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What is financial aid?

Financial aid is money provided by various agencies (federal, state and local governments, colleges or universities, community organizations and private corporations or individuals) to assist students in meeting the cost of attending college. It includes gift-aid (grants and scholarships) and self-help aid (loans, which must be repaid, and student employment).

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How is my eligibility determined?

When you file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at, the government uses this information to determine how much you and your parent(s), if a dependent, will be able to contribute toward your college expenses. You will then be considered for all federal and some state aid administered by the Lakeland Financial Aid Office. One or more types of aid are awarded to make up the financial aid package.

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Do I need to be a full-time student to receive financial aid?

No. The amount of financial aid awarded is determined, in part, by the number of credit hours in which you are enrolled, but you do not have to be full-time (12 credit hours) to receive financial aid. You must be enrolled in six or more credit hours to receive a student loan. The loan amount that you borrow could be affected by attending less than full-time enrollment. If you are eligible for grant funds, your award is adjusted based on your level of enrollment.

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What is the Expected Family Contribution?

Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is an index number determined by the information submitted on the FAFSA. This number helps the Lakeland Financial Aid Office determine what aid we can offer you. Factors used to determine a family's contribution include the wages, adjusted gross income and untaxed income from two years prior to the application year, as well as current assets, marital status, family size and number of individuals in the family attending college.

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How is financial need determined?

Financial need is determined by the difference in the Cost of Attendance (COA) and the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

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How do I get my books?

If you have authorized (via the Authorization Form PDF) your financial aid for use other than tuition, you may be eligible to charge your books to your account using your excess financial aid. The charges will then be applied to your tuition account. The system is updated on a nightly basis as aid is processed and book charges are assessed. To see if you may be eligible to charge your books to your account, check your account via myLakeland. If a credit appears on your account, you may be able to use these funds in the bookstore.

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I receive no help from my parents and live on my own. Does that qualify me as an independent student?

Not necessarily. In order to be considered an independent student for financial aid purposes, one or more of the following statements must pertain to you:

  • I am 24 years of age or will be turning 24 within the year I am completing the FAFSA.
  • I am married (as of the date FAFSA is completed).
  • I am currently pursuing a master's or doctoral degree.
  • I am a qualified veteran of the U.S. military or currently serving on active duty in the U.S. armed forces for purposes other than training.
  • I have children who receive more than half of their support from me within the applicable aid year.
  • I have dependents (other than my children or spouse) who live with me and who receive more than half of their support from me during the applicable aid year.
  • I am/was an orphan (both parents deceased) or ward of the court or in foster care after turning age 13, or I was a ward of the court until age 18*.
  • I have/had a legal guardian other than my biological/step-parents*.
  • I am/was an emancipated minor, as determined by my state of legal residence*.
  • I am/was an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or at risk of being homeless*.

If you cannot answer "yes" to any of these statements and you feel there are circumstances that warrant you to be an independent student, call the Lakeland Financial Aid Office or stop by the Lakeland Student Service Center to discuss your options.

*You may be required to provide documentation to the Lakeland Financial Aid Office.

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I have a bachelor's degree. May I still apply for financial aid?

Students with bachelor's degrees may still apply for the Federal Work-Study Program, Federal Direct Subsidized Loan and Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan. Students are not eligible for the Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant or state grants once a bachelor's degree is earned.

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What is verification?

The U.S. Department of Education selects some FAFSA applicants for a process called verification. If you are selected, you will be asked to submit a worksheet(s) and/or an IRS Tax Return Transcript to verify the information on the FAFSA is accurate. Spouse or parents' information and other documents may also be requested. Verification must be completed before aid eligibility can be determined.

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How long does the verification process take?

Once all requested documentation has been submitted to Lakeland, it can take 7-10 business days to review this information. You will be notified through your Lakeland email account when the process is completed and if you have been awarded financial aid.

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I am divorced/separated. What should I include on the FAFSA?

