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Frequently Asked Questions About Financial Aid

Financial Aid Topics

Application Process

Financial aid is money provided by federal, state, institutional and private sources to assist people who want to attend college. There are two types of financial aid. The first type is called merit or scholarship assistance. At CCA scholarships are available for students who have good grades, show academic potential or meet the qualifications for other private funds (financial need may be one of the criteria). Need-based or need-determined, is the second type of financial aid available at CCA. To qualify for need-determined aid, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

, which will determine eligibility. If the student meets the official definition of "dependent," their parents' financial information will also be requested. It is possible for a student to have both merit- and need-based financial aid at the same time. It is important that the student complete the proper applications in order to be considered for both merit- and need-determined aid.
Yes. Many families mistakenly think they don't qualify for aid and prevent themselves from receiving financial aid by failing to apply for it. In addition, there are a few sources of aid such as unsubsidized Stafford and PLUS loans that are available regardless of need. The FAFSA form is free, so there's no reason not to apply.
Apply using FAFSA or Renewal FAFSA on the Web as soon as possible after January 1 for the appropriate financial aid year. CCA's Title IV School Code is 016058. Please refer to the CCA Financial Aid Handbook for greater detail on the application process.
No, the FAFSA is free. Never pay an individual or an organization to help you fill out the FAFSA. You can get free help online or by calling the Federal Student Aid Information Center (run by the U.S. Department of Education) at 1-800-4FED-AID.
No. You can apply for financial aid any time after January 1. To actually receive funds you must be admitted and enrolled at the university..
Yes. You must have a Social Security number (SSN) to be eligible for federal student financial aid. If you submit a FAFSA without an SSN your FAFSA will be returned to you unprocessed by FAFSA's Central Processing.
CCA has three priority deadlines for new applicants each semester. They are:
  • May 1 for the fall semester
  • November 1 for the spring semester
  • April 1 for the summer semester

This information is subject to change based upon budget appropriations by Congress. CCA is required by law to comply with all Federal regulations stipulated by the Department of Education and student eligibility is subject to these restrictions.

Students who have not used all of their scheduled award for the aid year may eligible to receive the Pell Grant for the summer semester. Each students' situation is different and the Financial Aid Office must individually evaluate each student to ensure that they have met the academic requirements for the summer semester.

We have a Summer Consideration Form that all continuing students must complete to be evaluated for additional Pell for the summer semester. Any student who has not received an award letter detailing Summer Pell eligibility must complete this form to be considered; check your student email for award letters.

Yes. You may apply for financial aid at any time throughout the academic year. If your file is completed after May 1 of the award year, the funding in some of the grant programs may already be depleted.
Our school code is 016058. You will be asked toward the end of your FAFSA for the schools you would like your application to be sent to. By entering our school code your FAFSA will be sent to CCA within 2 weeks.
If you haven't submitted your tax return, you should calculate your adjusted gross income (AGI) and taxes paid using the instructions for IRS Form 1040. After you complete your tax return, you may need to make corrections later if your income or tax information isn't accurate. You will also need to return any federal student aid you received based upon incorrect information.
You can go online to FAFSA Corrections on the Web and add CCA to your SAR. The CCA School Code is 016058.

Apply as soon as possible after January 1 of the academic year you plan to attend. Please note that after you have completed your taxes, you must update your FAFSA to include the correct information.

Some grants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Be aware of CCA's priority deadlines each semester and apply for financial aid early.

Financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. The order in which a student's file is completed determines when the award is made: CCA has three priority consideration dates

during the year. If a student has a completed file in the Financial Aid Office by the priority consideration dates, he or she will be given priority in determining eligibility for financial aid.

Applications, or materials that complete the application, received after the priority consideration dates are regarded as late and will be reviewed on a time-available basis. This means that aid may not be available in time to pay tuition and fee costs. Late applying students should be prepared to make payment arrangements. Aid not processed by the payment due date will be awarded during the term.

