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Frequently Asked Questions | Bismarck State College

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Frequently Asked Questions

Will I be offered more financial aid the earlier I fill out the FAFSA?
Your financial aid award will be based on the information provided on the FAFSA, NOT the date of your application.
What qualifies as a "dependent" student?
    • Under the age of 24
    • If you are under the age of 18 and have a child, while living under your parents care
    • If you have a child, but pay child support and still live under your parents care
What qualifies as an "independent" student?
    • If you are over the age of 24
    • Married
    • Have a child that you support
    • If you are an orphan or ward of the court
    • If you are a Veteran of the Armed Forces
What if my parents are divorced?
You will only have to provide information about the parent you lived with the most in the last year. If you lived with both parents for an equal amount of time in the last year, provide information about the parent who provided the most financial support to you. If that parent has remarried, you will need to report parents' marital status as "married" on the FAFSA and provide income and asset information for your stepparent also.
Where can I find more information about PELL Grants?
A Federal Pell Grant, unlike a loan, does not have to be repaid. The amount students receive is dependent on their financial need. A Federal Pell Grant does not have to be repaid. Pell Grants are awarded to undergraduate students who have not earned a Bachelor or professional degree.
Which taxes do I use for my FAFSA?
The FAFSA will use your completed taxes from the 'prior-prior' year, or two years ago. You will be instructed which tax year to use when completing your application on the FAFSA website.
What is the FAFSA IRS Data Retrieval Tool?
With this tool, students and parents will be able to transfer their Federal Tax Information straight from their tax returns to the FAFSA. You must meet three criteria:
    • Must have a valid Social Security card
    • Must have filed your Federal Tax Return
    • Must not have changed you marital status since December 31
Could my award change?
Yes. BSC reserves the right to make adjustments to your award at any time based on additional information that becomes available. This includes (but is not limited to):
  • Notification of additional resources such as a scholarship, grant, or tuition waiver, etc., affecting your eligibility for need-based aid or exceeding your cost of attendance budget.
  • Change in enrollment status (you enroll for less than 12 credits).
Can I pay for my books with my financial aid?
Yes. Students who are in good standing and have a completed financial aid file have the ability to charge books against their excess financial aid. Excess financial aid is considered to be your total accepted financial aid less your student account balance.
Where can I find more information about Supplemental Grants?
The Supplemental Grant is awarded to students who demonstrate exceptional need. This grant does not need to be repaid. Priority is given to those students who receive a Federal Pell Grant. Students need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid each year to be considered for this grant. Students need to enroll at least half time to be eligible for this program.

Awards vary from $200 - $1,000 depending on a student's financial need, the amount of other financial aid received and availability of funds.
Where can I find more information about North Dakota State Grants?
The North Dakota State Student Incentive Grant Program provides approximately 7900-8500 non-repayable grants to North Dakota residents pursuing their undergraduate degree and who attend North Dakota's public, private (not-for-profit), and tribal colleges. The purpose of this need-based grant is to assist students with their cost of attending a North Dakota post-secondary institution. A State Grant also reduces the amount of money a student needs to borrow for his or her education.
What is verification?
Verification is a process used to verify certain information on the FAFSA to ensure its accuracy. Some students are selected for verification by the U.S. Department of Education. Others are selected by the school.
Why is your file being verified?
There are several reasons for being selected for FAFSA verification. Keep in mind that more possibilities exist, but the following are the main reasons for being selected:
  • You were selected randomly.
  • The submitted FAFSA application has incomplete data.
  • The data on the FAFSA application appears to contradict itself.
  • The FAFSA application has estimated information on it.
How will I know I have been selected?
Typically, you will receive email notification sent to your student communication tab on CampusConnection Portal. If you received the Financial Aid Verification Notice you will need to follow the steps outlined in that communication to complete your file - as well as any required forms.

The type of documents required will vary from student to student, and not all students selected for FAFSA verification will have to submit the same documents. Do not turn in any documentation that was not requested.
What happens if there are discrepancies in the application?
After you turn in all required documents, the Financial Aid Office will compare them with your Student Aid Report. If errors are found, corrections will be made and your financial aid awards will be adjusted accordingly.

If you are selected for FAFSA verification, you need to return the information and requested documentation as soon as possible. Processing takes up to four weeks to process, but can take longer during the peak season. Because verification must be completed in advance of disbursing any money from any financial aid program, it is vital to send complete and correct information as quickly as possible. This is a process that is required by the federal government. The Financial Aid Office may discover errors in your report that could increase or decrease your eligibility for Financial Aid.
Can my financial aid award be used to pay a balance owed to the school for a prior semester?
No. All prior semester owed balances must be resolved before any review of eligibility (SAP), financial aid awarding, or financial aid disbursement can occur.