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Ask Financial Aid

Financial aid can be both confusing and overwhelming. We want to alleviate your stress by answering some of the most frequently asked questions and providing you with the definitions, tools, and information to make the financial aid process go smoothly.

Have questions that you can't find answers to? Reach out via phone, email, or live chat and we'll do our best to help.

General Questions about aid

HOW DO I APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIPS?

Harford has a central scholarship application. Here you can apply for Harford scholarships, upload narratives, and provide references, all in one place. The deadline for fall scholarship applications is May 15th and the deadline for spring scholarship applications is December 22nd.

WHAT options do I have IF I DON’T QUALIFY FOR GRANTS OR SCHOLARSHIPS, BUT I DON’T WANT TO take out A STUDENT LOAN?

Harford offers a tuition payment plan where you make an initial down-payment, then pay the balance in monthly installments during the semester. There is a non-refundable $35 sign-up fee for the service.

HOW DO I use FINANCIAL AID to PURCHASE BOOKS ?

If sufficient funds are available after tuition & fees are paid, students may choose to use a book credit up to $1200 per semester on books and supplies at the College Store. Students must present a current Harford student I.D. card. Book purchasing dates are typically a few weeks before and after the semester starts.

HOW DO I VIEW MY FINANCIAL AID?

Details of your financial aid package and status can be found on OwlNet under the All About Me tab.

Current Term Pending Financial Aid Credits is the amount of your aid for that semester. If the Total Amount Due is a negative number you owe nothing and may use up to $1200 of that amount to buy books at The College Store. If you choose not to spend it, the money is refunded to you. If the Total Amount Due is a positive number, that is the amount of money you owe.

NOTE: We do not pay your bill until 30 days into the semester so until that date, you may still show a balance even though you have enough aid to cover it.

I DON'T SEE ANY FINANCIAL AID LISTED in MY OWLNET account UNDER FINANCIAL AID AWARDS. WHY?

If there is no aid listed, you may only qualify for federal student loans, based on your FAFSA results. To obtain a student loan, you must complete a Harford Loan Request Form in addition to the requirements listed .

HOW DO I CHOOSE A REFUND PREFERENCE?

Once you have registered for classes, you should receive instructions on how to select a refund preference with BankMobile Disbursements, a technology solution, powered by BMTX, Inc. Visit this link for more information: https://bankmobiledisbursements.com/refundchoices/. 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.

To view our third-party servicer contract for refund management, click here.

WHAT IS YEAR-ROUND PELL GRANT?

The Federal Pell Grant Program allows an eligible student to receive up to 150% of the student's annual Federal Pell Grant scheduled award. This is known as "Year-Round Pell". Year-Round Pell benefits a student that was enrolled full time (12+ credits) in the fall and full time (12+ credits) in the spring and allows them to receive up to an additional full Federal Pell Grant if enrolled at least half-time (6 credits) for the summer. Students may take advantage of this to earn their degree faster.

I WASN’T ENROLLED FULL TIME IN FALL AND SPRING. CAN I STILL receive A PELL GRANT for summer?

Pell eligible students who attended less than full time during the fall and spring semesters could receive their remaining Pell Grant award for the year with no minimum summer credit enrollment requirement.    

AM I ELIGIBLE FOR YEAR-ROUND PELL?

To be eligible for Year-Round Pell Grant you must be otherwise eligible to receive Pell Grant funds for the semester and must be enrolled at least half-time (6 or more credit/billable hours) in your approved Course Program of Study (CPOS).

WHEN WILL I find out IF I AM ELIGIBLE FOR YEAR-ROUND OR REGULAR PELL?

Harford will determine Year-Round Pell and regular summer Pell Grant awards once you are registered for summer courses. You will receive notification through your OwlMail account as well as in you OwlNet portal. 

HOW MUCH CAN I RECEIVE IN YEAR-ROUND OR REGULAR PELL?

The Pell Grant award amount will be calculated based on your Pell Grant usage during the fall and spring semesters, remaining eligibility and number of credits you are enrolled in summer.

Please see scenarios below:

Student A has a zero Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and is eligible for a full Federal Pell Grant for the 21-22 academic year. Student A was enrolled full-time for the fall and spring semesters and received full Pell disbursements. In this example, the student will now be eligible to receive a full-time disbursement in SUMMER if enrolled in twelve credit hours.

 

Fall 2021

Spring 2022

Summer 2022

Enrollment

12 credit/billable hours
Full-Time

12 credit/billable hours
Full-time

12 credit/billable
Full-time

EFC

0

0

0

Pell Awarded

$3248 (50%)

$3247(50%)

$3247 (50%)


Student B
 has a zero EFC and is eligible for a full Federal Pell Grant for the 21-22 academic year. Student B was enrolled full-time for the fall and spring semesters and received full Pell disbursements.  With the new implementation of YEAR ROUND PELL, the student will now be eligible to receive a half-time disbursement in SUMMER if enrolled in six credit hours.

