Financial Aid Office, Laidlaw Center (LDC) 135
Phone: (360) 383-3010
Fax: (360) 383-3011
Fall 2014 Priority Deadlines
Complete FAFSA by 3/15/2014
Complete all other application requirements by 7/7/2014
Monday -Thursday from 10am-5pm--Closed on Fridays.
(Hours are 8-5 during first day of "General Registration" and the first week of the quarter)
Closed on weekends and holidays
Need help filling out the FAFSA? A step by step video is available! 7 Easy Steps to the FAFSA
See the Cashier's Window for more information regarding the Tuition Payment Plan in Laidlaw 141, 360-383-3363
The WCC Financial Aid Process takes approximately 6-8 weeks.*
*Awarding for a new school year (Summer quarter thru Spring quarter) starts approximately May 1
Step 1 - Student completes FAFSA at www.fafsa.ed.gov
- WCC School Code: 010364
- Need help completing the FAFSA? Call 1-800-433-3243
- It takes WCC approximately 1 week to receive the student's FAFSA information
Step 2 - WCC receives student's FAFSA information
- Student is sent an email alert (to email address listed on FAFSA) verifying FAFSA received and sending student to WCC Financial Aid Student Portal to see list of additional requirements.
- Processing will not continue until all requested elements are met.
Step 3 - Program Admission
- Student must be admitted into Program by WCC Registration to be eligible for financial aid.
Step 4 - Review
- After all elements are met and worksheets completed and returned, WCC is ready to review a student's application.
- Review process may take 3 to 4 weeks
Step 5 - Initial Awarding Process
- The initial awarding process takes approximately 2-3 weeks.
- Student awarded maximum amounts for grants, work study and scholarships.
- Once awarded student receives an email alert notifying student to go to WCC Financial Aid Student Portal to see their financial aid awards.
- If student is not eligible for grants, work study and/or scholarships, student is sent an email alert informing them and notifying them of their student loan eligibility and the WCC student loan process.
Step 6 - Student Loan Awarding Process
- Students who are not eligible for grants or scholarships or whose awards do not meet their education funding needs may request a student loan award after the student has been notified of their potential student loan eligibility.
- To request a student loan, go to the "Stafford Loan Instruction" section of the Financial Aid area of the WCC Website.
Step 7 - Awards Released
- Financial aid award funds are always applied to tuition and fees due, remaining credit balances are provided to the student via one of three Higher One methods.
- Student check availability and amounts can be viewed by using the WCC Financial Aid Student Portal.
- Students will receive email alerts from the Financial Aid Office which will be sent to the email address listed on your current FAFSA.
- Please be sure to update the Financial Aid Office whenever you change your email address.
Items needed for a complete Financial Aid Application:
- Complete FAFSA Application (Apply online at www.fafsa.ed.gov)
- Enrollment in an aid eligible program
- See WCC Registration Office for more information about applying to a program
- High School Diploma, GED
- Registration with the Selective Service, if required
- Complete Financial Aid information requirements
- Financial Aid requirements can be viewed on the WCC Financial Aid Student Portal
- Register for classes
Stafford Direct Student Loans at WCC
Whatcom Community College participates in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program for Stafford Loans and the Parent PLUS Loans (for dependent students).
When you are eligible to actually apply for a loan, you will receive a Financial Aid Email Alert. Your alert may include information about your grant awards OR may let you know that you are not grant eligible but you can now apply for a loan. DO NOT attempt to complete the loan process until you receive your alert. You can see this status on the Financial Aid Portal as well.
To be eligible for either loan program, a student must enroll for at least half-time (6 credits). Your eligibility to apply for a loan is based on your financial aid award. Once again, DO NOT apply for loans before you receive an alert as described above.
If you owe tuition and we certify your loan application at least two weeks prior to the date tuition is due, you will not be dropped from your classes for non-payment. Submitting a loan application is NOT enough to meet the requirements to hold your classes—the loan application must be complete and certified by the Financial Aid Office.
Summer Quarter Financial Aid Awards
Summer quarter is considered the first quarter of the 2014-2015 financial aid award year at WCC. If you are planning to take classes during the Summer Quarter 2014, be sure to complete your 2014-2015 FAFSA by March 15, 2014.
The Financial Aid Office staff are focused during PEAK TIMES on processing financial aid awards for students who have been awarded financial aid. Thus the financial aid office staff are unable to process new financial aid applications during PEAK TIMES. Peak periods begin three weeks prior to the start of a new quarter and go through the first 2 - 3 weeks of each quarter. So please start the financial aid application process at least 8 - 10 weeks prior to when you plan to start attending. Check the section "Important Financial Aid Dates" for specific dates for each quarter of the school year.
