Frequently Asked Questions

 

How do I apply for scholarships? Harford has a central scholarship application at https://harford.awardspring.com. Here you can apply for Harford scholarships, upload narratives, and provide references in one place. The deadline for Fall scholarship applications is May 15th and the deadline for Spring scholarship applications is December 22nd.

What if I don’t qualify for grants or scholarships, but I don’t want to borrow a student loan? Harford offers a tuition payment plan where you pay an initial down-payment on your classes, then pay the balance in monthly installments during the semester. You can sign up for the payment plan via Owlnet – “All About Me” tab – My Bill – Payment Plan. There is a non-refundable $35 sign-up fee for this service.

How do I purchase books with Financial Aid? If you have leftover financial aid funds in excess of your tuition and fee charges, you can use these funds in the Harford bookstore during specified semester book purchasing dates. Book purchasing dates typically begin a few weeks before the semester starts and end a few weeks after the semester starts.

How do I view my Financial Aid? The way you can tell if your aid is authorized is to go to your OwlNet- All About Me- Click Here to View Your Bill, Make a Payment or Set Up a Payment Plan- Activity Details. You will see a blue band at top if you have "Current Term Pending Financial Aid Credits" that is the amount of your aid for that semester. If the "Total Amount Due" is a negative number you owe nothing and will be able to use that amount up to $650 to buy books in our bookstore during book purchasing dates. If you don’t spend it in our book store the amount is refunded to you. If the Total Amount Due is positive that is how much you owe. PLEASE NOTE: We do not PAY your bill until 30 days into the semester so until that date you will still show a balance even though you may have enough aid to cover the balance.

I don't see any financial aid listed on my Owlnet under Financial Aid Awards. Why? If there is no aid listed, it is because you may only qualify for federal student loans based on your FAFSA results. To obtain a student loan, you will need to complete an Harford Loan Request Form and all requirements listed on the Loan Request Form.

How do I choose a refund preference? Once you have registered for classes, you should receive a green envelope in the mail from BankMobile with a code to go onto www.refundselection.com and choose your refund preference. You can choose a paper check, direct deposit to a bank account, or direct deposit to a BankMobile account. If you didn’t receive a refund code, you can still go to www.refundselection.com, click “Need a Code?” and receive it via email. If you do not choose a refund preference, it will take longer to receive your refund. NOTE: If you are younger than 18 years old, you will receive a paper check automatically.

What is FAFSA? Why should the FAFSA be filed? FAFSA is the first step to finding out what funding you may be eligible to receive. We strongly encourage that you complete the FAFSA whether you think you may qualify for aid.

What is Harford Community College School Code? 002075

When can the FAFSA be filed? FAFSA is an annual application that opens on October 1st for the upcoming academic year.

Where can I file the FAFSA? Go to studentaid.gov

Who should file the FAFSA? New and current students should apply. New students should also apply for admissions. Award notifications are sent to students who have applied to attend Harford Community College and have also listed Harford's school code of 002075.

What do I need to do after I have applied to Harford and completed the FAFSA? An award notification will be sent in April if your file is complete. The HCC Financial Aid Office may need to reach out to you for requests for additional documents. Generally after the initial request for documentation, all correspondence will be through campus email. You may also check your status by logging into OwlNet All About Me and Financial Aid Requirements or Financial Aid Awards.

Do I need to reapply every year? Yes, to continue receiving financial aid, you must complete a new FAFSA for each academic year.

FAFSA Assistance is available through the Department of Education by calling 1-800-4-FEDAID.

View this short video to Create a Federal Student Aid ID

What kinds of questions are asked on the FAFSA?This worksheet gives you examples.

What is the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?
Students and parents who have filed their federal tax return (2018 return for the 2020-2021 FAFSA, 2019 return for the 2021-2022 FAFSA, etc.) may be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to easily, accurately and securely transfer their tax information into the FAFSA form.

Create a FAFSA ID
For information about the FSA ID, including how to apply, go to StudentAid.gov/fsaid. Your FSA ID allows you to electronically sign your FAFSA form. If you are providing parent information, one parent must also sign your FAFSA form. To sign electronically, your parent should also apply for an FSA ID.

