Jun 29, 2022  
2012 - 2013 Catalog 
2012 - 2013 Catalog Archives - Prior Version

Financial Aid


How and When to Apply for Financial Aid

Applying for aid requires that the student submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at www.fafsa.gov. A new application must be completed each academic year and is based on the prior year’s tax information. Students are encouraged to meet priority deadlines to ensure that all steps in the process are completed prior to the beginning of each semester.

Only those classified as a matriculated student (one who is enrolled or accepted for enrollment for the purpose of obtaining a degree, certificate or diploma) are eligible to receive aid from the programs described herein. Non-matriculated students are not eligible to receive financial aid.

How Aid is Awarded and Paid

Financial aid is awarded in accordance with policies and procedures established by the College in conjunction with Federal and State regulations. Each student is given careful consideration consistent with the institution’s Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Statement and governmental guidelines.

Most federal, state and institutional aid awards are based on financial need. Financial need is the difference between Expected Family Contribution (EFC), as determined by the results of the FAFSA, and the cost of attendance, which includes amounts for tuition, fees, books, transportation, living expenses and personal expenses.

Typical financial aid packages may consist of grants, loans, scholarships and work-study. Students with high financial need are first awarded gift aid, including grants and scholarships, and then are awarded self-help aid such as work-study and loan funds. Students with unusual circumstances may contact the Financial Aid Office to request a review of the EFC calculation used to determine financial need. Financial Aid funds are credited to the student’s account during the 9th week of the semester and the Bursar’s Office deducts the cost of tuition, fees, and other related expenses. Once aid is processed, the student will receive notification of any excess funds and the process for refund check distribution

Referring Overpayment Cases to the Department of Education

The Financial Aid Department disburses Title IV aid electronically to the College’s Bursar’s Office during the ninth week of the semester. As a result, overpayments are typically resolved during the two-week time frame wherein the Bursar’s Office processes refunds. Should an overpayment occur, the following process has been established to report overpayment cases to the Department of Education:

  • The student is sent written notification. This notification explains the nature of the overpayment and options for student repayment. These options include pay off the overpayment in full to the school or indicate intent to negotiate repayment arrangements with Borrower Services - Debt Resolution Services. The student is given a 30-day timeframe to comply. If the student does not respond to the initial notification within two weeks, a follow up letter is sent.
  • The student who does not satisfy the requirements of his/her payment agreement with the school, fails to contact the school during the designated time frame, fails to pay the overpayment in full or enter into a repayment arrangement will be reported online to NSLDS and referred to Borrower Services before the 45-day period designated for reporting overpayments has elapsed.
  • The student is sent written notification that their overpayment status was reported to NSLDS and referred to Debt Resolution Services.

Financial Aid Academic Progress

The Higher Education Act requires that a student maintain satisfactory academic progress in the course of study he/she is pursuing in order to receive financial aid under the student financial assistance programs authorized by Title IV of the Act. These programs include the Federal Pell Grant, FSEOG, the Federal Work-Study Program, and loans under the William D. Ford Direct Loan Program. The Financial Aid Academic Progress Policy requires that students maintain a 2.0 grade point average (GPA), in accordance with the College’s academic standing policy, and successfully complete at least two-thirds (67%) of all attempted credits. Students can continue to receive aid for a period no longer than 150 percent of the published length of the program.

In compliance with current federal regulations, the Financial Aid Office:

  • Checks student academic progress at the end of the fall, spring, and summer semesters.
  • Includes all withdrawals and incompletes as non-completed course work, which will affect financial aid academic progress. Courses with an “I” (incomplete),“W” (withdrawal) or an “F” grade will be considered as courses attempted but not successfully completed.
  • Includes transfer credits as credits attempted.
  • Includes credits earned in developmental courses as credits attempted.
  • Notifies students of financial aid “warning” status. Students on warning risk losing their financial aid eligibility due to insufficient progress.
  • Notifies students of financial aid “suspension” status. Students on suspension are not eligible to receive Title IV financial aid.
  • Provides a process for appeal of financial aid “suspension” status.  Students are able to file an appeal on a one-time basis only. Students who have their appeal approved will be placed on “probation” status and will have a single semester of aid eligibility during which they will be expected to meet all requirements for satisfactory progress.
  • Students not meeting progress requirements in accordance with Financial Aid Academic Progress may re-establish eligibility to receive Title IV assistance by enrolling at their own expense until they obtain the quantitative and qualititative measurements under the policy.

