To apply for all federal and state funds, a student must complete the admissions process and the appropriate steps below.
An essential step to apply for financial aid is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at fafsa.gov. Be sure to list FVCC on your FAFSA. FVCC’s school code is 006777.
How to Apply
Step 1: Apply for admission to Flathead Valley Community College as a degree- or certificate-seeking student.
Step 2: Students and parents (if considered dependent) need to request a FSA ID (Federal Student Aid ID)
Step 3: Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on the web using your FSA ID by December 1st for priority consideration. The FVCC school code is 006777.
Step 4: Contact FVCC Financial Aid for appropriate school paperwork.
Step 5: Submit all paperwork and documentation requested by the financial aid office in a timely manner.
In order to be eligible for financial aid a student must:
- A student must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.
- A student must have a high school diploma or GED/HiSET.
- A student may receive federal or state financial assistance only if he/she does not owe a repayment on federal financial aid previously awarded and is not in default on any federal loan previously received.
- A student must be enrolled in a program leading toward a degree or certificate offered by FVCC.
- A student must maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP):
- A student must have a minimum 2.0 cumulative grade point average in previous coursework at FVCC and have successfully completed 67% of his/her attempted hours at FVCC.
- Degree requirements must be completed within a specific time frame. The maximum time frame for a program of study at FVCC is 150% of the program requirements (i.e. an AS degree requires 60 credits for graduation so maximum time frame would be 90 attempted credits). Hours earned at FVCC, as well as hours transferred and accepted by FVCC, are considered in this maximum time frame.
Additional Financial Aid Information
When To Apply
Students must apply for financial aid each academic year. Applications are available after October 1 for the following fall and should be submitted as soon as possible using the prior prior year tax information. Applications are processed in the order received. Students are notified of their fall awards beginning in December.
Federal and State Aid
Flathead Valley Community College administers a variety of government financial assistance programs for degree-seeking students. Students are required to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to determine eligibility.
The value of this grant varies from year to year depending on Congressional appropriations. The projected maximum annual award is $6,195 for two semesters of full-time attendance. Full and part-time students are eligible. A student’s particular dollar amount depends on the student’s expected family contribution (EFC) from the FAFSA and enrollment status term by term during the year.
This grant is awarded to students with the lowest EFCs who are also eligible for the Pell Grant. Full and part-time students are eligible. Annual awards range from $200 to $500.
For students who are not Pell-eligible; whose parent or guardian died as a result of military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after September 11, 2001; and who, at the time of the parent’s or guardian’s death, were less than 24 years old or were enrolled at least part-time at an institution of higher education. The projected maximum annual award is $6,195 for two semesters of full-time attendance. Payment is adjusted for less-than-full-time study.
Through part-time employment on campus, students who show financial need may earn a portion of their educational expenses. Ten to fifteen hours per week is the recommended work load. Students are paid a competitive wage and may gain experience in their career field.
Eligible students registered in six or more credits may borrow up to $5,500/$6,500 per year. Additional eligibility may exist for independent students. Congress sets the rates annually and new interest rates go into effect on July 1 of each year. Contact the financial aid office for current rates. Repayment of principal and interest begins six months after a student is no longer enrolled or drops below half-time attendance (six credits).
Eligible parents may borrow for their dependent undergraduate student(s) enrolled at least half-time. Congress sets the rates annually and new interest rates go into effect on July 1 of each year.
In addition to the above programs, FVCC also works with third-party sponsors who provide payment. These include Job Service, Community Action Partnership of Northwest Montana, Vocational Rehabilitation, Worker’s Comp, Head Start, various employers, and others. All sponsorship authorizations must be sent to the Financial Aid Office. Authorization letters must be received prior to the start of the semester.
Changes in Enrollment Status
Financial aid is awarded based on the student’s FAFSA application. Enrollment verification is completed after the census class day: 15th class day of fall and spring semesters; 10th class day of summer semester. Financial aid awards are adjusted based on the student’s current registration at the census class day. Any changes to enrollment after that date will not affect the value of a student’s award package, unless a student drops a course that has not started, or withdraws from all courses for that term.
Students who withdraw from classes after the 15th class day should review the eligibility section of the Satisfactory Academic Progress Requirements to ensure they are maintaining the required academic standards.
Financial Aid Refunds
If students receive more financial aid than their direct institutional costs, the college will issue a refund check about a month into the semester.
In some circumstances, students who are registered in late-starting classes may have their refund check reduced or held until they are in attendance in the late-starting courses and have passed the refund period for those courses.
Withdrawal/Return of Title IV Funds
Financial aid recipients of Pell Grant, FSEOG, IASG, Stafford or Plus Loan funds are advised to first meet with the director of financial aid before completely withdrawing from all classes for the semester. The director will explain the consequences of a withdrawal, as well as the financial implications of this action.
If a student officially or unofficially withdraws (stops attending classes) before the 60% point of the semester, federal regulations require that the school complete the Return of Title IV Funds calculation.
The student’s withdrawal date, in calendar days, is used to determine the percentage of the semester that the student completed. This percentage is used to determine the “earned” aid that a student is eligible to retain. The student will be responsible for any “unearned” aid that MUST be returned. Examples of this calculation can be provided by the Financial Aid Office.
The student’s withdrawal date is either the date they began the withdrawal process or last day they attended classes. For a student who didn’t officially withdraw, the withdrawal date is the last date of attendance as reported by the instructor or the 50% point in the semester.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy
According to U.S. Department of Education regulations, all students applying for federal and/or state financial assistance must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in his/her course of study to receive these funds. These standards require, but are not limited to, attending classes, maintaining acceptable grades, completing a sufficient number of credit hours per semester, and completing the program of study within the maximum amount of allowable credits.
