OLOL College

FAQ — Financial Aid

Frequently Asked Questions in Financial Aid

Do I need to be admitted to the College before I can apply for financial aid?

No. You may apply for financial aid anytime after January 1. However, you must be admitted to receive a financial aid award and enrolled to receive disbursement. 

What are TOPS and Financial Aid Guidelines?

For TOPS purposes students in the nursing program are considered to be full time with 9 or more hours.  For Federal Aid, (grants, loans and work study) a student must enroll in at least 6 hours to receive loans.  For students who fall below 12 hours and are receiving Pell Grants, their grant is pro-rated based on enrollment.

How do I apply for financial aid and what is the FAFSA?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the application for all federal and state aid programs. You will need to indicate Our Lady of the Lake College (OLOLC) (school code #031062) in the school release section of the application so that we may receive your file.

Where do I find the FAFSA and when should I complete it?

The FAFSA may be located and submitted on-line at www.fafsa.gov. If you have applied for aid in the previous year you may receive the Federal Renewal Application which should be updated and submitted instead of the FAFSA.

What programs am I actually applying for?

By completing the FAFSA you are applying for all Federal Title IV programs including the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG), National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (SMART), Federal Work-Study, Subsidized Stafford Loans (Subsidized and Unsubsidized), Parent Plus Loans (PLUS), and Graduate PLUS loans (GPLUS). The FAFSA is also the application for other aid such as, Louisiana’s Tuition Opportunity Program (TOPS), Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership Grant (LEAP), certain scholarships that require financial need, and Alternative Loans. 

Is there a deadline for applying?

The FAFSA becomes available each year on January 1. You may apply for financial aid any time after January 1 to use for the upcoming fall, spring, and summer semesters. We recommend that your application be submitted no later than March 2 for fall and summer enrollment and October 15 for spring-only enrollment. It is important that you complete the financial aid application process early enough each year so that your award will be in place prior to fee bill deadlines; otherwise, you will be responsible for payment of your fees by the due date.

Why should I apply early?

You are more likely to receive funds from all programs for which you are eligible as there are limited funds available in some of the Federal aid programs such as SEOG and federal works study. Also, you will help ensure that your financial aid will be credited to your account when your fee bill is due. Generally fee bills are submitted to you five weeks prior to the beginning of each semester. Applying early is always to your advantage. 

Do I need to apply each year?

YES! Each year you must refile either the FAFSA or the Renewal FAFSA for the appropriate academic year. You must also maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in order to qualify for aid each year. Please refer to Satisfactory Academic Progress regulations on our website. 

What is the PIN?

The PIN can be used to sign the FAFSA electronically, drastically decreasing the processing time.  

What if the Student Forgets the PIN?

If the student forgets the PIN, he or she can request a duplicate PIN at www.pin.ed.gov. Again, the student can choose to view the PIN immediately on the screen, have it e-mailed, or have it mailed. We recommend the student use the “Change My PIN” function at the PIN site to choose a PIN he or she will be able to remember.

What happens after I complete my FAFSA?

After submitting your FAFSA, a copy is provided electronically to the OLOL College Financial Aid Office (FAO). The FAO will notify you via email of the documentation you are required to provide.  If you have been selected by the U.S. Department of Education for a process called verification, you will be required to submit additional documentation to the FAO. This may include, but is not limited to, copies of Federal tax returns, verification worksheets, W-2’s, etc. All students will be required to submit the OLOL College Financial Aid Application. These forms are to be submitted, upon request, to the Office of Financial Aid at OLOLC, not to the Federal processor. Your financial aid will not be complete until you have submitted the required documents.

How can I obtain assistance if I’m experiencing problems through the process of my FA application?

The Office of Financial Aid is located on the first floor of the Student Service Building located at 7525 Picardy Avenue. Our counselors are available from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday for your convenience. Hours vary in rare circumstances. Students driving some distance to visit a financial aid counselor are encouraged to make an appointment. You may also phone and speak with one of our representatives by calling (225) 768-1714 or Toll Free (877) 242-3509 or you may email us at Financial.Aid@ololcollege.edu

Am I allowed to fax verification documents to the Office of Financial Aid?

YES! We are more than happy to accept faxed documents at (225) 490-1632. Please make sure all faxed documents are signed and the student’s name is clearly indicated on all documents.

How will I know if I’ve been awarded aid and how do I accept or decline it?

