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Frequently Asked Questions about Financial Aid

Many Briarcliffe students take advantage of various forms of financial aid to help with their college costs. If you have a question about the Financial Aid process that is not answered below, someone from our friendly Financial Aid staff will be happy to assist you.

Q. What's the difference between a Federal Stafford loan and a private loan?

A. A Federal Stafford loan is a low interest federal educational loan that does not require a credit check. A private loan is an unsecured loan made by the lender which may have higher interest rates.

Q. How do I apply for federal financial aid?

A. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is the single application needed to apply for all sources of federal aid. The FAFSA can be completed online at http://fafsa.ed.gov. It helps to complete the FAFSA with a PIN (electronic signature) to expedite the process. A PIN can be obtained by visiting http://www.pin.ed.gov. If you are a dependent student for aid purposes, both you and your parent will require a PIN to sign the application electronically.

Q. Where can I find tuition and fee information?

A. Students should contact the Admissions Office at the school to find out information regarding tuition and fees.

Q. What is financial aid?

A. Financial aid refers to federal, state and private resources that may help pay for college costs. Typically financial aid consists of grants, scholarships, loans and student employment. Grants and scholarships do not have to be repaid. Loans must be repaid with payments usually beginning after the student is no longer enrolled at least half time. Student employment consists of opportunities for students to earn money to pay for educational expenses.

Q. When do I have to repay my loans?

A. Repayment on most student loans will begin after the student is no longer enrolled at least half time. The subsidized Federal Stafford Loans do not accrue interest while the student is enrolled at least half time. Interest may accrue on other loans even while the student is enrolled. Check with the Financial Aid Office, they can help explain the differences in the types of loans. In all cases, loans must be repaid regardless of whether you complete the program or are satisfied with your educational experience. Failure to repay your loans can result in serious consequences and negatively impact your ability to obtain credit in the future.

Q. Why do I have to provide parent information on my FAFSA?

A. Students are considered dependent or independent for financial aid purposes based on criteria established by Congress. Parents of dependent students must provide their financial information in order to determine eligibility for the various federal aid programs. Check with our Financial Aid Office to determine your dependency status if you are unsure.

Q. Why would a parent borrow from a Federal PLUS loan instead of a co-signing on a private loan in the student's name?

A. Federal PLUS loans are federal loans with lower interest rates than many private loans. Parents who co-sign on a private loan are just as responsible for repaying the loan (usually at higher rates). In other words, whether the parent borrows from a Federal PLUS loan or co-signs for a private loan, their financial responsibility is the same.

Q. How often do I have to reapply for aid?

A. Students must reapply for federal and state aid each award year. Typically, students should reapply for aid as soon as possible after January 1st; however, check with our Financial Aid Office to determine if there are other deadline dates that affect you.

Q. What is a PIN?

A. A PIN is a Personal Identification Number that can be used as an electronic signature. It makes filing for aid quick and easy. PINs are private and should never be shared with anyone.

Q. What's the difference between a grant and a loan?

A. A grant is free money that does not have to be repaid. Loans must always be repaid regardless of whether you complete the program or are satisfied with your educational experience. Failure to repay your loans can result in serious consequences and negatively impact your ability to obtain credit in the future.

Q. What forms or other information do I need?

A. The FAFSA is the most important document to complete when applying for financial aid. In addition, there are a few other things that you need to have on hand before you start.
If you are a U.S. citizen, you are required to have a social security number. The U.S. Department of Education will match your social security number to your name, so be sure that you enter your full name as it appears on your social security card.

If you are not a U.S. citizen but are an eligible non-citizen, have your alien registration number ready.

If you have a driver’s license, have that number handy.

Students (and parents of dependent students) will refer to their most recent tax return when applying for financial aid. Documentation on other sources of income including social security benefits, unemployment compensation and veteran's benefits, etc., will be needed. Information on the value of assets is also required. Examples of assets include checking and savings accounts, stocks, bonds, certificates of deposits, mutual funds, real estate (other than the family home), businesses and farms.

Q. My parents make too much money for me to receive financial aid. What options are available to me?

A. Regardless of how much money you or your parents make, you should still apply for federal aid. Some sources of federal aid are not need based and are available to those who qualify.

Q. How can I apply for scholarships?

A. There are several free scholarship search websites. Researching and applying can be time consuming, but may be worth your time, if you find extra funding. Do not use agencies that charge fees, you can do this search on your own and free of charge. For a listing of scholarships websites, contact our Financial Aid Office at:

Briarcliffe College
Office of Financial Aid
1055 Stewart Avenue
Bethpage, NY 11714

Q. How is my eligibility for Federal Student Aid determined? Which forms of financial aid will I qualify for?

A. There is a Congressionally determined set of formulas used for assessing financial need for the Federal Student Aid programs. The process starts with the FAFSA. If you haven’t already, you’ll be hearing a lot about this important form. These formulas are used to calculate an Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which is a theoretical index of a family’s financial strength. Don’t worry; this is not the amount you are expected to contribute. The EFC is simply the result of a specific calculation. The difference between the EFC and the calculated cost of attendance (which includes the estimated average tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, board, transportation and personal expenses), will determine the amount of aid (need-based and non-need based) for which you may qualify.

Q. What does dependent vs. independent mean?

A. Determining your dependency status is an important step in the financial aid application process. The definition for dependent or independent student for the purposes of federal student aid may be very different from what you might consider for yourself. It also is different from the IRS definition of dependency. This is not a status that Briarcliffe College  assigns to you but rather a determination made from your answers to several questions on the FAFSA form. Some of the more common criteria that lead to an independent status are:

  • You are 24 years of age prior to January 1 of the current award year.
  • You are married as of the day you sign your FAFSA.
  • You are an individual with dependents, other than a spouse, for whom you provide more than half of their financial support.
  • You are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • You are currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training.
  • You are an orphan or a ward of the court.

At Briarcliffe College, help is never far away, so please feel free to contact us at any time to learn more about our school and programs or to apply for admission.

Financial aid is available for those who qualify.
Please note that not all programs are available at all location.

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