Student Financial Aid
Northwest Iowa Community College follows a nationally accepted philosophy in administering financial aid programs. This means you and your parents have a responsibility to meet as much of the costs of attending college as is reasonably possible. You may meet all or some of the costs through your parents’ contribution and through your own resources, including savings and earnings from summer and school year employment. Financial aid is awarded to supplement these financial resources.
The Financial Aid Office staff administers aid programs and counsels students in the financial aid process. Contact the Financial Aid Office for answers to any questions regarding financial aid.
In order to receive financial aid, you must:
1) Be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen.
2) Be making satisfactory academic progress toward a degree.
3) Have a high school diploma or a high school equivalency diploma (GED/HSED).
4) Complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by NCC’s priority deadline of April 1. If applying for aid after the April 1 deadline, you will be considered for assistance according to the availability of funds. Because financial aid is awarded for one academic year at a time, it is necessary to submit a new financial aid application (FAFSA) for each year of enrollment.
Financial Aid Enrollment Status
Enrollment status for financial aid purposes for Fall, Spring and Summer are as follows:
Full-time 12 or more credits
Three-quarter time 9–11 credits
Half-time 6–8 credits
Students adding or dropping courses after the first week of the regular semester start date should discuss with the Financial Aid Office what effect the course change may (or may not) have on their financial aid. Financial aid will not increase if courses are added after the first two weeks of the semester. Check with your Advisor and the Financial Aid Office to determine the impact on your bill, your enrollment level, and your financial aid if you are adding or dropping courses.
Application Procedures and Award Notification
To ensure full consideration for all forms of aid, you should complete each of the following steps:
1. Complete and file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by April 1 for priority aid consideration.The recommended way to apply is online at studentaid.gov/FAFSA. Be sure to list Northwest Iowa Community College in the school section of the FAFSA. NCC’s School Code is 004600.
When entering income information on the FAFSA, to minimize errors, use the IRS Data Retrieval option to transfer student/parent income data directly from the IRS and into the FAFSA.
2. Complete the application procedure for admission to NCC. You will not receive notification of financial aid awards until you are officially accepted by the Enrollment Office.
3. Forward all requested forms and documentation to the Financial Aid Office. If you are selected for verification, you will need to complete a verification worksheet and you may need to submit IRS Tax Transcripts for student and parent. All requested documents must be received three (3) weeks prior to your last day of attendance/end of semester, whichever is earlier. Students who do not submit all requested verification documents cannot receive Title IV funds, but may receive institutional funds. Northwest Iowa Community College will not make an interim disbursement of Title IV aid. Verification may require a correction to the FAFSA and this may result in a change of the student’s eligibility for funding.
4. Report acceptance of all outside scholarships or loans to the Financial Aid Office. Aid received from other sources may result in a revision to your financial aid award.
5. If you are awarded financial aid, you will receive an award/offer letter, based on full-time enrollment, showing the financial aid you have been offered and the amount of each award.
The awarding of aid depends upon the availability of funds, accuracy and timeliness of the application, and eligibility for specific aid programs. If you have been awarded aid in addition to that awarded by the Financial Aid Office, you must notify the Financial Aid Office in writing, so that your awards can be reviewed for possible adjustment.
Account Credit Balances
When a students’ account has a credit balance (due to an overpayment or due to financial aid funds exceeding total costs), the excess funds will be given back to the student/ parent borrower. Balances are processed weekly beginning 30 days after the semester begins. The funds that create the excess balance must be received by the Business Office by Wednesday morning for the balance to be issued to the student/parent that same week. Students will receive an email from the Business Office when a balance check has been issued, or when the funds are delivered via direct deposit. Students who are interested in the direct deposit option may contact the Business Office for details on how to sign up.
Students must be attending and making academic progress in order to receive financial aid funds.
Disbursement of Aid
Grant and loan money is disbursed on a semester basis and applied directly to registration costs after your attendance has been reported. If aid is less than the amount due, you must pay the amount not covered by financial aid. The remaining amount is due the first day of your term. If aid for a semester exceeds total costs, the remaining amount will be reimbursed to you.
