Applying for Financial Aid

Many students require financial assistance. South Coast College helps students explore their funding options. Don’t let a lack of funds get in the way of you getting the quality career training you need to pursue a successful career. Our friendly Financial Aid Officers will guide you through the financial aid process, making everything easier to understand.

What are you looking for?

New Students

The Financial Aid Department is here to help you understand how you can afford to finance your career . All prospective students meet with a Financial Aid Officer for a Tentative Award. Students are provided with costs, financial aid, and payment amounts based upon programs and start dates . A follow-up appointment is set where the Financial Aid Officer assists the prospective student in completing a FAFSA through FAA Access.

At the appointment, students complete all necessary paperwork. This paperwork includes, but is not limited to, credit balance / excess funds form, a South Coast College Financial Aid Information Form, an Entrance Interview form, a receipt for the Consumer Handbook, and a Verification Worksheet. Direct Loan MPN’s are printed and taken to the Financial Aid Orientation for new students to complete the first week of the quarter.

Loans are processed electronically in EDExpress and the MPN is mailed to COD for processing.

Continuing Students

All continuing students are required to complete their FAFSAs online. Two months prior to the anniversary of their start date (9 months for day students and 12 months for evening students), a package/award is made. Students are notified when it is time for them to set up an appointment to repackage. At the appointment, students complete all necessary paperwork. This paperwork includes, but is not limited to, a South Coast College Financial Aid Information Form, an Entrance Interview form, and a Verification Worksheet. Direct Loans are processed electronically through EDExpress.

Funds are awarded on a first-come first-serve basis after taking all other eligibility requirements into account. Continuing students are encouraged to file the FAFSA by the March 2 deadlinets) and to ensure timely completion of their file, but there is no penalty for applying later. Files are reviewed and repackaged upon a student’s anniversary date — every 9 months for day students and 12 months for evening students. SEOG is only awarded to students with a 0 EFC.

After all grant aid is awarded, loan aid is offered based on academic grade level and aggregates used. As awarding is done with the student present, it is determined how much subsidized and/or unsubsidized loan the student wishes to borrow based on the student’s individual needs.

If there is still a balance due, PLUS loans are discussed or payments are set up at the time of awarding. Conversely, if the student qualifies for living-expense funds, this amount is determined at the time of awarding. The South Coast College award letter shows all funds awarded, balances by quarter with the payment arrangements or living expense checks (stipends).

Private loans are never part of a student’s initial financial aid award and are brought up only if the student indicates more funding is required.

The Cost of Attendance (COA) includes both direct and indirect costs associated with attending South Coast College. Direct costs include tuition, fees, and books and supplies. Indirect costs include room and board (based on living situation), transportation costs, and personal expenses.

South Coast College encourages students to borrow only what they need to meet their direct costs; however, they may get financial aid for indirect costs upon request and eligibility.

Students’ financial aid awards cannot exceed their Cost of Attendance.

Click Here for the Most Current Cost of Attendance

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Financial aid funds are disbursed to a student’s account once attendance and half-time enrollment for the quarter are verified. However, students at South Coast College can purchase text books and supplies on the campus bookstore ten days prior to the start of a quarter if their financial aid process is complete and an award has been made.

If students have a negative balance, with no outstanding charges, they are eligible for living expense checks. Living expense checks are available in the Financial Aid Office after 1:00 p.m. on the second Thursday of each quarter.

Exceptions to the second-week disbursement are as follows:

  • Funds not received from a lender or other funding agency on time
  • Summer grants awarded from the following year’s FAFSA must be held until July 1
  • Students’ files that are incomplete
  • No attendance recorded
  • Students do not meet South Coast College Admissions Requirements
  • Students do not have US Citizen or Eligible Non-Citizen status
  • Students do not have a high school diploma, GED or verification of home schooled
  • Students are not enrolled at least half-time
  • Students are not making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
  • Students are not in compliance with Selective Service registration
  • Students are in default on a Federal Student Loan
  • Students owe a repayment on a federal grant

Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) and Need

Financial aid applicants must file a Free Application for Financial Aid (FAFSA) online each year so that the Department of Education can determine their estimated family contribution. The Financial Aid Office then determines student eligibility for need based aid by subtracting the estimated family contribution from the cost of attendance.

