Financial Aid FAQ

What do I need to apply for financial aid at RACC?
You need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). RACC's school code is 01038800. The FAFSA needs to be completed each year.

When should I apply?
As soon as possible. The FAFSA for the upcoming academic year is available every January 1; however, federal income taxes should be filed prior to completing the FAFSA every year. Students are encouraged to apply by May 1 prior to the academic year they plan to attend.

When is the deadline for financial aid at RACC?
To be considered for State aid and RACC scholarships, you must submit the FAFSA at least one week before May 1. You can complete the FAFSA anytime during your period of enrollment, but no later than June 30 of the end of the academic year, whichever comes first, for consideration for the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Direct Loan or Federal Direct PLUS Loan.

Do I have to be full-time to qualify for financial aid?
No. If eligible, you may qualify for aid with only one class. However, to receive most aid, including federal, state and loans you must be enrolled in at least 6 credits.

I know I don't qualify for aid, should I still complete the FAFSA?
Yes. Remember, your family's size, income and number of students in college is all taken into consideration when determining your eligibility. Even if you don't qualify for grants, you still need to have the FAFSA completed to be considered for certain scholarships, work study and Federal Direct Loans.

Where and when can I look for scholarships?
It is important to start looking as early as you can. Check with your High School Guidance Office, the college you plan on attending, local newspapers, the library, local business/organizations and the Internet. Do not participate in any scholarship searches that require you to pay a fee. You can get the same information for free from Internet searches at www.fastweb.com and your college Financial Aid Office.

How do I apply for a Federal Direct Loan?
The Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling must be completed at www.studentloans.gov.

A Loan Request Form can be downloaded here or picked up in the Financial Aid Office.

Are ESL classes eligible for financial aid?
Yes, but not for PHEAA State Grants.

I am not a U.S. Citizen. Will I qualify for financial aid?
To qualify for aid, non-U.S. Citizens must have an "eligible non-citizen" status. Contact the Financial Aid Office at the campus you plan to attend for additional information and eligibility requirements.

When will I find out about how much financial aid I will be receiving from RACC?
About 1-2 weeks after you complete the FAFSA on-line, you will receive an e-mail from the federal processor indicating your FAFSA has been processed. This is called your Student Aid Report (SAR). Read over the SAR and make any necessary corrections. PHEAA will notify you separately about your state grant eligibility. RACC mails out award letters approximately two weeks after the FAFSA is completed online, beginning April 1 for the upcoming academic year. Do not make any changes to your FAFSA/SAR after you receive an award letter from RACC. If you find you made an error and you have already received an award letter from RACC, contact the Financial Aid Office.

Why am I required to provide my parents' income information?
The Department of Education determines your dependency status and views the student (and their parents or spouse, if applicable) as the primary source of financial support for the student's post-secondary education. A student not living with their parents or claimed on the parents' federal income tax return does NOT by itself classify a student as independent. If you feel you have unusual family circumstances, contact the Financial Aid Office to inquire about a dependency override.

My family's income has decreased since I filed the FAFSA. Can my eligibility for financial aid be re-evaluated?
Yes. If your family has unusual circumstances such as loss of employment, loss of untaxed income or death of a parent or spouse, and the family income is significantly reduced, contact the Financial Aid Office to receive the appropriate paperwork for an income reduction.

I earned a Bachelor's degree in another country, would I qualify for financial aid?
You may be eligible for federal student loans and work-study programs. Any student, regardless of their citizenship status, with a bachelor's degree is not eligible for federal or state grants.

Can I use my financial aid to purchase books at the RACC bookstore?
Yes. If your aid has been awarded and it exceeds the charges on your semester bill, you can charge books against that excess. Take your schedule/bill and RACC ID to the RACC bookstore on the dates specified. We cannot advance you funds to purchase books online or at other bookstores.

How is enrollment status defined?
Full-time = 12 or more credits per term
Three quarter-time = 9-11 credits per term
Half-time = 6-8 credits per term
Less than half-time = 1-5 credits per term

How is Berks County residency determined?
Billing is based on the address submitted on the Admissions Application. If you move into Berks County, you will need to bring official documentation (driver's license, utility bill, lease, etc.) to the Student Records Office to have your address changed and your billing updated.

How is Pennsylvania Residency Determined?
PHEAA State Grant eligibility is based on being a Pennsylvania resident for at least 12 consecutive months immediately preceding the filing date of the FAFSA application (exclusive of any period of time the student spend while enrolled in a Pennsylvania postsecondary educational institution).

I've just recently applied to RACC and just completed my FAFSA. Classes start soon, so what should I do about my bill?
Yes, you can still attend RACC. However, if you do not have financial aid present at the time your bill is due, you will need to pay at least 50 percent to the college. Acceptable payment will be cash, check, money order, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or a letter from your sponsor. Once the Financial Aid Office receives the results of your FAFSA and determines the amount of financial aid you can receive, we will credit it to your account. If you have financial aid in excess of what you owe, you will receive a refund during normal refund procedures/dates.

What happens to my financial aid if I withdraw during the semester?
Your withdrawal may affect your eligibility for financial aid in future semesters and could result in your having to repay all or a portion of your financial aid award to RACC or the Department of Education. Therefore, students are encouraged to meet with their professors and academic advisors, utilize tutorial services, and speak with a Financial Aid Advisor before withdrawing from RACC. Also, if you stop attending classes your aid may be backed out resulting in a balance owed to RACC.