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San Antonio College Schedule/Catalog 2017-2018
San Antonio College
   
 
  Sep 26, 2017
 
 
    
San Antonio College Schedule/Catalog 2017-2018

Financial Aid


 

About Student Financial Aid

The most important function of the Alamo Colleges District’s Student Financial Aid (SFA) is to administer and manage financial assistance programs to the benefit of eligible students and families who are unable to afford the cost of a college education. The goal of the SFA Office is to help students avail themselves of federal, state and institutional financial aid programs they qualify under. 

Financial aid comes in three basic types:

  • Grants/Scholarships 
  • Work-study programs
  • Loans

Any or all of these may be combined in a financial aid package to help pay for educational expenses. Generally, scholarships and grants do not have to be repaid. Loans must be repaid and are therefore not encouraged unless absolutely necessary as a last resort.

This section describes most available financial aid programs, their requirements, and other pertinent policies and procedures. Not all policies and procedures that SFA Offices of the Alamo Colleges District are required to follow are listed. Policies listed here are only those deemed most important to students. The Alamo Colleges District complies with all state and federal regulations governing administration of student financial aid programs. It is important to note that these policies change unexpectedly as a result of legislative action or U. S. Department of Education interpretation. Therefore, in the event of changes after the editing of this catalog, the Alamo Colleges District will comply with the most current regulations and interpretations thereof. Extensive financial aid information can be found at the Alamo Colleges District’s Student Financial Aid webpage. This link will also provide additional information about student aid programs, scholarship searches, applying for financial aid, and links to other helpful websites.

In addition, limited loan assistance can be obtained by eligible students who are pursuing a teacher certification. Grant funding is sometimes available as well. Interested students should check with the Teacher Certification Office at their college for more details on the availability of assistance and specific application information.

What Is the FAFSA and What Does It Do

The U.S. Department of Education has developed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application process in order to determine a student’s financial aid eligibility for all federal financial aid programs. The state of Texas has also opted to accept the FAFSA and the financial aid methodology it represents to establish eligibility for state financial aid programs.

The FAFSA is the first step in the financial aid process and assesses students’ or a families’ financial ability to pay their college expenses. Responses to questions on the FAFSA go into a formula established by the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, called the Federal Methodology. The result is a student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Colleges use the EFC to determine students’ financial need and their state, federal or institutional aid eligibility.

The FAFSA is available from high school guidance counselors, any public library, financial aid administrators at any university, or any of the Alamo Colleges District’s SFA Offices. The FAFSA can be ordered by calling 1-800-4FEDAID. For faster processing a FAFSA can be accessed and completed online. Each person who is required to sign the online FAFSA will need an FSA ID, effective May 10, 2015. The FSA ID can be created online.

Applying for Financial Aid at the Alamo Colleges District

Students who apply for financial aid at the Alamo Colleges District are automatically considered for the following programs:

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
  • Texas Public Education Grant (TPEG)

Students may also qualify through a separate application for the following programs:

  • Texas Grant (Towards Excellence Access and Success)
  • Texas Educational Opportunity Grant (TEOG)
  • William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program
  • Federal College-Work-Study, State College-Work-Study, or Institutional-Work-Study

The application procedures apply to need-based grants, loans, and work-study. The Alamo Colleges District’s Scholarship program is administered separate from the Financial Aid Office, but scholarship awards are considered a resource when determining eligibility for other financial aid. Apply for an Alamo Colleges District’s scholarship or specific college’s scholarships online. Click the Paying for College tab on the main page; then click the Scholarship link. In addition, information about the Hazlewood Act Exemption can be found at the Veterans Affairs Office at your college.