• Grants for late start classes will not be disbursed until the class has begun and attendance has been reported.
• Students must be attending and making academic progress in order to receive financial aid funds.
• Due to federal regulations, the first loan disbursement must be delayed 30 days from the first day of class for first-year, first-time student loan borrowers.
• Loan funds will be disbursed only after classes have begun and attendance has been reported for at least 6 credit hours (this applies to all terms—fall, spring and summer).
• Disbursement of financial aid will not occur until NCC receives official documentation that confirms the students’ high school graduate status.
• Disbursement of financial aid funds may be delayed or denied for students who exhibit abuse, fraudulent activity, give false or misleading information, or misuse federal, state, or institutional funds.
If your enrollment status changes or you officially withdraw or unofficially withdraw from the College, the Financial Aid Office may be required to reduce the amount of financial aid, or reclaim part or all of the refund. An unofficial withdrawal occurs when a student stops attending and/or fails to follow the withdrawal process. If you receive federal financial aid and fail to complete your education, you may have your financial aid adjusted based on the date of your official or unofficial withdrawal. This adjustment of aid may cause you to owe money to the U.S. Government and/or NCC. If NCC is required to return Title IV funds, the amount returned will be billed to you. Failure to repay the U.S. Department of Education or NCC will result in your account being turned over to collections. Anyone in a repayment situation will remain ineligible for federal aid until the repayment is resolved. A withdrawal will also prevent you from meeting the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards and impact your future financial aid eligibility.
Financial aid CANNOT be used to pay for EMT, AUDIT, CLEP, Credit for Prior Learning, or Credit for Military Experience courses.
Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress
Federal regulations require that students maintain satisfactory academic progress standards in order to receive financial aid. These standards ensure that only those recipients demonstrating satisfactory progress toward the completion of their educational programs continue to receive financial aid. All student records will be reviewed at the end of each payment period (semester/term). A student’s entire NCC record will be reviewed for satisfactory academic progress, including terms for which the student did not receive financial aid.
The Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy is different than the Academic Progress Standards, and different from the required academic standards that may be set by a specific program. There are separate procedures when academically placed on probation or suspension. Financial aid eligibility may be suspended; however, Financial Aid Suspension does not necessarily prohibit enrollment in coursework so students need to check with their Advisor
or the Registrar to discuss.
Any grade forgiveness granted from the Academic Restart Program/Grade Forgiveness does not apply to the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress standards. When calculating a student’s satisfactory academic progress for financial aid, all grades earned from all previous enrollment periods will be considered.
Whether a student is considered to be making satisfactory academic progress depends on successful completion of courses (credit hours earned), cumulative grade point average (GPA), and maximum time limits to complete his or her course of study. Students must meet all of these requirements to maintain satisfactory academic progress for financial aid.
Grade Point Average Requirement
To be eligible for financial aid at NCC, students must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0. If a student repeats a course, the last grade issued will be used in the calculation of the GPA. Grades received in developmental courses are not used in the calculation of the GPA. Courses for which the student has been granted grade forgiveness from the Academic Restart Program/Grade Forgiveness are included in the calculation of the cumulative GPA.
Completion Rate Requirement (Pace)
Each semester, a student’s academic progress will be measured by comparing the number of attempted credit hours with the credit hours earned. On a cumulative basis, a student must earn 67% of all credits ever attempted to maintain satisfactory academic progress.
The following are considered when evaluating a student’s satisfactory academic progress:
• Withdrawals, incompletes, and failures are considered attempted but not earned credits.
• Passing credits received for pass/fail courses are considered attempted and earned credits; failing grades in pass/fail courses are considered attempted but not earned.
• Credits for repeated courses will be counted as attempted credits each time the course is repeated.
• Credits for repeated courses will be counted as earned only once. For a repeated course, only the last grade issued will be used in the calculation of the cumulative GPA.
