Frequently Asked Questions & Glossary of Terms

We have listed the most common questions and terms used in financial aid. We encourage you to use this resource!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know what courses are considered degree-applicable for federal and state financial aid?
When you make your schedule, any courses that are not applicable to your degree are identified. You can also run DegreeWorks in WIReD or request a degree audit at the Registrar's Office. Please request assistance from your advisor and the Financial Aid Office if you have concerns about your courses.

Can I repeat previously passed courses and how does this affect my federal and state financial aid?
You should discuss the need for repeating courses with your advisor AND the Financial Aid Office. You may need to schedule the class to be repeated IN ADDITION to 12 degree-applicable credit hours for your financial aid to not be affected. Repeating courses can also affect your Satisfactory Academic Progress for future financial aid.

Can I receive federal financial aid for the 24 credit hour program?
Students who first enroll in a degree program on or after July 1, 2012 MUST have a high school diploma or a recognized equivalent (i.e. a NYS High School Equivalency Diploma) in order to receive federal financial aid. Students may receive state aid if they pass an approved Ability to Benefit test.

What are the Hudson Valley Community College school codes?
The federal (FAFSA) school code is 002868 and the state (TAP) school code is 2080.

Is there a charge to file a FAFSA form?
There is no charge to file a FAFSA form. Students can complete a FAFSA form, free of charge, at

When do I file for financial aid?
A FAFSA can be filed as early as October 1 for the upcoming fall semester. Ideally, a FAFSA form should be completed by April 15 for the fall semester or October 1 for the spring semester.

Do I need to file a new FAFSA each year?
Yes. A new FAFSA form must be completed for each new academic year. Students who have previously completed a FAFSA form may be eligible to file a Renewal FAFSA at Personal information from the previous form already will be on the renewal form for the student to review/change. Updated income information will be required.

Do I have to pay back financial aid?
Grants or scholarships do not have to be repaid. Student loans, should you borrow them, have to be repaid.

I don’t think I will qualify for federal grants. Should I still fill out a FAFSA form?
Yes! The FAFSA form is required for students who are interested in participating in the Federal Direct Student Loan Program. Also, in order to apply for a New York State TAP award, you must file a FAFSA form. Although you may not be eligible for a federal grant (Pell), you could still receive a state grant (TAP). Some scholarship applications also require the completion of a FAFSA.

Can I use my financial aid awards for housing and other expenses?
Your financial aid awards are based on your total cost of attendance at Hudson Valley Community College including tuition, fees, books and supplies, transportation, room and board and personal expenses. Your financial aid awards will first be applied to your tuition and fees. If there is any remaining amount, it will be refunded to you at various times throughout the semester depending on the type of aid you are receiving. These refunds may be used for educational expenses above and beyond your tuition and fees, including housing. Depending on your refund schedule, you should be prepared to pay security deposits and possibly the first few months of rent out-of-pocket. Once your financial aid is determined, you may contact the Cashier’s Office for a schedule of your anticipated refund dates and amounts. For specific information regarding your available aid, please contact the Mastrangelo Financial Aid Center.

Where can I get information about the Federal Work Study Program?
Once your FAFSA has been processed and you have received your award letter, you may be eligible for the Federal Work Study Program

How do I apply for the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)?
The EOP stipend helps fund college expenses. To receive EOP, students must be accepted into the Educational Opportunity Program in their first semester of study and meet New York State financial eligibility guidelines. 

How do drug convictions affect federal aid eligibility?
By law, some students who have drug-related convictions under any federal or state law may be ineligible for federal student aid. For more information, see the [Loading Financial Aid link…] section of the College Catalog.

Do all drug convictions count?
No, do not count any conviction that was reversed, set aside, or removed from your record. Also, do not count any conviction that occurred before you turned 18, unless you were prosecuted as an adult. Alcohol and tobacco are not illegal drugs under this law.

If I have drug convictions, should I still apply for student aid?
Yes, even if you have drug convictions, you should completed and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You may be eligible, depending on the date and number of convictions. Even if you are ineligible for federal student aid, you should complete and submit your FAFSA. Many states and schools use information from the FAFSA, and you may still be eligible for scholarships or other types of aid from other programs. There may be a way that you can regain eligibility for the federal programs no matter how many or what type of drug convictions you have. (You must successfully complete an acceptable drug rehabilitation program that meets the standards set by Congress and the Department of Education.)