A student who has a financial situation that cannot be adequately reflected in the FAFSA (e.g. loss of job, loss of benefits, divorce) should make an appointment to discuss his or her individual case with a Financial Aid Officer.If students are Dependent by the federal definition outlined in the FAFSA, parental income and assets are also used in calculating the estimated family contribution.

Children of soldiers who died as a result US military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after September 11, 2001 may be eligible for an automatic zero EFC. The student must be eligible for a Pell Grant and must have been under age 24 when their parent died. The student is notified directly by the Central Processing System if they meet the criteria for this waiver of EFC.

Need vs. Non-Need Financial Aid

Need based financial aid cannot exceed students need as determined by the “Cost of Attendance minus Estimated Family Contribution” formula given previously. Non-need based aid can be used in place of the estimated family contribution in some cases. Examples of non-need based aid are Unsubsidized Direct Loan, PLUS Direct Loans and Private Loans.


South Coast College verifies all financial aid applicants that the Central Processing Service (CPS) selects for verification. The school may also choose to place a financial aid application into a verification status on a case-by-case basis. Verification means the student must provide documentation of the information they submitted on the FAFSA in the form of federal tax returns, a Verification Worksheet, and any additional forms the financial aid office deems necessary. Funds will not be released to students who are selected for verification until they complete the verification process. Students who do not or cannot fulfill the verification requirements will not be awarded financial aid.

Any conflicting information must also be reviewed and resolved prior to packaging. Failure to submit any needed verification information and documentation within two weeks may result in a late award.

Pell Grant: Need Based

Pell Grants are federal grants that never have to be repaid. Eligibility is based on the Estimated Family Contribution and a payment schedule that is established by the Department of Education each year. A student must have an eligible Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) to qualify. Awards are distributed quarterly and are adjusted to three-quarter time for evening programs.

Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG): Need Based

SEOG is a federal grant that never has to be repaid. Students must have a zero (0) EFC and not have a prior degree to qualify.

Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant – Non-need Based

For students whose parent or guardian dies as a result of US military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after September 11, 2001. If the student has an EFC that is over the maximum to be eligible and the student was under age 24 when their parent dies, they may be eligible for this grant as determined by DOE when the student files their FAFSA.

Direct Loan

  • Subsidized: Need based. Subsidized Direct Loans are federal guaranteed loans that begin interest and repayment six months after the student is no longer enrolled at least half-time.
  • Unsubsidized: Non-need based. Unsubsidized Direct Loans are federal guaranteed loans that begin accumulating interest immediately upon disbursement and begin repayment six months after the student is no longer enrolled at least half-time.

Direct PLUS Loans: Non-need Based

Direct PLUS Loans are federal guaranteed loans that have to be repaid. PLUS loans are for parents of Dependent students. Parents cannot have adverse credit to be able to qualify. If parents cannot qualify for a PLUS loan, students may borrow additional Unsubsidized Stafford Loan funds as a replacement in their packages.

Private Loans: Non-need based

Students can apply for Private Loans up to their full cost of education as determined by the financial aid office. Loan eligibility and interest rate are contingent on the applicants credit worthiness. Private Loans should not be considered until all other financial aid has been applied for and awarded. Contact the financial aid office for more information on Private Loans.

Federal Work Study (FWS): Need Based

FWS is a federal program where students earn money to help them with living expenses. Federal Work Study at South Coast College is utilized for two types of jobs: 1) An “America Reads/America Counts” program off-campus, and 2) Court Reporting Graders. Students complete all necessary paperwork in the Accounting Department and are paid twice a month by South Coast College. FWS in not part of an original award package and is generally available to upper classmen only.

South Coast College encourages students with a substantial change in financial circumstances to notify the financial aid office for possible reconsideration of their financial aid award. These requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and will not always be allowed, nor will they always make a change to a student’s financial aid award. The decision of the campus is final and cannot be appealed to the Department of Education. Some examples include, but are not limited to, loss of a job, retirement, separation, divorce, death of parent or spouse, extreme medical expenses, or child-care costs.

Federal regulation states that up through the 60% point in the payment period, a pro rata schedule is used to determine the amount of Federal Student Aid funds the student has earned at the time of withdrawal. After the 60% point in the payment period, student has earned 100% of the Title IV funds. For a student who withdraws after the 60% point-in-time, there are no unearned funds.