Conditions for receiving financial aid:

  • Students must demonstrate that they are qualified to enroll in postsecondary education by having an earned high school diploma or GED.
  • Students must be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a matriculated student working toward a degree, certificate or diploma.
  • Students must meet satisfactory academic progress standards in accordance with the College’s academic standing policy and the Financial Aid Academic Progress Policy.
  • Students must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen with a valid social security number.
  • Students sign a statement on the FAFSA or FAFSA Renewal that certifies that they will use federal student aid for educational purposes only.
  • Male students ages 18 through 25 must comply with Selective Service Registration.
  • Students cannot be in default on a federally funded loan or owe a refund on a federal student grant.
  • Students who change majors will be allotted the amount of time needed to complete the new program without regard to time spent in previous course work provided the student was making financial aid academic progress at the time of change.
  • Students may receive financial aid for repeated courses only if the original grade in the course was below a “C”.
  • Students may not receive financial aid for audited courses.
  • Students must be enrolled for at least six credit hours for most financial aid programs. Effective with the 2012-2013 academic year, students are limited to 12 semesters of full-time PELL in their lifetime (Public Law 112-74 amended HEA section 401 (c) (5.) The calculation of the duration of a student’s eligibility will include all years of the student’s receipt of Federal Pell Grant funding.
  • Students applying for a Federal Direct Stafford Loan must complete Direct Loan Entrance Counseling regarding the rights and responsibilities of the student borrower and a Master Promissory Note (MPN).

NOTE: Students who have received federal student loans will receive loan exit counseling if they are graduating, leave school, or enroll less than half time. The exit process provides information about the rights and responsibilities of a borrower entering repayment of federal student loans.

Return of Title IV Funds Policy

All students receiving financial aid and withdrawing from the College should contact the Financial Aid Office prior to withdrawing to determine the impact on their financial aid. Federal regulations require a Return of Title IV Funds calculation for students who receive federal financial aid and withdraw completely at or before the 60% period in the semester. The withdrawal calculation will be performed based on the number of semester days completed. Students who complete more than 60% of the term will receive 100% of their federal financial aid.

The consequences of withdrawing may result in a student having to return a portion of his/her unearned federal financial aid and owing tuition, fees or other related charges to the College. The order of return is Unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans, Subsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans, Federal Direct PLUS loans received on behalf of the student, Federal Pell Grants, and FSEOG.

Return of Title IV Funds examples may be obtained by visiting the Financial Aid Office.

Verification Policy/Procedure

When a student submits the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the Central Processing System (CPS) selects approximately one-third of the applications received for a process called “verification.” The Financial Aid Office also reserves the right to select any file for verification that appears to have conflicting or incorrect information listed. When a student is selected for verification the Financial Aid Office will notify the student by letter. This letter outlines the requirements and documentation that the student must provide to complete the verification process:

  1. Financial records - an IRS transcript for the previous year for the independent student and the student’s spouse (if applicable) or the student and the parent/guardian if the student is dependent.
  2. The Verification Form (dependent/independent).
  3. Other documentation deemed necessary by the Financial Aid Office.

The Verification Form and the tax information must be returned to the Financial Aid Office with the required signatures (dependent student form requires the student’s signature and that of a parent). Students are requested to return the required documents within a 14-day time frame. However, a student has up to 120 days from the last date of enrollment or the deadline date published in the Federal Register applicable for the academic year, whichever comes first, to submit paperwork. Should a student fail to submit the required documents by the deadline, they will be responsible for any charges acquired for the academic year. The Financial Aid Office will make any necessary corrections and updates to the information on the Student Aid Report electronically. Upon completion of the verification process an award letter will be mailed to a student within 3-5 business days.

Financial aid will not be determined until the student has completed the verification process, has a valid Student Aid Report, and complete any/all additional steps as determined by the financial aid office.

NOTE: Students not selected for verification who need to make corrections to their Student Aid Report (SAR) may:

  • Make corrections online at www.fafsa.gov.
  • Make corrections to SAR at the Financial Aid Office.
  • Make corrections to their original SAR and mail to Federal Student Aid Information Center for processing.

Financial Aid Programs

Federal Pell Grant

Pell Grants are the foundation of federal student financial aid to which aid from other federal and non-federal services may be added. This grant is awarded to undergraduate students who have financial need to assist with tuition, fees and book expenses.

The proposed maximum award for the 2012-2013 academic year is $5,500. There is a lifetime limit of 12 full-time Pell awards.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

This grant is awarded to undergraduate students with exceptional financial need. Priority is given to Federal Pell Grant recipients.

The maximum award for the 2012-2013 academic year is $400.

Pennsylvania State Grant (PHEAA)

The basic eligibility requirements for receiving this grant are determined by PHEAA. The grant is available to Pennsylvania residents who have not yet earned a bachelor’s or professional degree, are a U.S. high school graduate or the recipient of a GED, are enrolled for at least six credits in a degree-seeking program, demonstrate financial need according to the PHEAA needs analysis formula and meet the application deadline by filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by May 1 of the academic year student is attending.

