Frequently Asked Questions About the Financial Aid Process

1. How do I determine if I am eligible for Financial Aid?

2. How will I know my FAFSA has been processed?

3. What do I need to do if I am selected for Verification?

4. How is Financial Aid awarded?

5. How is Financial Aid Disbursed?

6. If I receive Financial Aid, what are my responsibilities? Are there restrictions regarding what classes I can take?

7. What is Financial Aid Warning or Suspension?

8. What will happen if I withdraw from my classes?

1. How do I determine if I am eligible for financial aid?

In order to be eligible for financial aid you must:
  • be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen;
  • have a high school diploma or GED;
  • have demonstrated financial need;
  • be admitted into an approved degree or certificate program;
  • maintain satisfactory academic progress;
  • not be in default on a loan at any school;
  • not owe a refund on a grant at any school;
  • be registered with Selective Service, if required;
  • be enrolled for at least six (6) credit hours (not including audited courses). Some students enrolled for less than six credit hours may be eligible for Pell.

2. How will I know my FAFSA has been processed?

You will receive a Student Aid Report(SAR)from the U.S. Department of Education. This report is generated from the information you provided on the FAFSA. Keep the SAR for your records. It means your FAFSA has been processed and forwarded to the school(s) of your choice. Within 3 – 10 days, the school should receive your information electronically. Once the college has received and reviewed your FAFSA, you will receive a letter from us regarding documents that are required to complete the process. You can also view your TO-DO LIST on your FCC People Soft account. The Financial Aid process cannot be completed until you turn in all requested information to our office.

3. What do I need to do if I am selected for verification?

Your application for financial aid may be "selected for verification." This means that Financial Aid is required to verify the accuracy of the information you submitted on your FAFSA. Your eligibility for assistance cannot be confirmed until all requested documentation has been provided and your application has been verified. Files are either randomly selected for verification by the federal processor, or selected due to changes in the application information or other discrepancies. Financial Aid may select any file for verification.

Financial Aid Programs Affected by Verification
  • Federal Pell Grant Program
  • Federal College Work Study Program
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
  • Maryland State Part-Time Grant
  • Federal Direct Loan Program (Stafford & PLUS)
  • FCC Grant

Time Frame to Respond to Verification Requests
If your financial aid file is incomplete, you will be sent a letter from Financial Aid requesting documents necessary to complete your file, including verification items. Please submit requested information within two weeks from the date of the letter. Federal and Institutional financial aid will not be awarded until the verification process is complete.

Required Documentation
If you are selected for verification, you will be required to submit a Verification Worksheet , along with Income Tax information.   We are no longer allowed to accept personal tax forms.   Please read the following regarding how to obtain acceptable tax information

Additional verification documents may include:
  • W-2s
  • Social Security Administration statement of benefits
  • Alien registration card
  • Military leave and earnings statements
  • Social Security card
  • Proof of child support (paid or received)
  • Social Services statement of AFDC/ADC/TANF
  • Proof of receipt of SNAP benefits
  • Proof of high school diploma
  • Transcripts from prior colleges

4. How is financial aid awarded?

Financial Aid Awarding Procedures
When Financial Aid receives your Student Aid Report (SAR) data from the federal processor, you will receive a letter that will list the required documentation items that you need to submit to our office before an official award can be made. If you do not submit the documentation items, your application will not be processed.

After your file is verified, your award will appear on your People Soft account. All financial aid awards are initially based on full-time enrollment (12 or more credit hours) and will be adjusted each semester after the refund period.

All financial aid awards are made according to your ability to pay for your education, which is determined by a federal formula. The formula considers your family income (including your parents' income, if you are dependent on your spouse's income, if you are married), the size of your family, and sometimes, the number of family members attending college at least half-time and your family's assets.

Federal, state, and local taxes paid, social security paid, and an allowance for supporting the family are factors that reduce your income and are also used to determine your Expected Family Contribution. The Expected Family Contribution represents what the formula says your family can contribute.

Each year, Financial Aid develops average student budgets that include tuition, fees, books, transportation, and living expenses. These budgets are the Cost of Attendance budgets.  Financial Aid subtracts the Expected Family Contribution from the Cost of Education. The difference between the Cost of Education and the Expected Family Contribution is your financial need.

Awarding Procedures
  • Applications for financial aid are reviewed and awarded in the order they are received.
  • When your file is complete, an official award letter will be mailed to you.
  • You can also view your financial aid online in PeopleSoft.
  • All financial aid awarded prior to the semester, except student loans, is based on projected full-time enrollment.
  • Your awards are adjusted after the second week of classes based on actual enrollment at that time.  We will check attendance at that time.  Aid cannot be awarded to students who do not attend their classes.
  • Financial aid does not cover courses that are audited or courses that are part of continuing education.
Please report any changes in your family situation, address, phone number, or school enrollment (including attendance) to Financial Aid.

