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Paying for College with Financial Aid (5 STEPS)

Updated: 03/21/2016


Part of being a successful student at any college or university is keeping up with the opportunities for financing your education. Students who utilize financial aid funding to meet their educational expenses can increase their chances to reach their goals.

There are FIVE basic steps for receiving any form of financial aid (federal, state, institutional, or private):

 STEP 1 – The Application Process

You must complete and submit an application for all forms of financial aid. 

  • Adhere to deadlines

  • Sign and date all documents

  • Verify the application is complete before submitting

STEP 2 – Verification (required documents)

Financial aid verification is a process to validate the data provided on the application.

See the Financial Aid Verification 2015-16 page for a comprehensive list of forms used in this process.

The Federal government, college, or scholarship organization can require you to submit additional documents in order to continue processing your financial aid award (grant, scholarship, or loan).

STEP 3 – Awarding

After your financial aid application is reviewed and verified, and it is determined that you have met satisfactory academic progress requirements, you will receive an award notice from the Financial Aid Office.

  • Check your Online Student Center for your Electronic Award Notification from the Financial Aid Office
Please Note: Most commonly, you will receive a yearly award for both fall and spring semesters. The funds will be distributed per semester.

STEP 4 – Disbursement

Disbursement is when your financial aid funds on your award letter are transferred (credited) to your account in the Cashier’s Office. Credited funds will pay the current semester’s tuition, fees, and books, first. Any remaining funds, will be distributed to you for other educational expenses.

When it comes to paying your tuition, you can balance the cost of tuition with other demands on your income by making use of the tuition payment plan. The tuition payment plan is open to all students but can be especially beneficial to those who cannot qualify for federal student aid or loans.

These payment plans enable you to make monthly payments throughout the semester from your checking account or with a credit card.

STEP 5 – Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

Most, if not all, forms of financial aid have an academic eligibility requirement. 

  • Be aware of the academic requirements to maintain funding eligibility

  • Note that evaluation of satisfactory academic progress can happen semester-by-semester and/or yearly

Important Dates

Financial aid is scheduled to credit to your student accounts near the end of the second full week of the standard term or the earliest class start date (whichever occurs the latest). Excess aid - the amount remaining after all tuition, fees, book advance, and any other related charges are covered - will be disbursed to you through the Maricopa Student Refund Program (MSRP). Students should not expect their funds any earlier than the following week and the timing is dependent upon the MSRP delivery method selected.



Additional Resources

Not sure if you might qualify for Federal Student Aid?  Use FAFSA4caster to estimate your eligibility.

Please Note: only those with a lawful presence in the U.S. may qualify for Federal financial aid or Maricopa Community Colleges scholarships.  Under Arizona law, any information provided about legal status when you apply for financial aid or scholarships may be subject to mandatory reporting to federal immigration authorities.


Filed under: Finances v.22

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