Applications for aid will be considered complete when the following has taken place at one of the colleges in the Alamo Colleges District:

  1. The student has been accepted for admission in a program of study leading to a degree or certificate and is making Satisfactory Academic Progress. First-time college freshmen are assumed to be making Satisfactory Academic Progress.
  2. The student has the following on file in Student Financial Aid:
    • The FAFSA financial aid application. To ensure the application is electronically forwarded, the Federal School Code of the college in the Alamo Colleges District that is the student’s home/primary college must appear on the FAFSA. In addition, the name and Social Security Number recorded at the home/primary college must match exactly the name and Social Security Number recorded on the FAFSA.
      • Northwest Vista College - Federal School Code…033723
      • Palo Alto College - Federal School Code…………016615
      • San Antonio College - Federal School Code……009163
      • St. Philip’s College - Federal School Code………003608
      • Northeast Lakeview College - Code not assigned. Alamo College District students whose primary institution is San Antonio College, Palo Alto College, St Philip’s College or Northwest Vista College can use any federal/state financial assistance they may be receiving to help pay for courses they registered in at the Northeast Lakeview campus, regardless of whether it is a SAC or NLC course. Student with Northeast Lakeview as their “home school” are not eligible for financial assistance.
    • If selected for verification, the student must submit the appropriate verification documents requested by the College Financial Aid Office. Please see the section on Verification for more specific information about requirements and procedures.

It is essential that students provide the college with the most current permanent and local address and telephone number to avoid delays and ensure that important documents are received promptly. However, all official Financial Aid Office communications is made to the student’s Alamo Colleges District email address. Students should update their home addresses as often as necessary in ACES or by completing the appropriate forms at the Enrollment Services/Admissions and Records office.

Deadlines for Filing the FAFSA

The U.S. Department of Education publishes the FAFSA processing time frame (deadlines) applicable to processing the FAFSA on the FAFSA and in the online application. A processed FAFSA, however, does not guarantee that an eligible student will receive financial aid. While the Alamo Colleges District’s SFA offices accept financial aid applications virtually all year round, the student’s complete financial aid application and all required documents must be received before the end of the semester to receive consideration for funding. In addition, since funding is limited, grants and scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to students who qualify. Therefore, applications should be received by the dates below in order to be considered on-time for the indicated semester:

  Semester Priority Deadline Processing Guarantee Date Last Day to Apply
  Fall 2017   May 1, 2017  
  Spring 2018   November 1, 2017  
  Summer 2018   March 1, 2018  

Completed applications received by the priority date will receive priority consideration of all available funds, subject to each student’s eligibility. Students who submit a completed application (including all required documents) by the Processing Guarantee Date will have their application processed and an award or denial of aid by the first class day. Applications received or completed after the priority date will be processed according to date of completion, but may not be processed by the payment deadline. Students in this situation should be prepared to make payment arrangements with the Bursar’s Office to ensure their tuition and any balance owed is paid by the due date. A separate application is required to be considered for summer aid.

Eligibility Requirements for Student Financial Aid

In general, students are eligible for federal, state, and institutional aid if they meet the following requirements:

  • Be enrolled for at least half-time, in six (6) semester credit hours as a regular student in an eligible program. (Students enrolled less than half-time students may qualify to receive only the Federal Pell Grant if all eligibility requirements are met.);
  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen. Students who meet the criteria for Texas residency under HB1403/SB1528 may qualify for limited state financial aid program funds;
  • Have a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) certificate;
  • Not be in default on any student loan or owe a refund to a federal financial aid program;
  • Make Satisfactory Academic Progress in a declared course of study. All students must be familiar with the Alamo Colleges District’s Satisfactory Academic Progress policy;
  • Have financial need as determined by the federal need analysis methodology and institutional guidelines; and
  • Not have been convicted of a felony or crime involving a controlled substance.

Limited funds may be available for International students based on need and/or merit. Interested students should check with their colleges’ International Student Office for information.

Calculating Financial Need

The information students report when completing the FAFSA is used in a formula established by Congress that calculates an Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is the amount students and their families are expected to have available toward the student’s educational costs. For the Federal Pell Grant Program, if the EFC is below a certain number, students are eligible for a Pell Grant, assuming they meet all other eligibility requirements. There is no maximum EFC that defines eligibility for college-based programs. Instead, the EFC is used in an equation to determine financial need:

   Cost of Education
- Expected Family Contribution
= Financial Need

The difference between the cost of education and the Expected Family Contribution is considered the student’s financial need. The financial need calculation helps the SFA Office establish eligibility for grants, loans, and work study. The combination of financial aid from these sources is called a financial aid package and it is meant to help meet the student’s financial need.