Students who are divorced or legally separated at the time the FAFSA is being completed should not include their partner's income on the FAFSA. For more information on detailed or complicated questions, contact the Lakeland Financial Aid Office or stop by the Lakeland Student Service Center.

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I was recently married. Do I have to include my spouse's income on the FAFSA?

Yes. You should include your spouse's information on the FAFSA if you are married at the time the application is completed. If separate federal income tax returns were filed, combine the adjusted gross incomes from the tax returns and include them on the appropriate line of the FAFSA. Do the same for the amount of taxes paid and other financial amounts.

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What if I lost my job or have other special circumstances?

The Lakeland Financial Aid Office can take into account special circumstances that may affect your need. These may include loss of income due to layoff, disability, divorce, separation or loss of untaxed benefits. You can obtain a Change of Circumstance form from the Student Service Center.

NOTE: Not all requests for change of circumstance result in a change to your award.

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Can I get financial aid for the summer semester?

Yes. You should complete the FAFSA by March 1 of each year in order to have your aid ready for the summer. After you register for summer courses, your financial aid will automatically be repackaged to include funds for summer session.

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What is Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)?

Satisfactory Academic Progress is a federal policy that the school is required to enforce to ensure that you are making satisfactory progress toward your degree. View Lakeland's Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy (PDF).

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What if I need to change my address?

If your address changes, you need to immediately notify the college. You can update your address by submitting a Student Record Change form available at the Lakeland Student Service Center. If you are a loan borrower, you should also update your contact information with your loan servicer. You can determine your loan servicer by logging into the National Student Loan Data System.

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Do I have to apply for financial aid every year?

Yes. The new application becomes available Oct. 1 of every year. The earlier you submit the FAFSA, the less stressed you will be when it comes time for tuition to be due!

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When should I complete the FAFSA?

The new application becomes available Oct. 1 of every year. The earlier you submit the FAFSA, the less stressed you will be when it comes time for tuition to be due!

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How can I check the status of my financial aid?

Students are welcome to call the Lakeland Financial Aid Office. Student requirements, financial aid status, and award information can also be viewed through myLakeland under the Financial Aid tab, which is located under myRECORDS. You are also encouraged to visit the Lakeland Student Service Center for assistance with financial aid as well as any admissions or registration questions.

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What if I receive more financial aid than the cost of tuition?

If you have excess money after tuition and fees are paid, you can be issued a refund. You can choose to receive your refund via direct deposit by signing up for eRefunds through your myLakeland account. If you choose not to receive your refund electronically, a check will automatically be issued and sent to the address on file with the college.

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What will happen to my financial aid if I drop a class or just stop attending?

Attendance and academic performance are important. Withdrawing or ceasing attendance before the 60 percent point of the term will cause you to owe the college and/or the U.S. Department of Education money. You will also jeopardize your future eligibility for financial aid. Please contact the Lakeland Financial Aid Office or visit the Lakeland Student Service Center before any withdrawal so that you may be made aware of the potential impact of your decision.

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How will I be contacted concerning my financial aid?

The Lakeland Financial Aid Office will contact you through your Lakeland email through your myLakeland account.

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What is the federal school code for Lakeland Community College?

Lakeland's school code is 006804. This code is needed for Lakeland to electronically receive the results of your eligibility from FAFSA.

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What is an FSA ID?

The FSA ID is a username and password that you must create. Your FSA ID allows students and parents to electronically sign the FAFSA application and Direct Loan promissory notes. Your FSA ID will also be used to log in to the National Student Loan Data System and

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How much does it cost to attend Lakeland?

Visit our tuition and fees page for more information about the cost to attend Lakeland.

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Does Lakeland have a tuition loan payment plan?

Yes. View our tuition loan payment plan information.

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Should I join the tuition loan payment plan if I am expecting financial aid but it has not been processed by the tuition due deadline?

Yes, if your financial aid is not on your account and you have not signed up for the tuition payment plan by the tuition due deadline, you will be dropped from your classes for non-payment.


Get more answers to your financial aid questions: But nobody told me... (PDF)

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