• Courses for which the student has been granted grade forgiveness from the Academic Restart Program/Grade Forgiveness are included in the calculation of both attempted and earned hours.
• Audited courses are not considered credits attempted or earned.
• Developmental courses are included in the calculation of both attempted and earned credits.
• Transfer credits, including those received during consortium study, do not count in the calculation of the GPA, but they are included in the calculation of both attempted and earned credits.
• For an enrolled student who changes programs or majors at NCC, both the credits and grades from the previous program or major will be included in the calculation of attempted credits, earned credits, and cumulative GPA.
Maximum Time Frame Requirement
A student will not be eligible to receive financial aid once the student has attempted more than 150 percent of the normal credits required for their degree or diploma program, or once it becomes clear that the student cannot mathematically finish the program within the 150% maximum time frame. For example, 90 credit hours would be the 150% program maximum for a program requiring 60 credit hours for graduation. All attempted hours are counted, including transfer hours, whether or not financial aid was received or the course work was successfully completed. The 150% requirement may be applied to the student’s entire academic career, not just to the student’s current program or major.
Evaluation of Academic Progress
A student’s satisfactory academic progress is evaluated after each term of the academic year. At that time, a student will either be in good standing, be placed on financial aid warning, or be placed on financial aid suspension for future enrollment periods. The student must meet all three progress requirements (completion rate, cumulative GPA, and be within the maximum time frame) to remain in good standing. Students will be notified in writing by the Financial Aid Office if they are placed on warning status or suspension status for financial aid.
Financial Aid Warning Status
(referred to as Probation prior to Fall 2011)
A student is eligible to receive financial aid for one payment period (semester/term) while on a financial aid warning status. The first term a student fails to maintain the academic and/or completion requirements listed above they will be placed on Financial Aid Warning at NCC. The student will remain on Financial Aid Warning until the end of the next term of enrollment. At the end of the next enrolled term, the student’s progress will be reviewed.
The warning semester is meant to inform the student of potential academic problems and provide time for corrective action. If a student does not meet the satisfactory academic progress standards after the warning period, suspension status or academic plan status (due to a successful appeal) would be imposed. EXCEPTION: A student who fails to earn any credit hours in a term will be placed on suspension immediately (skipping the warning status).
Financial Aid Suspension Status
A student who is placed on suspension will not be eligible to receive aid and must pay tuition and fees in future terms. Suspension status will prevent the student from receiving financial aid, including but not limited to: loans, any Title IV aid, state aid, or institutional financial assistance.
A student’s financial aid will be suspended at NCC if:
1. At the end of a period of warning, the student has not met the satisfactory academic progress requirements; or
2. At the end of an Academic Plan, the student has not met the satisfactory academic progress requirements; or
3. At the end of an enrollment period the student did not follow the terms of their Academic Plan; or
4. At the end of a period of suspension, the student has not met the satisfactory academic progress requirements; or
5. At the end of any term the student has missing or incomplete grades; or
6. At the end of any term the student fails to earn any credit hours during a term; or
7. At the end of a period where it is determined that the student is not meeting, or is mathematically unable to meet, the Maximum Time Frame (150%) requirement; or
8. At any time a student exhibits abuse of receipt of financial aid, fraudulent activity, or falsification of information or signatures.
Suspension status will remain in effect for future enrollment periods until such time as the student meets all satisfactory academic progress standards. Neither paying for one’s classes nor sitting out any length of time affects a student’s Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress standing so neither is sufficient to re-establish financial aid eligibility. It is the responsibility of the student to notify the Financial Aid Office that their course work meets the minimum standards and to request that their financial aid be reviewed for reinstatement.
Transfer students who apply for financial aid may also be evaluated for satisfactory progress. If a student received financial aid at another institution (according to the National Student Loan Data System), the Financial Aid Office may request transcripts from each college the student attended in order to complete the evaluation of academic progress. Students may also be required to complete an Academic Plan prior to receiving financial aid funds and continued financial aid eligibility will be dependent upon whether the student follows the requirements laid out in the student’s Academic Plan.
