What Is Financial Aid?
Simply stated, financial aid is any grant, scholarship, or loan, offered for the express purpose of helping a student meet education-related expenses. Grants/scholarships are regarded as gift assistance and generally need not be repaid. Loans are borrowed money, offered at various interest rates, which must be repaid over an extended period after the student leaves college or drops to less than half-time enrollment. Funding for financial aid programs is provided by the federal government, state government, and private organizations and individuals.
More detailed information and applications are available at the Student Financial Aid Office located in Bladen Hall, Room 121. The office is open between 8:30 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and from 12:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. on Friday. Students may also call 301-546-0822 during these hours. Extended hours are available during peak registration periods for the fall and spring semesters.
What Is Financial Need?
Many financial programs, most notably federal student financial aid programs, are awarded to students based on their financial need. Financial need is the difference between the cost of attendance at Prince George's Community College (PGCC) and the student’s and/or their family’s ability to pay. (Cost of attendance includes tuition, fees, books and supplies, transportation, and miscellaneous expenses.) The ability to pay, called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), is determined by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. The information reported on the application for aid is used in a formula established by the U.S. Congress that calculates the EFC.
How to Apply for Financial Aid
The first step in applying for financial aid is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The application may be completed electronically at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Follow the steps and instructions on the website. Be sure to create an FSA ID, which is a username and password that must be used to log in to most U.S. Department of Education websites. Your FSA ID confirms your identity when you access your financial aid information, and it allows you to electronically sign Federal Student Aid documents.
The FAFSA must be completed once each academic year in which financial aid is requested. In addition to completing the FAFSA, the student (and his or her parents, if dependent) may be required to provide additional information to verify their eligibility to receive financial aid. The additional information may include copies of student, parent, and/or spouse tax return transcripts; proof of citizenship or high school graduation; and any other documents needed to ensure that the student meets all eligibility requirements.
Financial Aid Application Deadlines
Students who want to be assured that their paperwork will be processed in a timely way during a given semester must have all applications and required documents on file in the Student Financial Aid Office by the following priority deadlines:
- March 1 - To apply for financial aid and to be considered for Maryland State Scholarships (Maryland residents only);
- April 1 - For financial aid needed by the beginning of the fall semester; and
- November 1 - For financial aid needed in time for the spring semester.
Students whose complete paperwork fails to reach the Financial Aid Office by the priority deadlines should be prepared to pay tuition and fees themselves. Such payments may later be reimbursed once eligibility for aid has been determined and aid has been authorized.
Students’ Rights and Responsibilities
The institution, supported by the board of trustees, guarantees to all students at Prince George's Community College certain rights and responsibilities subject to college policies and regulations. The college president is authorized to make, promulgate, issue, rescind, and amend reasonable rules, regulations, and procedures, to carry out this policy, which was adopted June 8, 1978.
- Each student shall have the right of free inquiry, expression, assembly, and advocacy.
- Students, while in the classroom, shall exercise their rights of free inquiry, expression, assembly, and advocacy, in a manner that is relevant to the subject matter of the instructional program and to the right of the instructor to maintain order and have authority over the conduct of the class.
- Each student shall be free to form and join organizations for legal purposes.
- Students may, individually and through representative organizations, express views on matters of instructional policy and issues of interest to the student body.
- The rights of students to a student press that is free of censorship are guaranteed.
- Students shall meet the obligations of responsible journalism in the student press.
- Students shall have the right to participate on committees responsible for recommendations that impact the allocation of funds derived from student fees.
- Competent instruction, relevant to the subject matter at the times and places assigned for each course, shall be provided to all students.
- Each student shall have the right to fair and unbiased academic evaluations, based upon defined course-appropriate criteria. That criteria shall be set forth in writing and distributed by the instructor at the beginning of each course.
- Students shall be able to take reasoned exception to the data or views offered in any course of instruction, and shall reserve judgment about matters of opinion.
- The institution guarantees the rights of students to participate in the evaluation of faculty performances.
- Students shall be responsible for meeting the established requirements of the course(s) in which they are enrolled.
- The institution guarantees protection against improper disclosure of information pertinent to students’ views, beliefs, political associations, academic evaluations, and educational records, without the express written consent or permission of the student concerned.
- Students have the right to due process in disciplinary proceedings, as prescribed in the Prince George’s Community College Code of Conduct.
- Students shall be responsible for complying with policies, rules, procedures, and regulations governing student conduct as well as college operations.
For more information about student rights and responsibilities, contact the Office of the Vice President for Student Services. Stop by the office at Kent Hall, Room 119, or call 301-546-0412.