A student who does not meet these standards is not eligible to receive federal and/or state funded financial aid. All semesters of attendance are considered for SAP, regardless of whether the student received financial aid during those terms. Adherence to the standards indicated in this document will be necessary for continued financial aid eligibility.
Before financial aid is disbursed, a student’s progress will be evaluated according to policy guidelines. For students new to FVCC, this includes any previous transfer coursework and transcripts. Any student who has not previously received financial aid may not have been notified of his/her status for aid eligibility until he/she has applied for financial aid.
The FVCC Financial Aid Office will attempt to notify in writing any student currently receiving financial aid who is placed on Warning or Suspension status. However, failure to receive such notification does not relieve the student of the requirement to read, understand and follow the SAP standards for financial aid recipients.
Satisfactory Academic Progress is determined by:
Qualitative Measurement (GPA)
The minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) must be a 2.0 for all attempted hours.
Quantitative Measurement (Credit Hours)
Students must complete attempted hours according to the following:
- Minimum cumulative and term attempted/completed ratio of 67% (i.e., a student attempts 15 credits, he/she must complete a minimum of 11 credits in order to achieve a minimum ratio of 67%.)
- Course grades of I, W, WI, U, NG, and F are considered attempted and not completed.
- Once a student successfully completes a class for which they received a grade of I or NG, the financial aid status can be reviewed and updated if appropriate upon the student’s request.
Students on warning or with an approved SAP appeal will be required to complete financial literacy training before financial aid funds will be disbursed.
A student will be placed on financial aid Warning if:
- The cumulative GPA is less than the required 2.0 listed in the Qualitative Measurement section.
- The student has not successfully completed 67% of the term credits or the cumulative attempted credits.
A student placed on Warning status will be permitted to receive grants, scholarships, loans, and federal work-study during the Warning period.
By the end of the warning period the student must meet all the SAP standards to return to good standing.
A student will be placed on financial aid Suspension after the Warning period if:
- The cumulative GPA remains less than the 2.0 requirement.
- The student still has not successfully completed the minimum 67% of the term or the cumulative attempted credits.
Additionally, a student will be placed on Immediate Suspension if the student receives a non-passing grade (I, W, WI, U, NG, and/or F) in all of his/her courses or fails to receive at least a 1.0 term GPA.
A student placed on Suspension status will lose his/her eligibility to receive financial assistance. Students with a current FAFSA on file will receive a notice by mail, of their Warning/Suspension status. SAP standards are enforced even if no prior financial aid was received. Students have the option to appeal their suspension if they have had extenuating, documentable circumstances for the specific term(s).
A student who has been suspended from financial aid may provide a written appeal if he/she has documentable extenuating or mitigating circumstances that contributed to his/her inability to meet the SAP standards. Students may appeal for one of the following reasons:
- The death of an immediate family member.
- Severe injury or illness of the student that has caused hospitalization for an extended period of time.
- Other extenuating circumstances which may include but are not limited to:
- Severe illness of a relative for whom the student has custodial responsibility.
- Emergency situations such as fire or flood.
- Military reassignment, required job shift change, or job transfer that prevented the student from completing a semester.
- Separation or divorce.
Such an appeal must be accompanied by supporting documents and be submitted to the Director of Financial Aid, who will share the appeal with the Appeal Committee.Second appeals are rarely approved and must have serious new circumstances to be considered.
Review of an appeal for a current semester requires that the appeal be received by the committee prior to the last appeal date during the semester.
Appeal deadlines are:
Fall semester: November 1
Spring semester: April 1
Summer: July 1
A student who has been suspended from financial aid for academic reasons and has not had an appeal approved may be eligible for reinstatement if he/she attends and pays for classes at his/her own expense, and now meets the required SAP standards. While it is the student’s responsibility to inform the financial aid office that he/she is now up to standards, the student’s file will be processed accordingly, if the college discovers that the standards have been met.
Degree requirements must be completed within a specific amount of credits. The MXT (amount of credits allowed) for a program of study is 150% of the program requirements (i.e. an AS degree requires 60 credits for graduation so the maximum time-frame is 90 attempted credits). Hours attempted at FVCC, as well as hours transferred and accepted by FVCC, are included in the MXT.
Any student who has exceeded the MXT and/or who cannot finish the program within this period will be considered ineligible for financial aid.
FVCC understands that students may change their educational goals and programs of study and that additional education is often needed to enhance career opportunities. These students may complete a written appeal for re-evaluation of their status.
Students who already earned a bachelor’s degree have limited eligibility for financial aid, because they have already reached their MXT. In extenuating circumstances students may appeal for an extension of financial aid eligibility for student loans.
Students who wish to earn more than one associate degree and/or certificate with financial aid funding are also required to complete a MXT appeal.
Students who have been approved for an MXT and do not earn at least a 2.0 GPA or who complete 50% or less of attempted credits per term will go on MXT Suspension. Second MXT Suspension appeals are rarely considered and require circumstances beyond the student’s control.
Students who meet the 2.0 GPA for the term but do not complete all of their courses will go on MXT Warning if they complete at least 51% or more of their attempted credits.
However, because MXT courses will only be funded one time, if a student repeats a course it will not be funded a second time and will be counted in the attempted/completed ratio.
Students’ records are reviewed for Qualitative and Quantitative Measurement and MXT at the end of each semester.