Financial Aid Eligibility

To be eligible to receive Federal Financial Aid, you must meet each of the following requirements:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen (as defined on the FAFSA).
  • Have a valid Social Security number (with the exception of students from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, and Republic of Palau).
  • Be enrolled as a credit student working toward a degree or certificate in an eligible program.
  • Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).
  • Have a high school diploma or GED.
  • Be registered with Selective Service if you are required to do so.
  • Not be in default on a federal education loan or owe a repayment of a federal grant. 
  • If you have ever been convicted of sale or possession of illegal drugs while you were receiving Federal student aid you must meet additional eligibility requirements and submit the Question 23 Worksheet (or in Spanish).

Determining Financial Need

Related: Cost of Attendance

One of the first and most important steps in establishing eligibility for financial aid is to determine your (and your parents if you are a dependent student) financial strength. You begins this process by filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

Columbia Gorge Community College (CGCC) uses Federal Methodology to determine the kinds and amounts of federal and state financial aid for which you qualify. The information you report on the FAFSA is used to calculate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Your financial 'need' is the Cost of Attendance minus your EFC.

Details regarding the EFC and worksheets that explain how the EFC is calculated can be downloaded from the Federal Student Aid website. Be sure to select the appropriate award year under the EFC formula.

Receive an early estimate of your EFC using FAFSA4caster. When you are ready to apply for aid, you can easily transition from FAFSA4caster to FAFSA on the Web application. Much of the information you provide on FAFSA4caster will populate your FAFSA on the Web application, making the application process easier.

Admissions and Enrollment

To be eligible to receive Federal Financial Aid you must fill out a CGCC Admissions form and must be working towards a degree or certificate. If you have not attended CGCC, or if it has been one year or more since you last attended, you will need to complete a new Admissions form. Registration does not require a financial aid award letter in place at the time students register. Students may mark “Pay later” on the screen which asks if they are paying for classes at the time they register.

If the financial aid process is not completed, or the student is not awarded funds, the student is responsible for full payment.

Students who have received their award letter and are enrolled in credit classes will be paid at the level they are enrolled in as of 12:00 midnight on the first Friday of the term.  This time is sometimes referred to as the 'enrollment freeze' or 'Pell Recalculation Date'.

Enrollment Level

  • Full Time: 12+ credits
  • ¾ Time: 9-11 credits
  • ½ Time: 6-8 credits
  • Less Than ½ Time: 1-5 credits

It is important to make sure your enrollment is correct. Funding will not be increased to adjust for enrollment changes that occur after the enrollment freeze deadline. Audited courses are not included in the enrollment freeze and are not eligible for financial aid funding.

Dual Enrollment

Students receiving their aid from CGCC must be enrolled in a minimum of 6 credit hours at CGCC at the time that they submit their Dual Enrollment Agreement form.

In some cases, students may be concurrently enrolled at two or more colleges, but will only be able to receive financial aid at one. Dual Enrollment is an individual agreement between one student and more than one college, allowing CGCC to combine enrollment from multiple colleges and have one college pay financial aid based on the combined enrollment. The first consideration should be to determine the “Home” college. The Home college is the college at which the student will be receiving all of their financial aid for a given term. The other college is referred to as the “Host” college.

Many colleges, including CGCC, require that a student be enrolled for at least 6 credits before they will allow the student to declare it as a Home college. If for example, a student is enrolled at CGCC for 6 credits and 3 credits at another college, by completing a CGCC Consortium Agreement for that term, CGCC will consider the student to be enrolled in 9 credits. This will allow the student to be paid 3/4 time aid rather than the 1/2 time level. The same could apply in reverse. A student taking 6 credits at another Home college, and 3 credits at CGCC, the Host college and be considered 3/4 time at the other college.

Complete the following steps

  • Complete a separate Consortium Agreement for each term of concurrent enrollment.
  • Obtain the Consortium Agreement Form from the college that will serve as the Home college.
  • Sign. The Consortium Agreement Form must be signed by the Host financial aid office prior to being submitted to the Home college.
  • Submit. At the end of each term, student must submit official transcripts with updated grades to the Home college from the Host college to determine that the student has maintained Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).
  • Allow 7 – 10 business days for processing. Agreements cannot be processed the same day submitted.

Dependent vs Independent

When you apply for federal student aid, it must be determined if you are considered a dependent or independent student. The U.S. Department of Education has specific criteria to determine your status.

Dependent Student

If you are considered a dependent student, you must report parent(s) income and assets as well as your own.

Federal aid program rules are based on the concept that a dependent student’s parent(s) have the primary responsibility for paying for their children’s education. If you do not meet the independent student criteria, parent information is required.

If your parent(s) refuse to fill out the FAFSA form, we encourage you to explain to them that their refusal harms your ability to receive financial aid. You might consider assuring them that providing parental information and signing the FAFSA does not make them responsible for any loans you may borrow.

Independent Student

If it is determined you are an independent student, you are required to report only your income and assets (and your spouse’s, if applicable).

Dependency Override

If you have extenuating circumstances that make it impossible for you to apply for financial aid as a dependent student, contact the Financial Aid Office for assistance.  Such circumstances include an abusive home environment or abandonment by parents.  These circumstances are considered on a case-by-case basis and must be documented.

Please note that dependency overrides are not considered for:

  • Parents refusal to contribute to student’s education
  • Parents unwillingness to provide information
  • Parents do not claim the student for income tax purposes
  • Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency