How do I apply?
The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is used as the basis for most types of need based aid, including grants, loans and even some scholarships. A new FAFSA should be completed for each school year and the same application can be used for every college the student is considering attending. When completing the FAFSA, you may need:
- Your Social Security Number
- Your Alien Registration Number, if not a citizen
- Your tax return, if filed
- Your spouse’s tax return information, if filed. Use the IRS link on the FAFSA if possible.
- Your parent’s tax return information, if filed. Use the IRS link on the FAFSA if possible.
- OC’s FICE school code – 003596
- A PIN to use as an electronic signature. If you don’t have one, you may apply for a PIN from the FAFSA website.
OC accepts applications year around, but processing time could take several weeks and additional paperwork may be required. If you cannot use the IRS link on the FAFSA, you may need to request a tax transcript from the IRS. We cannot accept copies of the 1040 tax return. New students or students who have not attended OC in over a year should complete an admissions application for the Admission's Office and provide official copies of the appropriate academic transcripts.
Will I need parent income information and signature?
Parent income information and a parent PIN to use as a signature are needed for the FAFSA unless the student meets one of the following criteria:
- born before January 1, 1989
- married by the application date
- has dependents who receive more than half their support from the student
- currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training
- a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces
- a graduate or professional student
- since the age of 13 both parents were deceased, was in foster care, or was a ward of the court
- an emancipated minor by a court in the state of legal residence
- in legal guardianship as determined by a court in the state of legal residence
- on or after July 1, 2011, a high school or school district homeless liaison determined that the student was an unaccompanied youth who was homeless
- on or after July 1, 2011, a director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development determined that the student was an unaccompanied youth who was homeless
- on or after July 1, 2011, the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program determined that the student was an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless
- has documented exceptional circumstances (contact the Student Financial Services Office for more information)
Who is eligible?
There is no set income limit and standards vary among programs. A student may be eligible for some programs and ineligible for others so don’t assume that your income is too high to qualify for some type of aid. In general, to be eligible for federal and state aid you must:
- be a U. S. citizen or legal permanent resident able to present proper documentation.
- have a high school diploma/ GED.
- register for Selective Service, if male.
- not be in default on a loan or grant.
- not have a drug possession or drug sale conviction while receiving financial aid.
- meet satisfactory academic progress standards regarding grades and completed hours.
- sign a statement on the FAFSA certifying that federal student aid will only be used for educational purposes
How does the process work?
When you submit your completed FAFSA, the US Department of Education’s Central Processing System evaluates the application and determines your EFC (expected family contribution). This is the amount the processor calculates that your family can afford to pay out of pocket this year toward your college education. The processor also conducts matches with other entities such as the Social Security Administration to verify identity, citizenship or other criteria for eligibility. The results, called a Student Aid Report or SAR, are sent to the schools you listed on the FAFSA and to you either by email or mail. As soon as you get your SAR, review it carefully and correct any inaccuracies or issues that the processor found. Correcting problems for yourself early on will mean less paperwork that we will request from you and speed the awarding process. Your SAR will also give an estimate of how much Pell Grant you might receive.
Approximately a third of all FAFSAs are selected for verification. If your FAFSA is selected or if the processor found an issue that needs to be addressed, we will send you a written notice to provide paperwork. Your financial aid is not awarded until all requested paperwork has been turned in to OC Student Financial Services. Students are awarded in order of the date their records become complete so it is very important that you turn in requested paperwork quickly. We will check to see if you are making satisfactory academic progress and make any needed corrections to your FAFSA, which could change your eligibility.
Each college has a set estimate of how much it will cost to attend school this year. The difference between the cost of attendance and your EFC is your “financial need”. If you receive educational assistance from a resource such as WIA, DARS, a state tuition exemption/waiver or outside scholarship, we will apply the value of that assistance to your “financial need”. For the most part, we cannot give you more aid than your “financial need” so if you receive educational assistance from an outside program after you have been awarded, we may have to reduce or change your financial aid award. Once we determine the amount of financial aid for which you qualify, we will send you written notification. The amount that you are awarded may be different than the estimated amount determined by the FAFSA processor.
At Odessa College, we do not require that you formally accept your financial aid award but if you wish to reject any part of the aid awarded, please notify us.
What additional paperwork may I need?
We may ask you to provide a verification worksheet, transcripts from the IRS, W2 forms, verification of divorce/separation, verification of citizenship/permanent residency or occasionally some other information. We will send you written notice of any needed information after we receive your FAFSA results. If there is nothing on your FAFSA results that we need to document, we may not ask for any additional information. For your convenience, requested forms are available to print on the OC Student Financial Services homepage.
When do I get my funds?
If you are awarded early enough, grants, loans and scholarships will be automatically applied to your tuition one week before the first class day of the semester. Books and school supplies (but not personal items) may also be charged to the grant or scholarship (if it covers books) at the campus bookstore during that week. Awarded aid not used for tuition is applied to any outstanding balance such as a payment plan or dorm rent. Funds left over after all outstanding charges are paid will be released two weeks after the semester starts or two weeks after you are awarded, whichever is later. For most students, the funds will be placed on the OC Wrangler ID Card, which acts as a debit card. Contact the Cashier’s Office at 432-335-6419 for more details.
What satisfactory academic progress standards must I meet to continue to receive aid?
Federal Title IV regulations require measurable academic progress on the part of students receiving financial aid. These standards, listed below, are separate from the academic policies set in the catalog for every student attending Odessa College and from the standards set by some academic programs. Satisfactory academic progress is measured once per academic year at the time financial aid is processed.