Information about the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) formula is available on the U.S. Department of Education webpage. The Department of Education also produces a booklet describing the formula that produces the EFC, and it is available by writing to:

Federal Student Aid Information Center
P.O. Box 84
Washington, D.C. 20044

Verification

Verification is the process by which a student’s financial aid application data is checked for accuracy. Only those students selected for verification by the federal process are required to complete this process. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) requires all colleges to complete this process for all students whom they have selected without exception. Students are notified of this requirement by ED via the Student Aid Report (SAR), which is sent to the email address that the student has listed on the FAFSA, or it is mailed to the home address. Students are also notified by mail from the Alamo Colleges District’s Student Financial Aid Office if they are selected with instructions to log on to their ACES account to view the specific requirements or the documents that must be submitted to the Student Financial Aid Office.

The verification process is customized at an individual student application level. Students are therefore asked to submit only the documents requested which the federal processor has identified as being applicable to their situation. The following is a list of the most common items that exist which the federal processor may require the college to verify for a student applicant for whom they have required it to be verified:

  • The student’s (and spouse’s, if applicable) Tax Return Transcript from the Internal Revenue Service if the Tax Retrieval Tool was not used. Corrections can be made to request the Tax Retrieval Tool to be used instead of submitting the documents;
  • The parent’s (and spouse’s, if applicable) Tax Return Transcript from the Internal Revenue Service if the Tax Retrieval Tool was not used. Corrections can be made to request the Tax Retrieval Tool to be used instead of submitting the documents;
  • Verification Worksheet;
  • High School Completion;
  • Identity Verification and Statement of Educational Purpose;
  • Child Support paid
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP);
  • Documentation that verifies benefits or untaxed income, such as:
    • Child Support Received
    • Untaxed Pensions 
    • Other untaxed income and benefits

Most forms required for the verification process are available in the student ACES Financial Aid Tab (or MyPage Tab). Any form that is requested but not linked to the student ACES account (under Start Here or MyPage or Financial Aid Tab) may be obtained in the college Student Financial Aid Office.

Notification of Financial Aid Awards

The Financial Aid Office does not mail award notifications via U.S. mail and does not send them to personal email address including the email provided on the FAFSA. All award notifications are sent to the student.alamo.edu email account, and awards are listed in the ACES account under MyPage, Start Here or Financial Aid tab.

Most awards are automatically accepted and will credit into a student’s account as long as the student is enrolled. The financial aid award notice emailed to the student provides instructions on where to view and accept awards. Students who have applied and students have been awarded but do not intend to stay enrolled must officially drop their classes at least eleven (11) days prior to the first day of classes and before the long semester begins to avoid future aid paying their registration bill.

Funds awarded will credit into the student account and will pay any charges owed. Each source and amount of aid awarded is based on full-time enrollment and is automatically adjusted based on actual enrollment through the “official” census date enrollment.

Receiving Financial Aid Funds

All refunds are issued by the Bursar/Business Office including Federal Direct Loan funds. If the student owes a balance after financial aid funds are credited, the balance must be paid by the due date or the student is at risk of being dropped from classes. If the funds awarded exceed the balance, a refund will be issued to the student through the RefundSelect program. Visit Alamo Colleges Business Office Refunds for Information on the Refund Options, Refund Schedule, New Cash Management Rules and the Heartland Payment Services Contract.

Satisfactory Academic Progress for Purposes of Financial Aid

Federal Regulations require all students applying for financial assistance to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in order to receive aid. The progress standards that students are required to meet in order to maintain financial aid eligibility are:

  • A minimum 2.0 GPA per semester and overall;
  • Successful completion of 67% of all coursework attempted; and
  • Completion of the academic program of study within ninety-nine (99) hours of attempted coursework (including hours attempted at other colleges). Note: Thirty (30) hours of developmental classes are excluded from the ninety-nine (99) hours calculation.

Compliance with the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy must be met in order for a student to retain their financial aid eligibility. Students are advised to check their status through their ACES account. Final Satisfactory Academic Progress rules were published in the October 29, 2010 Federal Register to be effective July 1, 2011. The current regulations clarify, standardize, and strengthen provisions on school evaluations of the qualitative (grades and academic standing) and quantitative (pace of completion) aspects of a student’s progress in a program for Title IV funding purposes.

The information below describes each status in more detail:

Good Standing

Students are considered to be in Good Standing with Financial Aid if they meet all three (3) standards of progress outlined above. These students may participate in any financial aid programs provided they meet all other eligibility criteria, subject to availability of funds.

Financial Aid Suspension

Students are suspended from financial aid if they do not meet one (1) or more of the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) criteria listed above. Students who fail SAP are sent a financial aid suspension notice via email and are informed that they may continue to enroll but at their own expense.

Appeal Process

Students may appeal their suspension status. The appeal must include a personal statement (with appropriate documentation) detailing the circumstances that resulted in their failure to meet the SAP standards and an Academic Plan detailing actions the student will take to achieve and maintain SAP. Those who have been suspended due to exceeding ninety-nine (99) attempted hours must submit a graduation or degree plan, signed by their academic counselor or advisor.

The plan must list the courses still needed and the anticipated graduation date. The appeal forms and instructions are available during the time frame when the appeal process is open on the SFA webpage and in the Financial Aid Office.

In addition, students appealing a financial aid suspension are encouraged to complete a financial literacy course. More information regarding the financial literacy course is available on the Financial Aid website.

If the appeal is approved, the student is placed on probation and eligibility is reinstated subject to continued compliance with SAP requirements. Progress is reviewed at the end of the semester to verify that the student is meeting the standards and following the degree plan. Students who meet SAP for the semester approved, but who are not yet in full compliance with the SAP policy will have their status updated to “Academic Plan” and will continue to qualify for financial aid. Failure to meet SAP while on Probation or Academic Plan will result in a permanent financial aid eligibility suspension. Students who fail to meet SAP for any semester enrolled will have their financial aid eligibility immediately suspended. Students whose eligibility is re-suspended are not allowed to re-appeal their Financial Aid suspension. The appeal approval is applicable only at the college where it was originally submitted and approved, and students cannot submit an appeal or apply for aid at any of the other colleges in the Alamo Colleges District.

If the appeal is denied, no federal or state financial aid (including student loans) may be awarded. Students may continue to enroll but at their own expense and can re-appeal after completing at least one (1) semester and meeting the SAP requirements for the semester(s) completed. The Committee decision is final and may not be appealed further.

Appeal Deadlines

Fall 2017 May 1, 2017
Spring 2018 November 1, 2017
Summer 2018 March 1, 2018

Aid Eligibility for Corporate and Community Education Courses

Tuition assistance is available for eligible individuals who wish to enroll in Corporate and Community Education courses. The Texas Public Education Grant for Continuing Education (TPEG-CE) may be used for tuition-only charges of non-credit courses. There is no reimbursement for pre-paid tuition bills. Financial aid may be awarded in an amount not to exceed 50-100% of course tuition, but funded amounts will be determined by each Student Financial Aid Office. The standard Fee Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and verification process (if selected) must be completed by the appropriate Processing Guarantee Date for the semester during which the course is offered. Once the FAFSA results are received, the TPEG-CE application may then be submitted for processing. Applications are available in the college Student Financial Aid offices. Awards will be based on financial need as determined by the FAFSA process and available state funding.

In addition, limited loan assistance can be obtained by eligible students who are pursuing a teacher certification. Grant funding is sometimes available as well. Interested students should check with the Teacher Certification Office at their college for more details on the availability of assistance and specific application information.

Spring and Summer Transfer Students

Students transferring from another institution during the Spring or Summer semesters must make sure that their prior institution reports to the National Student Loan Database System (NSLDS) the cancellation of any undisbursed Federal Pell Grant and Direct Student Loan awards for the applicable semester. Failure to do so will prevent any of the colleges in the Alamo Colleges District from awarding any remaining funds for which a student is still eligible from those student aid programs. Students who plan to enroll at one of the colleges in the Alamo Colleges District only during the Summer and then return to their home institution the following Fall semester, are considered transient students and are therefore not eligible for financial aid at the Alamo Colleges District.

Concurrent Enrollment and Financial Aid Eligibility

Students may receive aid at only one college per period of enrollment. Students who are enrolled at two (2) or more of the colleges in the Alamo Colleges District for the same semester may receive financial aid at the college they have declared as their home college. Some programs require that students be enrolled at their primary institution for six (6) or more hours. At no time will students be allowed to count enrollment at a non-Alamo Colleges District college or university towards their eligibility for financial aid at the Alamo Colleges District.