Amount of Title IV aid disbursed – minus Amount of Title IV aid earned = Amount to be returned to the Department of Education by the school. In order to determine whether Title IV funds must be returned, the school must calculate the following:

  1. To determine the percentage of the payment period completed, the number of days attended in the payment period (PP) is divided by the total days in the payment period. *Days = calendar days for purposes of this formula, and therefore include weekends and holidays. Only scheduled breaks of 5 days or more and approved leave of absences are excluded.
  2. The net amount of Title IV funds disbursed and that could have been disbursed for the payment period is multiplied by the percentage of the payment period completed.
    The result is the amount of earned Title IV aid.
  3. The earned aid is subtracted from the aid that was actually disbursed to or on behalf of the student.
  4. The institution will return the lesser of the total unearned aid or the unearned institutional charges for the payment period.
  5. Unearned aid is allocated back to the Title IV programs in the following order as specified by law:
    • Unsubsidized Stafford Loan Program
    • Subsidized Stafford Loan Program
    • Stafford PLUS Program
  6. If excess funds remain after repaying all outstanding loan amounts, the remaining excess shall be credited in the following order:
    • Federal Pell Grant Program
    • Federal SEOG Program
    • Other assistance awarded under this title for which return of funds is required.

NOTE: After the institution has allocated the unearned aid, any amount owed by the student to a grant program is reduced by 50%. Unearned loan funds received by the student are paid back as per the terms of the borrower’s promissory note.

Student award letters contain the amount of subsidized and unsubsidized loans that the student is being awarded as well as the maximum amount they are eligible for the award year. Students are required to sign the award letter and a copy is kept in their financial aid file. All Loan information, including information on deferments, is given to students each time they package in a one-on-one Entrance Interview using the DOE Direct Loan Entrance Interview booklet. South Coast College has new students complete a paper Master Promissory Note that is processed through COD. Students are notified when their loan funds are disbursed to their account via an Accounting Statement. If the student is receiving a living expense check they are notified when the check is available for pick up in the Financial Aid Office.

Continuing students are given their current loan balance annually when they repackage. At this time the financial aid officer advises them on how much they have borrowed and how their estimated time to degree will affect their future indebtedness. Students are also given an DOE Exit Interview booklet when they repackage so they can stay current on all student loan information and their rights and responsibilities under the program.

South Coast College bans 1) revenue sharing with lenders, 2) steering borrowers to a particular lender, 3) offers of funds for private loans to students, 4) accepting gifts from loan agencies, 5) compensation for services to a lender, and, 6) compensation for serving on any loan advisory board. All financial aid staff members adhere to this policy.

South Coast College does not offer students a preferred lender list for Private Loans. All students are referred to one lender as there is only one lender we have found that makes Private Loans to our school.

Loan Entrance Counseling is required of all financial aid recipients and is done one-on-one with students at the time they are packaged/awarded. This is done annually for students in any program longer than one year. At packaging/repackaging students are required to complete an “Entrance Interview” form. The advisor reviews the terms and conditions of the loan(s) the student is awarded and gives each student a copy of the DOE Entrance Interview booklet. Students receive a copy of all forms for their records.

Loan Exit Counseling is required of all students who leave South Coast College whether officially or unofficially. If the student leaves officially the counseling session is done one-on-one at the time they withdraw or graduate. Students are required to complete an “Exit Interview” form and an “Exit Interview Checklist.” The DOE Direct Loan Exit booklet is given to exiting students to ensure that students understand the terms and conditions of their loan repayment. If students leave unofficially the materials are mailed to their home address with a cover letter asking them to return the Exit Interview form and the Exit Interview Checklist within two weeks.

All Direct Loan borrower information, for both students and Parent PLUS borrowers, is reported to NSLDS and will be accessible by guaranty agencies, lenders, and institutions who are authorized users of the NSLDS system.

All continuing students are given a copy of their loan history from the NSLDS database every time they repackage as well as when they leave South Coast College. This tool is used to discuss the student’s total indebtedness in relation to repayment and aggregate loan limits. Loan detail pages are also printed for the student to be aware of who their various loan servicers are.

To access the NSLDS student site log on to:

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If you want to begin pursuing a successful career, but you aren’t sure how to start your career training. Fill out this form or call a friendly and knowledgeable Financial Aid Officer at the number above.

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President Jean Gonzalez
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