Appeal and Reinstatement
Students may appeal their suspension status by submitting a Financial Aid Suspension Appeal Form and an Academic Plan Form to the Financial Aid Office. Students may contact their Advisor or the Financial Aid Office to obtain these forms and begin the appeal process. The student must provide a detailed explanation of the special circumstances (i.e. medical reason, crisis situation, academic reason) that prevented them from meeting the Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress and include documentation verifying the situation. The student will also need to explain what has changed in their situation that will allow them to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements following the appeal.
Those students who appeal will also be required, as part of the appeal process, to complete the FAFSA and to submit and agree to the terms of an Academic Plan. The Academic Plan will specify the steps the student will have to take to get back in good standing. The plan may have stipulations (i.e. limit the credits enrolled, require time in the Learning Center, define the courses to enroll, etc.) that the student must follow. The Academic Plan Form must be picked up from and completed with the student’s Advisor. Modifications may not be made to an Academic Plan once it has been submitted or approved.
Appeals will only be reviewed for the first 30 calendar days of the regular semester start date. The Financial Aid Suspension Appeal Form, the Academic Plan and the FAFSA must all be submitted within this deadline in order for the appeal to be reviewed. If these two appeal forms and the FAFSA are received after the deadline, the appeal will be reviewed for a future term which must be specified on the Academic Plan.
It is strongly recommended that all appeal forms be submitted as soon possible so that appeal results can be communicated to the student prior to the end of the 100% tuition and fee refund deadline. Students who have their appeal denied after the 100% tuition and fee refund deadline will be responsible for the full semester payment, including any book or other charges incurred.
The Financial Aid Academic Review Committee will consider the appeal and Financial Aid staff will notify the student of the Committee’s decision in writing. Notification will occur no later than fifteen days after the FAFSA is on file, the Financial Aid Suspension Appeal Form and Academic Plan are received, or after all semester grades are in, whichever is later. If the appeal is approved but the student’s financial aid eligibility has not yet been determined, requested documents must be submitted in a timely manner and must be reviewed in order for the financial aid eligibility to be determined.
Academic Plan(Probation) Status
A student who is placed on Academic Plan status has failed to make Satisfactory Academic Progress but has had their eligibility for financial aid conditionally reinstated and may continue to receive financial aid funds for the probationary period as a result of a successful appeal. The continued eligibility of this Academic Plan status is dependent upon whether or not the student follows the requirements laid out in the student’s Academic Plan.
Students whose appeal has been approved will conditionally regain eligibility for financial aid under the Academic Plan Status.
• Continued eligibility will be dependent upon whether the student follows the Academic Plan.
• The Academic Plan will be reviewed after each term of enrollment to determine if the student is successfully following the Academic Plan.
o Students who follow the Academic Plan after each term will maintain their financial aid eligibility until the student regains compliance with the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards, or until the student fails to meet the Academic Plan requirements.
o Students who do not follow the Academic Plan after each term will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension and will no longer be eligible to receive financial aid.
• Students who follow the requirements in the Academic Plan but the Academic Plan ends prior to the student regaining compliance with the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension and will no longer be eligible to receive financial aid.
Students whose appeal has been denied will remain on Financial Aid Suspension and will not be eligible to receive aid and must pay tuition and fees in future terms. Students who are on suspension and wish to regain financial aid eligibility will be required to bring their course work up to the minimum standards at their own expense. It is the responsibility of the student to notify the Financial Aid Office that their course work meets the minimum standards and to request that their financial aid be reviewed for reinstatement. Students may appeal again if circumstances have changed. Example: student successfully completes credits in semesters/ terms after their appeal was denied.
Return of Title IV Aid—Financial Aid Refund Policy
Federal law (Section 485 of the Higher Education Amendments of 1998-P.L. 105–244) specifies how NCC must determine the amount of student financial aid assistance that is earned if you cease to attend.