Yes. However, once you have filed a FAFSA, you may be able to file a Renewal FAFSA the next year. The Renewal FAFSA is designed for financial aid applicants who filed last year and are filing again. Many of the answers the student provided on last year's FAFSA are automatically entered into the Renewal FAFSA, reducing the number of questions the student must complete. Only the questions for which answers will have changed since last year need to be completed.
The instructions in the FAFSA will explain whether or not you must include parent information. Please note that if you have been declared independent by a financial aid administrator in the past, or if you think your special situation merits a review, request and complete a Dependency Override Appeal Form from the Financial Aid Office.
You should provide information from the parent you lived with the most in the last 12 months. If you don't live with either parent or lived with both parents for an equal number of days, information should be given for the parent who provided the greater amount of support to you during the last calendar year. FAFSA instructions have information that will be helpful if you have questions about providing information from separated or divorced parents.
You need to include both your mother's and your stepfather's income on the FAFSA. Regardless of any agreement to keep their finances separate, including any prenuptial agreement, both incomes factor into determining your parents' available income.
If your parent(s) refuse to provide their financial information on your FAFSA you may still qualify for Federal Unsubsidized Loans. Please contact a financial aid counselor for more information.
Students who have been determined dependent based on their FAFSA are required to provide their parents information even if they live on their own or fully support themselves.
To receive your aid, you must have a complete and correct SAR, thus, it is very important for you to review your SAR. The SAR confirms the information reported on your FAFSA and will contain your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is a measure of your family's financial strength and is used to determine your eligibility for federal student aid. The SAR will also let you know if your application has been selected for a process called verification by the U.S. Department of Education.


If you need to make corrections to your SAR, we encourage you to utilize FAFSA Corrections on the Web and make them yourself.

ONLY if they are requested. Be sure to include your name and social security number on all documentation submitted, including documents requested for parent(s) or spouse.


Keep copies of all forms completed and any materials used to prepare the forms, such as tax returns and W-2s. If a tax transcript is requested you must submit a transcript; tax forms are no longer accepted. It is strongly recommended that you allow the FAFSA to import your tax information from the IRS and that you do not alter the information.

Every students’ file is different, so your application might take longer to process than a friends based on the information required. It typically takes about 4-6 weeks to process applications.
You will receive a Financial Aid Award Letter from the CCA Financial Aid Office which will detail all aid for which you are eligible for the entire school year. You may not receive aid in excess of your cost of education.


The award letter will detail the financial aid "offer" or "award," which is made after your eligibility for funds has been determined. The award, which may include several kinds of financial aid, is called a '"package." The package may contain a combination of grants, scholarship, work study or the recommendation that you obtain a student loan if you have not applied for one. The initial award is based on your attending full-time (12 or more credit hours per term) and is revised if your enrollment status changes. The first award letter a student receives will be sent through the U.S. Postal Service and students will be notified of revisions to their accounts through their CCCS student email accounts.

As long as you are eligible for the award(s) and you are enrolled in the minimum number of credit hours needed for the award, you do not need to do anything to accept your award. You do not have to return the Financial Aid Award Letter to the CCA Financial Aid Office.


If you do NOT want to accept a certain award, you can either sign the award letter and decline the award, or complete a Financial Aid Cancellation form.

Yes. There are many forms of financial aid that you may be eligible for: Colorado Student Grant, work study, student loans, and scholarships. See Types of Aid for more information.
You must complete the FAFSA and state on the application that you would like to receive work study. CCA uses a work study waitlist to place students on a first-come, first-served basis. We then notify students who have been awarded by telephone or email. Please check with the Financial Aid Office for waitlist dates.
No! You can receive federal financial aid at only one college at a time. If you will be taking classes at two different schools at the same time, you will need to decide which school you want to receive aid from.
You first need to decide which school will be your home school. The home school is the school at which you are working on your degree. You must notify the home school of your enrollment at the other school. You cannot receive aid at two schools at the same time in the same semester. Under current law, you can only receive aid at one school. Check at the school where you will be receiving your degree for more information.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA - also known as the Buckley Amendment) limits access to educational records without expressed written consent. You may complete a FERPA release form with the Financial Aid Office or Enrollment Services.


