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Financial Aid FAQ's

Last updated on Feb 03, 2023

1.) Why does my total estimate FA not equal the Cost of Attendance? What do I do about the difference?

Financial Aid awards students up to their full federal student loan eligibility. If you are a dependent undergraduate student, you will also be awarded with a set amount of a Parent Plus loan based on other criteria in your award package. However, you and your parents have the ability to increase the Parent Plus loan up to the full Cost of Attendance, minus all other aid awarded. If you are not eligible for the Parent Plus loan, or do not wish to borrow it, you can seek out private educational loans using ElmSelect or sign up for a payment plan by contacting Student Accounts.

2.) How do I increase my Parent / Graduate PLUS Loan?

Parent PLUS and Graduate PLUS loans require an approved plus loan application in order for us to award students with an actual award.

  • If your loan application was approved for the maximum loan amount, please send in an email to our office at to make an increase request in your PLUS loan (For Parent PLUS loan, please have the parent who was approved for the loan contact out office).
  • If your loan application was approved for the specified loan amount, please complete another PLUS loan application through

*Please note, the maximum amount of the loan cannot exceed cost of attendance minus other financial aid offered. If you need assistance with the amount needed to cover your bill, please contact Student Accounts.

3.) I have provisional awards. What does that mean?

If you have been selected for a process called Verification by the Department of Ed, all of your need based aid will appear on your award letter as provisional. This means that based on your submitted FAFSA, you are currently eligible for the anticipated awards you see on your award letter. However, they are subject to change based on the documentation requested through the verification process.

  • For Parent or Graduate PLUS loans, these awards are also initially in provisional status because you can decide how much you want to borrow and will need to apply for the loan with the Department of Education at Once we receive your approved PLUS loan application decision from the Department of Education, the status will change from "provisional" to "accepted".

4.) When do I need to pay my bill, and how do I know exactly what I owe?

All Billing information and questions should be directed to Student Accounts.

5.) Are there any other scholarship resources available?

The Financial Aid Office has provided a page of Additional Aid Resources for you to see sources of funding that are outside of the college. This page is updated at least once per month. Please be sure to check here often for new updates.

6.) My family situation has changed since we filed taxes two years ago. How do I provide updated information to your office?

All students who have had a recent change in family finances or who may have some other information they wish to share with our office for review are encouraged to complete a Financial Aid Petition. Typically, petitions can take up to 14 business days to review and are not a guarantee of additional funding.

7.) After I receive my award letter, what are the next steps I need to take and when?

After you review your award letter, log into Workday and accept or reject your awards. If you accept the loans offered, please be sure to visit to complete your Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Entrance Counseling session.

8.) I only need to take (less than full-time) units to graduate. How does that affect my financial aid?

Financial aid is awarded under the assumption that you are enrolled full time according to your program. If you elect to enroll in less than full-time units, you may not be eligible for your financial aid. Be sure to inquire with the Financial Aid Office and Academic Advising if you are planning on enrolling in less than full time units.

9.) Can you explain the difference between Subsidized, Unsubsidized, and PLUS loans? Do I have to accept the full amount of the loans offered?

Please visit our Education Loan Programs page for detailed information on the different types of loans available. Also note, you are not required to take the full amount of loans offered to you.

10.) I was awarded Federal Work-Study. How do I get placed in a work study position, and is the amount I was awarded just applied to my tuition?

Work-Study awards are not a guarantee of funds. The award amount is an average of what students earn through work across the college collectively. Work-Study cannot be applied directly against tuition; however, you can use them toward your payment plan after you earn the funds through paychecks. After enrollment begins at CCA, you will be granted access to our internal online job board in the Workday, where you can search for and apply for open work study positions.

11.) What is an IRS Tax Return Transcript and how can I receive a copy of it?

An IRS Tax Return Transcript shows most line items including AGI (Adjusted Gross Income) from an original tax return (Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ) as filed, along with any forms and schedules. You may be required to submit this document to our office if you are selected for a review process called Verification or have any conflicting information on your FAFSA.

  • IRS Tax Return Transcript can be requested through the IRS website here.

12.) What is the Cal Grant and how do I apply?

Information can be found on Cal Grant page and also also on the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) website. If you appear to be Cal Grant eligible, you will be awarded the Estimated Cal Grant, meaning we need to verify your eligibility with CSAC before we can confirm your Cal Grant status. Students may be able to confirm their Cal Grant eligibility even before we verify with CSAC. To determine your Cal Grant eligibility, please check your WebGrants 4 Students account.

  • Should it be determined you are not Cal Grant eligible, your financial aid package will be decreased, and we will send you a revised award letter.

13.) How will changing from a dependent student to independent student change my financial aid?

Changing of dependency status may increase the amount of student loans you can borrow, but it eliminates your parent plus loan eligibility. Dependency status is determined by age or other status as defined by the federal government.

  • Moving out of your primary home or attending college without the support of parents does NOT qualify you as an independent student alone. Please contact our office if you have additional questions.

14.) How do I apply for private loans?

If you are seeking additional private educational loan funding, please visit Alternative Loans on CCA Portal to research credit based loan options for students and in some cases parents to assist their students.

15.) When and how do I start making payments to my loans?

Loan repayment begins 6 months after you graduate or drop below ½ time enrollment. Your enrollment is reported to your loan servicers automatically, and they will reach out to you directly once you are nearing your first repayment date.