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Home > Student Services > Financial Aid > Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

What is FAFSA?

FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.  The FREE application is available at

How is the FAFSA used to determine my financial aid need?

The federal government uses data provided on the FAFSA to calculate a student's Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The Financial Aid Office calculates a student's cost of attendance which includes tuition, living expenses, miscellaneous fees, books, etc.

The cost of attendance minus EFC equals a student's financial need which we then try to meet with federal grants, state grants, academic or talent scholarships, federal work study, and various loans.

What is EFC?

EFC is Expected Family Contribution.  It is an index that Orange Coast College will use to determine how much financial aid you would receive if you were to attend the school. 

The EFC is not the amount of money that your family must pay for school.

How much money can I get if I apply for financial aid?

The maximum Awards for a full-time student with a 0 EFC is:

  • Pell Grant $5920 per year
  • Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) $500 per year
  • Subsidized Stafford Loan for a first year student is $3500
  • Work study allocations usually begin around $2,000 per year
  • CalGrant B $1670 per year
  • CalGrant C $547 per year
  • Full-Time Student Success Grant (FTSSG) $600 per year

If I get a loan, do I have to pay it back?

Yes. Payments for student loans begin once a student leaves school for six months (or falls below half-time enrollment for six months).

Do I have to reapply for financial aid every year?


If I withdraw from all my courses after I've received student financial aid, do I need to repay any of the funds?

 If a student withdraws before 60% of course completion from all courses, yes, there is a possibility that you will need to repay funds.

Please check with the Financial Aid office before withdrawing from courses.

Are there any forms to fill out besides the FAFSA?

All students have the possibility of being selected for a verification process. Once a student completes the FAFSA, they will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR). On that SAR, the student will be informed that they are selected for verification.

What is the deadline for filing the FAFSA (i.e. applying for financial aid)?

The FAFSA is available October 1st through June 30th of the following year. You can apply for FAFSA anytime during this time frame.

What date do I need to remember for Orange Coast College?
March 2nd is the priority deadline for processing FAFSA, Cal Grants, and work study.

How do I apply for work-study?

Students interested in work-study must complete the FAFSA and indicate "Yes" on Question 31 to say they are interested in work-study.  Students who complete their financial aid file by March 2nd and have the highest financial need will be offered the award first. 

Do I have to go to school full-time to receive Financial Aid?

No. If your Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) is 0, then you will receive financial aid even if you take a single unit. 

Federal Work Study Students should at least be enrolled in 6 units per semester while working.

State aid requires you should at least be enrolled in 6 units for the CalGrant and 12 units for the Fulltime Student Success Grant (FTSSG).

If I'm eligible for aid, how often will I receive money?

Generally, grant recipients receive two disbursements per semester.

One disbursement comes at the beginning of the term and one disbursement comes at the middle of the term. 

Loan recipients usually get two disbursements a year, one in fall and one in spring.

College Work Study students are paid once a month.

How does the freeze date for enrollment status affect my financial aid?

Financial aid disbursements will not be adjusted up or down or expected to be paid back if classes are withdrawn after this date

Do I have to maintain a certain academic standard in school to receive Federal Financial Aid?

Yes. For each semester that you receive aid you will need to complete a certain number of units with a minimum GPA of at least 2.0. 

In addition, you need to maintain an overall completion rate (i.e. BOG fee waiver at least 50% and Pell Grant at least 67%) and an overall GPA of at least 2.0. (This is called maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress).

Do I qualify as an independent student?

Students qualify as independent if they can answer YES to at least one of the following questions:

  • Will you be 24 or older by December 31st of the school year for which you are applying for financial aid?
  • Are you working toward a Master's or Doctorate degree?
  • Are you married or separated but not divorced?
  • Do you have children who receive more than half of their support from you?
  • Do you have dependents that live with you and receive more than half of their support from you?
  • At any time since you turned 13, were both of your parents deceased, were you in foster care, or were you a ward or dependent of the court?
  • Are you an emancipated minor or are you in a legal guardianship as determined by a court?
  • Are you an unaccompanied youth who is homeless or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?
  • Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. armed forces for purposes other than training?
  • Are you a veteran of the U.S. armed forces?

If you did not answer yes to any of the above questions, you are most likely a dependent student and must provide parental information on the FAFSA.

If I am living away from my parents, am I considered to be independent?

Not necessarily. Applicants under the age of 24, are considered to be dependents.

Can I attend Orange Coast College (OCC) and another community college within the District (i.e. Golden West or Coastline) and get financial aid from OCC for my enrollment at both schools?

Yes. OCC participates in a Financial Aid Consortium with other community colleges within the District.

If I am enrolled at two colleges, can I receive student financial aid at both colleges?
If you attend another college outside the District, you may only receive Title IV aid at one college for the same enrollment period.

A student can receive the Board of Governors Fee Waiver at multiple schools.

What is a FERPA?

FERPA is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.  The Information Release Authorization (IRA) form allows information to be released to the student over the phone or via email. The student can also allow a parent or someone else to receive information on their behalf.

No personal information will be released without a completed IRA form on file.

What is Selective Service System?

In order to receive Financial Aid, male students between the age of 18 and 25, are required to register with the Selective Service, if the student has not already done so. Failure to register may cause you to permanently forfeit eligibility for Financial Aid benefits, among other consequences.

Once you have registered, within 90 days you should receive registration acknowledgement from Selective Service, which will serve as official proof of registration. However, if registration acknowledgement is not received within 90 days, we encourage you to verify with Selective Service that registration was received. Verification of registration may be obtained on-line at, by telephone at (847) 688-6888 or toll free (888) 655-1825, or by mail, as follows:

Selective Service System
Registration Information Office
P.O. Box 94638

Palatine, IL 60094-4638

Registering with Selective Service does NOT mean that you are joining the military. The United States will utilize the names and addresses of men between the ages of 18 and 25, in case of a national emergency that requires a draft.

For students who did not register and are 26 years of age or older, you must complete and submit a Selective Service System Registration Form (you may not register on-line). The application must be accompanied by a letter of explanation setting forth the reason for your failure to register between the age of 18 and 25.

Selective Service will send a letter of confirmation to you, confirming that you are not required to register due to your age. This letter will fulfill the Financial Aid requirement.

If you do not have a social security number, you must register at any U.S. Post Office by filling out the Selective Service "mail-back" registration. A male can fill it out (leaving the space for his Social Security Number blank, if he has not yet obtained one), sign it, affix postage, and mail it to Selective Service, without the involvement of the postal clerk.

For additional information, please contact Selective Service System at indicated above, or contact the Financial Aid Office at (714) 432-5508, or visit our office.

What is the Dream Act?

The California Dream Act is for undocumented and nonresident documented students who meet certain provisions to apply for and receive state-administered financial aid such as the  BOG Fee Waiver, and Cal Grant.

What is the BOG fee waiver?

BOG is the Board of Governors fee waiver.  A student will need to meet academic and progress standards involving GPA and course completion rate.

You are eligible for this fee waiver if the following applies:

  • Attending a California Community College
  • California resident
  • AB 540
  • Income eligible

It pays for enrollment fees.  It will not for the following:

  • Health fees
  • Student service fee
  • Materials fee
  • Parking fee

 If you need any additional information, please visit the Coast Community College District