Financial Aid FAQs

You have questions. We have answers.

How often do I complete the FAFSA?
Families should complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) every year. All federal and most state and institutional aid programs (grants, loans, and employment) require the FAFSA.

Are payment plans available?
Hartwick College offers an interest-free tuition payment plan. Instead of making two lump-sum payments, the payment plan allows you to pay in 10 monthly installments. When you enroll in this plan, the tuition account will be credited each semester with one-half of the contracted amount. Program enrollment starts on June 1. A nominal one-time fee is incurred at the beginning of the plan each year. This plan is ideal for families who choose not to take out all of the loans offered in the financial aid award.

What if I have unexpected expenses or my financial circumstances change?
The FAFSA reflects your family’s financial circumstances at a single point in time. If unusual expenses or circumstances influence your ability to contribute to your education and are not reflected in the FAFSA, we encourage you to provide us with this information in writing. We will evaluate your special circumstances and may consider them in determining eligibility for need-based aid.

Will Hartwick re-evaluate my financial aid award?
Your application for admission and FAFSA are reviewed carefully so that we can offer you all of the funds for which you qualify. When a student has special circumstances like those discussed above, we will review his or her eligibility for aid. If you feel that your award should be re-evaluated based on this reason, please call us. We will do all that we can to help make Hartwick affordable for you.

What is Estimated Family Contribution (EFC)?
Using your completed FAFSA and information such as your income, assets, size of the family, and number of dependent children in college, the federal government will determine how much you and your family can afford to pay for college. This is called your Estimated Family Contribution, or EFC. Your EFC is the same for all colleges and universities.

What is financial need?
The difference between your EFC and the cost of attendance (COA) at a given college is known as your financial need. For example, the cost of attendance at Hartwick College is $54,170. For a student with an EFC of $20,000, financial need is $34,170 ($54,170 – $20,000 = $34,170). Unlike your EFC, your financial need changes from one college to another, based on each school’s cost of attendance.

Where can I find Consumer Information about Financial Aid?
Consumer Information about financial aid is located on the Hartwick website.  Hartwick encourages you to read and understand all that you can about your financial aid.  If you aren’t sure about something, feel free to ask. We’re here to help!

What are my next steps and deadlines?
Review your financial aid award and call us at 607-431-4130 or email us at finaid@hartwick.edu with any questions that you have. Once you decide that Hartwick is the school for you, send in your enrollment confirmation form with your $400 enrollment deposit. At the same time, return one copy of your financial aid award, indicating what aid you would like to accept or decline. We will contact you early in the summer with instructions on how to apply for any loans you have accepted.

Who can be a cosigner for my alternative student loan?
In most cases, students use a parent as a cosigner. However, a parent who has been denied a PLUS loan is not likely to be acceptable as a cosigner. In that case, you should ask a relative (e.g., aunt or uncle, sibling, or grandparent) or family friend to cosign. Generally, a cosigner must have history of good credit and minimum annual income of $16,000; lenders also consider debt-to-income ratio in their evaluation. All federal loan options should be exhausted before considering alternative student loans.

Will I always need a cosigner?
Some lenders may approve loans to upperclass students without a cosigner. A credit history is required (credit card on which payments have been made regularly and on time). The interest rate on this type of loan is usually higher than a cosigned loan.

I received a revision to my financial aid award. Do I need to accept the offer of aid and sign and return it?
Yes.

My parents do not help me with my college costs. Am I considered independent? What are the criteria for independence for FAFSA purposes?
For the 2017-18 academic year, you’re considered an independent student only if at least one of the following criteria applies to you:

  • You were born before January 1, 1992
  • You’re married as of the day you apply (or you’re separated but not divorced)
  • You have children who receive more than half their support from you
  • You have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half their support from you at the time you apply
  • Both your parents are deceased, you are (or were until age 18) a ward or dependent of the court, or are in legal guardianship
  • You’re a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces or are currently on active duty
  • You are homeless or at risk for homelessness

I would be considered a dependent student, but I have no contact with my parents. What do I do about reporting their income?
In unusual cases, a financial aid administrator can review documentation of specific circumstances and change your dependency status. Questions about specific circumstances that could result in an override of the dependency requirements should be addressed to a Financial Aid staff member.

I am planning to move off-campus (or move home and commute). How will that impact my financial aid?
After approval by the Office of Residential Life, your cost of attendance (which is based upon living on campus) will be changed to reflect your off-campus/commuter status. The amount of your Hartwick Grant, if applicable, will be reduced by $1,500/year (prorated for the portion of the year for which the change is in effect).

I want to move off-campus to save money. What do I do?
You must first apply for an exception with the Financial Aid Office. The deadline to apply for Special Accommodations Housing for 2017-18 is February 1, 2017. The Residential Life and Housing Office makes the final determination.

What is the difference between the subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans?
While both are federal loans in the student’s name, for the subsidized Stafford, the U.S. Department of Education pays interest while the borrower is in school. In the case of an unsubsidized Stafford, the borrower is responsible for interest during the life of the loan; financial need is not a requirement. Repayment begins six months after graduation or the student leaves school.

What are my options if my parent is denied a Federal PLUS Loan?
Denial of a federal parent PLUS Loan entitles the student to borrow an additional Stafford loan as an unsubsidized amount up to $4,000 for first- and second-year students and $5,000 for third- and fourth-year students. Other options include alternative student loans (with a credit-worthy cosigner) and the Tuition Payment Plan.

What is full-time status for financial aid purposes?
Students are considered full-time if they take a minimum of 12 credit-hours in the fall and 12 credit-hours for J Term/spring combined. Students who wish to drop a course and fall below full-time status after the add-drop period has ended should contact the Financial Aid Office for guidance.

I received a scholarship from the Elks, Kiwanis, Dollars for Scholars, Datatel, etc. How are these outside scholarships applied to my financial aid?
Generally speaking, outside scholarships reduce loans, both parent and student, to cover the cost of attendance. When we receive notification of receipt of an outside scholarship, we usually reduce the parent loan or alternative student loan first, then other student loans. In most cases, these scholarships are intended to meet financial need; students may lose federal eligibility for programs such as Work-Study and/or Subsidized Stafford Loan (part or all of the Subsidized Stafford amount may be moved into the Unsubsidized Stafford Loan program) or Hartwick gift aid if the total cost of attendance is exceeded. Hartwick will also reduce its scholarship assistance if outside awards stipulate that they may be applied only to tuition and cause tuition to be overfunded by a combination of Hartwick merit scholarships, New York State TAP, and the outside award.

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