Financial Aid FAQs & Advice

Am I considered an independent or dependent student on the FAFSA?

Your answers to specific questions on the FAFSA determine your dependency status.  This graphic and video explain the dependency questions on the FAFSA.

When will I receive my financial aid refund?

Accepted Financial Aid Awards in excess of tuition and fees will be refunded to the student beginning approximately one month after the start of the semester and weekly thereafter. Enroll in BC3 EZ-Refund, an EZ way to receive tuition and/or financial aid refunds

If my parents are divorced or separated, whose financial information should be used on my FAFSA?

If your parents are divorced or separated and do not live together, answer the questions about the parent with whom you lived with the most during the last 12 months. If you lived with both parents the same amount of time, answer for the parent who provided the most financial support during the last 12 months.
Federal Student Aid Programs explains who is considered your “parents.” If you are still unsure how to answer this question, feel free to follow up with the BC3 Financial Aid Office.

Do I have to reapply for financial aid every year?

Yes. The FAFSA is available for the next academic year (Fall, Spring, Summer) beginning January 1. To meet the Pennsylvania State Grant deadline, you must file your FAFSA every year by May 1 for the next academic year.

How do I apply for a Pennsylvania State Grant?

To be considered for a Pennsylvania State Grant you must complete a FAFSA, then complete the state grant application online. Learn more.

What is the difference between subsidized and unsubsidized loans?

A subsidized loan is when the government waives or “subsidizes” your interest while you are in school. An unsubsidized loan is when interest accrues on your loan while you are in school. You have to qualify for a subsidized loan based on information from your FAFSA and your cost of attending school.

Student Loans - How do I apply for a student loan?

You must complete a Federal Direct Stafford Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Entrance Counseling after you submit your FAFSA. Please visit the BC3 Loans Page for step-by-step application instructions.

How much am I eligible for from the student loan program?

Annual Federal Maximum Limits
(Total for Fall, Spring, & Summer)
    Grade Level 1 (0-29 credits earned)   $5,500    If eligible, no more than $3,500 of this may be subsidized
    Grade Level 2 (30+ credits earned)    $6,500    If eligible, no more than $4,500 of this may be subsidized
    Grade Level 1 (0-29 credits earned)    $9,500       If eligible, no more than $3,500 of this may be subsidized
    Grade Level 2 (30+ credits earned)     $10,500      If eligible, no more than $4,500 of this may be subsidized
Visit the BC3 Loans Page for more information.

What is verification?

Verification is the process the Department of Education uses to check your FAFSA for accuracy.

What steps do I need to take to complete verification?

If your FAFSA is selected for verification, BC3 will request documentation through your BC3 email. Your financial aid cannot be completed until you return all completed documentation to the Financial Aid office. Be sure to check your email and follow up with the BC3 Financial Aid Office for updates.

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

No. Certain programs award at any enrollment level. However, the Pennsylvania State Grant, Student Loans, SEOG Grant and federal work-study program require you to enroll at 6 or more credits for the semester.

In addition to grants, what other options do I have?

What should I do if I do not receive my financial aid?

If you do not receive your financial aid award, you should follow up with the Financial Aid Office immediately at 724-284-8509 or You can view the status of your financial aid awards anytime here.

What if I am transferring to a different school?

If you transfer to a different school, you will need to do four things:
  1. Contact the BC3 Financial Aid Office and have them cancel your financial aid for the next term.
  2. Add your new school to your FAFSA.
  3. Change your school with PHEAA.
  4. Complete Exit Counseling (if you have student loans).

What is Work-Study?

The federal work-study program provides part-time employment to students to help them pay for school expenses while learning job skills related to their program of study.
Student have to qualify based on information on their FAFSA and the cost of attending school.
Learn more.

How do I apply for Work-Study?

You can apply for a work-study job online.

How can I receive help paying for my books?

Book Allowance is available to students who have financial aid awards in excess of their tuition and fees. If you qualify for Book Allowance, you will receive an email notification in your BC3 email.
Additionally, the BC3 Bookstore has several options for purchasing your text books.

Can my financial aid award change?

Yes. Your financial aid awards will change if you make adjustments to your schedule. Additionally, loans and work-study awards will be adjusted if you receive later awards from other sources.

What is Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)?

The BC3 Financial Aid Office is required to establish a policy that monitors a student’s “progression” toward successfully completing a degree. 

What if I have to completely withdrawal from school?

If you have to completely withdraw from school, you should contact the registration office right away to go over your options.  
In addition, the BC3 Financial Aid Office is required to recalculate your awards if you completely withdraw after receiving financial aid.

What if I have unusual circumstances?

If you feel you have mitigating or unusual circumstances, contact the BC3 Financial Aid Office right away to discuss your situation. We may be able to provide alternative options.

But, my friend told me….  Why is this not true for me?

The BC3 Financial Aid Office is committed to assuring equal education and employment rights for all persons without regard to race, color, religious creed, ancestry, national origin, handicap or disability, sexual orientation, age or gender. With this being said, each student’s family and income situation is unique. Additionally, several factors including award eligibility criteria and timing of completed application information can cause variables between student’s financial aid awards.
Any questions or concerns regarding your award package should be addressed to the Financial Aid Office.

Where can I find additional information about financial aid?

Student Aid and PHEAA provide additional information about federal and state financial aid programs. Follow Student Aid on Facebook and Twitter and PHEAA on Facebook and Twitter for important updates.