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Financial Aid

Published on Nov 18, 2015

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Financial Aid

Understanding the Basics 
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applying for financial aid

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the application students must submit to apply for financial aid.

The FAFSA is submitted online at WWW.FAFSA.GOV

The 2014-2015 financial aid award year is from July 1,2014-June 30,2015. Submitting the 2014-2015 FAFSA application includes the Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 semesters.

Applications for Federal and State grants are available after January 1st of each year for the next year beginning with the Fall semester.

The state of Oklahoma has an Oklahoma Tuition Aid Grant (OTAG) and students must submit the FAFSA application by March 1st for the upcoming Fall semester.

Financial Aid awarding at OCCC begins in February and March.

The OCCC Financial Aid office has a priority deadline to have all documents completed and submitted by July 1st to ensure a students file is reviewed prior to the fall semester.
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Types of Financial Aid

  • Grants
  • Federal Work Study
  • Loans
  • Scholarships
  • Veteran Services
Financial aid is money provided by the federal government, school, state government, and private sources.

Federal and State sources are the largest sources of assistance.

The various sources provide the funds and the College is responsible for determining eligibility, disbursing funds, and reporting.

The major types of financial aid from Federal and State sources are :
1. Grants - "Free Money" Grants do not have to be repaid.

2. Federal Work -Study Program - provides financial aid as wages which do not have to be repaid, from working part-time on campus, tutoring, or community service positions.

3. Student Loans - Federal Direct Stafford loans are low interest educational loans available to college students who are enrolled at least half time (6 credit hours at OCCC), are pursuing a degree, are making Satisfactory Academic Progress, and meet other basic eligibility requirements. The lender is the U.S. Department of Education. There are 2 types of Stafford loans: Subsidized and Unsubsidized. The interest rate for loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2014 and before July 1, 2015 on both Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans is 4.66%. Visit www.studentloans.gov for additional information relating to borrowing and repaying students loans.

4. Scholarships- Oklahoma's Promise is a state scholarship program that pays for tuition for up to five years for students to earn a bachelors degree. Students apply while in 8th, 9th, or 10th grade and maintain eligibility through high school graduation

5. Tuition Waivers - Tuition Waivers may be awarded to students at OCCC based on either financial need or academic achievement, talent, or a combination of these criteria. Waivers awarded by the academic divisions are based on an application available from the Financial Aid Office during a predetermined schedule for each semester.

Fall Applications - Fall semester deadline is July 20th by 5:00pm

Spring Applications - Spring semester deadline is November 20th by 5:00pm

Summer Applications - Summer semester deadline is April 20th by 5:00pm.

To apply students must be enrolled in at least 6 credit hours for the semester they are applying for, be a resident of the state of Oklahoma, and continuing students must have a cumulative GPA of at least a 2.0.

Veterans Services

  • Full-time Veterans Affairs office
  • Certify Benefits (Chapter 30, 31, 33, 35, 1607,)
  • Required to visit the OCCC VA office each semester of enrollment
  • Visit www.occc.edu/veterans for additional information
OCCC provides a full-time Veterans Affairs Office to assist students who are eligible to receive Educational Benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The OCCC Veterans Affairs Office will certify enrollment for payment of VA Educational Benefits for all students who meet eligibility criteria as set forth by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The OCCC Veterans Affairs Office processes enrollment certifications for an estimated 575 to 775 students each semester. Our student population, claiming educational benefits, consist of active duty service persons (Chapter 30 Active Duty), active duty veterans Chapter 30, Chapter 31), veterans on the VA Vocational Rehabilitation program, National Guard and Reserve personnel (Chapter 1606), and those who are eligible to receive benefits under the Survivors and Dependents Assistance Program (Chapter 35).

To Claim VA Educational Benfits:

1. You must come to the OCCC VA office each semester that you enroll.

2. You must have your Academic Advisor approve your classes on the OCCC Veteran Enrollment Information Sheet each semester that you enroll.

3. You must bring a copy of your transcript to the OCCC VA office each semester that you enroll.

4. You must bring an original printout of your class schedule to the OCCC VA office each semester that you enroll.

5. If you are in the National Guard or the REserves, you will need to bring to the OCCC VA office DD form 2384 (NOBE). You get this form from your Unit.

