How does financial aid work

Start Here! Steps to Apply & FAQs

Click the steps below to navigate the Financial Aid Process.

First Time Students: Create an FSA ID

Create an FSA ID for student and parent, if applicable. The FSA ID, made up of a username and password, allows you to access certain Department of Education websites. Your FSA is used to confirm your identity when accessing your financial aid information and electronically signing your federal student aid documents.

Be sure to write this down, as it will be used every year.

Gather the Documents Needed to Apply

The FAFSA questions ask for information about you (your name, date of birth, address, etc.) and about your financial situation. Depending on your circumstances (for instance, whether you’re a U.S. citizen or what tax form you used), you might need the following information or documents as you fill out the application:

  • Your Social Security number (it’s important that you enter it correctly on the FAFSA form!)
  • Your parents’ Social Security numbers if you are a dependent student
  • Your driver’s license number if you have one
  • Your Alien Registration number if you are not a U.S. citizen
  • Federal tax information or tax returns including IRS W-2 information, for you (and your spouse, if you are married), and for your parents if you are a dependent student:
    • IRS 1040
    • Foreign tax return, IRS 1040NR, or IRS 1040NR-EZ
    • Tax return for Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or Palau
  • Records of your untaxed income, such as child support received, interest income, and veterans noneducation benefits, for you, and for your parents if you are a dependent student
  • Information on cash; savings and checking account balances; investments, including stocks and bonds and real estate (but not including the home in which you live); and business and farm assets for you, and for your parents if you are a dependent student

Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid(FAFSA)

The application should take about 25 minutes to complete at This FAFSA Tutorial is a great resource, you can run it from your phone while completing the FAFSA on your computer. You can also view more about what to expect in the application here.

Be sure to apply to Laurel Ridge CC first and include your Social Security Number, otherwise we will be unable to process your application.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

You can browse or search through our database of questions below (use the search box). If using a mobile device, click on the question to expand and show the answer.

