Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA)
You never know if you could qualify for federal grant funding to pay for college, so always apply. Pursue all institutional scholarships or aid first – even the smallest amount of assistance can make a difference.
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Applying for Federal Student Aid
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) can be completed as early as October 1st of each year for the school year that begins the following August. Applicants must file the FAFSA to apply for federal and state aid. You can submit the application online at www.studentaid.gov/fafsa.
Texarkana College’s FAFSA code is 003628.
Criteria for Receiving Aid
FAFSAs are sent to the Department of Education and evaluated before being received by individual colleges. Please remember that you must list Texarkana College (School Code 003628) as one of the schools you want your FAFSA sent to in order for us to get it.
To be eligible for federal student aid a student must:
- demonstrate financial need (according to the federal government’s evaluation formula)
- have a high school diploma or a G.E.D.
- be enrolled as a degree or certificates seeking student in an eligible program
- be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen
- have a valid social security number
- make satisfactory academic progress toward their degree (i.e. make acceptable grades and completion)
- not owe a repayment on a federal or state grant
- not be in default on a federal Student loan
Documents Needed for Application
- Social Security Number
- Driver’s License Number (if you have one)
- Alien Registration Number (if you are non a US citizen)
- W2 Forms
- Federal Income Tax Return (1040) from the prior year
- Other untaxed income amounts (e.g. child support, workers’ compensation, payments to tax deferred pension, savings plan, etc.)
- Knowledge of your current cash, checking, and savings amounts, as well as the value of other investments such as bonds or rental properties you own.
Once your FAFSA reaches TC
Once the FAFSA is received by Texarkana College, we will contact you by email letting you know if any additional paperwork is needed to process your financial aid file. (Current students may also check this information on their myTC student portal by going to the tab labeled “Financial Aid.”) About a third of students are selected by the federal government for a double-check of some of the information listed on their FAFSA application; this process is called “verification.” Students may also be manually selected for verification by Texarkana College if we notice discrepancies in your FAFSA answers. Not all students are required to undergo verification, so please do not submit any paperwork unless we request it.
Once your file is completely processed (including verification, if required), a financial aid award notification will appear in your financial aid account. Once you read and accept the terms and conditions for financial aid, your financial aid award will be finalized, and it can be used to pay your tuition or buy books/supplies in the TC Book Store.
When you submit the FAFSA on the Web, the federal government may select your financial aid application for a process called “verification.” This means the Department of Education requires our office to determine the accuracy of the information provided on your FAFSA by double-checking some of your answers. If you receive this notification, please complete the following steps in compliance with Federal guidelines.
If all of your verification documents are turned in prior to the priority deadline, the Financial Aid Office guarantees that your classes will be held until we can complete the verification process to finalize your aid. If you turn in any documents after the priority deadline, we can make no such guarantee, and you must make payment arrangements with the Business Office to secure your classes. Once your verification process is completed and you receive a financial aid award, you can use the financial aid funds to pay yourself back for your tuition expenses.
Verification requirements can vary widely from person to person depending on what information the federal government asks us to double-check. Some students merely need to turn in a verification worksheet confirming the number of people in their household or submit a valid government photo ID. In other cases, students may need to submit full tax information for the previous year. All verification requirements will be viewable on your myTC student account once your FAFSA has been received by the college. Any items you need to turn in will show as a red flag under the top-center area of the Financial Aid tab.
Please note that if you are required to submit tax information, the IRS 1040 (A/EZ) form that you submit to the government is not acceptable documentation according to federal financial aid regulations. Instead, you must submit a tax return transcript (which is the version of your tax form the IRS can give back to you once your taxes have been processed) or complete the IRS Data Retrieval.
What is the IRS Data Retrieval?
The IRS Data Retrieval is a feature of FAFSA on the web, which links your FAFSA with your already filed federal tax information through the IRS. You may update your FAFSA by linking to your federal taxes and pulling your tax data directly from the IRS ‘auto-filling” the tax portion of your FAFSA. Taxes submitted electronically require 2-3 weeks before they can be requested. If they were submitted by paper, they will require up to 8 weeks. If you do not wish to complete the IRS Data retrieval and are required for verification, you must contact the IRS to request a copy of student and/or parent’s IRS tax transcript to provide to The Office of Financial Aid (See below, “Requesting an IRS transcript”).
View Instructions for IRS Data Retrieval from the Helpdesk.
Requesting an IRS Transcript
- On the IRS website choose “Get Transcript of Your Tax Records”.
- Select “Get Transcript by MAIL” and follow the prompts.
Alternately, call 1-800-908-9946 to request a transcript or submit a written form using the IRS form 4506T-EZ.
- Enter your information and request a “Return Transcript” for the proper year. Note: Do NOT select “Account Transcript”.
- Once you receive your transcript (within 5 to 10 days), submit it to the Office of Financial Aid for verification.
What if I Cannot Complete the IRS Data Retrieval?
If you cannot complete Step 1 (above), you may request an IRS transcript and submit it to the Financial Aid Office. You must request an IRS transcript if:
- You (or your parent) did not use the IRS Data Retrieval Process either at initial FAFSA filing or through subsequent corrections.
- You changed information after using the IRS Data retrieval process.
- Your tax status is “Married, filing separately.”
- Your parents filed separate tax returns.
- You (or your parent) had a change in marital status after the end of the tax year on December 31.
- You (or your parent) filed an amended tax return.
- You filed taxes outside the U.S.
Financial aid regulations assume that the family has primary responsibility for meeting the educational costs of attending college. If you are considered a dependent student, your aid eligibility is determined by using parent income and asset information in addition to your information. Dependent students are required by law to provide parental information and signatures to be considered for financial aid.
A student may be considered independent if he or she:
- will be 24 or older by Dec. 31 of the school year for which financial aid is sought
- since turning age 13, was in foster care, a ward or dependent of the court and/or an orphan (both parents deceased).
- is a veteran of the United States Armed Forces or currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training.
- is married or separated.
- is providing significant financial support to dependents other than a spouse.
- is determined by a court in the state of legal residence as being an emancipated minor or in legal guardianship.
- are deemed to be a homeless unaccompanied youth or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless.
Federal regulations allow the financial aid office to use professional judgment to change dependency status to “independent” on a case-by-case basis. The student must demonstrate that there is an unusual circumstance other than the fact that the student is self-sufficient or that the parents are unwilling to contribute to the student’s education. If you do not meet any of the above criteria but you believe that you should be considered independent because of truly exceptional circumstances making it inappropriate to expect a parental contribution, you may petition for a waiver of federal regulations requiring parental information. Examples of unusual circumstances are situations such as when a student’s parents cannot be located, or where an otherwise dependent student has been a victim of domestic violence or abuse and is no longer able to reside with his or her parents.
Federal Regulations have identified four conditions that, individually or in combination with one another, do not qualify as “unusual circumstances” and do not merit a dependency override. Those circumstances are:
- Parents refusing to contribute to the student’s education;
- Parents unwilling to provide information on the application or for verification
- Parents not claiming the students as a dependent for income tax purposes
- Student demonstrating total self-sufficiency.
In order to petition for independent status, please submit the Petition for Independent Status Form with supporting documents to the Financial Aid Office.
Learn more from the US Department of Education Financial Aid website.
We recognize that certain situations and events can affect a family’s ability to pay for college, and it is important that you make us aware of unusual financial circumstances that you believe are not reflected accurately on your FAFSA results. If your 2023-24 Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is currently zero, you are already receiving the maximum possible financial aid award, and this review will not result in additional funds. Please understand that we have limits on what we can do, but we will look at your individual situation carefully and thoughtfully.
Here are a few examples of situations we can consider in a Special Circumstance review:
- Marital status change such as separation, divorce, death of a spouse/parent
- An involuntary loss of employment
- A loss of financial benefit such as Social Security, workers comp, military, child support, etc.
- Significant out-of-pocket medical or dental expenses
Here are a few examples of situations we won’t consider in a Special Circumstance review:
- Voluntarily quitting a job
- Consumer debt
- Refusal of a parent to provide financial support to the applicant/student
- Anything that “might happen” in the future
Special Circumstance reviews are not a guarantee of financial aid and may not result in an increase or change in award(s). Financial Aid reserves the right to request additional documentation when considering a Special Circumstance.
If any of the criteria above applies to you, we encourage you to reach out to us by visiting the Financial Aid Office or calling us at 903-823-3267 and asking to speak with a full-time staff member.
All students who apply for financial aid are assigned a “Cost of Attendance budget” based on their FAFSA or TASFA answers. This is not a bill, and the items in the budget are not necessarily something students are being directly charged by Texarkana College. Instead, it is an informed estimate of how much each of these college-related expenses might be for a student in your major, with the number of classes you have signed up for, over the course of the entire school year.
This budget serves two purposes. It is provided to students who might want that information to help them budget for out-of-pocket expenses, and the combined budget amount also serves as the “ceiling” for the total combined dollar amount of grants, scholarships, student loans, need-based work-study employment, and other financial aid that we are allowed to offer you.
The Cost of Attendance budget already includes most common school-related expenses, but there are some that only apply to some students and are not automatically assigned to all students. If you request it and provide documentation, Texarkana College can increase the size of your financial aid budget if you have any of the following expenses:
- Dependent care (childcare) costs
- Study abroad expenses
- Cooperative education costs
- Disability-related expenses that are paid for out-of-pocket by the student (and not provided by other agencies)
- Unusually expensive vehicle repair costs (NOT including the purchase of or payments toward a new or “new-to-you” vehicle)
Keep in mind that simply increasing your budget does not necessarily increase the amount of financial aid you qualify for or will receive. If you think of your cost of attendance budget as a bucket and your financial aid funding as water, a budget increase results in bigger bucket but does not create more water (financial aid). However, the extra budget room may prove helpful to some students who have these expenses if they plan to take out student loans, especially if they are enrolled part-time rather than full-time (i.e. below 12 credit hours).
Please note that Texarkana College never automatically includes student loans as part of a financial aid award, but they may be requested. If you think you may need a student loan to finance your education, please contact us at 903-823-3267 or in person at the Texarkana College Financial Aid Office to schedule a loan advising seminar for new borrowers to get full details and to begin the loan application process.