How can I get more information about drug convictions?
If you still have questions about the law, call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243). Your personal information is confidential, and you will remain anonymous.

Glossary of Financial Aid Terms

The items listed below are the main terms that you will read/hear about while completing your financial aid.

Academic year - A period of no less than 30 weeks of instructional time, normally two semesters.

Accrual date - The day interest charges begin to be added to the loan balance.

Accruing interest - The adding of interest to a loan amount. For some loans, interest charges begin to add up as soon as the loan is made, increasing the total amount due.

Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) - A United States tax term for an amount used in the calculation of an individual's income tax liability.

Assets - For financial aid purposes, assets are generally considered to include cash on hand in checking and savings accounts, trusts, stocks, bonds, home equity, other securities (real estate, income-producing property, business equipment and business inventory). These assets are considered in determining expected family contribution (EFC).

Award Letter- A letter notifying financial aid applicants of the assistance being offered. The award letter provides information on the types of and amounts of aid offered, as well as specific program information, student responsibilities, and the conditions which govern the award.

Borrower - The person who assumes legal obligations of the repayment of the loan principal plus interest. In the case of a Federal Direct Loan the borrower is the student. In the case of a PLUS Loan the borrower is the parent.

Capitalization - When a lender accrues interest before the borrower starts repayment, then adds that amount to the principal. This is sometimes called "compounding." Capitalizing increases the total to be repaid and the size of the minimum monthly payment. Students can avoid capitalizing by paying interest as it accrues.

Default -  A borrower's failure to repay according to the terms agreed upon when the promissory note was signed. Default can also occur when a borrower fails to submit requests for deferment or cancellation. When a borrower defaults on a federal student loan, the school, the organization holding the loan, the guaranty agency, and the federal government can all take action to recover the money. A borrower is considered to be "in default" when payments are 180 or more days overdue and no satisfactory arrangements for payment, deferment or forbearance have been made. Assets, including Internal Revenue Service (IRS) refunds, may be seized and the borrower's credit record or history can be affected. Student loan borrowers in default will remain so until they pay back their loan in full, sign new loan agreements or reschedule their debt. While in default, they are ineligible for additional federal student aid, including grants and loans.

Deferment - An authorized period of time during which a student loan borrower may postpone making payments on the principal or the principal plus interest. Borrowers must file deferment forms with their lenders and be approved for deferments.

Demonstrated Need - The difference between cost of college attendance and a student's (and the student's parents') ability to pay that cost: Student's Cost of Attendance Budget minus Family Contributions equals Demonstrated need

Direct Loans -  William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program provides low-interest loans for students and parents to help pay for the cost of a student's post-secondary education. The lender is the United States Department of Education, rather than a bank or other financial institution.

EFC (Expected Family Contribution) - The amount that the federal government has determined to be the student's/parent's contribution toward education expenses.

Eligible Non-citizen - Student who is not a citizen of the United States, but has a valid Alien Registration Card I-551 (Green Card) or a valid I-94 (Arrival Departure Record with valid designation).

Federal Methodology (FM) - The formulas used to determine a student's eligibility for federal Title IV funds. The formulas take into account income, assets, expenses, family size and other factors.

Federal Pell Grant -  Pell grants are available to students who have demonstrated significant financial need, as determined by the Free Application for Student Aid. This grant does not have to be repaid.

Financial Need - The difference between what it costs to attend a particular college and the amount it has been determined that a student and his/her family can afford to pay toward those expenses.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) - A form used to apply for all Federal Title IV student aid programs, including Pell Grants, Stafford Loans and campus-based programs (SEOG and work-study). The FAFSA, which is collected, distributed and processed by the United States Department of Education, gathers the information required to determine need and eligibility according to the federal methodology. 

Grace Period - A specified time period after a student leaves school or drops below half-time status during which he or she is not required to make payments on student-loan principal or interest. The grace period is typically six months, depending on the type of loan.

Graduated Payments - A flexible rescheduling of loan payments that allows the borrower to make payments of different amounts (available through consolidation).

