Financial Aid FAQS
Financial Aid Frequently Asked Questions
- How is my financial need determined?
Every college will determine a standard cost of attendance (COA) by totaling annual tuition and fees, books and supplies, average room and board costs, and miscellaneous expenses. You can find out standard costs associated with Minnesota colleges through the Minnesota Higher Ed Service Office.
Colleges determine financial need by subtracting your EFC (or Expected Family Contribution) from the cost of attendance. Your EFC is a result of the information you submitted on your FAFSA, such as your family size, income, and number of family members currently in college.
If you have financial need, you are eligible for need-based financial aid, and we will be able to offer a combination or a package of grants, loans, and work study to help meet your need. Even if you don’t have need, we may be able to offer you certain non-need-based loans.
- When and how do I get my financial aid?
The Financial Aid Office will review your eligibility for financial aid at the beginning of each term. At the end of the drop/add period (after the fifth day of each term), the Business Office will apply your financial aid awards to your student account. If your total financial aid exceeds your account charges, your financial aid will be credited to your account and the overage will be mailed to your permanent address or directly deposited into the bank account of your choice if the proper paperwork has been completed. You may set up your direct deposit through e-services.
- What if I just want a loan?
Student loans are considered financial aid. If you haven’t already completed a FAFSA application, check out the application steps. If you have completed the FAFSA and have received your award letter, follow the instructions in the award letter to apply for student loans.
- How do I buy my books?
We strongly recommend you purchase books with your own money and use any balance of your financial aid to pay yourself back. It’s a good idea to have your books purchased before the term begins in order to be familiar with the course content. Just don’t have the cash? You can charge your books against financial aid at the bookstore as long as your financial aid application has been completed and awarded and you have enough to cover tuition and fees.
- You may charge books against your financial aid if your financial aid will cover all your outstanding account charges (tuition, fees, etc.) and you have enough remaining to cover the cost of your books.
- You should use the charge process only once a term.
- Go directly to the bookstore for assistance – there is generally no need to visit the Financial Aid Office first.
- Do I have to pay my tuition when I register?
If your award letter shows you’ve been awarded grants (Federal Pell or Minnesota State Grant) or you have completed the loan application and promissory note for an awarded Stafford Loan, we will automatically defer your tuition until your aid is disbursed. If you do not receive any financial aid, did not apply, or have not completed the loan process, payment will be due 15 days prior to the start of the term. If you register after the due date, payment is due at time of registration. Payment plans may also be available to you. Check online through e-services. If you have any additional questions, please contact the Business Office.
- Do I have to be a full-time student to receive financial aid?
You must be enrolled at least half-time (six or more credits) to qualify for the student loan program. However, if you are enrolled for just one class or are pursuing a certificate or degree and show need, you may still be eligible for a Federal Pell Grant or Minnesota State Grant.
- What happens if I drop or withdraw from a course after the term begins?
You may totally drop all your courses without being charged tuition only during the first five days of each term (drop/add period). After the first five days of the term, if you are no longer attending a class, you need to officially withdraw (it is not a drop), and you remain responsible for payment of your tuition. If you totally withdraw before the 20th day of the term, you may be eligible for a partial tuition refund. However, you may be required to repay all or a portion of your financial aid. If you need to totally withdraw at any time during a term, we strongly recommend you contact the Financial Aid Office first in order to determine the impact your withdrawal will have on your refund and return of financial aid and your Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements.
- Is it too late to apply for financial aid?
You can apply for most programs using the FAFSA form at any time during the school year, but it is best to apply as early as you can. Some programs have limited funds and once these funds have been depleted they are no longer available.
- How do I transfer my financial aid between colleges?
If you decide to transfer to another college mid-year, you’ll need to transfer your financial aid information (from the FAFSA), which takes anywhere from three days to two weeks. You can fill out a FAFSA form only once for a school year. To transfer your financial aid to Ridgewater College:
- Call Federal Processor at 1-800-433-3243 to transfer your Student Aid Report (SAR)
- You will need to give them your name, Social Security number, birth date and DRN number (four-digit code on your FAFSA student aid report – SAR)
- Add Ridgewater College as the new school by giving them the federal school code number of 005252. This is the code for both the Willmar and Hutchinson campus.
Note: Loans never transfer from school to school! Your loan at your previous college will be canceled. If you decide to borrow at Ridgewater College, follow the instructions in your award letter.
- What is Ridgewater College's federal school code?
Ridgewater College’s federal school code is 005252. This is the code for both the Willmar and Hutchinson Campus.
- Are there scholarships available at Ridgewater College?
The Ridgewater College Foundation awards scholarships each year from funds provided by donations from organizations, individuals, and grants. Each scholarship varies in its criteria. Some recognize academic accomplishments, others leadership skills, and some potential for success. Many are linked to a specific program. All interested and qualified students are invited to apply for Ridgewater College Foundation Scholarships.