To be considered for need-based aid at CCA, applicants must meet all of the following requirements:
  • Have earned a high school diploma, passed the General Educational Development (GED) test, completion of six credit hours or the equivalent coursework that are applicable toward a degree or certificate offered by CCA, or obtained a passing score on an independently administered Ability to Benefit test approved by the U.S. Department of Education. (At CCA, this is the assessment test given in the CCA Testing Center).
  • Be enrolled as a regular student working toward a degree or certificate in an eligible program.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.
  • Have a valid Social Security Number.
  • Meet Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).
  • Not be in default on a federal student loan or owe a repayment on a federal grant.
  • Certify that all federal aid received will be used only for educational purposes.
  • All male citizens of the U.S. and male immigrant aliens 18 through 25 years old must be registered with the Selective Service.
  • Effective July 1, 2000, a law suspends aid eligibility for students convicted under federal or state law of sale or possession of drugs. Instructions on the FAFSA will help determine eligibility.
  • Be over 16 years of age and not enrolled at a secondary educational institution.
  • Attend classes on at least a half-time basis (six credit hours or more). Federal Pell Grant recipients may qualify on a less-than-half-time basis based on their need.
  • Have submitted to the CCA Financial Aid Office any additional application material or requested documentation in order to be considered for financial aid. Required documents may include the following (please use black ink on any forms that you submit to the Financial Aid Office):
    • Verification Worksheet – Approximately 30 percent of financial aid applicants are selected to verify the information they have reported on their FAFSA. Selected students will be notified by mail and email. Students need to complete the form and return it promptly to the CCA Financial Aid Office.
    • IRS tax transcripts as specified on the Verification Worksheet, or as requested by the CCA Financial Aid Office.
    • Substantiation of additional resources.
    • Other information requested by the CCA Financial Aid Office.
    • Meet other state and federal eligibility requirements.
  • Grants
  • Scholarships
  • work study
  • Loans
  • Scholarships
  • Veteran's Benefits

Grants and scholarships do not need to be paid back. work study allows the student to work and earn money to help pay for school. Loans are borrowed money that must be repaid with interest. The CCA Financial Aid Handbook provides greater detail on the types of financial aid available at CCA. Refer to the Funding Education Beyond High School: The Guide to Federal Student Aid (available in English and Spanish) for further information on Federal Student Aid.

If you are a veteran, contact CCA Veteran Services to determine if you are entitled to financial aid benefits offered through the Veteran's Administration.

You are not eligible for a PELL grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), or Colorado Student Grant (CSG), but you may be eligible to apply for a Federal Stafford student loan.
CCA accepts the Federal Need Analysis Methodology as a fair and equitable means of determining the student's or the family's ability to contribute to the student's educational expenses. 

Financial aid eligibility is based on (1) your student expense budget, also called the cost of attendance (COA), (2) your estimated Expected Family Contribution (EFC), and (3) your financial need. Financial need is based on the following equation: COA – EFC = Financial Need. If you have been determined to have "financial need," you might qualify for the Federal Pell Grant (PELL), Federal Stafford Subsidized Student Loan, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Colorado Student Grant (CSG), and Federal and State work study (FWS and CWS).

If your EFC is higher than your COA, you may not have a financial need. You can still receive financial aid through the Federal Stafford Unsubsidized Student Loan and Parent PLUS Programs, up to your Estimated Cost of Attendance.

The purpose of Financial Aid is to meet, as much as possible, the student's financial aid need, considering the funds that are available at the time of awarding.

The Federal processor determines the EFC from information provided on the FAFSA. The FAFSA4Caster is available to help you get an idea of what your EFC might be.
Each college or university is allocated different amounts of state and federal aid funds and choose how best to allocate the aid to their students.
Federal and state funds are generally need-based and grants are given to those who exhibit the highest levels of financial need based on the results of their FAFSA. You may also apply for scholarships.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012 limits the Pell Grant lifetime eligibility of all students to 600% (12 full-time semesters) beginning with the 2012-2013 aid year, regardless of when or where the student received their first Pell Grant and whether or not they have earned a degree.

If you have received the Pell Grant for a number of semesters prior to the 2012-2013 aid year you may be in jeopardy of exhausting your lifetime limit and may have been contacted by the Department of Education via email regarding your eligibility. If you have already exhausted your 600% limit you are not eligible for any further Pell Grant beginning Fall 2012.

You can review your lifetime eligibility used online at; you will need to use your Federal Student Aid PIN (same as for the FAFSA).

For more information see


Verification is a process initiated by the U.S. Department of Education or by the Financial Aid office requiring you to verify the information that you provided on the FAFSA.
If your application has been selected for verification by the Federal Processor or by the college, CCA will notify you by letter or email and request the additional documentation that is needed to complete the processing of your application.


You are required to submit tax transcripts from the IRS and other documents to the Financial Aid Office. If your application is selected for verification, you will not be eligible for federal aid until this process is completed. About 30% of all financial aid applicants at CCA are selected at random each year for verification when their application is processed. The following items must be submitted if your application is selected:

  • Signed IRS transcripts for you (and your spouse, if married) for the prior year Federal tax return.
  • A copy of all W-2s associated with your income tax form.
  • Signed IRS transcripts for your parents (for students who were required to provide parent financial information on the FAFSA).
  • A completed Verification Worksheet for Independent or Dependent Student.
  • Other supporting documents that may be requested:
    • Child support
    • Immigration
    • Social Security
    • Birth Certificate(s)
    • Divorce/Separation documentation (must have correct, current name)
    • Veteran benefits
    • Ward of court
    • DD-214

To avoid unnecessary delays, please submit all required documents promptly.

Also, be sure you have filled out the Verification Worksheet completely and that all documents are signed by the appropriate parties. Documents with blanks and missing signatures will be returned.

The Department of Education requires that tax information matches the information provided on the FAFSA. You are given the option of importing your tax information from the IRS when you complete the FAFSA. If you choose not to import your data you may be required to submit a tax transcript to verify that the information on your FAFSA is correct.

You may request transcripts directly from the IRS by visiting and clicking on "Order a Transcript" or by calling 1-800-908- 9946.

When the Financial Aid Office receives the requested documents, we compare the information on these documents to the information you provided on your original FAFSA. If the information from the documents you submitted conflicts with your FAFSA, we may require additional information to clear up the discrepancy and will contact you by mail to request additional information. Responding quickly to any requests for additional information will help avoid further delays. If corrections to the FAFSA need to be made, CCA will correct the data and submit the corrections electronically to the U.S. Department of Education. A new SAR will be sent to you by the Federal Processor.
The information you submitted conflicts with the information on your FAFSA and we are required to verify that all information is correct and clear up any discrepancies in your file.


To qualify for most types of financial aid you must be enrolled a minimum of half-time, which is 6 credit hours at CCA. Certain scholarships may have other stipulations; check with the awarding body to determine your minimum enrollment. Students who are eligible for a Pell Grant may be eligible if they are enrolled less than half-time. Please check with the Financial Aid Office if have questions about your enrollment.
A financial aid overpayment may occur due to dropped courses that result in a reduction of tuition charges. In these cases your financial aid may be reduced. If your financial aid has already been disbursed, you will owe this money back to the college.
Check with the Financial Aid Office before your drop your courses. There are consequences that can affect your present and future eligibility for financial aid.
Federal rules may require that you pay back a portion of your unearned financial aid award. See also: Withdrawing from School

and the CCA Financial Aid Handbook

for more information.
An official withdrawal is an instance in which you notify the CCA Admissions Office either in person and complete an add/drop form, by phone, through an academic advisor, or on-line and withdraw from a course or courses.
If you withdraw from courses after the census deadline you are still liable for any charges to your account. Additionally, the Financial Aid Office may be required to recalculate your eligibility for financial aid and pull back any unearned financial aid. Withdrawing also affects your completion rate and you could go on Financial Aid Warning or become ineligible for aid. Please contact us with any questions you have if you plan on withdrawing from courses. See also: Withdrawing from School

and the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy


Paying for Classes and Books

Cash, check, credit card, company billing, or financial aid. See also: Payment Plans.
Financial aid funds are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis and many are need-based. If your financial aid does not cover your full education costs you can apply for scholarships, work part-time, use savings, consider living at home or with relatives to save on rent and utility costs.
If your financial aid has not been awarded by the tuition deadline you will need to make payment arrangements with the Cashier's Office or set up a Facts Payment Plan through your MyCCA account. You will be responsible for your tuition as well as paying for books and materials.
Cash, check, or credit card. If you have been awarded enough financial aid grants and/or loans you can charge the books and supplies purchased at the CCA Bookstore against your financial aid. However, if you choose to do this, you must have authorized it by signing the "Authorization of Payment from Title IV Funds" section on the CCA Student Information Form. Check the Student Finance tab of your MyCCA account for Financial Aid Bookstore charge dates.


Yes, it is mandatory for students to complete the FAFSA before applying for a Federal student loan because the FAFSA allows the Financial Aid Office to determine your general eligibility for a student loan. There are subsidized and unsubsidized loans available. The subsidized loans are awarded based on need, which is determined by the results from the FAFSA.
Subsidized loans are need-based and eligibility is determined by your FAFSA, other awards, and cost of attendance. The Federal government pays the interest on the loan while you are enrolled at least half-time in school. Subsidized loans also carry a lower interest rate. For unsubsidized loans students are responsible for any interest that accrues on the loan, even while enrolled in school.
Loan offers are based on several factors, including information from your FAFSA, your cost of attendance, class standing, and dependency classification. We offer a base amount to students who indicate on their FAFSA that they would like to receive loans; students are eligible to request more than the base amount.
 Fall, Spring, Summer


Interest begins from date of disbursement

Fall, Spring, Summer

*Students are not considered Sophomores until after they have earned a minimum of 30 credit hours. Students who request their entire yearly amount for the Fall and Spring semesters will have no loan funds remaining for the Summer semester. Plan accordingly!