Grant - A form of financial aid which does not have to be repaid. Also known as gift aid and/or merit scholarships.

Guarantee Fee - A premium deducted from the proceeds of a Stafford Loan prior to disbursement and paid to the guarantor.

Guaranty Agency - A national or state agency that insures student loans.

Independent Student - In order to file your financial aid application as an independent student you must meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Age 24 by January 1 of the aid year
  • Veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • Currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training
  • Graduate or graduate/professional student
  • Married prior to filing and signing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • Orphan or ward of the court
  • Have legal dependents other than a spouse
  • However, there may be family situations that warrant a dependency override for extreme circumstances, such as drug or physical abuse, neglect, abandonment, or refugee students. A Dependency Override Request may be made to the college in such cases.

Institutional Student Information Report (ISIR) - An electronic record sent by the Department of Education to the school of choice as a result of completing the Free Application for Student Financial Aid (FAFSA). Also referred to as SAR.

Institutional Verification Form (IVF) - Form sent by the college to students selected for verification for update on taxable/non-taxable income and household size.

Lender - A financial institution, such as a bank, a state agency, a savings and loan association, a credit union, or a qualified program that makes FFELP and/or private loans.

Loan Consolidation - An entirely new loan combining the repayment of two or more student loans, reducing the amount of monthly payments and extending the loan term.

Merit-Based Aid - Financial aid that is awarded based on a student's academic, athletic, or artistic merit, or some other criteria. It does not depend on financial need.

MPN (Master Promissory Note) - The MPN essentially opens a line of credit for education expenses during your academic career. When you sign a promissory note, you promise to repay your student loans. This note also includes important information about your rights and responsibilities as a borrower. The Stafford MPN is good for ten years provided at least one Stafford Loan disbursed to you within the first 12 months after signing.

Need Analysis - The process that determines a student's demonstrated financial need by analyzing the information provided by the student and his or her parents (or spouse, if applicable) on financial aid forms(s). All students are required to file a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Aid) to apply for need-based federal financial aid programs.

Need-Based Aid - Financial aid that is awarded based on a student's financial circumstances. Need-based aid can be awarded in the form of grants, loans, or work-study pay.

Origination Fee - A fee charged by the federal government and deducted from the proceeds of a loan before disbursement. This fee partially offsets the administrative costs of the Federal Family Educational Loan Program (FFELP).

Principal - The original amount borrowed. Origination and guaranty fees are deducted from this amount before disbursement, and interest is computed as a percentage of principal.

Promissory Note - The legal document a borrower signs. The promissory note includes the conditions under which the money is borrowed, interest rates and other terms. Borrowers should retain copies of all promissory notes until loans are fully paid.

PLUS Loans - Federal loans made by commercial institutions that are designed to help parents meet the cost of a university education for their children.

Repayment Schedule - Description of the borrower's monthly payment, interest rate, total payment obligation, due dates and length of time for repaying the loan.

SAR (Student Aid Report) - Document received by student as a result of filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Selective Service Registration - All male students 18 years old and born after December 31, 1959, must be registered with Selective Service in order to receive federal student aid.

SAP (Satisfactory Academic Progress) - Minimum academic standards that a student must maintain in order to continue to receive financial aid.

Subsidized Loan - The government pays the interest on the loan while the student is in school, during the six-month grace period, and during any deferment periods. Subsidized loans are awarded based on financial need and may not be used to finance the family contribution.

Unsubsidized Loan - With this loan, the government does not pay the interest while the student is enrolled. So the student has the option to either pay the accruing interest monthly or allow the interest to capitalize. Required payments do not begin until 6 months after the student drops below half-time enrollment. Unsubsidized Stafford Loans are not based on financial need and therefore may be used to finance the family contribution.

Verification - The process of the college checking the information that the student reported on the financial aid application. This is done by requiring the student to complete the verification process and requiring the student to submit various documents such as student and parent tax forms.

Get in Touch

Mastrangelo Financial Aid Center
Guenther Enrollment Services Center, Room 110

FAFSA School Code: 002868
NYS TAP Code: 2080

Fax: (518) 629-7479

Office Hours: Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Summer 2024 Hours (May 20 - July 26): Monday – Thursday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Friday, Closed