Paying for college

North Country students

North County Community College students received over $8 million in student financial aid for the 2019-2020 academic year. Greater than 80% of our students receive some form of financial assistance. The financial aid office at North Country is here to assist students and families as they navigate the financial aid process from application to graduation and beyond.

FAFSA Link Button  NY State Aid Scholarships Link Button

 

Important Reminders: Managing Your Financial Aid

Return of Federal Financial Aid When Students Withdraw from North Country Community College

If a student withdraws from college, federal law legally obligates NCCC to return any unearned financial aid from Title IV programs back to the federal government on a pro-rated basis for students who withdraw from the college prior to 60% of the semester length.  The student is responsible for any college account balance that is created by the return of unearned Title IV funds. The federal Title IV programs that are covered by this law are: Federal Pell Grants, Iraq Afghanistan Service Grants, TEACH Grants, Subsidized Loans, Unsubsidized Loans, PLUS Loans, and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOGs).

When a student withdraws, the length of the semester and effective college withdrawal date determine the amount of federal financial aid funds that must be returned. If a student withdraws with an effective date prior to 60% of the semester, federal financial aid is earned proportionally based upon the percent of semester completed. If a student withdraws with an effective date after 60% of the semester, the student is considered to have earned 100% of federal aid and no funds must be returned to federal government.

The effective college withdrawal date is established based upon whether the student withdraws officially or unofficially.

An official college withdrawal occurs when a student completes the college process to withdraw. For an official withdrawal, the effective date is the date the student starts the college withdraw or notifies an appropriate office of their intent to withdraw.

An unofficial college withdrawal occurs when a student never attends or stops actively participating in all courses in term. Active participation includes attending a class, completing an assignment, taking an exam or quiz, etc. If a course is online, it also includes participating in an online discussion, but would not include a simple login with no active participation. After a term ends, the Financial Aid Office reviews all students who did not earn any credits in a semester. For unofficial withdraws, the effective withdrawal date is the last date of active participation in all classes in a semester. If the last date of active participation cannot be determined for all classes in a semester, per federal law, the effective college withdrawal date defaults to 50% or the latest date of active participation, whichever occurs later.

Once the semester length and effective college withdrawal date have been determined, NCCC must return any unearned portion of federal funds. The amount of unearned funds to be returned is calculated using the following formulas:

Percent of Earned Funds = (Number of days between semester start date and effective college withdrawal date)/(Number of days between semester start date and semester end date)

Percent of Unearned Funds = 100% - Percent of earned federal Funds

Amount of Unearned Funds = Percent of unearned funds * amount federal funds originally scheduled to receive. For example, suppose a student originally receives $1,000 in federal aid funds for a semester that lasts 100 days. If this student officially or unofficially withdraws with an effective date on day 30 of the semester, he or she would earn 30% of federal aid funds, leaving 70% unearned. In this example, NCCC would be legally obligated to return $700 back to the federal government (70% * $1,000). The student would be responsible for any college account balance that was created from this return.

A student is considered to have earned 100% of federal aid funds if the effective withdrawal date occurs on or after 60% of the semester length. College breaks that last five or more days are excluded in the calculation of the semester length. Also note that NCCC will return 100% of federal funds if a student never actively participated in a semester.

The requirements for the return of federal aid funds when you withdraw are separate from NCCC's refund schedule for tuition and fees. Therefore, you may still owe funds to the NCCC to cover unpaid institutional charges. NCCC may also charge you for any Title IV aid that the college was required to return. See the refund schedule online at http://www.nccc.edu/refunds/

Other Withdrawal Issues
If a student did not receive all of the funds that were earned, a student may be due a Post-withdrawal disbursement. If a Post-withdrawal disbursement includes loan funds, NCCC must get the student’s permission before it can disburse them. A student may choose to decline some or all of the loan funds in order to avoid incurring additional debt. NCCC may automatically use all or a portion of your Post-withdrawal disbursement of grant funds for tuition, fees, and NCCC room and board charges. NCCC needs the student’s permission to use the Post-withdrawal grant disbursement for all other college charges. If a student did not give NCCC permission during the federal authorization request process, you will be offered the funds. However, it may be in the student’s best interest to allow NCCC to keep the funds to reduce your debt at the college.

There are some Title IV funds that cannot be disbursed to a student after a withdrawal because of other eligibility requirements. For example, first-time, first-year undergraduate students who withdraw before completing 30 days are not eligible to receive any Direct Loan funds that would have been received had the student remained enrolled past the 30th day.

 

IMPORTANT LOAN INFORMATION

Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans
The William D. Ford Federal Direct Stafford Loan is a loan for students made through the U.S. Department of Education. Direct Loans are either subsidized or unsubsidized.

A subsidized loan is awarded on the basis of financial need. If you qualify for a subsidized loan, the federal government pays interest on the loan until you begin repayment.

An unsubsidized loan is not awarded on the basis of need. If you qualify for an unsubsidized loan, you’ll be charged interest from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. You can choose to pay the interest or allow it to accumulate. If you allow the interest to accumulate, it will be capitalized – meaning, the interest will be added to the principal amount of your loan and will increase the amount you have to repay. If you pay the interest as it accumulates, you’ll repay less in the long run.

Interest Rate
The interest rate is fixed at 2.75% (loans disbursed July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021). The origination fee are fees that are assessed to offset the cost of processing the loans. The origination fee is 1.059%.

150% Rule for Subsidized Loans
If you’re receiving Federal Title IV Financial Aid, you may attempt up to a maximum of 150% of the credits necessary to complete your degree/certificate program. For example, for a program requiring 64 credits for graduation, you may attempt up to 96 credit hours. When your attempted hours are equal to or exceed 150% of the credits required for the degree/certificate, you’re no longer eligible for Federal Title IV Financial Aid.