PHEAA State Grant award notices should be considered as estimates. Even after the student receives a PHEAA State Grant award notice, PHEAA requires the College to conduct additional eligibility checks. PHEAA will send the College an official listing of all students awarded State Grants at the beginning of each semester (including Summer). State Grants will be posted to financial aid awards after eligibility is confirmed. More information on school certification eligibility requirements, including the impact of remedial and online classes, is available on the myPEAK financial aid link.

Students are limited to receive 4 years (8 full-time or 16 part-time semesters) of State Grant aid in their lifetime. (PHEAA permits students enrolled in a two-year program to receive a maximum of 2 years of full-time State Grants).

Federal Work Study Program

This program is available to eligible students who have financial need and who wish to work part-time while enrolled at Pennsylvania Highlands. The Federal College Work-Study is awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. Additional information is available through the Financial Aid Office.

Federal Direct Stafford Student Loan Subsidized

This is a loan which must be repaid after the student graduates or fails to enroll for at least six credits in a semester. The loan is awarded on the basis of financial need and interest will not be charged while enrolled at least half-time. Completion of Direct Loan Entrance Counseling and a Master Promissory Note (MPN) are required.

Federal Direct Stafford Student Loan Unsubsidized

This is a loan which must be repaid after the student graduates or fails to enroll for at least six credits in a semester. This loan is not awarded on the basis of financial need and interest accrues from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. Interest may be capitalized upon request. Completion of Direct Loan Entrance Counseling and a Master Promissory Note (MPN) are required.

Direct PLUS Loan

Direct PLUS loans are loans that parents can obtain to help pay the cost of education for their dependent undergraduate children. Direct PLUS loans must be repaid.

*Only those classified as a matriculated student (one who is enrolled or accepted for enrollment for the purpose of obtaining a degree, certificate or diploma) are eligible to receive aid from the programs described herein. Non-matriculated students are not eligible.

Click here  to view table.


Pennsylvania Highlands Community College Scholarships 

Veterans Benefits

Pennsylvania Highlands Community College is committed to assisting veterans, guard members/reservists and dependent/survivors, eligible to receive Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) education benefits, to reach their educational goals.

Applying for Benefits:

  • First Time Applicants: Chapters 30, 1606, 1607 and Post 911 (CH33) - Student must complete VA form 22-1990 online at www. gibill.va.gov. and print a completed copy before submitting electronically. NOTE: National Guard and Reservists must submit a DD2384, Notice of Basic Eligibility (NOBE) form available from your unit along with the VA form 22-1990. Chapter 35 (dependent/survivors) complete VA form 22-5490.
  • Transferring Schools/Changing Programs: Chapters 30; 1606; 1607 and Post 911 (CH33) - Complete VA form 22-9995 online at www.gibill.va.gov and print a copy before submitting electronically. Chapter 35 (dependent/survivors) complete VA form 22-5495.
  • Tuition Assistance for Active Duty: Have your branch specific Education Services Officer certify your application for tuition assistance.

Activating Benefits as a New Student:

  • Apply for Admissions to Pennsylvania Highlands Community College: Submit all transcripts from previous colleges you have attended and military training that can be evaluated for transfer credit to: Pennsylvania Highlands Community College Admissions Office, 101 Community College Way, Johnstown, PA 15904
  • You can find your military transcript at:
         ARMY: American Council on Education Registry Transcript System (AARTS) http://aarts.army.mil
         NAVY/MARINE: American Council on Education Registry Transcript System (SMART) http://smart.navy.mil/smart/welcome.do
         AIR FORCE: Community College of the Air Force Transcript Request Forms (CCAF) http://au.af.mil/au/ccaf/transcripts.asp
  • Complete placement testing, if necessary.
  • Register for classes.
  • Submit copies of your DD-214, Certificate of Eligibility and/or NOBE to the Financial Aid Office.

Third Party Billing for Military Service Members

  • Federal Tuition Assistance (FTA): Army National Guard and Reserves. Must apply through unit of assignment for each semester. Provide approval paperwork to Financial Aid Office, VA Certifying Official. Pennsylvania Highlands will invoice for tuition and fees.
  • Educational Assistance Program (EAP): National Guard. Must apply through unit of assignment each academic year. Contact the Financial Aid Office each semester to confirm EAP status.

General Guidelines

  • Student must be enrolled in a program of study leading to a degree, diploma or certificate.
  • All funded courses must apply to the student’s program of study and be necessary for graduation in order to be certified.
  • Students must notify the VA Certifying Official of any changes to their schedule. (Veteran is responsible to repay any overpayment that may occur because of a change in their schedule).
  • Students will not receive payment for any course repeated that they received a “D” or better for the first time.
  • Students changing programs must complete and submit a “Change of Place or Program” to the VA Certifying Official prior to receiving any future benefits.

Academic Progress for Veterans/Soldiers

Veterans/Soldiers must maintain satisfactory academic progress. The school is required to report those who do not maintain progress to the VA.