The four basic types of financial aid are grants, scholarships, work-study, and student loans.
- Grants and scholarships are free money - they do not have to be repaid. Grants are awarded based on financial need and scholarships are awarded based on merit.
- Work-study provides funding for part-time employment to students with financial need.
- Loans are borrowed funds that must be repaid, often with accumulated interest and fees.
To be eligible for federal financial aid, students must meet the following criteria:
- Fill out and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) annually at studentaid.gov/fafsa.
- Enroll in an eligible degree or certificate program at Hawai’i CC.
- Have a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent.
- Be a US Citizen or eligible non-citizen.
- Make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).
- Be in good standing with any prior federal grants or loans.
The FAFSA is free and available to complete online at studentaid.gov/fafsa. You should never pay to complete the FAFSA.
The US Department of Education (US DOE) is not legally required to provide the FAFSA until January 1st for the upcoming school year, however most years the FAFSA is available online starting October 1st of the prior year.
Students should submit the FAFSA as soon as possible to avoid processing delays. While there is not an official deadline, Hawai’i CC’s FAFSA priority deadline is March 1st for the upcoming school year. Students who do not submit by the priority deadline can still complete the FAFSA for federal aid consideration, however some institutional grants and scholarships with limited funds are awarded first to students who meet the priority deadline.
Students should submit the FAFSA as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days prior to the end of the semester. Once the student’s aid period is over, aid cannot be offered.
The FAFSA must be submitted once for each school year (fall, spring and summer).
Students who are at least 24 years old by December 31st of the school year they are applying for are considered independent. Most students under age 24 are considered dependent for FAFSA purposes and must provide parent information on the FAFSA.
Tax dependency status is a separate concept that does not impact a student’s financial aid dependency status.
Additional information about dependency status for financial aid purposes is available on the US Department of Education’s (US DOE) Dependency Status web page.
Verification is a federal audit process that requires schools to collect documentation in order to validate the information on a student’s FAFSA. Students are selected by the US Department of Education (US DOE) based on obvious errors, common mistakes, known issues, and at random.
If your file was selected for verification, you will not be eligible for federal financial aid and other need-based aid until you complete the process. If your file was not selected, you do not need to complete verification.
If you already received a financial aid offer but were later selected for verification, your financial aid will be pulled back until verification is complete.
Hawai’i CC uses an online service called ProVerifier+ (powered by ProEd) to verify selected files and assist students through the process. Selected students will be notified via email and must log into ProVerifier+ with their UH username and password to submit required documents.
The Financial Aid Office will notify you of missing or incomplete requirements in your MyUH Services account, so be sure to log in and check your financial aid requirements regularly.
To be eligible for state and institutional scholarships, students must submit the UH Common Scholarship Application annually.
Students are notified of any scholarship-specific requirements when they are selected.
The deadline to submit the UH Common Scholarship Application is March 1st for the upcoming school year.
Grants and scholarships are automatically accepted on behalf of the student because they do not need to be repaid. Students who would like to accept loans must follow the instructions provided in the Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans section of the Financial Aid Types web page.
External resources are grants and scholarships offered by organizations not affiliated with Hawai’i CC or the University of Hawai’i (UH) System.
Students are legally obligated to report external resources to the Financial Aid Office so they can be counted in the student’s financial aid budget. External resources not disclosed may result in untimely and inconvenient adjustments to financial aid offers, which may create an outstanding balance. To report external resources, FileDrop a copy of your scholarship certificate or selection notice to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject, ‘Reporting External Resources’.
No sooner than 10 days before the first day of instruction, financial aid is applied to outstanding charges for eligible students. Any remaining financial aid is then issued to the student as a refund, either by direct deposit or as a paper check.
Refunds take up to 14 days to process. Students who sign up for direct deposit (eRefunds) receive funds more quickly than those who do not.
Enrollment requirements are specific to each type of aid. Enrolling full-time helps ensure financial aid eligibility and timely disbursements. Enrollment levels are defined by credits, as outlined below.
- Full-time: 12 or more credits
- Three-quarter-time: 9 to 11 credits
- Half-time: 6 to 8 credits
- Less than half-time: 1 to 5 credits
- Not enrolled: 0 credits
Be sure to look up enrollment requirements for each aid type in your financial aid offer.
Hawai’i CC has a blanket consortium agreement with other UH campuses, which means that if the courses you are taking at other campuses are required for your degree, they will count toward your financial aid enrollment level, as long as you are also enrolled in at least one course at the home campus.
If you completely withdraw from the semester (official withdrawal) or fail to pass at least one class, the Financial Aid Office is required to determine the percentage of aid that you earned and return any unearned funds to the US Department of Education (US DOE). Withdrawing from classes or failing to pass courses may also impact your eligibility for future aid if you are not making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) as a result.
If you are a financial aid recipient who is planning to withdraw from courses, check with the Financial Aid Office first to make sure you understand any consequences of withdrawing.
Students who are eligible for the Pell Grant during the fall and spring semesters are typically eligible for Pell Grant during the summer. Students who did not attend full-time (12+ credits) for both the fall and spring semesters of the same academic year can receive summer Pell Grant at any enrollment level, but students who attended full-time for both the fall and spring semesters of the same academic year must enroll at least half-time to receive summer Pell Grant. Examples are provided below for the 2023-2024 school year, which consists of Fall 2023, Spring 2024, and Summer 2024.
- Enrolls in 12 credits in Fall 2023 but only 11 credits in Spring 2024
- Student can receive summer Pell Grant at any enrollment level
- Enrolls in 12 credits in Fall 2023 and 12 credits in Spring 2024
- To qualify for summer Pell Grant, student must enroll in at least 6 credits
Summer Pell Grant is not disbursed until after attendance is established in each eligible course (at least the first day of class), and not until the annual SAP review is complete (usually mid-June or later).
Students are generally eligible for up to 6 full-time school years (12 full-time semesters) of Pell Grant. The US Department of Education (US DOE) uses the percentage of a full-time school year to track Pell Grant usage. One full-time school year (two semesters) is equal to 100%, one full-time semester is equal to 50%, one half-time semester is equal to 25%, etc. Therefore, 6 full-time years of Pell Grant would be 600%. This limit is referred to as Pell Lifetime Eligibility Used (Pell LEU).
As long as you have not reached your Pell LEU, and meet all other eligibility criteria, you can continue to receive Pell Grant for degree-applicable courses.
Student loans have both annual (school year) and aggregate (lifetime) limits. Loan limits are determined by class standing, financial aid dependency status, and remaining financial need (students must have remaining financial need to qualify for subsidized loans). A breakdown of annual and aggregate loan limits is provided below.
Annual (School Year) Limits
- Dependent Students
- 1st-year (fewer than 30 completed credits): $5,500 total; $3,500 subsidized
- 2nd-year (30 or more completed credits): $6,500 total; $4,500 subsidized
- Independent Students
- 1st-year (fewer than 30 completed credits): $9,500 total; $3,500 subsidized
- 2nd-year (30 or more completed credits): $10,500 total; $4,500 subsidized
Aggregate (Lifetime) Limits
- Dependent Students
- $31,000 total; $23,000 subsidized
- Independent Students
- $57,500 total; $23,000 subsidized