How Much Can I Borrow?
The tables below summarize the annual maximum loan amounts for total subsidized plus unsubsidized loans.

Year Dependent Independent / Dependent PLUS Loan Denied
Freshmen (1 to 23 earned credits) $5,500 total of which no more than $3,500 subsidized $9,500 total of which no more than $3,500 subsidized
Sophomore (24+ earned credits) $6,500 total of which no more than $4,500 subsidized $10,500 total of which no more than $4,500 subsidized
Aggregate Maximum $31,000 total of which no more than $23,000 subsidized $57,500 total of which no more than $23,000 subsidized

 

How Do I Apply?
To apply for a Federal Direct Student Loan, you must first file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov Students will be packaged with the maximum subsidized and unsubsidized loans that they are eligible for.

If you’re taking out a Federal Direct Student Loan at NCCC for the first time, you’re required to complete Loan Entrance Counseling, which explains the obligations you agree to meet as a condition of receiving a Direct Loan. You’ll learn about managing your spending, making a repayment plan and other important topics.

Once the Loan Entrance Counseling session is completed, our Financial Aid Office will receive an electronic confirmation. You should print the confirmation form at the end and keep it for your records. If you do not complete the Loan Entrance Counseling session, you will NOT receive your Direct Loans.

Also, if you’re taking out a Federal Direct Student Loan for the first time, you’re required to sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN). By signing the MPN, you agree to the terms and conditions of the loan. Signing the MPN is done electronically using your FSA ID. Our Financial Aid Office will receive an electronic confirmation. If you do not complete the MPN, you will NOT receive your Direct Loans.

Complete the Loan Entrance Counseling and sign your Master Promissory Note at the https://studentaid.gov/ website.

How Is My Loan Disbursed?
The U.S. Department of Education will pay your student loan funds through NCCC. Your loans will be disbursed in two equal installments, fall and spring semesters. Each semester, once enrollment is confirmed after census and your attendance has been reported. First-Time students will have a 30 day waiting period.

Your loan money must first be applied to your school account to pay for tuition, fees and other school charges. If loan money remains as a credit, you can receive the funds the Student Business Office.

How Do I Repay My Student Loan?
After you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment, you have six months before you begin repayment of your federal student loans. This is called a grace period. After you leave school or drop below half-time enrollment, you will receive information about repayment and will be notified of the date repayment begins. However, you are responsible for beginning repayment on time, even if you do not receive this information.

For more information on repaying your student loans, visit the repaying section of the Federal Student Aid website. In addition, the repayment plans are further explained during your online entrance and exit counseling sessions.

For more information on the Federal Direct Student Loan program, visit the https://studentaid.gov/.

FEDERAL DIRECT PARENT LOAN FOR UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS (PLUS)
Families who need additional money to pay for an NCCC education may apply for the Federal Direct PLUS program, made through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Student Loan Program. This loan allows parents to borrow money from the U.S. Department of Education to help pay for their child's educational expenses.

Parents of dependent students enrolled at least on a half-time basis, six or more credit hours, can apply for a Federal PLUS loan through the Federal Direct Loan Program. Parent borrowers must have good credit histories or an endorser: someone willing to repay the loan if the parent borrower fails to do so.

What Is The Yearly Limit?
The yearly limit on a PLUS loan is equal to the student's cost of attendance minus other financial aid received.

Interest Rate
The interest rate is fixed at 5.30% (loans disbursed July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021). The origination fee are fees that are assessed to offset the cost of processing the loans. The origination fee is 4.236%.


How Is My Loan Disbursed?
The U.S. Department of Education will pay your parent loan funds through NCCC. Your loans will be disbursed in two equal installments, fall and spring semesters. Each semester, once enrollment is confirmed after census and your attendance has been reported. First-Time students will have a 30 day waiting period.

Your loan money must first be applied to your school account to pay for tuition, fees and other school charges. If loan money remains as a credit, you can receive the funds the Student Business Office.

How Does Repayment Work?
Repayment of PLUS loans begins 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed. There are three different repayment plans: standard, extended or graduated. More information on these plans will be sent to parent applicants.

How Do Parents Apply?
To apply for a PLUS loan, parents must go to the https://studentaid.gov/ website. Once there, a parent will need to sign in using his or her FSA ID. Once signed in, the parent will then select “Start PLUS Application Process.”

For more information on parent loans, check out the https://studentaid.gov/

PRIVATE LOANS
Banks and other financial institutions offer private institutional loans to help with the cost of your education. These loans are not guaranteed student loans and are generally based on income and credit history. Interest rates and fees are set by each individual lender. Most students would be required to have a cosigner to obtain one of these private loans.

If you’re considering taking out a private educational loan, you should research each individual program carefully. These loans are generally at a higher interest rate and you should consider them only as a last alternative, after you have explored all federal aid options. To explore some of your Private Loan options, please visit http://www.elmresources.com/

You will find these videos about the funancial aid process very helpfil.

FAFSA Overview

How to Create your FSA ID

How to fill out the FAFSA

After the FAFSA, Now What?

Types of Federal Student Aid

Mary Ellen Chamberlain, Director of Financial Aid, Saranac Lake Campus
mchamberlain@nccc.edu
518-891-2915 extension 1285

Scott Mitchell, Assistant Director of Financial Aid, Malone Campus
smitchell@nccc.edu
518-891-2915 extension 3228

Teresa Finch, Financial Aid Counselor, Saranac Lake Campus
tbordeau01@nccc.edu
518-891-2915 extension 1229

Main Phone Line: 518-891-2915 1687
financiaaid@nccc.edu

 

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