1. Is Electronic Filing Really Faster?

Electronic filing is faster than filing a paper form. The process may be as much as 6 weeks faster if you electronically sign your application as soon as you complete it. Submitting your application on the Web edits your application before you transmit; ensuring that the data you transmit to the U.S. Department of Education is ready to be processed.

2. Do I Need A Pin?

The PIN is simply for your convenience. The PIN allows you to complete electronic applications without having to submit a signature page. It allows you to access your U.S. Department of Education information on the Internet. You are not required to have a PIN in order to complete a FAFSA.

3. How Much Am I Eligible For?

The amount of financial aid you are eligible for depends on your Expected Family Contribution, your year in school, enrollment status and the cost of attendance at the school you will be attending. For more information, see the financial aid administrator at your school.

4. What Is My Expected Family Contribution (EFC)?

Expected family contribution (EFC) is the amount you and your family are expected to contribute toward your education for one school year. You receive an EFC based on the processing results of your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). *Keep in mind that some students may not end up paying their expected family contribution depending on the cost of attendance of the college.

5. Can I Use FAFSA On The Web To Estimate My Expected Family Contribution (EFC)?

Yes, you can use FAFSA on the Web to calculate your estimated Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The estimated EFC will print on the confirmation page when you have completed and submitted the application. An official EFC will be calculated at the Central Processing System (CPS) once all required signatures are received.

6. How Do I Answer The Questions If I am (Or My Parents Are) Separated, Divorced, Or Widowed?

If you or your parents are separated, divorced, or widowed you may have filed a joint tax return.   However, for the tax questions on the FAFSA, even if you filed a joint tax return, you should separate your tax information from your spouse’s as if you filed a single return. If you are providing information about a parent, provide tax information for the parent you lived with the most this past year.

7. What Is A Signature Page?

The signature page is a document that can be generated by the FAFSA on the Web. It is personalized by containing your Student ID and address. If you choose not to sign the application electronically, then you (and at least one parent if you are a dependent student) can sign a paper signature page.  

  • Will use federal student financial aid only to pay the cost of attending an institution of higher education.
  • Are not in default on a federal student loan or have made satisfactory payment arrangements
  • Will notify the school if you default on a federal student loan
  • Understand that the Secretary of Education has the authority to verify the income reported on this application with the Internal Revenue Service
  • If you purposely give false or misleading information, you may be fined $10,000, sent to prison, or both.

8. I Submitted Under The Wrong SSN/Name, What Should I Do?

If you filled out and submitted an application with an incorrect Social Security Number (SSN) and/or have transposed your first and last name, fill out a new application and provide your correct SSN and/or your first and last name.   The existing applications cannot be deleted from the Central Processing System (CPS) and you must notify your Financial Aid Officer that the database may contain two applications under your name or SSN.   You may also see the Financial Aid Administrator at your school for further assistance.   It could be possible that your school could make an electronic correction for you.

9. Can I Qualify For Financial Aid If I Am Not A U.S. Citizen?

Yes. Eligible non citizens may also qualify for financial aid. Generally, you are an eligible non citizen if you have:

1) an Alien Registration Card (I-551);
2) an I-551C
3) an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) with designations: “Refuge”, “Asylum”, “Parole” or “Cuban-Haitian Entrant”.

If you are not an eligible non citizen, you are not eligible for federal student aid, however, you may qualify for state or college student aid.   Please contact your financial aid office for more information.

Please visit www.caldreamact.org or your financial aid office for more information.

10. If I Want To Apply To More Than One School, Should I Send In Another Application?

No. You can select up to six schools to receive your FAFSA data by listing them on your application.

11. What Is My Data Release Number (DRN)?

Your Data Release Number (DRN) is a four-digit number assigned to your application by the U.S. Department of Education and printed on the top right corner of your Student Aid Report (SAR).   Anyone wanting to receive or change your FAFSA information must have your DRN in order to do so. Do not give out your DRN to anyone unless you have agreed to give them access to your FAFSA information.  

12. Why Am I Considered A Dependent Student When I Am Not Financially Supported By My Parents (And I File My Own Taxes)?

According to federal regulations if you answer no to all questions, numbered 52 through 58 you must list parent’s income and the parent must sign the FAFSA application.

