Financial Aid FAQs


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General Information

How does financial aid work?

Financial aid is assistance provided to students to help cover the costs associated with attending college. This aid can come in the form of grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study opportunities.

To apply for financial aid, you must complete a FAFSA or California Dream Act Application. If you need assistance applying, you can come into our office and get help!

If I am enrolled at two colleges, can I receive aid at both colleges?

No, you cannot receive aid at more than one college for the same enrollment period. Cypress College does not honor consortium agreement requests from other colleges and universities. However, Cypress College only accepts consortium agreements that list Cypress College as the secondary institution, while the other college/university is listed as the primary (the school that disburses out aid). There is an automatic consortium in place with Fullerton College.

If you are applying for aid or completing your financial aid file, you can wait to pay the fees until you have completed it. You will not be dropped for nonpayment; however, you will receive a hold on your account (will prevent you from being able to register for classes in the future) until the balance is paid.

Can I receive financial aid for winter intersession?

Cypress College offers one-month winter intersession online classes, and financial aid is available to eligible students. Financial aid is limited to one school per semester. Winter intersession disbursements are considered part of spring semester. Students are ineligible to receive spring aid at another institution if they receive winter disbursement at Cypress College. Find additional information on Financial Aid during winter intersession here.

Application and Deadlines

When should I apply for Financial Aid for the following school year?

You should apply as soon as possible once the application opens on October 1 of the prior academic year that you will attend. You must apply for financial aid each academic year.

What deadline dates do I need to remember?

The priority deadline for financial aid is March 2 each year, which is the Cal Grant priority deadline. However, you may continue to apply for Federal Aid at Cypress College through the end of the academic year provided you are still enrolled. If you plan to take classes in the fall semester at any California college or university, always complete your financial aid application on or before March 2.

Eligibility

How can I be eligible for Cal Grant?

Cal Grants are for students pursuing an undergraduate degree or vocational or career training and do not have to be repaid. In addition to meeting the financial criteria and Cal Grant requirements, you must:

  • submit verified Cal Grant GPA by the deadline
  • be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen or meet AB540 eligibility criteria
  • be a California resident for 1 year
  • have family income and assets below the minimum level criteria
  • be enrolled at least half time
  • not be incarcerated

I plan to go to college half time. Will that decrease my chance for aid?

Almost all funds are available to students who attend college at least half-time. Some institutions, however, give preference to full-time students. Some programs are available for less than half-time attendance.

Status and Disbursement

How will I know if I get money?

To know if you will receive financial aid, students can look at their Financial Aid Offer. For each academic year the student applies for financial aid, they will receive a Financial Aid Offer. This letter will outline the financial aid you may be eligible to receive. Most financial aid grants are typically accepted on your behalf, unless stated otherwise.

How can I check the status of my financial aid?

You can check your financial aid status in myGateway. Log into myGateway. Once you are on your myGateway dashboard, click “Student Tools” under the “Tools” section on the left-hand side. This will take you over to WebStar. On the WebStar main menu click on “Financial Aid.” Next, click on “My Overall Status of Financial Aid.”

You can always come into the office or call us to check on your financial aid status. Our office hours are listed on the main Financial Aid page.

When will I get my disbursement?

Each semester Financial Aid has a disbursement schedule. If your financial aid file is complete and you are in good SAP standing, then BankMobile will receive your first disbursement the first Friday of the semester. If your BankMobile preference is set to deposit to another bank account, you will receive the disbursement within two business days.

How do I check the status of my Charger Experience Program / North Orange Promise?

If you have already completed your financial aid application and file, check the Student Success checklist in myGateway.

Access this by:

  • Clicking on “CC Tools” in the navigation bar in myGateway
  • Clicking on “Charger Experience”

If you have questions regarding your checklist, please contact the Charger Experience Team. If your financial aid file is incomplete, you may need to complete additional required documentation through our online software called Student Forms.

Appeals

What if my income has significantly decreased, compared to my income shown on my financial aid application?

If your income (or your spouse’s or parent’s) or employment has been impacted or you have a special circumstance related to your income that the financial aid office should be aware of, you may be able to request an appeal to use your more recent income.

This appeal is called a Professional Judgement Appeal. The purpose of this appeal process is to evaluate any special circumstances that may have impacted the amount or type of aid a student may be eligible to receive. These decisions happen on a case-by-case basis. Students will need to complete verification prior to completing a Professional Judgement Appeal.

Before you request an appeal, log in to the Student Forms website and check to make sure you’ve completed verification. If you have not yet completed Verification, and do not see that option when you log in, please contact your designated Financial Aid Technician.

How to request the appeal:

Once we have received your financial aid application, you may request the appeal by logging in on the platform and clicking the blue “Manage Request” button at the upper right corner and select “Professional Judgement: Special Circumstance – EFC/SAI Appeal.”

You will need to provide a brief explanation of your situation and upload supporting documentation.

Please note that any student requesting an Income Adjustment Appeal will need to complete verification before their appeal can be processed.

Once all information is complete and submitted, your Financial Aid Technician will review and may request additional clarification or items if needed in order to complete the appeal.

Academic Progress

Does a “Warning” SAP status mean I can still receive my financial aid?

Yes, students on financial aid warning are provided ONE semester to improve their academic performance before being disqualified for financial aid. Students who have exceeded the maximum timeframe are automatically disqualified and do not receive a warning semester.

How does an Excused Withdrawal impact my financial aid?

