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How Financial Aid Works

Cost of Attendance

In order to treat all students equally, standardized budgets (Cost of Attendance) are established and applied to all applicants. This means all students with similar circumstances will receive the same allowance for tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, personal expenses, and transportation.


Other expenses may include, but are not limited to, dependent care, vocational/technical, and disability related expenses. Exceptions may be made to the budget in cases where need can be shown and documented.


Most financial aid awards are based on demonstrated financial need, which is the difference between the Cost of Attendance (COA) and the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), i.e., Cost of Attendance minus Expected Family Contribution = Financial Need.


How Financial Aid is "Packaged"

Once the student’s financial aid eligibility is established, a “package” of aid is provided which may be a combination of grants, work-study, and loan funds.


Grant amounts are based on the number of units a student is enrolled in at the time of disbursement. Full-time is considered 12 or more units per semester; three quarter time is considered 9-11 ½ units per semester; half-time is considered 6-8 ½ units per semester; less than half-time is ½ -5 ½ units per semester.


Pell Grants are scheduled for payments twice a semester. FSEOG and Cal Grants are scheduled for payment once per semester for students enrolled in six (6) or more units. Federal Work-Study is paid twice a month. Loans are disbursed once per semester.



  • A student who attempts to obtain financial aid by fraud will be suspended from financial aid for unsatisfactory conduct.
  • The college will report such instances to local law enforcement agencies, to the California Student Aid Commission, and to the Federal Government.
  • Restitution of any financial aid received in such manner will be required.

The Financial Aid Award

The campus processing the student’s aid produces and mails an Award Letter and Award Guide to the student. The award letter lists the Cost of Attendance, the EFC, Total Awards, Resources, and Unmet Need amounts applicable to the academic year.


Students may receive revised versions of the original award letter throughout the academic year. The revisions may reflect additional fees or allowances added to the cost of attendance, educational resources which must be accounted for, semesters of enrollment (partial year vs. full year and vice versa) changes, and addition or deletion of specific awards. The award letter confirms completion of the file review process and usually moves the awards to a disbursement set up of financial aid funds. Some students may need to resolve internal holds before awards can be disbursed. Students must contact the Financial Aid Office if disbursements do not arrive within three weeks of receipt of an award letter.



In certain cases, a family’s financial situation can change because of:

  • Death in the family
  • Separation or divorce
  • Loss of employment
  • Loss of non-taxable income or benefit

Financial Aid Disbursement

Disbursement dates and deadlines are mandated by Federal, State, District and/ or Institutional regulations and policies, and must be met or applications cannot be accepted or processed.


Students will be mailed a debit card, called, the myLACCDcard, to the mailing address on file with Admissions & Records. The myLACCDcard is the key for student’s selecting their disbursement preference. Students can choose to activate the card to receive their financial aid

disbursements or they can direct disbursements to an account of their choice. It is critical that students update their address on file with the Admissions and Records Office or Financial Aid Office to ensure receipt of their debit card. If you have not received your myLACCDcard, contact the Financial Aid Office.


Disbursements will be adjusted if enrollment is less than full time. Supplemental check runs occur throughout the academic year. Any outstanding institutional debt will be deducted from your financial aid disbursement. The system has been programmed to issue additional payments to students for units not counted in earlier disbursements. Not all disbursements will adhere to this schedule because disbursement depends upon when your award was processed and the date your classes begin. Payment for late starting classes will not be issued until the class begins.


Change of Enrollment Status

Colleges must review payment of funds to students each enrollment period to determine if students have received an overpayment. If you are paid at one level of enrollment and then drop units, you may be subject to repayment of some of the funds you received.


It is your responsibility to drop your classes through the Admissions Office if you do not attend. Failure to drop classes may result in a financial aid overpayment, which may require repayment of the financial aid you received.

Example: You were enrolled in 12 units (full-time) at the beginning of the semester and received your first check for $1,000.00. You then drop 9 units and remain in 3 units (less than half-time). The full payment for less than halftime enrollment is $432.00. You are overpaid $568.00 and will need to repay this amount before receiving any further financial aid.