Once all requested documentation has been submitted to our office you will either receive an email or paper award letter from our office notifying you of your award(s). Emails are typically sent to all continuing students who already have a Web Services account set up. The email will direct you to your Web Services account to either accept/decline your award offers. This is done by logging on to Web Services and selecting “Financial Aid,” and then “Accept/Decline Awards”.  Any student, usually transfer students and entering freshmen, who does not have access to a Web Services will receive a paper award letter. 

Once I have accepted my award package is there anything that could change or affect my award?

Yes. Any changes in enrollment may affect your financial aid eligibility. If you have financial aid and are considering cancelling registration, dropping courses, or resigning, contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Student Aid before doing so. You will be advised as to how your aid will be affected which will afford you the opportunity to make a wise decision. 

What happens to my financial aid if I resign from the college?

Federal regulations require schools participating in Title IV programs to use specific refund policies when a student who receives Title IV aid ceases enrollment. When an official withdrawal occurs, federal aid awards (except Federal Work-study) may be prorated as follows: the number of calendar days completed during the semester divided by the number of days in the semester. An adjustment will not be made for a student that withdraws after 60% of the semester has passed. If funds are released to a student because of a credit balance on the student's account and the student later withdraws, then he/she may be required to repay some of the federal aid released. Students are encouraged to check with our office before resigning to determine how their aid would be affected.

Is there anything else that could affect my award/eligibility?

Yes. All aid is monitored to ensure that the total amount awarded including federal financial aid, scholarships (both institutional and outside), and other resources do not exceed the total cost of attendance for the academic year. Also, please remember to notify the Office of Financial Aid of any outside awards you may be receiving. Our Lady of the Lake College reserves the right to reduce or rescind award packages to remain in compliance with federal, state and/or institutional rules and regulations.

Do veteran’s benefits affect my financial aid eligibility?

No. The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA), which reauthorized the Higher Education Act (HEA) and added new laws, removed veterans education benefits from estimated financial assistance, effective July 1, 2010. 

How is my “financial need” determined?

The Federal processor determines your individual family’s ability to contribute to the cost of your education (“Expected Family Contribution” or “EFC”) using the information you provide on the FAFSA. This figure is used solely for the determination of financial need and does not represent a figure you will owe the University. The formula they apply is referred to as “Federal methodology”. After receiving your EFC from the processor, our office then subtracts that EFC from the Cost of Attendance. In essence, the formula is Cost of Attendance-EFC= Financial Need. 

What is the Cost of Attendance?

The Cost of Attendance (COA) is the amount the college calculates or estimates that it will cost you to attend for the academic year. Costs includes: tuition/fees, room and board, books and supplies, transportation, and personal expenses. This figure is used solely for the determination of financial aid and does not represent a figure you will owe the University. Budgets cannot be student specific and are calculated for undergraduates and graduate students using state averages from Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA) and from figures obtained from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

What if I do not qualify for enough student financial aid to cover my tuition and fees?

The College offers an interest free payment plan. Please contact the Bursar’s for additional information.

What if I am not eligible for aid based on need. Is anything else available?

Some loans are independent of financial need. Please refer to our loan information on our website. You will find information concerning the Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, Alternative Loans, the Federal Parent (PLUS) Loan, and the Graduate PLUS (GPLUS) Loan.

If my parents are divorced or separated, whose financial data should be used when I’m completing the

If your natural parents are separated or divorced, use the natural parent with whom you lived the most in the past twelve (12) months. If you lived with neither parent, or lived with each parent an equal number of days, use the parent that provided the most financial support to you over the past twelve (12) months. If that parent has remarried, you must also include the step parent’s financial information on the application, and parent and step parent should report themselves as married on the FAFSA.

My parents got divorced but filed a joint Federal tax return. How do I complete the FAFSA?

When completing the FAFSA, only provide the income information from the tax return for the parent who qualifies as your responsible parent and your parent should report divorced/separated on the FAFSA.

Why does my step-parent have to provide financial information on the FAFSA?

Prenuptial agreements are ignored by the federal need analysis process. After all, two individuals (parent and step-parent) cannot make an agreement between them that is binding on a third party (the federal government). The federal government considers the step-parent a source of support regardless of any prenuptial agreements to the contrary. If a step-parent marries the parent, he or she is considered responsible for supporting the parent and children even if he or she is unwilling to do so. 