6. If you are getting benefits through the Va Vocational Rehabilitation program, we must have VA form 22-1905 from your counseling psychologist.

7. If you are claiming benefits as a dependent, you will need to bring us a letter of eligibility from the Department of Veterans Affairs, or the eligible veteran's claim number or social security number.

8. The OCCC VA office keeps the necessary Va forms that will need to be completed in order to activate your Educational Assistance.

9. To ensure you receive your money on-time enroll in OCCC classes early and visit the OCCC VA Office.

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Student Loan Manangement
Budgets are not one-size fits all.

Develop a budget to fit your financial needs.

Track your day to day spending.

Use a budget worksheet: www.bankrate.com; www.practicalmoneyskills.com; www.goodpayer.com

Manage student loan debt:
Always go for free money first.
Only borrow what you need.
Start thinking about repayment before it begins.
Recognize that your student loan is a fixed expense.
Make your loan payments on time.
Communicate with your lender regularly.
Consider different repayment options.
Keep copies of all loan correspondence.
Ask questions.

Having trouble making loan payments?
Call the lender (Department of Education)
File for a forbearance or deferment
Don't let yourself go into Loan Default.

Save early and often.

Pay yourself first.

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Satisfactory Academic Progress

Each student receiving financial aid must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) by the standards outlined in the policy:

SAP is evaluated at the end of each semester once final grades are posted.

Financial aid recipients receive an email in their OCCC student email account with their status each semester.

Pace, GPA, Maximum Credit Hours are evaluated.

Based on entire academic history.

Hours Completed / Hours attempted
Must maintain completion rate (PACE) of 67%
Successful grades : A, B, C,D, P, S and CIP
Unsuccessful grades : F, AW, W, I, NP, AU, and U.

Grade Point Average (GPA)
Completed 1-15 credit hours = 1.5 GPA.
Completed 16-30 credit hours = 1.7 GPA.
Completed 31+ credit hours = 2.0 GPA.
Maximum Credit Hours
90 attempted credit hours allowable .
Transfer hours are counted.
Must be able to complete degree before reaching 90.

There are 4 SAP statuses that financial aid will place students at:

1. Satisfactory:
Meeting all SAP criteria
Making satisfactory progress towards degree
Eligible to receive financial aid for future semesters

2. Warning:
First semester not meeting SAP criteria
Eligible to receive financial aid for next semester

3. Unsatisfactory:
Not meeting all SAP criteria for a 2nd semester
Exceeded maximum credit hours
Cannot complete degree before reaching 90 hours

4. Academic Suspension:
Status assigned by the Registrar
Automatically placed on Financial Aid Suspension
Must appeal with both Financial Aid and Registrar

When students receive the email with their financial aid SAP status, if their status is Unsatisfactory or Academic Suspension, there will be instructions for them on how to submit a Suspension Appeal.

Once the appeal is submitted and reviewed by a Financial Aid Advisor, the student will be notified of the decision of the appeal through their OCCC student email account.

Course Attendance

Not Attending, Dropping, and Failing courses
Students must begin attendance in all courses at the beginning of the semester.

If a student fails to begin attendance, after receiving financial aid, OCCC is required to return some or all of the funds depending on the amount of financial aid that has already been disbursed to the Department of Education. The student will then be billed by the OCCC Bursar office to recover those funds.

Beginning attendance for on-campus courses is defined as attending the first day.

If students are enrolled in an online course, attendance is defined as more than just logging in. Students must participate in discussions, ask or answer a question from the professor, or otherwise be involved in an academic activity.

Federal regulations for students who receive financial aid requires the OCCC Financial Aid Office to perform a calculation to determine the dollar amount of "unearned" and "earned" funds for students who officially withdraw from any semester.

Students who fail to earn one passing grade for any semester are also subject to having a portion of their financial aid money returned to the Department of Education. The college will return the money on the students behalf and the student will then receive a bill from the OCCC Bursar office to recover the portion of the funds that had to be returned.

Not attending, failing, and withdrawing from courses can impact a students financial aid.

It is always a good idea to visit with the Financial Aid Office before dropping classes. We can let you know how dropping or failing a class is going to impact your financial aid.

For additional information visit: www.occc.edu/financialaid/FactSheets.html
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