Financial Aid FAQs
Q. Why should I apply for Financial Aid?
Financial Aid is made available to assist students and families in meeting the costs of a postsecondary education. If you believe you will need assistance in meeting those costs, you should apply for Financial Aid.
Q. I've been out of school a long time. I'm not ready to be a full-time student, but I still need help with college costs. Is there any aid for me?
You don't have to be a full-time student to receive Financial Aid. At California Community Colleges, there is no unit requirement for enrollment fee waivers through the Board of Governors Fee Waiver Program. To receive assistance from the other state and federal programs, you can take as few as six units and still qualify for Financial Aid as long as you are taking classes towards an AA/AS degree or a certificate.
Q. If I am not a U.S. Citizen, am I still eligible to apply for Financial Aid?
To be eligible for federal and/or state aid, a student must be a U.S. citizen, an eligible noncitizen or an AB540 student. For Financial Aid purpose, an eligible non-citizen is one of the following:
- a U.S. permanent resident who has an Alien Registration Receipt Card (I-551);
- a conditional permanent resident (I-551C);
- a non-citizen with an Arrival-Departure record (I-94) from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services with one of the following designations - "Refugee," "Asylum Granted," "Parole," or "Cuban-Haitian Entrant."
Q. I probably don't qualify for aid because of family finances. Should I submit a financial aid application anyway?
Yes. Even though you may not think you qualify for aid, you should at least complete the FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application. The application is free and the college uses it to assess your eligibility for some scholarships and non-need-based loans, including the unsubsidized and PLUS loans.
Q. How do I get Financial Aid?
A. To receive Financial Aid you must apply for it. The biggest mistake students make is to not apply because they don't think they'll qualify. To apply for federal, state and college Financial Aid programs, you need to complete a FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application, and for the Cal Grant program you must submit a GPA verification by March 2nd. Foothill College automatically submits the GPA of all students who have completed at least 24 units and have a valid Social Security Number in their Foothill student record. You may also be requested to submit additional documents such as tax return transcripts to complete your Financial Aid file so please respond immediately to all requests made by the Financial Aid Office. To check your Financial Aid status, go to your MyPortal.fhda.edu.
Q. If I don't qualify for need-based aid, what options are available?
If you are not eligible for need-based Financial Aid, many options are still available. One option is to look for merit-based scholarships, which consider academic or other talents. Additionally, you may consider borrowing through the unsubsidized loan program, or having your parents borrow through the PLUS program.
Q. My neighbor got more grants than I did. Why?
A student's eligibility for Financial Aid is based upon a number of factors, including the size of your family, how many members of the family are in college, how close your parents are to retirement, and, of course, family resources (income and assets). Even though your family's circumstances may appear to be very similar to your neighbor's, there may be substantial differences in the components used to calculate Financial Aid eligibility. One of the most common differences is meeting deadlines. Missing a deadline could substantially impact the amount of grant aid for which you may be eligible.
Q. I filled out the financial aid application. How do I find out the results?
You can fill out and submit your application through FAFSA on the Web at www.fafsa.ed.gov or CA Dream Act Application on the web at www.caldreamact.org. Electronic filing is the fastest and easiest way to apply for financial aid. After submitting your application, you should receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) from the processor through the Internet. The SAR will list all of the information you put on your application. This information also is forwarded to the colleges you indicated to receive copies of the information. Once the colleges receive the information and verify it with any additional documents you submitted at their request, they will notify you of your aid eligibility or send you a letter requesting additional information.