Although the RVC Financial Aid Handbook contains most of the information a student needs to know to apply for financial assistance at RVC, the following are some unique yet frequently asked questions pertaining to student financial assistance.
You can easily access Online Services to stay notified and up to date on refunds. This chart will help you with account activity, and allow you to know when you will receive your funds.
Do I need to be admitted before completing my financial Aid for Rock Valley College?
No. You can apply for the FAFSA beginning October 1st each year for the following academic year. However, you must be admitted to RVC before the financial aid office can receive and process your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) from the Department of Education. To actually receive funds you must be enrolled and attending classes at RVC.
How do I apply for federal and state financial aid programs?
One form does it all! The form you need to complete is called the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and it can be completed online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. This online version is also available in Spanish.
What is the FSA ID?
The FSA ID serves as your identifier to let you access your personal information in various U.S. Department of Education systems. It's like the Personal Identification Number you get from your bank that enables you to access your account. The FSA ID also allows you to sign your federal student aid application online and allows you to correct your application data online.
What if I do not have access to a computer to file online? Where can I get a paper copy of the FAFSA?
If you do not have access to a computer elsewhere there are 2 computers available for your use to file FAFSA forms, conduct scholarship searches or gather information relating to financing your college education set up in the financial aid area of the Student Center. There is a printer set up to allow you to print necessary forms. The ERC and computer labs on campus can also be used for filing your FAFSA online. Paper FAFSA's are no longer made available to schools. Paper copies can still be printed by going to www.studentaid.ed.gov or by calling 1-800-4-FED-AID. Forms are available in both English and Spanish.
If you do not meet one of these requirements, but consider yourself to have a special circumstance that makes you independent, you may contact the Financial Aid Office for further instructions. Please keep in mind that reasons the Financial Aid Office cannot consider you independent include:
Why do I have to provide my parents' information on the FAFSA?
When you apply for federal student aid, your answers to the questions in Step 3 of the paper FAFSA or the Dependency Status section of the online FAFSA will determine whether you're considered dependent on your parents or independent. If you're considered dependent, your parents' income and assets as well as your own must be reported on the FAFSA. Students are classified as dependent or independent because federal student aid programs are based on the principle that students (and their parents or spouse, if applicable) are considered the primary source of support for postsecondary education.
Note that your eligibility for financial aid may change significantly, depending on your circumstances and any regulatory changes. Renewal of your financial aid package also depends on your making satisfactory academic progress toward a degree, such as earning a minimum number of credits and achieving a minimum GPA. (See the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy).
I sent in my FAFSA over four weeks ago but haven't heard anything. What should I do?
If you haven't received a Student Aid Report (SAR), call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243 (toll free) or 1-319-337-5665. You must provide them with your Social Security number and date of birth as verification.
How long does it take to know if I am eligible for financial aid at Rock Valley College?
If you file your FAFSA electronically you should receive your Student Aid Report (SAR) in 1-3 weeks. At about the same time you receive your SAR if you listed RVC as one of your school choices on your FAFSA RVC should also be receiving your information to begin processing. You should then receive a communication from the RVC financial aid office explaining what documents are needed to process your aid at RVC. The entire process may take up to 4-6 weeks after you receive your SAR. When your file has been completed you will receive an award letter from the financial aid office indicating what kind of assistance you are eligible for and the amount. Your award letter is also available on your RVC online services account.
My aid is not processed yet but my tuition bill is due, what can I do?
While the financial aid office is completing your file you may pay your tuition and fees by cash, check, credit card or FACTS (a deferred payment plan.) To make a payment go to the Accounts Receivable office in the Student Center or go online to http://www.rockvalleycollege.edu/payment.
I got an outside scholarship. Should I report it to the RVC financial aid office?
Yes. If you are receiving any kind of financial aid from private or government sources, you must report the scholarship to the financial aid office. The financial aid office must add the scholarship to your award package and make adjustments to your financial aid package as necessary.
How do I receive my financial aid at RVC?
How you receive your aid varies by what financial aid program(s) you are eligible for. This information will be mailed to you upon completion of your financial aid file at RVC. In general:
NOTE: Freshmen, first time borrowers, loan disbursements are made 30 days into the semester.
I am in late starting classes- When will I receive my financial aid?
Students who are registered in late starting classes and who are eligible for a Pell/MAP refund will not have funds disbursed for these classes until after the class has begun.
