Financial Aid FAQs

Financial Aid FAQs

Who should file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?

Any student who plans to attend Community College of Philadelphia should file, even if you are not sure whether you will need or qualify for financial aid. The FAFSA form is good for the entire school year (fall, spring and summer).

Is there a filing deadline for FAFSA?

For Community College of Philadelphia, the priority filing deadline is the tax filing date of April 15 or the first business day after April 15. Filing a FAFSA after this date can delay your packaging and disqualify you from certain awards for which you may otherwise qualify.

Is there a deadline for the PA State Grant (PHEAA)?

Yes. The deadline is May 1 for renewal applicants and Aug. 1 for new applicants.

What is the Federal School Code for Community College of Philadelphia?

The Federal School Code for Community College of Philadelphia is 003249.

When will I receive my PA State Grant?

Students receive a letter from PHEAA several weeks after the FAFSA has been processed. If you are eligible, your grant will be applied to your account in approximately the 10th week of class. Students who have not received their PA State Grant by this time may check with the Office of Financial Aid for the status. You must be enrolled for a minimum of six credit hours to be eligible for the PA State Grant.

How is my financial need determined?

Financial need is determined by Community College of Philadelphia’s cost of attendance minus your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). If you are a dependent student, the amount you and your parents are expected to contribute will stay the same unless your family financial circumstances change.

I was selected for verification. What does that mean?

Verification is a process that the U.S. Department of Education uses to make sure that the information reported on the FAFSA is accurate. Some FAFSA applications are selected because of inconsistent information, and others are chosen randomly. The Office of Financial Aid will request copies of your (and if a dependent student, your parents’) IRS tax return transcript(s) and W-2s, as well as a verification worksheet if you are selected. The information provided by you on the FAFSA is compared to the tax information submitted. Corrections are made, if necessary, and you are notified of any corrections made and the effect the changes have had on your aid eligibility.

   Watch: Verification: What does it mean?

What if I or my parents became unemployed?

Congress has made it easier for dislocated workers to be eligible for financial aid. If you or your parents were laid off or lost a job, please complete question 84 or question 102 on the 2019–2020 FAFSA. You can also submit a request for special consideration by submitting a Special Condition form to the Office of Financial Aid. This form is available in the Financial Aid Office. If you have already submitted your FAFSA, you can go online and make the change, or visit the Office of Financial Aid and meet with a financial aid specialist to make the change.

Can I file the FAFSA if my parents or I have not yet filed our taxes for the tax year?

To avoid delays in processing your application, you should have a completed income tax return. However, if you or your parents have not yet filed taxes, you can estimate the tax information by using your W-2 forms.

Note: Corrections may be needed after you file your taxes, which can delay the processing of your financial aid.

Do I need my parents’ tax information if I do not live with them?

You will need your parents’ tax information only if you are a dependent student. Your dependency status is determined by questions 46 to 58 on the 2019–2020 FAFSA:

46. Were you born before January 1, 1996?
47. As of today, are you married? (Also answer “Yes” if you are separated but not divorced.)
48. At the beginning of the 2019–2020 school year, will you be working on a master’s or doctorate program such as an M.A., M.B.A., M.D., J.D., Ph.D., Ed.D., graduate certificate, etc.?
49. Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training?
50. Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?
51. Do you now have or will you have children who will receive more than half of their support from you between July 1, 2019, and June 30, 2020?
52. Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half of their support from you, now and through June 30, 2020?
53. At any time since you turned age 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care or were you a dependent or ward of the court?
54. As determined by a court in your state of legal residence, are you or were you an emancipated minor?
55. Does someone other than your parent or stepparent have legal guardianship of you as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?
56. At any time on or after July 1, 2018, did your high school or school district homeless liaison determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?
57. At any time on or after July 1, 2018, did the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?
58. At any time on or after July 1, 2018, did the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?

If you answered "No" to all of the above questions, you are considered a dependent student, and you will need your parents’ tax information. If you answered "Yes" to any of the questions, you are considered independent, and you are not required to provide parental tax information. However, you may be required to provide other documentation to support your independent status.

How do I answer question 52 if my income to support my child living with me is from TANF?

Answer “Yes.” TANF benefits count as support that you provide to your child.

For question 58, help me understand the meaning of “unaccompanied youth who was homeless”?

“Youth” means that you are 21 years of age or less or are still enrolled in high school as of the day you sign the FAFSA. “Unaccompanied” means you are not living in the physical custody of a parent or guardian. “Homeless” means lacking fixed, regular and adequate housing, including living in shelters, motels, cars and temporarily with other people because you have nowhere else to go.

I have no contact with my dad or mom. I am in a transitional housing program. Am I an independent student?