Enrollment Status by Session

Eligibility for financial aid is based on the semester credit hours in which students are enrolled. The Federal Pell Grant program allows for payment of one or more hours based on eligibility. Note that the enrollment status definitions for financial aid purposes may differ from academic enrollment.

Fall/Spring 16-Week Sessions

  • Full-Time Student - Twelve (12) or more semester credit hours
  • Three-Quarter-Time Student - Nine to eleven (9-11) semester credit hours
  • Half-Time Student - Six to eight (6-8) semester credit hours
  • Less than Half-Time Student - One to five (1-5) semester credit hours

Fall/Spring Start Two 14-Week Sessions

  • Full-Time Student - Twelve (12) or more semester credit hours
  • Three-Quarter-Time Student - Nine to eleven (9-11) semester credit hours
  • Half-Time Student - Six to eight (6-8) semester credit hours
  • Less than Half-Time Student - One to five (1-5) semester credit hours

Flex Eight-Week and Summer Sessions

Flex Sessions I and II and Summer Sessions I and II are combined for financial aid purposes if the student enrolls for all courses before the first session begins. It is recommended that students register for a minimum of six (6) semester credit hours prior to the start of Flex I and/or Summer I in order to be eligible for all possible sources of aid that may be available. Students planning to attend Flex I and II and/or Summer Sessions I and II should register for both sessions prior to the start of the first session in order to receive funding for the Flex II and/or Summer II sessions.

Maximum Hours for Payment: Six (6) semester credit hours for each session with a combined twelve (12) semester credit hours.

Maymester

Maymester is considered part of the Summer Session; see above.

Consortium Agreements and Financial Aid Eligibility

The colleges in the Alamo Colleges District will sometimes enter into consortium agreements with institutions willing to consider a student’s concurrent enrollment at a college in the Alamo Colleges District as part of the student’s semester course load at their college or university for the purpose of awarding aid through their financial aid office. That institution becomes the student’s home institution for financial aid purposes, and it initiates such agreements on behalf of the student. These students are not eligible for aid from any of the colleges in the Alamo Colleges District and must make arrangements to pay all Alamo Colleges District registration expenses prior to the billing due date. All consortium agreements must be approved by the appropriate Alamo Colleges District authorizing official.

Withdrawing from College and Returning Financial Aid Funds

It is important that students know the Census Date for each semester or session. Although students may be awarded aid based on the number of hours they register for at the start of the semester, financial aid will be recalculated on the basis of the number of hours in which they are still enrolled by the Census Day. For example, students who are initially awarded as full-time (twelve (12) hours) will have their financial aid award adjusted to half-time if they have dropped to six (6) hours by the Census Day. For some aid programs this means that the student has to pay back half of the aid received. A drop in enrollment (but not 100% withdrawal) after the Census Day will not impact the amount of aid received with two (2) exceptions: Federal Work-Study and loans cannot be disbursed at any time in the semester when a student is enrolled in less than six (6) hours. All enrollment adjustments (drops and adds) must be complete as of the close of business by the semester Census Date.

When students withdraw from all courses (100%), federal regulations require all schools to pro-rate the amount of financial aid the student has earned based on the percentage of the semester that they have attended classes. The regulations require the calculation be performed for every student who withdraws from all classes, and that a re-payment percentage be calculated up until 60% of the semester has elapsed. Since in most cases students’ financial aid is already paid under the assumption that they will stay in school for the entire semester, withdrawing  before the 60% mark means the student will have to pay back a portion of their financial aid that was not earned. Failure to repay these funds results in Financial Aid Holds that prevent future registration at any college or university.

Return of Title IV Fund Order:

  • Federal Unsubsidized Loans/Direct Loans
  • Federal Subsidized Loans/Direct Loans
  • Federal Perkins Loan
  • Federal PLUS Loans/Direct PLUS Loans or Grad PLUS Loans
  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
  • Federal TEACH Grant
  • Federal Iraqi & Afghanistan Service Grant

If a student withdraws before financial aid is disbursed, financial aid amounts will be pro-rated according to federal regulations.

State, local, and institutional grants, loans, and scholarships are also subject to evaluation to assess impact of changes in enrollment status.