Check to see if your financial aid awards have paid your Tuition?
Your financial aid grant awards are based on full-time status (12 or more credits) except for summer quarter. You can view your financial aid awards on the WCC Student Portal. You must be enrolled for at least 6 credits to be eligible for loans and work study.
If your final quarterly scheduled credit load is less than 12 credits, you can expediate your financial disbursement by notifying the Financial Aid Office immediately by completing the Quarterly Adjustment Form (which is available online in the Financial Aid Section of the Whatcom Community College Website). If you are on a wait list you are NOT enrolled for that class.
Financial Aid students can enroll for the following credit loads:
- Full Time ..................12 or more credits
- Three Quarter Time........9 to 11 credits
- Half Time............................6 to 8 credits
- Less than Half Time.........1 to 5 credits
Disbursement of Financial Aid
Your tuition and fees are automatically paid from your grant awards and/or student loans, any remaining balance will be disbursed using Higher One Disbursement Services. Work Study awards do not apply towards tuition and fees. A Work Study award is only an estimate of what you might earn if you are hired, work and submit monthly time sheets. Balances or refunds are not available until the first day of classes each quarter. Reminder: If you add a class after your initial disbursement, you are responsible for paying the additional amount of tuition and fees due.
Financial aid awards are paid in advance to help you finance your educational expenses. You must successfully complete your classes to earn your financial aid awards. If you stop attending classes or withdraw from all of your classes you may be required to repay a portion of your awards. If you must stop attending classes, we urge you to stop by the Financial Aid Office in person before you withdraw, so we can explain how withdrawal dates affect financial aid eligibility and repayment amounts.
You maintain your financial aid eligibility by making satisfactory academic progress. See section on Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for more details.
If you enroll for classes and your financial aid awards pay your tuition and then you decide not to attend, you must officially notify the Financial Aid Office by completing a Quarterly Adjustment form and drop your classes by notifying WCC Registration before the fifth day of classes of the quarter or you will owe Whatcom Community College for your tuition and fees. Quarterly Adjustment Forms are available online in the Financial Aid Section of the Whatcom Community College Website.
Schedule Changes and Recalculation of Financial Aid
Financial aid students are expected to enroll in courses that meet requirements for the program in which they are admitted or courses that prepare them to enroll in required classes. ABE courses (Adult Basic Education) and some ESL courses (English as a Second Language) are NOT eligible for financial aid and do not count toward your financial aid credit level.
You are allowed to add and drop classes during the first five instruction days of the quarter (first four days for summer quarter), but you are REQUIRED to report these enrollment changes to the Financial Aid Office by completing the Quarterly Adjustment Form (which is available online in the Financial Aid Section of the Whatcom Community College Website). If you add/or drop classes during this period, your financial aid will be recalculated if your enrollment changes result in a change in your financial aid award level. Financial aid award levels are not adjusted for credit changes after the fifth day of instruction, however, the dropping of classes may affect your Satisfactory Academic Progress.
You may change your program of study a maximum of twice during your first 45 college level credits. If you wish to change your program after you have completed 46 or more college level credits which apply to your Program of Study, you must submit a Petition for Change of Academic Program. Previously attempted credits that are degree requirements will count toward the maximum allowed for your new program if your Petition is approved. Students within 15 credits of completing their program of study will not normally be permitted to change programs or pursue a second degree or certificate without completing their present program of study and remain eligible to receive financial aid funding.
WCC offers degree programs approved for students who are eligible for Veterans Benefits under VA Education Benefit programs. Contact WCC's Veteran's Support Office as early as possible before enrolling.
- Financial Aid Application On the Web (FAFSA)
- Solicitud Gratuita de Ayuda Federal para Estudiantes (FAFSA)
- The Financial Aid Information Page
- WCC Foundation Scholarship Information
- The College Board On-Line
- TheWashBoard.org (scholarship matching service for students in WA state)
- Opportunity Grant info
The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) required educational institution to develop and comply with a code of conduct that prohibits conflicts of interest for financial aid personnel. Any Whatcom Community College officer, employee, or agent who has responsibilities with respect to student educational loans must comply with this code of conduct.
It is always the intent of Whatcom Community College to support the principles of this Code of Conduct with practices described in this Code of Conduct. Should a practice or policy arise which appears to be in conflict with this Code of Conduct, it is the obligation of the financial aid professional to bring this to the attention of those responsible within the appropriate College function or to the Administration and to seek timely resolution consistent with these principles.
