2014-15 Changes to Financial Aid Regulations & Processes
- Maximum Pell Grant award increases from $5,645 to $5,730
- Maximum Pell Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) will increase from 5081 to 5157
- Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) - legally married, same-sex couples, parents or students, must report thier marital status as married if they are legally married. Also, if student's parents are not married to each other and live together, questions about both of them must be answered on the FAFSA. If parents are divorced or separated and live together, questions about both of them must be answered on the FAFSA.
- Due to sequestration, loan fees will increase n new loans on December 1st.
- If selected for verification, the Department of Education will assign student to a specific verification group. V6 is a new group that has been added to verify household number. V2 has been eliminated.
- Effective July 1, 2013, students lose the subsidy of existing loans if they do not complete their program of study within 150% of the published length of the program.
- Middle Income Scholarship will begin for students attending CSU and UC in fall 2014.
Other Changes of Importance to Students
PELL Grant Life Time Eligibility
Beginning July 2012, the federal government has reduced the life-time eligibility for the federal PELL Grant to a maximum of 12 full-time semesters. Example: After you receive a PELL Grant for six years of full-time study, 12 or more units each semester, you will no longer be allowed to receive the PELL Grant. If you attend less than 12 units, your PELL Grant eligibility will be prorated. Students can click here to check their current Pell LEU (Lifetime Eligibility Use) percentage on the National Student Loan Database.
High School Completion and Ability to Benefit (ATB)
To be eligible for financial aid, students are required to have a High School Diploma, General Education Diploma, (GED) or equivalency. Students who do not have a high school diploma or a recognized equivalent (e.g.,GED), and who first enroll in a program of study on or after July 1, 2012, will not be eligible to receive Title IV student aid. Students will qualify for Title IV student aid under one of the ability-to-benefit (ATB) alternatives if the student completed those ATB alternatives and was enrolled in a Title IV eligible program prior to July 1, 2012. Those alternatives include the student passing an independently administered, approved ATB test or successfully completing at least six credit hours of postsecondary education. Students that possess a Foreign High School Diploma will be required to have the grade transcripts evaluated by an accredited agency in order to determine if the diploma is equivalent to a U.S. High School Diploma.
California Dream Act (CADA)
Legislative bills AB130 and AB131 allow verified AB540 students to apply for and receive State of California financial aid. Students with valid social security numbers (SSN) should complete the FAFSA application and those who do not have valid SSNs should complete the California Dream Act application (CADA) at (website). The CADA application will generate application for both CalGrants and BOG Fee Waivers. For more information on the CADA, please click here.
Board of Governor Fee Waivers (BOGFW)
Beginning the Fall 2016 semester, students will become ineligible for BOGFWs if placed on academic or progress probation for two consecutive primary terms (fall and/or spring). Students will have the ability to appeal the loss of BOGFW due to extenuating circumstances – please check back for more information on this important change.
HigherOne and Disbursement of FA Funds
Southwestern College has partnered with Higher One®, a financial services company, to enable students to choose how they receive their financial aid funds – direct deposit, HigherOne debit card or paper check. Please click here for more information and FAQs on HIgherOne and services available to students.