If you receive federal financial assistance and fail to complete your education, your financial aid may be adjusted based on the date of the official or unofficial withdrawal. An unofficial withdrawal occurs when a student stops attending and/or fails to follow the withdrawal process. The amount of financial assistance you have earned is determined on a pro-rated basis using the number of calendar days completed divided by the number of calendar days in the payment period. Once you have completed more than 60 percent of the enrollment period, you earn all your financial assistance.
In accordance with federal regulations, when Title IV (Federal) Funds are involved, unearned aid is returned by NCC in the following order:
1. Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan
2. Federal Direct Subsidized Loan
3. Federal Direct PLUS (Parent) Loan
4. Federal Pell Grant
5. Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
6. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
7. Other Title IV Assistance
The adjustment of aid may cause you to owe money to the U.S. Government and/or NCC. If a student withdrawal creates a credit balance, NCC will use the credit balance to pay authorized charges, including previously paid charges that become unpaid due to the withdrawal or the return of funds calculation. If NCC is required to return Title IV funds, the amount returned will be billed to the student. If the repayment of funds is not made to NCC within the designated deadline, the amount may be turned over to the U.S. Department of Education for collection or a collection agency, depending upon the funding source. Anyone in a repayment situation will remain ineligible for federal aid until the repayment is resolved. Students will remain ineligible for federal aid until the College receives notice from the Department of Education or collection agency that the student has reestablished his/her eligibility.
If the Return of Title IV Aid Calculation determines the student is eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement of grant funds, the funds will be applied to the student’s account as soon as possible but not later than 45 days after the date the school becomes aware of the student withdrawal. After the grant funds are applied to the student’s account, if this creates a credit balance, the funds will be disbursed to the student as soon as possible but no later than 14 days after the credit balance occurred. (34 CFR 668.164 (h)).
If the Return of Title IV Aid Calculation determines the student is eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement of loan funds, the student will be notified in writing within 30 days of the date the school becomes aware of the student withdrawal (34 CFR 668.22 (a)(6)(iii)(A)). The student will then be given 14 days to respond with their decision as to whether or not they will accept or decline the disbursement of the loan funds. If the student does not respond within 14 days of the date the notification was sent, the school is no longer required to make the post-withdrawal disbursement.
If you need to withdraw from your classes it is important that you contact your Advisor to complete a “Withdrawal Form.” The “Official Withdrawal Date” is recorded by the Registrar after the “Withdrawal Form” is returned to the Student Services Office, or is the date that the student otherwise provides official notification to NCC of their intent to withdraw. However, if documentation is received indicating the student’s last day of attendance is different than the date the student officially withdrew, the student’s last day of attendance may be recorded as the withdrawal date and used to calculate the refund of tuition and fees. Students who stop attending and/or fail to follow the withdrawal process are considered to have unofficially withdrawn and the student’s last day of attendance may be used to determine the refund calculation.
If you drop below half-time, withdraw, or graduate, you are required to complete Direct Loan Exit Counseling. You may complete the online Exit Counseling session by going to studentaid.gov. If your enrollment status drops below half time, your future loan disbursements may be cancelled, you will no longer qualify for an in-school deferment of your loan payments, and you will either begin your grace period or your loans may enter into repayment.
Types of Financial Assistance
Federal Pell Grant
The Federal Pell Grant Program provides federal aid to eligible students. The maximum grant for the 2023–2024 award year is $7,395. To apply for a Federal Pell Grant, complete and file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program provides up to $200 per academic year to students who receive the Federal Pell Grant and have exceptional financial need. To apply for a Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, complete and file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by April 1.
Iowa Vocational-Technical Tuition Grant
The Iowa Vocational-Technical Tuition Grant program provides up to $1,000 per academic year for up to two years of education, to Iowa residents enrolled in a career or technical program. To apply for an Iowa Vocational-Technical Tuition Grant, complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by July 1.
