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Receiving Financial Aid

Award Letter

The Award Letter is an offer of the amount of funding you are eligible to receive. The amount of funding offered on the Award Letter is based on federal eligibility requirements, availability of funds, and in most cases, full-time enrollment.

Your loan eligibility (if not packaged at the time of initial award) will be sent to you separately on a Pre-Award Loan Estimate. This is an estimate of the amount of both Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans you're eligible to receive.

Columbia Gorge Community College (CGCC) may adjust your award if:

  • Your enrollment level changed
  • You received funding from an outside resource
  • There was a change in your Standard Expense Budget
  • You have not maintained Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
  • You received aid at another school
  • There are regulatory changes in the aid programs

For the requirements of each type of aid, see types of financial aid.

Disbursement

Generally, financial aid awards are placed on your CGCC student account during the week before the term begins, this allows you to charge books and supplies at the CGCC Bookstore. Refund checks (if a balance remains after all charges are applied to your aid) are mailed to students beginning the second Friday of each term.

Additional criteria to receive a refund check:

  • First time borrowers of a William D Ford Federal Direct Loan will not receive loan funds until at least 30 days into the term.
  • The actual date your funds will be available will depend on the date you were awarded and your application was processed by CGCC.
  • Refund checks are placed in the mail the day they are written.

If your enrollment level (number of credits) for any term does not match your current award level, your funds may be delayed. Providing an Enrollment Change form to the financial aid office prior to the second week of each term can help you avoid delay.

If your award is not enough to cover all term charges, you must pay the difference immediately.

How are refunds processed?

Bookstore Charges

CGCC financial aid students who have sufficient funds to cover tuition, fees, and books, are enrolled at least half-time and who are maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) may be eligible to charge books and supplies at The Dalles Campus and books at the Hood River - Indian Creek Campus.

Specific dates for bookstore charges are posted for each term and are generally one week before the term begins and during the first week of the term. Any student eligible to charge books must submit all required documentation, have signed the Financial Aid Information Request (FAIR) form authorization allowing CGCC to deduct the cost of the charges from financial aid and an Award Letter in place.

Direct Loan (only) recipients must have submitted all loan request materials and completed a Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling.

Potential Impacts to Your Financial Aid Award

Adding Summer Term

CGCC award year begins with summer term. Adding summer term awards may adjust your funding since it is spread over four terms instead of the standard three terms of fall, winter and spring. This adjustment may substantially decrease the amount of aid you receive spring term. Plan ahead for any shortfalls in funding for spring.

Total Withdraw

Struggling, thinking of totally withdrawing? STOP! Has something happened in your life that is preventing you from finishing your classes this term or are you struggling with your classes and worried you are not going to pass them?

Possible repercussions if you withdraw prior to the 60% point in the term

The 60% point in the term occurs one week prior to the withdrawal date in week eight. See the Financial Aid calendar for the 60% point or contact the Financial Aid Office and ask about your options.

  • You may have to repay all or part of your financial aid. The U.S. Department of Education regulations state that you have earned 100% of your financial aid if you have attended through 60% of the term.
  • If the CGCC Financial Aid staff find that you owe part or all of your financial aid back to the U.S. Department of Education, in many cases, the money is returned to the U.S. Department of Education by CGCC which results in you owing CGCC.
  • CGCC rules state that you must have any debt owed to the college paid before you can register for the next term or receive transcripts. You will need to file a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal to get your financial aid reinstated.

Alternatives to Withdrawing

Before you do a total withdrawal and end up owing money to either CGCC or the U.S. Department of Education, think about whether or not you might be able to salvage just one or two of your classes.

Talk with an Academic Advisor to help you with options, such as taking an incomplete for the term or working with the Tutoring Center to get additional help.