Getting Started with Financial Aid
From the completion of the FAFSA to the availability of funds in your SC account, the financial aid process takes a minimum of 30 days, so it is important to start the process as soon as possible.
1. Complete Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
The FAFSA is required to obtain state and federal grants and federal student loans. If you apply online and sign your FAFSA electronically, we should receive the results in 5 to 6 business days. Southwestern College School Code = 001940.
2. Await Financial Aid Packaging
When your FAFSA arrives, it will show as “received” in the financial aid page of your Self-Service Account (available to current students). Once required paperwork is returned, the Office of Financial Aid can create your financial aid package. When it is complete, you will receive an award letter via email. The packaging process can take up to 2 weeks from receipt of all paperwork.
3. Accept Your Financial Aid
When you receive your award letter, you must respond to let us know which aspects of the offer you would like to accept. You can do this via email, mail or fax. A response is required to move forward; processing of your financial aid stops until we receive this response from you.
4. Submit Verification Paperwork (if requested)
Occasionally, students completing the FAFSA are selected for a process called verification. When this happens, the Office of Financial Aid is required to check your FAFSA for accuracy. You will know if you are selected when you receive the results of your FAFSA. You will also see verification paperwork listed in the financial aid page of your Self-Service Account.
5. Set up Your Loans
If you will be using federal student loans and this is your first year at Southwestern College, you will be required to complete entrance counseling at StudentAid.gov. If you have never borrowed student loans or if it has been over 10 years since you borrowed your first student loan, you will also need to complete a Master Promissory Note on the same website.
6. Ensure Eligibility
When your financial aid file is complete, you must pass three very important tests to be eligible to receive funds:
- You must be officially accepted to the college with all official transcripts present in the registrar’s office.
- You must be progressing toward a degree in a manner that is timely and successful (known as satisfactory academic progress).
- You must be currently attending classes.
7. Receive Money
After the start of classes and confirming eligibility, the Office of Financial Aid approves the release of the money by sending an electronic notification to the Student Account Office. This happens weekly as the funds are approved. The approved money is then uploaded into your account. You’ll see the funding move from pending to active on your balance view in Self-Service. If the application of your financial aid creates a credit (or negative) balance on your student account, a check for the credit amount will be auto-deposited into your bank account or written and mailed to you within 14 days of its appearance on Self-Service. You can sign up to receive your credit check electronically through the ePayment option on Self-Service.
For additional financial resources, quick links, and other ways to save on education, visit our Financial Resources page
Please feel free to contact us if you have questions or need assistance: 620.229.6215.