

Once a student completes the FAFSA and is accepted to Bluefield College, our financial aid office will access your eligibility for grants, scholarships, and loans. Your financial aid award notification will tell you how much you are able to take out for that year. However, it’s important to know the federal loan limits so that you can be mindful of your eligibility. The following chart shows the annual and aggregate limits for subsidized and unsubsidized loans:

Year

Dependent Students (except students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS Loans)

Independent Students (and dependent undergraduate students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS Loans)

First-Year Undergraduate Annual Loan Limit

$5,500—No more than $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.

$9,500—No more than $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.

Second-Year Undergraduate Annual Loan Limit

$6,500—No more than $4,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.

$10,500—No more than $4,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.

Third-Year and Beyond  Undergraduate Annual Loan Limit

$7,500—No more than $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.

$12,500—No more than $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.

Graduate or Professional Students Annual Loan Limit

Not Applicable (all graduate and professional students are considered independent)

$20,500 (unsubsidized only)

Subsidized and Unsubsidized Aggregate Loan Limit

$31,000—No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.

$57,500 for undergraduates—No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.

$138,500 for graduate or professional students—No more than $65,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. The graduate aggregate limit includes all federal loans received for undergraduate study.

 This chart and more information about loans can be found here: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/loans/subsidized-unsubsidized

 

 21. My parents will not assist me yet I am still determined to be a dependent student, what can I do?

Unfortunately, parent’s unwillingness to provide parental data on the FAFSA or unwillingness to provide financial support toward a student’s educational expenses does not qualify a student to be independent. If the parent understands that they are not responsible for the student’s bill if they provide parental information on the FAFSA and still refuse to do so, the student can submit their incomplete a “lack of parental support” form along with their incomplete FAFSA. This will allow the student to receive unsubsidized loans only in federal student aid.

 

22. Where can I look for institutional scholarships available to me or for outside scholarships?

All of our institutional scholarships can be found on our Bluefield College website under the financial aid section and then under “grants and scholarships”(http://www.bluefield.edu/admissions-aid/financial-aid/types-of-financial-aid/ ).

 

 23. How do I request deferment of my loans?

Students who are enrolled at least half time will be reported to the national student loan data system each semester to certify their enrollment. This information is sent to loan servicers to ensure that your loans are placed on deferment. However, this process can take some time and will not immediately take effect. Due to this, we recommend that if you already have loans, to connect with your loan servicer and obtain a deferment form. You will then need to complete the first half of the form before submitting to our BC Registrar’s office. They will certify your enrollment and submit to your loan servicer.