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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is financial aid?
Financial aid is a generic term used to describe different types of money designated to economically assist students to achieve their educational goals.  Some types of monies are classified in terms of grants, work-study, student loans, scholarships and Board of Governor’s Fee Waiver. Some have Federal or State restrictions.

Where can I get help filling out the FAFSA?
You can get assistance by visiting with the Financial Aid Office.  We have staff that can assist you with specific areas of the application during our open lab times. Come prepared with the application completed as much as possible. We will be happy to help you complete your application.

How long is the FAFSA good for?
The FAFSA is good for the upcoming Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters.  You only have to renew your FAFSA once each year which is after January 1st.

When is the deadline for the FAFSA?
Students should apply for financial aid as soon as possible, but no earlier than January 1st of each year.  Should you be a California resident, there is a state grant called “Cal Grant” which has a deadline of March 2nd each year.  FAFSA’s are accepted throughout the year and are processed on a first-come; first-serve basis.

Is there an income limit required to get financial aid?
There is no clear-cut income limit. The financial aid application considers all variables including income to determine financial aid eligibility. The only way to truly know if you are eligible for financial aid is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

I cannot fill out a FAFSA because I lost my tax information. Can I guess the amounts?
Yes. When filling out the FAFSA, you can place estimated income and mark it as estimated but you are required to correct the information as soon as you obtain your required information and prior to receiving an award. If you paid to get your taxes completed you can contact your tax preparer for a duplicate copy or you may contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040.

I attended another college before. How will this affect financial aid?
Any units attempted at any other institution must be evaluated toward your Hartnell College degree or certificate. The units that are transferred in must be considered for normal time frame calculations for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).

I just want to take some classes for job skills or to improve my skills. Can I still receive financial aid?
We can offer you the Board Of Governor’s fee Waiver, if eligible, but not for federal aid. Most Federal and State financial aid is reserved for students who are seeking a college degree or certificate.

Do I have to be a full-time student to receive financial aid?
No, however, eligibility is determined from the units enrolled in each semester and your EFC (Expected Family Contribution).  In some cases, a student may be required to be enrolled in 12.0+ units to receive some grants.  We recommend you double check with a Financial Aid staff person regarding your eligibility.

What are the eligibility requirements for financial aid?
*Be accepted for admission
*Be enrolled in a program leading to a degree or certificate
*Be in good academic standing
*For most programs, demonstrate financial need
*Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
*Certify compliance with Selective Service Registration requirements
*Not be in default on any loan or owe a refund on any grant made under any Title IV program
*Have a social security number
*Have a high school diploma or recognized equivalent

When will I receive my financial aid check?
Please make sure to review the Disbursement Schedule posted under Financial Aid Dates and Deadlines. If your file is complete prior to the dates listed for Pell Grant Lists 1 or 2, you will receive 50% of your Pell Grant on the dates listed in the Disbursement Schedule. Your will receive your remaining Pell Grant with the 3rd Pell Grant List.
If your file complete date is after those dates you will receive your Pell grant in a single check based on the Disbursement Schedule.
Your financial aid eligibility will be based on your enrollment on census date (see important dates above). No other adjustments will be made to your aid unless you withdraw from all classes. If your financial aid is processed after census date it will be based on your enrollment at that time.
You should never cash a financial aid check if you are not attending classes. Contact the Financial Aid Office immediately to discuss your situation. If you drop all your units or do not attend class you may owe money to the Department of Education and to Hartnell, and this could prevent you from getting any financial aid at other schools.

How will I receive my financial aid?
Hartnell is partnering with Higher One to disburse financial aid to you. You have a choice of how you want to receive your aid. After the Hartnell Financial Aid Office receives your FAFSA information you will be sent a Higher One Debit/Credit Card. The card will be mailed to the permanent address you provided to Hartnell College.
You will then be asked to visit the Higher One web site and select the way you wish to receive your aid. You have three options:

  1. Deposit financial aid to your Higher One account and use your Higher One Debit/Credit Card to access your aid.
  2. Have Higher One deposit your aid in the bank account of your choice. You may want to use a bank account you have already.
  3. Receive a paper check. You may still choose to have a financial aid check mailed to you. Please be aware that this will take longer than option 1 or 2 above.

You will be able to log into your Higher One Account to check on the status of your refund. It is important that you select the way you would like to receive your refund. Failure to do this will significantly delay the disbursement of your financial aid.

What is Hartnell’s Federal School Code?
Hartnell’s Federal School Code is 001209

Why must I take the Ability to Benefit (ATB) Test and How Can I take the Test?
To be eligible for financial aid, you must have a high school diploma, a GED or its equivalent, complete 6 units of degree-applicable courses, or take and pass an Ability to Benefit Test.  To schedule an appointment to take the ATB test, please contact the Hartnell’s STAAR* Placement Office at (831) 759-6054 or stop by CAB-165 in the counseling hallway.

How can I find out the status of my financial aid file?
Hartnell College’s Financial Aid Department is unable to disclose personal information about your file over the phone due to the Privacy Act (FERPA).  Students may request information about his/her file in person by showing a picture ID such as your Hartnell Student ID to the Financial Aid Department.  You may also check your status using PAWS for Students.