Financial Aid Questions and Answers (FAQ)
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Does Goucher offer financial aid to its students?
Yes. The college seeks to enroll a talented and diverse student body and to make a Goucher education possible for as many qualified students as possible. To this end, Goucher offers a comprehensive program of need-based and merit-based financial assistance. In 2012-2013, approximately 84% of undergraduates received some type of aid, including approximately $23 million in grants and scholarships.
What is the difference between need-based and merit-based aid?
Need-based aid is awarded only on the basis of demonstrated financial need on the part of the family; merit-based awards are made on the basis of relevant credentials, talents, or achievements of the student and are not influenced by the demonstrated financial need of the family.
If I apply for financial aid, will this hurt my chances of being offered admission?
Very unlikely. Nearly all admissions decisions are made under a need-blind process, meaning that students' financial circumstances do not influence the decision. In some years, a few of the very last decisions, including decisions made on wait-listed candidates and candidates who applied after the admission deadline, may be influenced by the applicants' ability to pay.
Families who feel they need assistance are encouraged to apply for financial aid by the priority filing date of February 1 for applicants/new students and April 15 for returning students. Institutional funding is limited and is not guaranteed for students who submit financial aid documents after the priority filing date. In addition, students must complete their admission application by the February 1 deadline to receive full consideration for the College's various merit awards.
How do I apply for financial aid?
If you are applying for need-based aid at Goucher you must submit both forms listed below by the appropriate deadlines.
CSS PROFILE®--Need-based Aid Applicants including international applicants:
- Apply online at https://profileonline.collegeboard.org
- Include our school code on the application for Goucher to receive the information electronically. Goucher' school code is 5257.
- Completed application must be received by processor by priority filing date of February 1st for incoming applicants/new students, April 15th for returning students.
- All students are charged $25 for the initial application. This covers the costs of the PROFILE application and first school report. The charge for additional colleges to which information will be sent is $16.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) all students:
- First obtain a Federal PIN for both the parent and student at www.pin.ed.gov.
- Complete the FAFSA online at www.fafsa.gov.
- Use the IRS Data Retrieval, if eligible.
- Include our federal code for Goucher to receive the application. Goucher's federal code is 002073.
- Complete application must be received by processor by the priority filing date of February 1st for applicants/new students ad April 15th for returning students. Maryland residents must complete their FAFSA by March 1st for state aid consideration.
What happens after I turn in my applications?
CSS PROFILE: After you complete your Profile, you will receive an online acknowledgment. If any information is incorrect, you will not be able to make corrections on line. Any changes must be forwarded to Goucher’s Office of Student Financial Aid by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
FAFSA: A preliminary EFC and student aid report will appear after the FAFSA on the Web is completed. If you provided a valid email address, and your application was processed successfully, you will receive an email notification with instructions on how to access your electronic SAR (Student Aid Report). You will also have the option to print a copy. If there is no valid email address on file for you, you will receive a paper copy of your SAR. If you find you've made a mistake after submitting your application, you will have to wait until after your application has been processed to make corrections. Corrections can be made through Corrections on the Web at www.fafsa.gov. You must have a PIN to access your Corrections on the Web data. If your FAFSA is selected for verification (by the Federal processor or by the college), you will be required to submit additional documentation to the Office of Student Financial Aid, which may include an IRS Tax Transcript, along with other documents. You will be notified by the Office of Student Financial Aid if your FAFSA is selected for verification.
How do you determine my eligibility for need-based aid?
The process used to determine need for federal funds, needs analysis, is the same at every college in the United States, public or private. Using the information from your FAFSA, a formula known as Federal Methodology, is applied to determine your "Expected Family Contribution" (EFC), which is the estimated dollar amount that your family is expected to contribute toward college costs. Your FAFSA data and the calculated EFC are forwarded to the financial aid offices of the colleges you indicated on the FAFSA. Your EFC is subtracted from the cost of attendance (COA) of the schools to which you have applied or are currently enrolled, to determine your financial need.