My parents don’t claim me on their tax return. Can I file as “Independent”?

It has no bearing on being able to be considered as “independent” whether or not your parents claimed you on their tax return. The Higher Education Act of 1992 established requirements for establishing independence. Several questions are addressed on the FAFSA (see “Will I be considered Dependent or Independent?) to establish your dependency status. If the answer is “YES” to any of the questions you will be considered “self-supporting” for financial aid purposes. 
 

Will I be considered dependent or independent?


A student is independent if he meets any one of the following criteria from HEA Sec. 480(d), i.e., if he:

  • is at least 24 years old
  • is married as of the date he applies
  • will be a graduate or professional student at the start of the award year
  • is currently serving on active duty for purposes other than training
  • is a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • has dependents other than a spouse
  • was an orphan, foster child or ward/dependent of the court at any time since the age of 13
  • is an emancipated minor
  • is in legal guardianship or
  • was determined at any time since July 1, 2008, to be an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or was self-supporting and at risk of being homeless

Will I automatically be considered independent if I have a child?

No. If one or both of the student’s parents are directly or indirectly providing more than 50% support in cash or other assistance to the child and grandchild, then the student would answer “No” to the FAFSA question about legal dependents. “Indirect support” to the child includes support that a parent gives to the student on behalf of the child. If the student is living with a parent who is paying for most of the household expenses, the parent would usually be considered the primary source of support to the child, and the student would answer “No” to the question about legal dependents.

Does the school have the authority to change a student’s status from dependent to independent?


Yes—only in extreme circumstances. The Higher Education Act allows a financial aid administrator (FAA) to make dependency overrides on a case-by-case basis for stu­dents with unusual circumstances. However, none of the conditions listed below, singly or in combination, qualify as unusual circumstances meriting a depen­dency override: Parents refuse to contribute to the student’s education; Parents are unwilling to provide information on the FAFSA or for verification; Parents do not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes; or Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency.
 

If I feel I have a compelling and unique reason warranting a dependency override?

You can reach our office at (225) 768-1714 to discuss your family circumstances with a counselor. Should you have a valid case for a dependency override, your counselor will give you all appropriate forms to complete the process.

Can I file my FAFSA with my grandparent’s or legal guardian’s information?

A foster parent, grandparent, or a legal guardian is not treated as a parent for FSA purposes. If at any time since the age of 13 both of the student’s parents were dead (and he did not have an adoptive parent) or he was in foster care, he is independent. If he is now, or was when he became an adult, an emancipated minor or in legal guardianship, he is independent. If a student is living with her grandparents or other relatives, their data should not be reported on the FAFSA as parental data unless they have adopted the student.

I’m getting married during the school year, can I complete my FAFSA as “married”?

No. You must indicate your marital status as of the date you are completing the FAFSA. You cannot update your marital status once you have filed your FAFSA.

What if I have other unusual circumstances?

If you have experienced any of the following circumstances check with your financial aid counselor to see if this may affect your financial aid application/status: divorce of parents or you from your spouse, death of a major wage earner, loss of employment of a major wage earner, or loss of other income or benefits such as social security or child support by you, your parents, or your spouse.

If I take a leave of absence, do I have to start repaying my loans?

Not immediately. The subsidized Stafford loan has a grace period of 6 months and the Perkins loan a grace period of 9 months before the student must begin repaying the loan. When you take a leave of absence you will not have to repay your loan until the grace period is used up. If you use up the grace period, however, when you graduate you will have to begin repaying your loan immediately.

How much is available for students to borrow?

The amount that a student can borrow varies dependent upon many factors such as, your level in college, your individual eligibility based on your FAFSA, etc. 

What is the total aggregate loan limits?

UG Dependent Students: $31,000 (no more than $23,000 of which can be subsidized)
UG Independent Students: $57,500 (no more than $23,000 of which can be subsidized)
GRAD and Professional Students: $138,500 (no more than $65,500 of which can be subsidized)

Am I required to enroll in a certain amount of hours to get student loans?

YES. You are required to be enrolled on at least a ½ time basis to be eligible for student loans. Six hours is considered ½ for a fall or spring term for an undergraduate student. Three hours are considered ½ for the summer term

What is a private or alternative loan?

A private student loan is a nonfederal loan issued by a lender such as a bank or credit union. Private student loans often have variable interest rates, require a credit check and do not provide the benefits of federal student loans.

