Forms & Policies
2021-2022 FAFSA YEAR
- Dependent Verification Form (PDF).
- Independent Verification Form (PDF).
- Student Income Form (PDF).
- Parent Income Form (PDF).
- IRS Data Retrieval Instructions (PDF).
- Letter of Non-Filing (PDF).
- Dependent Other Than Spouse Form (PDF).
- Independent Status Form (PDF).
- Checklist for Federal Direct Student Loans (PDF) (contact FinAid@heartland.edu for more information)
- Borrower Information Form (PDF) (contact FinAid@heartland.edu for more information)
- Parent Plus Loan Form (PDF) (contact FinAid@heartland.edu for more information)
- Application for Early Release of Loan Funds (PDF)
- How to Accept/Decline Loans
In accordance with the U.S. Department of Education and State of Illinois student aid regulations, Heartland Community College is required to establish minimum Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards to qualify for federal and state financial aid. The purpose of the policy is to ensure that students are making progress toward the completion of their educational program of study. The following standards apply to students receiving federal or state financial assistance, including grants, loans, scholarships, and federal work study. Students who do not attend or withdraw from classes, defer grades and perform poorly will not maintain satisfactory academic progress toward completion of their program of study and will become ineligible for financial aid. Minimum standards are subject to change in accordance with the U.S. Department of Education and State of Illinois regulations.
Important: This Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy is separate from the Heartland Community College Academic Standing Policy.
This document explains the terms and conditions of your Financial Aid Award as well as your rights and responsibilities as an aid recipient. You are responsible for understanding the terms and conditions stipulated. This information is the most accurate available at the time of publication. It is subject to change at any time without notice due to the nature of federal, state and institutional guidelines affecting aid.
Be aware that any intentionally false statements or misrepresentations you make (written or verbal) in any phase of the financial aid process may eliminate you from future consideration for any assistance from Heartland Community College, and may subject you to a fine, imprisonment, or both.
The 2008 Higher Education Opportunity Act requires that all institutions adopt a Student Loan Code of Conduct, which serves as the formal guiding principles in insuring integrity of the student loan process and ensures the ethical conduct of Heartland Community College (HCC) employees in regard to student loan practices.
Interaction with Borrowers
Heartland Community College participates in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program through the U.S. Department of Education. This program includes Direct Subsidized, Direct Unsubsidized and Direct Parent PLUS loans.
To a much lesser extent, private education loans are also processed for students at their request as needed.
HCC does not maintain a preferred lender list for private student loans nor does it recommend any private lender. All decisions concerning private education loans will be made by the borrower based on his/her independent review of lender benefits and services. HCC will not refuse to certify or delay certification of any private education loan based on the borrower’s selection of a particular lender or guaranty agency.
Employees of the HCC Financial Aid Office are prohibited from receiving gifts from any lender, guaranty agency or loan servicer. Exceptions related to specific types of activities or literature include the following:
- Brochures or training material related to default aversion or financial literacy
- Food, training or informational materials as part of training as long as the training contributes to the professional development of those individuals attending the training
- Favorable terms and benefits to the student employed by the institution as long as those same terms are provided to all students at the institution
- Entrance and exit counseling as long as the institution's staff are in control and they do not promote the services of a specific lender
- Philanthropic contributions from a lender, guaranty agency or servicer unrelated to education loans
- State education, grants, scholarships or financial aid funds administered by or on behalf of the State
Employees of the HCC Financial Aid Office shall not accept, from any lender or affiliate of any lender, any fee, payment or other financial benefit as compensation for any consulting arrangement or other contract to provide services to a lender or on behalf of a lender relating to education loans.
HCC will not enter into any revenue-sharing arrangement with any lender. This is defined as any arrangement between a school and a lender that results in the lender paying a fee or other benefits, including a share of the profits, to the school, its officer, employees or agents, as a result of the school recommending the lender to its students or families of those students.
Opportunity Pool Loan
HCC will not request or accept from any lender any offer of funds to be used for private education loans including funds for an opportunity pool loan in exchange for HCC providing concessions or promises to the lender for a specific number of loans, or inclusion on a preferred lender list.
HCC will not request or accept, from any lender, guarantor or servicer of student loans, any assistance with call center staffing or financial aid office staffing.
Advisory Board Compensation
Employees of the HCC Financial Aid Office who serve on any advisory board, commission or group established by a lender, guarantor or student loan servicer are prohibited from receiving anything of value from the lender, guarantor or loan servicer for serving in this capacity, except that an employee may be reimbursed for reasonable expenses incurred while serving in this capacity.
Verification is the process of checking the accuracy of the information a student provides when he/she applies for Federal Financial Aid. The verification procedures are governed by the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended.
Applicants selected for verification are notified by their heartland email and on their IRIS/student service center To Do list. The student is required to submit certain financial documents to the school.