What tax and income information do I need to complete my FAFSA? https://harford.financialaidtv.com/play/1766-applying-financial-aid/43999-what-tax-and-income-information-do-i-need-complete-my-fafsa

What is Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)? According to federal Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) regulations, the Financial Aid Office is required to monitor the academic progress of all students each semester. To remain in good standing, you must:

  • Complete a minimum of 67% of cumulative attempted/transferred credits. You must receive an A, B, C or D to complete a course.
  • Achieve a 2.0 or higher cumulative grade point average in all classes (transitional classes are included in your Financial Aid SAP GPA).
  • Not exceed Maxtime frame by attempting 150% or more of your program length (transfer credits are included).
  • More information about SAP can be found at catalog.harford.edu/financialaid 

What happens if I do not meet the SAP standards? Failure to meet these requirements will result in you being placed on WARNING. At Harford, each student gets one semester of warning if terminated for GPA or Completion. If you have not improved your completion rate and/or the cumulative GPA by the end of the warning semester, you are terminated from future financial aid until you are meeting SAP requirements. Students who are terminated for Maxtime Frame do not get a warning, you are terminated from financial aid at the end of the semester it is determined you cannot complete your program before attempting 150% of its length.

What is the difference between my Financial Aid GPA and my Academic GPA? Your Financial Aid GPA includes ALL classes you have taken at Harford . This includes transitional courses below 100 level. Your academic GPA only includes courses that are considered college level credit courses completed at Harford.

What happens if I am placed on SAP WARNING? Students may request SAP Warning counseling. In the counseling, some of the topics reviewed will be study skills, Harford support services, and personal financial planning. Contact the Financial Aid office to schedule your one-on-one session. While you are on SAP Warning all of your aid remains in effect.

What happens after SAP WARNING? At the end of the WARNING semester, if you are still not meeting SAP requirements in both completion and/or GPA, your financial aid will be TERMINATED. If there are mitigating circumstances that affected your ability to meet the SAP requirements, you may appeal the termination status. All appeals must be accompanied by appropriate documentation no later than two weeks before the start of the semester. At the end of the WARNING semester, if you are now completing 67% of your cumulative classes attempted and you have a cumulative 2.0 GPA or higher, you will be meeting SAP requirements and will continue to receive aid.

What happens if I am TERMINATED from Financial Aid? How can I get Financial Aid again? If there are mitigating circumstances that affected your ability to meet the SAP requirements, you may appeal the termination status. All GPA and Completion appeals must be accompanied by appropriate documentation. If you are appealing for Maxtime frame you must complete a plan with your advisor to complete your degree. Or if you are terminated for GPA or Completion you may pay for classes without financial aid until you are meeting SAP requirements. Once you are meeting SAP requirements you may receive financial aid again. More detailed information about SAP can be found at catalog.harford.edu/financialaid.

What types of Federal Direct Loans are available at Harford?

  • Direct Subsidized Loans are available to students with financial need as determined by the FAFSA. The interest that accrues on the loan is paid by the government while you are in school at leasthalf-time (6 credits). 
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans are not need-based. Interest accrues from the date of disbursement. You are highly encouraged to pay interest while you are in school.
  • PLUS Loans are available to parents of dependent college students.
  • Loans are financial aid, they’re the type of financial aid that must be paid back with interest.

What are the eligibility requirements for a student loan? To be eligible for Direct Loans, you must:

  • Be enrolled in a certificate or degree program
  • Enroll for a minimum of 6 credits each semester
  • Be in good academic standing under the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy
  • Be U.S. Citizen or eligible non-citizen
  • Not have defaulted on any prior federal education loans or owe an overpayment on a federal education grant

How much in student loans can I borrow per school year? This depends on your dependency status, what grade level you are considered based on your number of earned credits, and the amount of other financial aid you are receiving. In general, the annual loan limits are:

  • Freshman Dependent Students (0-30 earned credits): $5,500 per school year (including no more than $3,500 Subsidized)
  • Sophomore Dependent Students (31 earned credits or more): $6,500 per school year (including no more than $4,500 Subsidized)
  • Freshman Independent Students (0-30 earned credits): $9,500 per school year (including no more than $3,500 Subsidized)
  • Sophomore Independent Students (31 earned credits or more): $10,500 per school year (including no more than $4,500 Subsidized)

What are the Lifetime Loan Limits for student loans?

  • Dependent Students: $31,000 (no more than $23,000 of this Subsidized)
  • Independent Students: $57,500 (no more than $23,000 of this Subsidized)

Can I choose if I get Subsidized or Unsubsidized student loans? Harford certifies any Subsidized loan eligibility first, which is based on financial need as determined by your FAFSA results, before we certify Unsubsidized loan eligibility. If you only want Subsidized loans, you must indicate that on the Loan Request Form. Please be aware, you may only qualify for Unsubsidized loans.

