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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

GENERAL QUESTIONS

Where is the Financial Aid Office located at Berry College and when is the office open?

The office is located in Hermann Hall, Room 105 and open Monday through Friday, from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

How do I apply for financial aid?

The first step in applying for financial aid is to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online using the IRS Data Retrieval to download federal income tax. This will need to be renewed each year. Be sure to list Berry College and include our School Code 001554 on the FAFSA so that we will receive your application from the federal processor.

What will happen after I have completed and submitted my FAFSA?

You will be emailed an electronic Student Aid Report (SAR) to confirm your application has been received by the federal processor. You should review the SAR and make any corrections needed.

What are the financial aid application deadlines?

FAFSA applications will open in October for the upcoming year and should be submitted to the federal processor by January 15th to receive maximum consideration for financial assistance.

It has been a while since I filed my FAFSA application, but I still have not received my SAR. What can I do?

Contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FEDAID (1-800-433-3243) or go to the FAFSA website and select "Check Status of a Submitted FAFSA."

Do I need to send a copy of my SAR to the Financial Aid Office?

No. If you have applied for admission and have listed Berry College and our school code (001554) as one of the schools on the FAFSA application, we will receive the information electronically from the federal processor. 

Do I need to reapply for financial aid each year?

Yes. You must submit a FAFSA or Renewal FAFSA each year. The FAFSA applications are available beginning October 1 for the upcoming academic year. 

Am I required to be accepted for admissions in order to receive financial aid?

Yes. Acceptance is necessary in order to receive any financial assistance in the form of grants, scholarships, work study or loans.

May I make an appointment to see a financial aid counselor?

Yes. Call or email our office at 706.236.1714 or email us at financialaid@berry.edu to schedule an appointment with a financial aid counselor. 

How can I better understand the terminology used by Financial Aid?

A helpful website to assist you with the terminology of financial aid is: http://www.finaid.org/questions/glossary.phtml. This is an excellent tool to assist you with commonly used terms and acronyms. 

What determines whether or not I will receive financial aid?

The primary factor that determines whether or not you are eligible for financial aid is financial need, which is computed based on federal formulas by determining educational costs and your family contribution. The difference between the two numbers is your financial need.

When are award letters mailed out?

Tentative award letters will be mailed to the incoming freshman class as early as November 1.
This award is included in the acceptance package materials and may be updated throughout the recruitment year as additional information is provided. Upperclassman award letters are issued during the spring semester to students with completed financial aid files.

What are some of the common mistakes students make when filing for financial aid? 

The most common mistakes include: 

  • Not filing the FAFSA/Renewal FAFSA application early enough
  • Not reading instructions completely
  • Not fully completing the application
  • Not using the correct social security number
  • Not using your correct name as it appears on your social security card
  • Not submitting information exactly as reported on your federal income tax returns. If the tax return differs from the SAR, corrections must be made.
  • Reporting taxes withheld as opposed to taxes paid

What if I have unusual circumstances?

If any of the following circumstances apply to you and/or your family, check with your financial assistance counselor immediately to see if this may affect your financial assistance eligibility: 

  • Divorce of parents or divorce of you and your spouse
  • Death of parent or spouse
  • Loss of employment
  • Loss of other income or benefits (such as social security or child support) by you, your parents or your spouse
  • Excessive medical expenses paid out of pocket


What options are available if I am not eligible for financial aid based on financial need, is there any other financial aid available?

Many scholarships are based on academic ability or other achievements. Go to the scholarships link on our website for information. Federal student and parent loans also are available to all families. 

VERIFICATION QUESTIONS 

What is verification and why was my file selected for it?

Many student FAFSAs are selected by the federal processor for verification. This is a required federal process to confirm that accurate information was provided on your FAFSA application. You will be notified by email if you are selected for this process. This process must be complete before you can receive any federal or need-based aid. 

How long will the verification process take?

Verification usually takes 10 to 20 working days, but may take longer during busy periods.

SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS QUESTIONS 

What is Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)?

SAP is a set of federal regulations that requires students to demonstrate they are moving through their academic program at a reasonable pace and "making progress" toward their degree. Berry College’s SAP policy is located in the college catalog.

Will I lose my financial aid if I fail to maintain SAP?

A student who is not maintaining SAP is placed on Financial Aid Suspension and is ineligible for all types of financial assistance.

Can I appeal if I am ineligible for financial aid for failing to maintain SAP?

Yes. You can appeal if extenuating circumstances have contributed to your failure to maintain good standing. Documented medical reasons, serious illness or death of a family member are examples that may be considered in an appeal. Please be sure to speak to a financial aid counselor for further guidance.

What happens to my financial aid status if I drop or completely withdraw from school?

If you have already received your grant monies and drop hours which change your enrollment status, you will be required to repay certain grants. If you completely withdraw from Berry College before the 61st percentile of the semester, you will be required to repay a percentage of the financial aid that you have received for the semester to the U.S. Department of Education. In addition, you may owe the College additional funds that were initially credited to your account but have now been returned to the federal government by the institution.

CAUTION: If you are a financial aid recipient and are thinking about dropping hours, withdrawing from any classes or completely withdrawing from the college, please consult with a financial aid counselor. This can have a negative impact on your SAP status. 

STUDENT WORK QUESTIONS 

What is Federal Work-Study (FWS) and how do I apply for it?

Federal Work-Study is a need-based financial aid program that allows a student to work and earn money. To apply for FWS you need to complete the FAFSA.

What other work opportunities are available?

ALL students at Berry regardless of financial need are given an opportunity to work on campus. We encourage you to check out our student work website to learn more about this great opportunity. 

GRANT QUESTIONS 

What is the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) and how do I apply for it?

The FSEOG is a federal grant program that is for undergraduates who have a zero Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Priority is given to students who receive the maximum Federal Pell Grant. You must be enrolled in at least 12 credit hours to be considered. These funds are limited so those that apply the earliest are more likely to receive them. 

SCHOLARSHIP QUESTIONS

How do I apply for and receive scholarships through the College?

You will be awarded merit-based scholarships and grants at the time of admission. When Berry receives your FAFSA and your financial aid file is complete for review, you will be evaluated for additional financial aid based on need. 

What should I do if I am awarded an outside scholarship?

If you are awarded an outside scholarship, it is imperative that the College receives the funds from the donor in ample time to credit it towards your tuition and fees. When mailing the scholarship check to Berry, the donor must specify your name and student ID or SSN, the term in which the funds are to be applied, what the funds are to be used for (ex: tuition and fees) and whether any remaining funds can be given to that student.

Online and Special Interest Resources

FinAid Website: This award-winning site has grown into the most comprehensive source of student financial aid information.  

FinAid Glossary: This is a glossary of the most commonly used financial aid terms and acronyms.    

Peterson’s Guide: Peterson’s is a leading search provider of colleges, universities, graduate schools, online degrees, private schools and study guides. It offers information on school admission, financial aid and career guidance.    

FAFSA4caster: FAFSA4caster is a great tool that provides an early estimate of federal student aid eligibility.  

International students: everything you need to know about financial aid and studying in the US.  

Female students: resources including scholarships and grants for female students.  

Older students: information on financial aid, adult education and awards programs for students age 30 and older.  

Disabled students: information on scholarships and fellowships for students with disabilities.

Minority students: information on scholarships and fellowships for minority students.  

Scholarship scams: educates you on how to protect yourself against scholarship scams

Military: provides information about student financial aid resources for students who are interested in pursuing careers in the military and for veterans and their dependents.

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