Financial Aid Frequently Asked Questions

FAFSA-related Questions

Durham Tech’s School Code

The school code is 005448.

What is an FSA ID?

An FSA ID is a username and password that you must use to log in to certain U.S. Department of Education (ED) websites. Your FSA ID identifies you as someone who has the right to access your own personal information on ED systems such as the online Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form or the myStudentAid mobile app.

It’s important to understand that the student and the parent may not share an FSA ID. Your FSA ID is your signature, so it has to be unique to you. If you are a parent of a dependent student, you will need your own FSA ID if you want to sign your child’s FAFSA electronically. If you have more than one child attending college, you can use the same FSA ID to sign all applications, but each child must have his or her own FSA ID.

When you create your FSA ID, you will be required to provide your email address or your mobile phone number. It is important to remember that a mobile phone number or email address can be associated with only one FSA ID.

For example, if you are a dependent student, you and your parent would not be able to provide the same email address or phone number when you each create your own FSA ID.

We recommend that all students and parents who can create an FSA ID do so as it greatly reduces the processing time of the FAFSA.

For more information about the FSA ID, please visit the FSA Frequently Asked Questions FAQ’s.

I need help completing a FAFSA. Can your office assist me?

The best option to obtain help completing the FAFSA is by calling Federal Student Aid at 1-800-4FED-AID (800-433-3243). You may also request individual assistance from your Durham Tech Financial Aid Advisor. Please be sure to have your 2018 federal tax information and your parents' 2018 federal tax information if you are a dependent for tax purposes so that we are better able to assist you.

Am I a Dependent or an Independent Student?

The FAFSA will determine this; the school does not make the initial determination of dependency status. Also, students cannot choose this status. If you are found to be a dependent student and have an unusual circumstance that prevents you from putting parental information on your FAFSA, please contact your Financial Aid Advisor.

My parent is not a US Citizen - how do I have them sign the FAFSA?

If your parent is not a United States citizen, their information is still needed on the FAFSA. This applies to those living inside and outside the US. For the social security number entry required, this person must enter nine zeros (000-00-0000). When you complete the FAFSA, choose the option requesting a physical signature. After printing the document, your parent can complete this in person in our office or mail it to the address on the form.

Durham Tech does not have my FAFSA but the FAFSA has been processed. Why?

There are several reasons this may happen.

  • After a FAFSA is processed by Federal Student Aid, it takes 3-5 business days for our school to receive it.
  • You did not list Durham Tech on the FAFSA under the school section. Re-submit the FAFSA, adding Durham Tech.
  • If you have not completed an enrollment application to Durham Tech, we cannot receive the FAFSA.
  • The FAFSA for the next school year is received by the Financial Aid office in April.
  • If your name, date of birth, or social security number from the FAFSA does not match what is in your student record, the FAFSA will not show up on your account. Please contact the Admissions, Registration, and Records office at admissions@durhamtech.edu to correct this.
  • You have completed a FAFSA for the wrong school year. The 20-21 FAFSA is for students attending Fall 2020, Spring 2021 and Summer 2021.

If you feel the school should have your FAFSA and does not, please contact the Financial Aid office.

Documentation Questions

Why is the Financial Aid Office asking for documents?

The Department of Education randomly selects students for a process called “verification.” Verification does not indicate an issue, but it is required to be completed to receive financial aid. There are also many other types of documents that a student may be selected to submit. If you are being asked to submit a document, please do so as soon as possible since this is the most common reason that an offer package is delayed.

How do I submit the document?

All of our documents must be signed with ink; however, we rarely need an original copy. The majority of our documents can be emailed to the office (financialaid@durhamtech.edu), faxed (919-536-7260), mailed (Durham Tech Financial Aid Office, 1637 Lawson St. Durham, NC 27703) or brought in person (contact us first to make an appointment). The few that cannot be submitted in this way have submission instructions included on them.

I cannot get the document you are asking for. What do I do?

In almost all cases, the document that is being requested must be submitted. If you have an unusual situation that is preventing your receiving this document, please contact your Financial Aid Advisor.

I put my tax information on the FAFSA. Why are you asking for a copy of it?

Even though the information may be accurate on the FAFSA, if we are requesting a document, it is due to your having been selected for verification. Accuracy of the information on the document does not eliminate the need to submit a document if it is being requested.

Why are you asking for my taxes when I didn’t file taxes / Why are you asking for a non-tax filing letter when I filed taxes?

If you are being asked about taxes (and did not file) or proof of not filing taxes (and you did file) this means that you answered the question on the FAFSA incorrectly about your taxes. This is not a serious problem, and our office staff can update your FAFSA for you through the verification process. Complete the Household Form and follow the instructions in Box C. We will make the updates based on this information.

What is the deadline for this paperwork?

Durham Tech has two deadlines for these documents:

  • The priority deadline. This deadline is before the semester to ensure that your aid is in place before students are dropped for non-payment. The deadlines match the enrollment due dates.
  • Loan requests must be processed prior to the term ending, and grants can be processed within 90 days of your last day attending Durham Tech or August 15, 2020, whichever comes first.

Grant Awards

What grants does Durham Tech offer?

Durham Tech offers the Pell Grant, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), and state grants. A full list of grants can be found by visiting the Types of Financial Aid link. We offer other Federal Grants for those that qualify.

How do I get a grant?

Grants are awarded to qualifying students without a bachelor’s degree after a FAFSA is received and processed and all required documentation has been completed, submitted, reviewed and approved. Durham Tech awards the maximum grants automatically after students are deemed eligible. Students do not need to take any additional action, beyond enrolling in the minimum number of hours needed for the grant, to receive the grant.

Loan Awards

What loans does Durham Tech offer?

Durham Tech offers three student loan options. They are all federal and are as follows:

  1. Direct Subsidized
  2. Direct Unsubsidized
  3. Parent Plus (only available to parents of dependent students).
What are the requirements to receive a loan?

Loan requirements are different for each loan. Here is a brief overview of requirements.

Requirement Required for Subsidized Loan? Required for Unsubsidized Loan? Required for Parent Plus Loan?
FAFSA Completed Yes Yes Yes
Loan Authorization Form Yes Yes Yes, a Parent Plus Version (see your Financial Aid Advisor)
Loan Entrance Counseling Yes Yes If a cosigner is used or if reconsideration is approved, yes. If not, no.
Promissory Note Yes Yes Yes, the parent version
Credit Check No No Yes
Financial Need Yes No No
Good standing on current Student Loans Yes Yes Yes
Verification Documentation Yes No, but recommended No, but recommended
Lifetime Limit of Loan Yes Yes No
Why do I need to complete a loan authorization form if the FAFSA approved me for loans?

The FAFSA approves all students for loans. Durham Tech only awards loans to students who wish to borrow them. This process ensures that students who do not want them do not get them and also ensures we are giving you only the amount you request.

Why is my loan being split in half?

The Department of Education requires that a loan amount be split into at least two payments. The day these funds are requested from our office is called the “disbursement date.” The first disbursement is approximately 30 days into the term. If your loan is for only one term, then the second disbursement is half way through the term. If your loan is for two terms, the second disbursement is approximately 30 days into the second term.

How much can I borrow?

The following chart is a general guide to your maximum loan amount:

Dependent Students Independent Students
32 or fewer credit hours completed - $5,500
$3,500 for Subsidized)
32 or fewer credit hours completed - $9,500
($3,500 for Subsidized)
33 or more credit hours completed - $6,500
($4,500 for Subsidized)
33 or more credit hours completed - $10,500
($4,500 for Subsidized)


There are many reasons these amounts above may not be the amount you are eligible for. For example, there are program limits on subsidized usage, a maximum award total for the school year and lifetime limits of loans and limitation of loans in your final semester. For more information about your specific limit, please contact your Financial Aid Advisor.

How and when do I repay my loan?

Repayment of loans is not required while you are enrolled in least six credit hours. Six months after you are longer enrolled in six credit hours (which can mean withdrawal, graduation, enrolling in 3 hours, etc.), you must begin repayment as your grace period has expired. 

Durham Tech does not handle loan payments. After your loan goes through, you will receive a letter from a loan company informing you that you they are handling your loan. Payments will be sent to them.

I have a loan from another school that is asking for payment. What should I do since I’m enrolled here at Durham Tech?

This is a common issue; this occurs when it was reported by the other school that you are no longer a student at there. Visit your loan servicers’ website and find a deferment request. Complete this form and send it to them. They likely will need proof of your enrollment here. Admission Registration and Records personnel can assist with this after the semester begins.

What is Durham Tech’s Cohort Default Rate?

The last official published rate shows that 11.8% of borrowers of loans at Durham Tech have defaulted on their loans.

Scholarships

What scholarships does Durham Tech offer?

The Durham Tech Foundation has multiple student scholarships. Applications are required during the application period, which is in the spring. View more information about student scholarships.

I received a scholarship from an agency. What do I need to do to use it?

Durham Tech accepts any scholarship. Please have the donor of the fund mail a check made payable to Durham Tech’s cashier’s office. They must include a letter explaining the terms of the scholarship.

How do I get the Durham Tech Promise grant?

There is no application required. All eligible students are automatically awarded this grant. See more about the Durham Tech Promise requirements.

What other scholarships can I apply for?

The Financial Aid office lists external scholarships we are made aware of from reliable sources on the Scholarships web page. We encourage all students to research and apply for scholarships.

There are additional state scholarship funds that the school receives. All eligible students are notified via email when these become available.

Using Financial Aid

How can I use my financial aid to pay for my tuition and fees?

Once you have registered for your courses and your aid has been awarded, you can log into self-service and go under “account activity” to see how much of your aid is being applied to your fees.

After courses start, we will automatically apply your aid to pay for your tuition fees and any bookstore charges you placed on your account.

When I log into my account I see a negative number. What does this mean?

A negative number under account activity represents an overage in your financial aid compared to your charges and is not what you are expected to pay. This is a great thing! Overages can be used in the bookstore during the charge period and will be refunded to you later in the term.

When I log into my account I see a positive number? What does this mean?

A positive number under account activity represents the projected amount of tuition and fees you will have to pay. This can mean many things such as aid has not been applied to your account, you don’t have financial aid eligibility, or your aid simply isn’t enough to cover the remaining amount.

Students with a positive number cannot use financial aid to purchase books.

How do I use my financial aid in the bookstore?

If you have an overage, as described above, you can use your financial aid in the bookstore to purchase books and supplies needed for class. You must have your Durham Tech ID with you when you purchase. Your max purchase is the negative amount not to exceed the following amounts:

Books: $1,500
Supplies: $300
Technology: $1,000

If you need more than these amounts and have it available in financial aid, please contact Nadine Ford, Director of Financial Aid at fordn@durhamtech.edu.

Are there any limitations using aid in the bookstore?

Yes. You can purchase only one laptop, one tablet, and one printer every two years. You must have an instructor complete a Verification of Attendance form before purchasing high-cost items. Online students can have their instructor email the bookstore with this information. You also can only purchase books that are directly needed for your registered courses.

How do I get my refund?

There are two ways students receive their refund; direct deposit and mailed check. Direct deposit is recommended and can be set up in Self-Service under the Finance tab. Anyone who does not use direct deposit will be mailed a paper check to the address on file with the school. There are four refund periods in the fall and spring and two in the summer. View the refund schedule for the current term.

I was awarded but I’m showing in self-service that I’m ineligible for a portion of my award. Why?

Students are awarded the maximum they are eligible for. A majority of these awards have attendance minimums. If you are not enrolled in 15 hours of courses within your program of study, your award may be reduced based on attendance.

Can I use my financial aid to purchase books or supplies from someone other than the bookstore?

Yes! For other options, like purchasing your books from online bookstores such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble contact Mrs. Yolanda Moore-Jones at moore-jonesy@durhamtech.edu.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

What is Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)?

Students, per federal regulations, are required to meet an academic standard to receive aid. If you fall beneath any of the three standards, you will risk losing financial aid eligibility. View more information about Satisfactory Academic Progress.

SAP Standards

There are three measures that the college is required to review. They are GPA, Completion Rate, and Maximum Time Frame. For more information about these standards, read the Department of Education mandates for Satisfactory Academic Progress.

I’m on warning. Do I get aid?

Yes. Warning does not limit or prevent aid from being processed.

My GPA is above 2.0. Why am I getting notices about my GPA being beneath 2.0?

Financial Aid uses the cumulative GPA, not the official GPA. The official GPA is the one present on the transcript but does not include replacement and repeated courses, whereas a cumulative GPA does.

For example, if you take one course and receive an F and then retake it and make a C, your official GPA will show 2.0, but your cumulative GPA will show 1.0.