5. How is Financial Aid Disbursed?

All financial aid proceeds, including student loans, will be credited directly to your student account. The awards will be used to pay all outstanding bills owed to the college for the semester, based on prior approval. If you have a credit balance after all outstanding obligations have been met, you will be issued a refund to your myFCC eFunds card. The amount of financial aid that you are eligible for is determined by your enrollment at the end of the second week of classes. Students will not receive financial aid for classes that are dropped during the refund period. Refunds will not be available until after that time.

Maryland State Scholarships are paid in full to students' accounts if students attend classes through the first three weeks of the semester. Otherwise, the awards are refunded in full to the State Scholarship Administration.

6. If I receive financial aid, what are my responsibilities? Are there restrictions regarding what classes I can take?

Attendance Requirements
Federal regulations mandate that financial aid recipients must attend classes on a regular basis for the entire semester. If you stop attending classes, you are required to officially withdraw. If you completely withdraw from classes or sTop attending at any point in the semester, you may have your financial aid adjusted based on the Federal Refund calculation. Contact Financial Aid to find out how your financial aid award will be affected. If you never attend a course for which financial aid was awarded, all aid for that course will be canceled and you will be billed.

Please contact Financial Aid prior to withdrawing to determine changes in eligibility of funds.

7. What is Financial Aid Warning, Probation or Suspension?

If you do not meet the stated academic standards at the end of a semester, you will be placed on Financial Aid Warning. While on Financial Aid Warning, you are eligible to receive financial aid for one more semester. If you do not meet the published standards at the end of the Warning semester, you will be suspended (even if you passed all of your classes). It is possible for a student to be placed on Warning without ever previously receiving aid. It is also possible for a student to be placed on suspension for Maximum Time Frame without a Warning semester.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards for Financial Aid
The following policy is effective 2016-2017 starting with Fall 2016 calculation of grades. Students receiving any federal, state, or institutional financial aid must be making satisfactory progress toward a degree or certificate in order to continue to receive assistance. If you have attended FCC prior to applying for financial aid, all prior academic coursework is included in the calculation of satisfactory academic progress. Your progress is reviewed at the end of each semester and will be determined by three criteria:
  1. COMPLETION RATE:  the percentage of credits (college-level and developmental) completed each semester divided by the number of credits attempted each semester, including summer sessions;

  2. GPA:  minimum grade point average for total credits attempted; and

  3. MAXIMUM TIME FRAME:  program completion within the specified time frame (based on attempted credits, not length of enrollment).

  4. If you are pursuing an A.A.T. degree, you are required to meet the completion rate and minimum grade point average requirements listed below:
Total Credits Attempted Minimum GPA Completion Rate (of total attempted)
0 - 15 2.00 50%
16 - 45 2.50 67%
46 & above 2.75 67%

Students pursuing any other eligible associate degree or certificate program (not A.A.T.) must adhere to the following standards:
Total Credits Attempted Minimum GPA Completion Rate (of total attempted)
0 - 15 2.00 50%
16 & above 2.00 67%

Credits attempted include developmental classes. See the Schedule of Classes for the credit hour equivalent for developmental coursework. Grades of Incomplete (I), Repeat (R), In Progress (Z), Audit (X), Withdraw (W), and Fail (F) are not considered successful completion. Grades of D and lower in developmental courses are also not considered successfully completed for the completion rate calculation.

If you do not meet the stated academic standards at the end of a semester, you will be placed on Financial Aid Warning. If you receive all non-passing grades for all classes in a semester, you must document your attendance in classes. You will be notified as to procedures to document attendance and all future financial aid awards will be canceled until attendance is documented. See FAQ #6.

Maximum Time Frame
Financial aid applicants must complete their degree or certificate program within a time frame that is no longer than 150% of the published length (# of credits) of the program. The time frame includes all attempted coursework at FCC plus transfer and advanced placement credits. Even if you change degree programs, all coursework must be counted. Accepted transfer credits and advanced placement credits that fulfill requirements in the degree/certificate are included.

For example, the General Studies A.A. degree program requires a maximum of 60 credit hours. To maintain financial aid eligibility, you may attempt no more than 90 (60 * 1.5=90) credit hours to complete the degree program.

Developmental Coursework
If you are enrolled in an eligible program you can receive financial aid for up to one year (30 credits) of developmental coursework. Developmental coursework is not counted when determining maximum time frame. Certain certificate programs do not require math courses, so developmental coursework may be ineligible for aid if it does not need to be taken for a student’s current program of study. Students may also receive aid for ESL coursework. ESL coursework is not counted when determining maximum time frame. Students are not limited to the number of ESL courses they may take for Financial Aid purposes.

Appeal Process and Reinstatement of Financial Aid
If you become ineligible for financial aid due to academic progress or maximum time frame, you may submit a written appeal to Financial Aid.  Students must have extenuating circumstances that led to their inability to meet the standards, and these circumstances must be resolved so as not to hinder future academic progress. Examples include: death in immediate family, involuntary transfer or change in work hours by employer, serious illness/accident/medical condition, or other documentable extenuating circumstances.  All appeals are reviewed by a Financial Aid Committee, and decisions are emailed to FCC student emails.  An Appeal for Financial Aid Suspension, Maximum Time Frame and Unusual Enrollment History can be found here.
Please complete all steps listed on the form.