Category Question Answer Related Link
FAFSA When do I complete my FAFSA? The FAFSA must be completed every year, the application opens every year on October 1st at Priority Filing Deadlines Fall—June 1st Spring—November 1st Summer—May 1st Please Note: Applications will be accepted after those dates, but you should have other payment options in place in case your application is not processed.
FAFSA Why should I complete my FAFSA? We encourage all students planning to complete a degree or certificate at Laurel Ridge CC to apply for Financial Aid. Just by completing the FAFSA, Laurel Ridge CC is able to determine your eligibility for: -Federal Grants -Federal Loan -Federal Work-study -State Grants -Some Scholarships
FAFSA Which FAFSA aid year do I complete? 2023-24 Application Opens: October 1, 2022 Tax Year: 2021 Semesters Included: Fall 2023, Spring 2024, Summer 2024 2022-23 Application Opens: October 1, 2021 Tax Year: 2020 Semesters Included: Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Summer 2023
FAFSA I'm not a US Citizen. Am I eligible for aid? You can receive federal student aid if you are an eligible noncitizen. You must enter your eight or nine digit Alien Registration Number (ARN) on the FAFSA.
FAFSA I just completed my FAFSA. What happens next? Allow 7-10 business days for your application to be received then start checking your Message Center for your eligibility for the year or if additional informaiton is needed. All important information related to Financial Aid is shared via your Message Center, it is YOUR responsibility to monitor your messages frequently and take action when needed. If you have questions about these messages, contact us. You can view your Message Center by logging into MyLaurelRidge >> SIS >> Student Center >> Message Center.
FAFSA I need to correct or add Laurel Ridge to my FAFSA. How do I do that? Most of the questions on the FAFSA® form want to know your situation as of the day you sign the application. However, there are some instances in which you’ll want to (or be required to) change the information you reported. You can view all the types of corrections by clicking the related link. If you just need to add Laurel Ridge CC to your FAFSA, our school code is: 008659 Laurel Ridge CC will receive your correction in 5-7 business days. Please monitor your Message Center for the update once received.
To Do List I have items on my To Do List. How do I submit those? When documents are needed, this is a process called verification, additional documents will be requested via your MyLaurelRidge Student Center on your To Do list. It is important that you respond to any requests as soon as possible. Financial Aid awards will only be made after the verification process is completed.
Aid Eligibility How do I know if my Financial Aid covers all my tuition? And how do I apply it? You will need to go to your Account Inquiry page to see the aid versus charges. You can view your Account Inquiry by logging into MyLaurelRidge >> SIS >> Student Center >> Account Inquiry>>Yellow Bar. If your award(s) is enough to cover the cost of tuition and fees, then the Financial Aid Office will apply it automatically–just by enrolling in classes, you accept the federal or state grants offered.
Aid Eligibility How can I view my estimated award for the year? You will need to go to your View Financial Aid page to see the estimated award for the aid year. You can view your View Financial Aid by logging into MyLaurelRidge >> SIS >> Student Center >> View Financial Aid>>Click Aid Year(ex 2024). Please Note: Aid may change if you are enrolled in fewer than 12 credits.
Remaining Funds I still have remaining Financial Aid after tuition & books. What happens to that money? About mid-semester, after attendance is verified, awards are disbursed and applied to your account. This process involves multiple departments so it takes time to complete. Any remaining funds, after tuition, fees, and bookstore charges, will be issued to you as a refund. You can use this refund for anything educational. There are currently 2 refund options, check via postal mail or direct deposit. You can select your preferred method by logging into MyLaurelRidge >> SIS >> Student Center. Click Manage Refunds( may need to allow pop-ups for page to open). Then click Manage Refunds to check or update your refund preferences.
Remaining Funds How do I get my books? If funds remain after tuition and fees are subtracted from your Financial Aid, an account will be created at the bookstore so books/supplies can be charged at the on-campus bookstore or their online store. There are specific charging dates each semester, see web page below for the current charging dates. If you need items after the specified dates, then you will need to pay for them out of pocket.
Loans I need to apply for student loan. How do I do that? Laurel Ridge CC does not automatically post loans, you must complete additional steps to request one. To learn more about the Stafford & PLUS Loans and complete the application process go to the related link.
Work-Study What is Work-Study? And how do I apply for it? Federal Work-Study provides part-time jobs for undergraduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. The program encourages community service work and work related to the student’s course of study. To learn more about this program and how to apply, go to the related link.
Satisfactory Academic Progress(SAP) What is SAP? And how do I know if I am meeting it? SAP stands for “Satisfactory Academic Progress.” Federal regulations require students who receive financial aid to meet a set of standards identified for Satisfactory Academic Progress. You can view your Account Inquiry by logging into MyLaurelRidge >> SIS >> Student Center >> View Financial Aid>>Aid Year(ex 2021)>>Check Your SAP Status. If your status is anything other than Meet SAP, you will also have a notification in your To Do List & Message Center regarding your status. To learn more about this regulation or appeal your SAP Status go to the related link.
Scholarships How do I apply for College scholarships? The scholarship application is available 24/7 online. The priority deadline is April 1st for the main awarding process for the upcoming Fall semester. Re-awarding occurs multiple times each semester, so continue monitoring your Laurel Ridge CC email for award notifications. Students are encouraged to apply at any point during the academic year.
Scholarships How do I apply for Community scholarships Applying for scholarships should be free, any source requiring payment may not be legitimate and may be a scam. Be sure to check out Community Scholarship Opportunities related link.
FA Course Audit(FACA) Are my classes eligible for Financial Aid? As long as the class is required for your degree and/or certificate then it is eligible for Financial Aid, unless it exceeds the repeat rule. Students may take a course as many times as they need to until they pass. Once passed, they can only repeat one time. To ensure that your classes are required for your program, we have the Financial Aid Course Audit Tool that will run each semester. You will get a notification to your Message Center for all courses–eligible or ineligible. If you have an ineligible class, please contact your Academic Advisor. Please Note: Federal regulations have always dictated that students may only receive financial aid for courses that apply toward their degree or certificate program. This is not a new rule – we just have a new tool to help you be better informed about your course selections.
Drop, Withdraw, & Grades What happens if I fail or withdraw from a class? Financial Aid only pays for classes that are successfully completed. If you fail or withdraw from one or more classes, then there is a possibility that your aid will be reduced or you could owe money back. There is also a possible impact to your Satisfactory Academic Progress(SAP). Contact the Financial Aid Office to discuss these possible impacts BEFORE withdrawing or the posting of final grades. The Financial Aid Office at Laurel Ridge CC is required by federal and state regulations to have a written policy for the repayment of federal and state aid received by students who withdraw, stop attending, do not successfully complete all their courses are dismissed, or take a leave of absence prior to completing 60 percent of a payment period or term for which payment has been received.
Drop, Withdraw, & Grades Classes have already started, but I want to drop/add a late starting class. Can I do that? There is only a small window of time to make changes to your schedule at the beginning of each semester before your aid is locked-in for the semester. Please contact the Financial Aid Office to discuss these possible impacts BEFORE dropping or adding a late starting class.
Summer How do I apply for Summer Financial Aid? You must have a FAFSA for the current aid year (ex. Summer 23, a 2022/23 FAFSA) to apply. Summer eligibility is determined by having a current aid year FAFSA on file as well as a Summer Financial Aid Application. The Summer FA Application will be available below once registration for summer classes begins. You must be registered for classes to submit the Summer FA Application.
Summer I just want to take a summer class or two then transfer to another school. Can I apply for aid? Transfer students are not aid eligible with Laurel Ridge. Students using financial aid must be degree-seeking and cannot be attending only for the summer in order to transfer credits back to their home institution. Transfer students can setup a payment plan or pay in full for the semester.
FAFSA Help I need help with my FAFSA. Can someone help me? The Financial Aid Office is happy to assist you in completing the FAFSA during normal business hours. We also host on-campus events, called Simple FAFSA, learn more at link.

Additional Tips and Resources

Edvisors provides a collection of downloadable PDFs provides students, families and educators with financial aid tips covering a range of topics.

Tip Sheets about Planning for College

Tip Sheets about Making College More Affordable

Tip Sheets about Scholarships

Tip Sheets about Filing the FAFSA

Tip Sheets about Student Loans