 

Fall 2021

Spring 2022

Summer 2022

Enrollment

12 credit/billable hours Full-Time

12 credit/billable hours Full-time

6 credit/billable hours
Half-time

EFC

0

0

0

Pell Awarded

$3248 (50%)

$3247 (50%)

$1624 (25%)

 

Student C has a zero EFC and is eligible for a full Federal Pell Grant for the 21-22 academic year.  Student C was enrolled full-time for the fall and spring semesters but only enrolls for four credit hours during the summer semester.  Student C is not enrolled at least half-time and therefore is not eligible for additional Pell Grant funds for SUMMER.

 

Fall 2021

Spring 2022

Summer 2022

Enrollment

12 credit/billable
Full-Time

12 credit/billable
Full-time

1-5 credit hours
Less Than Half-Time

EFC

0

0

0

Pell Awarded

$3248 (50%)

$3247 (50%)

$0

Questions about Course Program of Study (CPOS)

Financial aid only pays for courses that are required for your program of study(major).  Taking courses that are not a part of your program of study could result in receiving less financial aid and could result in having to pay for courses out-of-pocket. CPOS helps you to stay on track to complete your program and ensures you are utilizing your financial aid for courses toward your degree.

WHO DOES COURSE PROGRAM OF STUDY AFFECT? 

Any financial aid recipient who is not taking courses within their program of study (major).

WHat aid is affected by COURSE PROGRAM OF STUDY? 

  • Federal Pell Grant

  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

  • Federal Direct Loans (Subsidized, Unsubsidized & Parent Plus Loan)

  • Federal Work study

  • Maryland State Aid 

HOW WILL MY AID BE AFFECTED BY CPOS?

Financial aid is based on the number of credits you are taking toward your course program of study.  If courses are not in your major, your aid will be reduced. If this reduction in aid causes you to owe a balance you will need to pay the amount due out of pocket or set up payment plan. If your balance is not paid in full (with financial aid*, out of pocket, and/or payment plan) by the payment due date, ALL of your enrolled classes will be dropped.

* Federal Direct Loans are considered financial aid.

HOW DO I DETERMINE WHAT COURSES COUNT IN MY PROGRAM OF STUDY (MAJOR)?

Review Degree Works to determine the courses required for your major.

WILL COURSES REQUIRED FOR TRANSFER COUNT TOWARD MY PROGRAM OF STUDY?

No. Only courses required for your degree at Harford Community College will count toward your financial aid. This includes students transferring to Towson University North East (TUNE).

I NEED TO BE ENROLLED IN 12 CREDITS FOR A PARTICULAR GRANT BUT ONLY 9 CREDITS IN MY MAJOR CAN BE ACCOMMODATED THIS SEMESTER. WILL MY FINANCIAL AID BE AFFECTED?

Yes. If a grant or other aid has a credit requirement, only courses in your major can count toward that requirement. Contact financial aid to see if there is other aid you can receive in lieu of that particular grant.

FEDERAL DIRECT STUDENT LOANS REQUIRE half- TIME ENROLLMENT OF 6+ CREDITS. ONLY 3 OUT OF MY 6 CREDITS COUNTS TOWARD MY PROGRAM OF STUDY.  AM I STILL ELIGIBLE FOR STUDENT LOANS SINCE I AM ENROLLED IN 6 CREDITS?

No.  At least 6 of your credits need to count toward your program of study in order to be eligible for federal direct student loans. Another example: You are enrolled in 12 credits and only 9 are in your program of study. You will be eligible for the loan since 6 credits count toward your major.   

I AM ENROLLED IN A FINANCIAL AID ELIGIBLE CERTIFICATE PROGRAM. HOW DOES CPOS AFFECT ME?

Like a degree program, you only receive aid for the courses required for your certificate.  All CPOS regulations and procedures outlined in the FAQs apply to degree and certificate programs.

I AM PURSUING A DOUBLE MAJOR. WILL MY FINANCIAL AID BE IMPACTED BY CPOS?

Courses in both majors are reviewed and aid is awarded based on credits toward both majors. Courses not part of either major will not qualify for financial aid.

I NEED TO REPEAT A COURSE THAT I HAVE ALREADY TAKEN, DOES THIS COUNT TOWARD MY PROGRAM OF STUDY?

For the course to be eligible for financial aid you must have passed it initially and retake it only once, presumably for a better grade. A passed course is one where you received a grade of A, B, C or D.