What should I consider before borrowing a student loan? Borrow smart! Borrow only the amount you need to cover tuition and fees, books, and educational costs. The amount you borrow today must be paid back with interest over the life of the loan. The more you borrow, the higher your monthly payments will be once in repayment and more interest will have accumulated. You are strongly encouraged not to borrow at the community college level because once you attend a four-year institution, you may need the bulk of your Lifetime Loan eligibility to cover the higher tuition/costs. Try to utilize scholarships first (if eligible) before borrowing.

How do I request a student loan at Harford? First, you must complete a FAFSA at https://studentaid.gov or using the My Student Aid mobile app to determine your financial need. Loans are not automatically awarded at Harford, so in order to receive a student loan, you must complete the Loan Request Form available on the Harford Financial Aid website and Owlnet. You must also complete the Harford Electronic Consent (E-Consent) Form.

  • First Time Borrowers: You must also complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) and OnlineEntrance Counseling at https://studentaid.gov
  • Repeat Borrowers: If you have completed an MPN within the last 10 years, you will not need toredo the MPN. If you’ve previously completed Online Entrance Counseling, you will not need to redo the Entrance Counseling.

How long does it take to process a student loan request? Loan requests take 2-4 weeks to process depending on the volume of loans we have coming in. Summer months are the busiest, so it is important to turn in your Loan Request Form early to allow time for us to process it. Refer to the Loan Request Form for Priority Processing deadlines. If you submit your Loan Request Form after the Priority Processing deadline for the semester, it is not guaranteed to be processed before the payment due date and you may need to utilize a payment plan to hold your classes from dropping for nonpayment while the loan is in process if you have no other financial aid.

How will I receive my loan money? All financial aid/loans will be disbursed approximately 30 days after the start of the semester, divided equally between the semesters you requested. Tuition, fees, and bookstore charges (if applicable) will be deducted from loan proceeds (and other aid) and any remaining unused funds will be refunded by method of your choice approximately the sixth week of the semester. Your loan proceeds will be combined with other financial aid and you will receive one refund.
NOTE: The exception would be if you have a one semester loan. Loans must be disbursed evenly in two disbursements and you will receive two loan disbursements one week apart.

How do I choose a refund preference? Once you have registered for classes, you should receive a green envelope in the mail from BankMobile with a code to go onto www.refundselection.com and choose your refund preference. You can choose a paper check, direct deposit to a bank account, or direct deposit to a BankMobile account. If you didn’t receive a refund code, you can still go to www.refundselection.com, click “Need a Code?” and receive it via email. If you do not choose a refund preference, it will take longer to receive your refund. NOTE: If you are younger than 18 years old, you will receive a paper check automatically.

What is a loan servicer? The Department of Education will assign you a loan servicer, who will be in charge of collecting your monthly loan payments once you are in repayment. Harford is not your loan servicer and will not collect loan payments. Your loan servicer will be your point of contact in regards to loan questions and repayment. You will receive communication from your loan servicer letting you know which servicer you have and contact information. If you have borrowed a student loan before, you can see who your loan servicer is by logging into https://studentaid.gov with your FSA ID. On the My Aid Dashboard, you will see your outstanding student loan balances and on the right-hand side you will see the name of your loan servicer with the option to make payments.
Can I pay on my loan while I’m in school? Yes! We encourage you to make payments on your loan while in school to decrease your overall student loan debt and to pay the loan off faster. You do no technically enter repayment until 6 months after you graduate or 6 months after you drop below half-time (6 credits). Contact your loan servicer for information on repayment. There is no pre-payment penalty for paying off your loan early.
What are the interest rates for student loans? The Department of Education releases new interest rates for the new school year on July 1. Check https://studentaid.gov at that time to see the new interest rates. In addition to interest, there is also a loan fee charged by the Department of Education. This information can also be found on https://studentaid.gov.
My parent wants to borrow a Parent PLUS loan. How do we apply? First, you must complete a FAFSA at https://studentaid.gov or on the My Student Aid mobile app. Your parent must apply for the PLUS loan, complete the credit check, and the PLUS Master Promissory Note (MPN) on https://studentaid.gov. Finally, you and your parent will need to complete the Harford Parent Plus Loan Request Form available on the Harford Financial Aid website and Owlnet. For PLUS loans, your parent can borrow up to your Cost of Attendance (COA) budget, minus any other aid you are receiving.