Heartland Community College verifies all files that are chosen by the U.S. Department of Education and may choose to verify additional files if conflicting information is found. If a student’s file is chosen for verification by the Department of Education or the Financial Aid Office, they will not be awarded aid until all required documentation has been submitted and verified.
Special Circumstance Policy
Occasionally, unusual circumstances exist that may warrant reconsideration of financial aid eligibility. These special circumstances may be either changes that have occurred in your family circumstances since you filed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or unusual family circumstances not accounted for on the FAFSA. If your circumstance(s) does not fit into one of the options listed within the forms below, you may still file the Special Circumstances Form for 'other circumstances' and attach a letter explaining your situation.
What Qualifies as a Special Circumstance?
When determining financial aid eligibility, the following qualify as special circumstances and should be included in a letter at the time of application or at the time the event occurs:
- Loss of job or reduction in income
- Loss or reduction of some type of untaxed income or benefit
- Low parent income and student support of household expenses
- Separation, divorce or death of one of the student's parents or student's spouse
- Reduction in student income due to lack of a summer job
- Student leaving a full-time job to attend Heartland Community College
- Other unusual expenses or one-time sources of income
- Addition of parent to the number in college (granted only if related to job / employment, retraining, career advancement / promotion)
What doesn’t qualify as a special circumstance?
When determining financial aid eligibility, the following are not and will not be considered in our analysis, and therefore would not qualify as special circumstances:
- Expenses related to
- Extracurricular Activities
- Consumer Debt
- Graduate school expenses for siblings and/or other family members
- Unwillingness to contribute to educational expenses
- Inability to pay the calculated family contribution from current income.
- Students who wish to have their special circumstances reviewed, should submit a detailed letter describing the circumstance and a completed special circumstance form (below). You may be asked to submit additional documentation including copies of the most recent IRS tax transcript, W-2, unemployment benefits and/or pay stubs to the Financial Aid Office.
- Appeal Deadline: Submit your appeal and required documentation as soon as possible for maximum consideration. All documents for initial requests must be submitted within 30 days. After the 30 day deadline all Special Circumstances with outstanding documents will be closed.
- A financial aid counselor will review the information contained in the letter and accompanying documentation and determine if an adjustment is warranted.
Students who have completed a FAFSA and the current expected family contribution (EFC) is 0 (zero), or if a FAFSA has not been filed, are not eligible for a special circumstance review.
Heartland Community College applies all awarded grants, scholarships, and/or loans toward a student’s balance due before being eligible for a refund. A student’s balance due can include: past due tuition, fees, returned checks, fines or other obligations. If funds remain after all institutional charges are paid, a refund will be issued to the student based on the preference selected when activating the BankMobile Vibe account (direct deposit to an existing bank account or use of the BankMobile card as a debit card used with a checking account opened with BankMobile Bank). All students must have an activated BankMobile Vibe account in order to receive any refunds. Any remaining financial aid is refunded to the student within 14 days of disbursement to student accounts. Anticipated grant refund dates are posted on the institutions website under financial aid Deadlines and Refund Schedules. Grant and scholarship funds awarded by private/outside donors are not applied to the student’s account until the money is received by Heartland Community College.
Student loan funds are applied to student account after the 50% point of the semester. Students must complete all student loan requirements each academic year (i.e. entrance loan counseling, completion of master promissory note and Borrower Information Sheet, etc.) before a loan disbursement is made. The business office will deduct incurred costs (tuition, fees, and other authorized charges such as books and supplies) from the financial aid that is credited to your account. Any remaining financial aid is refunded to the student within 14 days of disbursement to student accounts.
Federal regulations state that financial aid is earned by attending class. You have not earned 100% of your financial aid until you have attended 60% of the term. If you withdraw before this date, a portion of your financial aid has not been earned.
The unearned portion is equal to the percentage of the term remaining on the date of withdrawal. Your financial aid eligibility will be recalculated based on your actual period of attendance - you may be asked to repay a portion of the aid that had been disbursed to you.
Your last date of attendance is determined in one of two ways.
If you officially withdraw from the institution, your last date of attendance is date you began the withdrawal process or notified the institution of your withdrawal.
An unofficial withdrawal occurs when you stop attending classes, but do not notify the institution of your withdrawal. At the mid-point of each semester, the institution checks for non-attendance. In cases where a student is failing classes at the mid-point of the semester, each instructor will confirm whether the student is still attending class or will provide the last date of attendance for each class. If you have ceased to attend all classes, the latest date of attendance in all classes will be used to determine the withdrawal date.
Once the institution has determined you have either officially or unofficially withdrawn from the institution, we will notify you (the student) within 30 days if you are required to repay a portion of your financial aid for the term. Heartland Community College returns funds within 45 days to the U.S. Department of Education.
In recalculating your financial aid eligibility, we will reduce your financial aid in the following order:
- Unsubsidized Direct Stafford loan
- Subsidized Direct Stafford loan
- Direct PLUS loan
- Federal Pell Grant
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
- Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant