Financial Aid FAQs

Hopefully these frequently asked questions will help you find the information you need! If you have additional questions, please contact

How do I apply for financial aid?

Complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) at To complete the FAFSA you will need to create a Federal Student Aid ID. You may create this at FAFSA for each school year is open on October 1st for the next school year. Southern State's school code for FAFSA is 012870.

What happens after I apply for financial aid?

If Southern State is listed on the FAFSA, the FAFSA application results are sent directly to the College. Southern State will mail you a packet of information regarding your eligibility for financial aid. We typically start processing FAFSA information for the upcoming award year in March. After March we process FAFSA information daily as they come in.

Your FAFSA application might be selected for verification by the U.S. Department of Education. In this process, SSCC Financial Aid Office will be comparing the information you reported on your FAFSA to documents you will be required to submit to the SSCC Financial Aid Office. The documentation may include federal tax returns, W2 statements, and information about your/your parent's household. If your application is selected, you will be required to submit documentation to the SSCC Financial Aid Office to continue the financial aid process. The list of required documents will be included in the information packet that is mailed after your FAFSA information is received at SSCC. Students are also able to view the list of documents on the SSCC Student Portal, MyRecords.

What types of financial aid are available to me by completing the FAFSA?

The FAFSA is an application that determines the following types of financial aid:

  • Pell Grants /SEOG grant - free money from the federal government based on need.
  • College Work-Study - employment at the College is based also on need from the FAFSA. If hired in a position students receive a paycheck from the College. Money is not applied directly to your tuition charges at the school.
  • Student Loans - money that is borrowed and must be repaid beginning six months after graduation or ceasing half-time enrollment.
How many credit hours do I have to take to receive financial aid?

Initial financial award offers are based on twelve semester hours (full-time). Students under twelve semester hours are considered part-time students. Financial Aid awards are pro-rated accordingly based on the hours enrolled and attending.

  • 9-11 hours – ¾ time
  • 6-8 hours – ½ time
  • 1-5 hours – ¼ time

You may qualify for a Pell grant depending on your eligibility for as few as 1 semester hour. You must take at least 6 semester hours to qualify for a student loan.

How often do I have to complete the FAFSA?

You need to apply for financial aid every year. The school year at Southern State begins with fall semester, and includes spring and summer semester.

How can I apply for scholarships?

Students may apply for Southern State scholarships at January - March to receive priority consideration. There are also other scholarships and links at

Can I charge my textbooks to my financial aid?

Students who have more financial aid than their tuition are allowed to charge books to their pending financial aid at the College Bookstore. To charge books to financial aid you will need to present your class schedule and photo ID. Books may also be ordered online at To charge books on-line requires your Southern State student ID. The Bookstore is located on the Central Campus in Hillsboro.

How and when do I receive my financial aid?
  • After verification that students are enrolled and attending classes, the semester hours attended are locked and financial aid disbursements are based on those hours. The courses included in the calculation of financial aid are only those required for the student's current academic program. Attendance verification occurs after the two-week drop/add period.
  • Financial aid is disbursed to student accounts by the SSCC Business Office the fifth week of the semester. If students are first-time federal student loan borrowers the loan funds cannot be disbursed until the students attend the first 30 days of the semester.
  • If the total of financial aid disbursements is greater than the total of tuition and fee charges, the resulting credit balance will be refunded to the student by check mailed to the student's address on file. If after all financial aid is disbursed there is still a balance remaining for the semester's tuition and fees the College will mail you a bill that must be paid prior to registering for the next period of enrollment.
What grades do I need to get to keep my financial aid?

To remain in good standing, students with 0 to 29 earned credit hours must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 1.75. Students who have earned 30 or more credit hours must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.00. View the Academic Warning & Probation Policy.

What happens if I stop going to class?
  • You must attend all registered classes to be eligible for financial aid.
  • If classes are dropped prior to the end of the drop/add period charges will also be dropped.
  • Classes dropped after the drop/add period are considered a withdrawal. Students are charged for the class, and financial aid may still be eligible to pay for the class. At the end of the term it is included in the measurement for academic progress.
  • Never just stop attending. Contact the Department of Student Affairs or your advisor to complete an official withdrawal. Officially withdrawing does not affect your grade point average. Stopping out without withdrawing could result in a failing grade.
What is Unusual Enrollment History?
  • Unusual Enrollment History (UEH) is defined as the specific pattern the U.S. Department of Education uses to select students who have received a Federal Pell Grant and/or Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized loans at multiple institutions over the past four academic years. Students who have this pattern will be required to submit academic transcripts from their past schools to the SSCC Financial Aid Office. The transcripts can be official or unofficial; a grade report for a single semester/quarter is not acceptable.
  • Federal regulations require the SSCC Financial Aid Office to determine whether students attend an institution long enough to receive the Federal Pell Grant or Federal Direct Stafford loan, leave without completing the semester/quarter, enroll at another institution and then repeat this pattern of enrollment to collect another Federal Pell Grant or Federal Direct Stafford loan funds without having earned any academic credit.
  • The SSCC Financial Aid Office will review the submitted academic transcripts. If there is no progress at one or more institutions, the student will be asked to document the reasons for lack of academic progress and reason(s) for leaving the school. If the documentation does not result in eligibility for federal financial aid, the student can attend without federal aid assistance and, after successfully completing courses can request that the SSCC Financial Aid Office reinstate eligibility for federal student aid.
  • It is important for students to know that there are federal limitations for receiving both Federal Pell Grant and Federal Direct Stafford Subsidized/Unsubsidized loan funding. Students who are receiving these funds but are not successfully moving toward degree completion are in jeopardy of losing eligibility to receive these funds.
What is Satisfactory Academic Progress?
  • To meet the progress requirement, a student must complete 67% of the credit hours attempted (courses enrolled after drop/add) each semester of enrollment.
  • At the end of each semester and grades have been submitted, and the Records Office measured both GPA and progress as required by the SSCC Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy. Students who do not meet both standards are placed on Academic Warning for their next semester of enrollment. While on the warning semester, students can continue to receive federal financial aid. If students are successful at the completion of the warning semester they are placed in Good Standing.
  • Students who are not successful at the end of the warning semester are placed on Academic Probation and federal financial aid eligibility at Southern State is suspended.
  • Students on Academic Probation may appeal their probation. Appeals may be submitted to the Financial Aid Office. If granted an appeal students are then placed on an academic plan which allows provisional semester based on an Academic Plan developed by the Advising Center.
  • Students who completely withdraw prior to completing at least sixty percent of the term may be subject to returning funds to the federal government which may create a balance due to Southern State. Return of Title IV Policy
How much time do I have to complete my program?
  • Students are allowed 150% of the time frame allowed for a two-year degree to complete a program. Maximum Time Frame Policy
    • Example: Program requires 60 semester hours (60 X 150% = 90) 90 hours is the maximum allowed.
  • Course withdrawals, repeats and incomplete grades are also included in this 150% calculation.
  • Pell Grants have a lifetime limit of 12 semesters. This would be six years as a full-time student to obtain a degree. Consider this in long term planning especially in consideration of a four-year degree.
What if I lost my job, my parents' income has changed or have other special circumstances?

The Southern State Financial Aid Office can take into account special circumstances that may affect your need and eligibility for federal student aid. These may include loss of income due to layoff, disability, divorce, separation or loss of untaxed benefits. You can contact our office at 937.393.3431 ext 2515 or to request a Special Circumstance Appeal form.

NOTE: Not all requests for change of circumstance result in a change to your financial aid.