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Financial Aid Frequently Asked Questions

Financial Aid Frequently Asked Questions


Q: How often do I apply for financial aid?
A: Each year, preferably before November 15, you need to file the FAFSA for the next academic year.


Q: Is there any way I can check the status of my financial aid?
A:  You can monitor your financial aid status under your mySANDBURG account at mySANDBURG/Self-Service Menu/MyFinancialAid/Financial Aid Self-Service. Students are welcome to call the financial aid Office at 309.341.5283 if they have any questions or concerns.


Q: I probably don't qualify for aid. Should I apply for aid anyway?
A: Yes. Many families mistakenly think they don't qualify for aid and prevent themselves from receiving financial aid. In addition, there are a few sources of aid such as Unsubsidized Stafford and PLUS loans that are available regardless of financial need. Completing the FAFSA form is free and we encourage all students to apply. 


Q: I received an outside scholarship. Should I report it to the financial aid Office?
A: Yes. If you are receiving any kind of financial aid from external sources, you must report the funds to the financial aid Office.


Q: How do I apply for financial aid?
A: Go to the financial aid homepage and click on “Applying for Aid” for details on what you need to do.


Q: What documents do I need to complete my financial aid information?
A: A few weeks after you have completed your FAFSA, we will inform you by email of any documents necessary to complete your information. You can check your financial aid status on mySANDBURG, then go to your mySANDBURG account at mySANDBURG/Self-Service Menu/MyFinancialAid/Financial Aid Self-Service.


Q: What is verification and why was I “selected for verification"?
A: Verification is a process required by the U.S. Department of Education to confirm that the information you entered on the FAFSA is accurate. You will be required to submit selected documents to the Financial Aid Office and you will not be eligible for aid until this process is complete. Every one out of three students will be randomly selected for verification.


Q: What is Federal Work Study and how do I apply?
A: The Federal Work Study (FWS) program provides part-time jobs for students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. A job is not guaranteed, and you are not guaranteed to earn your entire award. If you are offered Federal Work Study, you must fill out a work study application located in the Financial Aid office.  This application will be sent to all departments you checked that you were interested in and if department is interested, they will call you for an interview. 


Q: How do you process financial aid for summer?
A: Students who were not enrolled full-time during the fall and spring terms or who did not use all their loan eligibility for the year may receive summer financial aid. Notices are sent in late March to notify you of summer eligibility. State of Illinois MAP Grants are not available for summer term. 





Q: If my parents are divorced, whose income do I use on the FAFSA?
A: If your parents live separately or are divorced at the time you submit the FAFSA, you will report the income and assets of the parent with whom you lived the majority of time over the previous 12 months and who provided the most financial support. If your parents file a joint tax return, you will separate the income and other resources to only report the parent income you are required to report. 

Stepparents: The Department of Education has determined that parents and students have the primary responsibility for meeting a student´s post-secondary educational costs. When a parent with whom the child is living remarries, the stepparent becomes a family member. Consequently, the stepparent´s resources will be considered when determining the family´s ability to cover the college expenses.


Q: Is it free to complete a FAFSA online?
A:Yes. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is always available at no cost. For the free FAFSA, you must go to  


Q: How do I know which FAFSA to fill out?
A: A FAFSA covers an academic year which includes the fall, spring and summer semester. Example: Completing the 2017-18 FAFSA includes Fall 2017, Spring 2018 and Summer 2018 semesters.



Other Topics


Q: What are the Standards of Academic Progress (SAP)?
A: Standards of Academic Progress is a federal policy that the school is required to enforce to ensure that you are making progress toward your degree. Please refer to the Standards of Progress Policy for Carl Sandburg College.


Q: What if I need to change my address?
A: If your address has changed, you need to immediately update your address with the Registration Office. This can be done via mySANDBURG or by completing a form in the Registration Office.


Q: What if I receive more financial aid than my cost of tuition?
A: If you have excess money after tuition and fees are paid, you may be issued a refund. If you are eligible for a refund, it will be sent to you via mail or direct deposit from the Business Office.


Q: What will happen to my financial aid if I withdraw from a class or just stop attending?
A: Attendance and academic performance are important! Withdrawing or ceasing attendance before the 60 percent point of the term will cause you to owe the College and/or the Department of Education money. PLEASE contact the Financial Aid Office before any withdrawal so that you may be made aware of the potential impact of your decision.


Q: Are Federal Work Study earnings taxable?
A: The money you earn from Federal Work Study is subject to federal and state income tax. The earnings are exempt from FICA taxes provided you are enrolled full-time and work less than half-time.


Q: Does Carl Sandburg College offer a payment plan or payment deferments?
A: Yes. Sandburg offers the Nelnet payment process, which allows students to pay their tuition in installments.


Q: Can my parent(s) or spouse be given information on my financial aid in person or on the phone?
A: You must sign a Student Authorization To Release Information form authorizing Sandburg to release specific information to the person(s) you have designated. If your parent/spouse wants information in person, their picture ID is still required to verify to whom we can release information regarding your financial aid file. We cannot identify a student/parent/spouse over the phone, which means we will not give out any detailed information on your file. We can only release general information over the phone.


Q: Can I charge my books if I am eligible for grants?
A: If financial aid (not including loans or MAP) exceeds the cost of tuition and fees, the excess will be available at the Bookstore. Books may be charged to financial aid approximately three weeks before the start of the semester.


Q: How long will it take to find out if I qualify?
A: It can take a week to process your FAFSA. Processing at the College is approximately three weeks once all signed and completed documents are received.


Q: What happens if I apply late?
A: You are responsible to pay your tuition by the date specified. If your financial aid is not finalized by the date tuition is due, you must pay or go on the Nelnet deferred payment plan.


Q: When will I get my refund check?
A: Pell, SEOG, loans or scholarship funds remaining after tuition, fees and books are paid will be given to a student after the second week of the term, AFTER class attendance is verified. Students will not be paid for any courses they have never attended.


Q: Can I apply for aid even after I have paid tuition and fees?
A: Yes! If you are found to be eligible for financial aid, you will be issued a refund for the remainder of the difference.


Q: When can I apply for a loan?
A: Sandburg evaluates all loans on a case-by-case basis. The student must apply for financial aid and have received his/her award notification before a loan request can be processed. To request a loan complete the three steps for a loan on the Sandburg loan webpage. A loan is not guaranteed or you may be approved for less than the maximum award.