Frequently asked questions:
Why am I still considered a dependent student? I'm 21 years old and haven't lived with my parents for years.
For financial aid purposes, Federal and Michigan financial aid authorities and BMCC consider students dependent until they are 24 years old, or are considered independent by marrying, serving in the military, or having dependents. Students may also be independent if they have been wards of the court or working on a degree beyond a four-year degree.
What kinds of information do I need to fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)?
The FAFSA is one of two documents you must complete to be considered for financial aid at BMCC. (The other is BMCC's own Financial Aid Checklist. You'll need information about last year's income and taxes, usually from Federal Income tax and W-2 forms. If you're a dependent student, your parents will also need to supply their income and tax information. If you've received untaxed income, such as certain Social Security benefits or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, you'll need to include that information as well. You should not send in any tax documents to BMCC unless you are specifically asked to do so.
What is Verification?
Verification is a process where a BMCC financial aid counselor compares information you provided on your FAFSA with information on tax and income documents. About 3 of every 10 students applying for financial aid at the College are selected for Verification by the Federal Department of Education. If you are selected for Verification, you will be asked to bring in copies of tax and income documents.
What is "Satisfactory Academic Progress"? How does it affect my financial aid?
To be eligible for financial aid, Federal and Michigan authorities and official BMCC policy require students to be making "Satisfactory Academic Progress." Each semester the Financial Aid Office monitors students' GPA, and also reviews the success of financial aid students in earning credits toward their degrees and certificates. Students also need to earn their degrees within a certain number of attempted credits, usually about 90 credits for an Associate degree.
What happens to my financial aid if I drop out during the semester?
Financial aid is pro-rated for the semester, meaning that aid is earned at a certain rate and not completely provided at the very beginning of the semester. After the 60 percent point in the semester, all financial aid is considered earned. Generally, earned aid is subtracted from your bill for tuition, fees, and books. If earned aid is less than your bill, you will have to pay the balance.
Can you tell me a little bit about educational loans?
The only loans BMCC participate with at this time is alternative loans. This means that students apply separately for these loans, with forms available from the individual loan companies not the financial aid office.
Why is my financial aid money disbursed so late in the semester?
Students earn financial aid--which includes educational loans--over the course of the semester. After the 60% point of the semester, all aid is considered earned. By that point all aid usually has been disbursed and any refund due to students has been placed on student accounts. BMCC 's Business Office then cuts refund checks, which take 2-3 weeks for students to receive by mail.
How is my bill for tuition and fees paid?
If you've received a financial aid award, your tuition and fees are deducted from it. Any excess funds--after any allowable charges for books and supplies--come to you as a refund later in the semester. If your bill isn't covered completely by financial aid, you will need to make arrangements at the beginning of the semester to pay the balance of the bill.
How do I earn college work-study money?
The key word here is "earn." Unlike grants, such as Federal Pell Grants, work-study awards are maximum amounts that can be earned over the award period through working in approved on- or off-campus jobs.
How are my books and supplies paid?
If you've signed the BMCC Financial Aid Checklist and Acknowledgement of Credit to Account paperwork, you've given BMCC the right to set up an account for you in the bookstore so you can charge the cost of your books and supplies to your financial aid award. Note that you will only have an account set up if you have enough financial aid after your bill for tuition and fees is deducted from your award. If you don't have enough excess aid for books and supplies, you will need to purchase books and supplies with other funds.