If you are unable to provide parental information, skip Steps Four and Five, and go to Step Six. Once you submit your FAFSA without parental data, you must follow up with the Office of Financial Aid to complete your FAFSA.

I live with my foster parents and their children. Are they my “family members for FAFSA”?

No, do not count them in your household size for FAFSA.

What happens once I file my FAFSA form?

After the FAFSA form has been filed, you will be mailed a Student Aid Report (SAR), which indicates your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and your estimated federal Pell Grant eligibility. If you file electronically, you will be notified via email. The College will also receive you SAR.

When will I receive an aid offer notification?

You will receive an aid offer notification based on a full-time enrollment assumption in early July, if you submitted your FAFSA by April 15. Students who submit their FAFSA after this date will receive their award notification approximately two to three weeks after submitting their FAFSA. Students selected for verification must first submit the required documentation to the College. The aid offer notification details the amount and types of aid offered. Upon receipt of the aid offer notification, you should compare your term financial aid total to your term bill. If the total financial aid package, excluding PA State Grant, does not cover the total charges, you are responsible for making payments to cover the outstanding balance before the payment deadline.

When will I receive my balance check?

Balance checks are mailed or directly deposited to students’ accounts shortly after the 20 percent attendance report has been submitted by the instructors. Check your MyCCP account for the status of your refund.

Do I have to attend my classes to get financial aid?

Yes. Failure to attend class will result in the reduction or loss of financial aid, and you may be required to return all or part of your aid. In some situations, you may also owe the College for tuition and/or bookstore charges.

If I am not eligible for the federal Pell Grant, what other types of financial aid are available?

The FAFSA is used to determine your eligibility for federal grants, state grants, Work-Study and loans. When students are not eligible for the federal Pell Grant, they may be eligible for the PHEAA State Grant. Students also have the option to apply for a Federal Student Direct Loan, which you must pay back.

How do I apply for a William D. Ford Federal Direct Student Loan (Direct Loan)?

If interested in taking out federal Direct Loans you must complete the following:

  1. A FAFSA at and
  2. An entrance counseling session and a Master Promissory Note (MPN) at
What is the difference between a subsidized federal Direct Loan and an unsubsidized federal Direct Loan?

Subsidized loans are need-based loans. The interest is paid by the federal government while you are attending school at least half time (six credits). Unsubsidized loans are not need-based, and you are responsible for the interest while attending school. Students have the option to defer making the interest payments if they are enrolled at least half time.

What is entrance counseling?

Entrance counseling is a federal requirement for all loan borrowers at Community College of Philadelphia. It is used to educate students on the types of funds they are borrowing, the amount students may borrow, interest rates, repayment options and debt consolidation. You must complete an entrance counseling session online at

Why do I have to complete exit counseling?

Exit counseling is a federal requirement for all students with loans whose enrollment is less than half time or who are exiting an institution or transferring to another institution. These students must complete exit counseling online at The purpose of exit counseling is to educate borrowers about their rights and responsibilities for the federal student loans they owe.

How do I apply for the federal Work-Study program?

Students must file the FAFSA by the College’s FAFSA priority filing deadline to be eligible for the federal Work-Study program. The Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) on the Student Aid Report (SAR) must be $1,500 or less. Your enrollment must be at least six credit hours. Work authorization forms must be picked up from Enrollment Central, signed by your supervisor and returned to the Office of Financial Aid. You should indicate on the FAFSA form that you are interested in federal Work-Study.

If eligible for federal Work-Study, how many hours can I work?

Students eligible for the federal Work-Study program are permitted to work a maximum of 20 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters. Your actual hours will be determined by your award amount and your Work-Study supervisor.

Under the federal Work-Study program, what is the hourly pay rate?

Currently, the standard hourly wage is $7.50. This is subject to increase periodically as legislation to raise the minimum hourly wage goes into effect.

Do I have to make an appointment to see a financial aid specialist?

No. Specialists are available at the Main Campus and at the three Regional Centers. Please check the College’s website for our office hours, and visit Enrollment Central when on campus.

How do I find out about scholarships?

Scholarship information may be obtained from libraries, civic organizations, churches and online. Listed below are some of the national web-based searches: 

What do I have to do if I plan to attend classes in summer?

All summer classes are considered part of the current aid year. You do not have to file another FAFSA. Students who were not full time in fall and spring will usually have remaining eligibility. However, we can only determine the amount after you register for your summer classes.

Please submit a Summer Loan Application to the Office of Financial Aid if you are interested in taking out a loan. You must be enrolled for at least six credits in summer to be eligible for loans. If possible, save your spring balance check for summer.

Direct Loan FAQs

What types of Direct Loans are available?