8. What will happen if I withdraw from my classes?

Return of Title IV Financial Aid Funds Required Calculation Procedures
Federal regulations require the College to complete a Return of Title IV calculation for students who are awarded federal financial aid funds who officially or unofficially withdraw from classes. The Higher Education Act, as reauthorized and signed into law on October 7, 1998 established the Return of Title IV Funds Policy.

The concept behind the policy is that the student earns a portion of the Title IV funds each day the student attends classes. If the student withdraws or sTops attending classes, the College is required to complete the Return of Title IV calculation to determine the percentage of Title IV federal funds that have been earned.

The Return of Title IV calculation is completed using the last date of attendance. For Title IV purposes, the last date of attendance is one of the following: the date the formal withdraw process begins, the date the student otherwise gives official notice of intent to withdraw (i.e., letter, phone call, email, in person), the midpoint of the term, or the last documented date of attendance in an academically related activity (i.e., documented attendance in a class or lab or submission of an assignment in an online course).

The College must be able to document that the student actually attended the class. FCC faculty members are required to confirm attendance one time each semester. At the end of the semester, FCC faculty are also required to provide a last date of attendance for any classes with a failing grade. It is important to note that if a student attends through 60 percent of the semester, all Title IV aid is considered earned.

A student who attends and completes at least one course that spans the entire term will have earned the Title IV aid for the semester. Adjustments would be made for classes not attended.

A student who withdraws from a module class within the term must still be attending another class, or it is considered to be a withdraw, even if registered for future classes starting within the term.

If a student completes one module with a passing grade, but then withdraws from a module starting later in the term, this is considered a withdraw and would require a Return of Title IV calculation. The student at the time of withdraw from a module class provide a written statement to Financial Aid indicating the intent to attend (within 45 days) a future module class, or the student is considered to be withdrawn and a Return of Title IV calculation must be completed.

Return of Title IV Calculation Process
Financial Aid identifies students who withdraw from all classes during the semester and the Return of Title IV calculation is completed. At the end of the semester, Financial Aid identifies students who receive all non-passing grades and completes the Return of Title IV calculation. This calculation is completed with 30 days of the date of school determination.

Financial Aid uses the U.S. Department of Education online website to complete the calculations. Sample copies of the Return of Title IV calculation is available upon request from
Financial Aid.

For each student that the College is required to complete a calculation for, Financial Aid determines the amount of Title IV financial aid to be included in the calculation, the dates of the enrollment period, the last date of attendance and charges for the semester.

The calculation determines the percentage of financial aid earned based on the following calculation:

Number of days in the enrollment period and number of days attended. The percentage is multiplied by the total aid for which the student is eligible to determine the amount of aid earned.

For example: Length of the enrollment period is 110 days and student attended 30 days. For this calculation 30 days is 27.3% of the semester. The student is eligible to receive 27.3% of the total aid. If the total aid was $2000 then the student would be eligible to receive $546 (earned aid). Total aid –earned aid = unearned aid (aid to be returned).

The next step is for the school to determine total institutional charges and multiply that figure by the percentage of unearned aid (100% - %completed =%unearned).

The College must then return the amount of unearned aid, up to the maximum received, to each of the Title IV programs in the following order:
  • Unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loan
  • Subsidized Direct Stafford Loan
  • Direct PLUS loan
  • Federal Pell grant
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
The College then calculates the amount for which the student is responsible by subtracting the amount retuned by the College from the total amount which is unearned. That remaining amount is the student’s share and is allocated in the same order as stated above.

After the College completes the Return of Title IV calculation and determines dollar amounts and which  individual programs must be repaid, the student will be notified of any amounts he or she owes. Funds that must be returned by the student to the loan programs can be paid in full in accordance with normal loan repayment terms for which the student is responsible. For grant overpayment amounts due from the student, a student has 45 days to make repayment and does not have to repay a grant overpayment of $50 or less.

This policy is separate from the institutional refund policy. The College refund schedule for each session is printed in the academic schedule. If a student withdraws after the published dates, there is no refund. Unpaid balances as a result of a Return of Title IV calculation and required return of funds will be charged back to the student.

Financial Aid encourages students to meet with a financial aid staff member prior to withdrawing or stopping attendance in classes


Financial Services Center  

Financial Aid

Phone: 301.846.2620
Fax: 301.624.2886
Email Financial Aid

Assists students with the FAFSA and informs students of available aid and how to apply for it

Financial Aid (3rd Floor)
Jefferson Hall (J302)
Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Please contact us via email or phone and if needed, a virtual Zoom appointment can be scheduled depending on student needs.

Student Accounts

Email: Student Accounts
Jefferson Hall, 1st floor
Phone: 301.846.2658
Fax: 301.846.2648

Current office hours:

8:30 a.m.- 6:00 p.m.

Tuesday - Thursday:
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

*Thursday hours:
Open until 6:00pm
(January, July, August)

8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.