Examples: 

    • Student has already taken CHEM 111 and earned a C but would like to retake to earn a better grade will it be covered for a second time? YES

    • Student took CHEM 111 and earned an F, repeated the course again and earned a C.  Will a third attempt be covered? Yes the first attempt will not count as a completion

    • Student is taking CHEM 11 for the third time first attempt student earned a D, Second attempt student earned a C.  Will the third attempt be covered? No, FA has covered the previous 2 passing attempts.

I NEED TO COMPLETE DEVELOPMENTAL COURSES BEFORE starting COURSES TOWARD MY PROGRAM OF STUDY. WILL THESE BE COVERED?

Developmental credits are covered as they are required course in order for your program of study. These credits will show as "NOT COUNTED" in your Degree Works audit however, financial aid can cover up to 30 credits in developmental courses. Examples of these credits are any course that begins with 0 like Math 021 or English 017.

FAFSA Questions

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) is the first step to finding out what funding you are eligible to receive. The FAFSA® needs to be completed and filed annually. We strongly encourage all new and current students to complete the FAFSA® whether or not you think you will qualify for aid.

To receive a financial aid award you must have already applied to Harford Community College  and filed the FAFSA® listing Harford's school code: 002075.

WHEN CAN THE FAFSA BE FILED?

FAFSA® is an annual application that opens on October 1st for the upcoming academic year. It can be accessed at studentaid.gov

WHAT DO I  DO AFTER I Apply TO HARFORD AND COMPLETE THE FAFSA?

Provided your file is complete, you will receive an award notification in April. The Financial Aid Office may reach out to request additional documents. After the initial request for documentation, all correspondence will be through your OwlMail account. 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.

WHAT KINDS OF QUESTIONS ARE ASKED ON THE FAFSA?

This worksheet gives you examples.

WHAT IS THE IRS DATA RETRIEVAL TOOL?

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool allows students and parents who filed their federal tax return to easily, accurately and securely transfer their tax information into the FAFSA® form.

CREATE A FAFSA ID

Your FSA ID allows you to electronically sign your FAFSA® form. If providing parent information, one parent must also apply for a FSA ID in order to sign the FAFSA® form. 

WHAT TAX AND INCOME INFORMATION DO I NEED TO COMPLETE MY FAFSA®?

Harford's Financial Aid TV will walk you through everything you need.

Explanation of 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.

Direct Loans 

What types of Federal Direct Loans are available at Harford?

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

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

  • Be enrolled in a certificate or degree program
  • Enroll for a minimum of 6 credits within your Course Program of Study (major) each semester
  • Be in good academic standing under the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy
  • Be a 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.

I don’t have an established credit history. Can I still get a student loan?

Yes, student loans do not require a credit check or co-signer. Student loans can help you establish “good” credit if you make loan payments on time. Student loans can negatively impact your credit score if you do not make scheduled loan payments or go into default.

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 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 under All About Me tab – Quick Links – Loan Forms. You must also complete the Electronic Consent (E-Consent) Form linked on the Loan Request Form.

  • First Time Borrowers: You must also complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) and online Entrance Counseling at https://studentaid.gov.
  • Repeat Borrowers: If you have completed an MPN within the last 10 years, you will not need to redo the 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 2-3 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.

What is the difference between my loan being awarded, authorized to my account, or  disbursed?

  • AWARDED: Aid has been put onto your account, which you can see on your Owlnet account.
  • AUTHORIZED: Aid has been awarded and is virtually deducted from the amount you owe- but it has NOT actually been applied to (paid) the bill.
  • DISBURSED: Aid has been applied to (paid) your bill.

 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.

How do I choose a refund preference?

The first time you register for classes at Harford, you will receive instructions on how to select a refund preference with BankMobile Disbursements, a technology solution, powered by BMTX, Inc. Visit this link for more information: https://bankmobiledisbursements.com/refundchoices/

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. You should review your refund preference on an annual basis on www.refundselection.com in case you want to make changes to your selection.

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 not 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.

I had student loans at another school this aid year and am transferring to Harford. Can I also apply for student loans at Harford?

It depends. A student cannot receive aid/loans at two schools during the same time period. Students must also stay within the annual loan limits (listed above) and not exceed their cost of attendance budget in aid. The loan amount you received at your previous school this aid year will be subtracted from your annual loan limit. If there is any remaining loan eligibility left (and your cost of attendance budget is not met), you would be eligible for those loan funds. However, if you still have pending loans at the previous school for this semester, you would need to contact that school’s financial aid office to have the pending loans canceled in order to receive loans at Harford. Loans do NOT transfer or carry over to other schools.

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.