Financial Aid FAQs
- What is financial aid?
- Who should apply for financial aid?
- When should I apply for financial aid?
- What is financial need?
- Who is eligible to receive financial aid?
- What is a financial aid package?
- What forms are needed to apply for financial aid?
- Do I have to apply for admission to Hilbert to be considered for financial aid?
- What tips do you have for completing the FAFSA?
- What is Hilbert’s federal school code to be entered on my FAFSA?
- What types of financial aid are covered by the FAFSA?
- What other types of financial aid are available?
- My parents have not yet filed their federal tax return. How should I fill out my FAFSA?
- How can I be declared an independent student?
- How long does the application process take?
- How do I know how much aid I will receive?
- Does a large family or more than one student in college at the same time increase the amount of financial aid?
- Is financial aid available for summer?
- If I withdraw from school, do I have to pay back my financial aid?
- What if my financial situation suddenly changes?
- Are there payment options available to pay my college costs not covered by grants, scholarships or loans?
- How will I receive my money?
- What is work-study?
- Can I have two work-study jobs at the same time?
- How many hours per week can I work?
- Can I change work-study jobs?
- What types of scholarships are available at Hilbert?
- What are some tips in seeking scholarships through my community?
- What’s the advantage of looking for scholarships that are not as widely known?
1. What is financial aid?
Financial aid refers to any funds available to students and/or their parents to help offset the cost of higher education. Funds come from federal, state, private, and institutional resources.
2. Who should apply for financial aid?
Any student needing assistance with the cost of higher education should apply for financial aid. Because not all federal aid is based on need, we encourage all students to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) regardless of family income.
3. When should I apply for financial aid?
You should apply for financial aid as soon as possible after Jan. 1. To achieve the best financial aid package, you should complete and submit this information before March 1. A good rule of thumb is to file it as early as you can but not before Jan. 1. We can show you how to estimate your taxes for the FAFSA form, which can be filed online at www.fafsa.ed.gov.
4. What is financial need?
Financial need is a formula the government uses to determine how much you should pay toward your own education. Simply, it is the difference between what your college costs will be and what you have available to pay them. We start by adding all of your basic college costs, including tuition, fees, room, meal plan, books, transportation, and personal expenses. Then we subtract what you and your family can pay toward your basic costs (expected family contribution), calculated from your FAFSA form, and from this determine your financial need.
5. Who is eligible to receive financial aid?
Students who are admitted to Hilbert are eligible to receive financial aid. A student must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen. Also, a student must not be in default on a prior student loan, owe a repayment of aid to the U.S. Department of Education, or have a drug conviction.
6. What is a financial aid package?
Hilbert financial aid counselors put together a financial aid package for students. Most receive a combination of different types of aid rather than just one kind. Students may have a package that includes grant, loan money, work-study, and possibly scholarships.
7. What forms are needed to apply for financial aid?
You must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is available in the Hilbert Office of Student Finance, from your high school guidance office, or at other colleges. The form is also available at www.fafsa.ed.gov.
8. Do I have to apply for admission to Hilbert to be considered for financial aid?
Yes, you must apply for admission before the Office of Student Finance can consider your eligibility for financial aid, including scholarships. You can apply online or contact the Office of Admissions at 716-649-7900 or 1-800-649-8003.
9. What tips do you have for completing the FAFSA?
Hilbert has a staff of financial aid counselors who can help you fill out the necessary forms. But you should keep the following tips in mind when completing the form.
- Because much of the information supplied on the FAFSA is taken from you and/or your parents’ (for dependent students) federal income tax forms, you should make every effort to prepare your income taxes early enough to complete the FAFSA accurately and completely. If you or your parents are unable to prepare your taxes early, use estimated income figures to complete the FAFSA.
- Complete the entire form and use black ink. Unless instructed to do so, don’t leave any questions blank.
- Be especially careful when entering numbers such as your Social Security number.
- Double-check your answers before sending the FAFSA to the processing center.
- Keep copies of all documents submitted in case questions come up concerning your application.
10. What is Hilbert’s federal school code to be entered on my FAFSA?
Hilbert’s federal code is 002735.
12. What other types of financial aid are available?
Other than federal aid, the most common sources of aid for Hilbert students come from the New York State government and from the college itself. Awards come in the form of grants, scholarships, and loans. Normally, grants and scholarships are, in effect, gifts and do not need to be repaid. Loans have regular repayment schedules and usually do not come due until after graduation.
13. My parents have not yet filed their federal tax return. How should I fill out my FAFSA?
You should still complete and file the FAFSA by the priority filing deadline of March 1, even if all tax returns are not yet finalized. The FAFSA allows you to indicate that the information provided is an estimate and not from the actual tax return that will be filed. Once the taxes are filed, you can then update that estimated data by correcting the Student Aid Report (SAR) that the FAFSA processor will send you. You then send the SAR back to the FAFSA processor.