Why are federal student loans a better option for paying for college?


Federal student loans offer borrowers many benefits not typically found in private loans. These include lower interest rates, income-based repayment plans, and loan forgiveness and deferment options, including deferment of loan payments when a student returns to school. For these reasons, students and parentsshould always exhaust federal student loan options before considering a private loan.
 

What is deferment?

A deferment is a period of time during which no payments are required and interest does not accrue (accumulate), unless you have an unsubsidized Stafford Loan. The most common loan deferment  conditions are enrollment in school at least half-time, inability to find full-time employment (for up to three years), and economic hardship (for up to three years).

What is forbearance?

If you temporarily can’t meet your repayment schedule but you’re not eligible for a deferment, your lender might grant you forbearance for a limited and specific period of time. Forbearance occurs when your lender or loan-servicing agency agrees to either temporarily reduce or postpone your student loan payments. Interest continues to accrue (accumulate), however, and you are responsible for paying it, no matter what kind of loan you have.

Are there circumstances when I must be granted a mandatory forbearance?

Yes. There are certain mandatory forbearances. Examples include borrowers who:

  • are in a medical or dental internship or residency;
  • have student loan payments that are 20 percent or more of their monthly income;
  • have payments being made for them by the Department of Defense.

Contact your lender or loan-servicing agent for more information on the mandatory forbearance benefit.
 

What is loan consolidation?

Student and parent borrowers can consolidate (combine) multiple federal student loans with various repayment schedules into one loan: either a FFEL Consolidation Loan or a Direct Consolidation Loan. The result is a single monthly payment instead of multiple monthly payments.

Are there any disadvantages to getting a consolidation loan?

Yes, there could be. For example, consolidation may significantly increase the total cost of repaying your loans. Because you may have a longer period of time to repay, you’ll pay more interest. You might also lose some borrower benefits such as interest discounts and rebates. Always talk to a financial aid professional for advice when deciding whether or not to consolidate.

Is it ever possible to have my federal student loan discharged or canceled?

Yes, but only under rare circumstances. A discharge or cancellation releases you from all obligations to repay the loan.

What qualifies my loan for discharge?

Discharge refers to the cancellation of a loan, even one in default,* due to school closure, false certification, your death, or total and permanent disability.

What qualifies my loan for cancellation?

Cancellation or sometimes “forgiveness” of a loan is based on the borrower performing certain types of service such as teaching in a low-income school. A defaulted loan cannot be canceled based on qualifying service (e.g. teaching).

What is being in default of a loan mean?

Failure to repay a loan according to the terms agreed to when you signed a promissory note. The consequences of default are severe. If you return to school, you’re not entitled to receive any additional federal student financial aid.

How can I obtain information regarding my federal loan history?

You can get it by logging on to www.nslds.ed.gov. NSLDS is our database for federal student financial aid where you can find out about the aid you’ve received. If you’ve only just applied for aid, you won’t find any information on NSLDS yet. NSLDS receives data from schools, guaranty agencies, and U.S. Department of Education programs. The NSLDS Web site is generally available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. By using your PIN, you can get information on federal loan and Pell Grant amounts, outstanding balances, the status of your loans and disbursements made.
 

What if my aid exceeds my tuition and fees?

If your aid disbursements create a negative balance (refund), a refund check will automatically be generated by the Bursar’s Office.

When can I expect my refund check?

Refund checks are mailed every Friday by the Bursar’s Office. You can expect to receive a refund within two weeks of notification that your aid has been disbursed to your account.  You can confirm the status of the refund check with the Bursar’s Office.

If I receive loans, a Pell Grant, and TOPS, will I receive more than one refund check?

Yes. Loans are received prior to enrollment. Pell Grants are posted after the census date and TOPS is posted mid-term. So, you may receive multiple checks

How much does TOPS pay at OLOL College?

TOPS award amounts at OLOL College are based on the weighted average of tuition at comparable public schools. The semester award amounts are listed below.

Opportunity Award $2043        

Performance Award $2243 ($2043 + $200 stipend)

Honors Award $2443 ($2043 + $400 stipend)

Tech Award* $872

  • TOPS eligible students enrolled in a technical program will receive the Tech Award amount regardless of their level of TOPS eligibility. Students eligible for the Performance and Honors awards will receive the stipend in addition to the Tech Award amount.

