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Frequently Asked Questions
  1. How do I apply for financial aid?
  2. Do I have to complete the FAFSA every year
  3. What is a PIN for financial aid?
  4. What is an SAR?
  5. How will the College of The Albemarle get my application?
  6. Why was I selected for verification?
  7. How do I use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?
  8. How do I know if I am an Independent or Dependent student?
  9. Who is considered my “parent” when I fill out the FAFSA?
  10. What if I have no contact with my parents?
  11. What if I don’t live with my parents?
  12. What if my parents refuse to help me pay for college and will not provide their information for my FAFSA?
  13. What if my family’s financial situation has changed since I filed the FAFSA?
  14. Do I qualify for the Pell Grant?
  15. Do I qualify for Federal Work Study?
  16. What is Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU) and how does it affect me?
  17. Do I qualify for scholarships?
  18. Does COA participate in student loan programs?
  19. What happens after I receive my award letter?
  20. If I receive a scholarship after I have already received my financial aid award, will I lose any other aid?
  21. Can I buy my text books with my financial aid award?
  22. When will I get my refund?
  23. What happens if I take less than 12 credit hours?
  24. Why did my financial aid award or refund change?
  25. How much money will I owe if I withdraw?
  26. Can I use my financial aid in the summer semester?
  27. Do I have to pay back my Federal Pell Grant after I finish school?
  28. What is a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal?
  29. What is my Student Identification Number?
  30. What is College of The Albemarle’s cost of attendance?
  31. Can a student or parent get copies of paperwork turned in to financial aid?



1. How do I apply for financial aid?
To apply for financial aid go to www.fafsa.gov and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

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2. Do I have to complete the FAFSA every year?
Yes, you need to complete a FAFSA for each academic year. The FAFSA is available online beginning January 1 for the upcoming academic year.

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3. What is a PIN for financial aid?
You and your parents (if you are dependent for financial aid purposes) may obtain a Personal Identification Number (PIN). The PIN is your electronic signature. With a PIN you may complete the FAFSA online without submitting a signed signature page. http://www.pin.ed.gov/

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4. What is an SAR?
SAR stands for Student Aid Report. A SAR is the report that you will receive after filing for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It is a summary of the information that you (and your family) provided on the FAFSA.

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5. How will the College of The Albemarle get my application?
You need to have a current admissions application to the College of The Albemarle for your FAFSA information to be received by our school. Under the school selection tab of the FAFSA you need select and add the College of The Albemarle to your selected schools. You can do this by searching for schools in Elizabeth City, NC or by adding our school code: 002917.

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6. Why was I selected for verification?
You were selected for verification by the U.S. Department of Education. The U.S. Department of Education randomly selects students for verification. Our office also has the right to select a student for verification and require reasonable documentation. It is possible to be selected for verification if you make a correction on your original FAFSA even though you may not have been selected for verification on the first FAFSA transaction.

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7. How do I use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?
When you fill out the FAFSA if you have already completed and submitted your 2012 IRS tax return in most cases you will have the option to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. This tool will transfer the information from your tax return to your FAFSA. How to Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool

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8. How do I know if I am an Independent or Dependent student?
You are an Independent Student if you answer yes to one or more of the questions listed below. You are a Dependent Student if you answered no to all of the following questions.

  • Were you born before January 1990?
  • Are you married?
  • Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. armed forces?
  • Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?
  • Do you have children who will receive more than half of their support from you for the next academic year?
  • At any time since you turned age 13, were your parents deceased, were you in foster care or where you considered a ward of the court? *A student is a ward of the court if a state or federal court has assumed legal custody of him/her except through incarceration
  • As determined by a court in your state of legal residence, are you or were you in legal guardianship?
  • As determined by a court in your state of legal residence, are you or were you an emancipated minor? *Emancipated minors are released from control of their parent or guardian through a state court
  • At any time on or after July 1, 2012, did your high school or school district homeless liaison determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?
  • At any time on or after July 1, 2012, did the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?
  • At any time on or after July 1, 2012, did the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?

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9. Who is considered my “parent” when I fill out the FAFSA?
  • If your parents are married and living with each other you will answer the questions about both of them.
  • If your parent is widowed or single, answer the questions about that parent. If your widowed parent is remarried answer questions about that parent and the person whom your parent married (your stepparent).
  • If your parents are divorced or separated, answer the questions about the parent with whom you lived with more during the past 12 months. If you lived the same amount of time with each parent, give the answers about the parent who provided more financial support during the past 12 months or during the most recent year that you actually received support from a parent. If this parent is remarried as of today, answer questions on the FAFSA about that parent and the person whom your parent married (your stepparent).
  • Grandparents, foster parents, legal guardians, older brother or sisters, and uncles and aunts are not considered your parents unless they have legally adopted you. If you live with them and they have not legally adopted you, please contact the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid to discuss your options.

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10. What if I have no contact with my parents?
If you do not know where your parents live, or you have left home due to an abusive situation, fill out the student information section on the FAFSA and contact our office.

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11. What if I don’t live with my parents?
You are still required to answer the questions about your parents and have a parent sign the FAFSA if you are considered a Dependent Student.