Cost of Attendance =$52,450
- Expected Family Contribution = $ 22,500
= Financial Need: $29,950
At Goucher and many other private colleges, a separate formula, called the Institutional Methodology, uses information from the CSS PROFILE to calculate your EFC and financial need for institutional need-based aid eligibility.
How will you try to meet my demonstrated financial need?
Goucher prepares a financial aid package that may combine federal, state, and/or Goucher grants and scholarships; federal student loans; and a work study award. Goucher merit awards, state aid, or other outside aid you may have received are the first component of the financial aid package. Federal loans and grants, and in most cases, federal work study for which you may be eligible are then included in the package. If your financial need is still not met, a Goucher need-based grant, up to the maximum set by our policies or by your demonstrated need, whichever is less, is incorporated into the package.
While we cannot guarantee to meet the full demonstrated need of each student, we are often able to do so. In some instances, merit-based scholarships alone meet or exceed a student's need; in others, the full range of aid sources are packaged to meet need. Among students whose total aid falls short of their full demonstrated need, many will avail themselves of alternative financing sources, primarily low-interest educational loans described under financing options below.
Will my aid package change if I receive aid from other sources?
As soon as you are aware of aid from other sources, the amount and source must report to the Office of Student Financial Aid. This includes: Goucher tuition waivers/remission, other employer tuition benefits, vocational rehabilitation benefits, non-service fellowships, private scholarships, and Goucher merit scholarships not already included in your award package.
Once you report your other resources, our policy is to repackage your award. If you continue to show unmet need, an adjustment to aid may not be necessary. Students receiving need-based assistance, however, cannot have a total aid package that exceeds their demonstrated need. Our outside scholarship policy is available on the web at www.goucher.edu/financialaid/
Because students may sometimes be over-awarded need-based aid, merit-based awards or outside financial assistance may also reduce another part of the student's aid package.
What if I have extenuating circumstances?
If your income has decreased, or if you have other special financial circumstances that were not taken into account on your FAFSA, you may qualify to have your financial need recalculated. For information on which types of circumstances qualify for recalculation, print a Professional Judgment Fact Sheet from the financial aid section of the Goucher website or email the Office of Student Financial Aid.
Can you describe the types of need-based awards that I could receive?
Need-based financial aid sources are listed below. Student loans must be paid back. Grants, scholarships, and work-study earnings do not have to be paid back.
Grants, Scholarships, and Work Study
- Federal Pell Grant: Available only to first-degree undergraduate students who have a very low EFC based on FAFSA data.
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG): To be considered, students must qualify for the Pell Grant. Priority will be given to students who meet Goucher's priority filing date.
- Maryland State Scholarships and Grants: The Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) offers and administers a variety of need-based and/or merit grants to Maryland residents. FAFSAs must be received by the processor by March 1 to be considered for most of these awards. For more information, contact MHEC at 410-767-3300, or toll free at 800-974-0203. You may also contact MHEC via email, www.MHEC.state.md.us.
- Goucher Grant: Available to undergraduate students who do not have a prior bachelor's degree, have met Goucher's priority filing deadline of February 1st for applicants/new students and April 15th for current students and have demonstrated financial need. Funding is limited.
- Goucher College Endowed Scholarships: Goucher offers a variety of such scholarships. Please note that many of these awards are reserved for upper class students and replace Goucher grant funds.
- Maryland Sellinger Grants: Sellinger grant is a need-based grant established by the State of Maryland to meet the State's higher education needs. Please note that many of these awards replace Goucher grant funds.
- The TEACH Grant is available to undergraduate, post baccalaureate, or graduate students enrolled in a TEACH Grant eligible program. A TEACH Grant eligible program is a program that prepares you to teach as a highly qualified teacher in a high-need field All applicants meet certain college admissions test or maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.25 r above), complete TEACH Grant counseling each year the grant is received, and sign an "Agreement to Serve." Award amounts range up to $4,000. More information about this grant is available at www.studentaid.ed.gov.
- Federal Work-Study (FWS): A Federal work study award provides students with the opportunity to earn wages through employment with an eligible FWS employer. Funds are not credited to students' accounts. Students receive biweekly paychecks for hours worked. Hourly wage rates vary depending on the complexity of the work performed but typically are set at minimum wage. To be considered for FWS, students must demonstrate financial need. Priority consideration will be given to students who meet Goucher's priority filing date. A FWS award does not guarantee a job. Students are encouraged to attend the annual Job Fair during fall orientation to locate a job. Available jobs are also posted on the Career Development website throughout the year as they become available.
- Federal Direct Stafford Loan Programs: Federal Direct loans are available to students who meet federal aid eligibility requirements, submit a FAFSA. enrolled as degree-seeking students, and enroll for at least 6 credits per semester. The Direct Stafford Loan may be subsidized and/or unsubsidized depending on the student's financial need. No interest and no principal payments are required while in school for the subsidized Federal Direct Loan. Students are responsible for interest payments only while in school on the unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan. For 2012-2013, the subsidized Federal Direct Loan has an interest rate of 3.4% and the unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan has an interest rate of 6.8%. A 1% fee is deducted from the subsidized and unsubsidized loan prior to disbursement. Undergraduate students who do not demonstrate financial need are eligible to borrow the maximum academic level loan limit from the unsubsidized Fedederal Direct Loan program. See annual borrowing on www.goucher.edu/financial-aid/loans.
When can I expect to receive an Award Notification?
Newly admitted students who complete all required financial aid applications (CSS PROFILE and FAFSA) by the February 1 priority date, should expect to receive a financial aid award no later than early April. Returning students who complete all required financial aid documents will be notified by June 15.
How do I find out what I have been awarded?
Goucher's Financial Aid Student Tracking System, FASTS, is an online tool that allows you to manage your financial aid. Financial aid awards are available on FASTS. You may check the status of your financial aid documents, view and accept or decline financial aid awards, view messages associated with your award, and download required financial aid documents.
You can access your FASTS account at www.goucher.edu/fasts or by clicking here. After you have created your personal identification number, login to FASTS by entering your Goucher assigned ID, which is a 9 digit number beginning with 2 zeroes. New students will receive their Goucher assigned ID at the time of admission.
Newly admitted students will receive a paper copy of their initial financial aid award. You will be notified via email and instructed to view the award on FASTS if the award is revised. Returning students receive an email instructing them to view the initial award, and any subsequent revisions to the award, on FASTS.
I was not awarded Federal Work-Study. May I still work on campus?
Yes. Check the Career Development Office website for all on-campus student employment opportunities.
What happens if I decide to move off campus?
Living off-campus typically costs less than living on campus. Therefore, your cost of attendance (COA) is adjusted for off-campus living or for a commuter student status (living with parents) Changes to your housing status may, therefore, reduce your demonstrated need and your financial aid award. It is important that you consult with the Office of Student Financial Aid before changing your housing status.
I am considering spending a semester at another institution. Will this change my aid?
It may be possible to take courses at another institution and receive aid for those courses from Goucher. To qualify, your combined enrollment must equal at least six credits, and your academic advisor must approve your request to take courses at the other institution. If approved, the billing office will disburse your aid to you and you will be responsible for paying the tuition at the other school. Note that you must be enrolled full-time (at least 12 credit hours) to maintain merit-based institutional aid and institutional gift aid.
What about if I study abroad?
If you participate in a Goucher-sponsored semester or yearlong study abroad program, your financial aid is processed the same as when you study at Goucher.
