What is Financial Aid?

Few students can afford to pay for college without some form of education financing or assistance. Financial aid is money for direct (tuition and fees) and indirect (books, supplies, reasonable living expenses and transportation) college expenses. This money comes in four forms:

  • Grants which do not need to be paid back
  • Scholarships which do not need to be paid back
  • Loans which do need to be paid back
  • Part-time jobs from which the student earns an hourly wage also known as Federal Work Study

Students who are awarded Financial Aid may receive any or all of these forms of aid. 

Financial Aid is assistance available only for students matriculated (formally accepted) in a Financial Aid-eligible degree or certificate program.

To be awarded Financial Aid, the student must:

  • Complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Financial Aid) https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa. Our school code is 007560
  • Demonstrate financial need as determined by federal or state guidelines
  • Submit any additional documentation the college may request
  • Eligibility for Financial Aid is based on the number of credits for which a student is enrolled in a particular semester. RVCC defines enrollment as:
  • Full time = 12 or more credits per semester
  • ¾ time = 9-11 credits per semester
  • Part time = 6-8 credits per semester
  • Students not planning to enroll at least half-time (6 credits) should check with the Financial Aid Office to determine eligibility.
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress (See Standards of Satisfactory Progress at www.rivervalley.edu/admissions/financial-aid)
  • Reapply for Financial Aid each academic year

A FAFSA must be filed each year. The Financial Aid year begins with the summer semester at River Valley Community College. The preferred filing date is April 1 for the upcoming aid year. Students who meet this filing date will be considered for all federal funds and state grants. Students who file after this date will be considered on a fund-available basis. 

To receive aid in future semesters, a student must meet qualitative and quantitative standards for Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid (SAP). These standards are described below and in the College’s Financial Aid Handbook, available online: www.rivervalley.edu

Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid (SAP): Financial aid recipients must make Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid in their current matriculated eligible program to retain Financial Aid eligibility. The standards for SAP are specific to the Financial Aid program, and are both qualitative and quantitative. The standards measure a student’s cumulative Grade Point Average (cGPA) and their “incremental” progress in terms of completing a minimum amount of work at stated intervals. When a student is reviewed for SAP, all the student’s enrollment periods at RVCC are included in the review. This includes enrollment periods during which the student did not receive Financial Aid and enrollment periods during which a student did receive Financial Aid. Satisfactory Academic Progress is reviewed by the Financial Aid Office at the end of each semester.

Students who meet SAP standards will retain eligibility for student Financial Aid for the following semester. Students who do not meet SAP standards will be placed on SAP warning for one semester. At the end of the warning semester, the student’s record will be reviewed. If the students meet SAP standards, the student will once again be eligible for Financial Aid for the following semester. If the student is still unable to meet SAP standards, they will be ineligible to receive Financial Aid. The student may appeal the decision. Please contact the Financial Aid Office regarding the appeal process.

Maximum Timeframe Component: A student may receive student federal aid for any attempted credits toward his or her program of study as long as those credits do not exceed 150% of the published length of the student’s program of study. For example, a student enrolled in an eligible 24-credit certificate program can received Financial Aid for up to 36 credits attempted. Likewise, a student enrolled in a program of study that requires 60 credits to earn the degree can receive student federal aid for a maximum of 90 credits attempted.

Specific Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid and the Maximum Timeframe Component policy information is available through the Financial Aid Office and published in the Financial Aid Handbook at www.rivervalley.edu.