What is considered full time for TOPS purposes at OLOL College?

Full-time enrollment is defined as 12 credit hours* per semester for undergraduates with the exception of students enrolled in a clinical or technical program. For those students, 9 hours* is considered full time. Students planning to enroll less than full time as defined above should contact the Office of Financial Aid to discuss their reason for enrolling less than full time and how their TOPS eligibility will be affected.

*All hours at OLOL College.

I’m in clinicals. Will I still get TOPS if I’m enrolled in less than 12 hours?

Clinical students must enroll in 9 hours each fall/spring semester to be considered full time for TOPS. The Office of Financial Aid will automatically bill the state for TOPS eligible clinical students enrolled in at least 9 hours. Clinical and technical students are not required to earn 24 hours in an academic year.

What do transfer student need to do to have my TOPS funds sent to OLOL College?

Nothing. OLOL College will bill the state for TOPS funding for eligible students enrolled at OLOL College.

How is TOPS applied to the balance I owe to the Bursar’s Office?

Per regulations, OLOL College bills the state for TOPS payments on the 15th class day for eligible full time students. The funds typically arrive mid-semester and are applied directly to students’ accounts in the Bursar’s Office. Because fee bill payments are due prior to the arrival of TOPS funds, OLOL College places an anticipated TOPS credit on the fee bill for students who have been determined eligible by the state or, in some cases, who have indicated to the Office of Financial Aid that they expect to receive TOPS funding.* Some students who receive an anticipated TOPS credit may be determined ineligible for the TOPS program by the state. These students will be responsible for paying any charges to which the anticipated TOPS credit was applied.

*If you do not see an anticipated TOPS credit on your fee bill, but think you will be receiving TOPS, please contact the Office of Financial Aid.

What are the retention requirements for TOPS?

  • Continuous full time enrollment defined as:
  • Enroll full-time each fall and spring semester.
  • Be enrolled full-time through the 14th class day of each fall and spring semester.

Earn 24 hours each academic year defined as the fall, spring and summer semesters. Clinical and technical students who enroll full-time per institutional definition are not required to meet the 24 hour requirement.

Maintain academic progress defined as:
The following cumulative GPA* is checked at the end of each spring semester

  • Tech Award 2.50
  • Opportunity Award 2.30, if the student has earned less than 48 hours
    • 2.50 if the student has earned 48 hours or more
  • Performance Award** 3.00
  • Honors Award** 3.00

* Please note OLOL awards +/- grades, but these are not recognized by the state TOPS office.

**Performance or Honors Award recipients who fail to maintain a 3.00 cumulative GPA at the end of an academic year will revert to the Opportunity Award provided they have maintained the GPA necessary for renewal at that level. Once the recipient reverts to the Opportunity Award, the Performance or Honors Award CANNOT be reinstated.

At the end of all other terms, steady academic progress, defined as a 2.00 cumulative GPA must be maintained.

Failure to meet one of the continuous full-time enrollment components results in permanent cancellation of TOPS.

Why is my OLOL GPA different than the GPA calculated by the state TOPS office?

OLOL awards +/- grades, but these are not recognized by the state TOPS office. Quality points are assigned to grades as follows.

A 4 quality points per credit hour

B-, B, B+ 3 quality points per credit hour

C-, C, C+ 2 quality points per credit hour

D-, D, D+ 1 quality point per credit hour

F 0 quality points

How can I get more information?

The Office of Financial Aid at OLOL College administers the TOPS program. All questions regarding TOPS should be directed there, or to the state TOPS office at the contact information below.

The Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance
P.O. Box 91202
Baton Rouge, LA 70821-9202
Phone Number: (800) 259-5626, ext. 1012
Email Address: custserv@osfa.state.la.us
Website: www.osfa.state.la.us

I’m enrolling in less than the number of hours required to be full time for TOPS ...

... but I do not think there are any additional classes I can take. 

What should I do?

Contact the Office of Financial Aid. In specific cases, a student may be considered eligible to receive TOPS as a part-time student, but this must be documented in the Office of Financial Aid in order for the student to receive funding.

What is a Direct Loan?

The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program enables eligible students and parents to borrow from ED instead of from a bank or other lending institution. This allows borrowers to work with a single entity, ED, through its Direct Loan Servicing Center when repaying loans or dealing with loan-related issues.