Students may select an Excused Withdrawal (EW) with a refund via myGateway. For Financial Aid purposes, EW’s are treated similarly to a Withdrawal (W) from a class and will impact your Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).* Receiving an EW will directly impact the completion rate portion of your SAP since you attempted the class and did not complete it. For more information on how your SAP is calculated, please review the SAP link provided above.

Students who are disqualified due to SAP, whether it is because of GPA below 2.0, completion rate below 67%, and/or reaching the maximum timeframe, are encouraged to submit an SAP appeal. COVID-19 extenuating circumstances can be considered via an SAP appeal if they happened during spring 2022 and after. Please see our Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy page for more information about (SAP).

*Important note: Cypress College has a COVID-19 SAP exemption for W and EW grades earned during the spring 2020 semester through end of fall 2021. W and EW grades earned during the exemption period are excluded from the 67% completion Rate and Maximum Timeframe calculations. W and EW grades earned before or after the exemption period will still count against you when SAP is calculated.

Issues

I am registering and the system says I will be dropped from my classes if I don’t pay registration fees right now?

If you are applying for aid or completing your financial aid file, you can wait to pay the fees until you have completed it. You will not be dropped for nonpayment; however, you will receive a hold on your account (will prevent you from being able to register for classes in the future) until the balance is paid.

If I’ve already paid my enrollment fees and later become eligible for the CCPG fee waiver, is it possible to receive a refund for the fees I previously paid for?

If you qualify for the CCPG (fee waiver) after you’ve already paid for your enrollment fees, you will receive a reimbursement check in the mail from the Bursar’s office. Each semester, refunds are processed automatically after the last day to drop classes with a refund (this usually is around the same date as the financial aid freeze date). If any issue arises and you do not receive your refund, please check directly with the Bursar’s office.

Please ensure that your mailing address is up-to-date in myGateway.

Why is my CCPG (fee waiver) not working? I am being charged enrollment fees.

There could be several reasons why your California College Promise Grant (CCPG) hasn’t posted:

  • You haven’t submitted a FAFSA/CADAA application for the current academic year.
  • You forgot to add Cypress to your FAFSA or CADAA.
  • The class(es) you registered for are at Fullerton College – if this is the case, you just need to add Fullerton to your FAFSA or CADAA and resubmit so that they can post the CCPG for you.
  • If you see an “F” next to a course number, that is a Fullerton course. (Ex: Math 40 F)
  • If you see a “C” next to a course number, that is a Cypress course. (Ex: Math 40 C)
  • You have been disqualified. Get information on the standards and how to regain eligibility here.

Please note for summer registration: The CCPG posts to eligible student accounts within 48 hours after the student registers for a summer course. Students will not be dropped for nonpayment while waiting for the CCPG to post to their account.

Where is my summer CCPG?

The California College Promise Grant (CCPG) fee waiver works a bit differently during the summer session in regards to timing: Your CCPG will post and waive your enrollment fees within 48 hours after registering for any summer course IF you are eligible to receive the award. Please note that students will not be dropped for nonpayment. A hold will be placed on a student’s account until the balance is paid off, but will not be dropped from their courses. The CCPG only covers enrollment fees. Log in to your myGateway account after the CCPG posts to pay your remaining balance online.

What if I do not have a Social Security number or do not want to report it to the FAFSA?

It is necessary to provide your Social Security number on the FAFSA. If you do not yet have a number, you should contact your Social Security Administration office to obtain one. It is required before you can be considered for any Federal student aid program. The FAFSA will be returned unprocessed if the student’s Social Security number is blank. (This only applies to the FAFSA, not the CA Dream Act Application).

Other

I am a non-resident and must pay out-of-state tuition – how can I put my Pell Grant toward my non-resident fees?

If you are eligible for Pell grant funds, you can wait for your Pell grant to pay out (see disbursement schedule) and you will be required to pay the remaining balance. You will not be dropped for nonpayment, but you will have a hold on your account until the balance is fully paid off. If you do not want the hold on your account, you can contact the Financial Aid Office to request a Non-Resident Fee Deferment Form, however, you will need to pay the remaining balance up front.

Is Financial Aid only available to low-income people (a common financial aid myth)?

No! Financial Aid is intended both to remove financial barriers for families who cannot afford the cost of an education beyond high school and to fill the gap for families who can afford only part of the cost. Some loans and scholarships are available regardless of “need.”

My neighbor and I both applied for financial aid at the same college. Why did they get more aid than I did when they’ve got a bigger house than my parents and their parents make more money than mine?

The circumstances in your neighbor’s family may be different than they appear, and home equity is not used to determine eligibility for Federal Aid. What doesn’t necessarily show are other factors, such as some debts or family size, which can affect the computation of the family contribution.

What happens if I purposely provide inaccurate information and I’m caught?

If you use the FAFSA to apply for Federal Student Aid funds and provide false information, you are subject to fines and/or imprisonment under the U.S. Criminal Code. State and local laws may also apply in such cases.

If I don’t feel it is the college’s right to request my U.S. tax information, then what happens if I don’t provide it?

If you are selected for verification, Federal law and regulations require us to collect tax information. If you fail to comply with a request for any forms or documentation from the Financial Aid Office, we will discontinue processing your application for aid until we receive the required information.

Must I be accepted for admission before I apply for Financial Aid? Must I be admitted before I receive aid?

You may apply for financial aid at the same time you apply for admission. You must enroll in college before you can receive any funds.