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12. What if my parents refuse to help me pay for college and will not provide their information for my FAFSA?
You can’t be considered an Independent Student just because your parents refuse to help you with this process. If you do not provide their information on the FAFSA the application will be rejected and prevent awarding of financial aid.

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13. What if my family’s financial situation has changed since I filed the FAFSA?
If your financial situation has changed since you initially filed the FAFSA or since December 2012 you may complete an Appeal for Special Circumstances Income Adjustment form.

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14. Do I qualify for the Pell Grant?
In order to determine eligibility for the Federal Pell Grant you need to complete a FAFSA.

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15. Do I qualify for Federal Work Study?
In order to determine eligibility for Federal Work Study you need complete a FAFSA. Federal Work Study Information

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16. What is Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU) and how does it affect me?
The amount of Federal Pell Grant funds you may receive over your lifetime is limited by a new federal law to be the equivalent of six years of Pell Grant funding. Since the maximum amount of Pell Grant funding you can receive each year is equal to 100%, the six-year equivalent is 600%. This law includes all Pell Grant funds received from 1973 through the current year. To view your Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU) percentage you can log on to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) using your student aid PIN: http://www.nslds.ed.gov/nslds_SA/

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17. Do I qualify for scholarships?
If you are interested in applying for scholarships through the College of The Albemarle Foundation please submit the application to our office. This application is due by March 15, 2013 but late applications are accepted. Private Scholarship Listings
Additional outside scholarships are posted throughout the year and if you receive one please notify the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid. Additional Scholarships

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18. Does COA participate in student loan programs?
Effective with the 2012-2013 academic year, College of The Albemarle does not participate in the Federal Direct Loan Programs.

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19. What happens after I receive my award letter?
Once you have received your award letter, you will know that you can register. If you have sufficient financial aid, your tuition and fees will be taken from that balance automatically. If you have sufficient aid after your tuition and fees have been deducted, you will also able to charge books at the Bookstore during certain times.

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20. If I receive a scholarship after I have already received my financial aid award, will I lose any other aid?
In accordance with federal regulations, each student who applies for aid is eligible for a certain amount of need based aid up to their financial need. If an outside scholarship results in you receiving more aid than your financial need, you may lose other aid. This will depend upon the type of aid you are receiving. Contact our office for answers to your specific situation.

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21. Can I buy my text books with my financial aid award?
You may use your financial aid (if any aid remains after tuition and fees have been deducted) to charge books at the Campus Bookstore.

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22. When will I get my refund?
Excess financial aid is disbursed based on confirmed attendance as your classes begin throughout the semester. If you have late starting classes the excess aid will be distributed after attendance has been verified for those classes past the census date. For specific information please contact our office. list of payment dates

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23. What happens if I take less than 12 credit hours?
For many students, financial aid, whether the Federal Pell Grant or state grants can be prorated based on the number of credit hours that you are currently enrolled in. To be considered currently enrolled for financial aid purposes your attendance needs to be verified through the census date this includes all classes (internet, hybrid, etc). If you have late starting classes your enrollment may change throughout the semester and will be adjusted accordingly. If you have specific questions about your enrollment please contact our office.
Full-time = 12 credit hours or more
Three quarter time = 9 – 11 credit hours
Half-time = 6 – 8 credit hours
Less than half time = 5 credit hours or less (State Grants are not available to student at this enrollment status)

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24. Why did my financial aid award or refund change?
Withdrawing, dropping a class, or adding a class could cause a change in your award and/or refund. You should consult your academic advisor and the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid before withdrawing, dropping a class or adding a class because it may impact your Satisfactory Academic Progress.

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25. How much money will I owe if I withdraw?
The amount of money you owe will depend on the date of your official withdrawal. Once you have officially withdrawn we will begin the process of calculating the amount you may owe and will notify you in writing.

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26. Can I use my financial aid in the summer semester?
If you have remaining Federal Pell Grant or scholarship funds you may be eligible to use it during the summer semester. If you were full-time in both the fall and spring semesters and received your full award amount (regardless of what school you attended) you would not be eligible for summer aid. For specific information please contact our office.

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27. Do I have to pay back my Federal Pell Grant after I finish school?
No. You do not have to pay back your Federal Pell Grant unless you have withdrawals subject to return calculations in which case you will be notified by our office.

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28. What is a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal?
The SAP Appeal is a process that allows students who have fallen below their Satisfactory Academic Progress, due to extraordinary circumstances, to appeal for future financial aid eligibility. Academic Progress Requirements to Maintain Financial Assistance

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29. What is my Student Identification Number?
Your student identification number is a randomly assigned number given to each student. You can find your student identification number on your award letter, information letter, acceptance letter, web advisor’s “My Profile” and on your student identification card.

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30. What is College of The Albemarle's cost of attendance?
The cost of attendance is based on whether a student is a North Carolina Resident, or an Out-of-State Resident , as well as whether the student lives with their parents, or does not live with their parents. Cost of Attendance for the 2013-2014 Academic Year

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31. Can a student or parent get copies of paperwork turned in to financial aid?
Incoming information becomes the property of College of The Albemarle and may not be released to third parties, to include applicant/student.

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