13. What Is The Federal School Code For West Hills College?

The Coalinga/NDC federal school code is 001176.
The Lemoore federal school code is 041113.

14. If I Was Not Married During The Requested Tax Year On The FAFSA Application And I Am Married Now.   Do I Use My Spouse’s Income Also When Completing The FAFSA?

Yes, if you are married when you complete the FAFSA, report you and your spouse’s income and assets.

15. Can You Request A PIN For A Parent?

Yes, parents can go to the PIN web site and apply for a pin number. Parents may use the same pin number for all of their children, even their own FAFSA.

16. Are Cal Grants The Same As Pell Grants?

No. Cal Grants are funded by the State of California through the California Student Aid Commission.   If you applied with the FAFSA application by the March 2nd deadline and you or your school forwarded your GPA verification to the California Student Aid Commission then you will be notified by the California Student Aid Commission if you are eligible for the state grant.

17. How Do I Know If I Should Answer Yes To The Drug Question (NO. 35)?

This question refers to drug convictions for possessing or selling illegal drugs (not alcohol or tobacco).   Do not count convictions that have been removed from your record or convictions that occurred before you turned 18, unless you were tried as an adult.   Also do not count convictions that you received while not receiving federal aid. If you are convicted of possessing or selling drugs after you submit your FAFSA, you must notify your financial aid administrator immediately.   You will lose your eligibility and be required to pay back all aid received after your conviction.

18. How Do I Apply For A Student Loan At West Hills College?

You must first complete a FAFSA application and we must have received your FAFSA information electronically.   The next step is to obtain a loan application from the Financial Aid Office. Loans are not automatically renewed each academic year (Summer, Fall, Spring), you must apply every Fall. Students must attend a Loan Entrance workshop and may sign up for one by contacting their financial aid office. Only Federal Stafford Direct Loans are available at West Hills College.

19. I Have Received A Student Aid Report (SAR) In The Mail, What Do I Do Next?

Review the SAR and Comments section to be sure all information is correct and the Federal Processor has no questions on any of your information. If you have any questions bring your Student Aid Report (SAR) to the closest Financial Aid Office for review.

20. After I Have Reviewed My Student Aid Report (SAR) Is There Anything Else I Need To Do To Complete My Financial Aid File At West Hills College?

Yes, all students should receive within 10-14 working days of our school receiving your FAFSA information electronically, an email requesting documents, i.e. Terms of Agreement, Supplemental Form, from the Financial Aid Office that must be completed and returned to Financial Aid.   We will then review your file for award packaging.

21. Do I Have To Pay Back Financial Aid?

No, you do not have to pay back your financial aid, unless you withdrew from your classes, did not complete 75% of your enrolled units for the semester, or received all F's. There may be other circumstances that cause repayment. Please see the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy.

22. How Do I Contact The Federal Processor?

You can contact the Federal Processor at 1-800-433-3243 seven days a week or via the internet at www.fafsa.ed.gov.

23. Do I Need To Make An Appointment To See A Financial Aid Assistant?

No, you do not need to make an appointment to see a Financial Aid Assistant.  Please call to verify our hours. They are subject to change due to staff availability. It is also important that you allow a reasonable amount of time when meeting with a Financial Aid Assistant so that we may carefully review your documents to avoid delays in processing.

24. Why Is My FAFSA Application Rejected?

You may receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) or be told by a Financial Aid Assistant that your application is rejected.   There are a few common reasons why the Federal Processor will reject an application:   Missing signatures, inconsistent marital status with income, taxes paid are equal to the adjusted gross income, citizenship question is blank, marital status and family members blank.   You may make corrections using your Student Aid Report (SAR) or online with your PIN number.

25. How Do I Apply For Work-Study?

The first step is to complete your FAFSA and answer yes to the “Interested in work-study question”.  To be eligible you must have a 2.0 gpa.   Work-Study students must be enrolled in at least 6 units.   Priority is given to those students who complete their FAFSA by the March 2nd deadline and those with the most need.   There are other requirements that will be determined by the Financial Aid Office. By answering yes to the work-study question you are not automatically awarded work-study. You need to check in with your Financial Aid Office.