If you participate in an approved non-Goucher-sponsored program, Title IV aid including Federal Pell Grant and Federal Direct loans will be processed. Institutional financial aid, including Goucher merit awards, is not available. For more information visit the Office of Student Financial Aid Study Abroad section of Goucher's website here.
What are the requirements for maintaining eligibility?
Most need-based awards for full-time students require that you continue to demonstrate need, maintain full-time enrollment (a minimum of 12 credits per term), and continue to make satisfactory academic progress (SAP). The SAP policy defines minimum standards for grade point average, ratios of completed credits to attempted credits, and the maximum time frame for completing a degree. The complete policy is available in the Goucher academic catalogue and on the website.
State and Federal need-based aid is subject to government guidelines, which may permit pro-rated awards or partial refunds. You must contact the Office of Student Financial Aid if your enrollment changes to below full-time status and/or if your GPA drops below 2.0.
Goucher merit-based scholarships require full-time enrollment and a minimum grade point average (gpa). Global Citizens Scholarships, Transfer Scholarships, and Special Achievement Scholarships require a 3.0 cumulative gpa or higher; Dean's Scholarships require a cumulative gpa of 3.25 or higher. Minimum gpa requirements for other scholarships are listed in your award letter.
Will an Incomplete (“I”) or Missing (“M”) grade change my financial aid award?
The Office of Student Financial Aid must monitor compliance with Federal and institutional guidelines each semester. Therefore, the office will use the grade point average (GPA) listed on your official transcript for the purposes of disbursing or canceling aid. When an "I" or "M" grade appears on your transcript, it is not included in your GPA. Therefore, the Office of Student Financial Aid will cancel or disburse aid based on your GPA at the time of review. When those grades are ultimately changed to a permanent grade, your GPA will likely change. At that point, the Office will repackage your aid award retroactively. Thus students may lose merit scholarships and/or need-based financial assistance in the middle of a term, based on a revised GPA for the previous term.
For the same reason, students may be credited for a merit scholarship retroactively, if their GPA for the previous semester had first fallen below the minimum for renewal and later rise above that minimum. In these cases, the family must pay to make up the originally canceled award to satisfy the student's financial bill. The money will be refunded to the family if a missing grade renders the student eligible for the canceled award.
Students who will study abroad should be especially aware of this fact. Many overseas programs do not submit official grades to Goucher until several weeks into the new semester.
What happens if I drop or withdraw from a class?
It is important that you speak with the Office of Student Financial Aid before reducing your credit load or changing course-grading options to audit. Your awards will be reduced or canceled if you fail to maintain required enrollment. Courses that are audited, canceled, dropped, or retroactively dropped do not count toward required enrollment levels.
What happens if I drop or withdraw from a second seven week class?
It is important that you speak with the Office of Student Financial Aid before reducing your credit load or changing course-grading options to audit. Your awards will be reduced or canceled if you fail to maintain required enrollment. Courses that are audited, canceled, dropped, or retroactively dropped to not count toward required enrollment levels.
What if I take a Leave of Absence?
A student in good academic and financial standing may request a leave for one or two semesters. A leave of absence begins at the end of a regular semester. The student is expected to return at the conclusion of the leave or request an extension of the leave. The grace period on a Federal student loan begins on the last day of academic activity. Students who do not complete an Official Leave of Absence Form are withdrawn from the college and must request reinstatement if they wish to return.
Students who take a leave of absence during a period of enrollment are considered withdrawn. Goucher must calculate the amount of Federal Title IV aid the student earned. Unearned Title IV funds must be returned to the Title IV programs. The grace period on a Federal student loan begins on the last day of academic activity.
If I attend Goucher as a part-time student, can I still receive financial aid?
Yes, but please note that all institutional awards require full-time enrollment. In addition, if you are changing from full-time status, remember that most initial awards were based on the assumption that you would enroll full-time for both semesters of the academic year. If you are considering enrolling as a part-time student, please contact the Office of Student Financial Aid immediately for guidance on what aid may be available to you.
What are my financing options?
Described here are the most commonly used financing options by Goucher families.
Federal Direct PLUS Loan: Parents of dependent students enrolled at least half time are eligible to borrow a Federal Direct PLUS Loan. Parents may borrow up to the full cost of attendance minus all other financial aid. This loan may be used to cover your expected family contribution (EFC). The fixed interest rate is adjusted July 1, but will not exceed 9%. The interest rate for 2012-2013 is 7.9%. The borrower is responsible for the interest from 10 days after the date of disbursement. Repayment begins within 60 days of the last disbursement unless deferred. PLUS borrowers are eligible for deferments based on dependent student's enrollment. In order to be considered for a PLUS loan, a student must file a FAFSA, even if the family is not seeking need-based assistance. The credit check is completed on the Parent PLUS borrower.
Monthly Payment Plan: Goucher offers a convenient, affordable alternative to lump sum payments. Through TuitionPay you can spread out your annual payments, interest free over 8, 9, or 10 months. The cost to enroll in the 10/9 month plan is $55. The cost to enroll in the 8 month plan is $75. The plan starts in May or June and ends in February. At the beginning of the fall semester, one-half of the contract amount is applied to the student account. The remaining half of the TuitionPay contract is applied to the student account at the beginning of the spring semester. More information about TuitionPay can be found on our website at www.goucher.edu/billing.
Private Loans: Private loan costs vary widely between programs. All private lenders will review the borrower's credit history and some will require a loan co-signer. Private educational loan programs traditionally offer higher borrowing costs than federal loan programs. This option is generally considered after federal loans are exhausted.
Do you have any suggestions on locating sources of private scholarships?
Please visit the financial aid page for links to several free scholarships and searches. Search your local library’s scholarship resource books and the Internet. You should also contact every group, club, union, church, business, sorority, fraternity, and other associations with which you or your family has some connection. Many of these organizations offer scholarships to members, employees, and their children.
The Office of Student Financial Aid maintains an Outside Resource Scholarship. To review this book, please visit the office in the Dorsey Center.
I may need to borrow a non-need-based loan. How do I decide how much to borrow?
Use the formula below to determine approximately how much you will need to borrow for the entire year once all resources are taken into account for the year. Please note that most loans have a processing fee deducted from the loan which you will need to take into consideration when deciding how much to borrow for the year. Federal regulations require all educational loans to be counted as resources in the financial aid package whether or not the school certifies the loan.
Total Cost of attendance (minus)
- Grants, Scholarships, and Tuition Benefits
- Student Loans and Work
-Awards from outside sources
= Total Remaining Cost of Attendance
Does Goucher award merit-based scholarships?
Of course. Designed to reward and encourage our brightest and most talented applicants -- and to make Goucher a very realistic choice for your education -- these awards are based on your academic credentials, special talents, and/or extra-curricular achievements in high school. Merit-based awards do not take into account financial need. The amounts of these first-year awards are set annually; in recent years, they have ranged from $10,000 to full tuition. Merit-based scholarships are renewable through graduation or a total of eight semesters based on full-time enrollment and a minimum gpa as required by the scholarship.
Goucher merit-based scholarships can only be applied toward the billable cost of attendance (excluding fees). They may not be combined to exceed the cost of tuition. If a student is awarded more than one Goucher merit scholarship, they may combine the amounts of the awards up to the cost of tuition; they may be allowed to use up to $3,000 beyond the cost of tuition as a voucher to cover educational expenses related to three-week intensive seminars.
The Admissions Office determines eligibility for merit-based scholarships such as the Dean's and Global Citizen scholarships. The Office of Student Financial Aid develops the student's overall package.
Are there scholarships for the arts?
To recognize, promote, and attract students with creative talent in dance, music, theatre, and visual art, Goucher offers two types of arts scholarships, awarded independent of financial need. To be considered for these scholarships, students are required to submit a complete Scholarship in the Arts application in the area for which they wish to be considered. For more detailed information on the application process for our arts scholarships, click here
I’m a transfer student. Are there scholarships available for me?
Admitted transfer applicants are considered for merit-based scholarships. The amounts are set annually and range from $10,000 to $15,000 for 2013-14. These awards are renewable through graduation or a total of six terms, whichever comes first, provided eligibility requirements-including maintaining full-time status and a minimum GPA of 3.00-are met. Transfer students are also eligible to compete for the scholarships in the Arts.
I am an international student. Is there aid for me?
International students are considered for merit-based aid in the admissions process. Those interested in need-based aid must complete the CSS Profile produced by the College Board. Once eligibility is determined, the student will be notified of his or her institutional need-based grant award.
What is your outside scholarship policy?
It is the student's responsibility to report all outside scholarships to the Office of Student Financial Aid when you become aware of them. Your financial aid award will be reviewed and adjusted according to institutional policies and federal regulations. You will be notified of the adjustments. Outside scholarships include (but are not limited to): Goucher tuition waivers/remission, other employer tuition benefits, merit-based state scholarships, and scholarships from outside organizations. ROTC and tuition exchange are not considered outside scholarships. (Receipt of ROTC or tuition exchange will result in a direct reduction of the Goucher Grant.)
For first year only, outside/private scholarships will first be applied to your unmet need. If the amount of the scholarship exceeds your unmet need, your federal loan or federal work study award will be adjusted by a maximum of $1200. The Goucher Grant will be reduced if total scholarships exceed your unmet need plus $1200 or, if the total aid (including outside scholarships) is greater than the cost of attendance.
My FAFSA was selected for verification. What does this mean?
Verification is a review process in which the Office of Student Financial Aid is directed by the Department of Education to determine the accuracy of the information provided on a FAFSA. The Federal processor randomly selects FAFSA applications for verification. If there is an asterisk next to the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) on your Student Aid Report (SAR), your application has been selected for verification. Goucher may also select additional FAFSA applications for verification. The Office of Student Financial Aid will notify you via email if your FAFSA has been selected for verification and to request required documents to complete the process. The required documents will also be listed on the Financial Aid Student Tracking System (FASTS) - www.goucher.edu/fasts.
Documentation required to complete the verification process includes IRS transcripts for both the student and parent. The Federal Verification Worksheet is also required and may be downloaded from our website at http://www.goucher.edu/x23500.xml. Additional documentation may be requested based on the FAFSA data or if needed to resolve any discrepancies discovered during verification. The requested documents must be submitted within two (2) weeks of the request or your aid may be cancelled. If discrepancies are discovered during verificatin, the Office of Student Financial Aid may verify additional items and may require additional documents or information. Federal financial aid will not disburse to your student account until the verification process is complete.
Schools are required to verify the following data elements depending on FAFSA verification group:
- Household size
- Number enrolled in college
- Certain untaxed income and benefits such as child support paid, SNAP benefits (food stamps)
- Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) or income earned from work if income is below the minimum for tax filing.
- US Income Tax Paid
Is there any way to make the process of applying for aid easier, or to make the aid policies less confusing?
We're trying. Indeed, this FAQ sheet is one attempt to clarify things. As you can see, however, we offer a wide variety of financial assistance. Each award has its own eligibility requirements and some are subject to governmental guidelines, some to institutional guidelines, some to both.
We attempt to make it as easy as possible to understand these policies, but it is important to consult with the Office of Student Financial Aid whenever you anticipate or experience a change in your financial status, enrollment status, or receive or lose financial aid from any source.
If you have any recommendations on how we might make it easier for you to understand or monitor your eligibility for need-based and/or merit-based financial aid, please let us know. You can write or e-mail email@example.com.
We can't promise to agree to all of your suggestions, nor to implement every one we agree with, but we do promise to listen to and evaluate your recommendations.