Entrance Counseling is required by federal regulations to ensure that students understand their rights and responsibilities as borrowers, as well as the terms and conditions of Federal Stafford Loans.
An MPN (Master Promissory Note) is the legal agreement you make with the lender to repay your loans.
No. You must contact your lender and make arrangements to pay off your previous student loan. Generally you must make at least 6 consecutive monthly payments before you will be eligible to take out a new Stafford Student Loan.
You must contact your lender/servicer of your loan. There are several options for you to consider in order to clear the defaulted loan.
Yes. If you are currently working with a bankruptcy attorney, you should seek his/her advice before taking on additional debt.
Yes, but it is advised that you look at federal student loans first. Loans for the Federal Stafford Loan Program generally have better repayment terms for borrowers. If you still have educational costs and choose to get an alternative loan, speak to the lender and complete their application. The lender can then contact us to certify your enrollment.


The Financial aid Office will post your financial aid award on your account. If your financial aid award exceeds your tuition, books and fees, refunds will be issued according to the plan you set up when activating your Higher One card. If your award is less than tuition, fees and books, you must pay the difference. If necessary, you may consider applying for a Federal Stafford student loan. Click here for more information on the Higher One refund card.
If you have been awarded, the Financial Aid Office will release your funds the Tuesday after the census date for regularly scheduled course for the semester. First-time loan borrowers must wait 30 days after the first day of regularly scheduled courses for the semester to receive loan funds. It takes the Cashier's Office and Higher One seven to ten days to process the refund and apply according to the plan you set up when activating your Higher One card.  It is your responsibility to notify the CCA Admissions Office regarding updates in your name, address and phone number. You may update your address through your MyCCA account. Click here for more information on the Higher One refund card.
Financial aid funds are delivered into student accounts after the main census (drop/add) date to cover tuition and fees and any authorized bookstore charges that are on the student account. Should an account hold a credit balance, the Cashier’s Office will process a refund.
Due to certain federal and state regulations, the delivery of funds into student accounts and the refund process are separate processes carried out by separate offices. To help prevent any delivery delays, it’s the responsibility of the student to keep CCA informed of any changes to student contact information.

Award Changes

You may complete a Professional Judgment Worksheet that will allow us to reevaluate your financial aid eligibility due to unemployment, loss of benefits, divorce or other special circumstances. The Professional Judgment must be submitted by midterm of the semester for which you are asking to be considered.

Maximum award offers are based on full-time enrollment. Awards to students attending less than full-time will be pro-rated. All of these funds are limited and are awarded until they are depleted, thus, you may have remaining need even after all funds have been awarded.Below is a list of financial aid funds that may be available in addition to the Pell Grant:

  • Colorado Student Grant (CSG)
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
  • Federal work study (FWS)
  • Colorado work study (CWS)

Note that loans are not automatically awarded. If you would like a Federal Stafford Student Loan you may apply for one by completing a Loan Request Form, loan entrance counseling

, and a Master Promissory Note.

If your class is dropped by the college you will not be responsible for paying for the course. The course will not count toward your financial aid eligibility. If the course is a late-starting class and your financial aid has already been applied to your account we will adjust your award based on the credit hours you are attending and you may owe CCA a repayment.

Grades/Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress is the standard CCA uses to determine a student’s financial aid eligibility. Satisfactory Academic Progress measures a student’s performance in the following three areas: cumulative completion rate, cumulative grade point average (GPA), and maximum time frame. See also: Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.
If you’re on warning it means you have fallen below one or both of the criteria required to be in Good Standing: 2.0 GPA and/or 67% completion percentage, or you have attempted more than 110% of the credits needed for your degree program. While you are on warning you are eligible to receive financial aid.  See also: Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.
To appeal your eligibility for aid based on satisfactory academic progress you must submit a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal. The application is available through your MyCCA account or at the Financial Aid Office.
The appeal process typically takes about 2 weeks but if your file is incomplete or more information is requested it can take longer.
Yes. You will be notified by postal mail of the decision.





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