The Kibbie Grant, also called the Iowa Skilled Workforce Shortage Tuition Grant, provides assistance to Iowa residents enrolled in specific career or technical programs. To apply, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by July 1.
Iowa Last-Dollar Scholarship
The Iowa Last-Dollar Scholarship is a state-funded program for Iowan’s who enroll in programs that lead to high-demand jobs in Iowa. The intent is to cover any remaining gap between federal and state grants/scholarships and tuition. Students must be Iowa residents and be enrolled in a program at NCC that is designated as a high-demand career and technical program. To apply, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Aid (FAFSA) by the deadline that is determined each year. It is recommended that the FAFSA be completed by July 1 preceding enrollment which is the deadline for other state grant aid.
All Iowa Opportunity Scholarship
Priority is given to:
• Students who age out of Iowa’s foster care system, age out of the State Training School, and students adopted from Iowa’s foster care system after age 16
• Children of deceased public safety workers (including peace officers, police, firefighters)
• Students who participated in certain federal TRIO Programs while in high school
• Students who graduated from alternative high schools or alternative high school programs
• Students who participated in a Federal GEAR UP Grant
program in Iowa
To apply, students must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the Iowa Financial Aid Application (available at IowaCollegeAid.gov) by March 1.
Education and Training Voucher (ETV) Grant
This program provides grants to students up to age 26 who have:
• Exited foster care supervised by the Department of Human Services/Juvenile Court Services within 30 days of their 18th birthday or later, OR
• Were legally adopted or entered the Subsidized Guardianship Program from Iowa foster care at the age of 16 or older
To apply, applicants must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the Iowa Financial Aid Application which is available at IowaCollegeAid.gov or by calling 877-272-4456.
GEAR UP Iowa
This program provides a scholarship to students who are part of the GEAR UP Iowa state-wide cohort. To apply, students must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students who are Out of State Application must also complete the GEAR UP Iowa Scholarship Application found at IowaCollegeAid.gov.
The Federal Work-Study program provides employment opportunities for students who demonstrate financial need. Federal Work-Study provides part-time employment for students at a rate of $9.75 per hour. Community service work experience may be available. To apply, students must complete and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Eligibility does not guarantee a work-study position. Work-study funds do not apply directly to your bill. You will receive a paycheck for the hours worked in the previous month.
If awarded Federal Work-Study, it is the student’s responsibility to apply, arrange for interviews, be offered and accept any work-study opportunities. Once hired, appropriate documents must be completed such as I-9 forms, W-4’s, etc.
Federal Direct Loan Program
The Federal Direct Loan Program provides federally insured loans to students enrolled in eligible post-secondary institutions. Under this program the U.S. Department of Education is the lender. The two types of Direct Loans are Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans. Subsidized Loans are available to students with financial need and the U.S. Department of Education pays the interest on the loan while the student remains enrolled at least half-time, in the grace period, or during a deferment period. Unsubsidized Loans do not require the student to demonstrate financial need and the student is responsible for paying the interest during all periods. If the student does not pay the interest, the interest will accrue (accumulate) and be capitalized (the interest will be added to the principal amount of the loan). The maximum yearly loan limit for a dependent student is $5,500 for the first-year and $6,500 for the second-year.
Federal regulations require all first-time borrowers to complete an Entrance Counseling session and a Master Promissory Note – MPN prior to receiving the first disbursement of their loan funds. Students will also be required to complete a mandatory Exit Counseling session when departing from NCC.
Federal PLUS (Parent) Loan For Undergraduate Students
The Federal PLUS Loan Program is designed for the parents of dependent students in order to assist students with the costs of a college education. The loan amount is limited to the cost of attendance minus other financial aid. To apply for a Federal PLUS Loan, complete and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). A parent must also complete and submit a separate Federal PLUS Master Promissory Note—MPN and a PLUS Loan Authorization Form (LAF) found on NCC’s website.
Federal regulations require NCC to provide prospective students, current students and other stakeholders with “Consumer Information.” This information can be found here.