How do I apply for financial aid?
The very first step is to complete the FAFSA. This is done online at www.fafsa.gov. Once you have completed the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) you will receive a 1 page Student Aid Report (SAR) back from the Department of Education. The school(s) you listed on the FAFSA will receive an Institutional Student Information Report (ISIR). When we receive the ISIR, we will send a request for additional information needed to complete your financial aid file. Complete any requested forms/letters and return them to the financial aid department as soon as possible. Once we have the results of the FAFSA and a complete financial aid file we will determine your eligibility for financial aid. If you are eligible, we will send you an Award Notification Postcard instructing you to view your award letter on CampusConnect (see #3 below regarding this).
What is a FAFSA, how do I fill it out and, why do I need it fill it out?
FAFSA is an acronym for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It is used to gather information on you &/or your parents by which your eligibility for aid can be determined. The FAFSA is online, but a worksheet to assist you is available for download or you can pick one up in the Financial Aid Office. Be sure to apply for an FSA ID in order to electronically sign the FAFSA. You (and at least one parent for dependent students) must have an FSI ID for the FAFSA to be processed. If you do not have an FSA ID, be sure to print the signature page and mail it immediately as instructed on the form. If you do not complete the FAFSA, you will not be eligible for any federal Title IV aid (this includes student loans). At first glance, the FAFSA Worksheet can seem a bit intimidating, but in actuality there are only 4 pages of the worksheet and some instructions. Read the instructions carefully, fill out ALL the questions you know the answers to, then, if you still need help with the worksheet or the online portion, the financial aid office will be glad to assist you. It takes approximately 30 minutes to complete the FAFSA Online worksheet and key it in. You will need to have a copy of your tax return and other amounts of income in order to fill it out.
When will I know if I am eligible for financial aid?
When you send in your FAFSA the school will receive an ISIR based on the information you submitted. Upon receiving the ISIR, we will send you a letter requesting additional information. Please fill out and return all requested materials within 3 weeks. After receiving ALL information back from you & if you are eligible, we will send you an award notification postcard informing you that your aid package (which is a detailed listing of the financial aid for which you are eligible) is ready for you to view and accept or decline. This is done via the CampusConnect system. If you need assistance with logging into CampusConnect or need to obtain your CampusConnect username and password, please contact the Enrollment Services Office. The whole process can take as long as 6 weeks!!!
How do I apply for a loan?
The first step in applying for a loan is to complete the FAFSA (see #2 above). Once we have the ISIR back, (usually 1- 2 weeks) we can begin to determine your eligibility for all aid, including loans. To determine your eligibility, you must have a complete financial aid file. The next step is to complete a loan application, a Master Promissory Note (MPN), and if this is your first direct loan the entrance interview. The Entrance Interview may be completed at http://mappingyourfuture.org and the MPN can be completed at www.studentloans.gov. You will need your FSA ID in order to complete the MPN process. Once we have received a completed loan application and confirmation of your completed entrance counseling interview, we will complete a Needs Analysis to determine your eligibility for a loan. The proceeds may be disbursed in 2 installments per semester (subject to change without notice) and can be picked up in the Bookstore. (See #7 below for information regarding whether your loan check is in). The government will not send any loan proceeds until they have received a completed MPN.
Has my pell grant been approved?
Technically, there is no such thing as a person's pell grant being "approved" or "disapproved". A student's eligibility for a Pell Grant, or any other federal/state financial aid is determined primarily from the information submitted on the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). When SouthArk receives the results of the FAFSA, we determine if the student is, or is not, eligible for a Pell grant and/or other federal/state aid. This is done per federal and state guidelines. Once the determination has been made, SouthArk will send the student an award notification postcard notifying them that their eligibility has been determined. The student then should log into CampusConnect, go under Student Information, and then "accept/decline aid package". Students should indicate which awards they will accept by checking the appropriate box and clicking submit at the bottom. (see #3 above regarding eligibility for financial aid).
Has my pell check come in yet?
The terminology "pell grant check" is a bit mis-leading. There really is not any such thing as a "pell grant check". What most students mean when they ask this question is, "Has my refund been processed and is the check ready to be picked up?" If a student receives financial aid in excess of their tuition, fees, and books, the Business Office will process a refund check. Refund checks will be available around the midpoint of the semester. Notices will be posted on all campuses and sent via email when checks are available to be picked up in the Bookstore. You must present proper I.D. to pick up a refund check.
Is my loan check in yet?
First, be sure that you have actually applied for a loan. (See #4 above on applying for a loan) Many students think they have applied for a loan when they fill out the FAFSA. However, the loan application is totally separate from the FAFSA. The proceeds may be disbursed in 2 installments per semester (Subject to change without notice). A letter stating the amount & date of a student's loan disbursement will be mailed when the funds are received at the school. It takes AT LEAST 7 to 10 business days from the date on the letter (and sometimes as many as 14 days) for loan refund checks to be ready for pickup in the Bookstore. Notices will be posted on all campuses when the first loan refund checks are available to be picked up.
How do I apply for a Federal College Work Study (CWS) job?
The first step in applying for CWS is to fill out the FAFSA (see #2 above). Once we have the results, we will inform you of your eligibility for CWS in your award package. Students will interview with the potential employer. If hired, you must provide us a copy of your driver's license and social security card and complete payroll documents (available in the Financial Aid Office) before you can begin working under the CWS program. You must also view an instructional powerpoint further explaining the FWS Program and the Do's & Don'ts. You may also be required to complete an Employability Skills Assessment in the Testing Center.
Can I receive financial aid in the summer?
POSSIBLY. You may be able to receive financial aid in the summer if two conditions are met: 1) you still meet the satisfactory academic progress requirements &; 2) if there are available funds for which you are eligible. You must also complete the Summer Enrollment Intention Form available in the Financial Aid Office. There will be notices posted on all campuses & sent via student email when this form is available (usually sometime in April). If you meet the two conditions listed above, we must then determine what funds are available for which you are eligible. There are many sources of aid that may be available such as Pell grant, work study, SEOG &/or loans.
How do I know what scholarships I am eligible for and how do I apply for them?
SouthArk has many institutional and Foundation scholarships available. A complete list of scholarships and the qualifications for them can be found on SouthArk's website (www.southark.edu). In order to apply for scholarships, you must complete the All-In-One Online Application also located on the SouthArk webpage. The priority deadline is March 1st. You can also check the internet for other scholarships. Check with the financial aid office for a list of some of the best sites available. General scholarship announcements are sent to students via the SouthArk All-Students email system.