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Financial Aid FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Financial Aid

Visit the FAFSA website and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Yes. The FAFSA is available online beginning Oct. 1 for the upcoming academic year.
The FSA ID — a username and password — has replaced the Federal Student Aid personal identification number (FSA PIN) and must be used to log in to certain U.S. Department of Education websites. Your FSA ID confirms your identity when you access your financial aid information and electronically sign Federal Student Aid documents. You and your parents (if you are dependent for financial aid purposes) must obtain an FSA ID at FSAID.
A Student Aid Report (SAR) is a summary of the information that you and your family provided on the FAFSA. The Department of Education will email the SAR to you after your FAFSA has been processed.
You’ll need to have a current admissions application to COA for your FAFSA information to be received by our school. Under the school selection tab of the FAFSA, please add COA by searching for schools in Elizabeth City or by adding our school code (002917).
You were either randomly selected for verification by the U.S. Department of Education, or selected by our office to provide reasonable documentation. It’s also 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.
  • If your parents are living with each other, you’ll 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 about that parent and the person whom your parent married (your stepparent).
  • Grandparents, foster parents, legal guardians, older brothers and sisters, and uncles and aunts aren’t considered your parents unless they’ve legally adopted you. If you live with them and they’ve not legally adopted you, please contact the Financial Aid Office to discuss your options.
If you don’t know where your parents live, or you’ve left home due to an abusive situation, please fill out the student information section on the FAFSA and contact our office.
You’re still required to answer the questions about your parents and have a parent sign the FAFSA if you’re considered a dependent student.
You won’t be considered an independent student just because your parents refuse to help you with this process. If you don’t provide their information on the FAFSA, the application will be rejected and prevent awarding of financial aid.
If your financial situation has changed since you initially filed the FAFSA, please contact the Financial Aid Office at 252-335-0821 ext. 2385 for more information.
You’ll need to complete the FAFSA in order to determine eligibility for the Federal Pell Grant.
You’ll need to complete the FAFSA in order to determine eligibility for Federal Work-­Study. Visit COA’s Federal Work-­Study web page for more information.
The amount of Federal Pell Grant funds you may receive over your lifetime is limited to 12 full-time semesters (or its equivalent of 600 percent). To view your LEU percentage, visit the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) and log in using your FSA ID.
If you’re interested in applying for scholarships through College of The Albemarle Foundation, please submit the online application by early March (late applications are accepted). Visit the COA Foundation scholarship listings web page for more information. Additional outside scholarships are posted throughout the year on COA’s additional scholarships web page. If you receive a private scholarship, please notify the Financial Aid Office.
No, COA doesn’t participate in the Federal Direct Loan programs.
Once you’ve received your offer letter, you can register for classes. 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’ll be able to apply it toward books at COA’s bookstore during certain times.
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.

You may use any financial aid remaining after tuition and fee charges are paid to pay for books at the bookstore.

How to Order Books Online (PDF)

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 late starting classes. For specific information, please contact our office. Visit our list of payment dates.

Financial aid, whether the Federal Pell Grant or state grants, can sometimes be prorated based on the number of credit hours you’re currently enrolled in. To be considered currently enrolled for financial aid purposes, your attendance needs to be verified, including for internet and hybrid classes. 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. Enrollment status definitions:

  • Full-time plus: 15 credit hours or more (North Carolina Community College Grant only)
  • Full-time: 12 credit hours or more
  • Three-quarter-time: 9 to 11 credit hours
  • Half-time: 6 to 8 credit hours
  • Less than half-time: 5 credit hours or less. State grants are not available to students at this enrollment status
Withdrawing, dropping a class or adding a class could cause a change in your offer and/or refund. Please consult your advisor and the Financial Aid Office before withdrawing, dropping a class or adding a class, as it may impact your Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).
The amount of money you’ll owe will depend on the date of your official withdrawal. Once you’ve officially withdrawn, we’ll begin the process of calculating the amount you may owe and will notify you in writing.
No, you won’t have to pay back your Federal Pell Grant unless you have withdrawals subject to return calculations, in which case you’ll be notified by our office.

The SAP appeal is a process that allows students who’ve fallen below their SAP due to extraordinary circumstances to appeal for future financial aid eligibility. Visit our academic progress requirements web page for more information.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Requirements (PDF)

Your student identification number is a randomly assigned number given to each student. You can find your student identification number on your offer letter, information letter, acceptance letter, MyService’s “My Profile” and on your student identification card.
The cost of attendance is the average cost to attend college for one academic year (fall through spring). It includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, transportation, and personal expenses. The cost of attendance is based on North Carolina residency as well as whether or not you live with your parents. Visit our cost of attendance web page for more details.
Incoming information becomes the property of COA and may not be released to third parties, including the applicant.