Time Frame Requirements
Financial aid eligibility extends up to 150% of the published length of a student’s program of study. For example, if an associate degree program at Odessa College requires 60 semester credit hours for graduation, a student who is working on that associate degree must complete the program within 90attempted semester hours (60 x 150%). Regardless of whether or not aid was received, a student’s entire enrollment history in credit classes is considered, including developmental courses and accepted transfer credits. Change of major or degree does not restart the calculation and all of the attempted credits will be counted toward the new maximum. Eligibility is lost at the end of the semester in which the maximum number of hours is attempted.
Grades earned at Odessa College are counted in the evaluation of a student’s grade-point average. A student must maintain at least a cumulative (overall) grade point average of 2.0.
Students must successfully complete a minimum of 66% of all course enrollments. Classes with grades of A, B, C, D or Pass are considered successfully completed. The following are considered attempted but not completed hours:
- Grades of F or Fail
- Withdrawals after classes have started, regardless of whether the student was passing or failing
- Repeated courses whose grades are not counted in the GPA. (See the current catalog for grade replacement policy)
- Incompletes. If coursework is not completed by the end of the next long semester (fall or spring), the incomplete is changed to an F. See catalog for more details.
Failure to Meet Standards
The first time a student fails to meet the qualitative or quantitative requirements, the student is placed on financial aid probation for the next semester of attendance. Aid is awarded for the probationary semester and progress is checked at the end of the semester to see if the student has met the reinstatement criteria. If a student fails to meet the qualitative or quantitative requirements a second time, financial aid is suspended.
If a student loses eligibility due to extenuating circumstances such as a medical condition, family crisis, military service or other mitigating circumstance, the student may submit an appeal form to OC Student Financial Services. The student must state the circumstance, discuss the steps taken to address the problem and attach appropriate documentation. A member of the Financial Services staff will review the appeal and decide whether or not to place the student on financial aid probation or uphold the financial aid suspension. Students wishing to protest the appeal decision may request a hearing with a committee whose decision will be final.
Probation and suspension students may have financial aid reinstated for the following semester if they enroll in at least 6 credit hours, make grades of C or above in every class and have 100% semester completion or meet the cumulative requirements above.
These standards apply to most financial aid programs and are different from the college’s academic suspension policy. Some scholarships and a few grants (such as ACG, Texas Grant and TEOG) have different criteria. Contact Student Financial Services for more information.
What happens if I quit attending my classes?
Per Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations 668.22, institutions are required to do a refund calculation for students who receive federal financial aid funds and do not complete any of their classes due to withdrawing and/or failing. Both the student and the institution may be required to repay all or part of the aid received. These requirements are separate from the refund policy listed in the course catalog .
To officially withdraw from classes and receive a grade of “W” on their Odessa College transcripts, students must pick up a form from the Registrar’s Office by the last day for withdrawals listed in the semester schedule. The form must be completed, signed by the appropriate campus offices (including Student Financial Services) and returned to the Registrar’s Office. The date the form is returned to the Registrar’s Office is the student’s official withdrawal date.
Students who do not withdraw from all of their classes but fail to earn at least a “D” in any class are considered to be unofficially withdrawn as of the last date of documented attendance in a class. If no documented date can be determined, the 50% point of the semester is used in the calculation.
Student Financial Services will use the withdrawal date to calculate the amount of repayment owed by both the school and the student according to federal regulations. The calculation is based on the amount of aid awarded and the length of time the student attended the semester. To determine the amount owed by both the institution and the student, the following procedures are used:
- The amount of aid the student earned is determined by calculating the percent of the semester that was completed and multiplying by the aid that was disbursed, or could have been disbursed, as of the withdrawal date.
- The amount of aid that the student did not earn is the amount disbursed as of the withdrawal date less the earned amount.
- Odessa College must return to the Department of Education within 45 days from the determination of the student’s withdrawal an amount equal to the student’s total institutional charges multiplied by his/her percentage of unearned aid. To repay the institutional share, the college may utilize aid not yet disbursed to the student, the student’s refund as determined by the school’s refund policy listed in the class schedule, and/or funds received from billing the student.
- The student is responsible for the amount of aid received for non-institutional expenses multiplied by the percentage of unearned aid. The student share of loans to be returned may be repaid according to the terms of the loan. For grant programs, the student’s repayment amount is divided in half.
- If a student received multiple types of federal aid, the returned amounts are applied to the programs in the following order: Unsubsidized Stafford Loan Program, Subsidized Stafford Loan Program, PLUS Program, Pell Grant Program, Academic Competitiveness Grant Program and Supplementary Educational Opportunity Grant.
- It may be possible for a student to receive funds after the calculation is done if more aid was earned than was disbursed. Odessa College must have the student’s permission to disburse loan funds. If a student is due a post-withdrawal disbursement of a loan, it is in the student’s best interest to decline it in order to lessen the overall loan debt.
Student Financial Services has 30 days to complete the calculation and notify the student. A notice is mailed showing the amount owed and credit balance (if any). The student has 45 days to respond to the notice.
How do I transfer my financial aid to Odessa College from another school?
You may only receive a Pell Grant from one college per term so if you are attending two schools during the same time frame, arrange to receive your financial aid at the school where you are enrolled in the most credits. To transfer your financial aid, add OC’s school code, 003596, to your FAFSA and let the financial aid office at your current school know that you are transferring. Be sure to apply for admission to OC and request a transcript from your current school once all of your grades are posted. When OC gets your FAFSA results, we must process your application just like any other since the awarded aid does not automatically transfer. If the other school asked you to provide tax returns or other verification information, we will likely need it as well. If you have a loan, contact the loan holder and let them know that you are changing schools. Because the cost of attendance varies from school to school and the amount of available funding also varies, the financial aid that you get from OC may be different than what you had at the other school.