The obligations in the Code of Conduct are in addition to any requirement imposed by state ethics laws, federal laws, or Whatcom Community College policies, i.e. , the stricter standard of ethical behavior will apply in all instances. Violations of this Code of Conduct may result in disciplinary action, including termination of employment.
- Neither Whatcom Community College as an institution nor any individual officer, employee or agent shall enter into any revenue-sharing arrangements with any lender. (Revenue-sharing arrangement includes circumstances where an institution recommends a lender or the loan products of a lender who provides or issues a loan in exchange for a fee or provision of material benefits, inclulding revenue or profit sharing, to the institution, or employee or agent of the institution)
- No officer or employee of Whatcom Community College who is employed in the financial aid office or who otherwise has responsibilities with respect to education loans, or agent who has responsibilities with respect to education loans, or any of their family members, shall solicit or accept any gift from a lender, guarantor, or servicer of education loans. (For purposes of this prohibition, the term "gift" means any gratuity, favor, discount, entertainment, hospitality, loan, or other item having monetary value of more than a de minimus amount whether provided in kind, by purchase of a ticket, payment in advance, or reimbursement after the expense has been incurred).
- An officer or employee of Whatcom Community College who is employed in the financial aid office or who otherwise has responsibilities with respect to education loans, or an agent who has responsibilities with respect to education loans, shall not accept from any lender or affiliate of any lender any fee, payment, or other financial benefit (including the opportunity to purchase stock) as compensation for any type of consulting arrangement or other contract to provide services to a lender or on behalf of a lender relating to education loans.
- Whatcom Community College shall not for any first-time borrower, assign, through award packaging or other methods, the borrower's loan to a particular private lender or refuse to certify, or delay certification of any educational loan based on the borrower's selection of a particular lender or guaranty agency.
- Whatcom Community College shall not request or accept from any lender any offer of funds to be used for private education loans, including funds for an opportunity pool loan, to students in exchange for the institution providing concessions or promises regarding providing the lender with:
- a. a specified number of loans made, insured, or guaranteed under Title IV
- a specified loan volume of such loans: or
- a preferred lender arrangement for such loans.
- Whatcom Community College shall not request or accept from any lender any assistance with call center staffing or financial aid office staffing.
- Any Whatcom Community College employee who is employed in the financial aid office, or who otherwise has responsibilities with respect to education loans or other financial aid, and who serves on an advisory board, commission, or group established by a lender, guarantor, or group of lenders or guarantor, shall be prohibited from receiving anything of value from the lender, guarantor, or group of lenders or guarantor, except that the employee may be reimbursed for reasonable expenses incurred in serving on such an advisory board, commission, or group. (Any and all reimbursement received for any service on advisory boards, commissions or other groups by lenders, servicers, or guarantors must be reported annually to the Department of Education by Whatcom Community College).
Students attending Whatcom Community College for the purpose of receiving a unique degree or unique certificate may be eligible for financial assistance through federal, state or local funding programs. Federal and State regulation limit the amount of time a student can receive financial aid to attend school. Students who plan carefully with the assistance of an academic advisor have the best chance of graduating in a timely fashion and accomplishing their academic goals without exhausting their financial aid eligibility before completing their program. It is especially important for students who are planning to transfer to a four year program to meet with an advisor to insure that WCC degree requirements and the four year program entry requirements are met without exhausting their financial aid eligibility.
For financial aid eligibility purposes, WCC students may take a maximum combined total of two unique degrees or certificates. Once a student completes their first degree or certificate they must meet with a WCC academic advisor to secure an Approved Program Completion Plan to determine only classes required to complete the second degree or certificate. Students who do not follow the Approved Program Completion Plan may lose their financial aid eligibility.
Financial aid eligibility does not apply toward securing a second general AAS-DTA transfer degree or ALS degree. Financial aid eligibility does not apply to a student with a four year degree for taking a general AAS-DTA transfer degree or ALS degree.
Financial aid students are expected to enroll in courses that meet remaining requirements for the program into which they are admitted or courses that prepare them to enroll in required classes. For example, a Physical Therapist Assistant student would not be eligible for financial aid funding to take a Physical Education class, since a PE class does not apply to the PTA degree.
Did you know?
If your financial aid is not available when your tuition is due, Whatcom offers a convenient tuition payment plan through Nelnet.
Dream Scholarship open!
The Dream Scholarship application and information are now available. The dream scholarship is for students who do not qualify for federal financial aid programs, but who do qualify for Washington state residency for state tuition and fees by completing an affidavit approved by House Bill (HB) 1079.