Subsidized Loans are for students with financial need as determined by federal regulations. No interest is charged while you are in school at least half-time, during your grace period, and during deferment periods.

Unsubsidized Loans are for students and are not based on financial need. Interest is accruing immediately during in-school, grace period and deferment.  Interest accruing during these periods may be paid or capitalized.

PLUS Loans are available to credit-worthy parents of dependent undergraduate students.  Parents may borrow the difference between the student’s total cost of education and all other aid the student is receiving. 

Consolidation Loans allows students or parents to combine one or more of your federal education loans into a new loan that offers several advantages such as one monthly payment, flexible repayment options, or reduced monthly payments.  Before making a decision to consolidate your federal student loans, consider factors such as the affordability of your monthly payments, the number of payments you need to make to multiple lenders, the interest rates on each of your loans, and how much you are willing to pay over the long term.  Parent PLUS Loans cannot be consolidated with the student’s loans.

What are the eligibility requirements?

You must be enrolled at least half-time (6 credits) at the College and you must meet general Title IV eligibility requirements.

How do I apply for the Direct Loan Program?

The process is similar to what you have used in the past. You must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and check on the application that you wish to be considered for a loan. Community College of Philadelphia will then review the application and notify you of the eligibility for the loan and the maximum amount.

Will a new Master Promissory Note (MPN) need to be completed?

All current FFELP borrowers and any new borrower will have to sign a new electronic Federal Direct Loan Application/Master Promissory Note (MPN).  The Direct Loan process will be completed online. The E-MPN can be completed at The MPN will only need to be signed once (good for up to 10 years); as loans are requested for subsequent years, the loans will be added to your Master Promissory Note. The MPN explains the terms and conditions of your loan and is your legally binding agreement to repay your loan to the Department.  Students will need their FSA ID to complete the process.

Will a new PLUS Master Promissory Note (MPN) need to be completed?

Parents of dependent Undergraduate students and Graduate students who have previously borrowed under FFELP and any new borrower will be required to complete a new electronic Federal Direct PLUS Loan Application/Master Promissory Note (PLUS MPN).  The Direct PLUS Loan should be applied for the academic year.  The loan cannot be applied for more than 90 days before the start of the academic year. Complete the Federal Direct PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) at

 If your loan application is not approved, you will be contacted by the Federal Servicer (in writing) and given the option of appealing the credit decision or resubmitting the application with a credit-worthy endorser.  Questions concerning your credit decision should be directed to the Student Loan Support Center at 1-800-557-7394.

You must have an FSA ID before completing and signing the electronic MPN.  You can retrieve or manage your FSA ID at

Who should I contact about application questions?

Application questions should be addressed to the Financial Aid Office.  You may email or call (215)-751-8270.

What happens if some of my federal student loans are serviced by a lender/guarantor and another part of my loans will be serviced through the Department of Education?

The source of the loan application and funding is semester and year specific. The combination of FFEL Program and DL loans is not unusual. In the case of the DL Program, since the choice to participate in either FFEL Program or DL is a decision that each school must make, it already happens that you could have loans in both programs. This is the case if you begin your education at a school that uses the DL Program and then transfer to a school using the FFEL Program; you would have loans with each program. In order to make repayment to one source once repayment starts, you may take out a federal consolidation loan which combines both types of loans into a single loan.

What if my loans are not consolidated?

Your lender will send information about repayment and notify you of the date repayment will begin.  Under FFEL Program, you will repay to a private lender or their designated loan servicer that made the loan.  Under DL, payments are made to the Direct Loan Servicing Center.  You will make separate monthly payments to each servicer.  It is recommended that you visit the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) Student Access website at  NSLDS provides a central database for student aid.  You will need your Federal Student Aid PIN to access the website

How does the Federal Direct Consolidation process work?

Once you graduate or choose to no longer attend school on a half-time basis, you can contact the DL Program for an application for a Direct Consolidation Loan, which will combine the FFEL Program and DL loans into one type of loan. When it comes time to begin repaying the loans, you will be provided with several options concerning consolidation to be able to choose which one has the greatest advantage.  You may call the U.S. Department of Student Loan Support Center at 1-800-557-7394 or visit

Who do I call about loan repayment questions?

Direct Loan Servicing Center Customer Service Representatives are available to answer borrower phone calls at 1-800-848-0979 from Monday through Friday 8:00 am E.S.T. to 8:30 pm E.S.T. or visit

How can I keep track of my Federal Student Loans borrowed?

We recommend that you visit the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) Student Access website at  NSLDS provides a central database for student aid and allows students access to view information from schools, guaranty agencies, the Direct Loan program, as well as other programs; which is a valuable tool in managing your federal student loan information. You will need your FSA ID to access the website.