Step 1: APPLY!
Students must apply for financial aid for every academic year. There is no charge for applying for financial aid, so please beware of any websites or services requiring payment for any of these services. The priority filing deadline for the FAFSA and CA Dream Application for 2015-16 is March 2, 2015.
Complete the 2015-16 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on-line at http://www.fafsa.gov. If you (and your parents, if dependent) apply for a PIN at www.pin.ed.gov, you will be able to sign your FAFSA electronically. The federal school code for Southwestern College is 001294.
Approximately three to four weeks after you file your FAFSA, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) via e-mail. If you do not receive your SAR, please call 1-800-433-3243 or check on-line at http://www.fafsa.gov.
It is important that you enter all information accurately and completely on your FAFSA to ensure prompt processing of your application. Please review the SAR for accuracy and, if corrections are needed, you may complete them online with your PIN. If no corrections are needed, keep the entire SAR for your records. SWC will receive a copy of this information electronically.
CA Dream Application
If you are an AB540 student and do not have a valid social security number, complete the 2015-16 CA Dream Application online at https://dream.csac.ca.gov/. You can check your application status and/or make corrections at https://dream.csac.ca.gov/.
Board of Governors’ Fee Waiver (BOGFEW)
While students will be evaluated for BOGFW eligibility based on the information submitted in the FAFSA and CA Dream Application, students may also apply for BOGFW at https://bog.opencccapply.net/gateway/bog?cccMisCode=091 BOGFW covers the $46/unit enrollment fee for classes and covers the Summer, Fall and Spring semester each year.
Step 2: Make sure your records are ready for review
To ensure your application is processed as quickly as possible, please be sure you:
- Make sure you have declared a valid major.To be eligible for financial aid, students must be enrolled in an AA, AS, Certificate of Achievement or transfer preparation program. Students with majors of "Undecided", "Self-Improvement", "Job Training" or "Undeclared/Non Credit" will not be eligible for financial aid and applications cannot be processed. You may confirm or update your major in WebAdvisor.
- Make sure your mailing and email addresses are correct in WebAdvisor and that emails from SWC are not going to your spam file. Missed emails will delay the processing of your aid.
- All students must meet Satisfactory Academic Progress standards to be eligible to receive financial aid. Please read and review SWC’s policy here.
- Reducing your units or withdrawing from classes may impact your financial aid eligibility and/or create a financial liability that will have to be repaid. For more information, click here.
- Submit your Cal Grant GPA GPA verification, if needed. For more information, click here.
- The SWC Financial Aid Consumer Guide has extensive information about financial aid programs, policies, SWC resources for students and general financial aid information.
- SWC’s Financial Aid TV is a video library covering every area of financial aid in an accessible and easy to use format.
Step 3: Acknowledgement Email
After we receive your student aid report or California aid report, we will review the information to determine if we need additional documentation to complete processing (i.e. tax transcripts, etc.). This process is required by federal and state regulations and is done to ensure the accuracy of the information you reported.
You should receive an acknowledgement email from SWC 1-2 weeks after you receive your SAR. If you do not receive an acknowledgement email you may inquire about your status at the Financial Aid Office or check your WebAdvisor account under “Financial Aid” for any documents needed for processing.
Step 4: Submit Documents
Submit all documents requested on your acknowledgement email. Make copies of all documents before submitting, and put your (the student's) name and student identification number on each page submitted. Documents may be submitted in person at the Financial Aid Office or at the Higher Education Centers (except for the Intent to Enroll, which can only be submitted online). Please do not send documents that have not been requested by the SWC Financial Aid Office.
Step 5: Verification
Your application, and any supporting documents, will be reviewed for accuracy. Applications are reviewed in order by the “file complete” date (the date all requested documents were submitted). During this process, it may be necessary to request additional information for clarification or to resolve discrepancies. Please respond quickly – the sooner you respond, the faster we can process your application.
Step 6: Award Notification Email
A financial aid award notification email detailing amounts and the types of aid programs offered to you will be e-mailed to your SWC student e-mail address. Awards are made based on full-time enrollment (12 units or more per semester), so if you enroll in less than full time, your award may be reduced or adjusted.
Step 7: Disbursement
After receipt of the financial aid award notification (email) letter, aid will be disbursed according to the disbursement schedule. All students who are disbursed financial aid will receive a packet from HigherOne which will give directions for choosing your preferred method of disbursement – electronic deposit to a current checking or savings account, electronic deposit to a HigherOne account or a paper check. For more information on HIgherOne and the process for selecting a disbursement method, please click here.