Financial Aid FAQs
Congress has defined the conditions when students are considered to be independent or on their own without parental financial support. If you are over age 24, married, a Veteran of the armed forces, an orphan or ward of the court, an emancipated minor, in legal guardianships, are determined to be an unaccompanied youth who is homeless, or if you have dependents of your own that you provide more than half of their support, you are considered independent and will not need to report your parents' information. If you ordinarily would need to report parent information, but are unable to do so because of an unusual situation, you should meet with a Financial Aid Advisor to discuss your situation and inquire about your options. You may be asked to document your situation in writing.
If you or your parents have experienced a significant decrease in income due to a job loss, divorce or separation, or have paid unusually large medical expenses this year, you should contact your Financial Aid Advisor to discuss your situation and inquire about your options. You may be asked to provide detailed supporting documentation about your situation in writing in order to receive special consideration.
In accordance with the U.S. Department of Education and State of Illinois student aid regulations, Harper College is required to establish minimum Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards for students to meet in order to qualify for federal and state financial aid. Harper College administers a Satisfactory Academic Progress policy to ensure that students who receive aid are making progress toward the completion of their educational program of study.
Students who do not attend or withdraw from classes, defer grades, and perform poorly academically risk not maintaining satisfactory academic progress toward completion of their program of study. The consequence is they become ineligible for financial aid, including grants, scholarships, loans, and federal work study.
Whether or not you received financial aid, the cumulative academic record for each student is reviewed at the conclusion of every semester: fall, spring and summer. Students will be placed on Warning or Suspension status when they do not meet the minimum SAP requirements.
Warning Status: When students fail to meet one or more of the standards of academic progress, they are placed on Warning status. Students on Warning status may receive financial aid for one more semester if they meet all other financial aid eligibility requirements.
Suspension Status: After a student has been placed on Warning status and fails to meet one or more of the standards of academic progress a second time, he/she is placed on Suspension status. Students on Suspension status will have all financial aid cancelled for future terms (if already awarded) and will no longer be eligible to receive financial assistance.
Important: Students who fail the Maximum Time Frame (Credit Hours) Standard are automatically placed in Suspension status; they do not get a Warning period.
You are strongly encouraged to read the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy and meet with your academic advisor to monitor the completion of your program of study.
Students who are on
status because of failure to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) have a right to appeal. All appeals must be complete, provide detailed information and supporting documentation about mitigating circumstances, and must be submitted in writing to the Office of Student Financial Assistance. Mitigating circumstances include injury or illness of the student or death of an immediate family member.
A student must submit three items as part of the appeal process. Incomplete appeals will not be considered.
A SAP Appeal Form with detailed explanation:
a. Explain why the student failed to complete the academic progress requirements and what has changed in the student’s situation that would allow the student to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress.
b. Describe the student’s educational objectives.
c. Provide a schedule to indicate how these objectives will be achieved.
- Documentation: Submit third party documentation supporting the reason(s) why the student failed to maintain academic progress; i.e., a letter from a mental health professional or police officer, medical or legal documentation, death certificate, etc.
- Probation/Academic Plan: Students are required to complete a Probation/Academic Plan with a Student Development counselor.
Appeals must be submitted in the semester that the student is seeking financial assistance. Appeals will be reviewed by the Office of Student Financial Assistance and the student will be notified of the decision within three weeks.
Students who have their appeal and academic plan approved will move to Probation/Academic Pla status and will be eligible to receive financial assistance for the approved semester. At the end of the approved Probation/Academic Pla semester, the student must meet all Financial Aid Minimum Academic Standard Requirements and/or meet all requirements set forth in the Probation/Academic Plan in order to maintain eligibility.
Students who do not meet all Financial Aid Minimum Academic Standard Requirements or fail to meet the requirements set forth in the Probation/Academic Plan will go to Cancellation Status and will lose financial aid eligibility. The student may regain eligibility when the student meets the Financial Aid Minimum Academic Standard Requirements set forth in this policy.