Pell/Loan eligible students may have eligibility for help with books one week before classes start. You must have a complete Financial Aid file and be enrolled in classes. Students without a complete file must cover their own book and supply cost. If you have extenuating circumstances that are preventing you from having funds available for books please see the financial aid office one week prior to the start of the term.
What is the process called verification and why am I being verified?
Because a significant number of errors can occur on a student's FAFSA they are sometimes selected by the CPS (Central Processing System) to be verified by Rock Valley College. The Department of Education only requires that a portion of the FAFSA filers at RVC be verified. If your financial aid application was selected for the verification process you will be required to submit a verification worksheet, a copy of your IRS Federal Tax transcript (and your parent's if you are a dependent student) or a Statement of Non-Filing from the IRS, and IL state residency verification for state aid. The RVC financial aid office will send a letter requesting this information and you will be given 30 days to return it to the office so we can continue to process the file. Sometimes errors are identified during verification that require corrections. The RVC financial aid office will submit any necessary corrections to the Department of Education. If no errors are discovered your file will be marked complete and an award letter will be sent identifying any aid you are eligible to receive.
IF YOU DO NOT use the IRS download option when filing the FAFSA and are selected for verification, you will be required to provide IRS tax transcripts; per federal regulations we are only able to accept tax transcript as tax documentation.
What does the Standards of Academic Progress policy mean to me and my financial aid?
Every student that applies for financial aid at RVC is asked to read and sign a copy of the Standards of Academic Progress policy. If you are not maintaining these minimum academic standards you will lose your financial aid for the future. If you encountered extenuating circumstances that prevented you from meeting these requirements you may file an appeal in the financial aid office. The appeal along with required documentation of your situation will be reviewed and if approved you may get your financial aid reinstated. If it is not approved this does not prevent you from taking courses at RVC but you will be responsible to pay for them by means other than financial aid until you have met the Standards of Academic Progress policy.
I don't live at home with my parents. Does this mean I am an independent student?
Not necessarily. You are independent only if you can answer yes to one or more of questions in the Dependency Status section of the FAFSA.
My father refuses to complete an application for aid at RVC. What should I do?
If you are a dependent student as defined by the FAFSA form, it is essential that your parents complete an application for aid with their financial information in order for you to be considered for aid. Explain this to your father. If all else fails, contact the financial aid office. Many times someone from the financial aid office can help explain to parents that this information is necessary and will be kept strictly confidential.
My friend got more financial aid than I did, and I don't understand why. Her parents make more money than my parents.
There are many reasons why your friend could have received more aid. For example, the college she is attending may have more aid to offer. There may be more family members in the household that her parents are supporting. She may have earned less money from working than you did. Her family might have experienced unusually high medical expenses. These and other differences in family situations could cause two students to receive different amounts of financial aid. Whatever the reason(s), keep in mind that each student's financial aid package is designed especially for that individual.
I live with my grandparents, who are my legal guardians. Should I use their income information on my financial aid application?
If you are under the legal guardianship of someone else you are considered an Independent student and will then provide only your income. Documentation proving guardianship may be required and requested by the Financial Aid Office.
My parents are divorced. I live with my mother, but my father claims me on his tax return. How do I apply for aid?
Complete an application for aid with your information and information about the parent you lived with more during the past 12 months. (If you did not live with one parent more than the other, give information about the parent who provided more financial support during the past 12 months or during the most recent year that you actually received support from a parent.)
NOTE: The parent who claims you on their taxes in not always the parent information required on the FAFSA.
My parents are divorced. My mother is remarried and my stepfather hasn't adopted me. Is my stepfather required to supply his financial information when I apply for aid?
Yes. Your mother and stepfather must both supply financial information when you are applying for aid since all resources in the household must be considered.
What if my parent's taxes are not completed?
You may estimate the taxes to file your FAFSA with, however you will have to provide completed federal income tax information along with other verification documents before aid can be awarded.
Is financial aid available during the summer semesters?
Only students who have not received 100% of their Pell during the fall and spring terms will have eligibility for summer Pell. MAP funds are not available in summer semesters at this time.
*Please note that courses registered after the fifth week of the fall/spring semester start dates will not count toward Financial Aid enrollment.
Full time for MAP grant: The MAP grant is based on 15 credits for full time.
Phone: (815) 921-4150
Fax: (815) 921-4169