14. How can I be declared an independent student?
For financial aid consideration, a student cannot be considered an independent student unless the student meets at least one of the criteria the federal government has established for determining what constitutes an independent student:
- Born before Jan. 1, 1987
- Veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces
- Enrolled in a graduate or professional program
- Orphan or a ward of the court
- Have legal dependants other than a spouse
If you are estranged from your parents and this can be documented by an independent, professional third party (member of the clergy, social worker, counselor, etc.), please see a Hilbert financial aid counselor for assistance.
15. How long does the application process take?
The application process takes 7-10 days if you file online at www.fafsa.ed.gov, or 4-6 weeks via regular mail.
16. How do I know how much aid I will receive?
You will receive a financial aid award letter from us about two to four weeks after you submit your FAFSA form. Around March 15, we will begin sending out financial aid award letters and will be sent in order of when the processed FAFSA applications were received. The letter outlines how much the government determines you should be able to pay. Then we list the ways we can make up the difference. If it looks like a fair award, or package, you just sign the letter of acceptance and mail it back.
17. Does a large family or more than one student in college at the same time increase the amount of financial aid?
Eligibility for financial aid is based on federal and institutional estimates of your family’s ability to contribute to the cost of education on a yearly basis. A typical award consists of grants, loans, and work. Your award is likely to change each year for one or more of the following reasons:
- You forgot to reapply for financial aid and miss the priority deadline.
- Your family’s income will change.
- Your loan amount may increase as you continue through school.
- The number of children in college may change.
- The cost of education will go up.
18. Is financial aid available for summer?
Yes, if you applied for aid for the academic year, you can apply for aid during the summer session. There is a short application that must be completed. To obtain a copy of the form, stop by the Office of Student Finance.
19. If I withdraw from school, do I have to pay back my financial aid?
Students who withdraw from school may be expected to repay a portion of their financial aid. Any refundable amount used to pay tuition and fees or for college housing is returned to the appropriate financial aid sources.
20. What if my financial situation suddenly changes?
If you or your parents (for dependent students) experience a change in financial situation, you can request the Office of Student Finance reevaluate your aid eligibility. Stop by to see a financial aid counselor to discuss this further.
21. Are there payment options available to pay my college costs not covered by grants, scholarships or loans?
Any balance remaining after grants, scholarships and loans can be paid with cash, personal check, VISA, MasterCard, or Discover. The college also offers a monthly payment plan, which divides the semester’s balance into four manageable monthly payments. In addition, many employers offer a tuition reimbursement benefit to qualified employees. Students who are sponsored under this benefit may defer tuition payment until two weeks after the grade reports for the semester are mailed.
22. How will I receive my money?
All federal financial aid will be credited to your Hilbert billing account. If the credited charges exceed what you owe Hilbert, then a refund check will be disbursed to you. Your refund check may be picked up at the Office of Student Finance located on the first floor of Franciscan Hall.
You will receive work-study wages as hours worked during the pay period. Students receive paychecks every two weeks for the hours they worked.
23. What is work-study?
Work-study is a form of financial aid. This program provides jobs for students who need to supplement their earnings to meet a portion of their educational expenses. Students are paid for work they perform at on-campus jobs. Students who are eligible for the program must be enrolled at least half-time. More information about the work-study program and job openings is available online or at the Office of Student Finance.
26. Can I change work-study jobs?
You can change work-study jobs at any point in the academic year. It is recommended that you give your employer at least two weeks notice. If you wish to change jobs, go to the Office of Student Finance on the first floor of Franciscan Hall to review the job openings and obtain the necessary paperwork.
27. What types of scholarships are available at Hilbert?
There are a variety of scholarships available through Hilbert, including scholarships in the areas of academic excellence, degree programs, adult learner, female student, incoming freshmen, transfer student, ethnic, and financial need. A list is available online or visit the Office of Student Finance. Once you complete your FAFSA you will automatically be considered for all scholarships available at Hilbert.
28. What are some tips in seeking scholarships through my community?
External scholarships come to the attention of the Office of Student Finance through a variety of sources. Large companies in your area or your parent’s employer may also be a great source. In some cases, you may have to be directly associated with an organization to qualify for a scholarship.
29. What’s the advantage of looking for scholarships that are not as widely known?
Large, well-known scholarships tend to attract a large number of highly qualified candidates. Many of the lesser known scholarships are targeted to a smaller population, such as to children of employees of a specific company or organization. Applicants are competing against a smaller pool, which enhances their chances of receiving a scholarship.