Students who have their appeal denied will continue in cancellation and no longer be eligible to receive financial aid until such time when the student meets all Minimum Academic Standard Requirements. All appeal decisions are final.
Yes. The federal financial aid programs require you to "earn" your aid by attending classes. If you receive federal financial aid and withdraw from any or all of your classes, your aid "earned" will be prorated based on your class attendance. The rules are a bit complicated, so we encourage you to meet with a Financial Aid Advisor if you receive federal aid and need to withdraw.
If your financial aid program will cover book expenses, you will be able to charge your books during the posted bookstore charging times. Check your Award Letter and MyHarper for Financial Aid Information and messages about limitations on your financial aid. We encourage you to make sure you have your final class schedule before buying your books. Be sure to save your receipt and do not write in your books until classes have actually begun.
Refunds for financial aid awarded that exceed any charges on your account will be processed at the end of the add-drop period each term, unless you are taking a class that begins later in a part-of-term. These funds may be directly deposited by making arrangements through the Business Office or a check will be mailed to your permanent home address as listed in My Harper. Review My Harper and update your address if needed. Refunds for late awards are processed as quickly as possible, usually within two weeks of the final approval of the program.
You can make changes to your schedule at any time during the add-drop period without any problems. After the add- drop period, the course will count as an "attempt" and will remain permanently on your academic record. Remember, you must attend your classes to receive financial aid payment.
If there is a problem or you cannot attend a class, talk to your instructor as soon as possible to discuss your situation before withdrawing from the class. Do not simply stop going to class without submitting an official withdrawal!
If you receive federal aid and withdraw from all of your classes prior to the mid-term withdrawal deadline, you may be required to repay a portion of your financial aid. We urge you to complete your classes if at all possible to avoid complications with your future financial aid.
If you need to withdraw, contact the Registrar's Office to initiate the withdrawal. You must complete at least 67% of your attempted courses to maintain your financial aid eligibility.
Ideally, the best scenario is to have completed tax returns to use when you complete the FAFSA. You can submit the FAFSA using estimated tax information in order to meet Harper College's preferred filing deadline of March 1. It is better to use estimated taxes to meet this deadline than file the FAFSA later.
If you do estimate, complete your taxes as quickly as possible. Use this information to update your FAFSA information online using your PIN at www.fafsa.gov. Your financial aid processing cannot be completed without your final tax information. We may contact you to request copies of your tax documents.
In this situation, the Mother is considered to be the custodial parent (parent with whom you lived with the most during the last year) and is required to complete the Parent Section of the FAFSA. Be sure to include any child support or money paid on your behalf from your father.
Yes. Your Mom must report her marital status as "married" on the FAFSA. Since your Mom and Step-father financially support the household, both of their financial information (income and assets) is reported when you complete the FAFSA.
Harper College offers funding to our students through more than 100 different scholarship opportunities. These scholarships are categorized into four general areas; Academic and Leadership Scholarships, Harper College Educational Foundation Scholarships, Transfer Scholarships, and Adult Learner Grants. Check out Scholarships for awarding criteria, status, and application information.
Private scholarships are a growing source of funding for students. The challenge is where to find them. There are a number of FREE, reputable scholarship search services available. Many awards are based on your specific interests, skills, careers, and affiliations. We have provided reputable sources in Links and Resources. Be aware that there some scam scholarship services out there that try to take advantage of students. The Federal Trade Commission has published guidelines for you to observe. Remember, you should never pay a fee for scholarship assistance and if it sounds too good to be true, consider this as a warning sign.
Congratulations! When you receive a scholarship, review the scholarship announcement to see what you may need to do in order to receive the funds. Be sure to notify the Office of Student Financial Assistance of your scholarship. In some cases we may be able to reduce your loan amounts, resulting in less money you need to repay.
Good news! There are some great tax advantages in the form of credits and deductions to help you with the expense of higher education. Since some policies may change in different tax years, visit the Internal Revenue Service website for the most current tax benefits for higher education.