Applying for financial aid can seem a little overwhelming. While there are many forms and deadlines, Heritage Christian University can help. This easy step-by-step guide to financial aid will assist you in navigating and completing the process.

Step #1

FSA ID
The FSA ID has replaced the FAFSA PIN as the way to confirm identity when accessing financial aid information through certain ED websites. From now on, when logging in to these websites, you will be required to enter only their FSA ID username and password. Your FSA ID will be used when filing the FAFSA, accessing financial aid information, and electronically signing federal student aid documents. The FSA ID can be applied for at any time. If you do not have one by the time you fill out a FAFSA, you will automatically be prompted to apply for one. If you already have a PIN, you can link your information to your new FSA ID by entering your PIN while registering for the FSA ID. This will save time when registering for the new FSA ID, but a PIN is not required to create an FSA ID.

Applying for the new FSA ID consists of three main steps:

  1. Enter your log-in information.
    1. Provide your e-mail address, a unique username, and password, and verify that you are at least 13 years old.
  2. Enter your personal information.
    1. Provide your Social Security number, name, and date of birth.
    2. Include your mailing address, e-mail address, telephone number, and language preference.
    3. For security purposes, provide answers to five challenge questions.
  3. Submit your FSA ID information.
    1. Agree to the terms and conditions.
    2. Verify your e-mail address. (Note: By verifying your e-mail address, you can use your e-mail address as your username when logging into certain ED websites. This verification also allows you to retrieve your username or reset your password without answering challenge questions.)

Only the owner of an FSA ID should create the account. The FSA ID serves as a legal signature and should not be shared with anyone.

Filing the FAFSA
This application will be used to determine your family’s financial profile and your eligibility for all need-based aid. This form is available starting January 1st and may be completed online at www.fafsa.ed.gov.

Your Student Aid Report (SAR)
Upon successful completion of the FAFSA, you will receive a SAR (Student Aid Report) from the Department of Education. Your SAR will have your calculated EFC (Expected Family Contribution). This number is used to calculate your financial need and is the basis in determining most aid. Check the data on the SAR for accuracy! If necessary, make corrections to your FAFSA.

Step #2

Your Financial Aid Package
Once HCU receives your completed FAFSA and accepts you to the Undergraduate Program, the Office of Financial Aid will send you a financial aid package award letter and enter your aid offers on your Populi student account. Your Award package will detail your funding offered and requests for any required additional documentation. If you choose to reject any of the aid offered to you, you must decline that aid on your Populi student account. If you wish to adjust the amounts of your loans, you must send notification to the Office of Financial Aid in writing or via e-mail.

The Verification Process
At least thirty percent of all students who complete a FAFSA are randomly selected by the Department of Education to complete a process called Verification. Verification is used to validate the information you put on your FAFSA. If you are selected for the verification process, you will receive notification via your Student Aid Report (SAR) as well as on your financial aid package. Students selected for verification must submit the appropriate documents according to the instructions of the Office of Financial Aid. This may include an IRS Tax Return Transcript, a verification worksheet, or other information. Dependent students must also submit parent information. If an IRS Tax Return Transcript is requested, students and parents should request their transcripts directly from the IRS on http://www.irs.gov or by calling (800) 908-9946.

Those selected for verification should submit their required verification documents as soon as reasonably possible (preference is within 15-20 days of being selected, but this is simply a guideline, not a fixed deadline). If documentation is not submitted within the recommended 15-20 day period, the OFA will follow up with a final request two weeks prior to the first scheduled disbursement for the semester. Financial aid applications of students who fail to submit verification documents prior to the first disbursement will be considered inactive; however, the student’s file will automatically re-open if the verification information is submitted after this date. The Office of Financial Aid must have all verification documents and a valid output document no later than 120 days after the last day of enrollment.

Additional Aid
In addition to aid offered by HCU and the federal government, many organizations offer excellent scholarships, grants, and other forms of financial assistance. Students interested in researching free outside scholarship opportunities can do so at www.fastweb.com or www.educationplanner.org.

If at any time you receive additional aid, federal regulations require you to notify the Office of Financial Aid. If an “over-award” (funds received in excess of your calculated financial need) results due to the additional funding, the Office of Financial Aid must make appropriate changes to your financial aid package. A revised award letter will be sent to you with the details of your new financial aid package.

Step #3

Paying Your Remaining Balance
On your award letter, the Office of Financial Aid will calculate the estimated amount needed to pay your bill. If your award letter indicates that you have a remaining balance, please plan to pay your balance in full on or before the first day of class. HCU also offers a payment plan for interested students. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid for more information.

Entrance Counseling
Federal regulations require that, before any Federal Direct Loans are disbursed to a student’s account, the student must complete an entrance counseling session. This takes about 20 minutes and must be done online at studentloans.gov. The entrance counseling session provides information about how to manage student loans, both during and after college.

Master Promissory Notes (MPN)
All loans require you to sign a promissory note, which is your promise to repay your loan. Federal Direct and Federal Direct PLUS Loan promissory notes may be completed online at studentloans.gov.

If you have any questions while completing the process, please feel free to contact the Office of Financial Aid at mthompson@hcu.edu or 800-367-3565 ext. 303.

Mission of the Office of Financial Aid

The Office of Financial Aid will provide unbiased comprehensive financial aid information and support by helping students and their families seek, obtain, and make the best use of financial resources for education while maintaining compliance with federal, state, and institutional guidelines, policies, and procedures.

The Office of Financial Aid is committed to the highest level of customer service and effective, efficient delivery of financial assistance from federal, private and institutional sources to all Heritage Christian University students. By providing the opportunity for all current and prospective students to access financial aid resources, the Office seeks to remove financial obstacles by providing effective, efficient delivery of financial aid resources and assistance to all HCU students in a timely manner and in compliance with all federal regulatory requirements and University standards, and allow students to focus on their primary purpose for enrollment – an HCU degree.

 

For more information, please e-mail mthompson@hcu.edu or call 800-367-3565 ext. 303.