Your Top 5 Financial Aid Questions—Answered

Trocaire College’s Financial Aid department is full of resources to utilize as you work to fund your hands-on, career-focused education. Scholarships, grants, work study opportunities, loans–they’re all an option. In fact, more than 90 percent of students receive some sort of financial aid. Check out some of our most commonly asked financial aid questions, and if you’re not already a member of the Trocaire family, take the first step here!

1. I probably don’t qualify for aid. Should I apply for aid anyway?

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 (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form is free. There is no good excuse for not applying!

2. How do I apply for financial aid?

You should complete the FAFSA each academic year (for example, the 2017-2018 academic year includes the Fall 2017 and spring 2018 semesters) using your most recent tax returns as soon as possible starting Oct. 1 of each year.

You can complete the FAFSA online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. The web version guides you through the application and assists you in providing the right responses. Consequently, there are fewer errors with this method and therefore, fewer delays in processing your student aid. Be sure to add Trocaire College’s school code (002812) onto the application.

3. What is verification? Why was I selected?

Verification is a process in which the Financial Aid Office is required to verify certain information listed by the student on the FAFSA. Common information to verify includes federal income tax information, number in household, number of students in college and untaxed income information.The US Department of Education randomly selects applicants for the verification process.

If a student is selected, they must provide all the requested documentation in order to receive financial aid. If any of the materials are missing or incomplete, you will be contacted as to what is needed. The Financial Aid Office may request additional documents from students and parents (of dependent students) after a file is reviewed. Because financial information is student specific, the Financial Aid Office cannot know exactly what is needed until the initial review is made.

The Financial Aid Office is required by the Department of Education to resolve any conflicting information. In these situations, explanations and/or additional supporting documents may be requested.

4. Are student loads considered financial aid?

Yes, loans are a form of financial aid. You must complete the FAFSA and go through the regular application process. You should indicate on the FAFSA that you are interested in loans. Notification of your eligibility for loans will be on your award letter. Students can accept, decline, or request their loan funding be adjusted to meet their desired tuition needs. However, you must be enrolled in at least 6 credit hours to be eligible for a federal student loan.

5. If I’m not living at home with my parents, am I considered an independent student for financial aid purposes?

A student’s dependency status is determined by questions in the Student Portion of the FAFSA. It does not matter if you do not live with your parents, if you claimed yourself on your tax returns, or if you pay your own bills. You must meet certain criteria to be declared an independent student for the purposes of the FAFSA:

  • Be 24 years of age or older by December 31 of the award year;
  • Be an orphan (both parents deceased), ward of the court, in foster care or was a ward of the court when 13 years or older;
  • Be a veteran of the Armed Forces of the United States or serving on active duty for other than training purposes;
  • Be a graduate or professional student;
  • Be a married individual;
  • Have legal dependents other than a spouse;
  • Be an emancipated minor or in legal guardianship;
  • Be a homeless youth

Please note: If you are considered a dependent student, your parents must answer the parental questions on the FAFSA.