Withdrawing or Dropping Courses

I am thinking about withdrawing from a course. What should I do?

We recommend that anyone thinking about withdrawing from a course speak with their Financial Aid Advisor before doing so. The advisor can then let you know if an adjustment in your aid may occur. Also, withdrawing from a course affects your completion rate.

I need to withdraw from all my courses. Does that affect aid?

It can. Anytime someone withdraws from a course, there is chance of a loss of aid. If you drop all courses, there is a chance you will owe money back to the school. There are many factors in this so it’s hard for our office to estimate this figure. If you must drop all courses, we recommended you be prepared to have a bill from the school. For more information, please visit the Academic Standards web page and review the Return of Title IV Funds section.

What is the difference in aid between dropping and withdrawing from a course?

Dropping a course prior to the semester or within the allowed drop period does not affect SAP. Once a course begins, if you withdraw, it will count against your completion rate.

Financial Aid Census

What is the Financial Aid Census?

The Financial Aid Census date is a day that is determined to lock in your attendance for financial aid purposes. The Financial Aid office chooses this date each term; it is generally after the 75% refund date. All students are sent an email each term with the date chosen for that term.

For all funds except Student Loans, your active credit hours on this date is how we determine how much aid you qualify for in terms of attendance. If you are in 12 hours to start a term but drop or withdraw or drop from a 3-credit class prior to census, your aid would be reduced down to the 9-credit hour award amount.

The Census also reads your last day of attendance, not the date you withdraw from a course. If you submit a withdrawal the day after census but haven’t been in class or logged in for online courses since the census date, you will not be able to receive aid for that course.

How do student loans work with census?

Loans do not use census dates. You must be in at least 6 credit hours at the time of disbursement, which generally happens a few weeks before the refund date, to receive loans.

How do mini-session courses work with census?

If you are in a course that begins after the census date, which generally happens for the second mini-session courses that start in October in the fall and March in the spring, there are some additional qualifications you must meet to receive aid for that course.

To receive Financial Aid for courses beginning after the census date, you must meet one of the following conditions:

  1. Register for the course prior to the census date and have the course be eligible for Financial Aid.
     
  2. Not be enrolled in any courses prior to the census date, register for the all new course(s) on the same day after the census date, and have the new course(s) be eligible for Financial Aid.
What happens if I change my mind on courses for Mini-Session II?

If you meet condition B listed above, you may switch courses of equal or fewer credit hours and still receive financial aid for the new course. You cannot add a new course after the first registration and receive additional financial aid.

I’m not sure if I am meeting the standards to receive Financial aid for Mini-Session II. What should I do?

It’s recommended that all students enrolling after the census date for Mini-Session II courses speak with their academic and financial aid advisor prior to registering to get a clear understanding of their individual situation.

Miscellaneous

What are my rights and responsibilities?

As a student, you have rights and responsibilities concerning your financial aid along with loan rights and responsibilities. Read more about your rights and responsibilities.

Finding your Financial Aid Advisor

Financial Aid Advisors are assigned based on the student’s last name. View the list on the Financial Aid Advisors web page.

Can I get Financial Aid in the Summer Term?

The Pell grant and student loans are available in the summer to students who qualify. In general, students who are enrolled in at least 6 hours in the summer who qualified for the Pell grant in the fall and spring are eligible for it again. In most cases if you were not enrolled full time in the fall and spring, you can receive the Pell grant in the summer for fewer than 6 hours. Student loans still require 6 credit hours of attendance.

I was awarded aid at Durham Tech and am not going to your school. What should I do?

If you were awarded a loan, you should complete and submit a Loan Adjustment form found on the Financial Aid Forms web page. If you were awarded scholarships and/or grants and do not enroll, you do not need to notify our office unless specifically requested to by a Financial Aid Office at another school.

Does Durham Tech offer work study?

Yes. Students interested in a position on campus should apply online. If you are offered a position, your supervisor will communicate with the Financial Aid office about the next steps.

I need Financial Aid to complete a verification of financial aid form for me. How can I get that done?

If you would like a written verification of your aid or need a form completed, you will need to meet with a Financial Aid Advisor in person with a photo ID.

My income from the year the FAFSA was done is drastically different than it is now. Is there anything I can do?

If you have an unusual circumstance, such as this, please speak with your Financial Aid Advisor. We can consider these situations on a case-by-case basis.