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Financial Aid FAQs

Financial Aid

The College’s Federal School Code is 001060.
When the College receives your FAFSA, you will get an e-mail from us in your student e-mail account with further instructions.

As a student at the College, you may qualify for federal, state and local financial aid including the: Federal Pell Grant; Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG);  Federal Work Study Program; Federal Direct Stafford Loan; and Federal Direct PLUS Loan; Alabama Student Assistance Programs and/or the College's Local Scholarships and Tuition Assistance Waivers.

Unfortunately, that’s not an easy question to answer. Because many factors (e.g. household size, number of family members in college, income, certain assets, etc.) are considered in the determination of your eligibility for financial aid, it is difficult to estimate your eligibility based on income alone. The Financial Aid Office recommends that every student apply for financial aid at least once to have his or her eligibility reviewed. Keep in mind that, in general, any accepted student is eligible for some type of financial assistance (e.g. Federal Stafford Loans) regardless of his or her calculated financial need.

To apply for both federal and local financial aid programs, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students need to complete the FAFSA online at Learn more here

An FSA ID is a username and password that you must use to log in to certain U.S. Department of Education (ED) websites. Your FSA ID identifies you as someone who has the right to access your own personal information on ED websites such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) at If you are a parent of a dependent student, you will need your own FSA ID if you want to sign your child's FAFSA electronically. If you have more than one child attending college, you will use the same FSA ID to sign all applications.

Please note: Each FSA ID user must have a unique e-mail address.

Students are able to complete the FAFSA beginning October 1st of the year they will enroll in college.The Financial Aid Office recommends that students complete the FAFSA as early as possible. Any required financial aid forms (example: verification forms if necessary) should be completed each year by April 1st. This allows for processing time. Financial aid normally takes 4 to 6 weeks to process from the time you complete the FAFSA through submitting any required documentation to the Financial Aid Office for processing.

Students must file the FAFSA each and every year that they attend college.

The SAR is the student aid report. It is the output document that a student receives from filing the FAFSA. On this document a student can find out their EFC (expected family contribution) and whether they are PELL Grant eligible. It also lets a student know of loan eligibility.  Students sometimes make errors in the filing of the FAFSA. Corrections to a SAR can be made by logging into the FAFSA at and log in. Click on the blue link that states "make correction to processed FAFSA.” Sign and resubmit the FAFSA once your corrections are made. The financial aid office will receive the new SAR in 3 to 5 days.

Financial aid programs are based on the belief that students (and their parents or spouses, if applicable) have primary responsibility for paying their educational expenses. If you are a dependent student, your parent’s inability to assist you with expenses should be evident from the information you and your parent provide on the FAFSA form. Although it may mean a significantly increased amount of debt, which should be carefully considered, most students can cover their educational expenses with the help of available financial aid programs.

The financial aid eligibility of an independent student is determined solely from a review of his or her own (and spouse's, if applicable) information as reported on the FAFSA. It is important to note that a student cannot simply decide to file as an independent student. He or she must meet one of the criteria for financial aid purposes to be considered independent

Verification is a process the Department of Education uses to make sure that the information reported on the FAFSA is accurate and true. Some FAFSA applications are selected because of inconsistent information and others are chosen at random. For applications that are selected, the Financial Aid Office requests copies of a student’s and parents’ (if dependent) federal tax transcripts and W-2s as well as completion of a verification form and other documents as needed. The Financial Aid Office then compares information on the tax transcripts and other documents to the FAFSA and corrects any errors. The student is notified of any corrections made and the effect the changes have had on his or her aid eligibility. For more information about verification, click here

Visit the Professional Judgement policy page. The procedure is explained here to help students in your type of situation. If you need further assistance please call financial aid at 251.580.2151 or email the Financial Aid Office at

An email will be sent to the students college email account. The email will provide instructions on accessing the financial aid package through the students OneACCS account

The financial aid package include all the aid that a student is eligible to receive. Pell Grants and Direct Loans are included. Also, the package contains important cost information and instructions on what to do next. It also explains what a student needs to do to receive his/her awarded Direct Stafford Loan. The information on your financial aid package may be found via your student OneACCS account.

Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans are need-based loans available to undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at least half-time in an eligible program. The government pays the interest to the lender on behalf of qualified borrowers for as long as students are enrolled at least half-time in a degree-seeking program and for six months thereafter, at which time repayment of the principal and interest must begin. Payment is deferred if the student returns to school.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans are non-need-based loans available to undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at least half-time in an eligible program. The government does not pay the interest to lenders on behalf of the borrowers. Repayment of the interest is the student’s responsibility from the date the loan is disbursed and may be paid or capitalized (added) to the principal balance of the loan. Repayment of principal does not begin until six months after the student drops below half-time or withdrawals completely from school. . Payment is deferred if the student returns to school. In addition, interest rates on subsidized and unsubsidized loans may vary. To apply for a student loan, complete the FAFSA on Students must also complete the entrance counseling and the master promissory note to be eligible for the Direct Stafford Loans. The student will need his/her FSA ID password that was used to file the FAFSA.

Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) are for dependent students. These loans are the parents responsibility to repay not the student.   Students who are eligible may borrow up to the cost of attendance minus any financial aid.  The repayment period will begin within 60 days of full receipt of loan.  A student must apply for Federal Student Aid before he/she can apply for a PLUS Loan. Parents can apply for the Plus loan at  Also a parent will need to do a credit check.  This can be accomplish by clicking on the link "Complete Plus Request Process."

Student and parent borrowers may reduce or cancel their approved loans by completing the student and/or parent right to cancel loan form. These forms are located on the Financial Aid Forms and Application page.

You can find information about your federal (i.e. Title IV) student loans by logging into the National Student Loan Data System at You may use the web site to make inquiries about your federal loans and/or federal grants (e.g. Pell). You can also find information on loan and/or grant amounts, outstanding balances, loan statuses, and disbursements. In addition, the site lists the names your loan servicers and organizations that send bills, collect loan payments, process requests for deferment of payment, etc. At this time, there is no single web site where you can obtain information on all your private, alternative loans. However, information about those loans may be reflected on your credit report.

Please see the Financial Aid Policies page.

Each year parents and students should file their income tax forms. Many people have issues with this. They make assumptions that are incorrect which “hurt” them when it comes to financial aid. The income level for non- filing has been raised to $12,000. Many students make less than $12,000 but should file. Why? Federal Withholding has been withheld from the gross income that was earned. This number is in BOX 2 of the W2 that was received. If there is an amount in Box 2 and you earned less than $12,000, the amount in Box2 is a REFUND to you. So you should file. Filing is free. See the link below for the information on free filing. There is more information provided by the link below.

Follow the instructions sent to your student e-mail account to login to your OneACCS account.  View the student requirements list, and make sure all your requirements are marked "satisfied."  Once they are all satisfied, the Financial Aid Office will complete the processing of your application. You will receive an award notification in your student e-mail account in 7-10 business days.  Even after you receive your award notification, login to your OneACCS account to ensure all paperwork needed by the College has been submitted.

If you received an e-mail from the Department of Education that says you were packaged financial aid, they will send the College your FAFSA, and we will package your financial aid once your application has been processed.  Check your Coastal Alabama student e-mail address for updates on your status and any required documents the College may need.

Refund disbursement begins 2 weeks after attendance verification is completed, then continues throughout the semester. If a student is in the first year of undergraduate study and is a first-time Direct Subsidized/Direct Unsubsidized Loan borrower, the disbursement of the first installment of the Direct loan will not occur until 30 calendar days after the student’s program of study begins.

Login to your OneACCS account to check your financial status.  There are two options to log in - one with your student e-mail and one with your A-Number.

Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at Be sure to include Coastal Alabama’s school code (001060) on the FAFSA.

Yes. You must submit a FAFSA every school year you want to be considered for federal student aid.

Once submitted, it generally takes 3-5 business days for the FAFSA to be processed and send to the college(s) listed on your FAFSA. Monitor your student email account. Once the College receives your FAFSA, you will receive an email with further instructions.

Students are packaged financial aid based on full-time enrollment (12 or more credit hours required for your degree program). If you enroll in less than 12 hours, your cost-of-attendance and financial aid package must be adjusted accordingly.

Disbursement means that all eligible financial aid funds will be applied to your account as a payment for student charges (tuition, fees, books, and on-campus housing). After your aid has been applied to your student charges, any additional funds for which you are eligible will be refunded. Disbursement occurs after attendance verification is complete.

Refunds for all types of financial aid (Pell, Direct Loans, etc.) will begin approximately two weeks after disbursement. You must be attending class and continue to meet all eligibility requirements to receive a refund. Any withdrawals or late-starting course(s) may delay refunds. Students enrolled in Term II course(s) will not receive a refund until after attendance verification is completed for Term II courses.

Loan funds for first-time loan borrowers cannot be refunded until 30 days after your course(s) have begun. This applies to loans only, not other types of aid such as Pell grant. Loan funds for one semester only (Fall only, Spring only, Summer only) will be refunded in two installments within the semester.

Because all financial aid funds will not be released until several weeks into the semester, you will need to plan ahead for non-institutional expenses such as rent, transportation, and childcare.

Yes, your financial aid may be refunded if all eligibility requirements are met.

  • For Title IV aid Full-Time status is 12 credit hours a term, including Summer.
  • For VA Full-Time status is 12 credit hours Fall and Spring and 7 credit hours for Summer.