Online Orientation - Financial Aid

In this section, you'll find information about types of financial aid and how to apply for aid.

Types of Financial Aid

Financial aid is primarily made up of four basic things:

  • Grants
  • Loans
  • Work-Study
  • Scholarships

What is a grant?

Free Money --- No kidding!

There are several types of grants. Some are provided by the federal government, while others are provided by the state in which you officially reside. The most common grants are:

Pell Grants and SEOG Grants: Federal grant for students who have need.

Iowa Vocational-Tech Grant, Kibbie Grants, and Last Dollar Scholarship: State grants for those enrolled in certain vocational or technical programs.

Student Loans

A Federal Direct Loan is a type of aid you can use to pay for your college expenses. The loan is guaranteed by the federal government. Basically, you borrow the money while you're in school and pay it back after you've graduated or dropped below half-time enrollment. There are two different types of Federal Direct Loans:

Subsidized: The government pays the interest while you're in college.

Unsubsidized: Interest is charged on the loan while you're in college.

If you qualify, your financial aid offer will indicate how much you could borrow for a particular academic year. Borrowing too much money can be a big problem for many students. Remember, you can borrow a lesser amount than what is indicated. Before you borrow, we think it is important to keep these things in mind:

  • Have I created a budget?
  • Do I need to borrow?
  • Am I using the loan for school purposes?
  • What's my plan to pay back the loan?

Student Loan Repayment

If you're thinking about a student loan, keep in mind you'll eventually have to repay what you borrow. You'll have a six-month grace period after graduating or dropping below half-time enrollment before your loan will go into repayment.

Check out this repayment estimator to see what your monthly payments might be.

What Happens If I Don't Repay My Loan?

Student Loan Delinquency: Your loan becomes delinquent the first day after you miss a payment. If you are more than 90 days delinquent, this will be reported to credit bureaus. A lower credit score can make it difficult to get a credit card, buy a car, rent an apartment, or purchase a home.

Student Loan Default: If you don't make your scheduled student loan payments for a period of at least 270 days, your loan will go into default. This has serious consequences including loss of federal student aid eligibility, wage garnishment, and Treasury offset (withholding of tax refunds to pay your debt).

If you ever experience difficulties repaying your loans, SCC is here to help you!


Need a job while you're in school? The Work-Study program may be able to help. If you qualify, you could work on or off campus earning money to help with your school expenses. Students are paid via check, twice a month. In order to qualify, you must apply and be eligible for financial aid. View SCC's current Work-Study Job Openings.


Finding opportunities for scholarships used to be a challenge. You really had to do your research...that was until SCC made it easy for you. Our SCC Foundation awards hundreds of scholarships each year and you only have to complete one application to be considered for all of them! View SCC's Foundation Scholarship Application.

Outside scholarship applications can be worth your time too. Be sure to check our handy Scholarship Reference Guide listing local/regional scholarship opportunities.

Everyone should consider applying for scholarships!!

How to apply for financial aid

In order to receive financial aid, you must first apply (that makes sense) by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online. Do it as soon as you can! View more information on how to apply for aid.

When applying online, you (if applicable, your parents too) must have a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID. This is a user name and password you will create in order to "sign" the FAFSA electronically. When you're completing the FAFSA online, you can also apply for a FSA ID. The FAFSA on the web will walk you right through the process.

Helpful Tips:

  • You're going to need your tax returns. Have them on hand before you start.
  • Depending on your situation, you may need your parent's information and their tax returns.
  • Don't forget to add SCC's school code 004603 when asked.
    • The first "F" in FAFSA stands for FREE!
    • Never pay for FAFSA or even scholarship information. The Financial Aid Office is here to provide a free service to you.
  • If you need help, SCC's Financial Aid Office is a phone call or email away: Please see our Financial Aid page for a ton of information including who to contact at each campus.

Special Circumstances

The federal government's method of applying for financial aid is not perfect, but it's the only system we have. You must apply according to the government's rules. However, there are some circumstances that have caused a dramatic change in a student's ability to afford to go to college. We call those "special circumstances." Examples include a death in the family or a loss of a job. If you feel you have a special circumstance, please contact the Financial Aid Office after you have applied for financial aid.

Satisfactory Progress

In order to maintain your financial aid eligibility you must:

  • complete 67% of the classes you enroll in
  • maintain a 2.0 (C) cumulative grade point average

Unearned financial aid funds (Pell, loans, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant {SEOG}) must be returned to the Federal Government for a student who totally withdraws (official/unofficial) on or before the 60% point of the enrollment period. Before you decide to drop a course, check with the Financial Aid Office

For more information visit Satisfactory Progress Requirements and Title IV Requirements.

Financial Aid – What's Next?

I'm waiting...

After you've completed your FAFSA, your information will be sent to the US Department of Education. They will then send your information to SCC. This normally takes about a week.

We will then mail you an SCC Financial Aid Information Form and any other documents required by the US Department of Education. It is crucial that you immediately return any forms you receive to the financial aid office - if you don't, your financial aid is on hold!

My turn to act!

Once you have returned the completed forms to our Financial Aid Office, we can then determine your eligibility for financial aid and e-mail you a notice that your Offer Letter is ready to be viewed on Self Service.

To get to Self Service, log on to Hawknet and then select the Self Service icon. Select Financial Aid to access your information.

The Offer Letter on Self Service lets you know what financial aid is available to you!

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