If it is determined that you owe a repayment, and you do NOT repay the funds, a hold will be placed on your academic record, your debt will be reported to the Department of Education for collection, and you will not be eligible for further financial aid at any post secondary institution until the debt is paid in full.

No further award adjustments will be made after the second disbursement run date of the Fall and Spring semesters.



Students who receive federal financial aid and then withdraw from ALL classes may have to repay some of the federal funds they received.

All students receiving federal aid, who withdraw from the institution in the first 60% of the term, are subject to Return Regulations. The Financial Aid Office will calculate the amount of federal funds earned up to the point of withdrawal and students will be billed and must repay any federal grant funds received but not earned. Failure to repay these funds will result in the denial of future federal financial aid at all colleges.

It is advised that you contact the Financial Aid Office before withdrawing from all of your classes so you understand the results of your actions. For the refund policy on enrollment fees and non-resident tuition, please see the College Schedule of Classes or the College Catalog.


Student Rights & Responsibilities


  1. Information on all financial assistance available, which includes all federal, state, and institutional financial aid programs.
  2. Disclosure of deadlines for applications of each financial aid program and for any supporting documentation.
  3. Specific information regarding fees for those who drop out of school.
  4. An explanation of how students are selected for receipt of financial aid and how financial need is determined. This process includes a consideration of costs of tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, transportation, personal and miscellaneous expenses, child care, etc., plus the student’s income and assets, parental contribution, other financial aid (such as scholarships) and so on.
  5. Knowledge of what resources are considered in the calculation of student need.
  6. Knowledge of how a financial aid package is determined.
  7. An explanation of various programs awarded in the student’s financial aid package. If a student feels he/she has been treated unfairly, a reconsideration of the award may be requested.
  8. An explanation of the portion of financial aid the student received that must be repaid and what portion is grant aid or work-study and does not need to be repaid. If the aid is a loan, the student is informed about what the interest rate is, the total amount to be repaid, when the repayment is to begin, and the conditions of deferment and cancellation during loan counseling sessions.
  9. Knowledge of how the Los Angeles Community College District determines whether students are making“satisfactory academic progress” and what happens if they are not.
  10. Knowledge of what facilities are available for disabled students.


Students must take responsibility for:

  1. Having a valid Social Security Number (SSN) on file in the Admissions and Records Office for the purposes of reporting a Cal Grant Grade Point Average, loan deferments, etc.
  2. Enrolling in an eligible program, which is defined as a Certificate, an Associate Degree (AA/AS), or a two-year academic Transfer Program that is acceptable for full credit toward a Baccalaureate Degree. Students must declare an educational goal and major, and update changes with the Admissions and Records Office.
  3. Maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress to receive financial aid and meeting with an academic counselor to develop or review an Educational Plan (SAP Policy is also in the college catalog).
  4. Submitting all financial aid applications and documents by specified deadlines.
  5. Completing all financial application forms ACCURATELY AND COMPLETELY. If this is not done, aid could be delayed. Errors must be corrected before any financial aid can be received.
  6. Reading and understanding all financial aid forms and information. We advise students to retain copies of all documents submitted.
  7. Choosing a home school to process financial aid. Students MAY NOT receive financial aid from two or more institutions at the same time or periods of overlapping terms.
  8. Notifying the appropriate entity (college, lender, California Student Aid Commission, U.S. Department of Education, etc.) of changes in your name, address, school enrollment status, or transfer to another college.
  9. Repaying financial aid funds if it is determined that the student was ineligible to receive funds for any reason (i.e. Return to Title IV, overpayments, over-awards).
  10. Not misreporting information. Intentional misreporting of information on application forms for financial aid is a violation of the law and is considered a criminal offense subject to penalties under the U.S. Criminal Code, and the student’s application to denial. Additionally, regulations require that all cases of suspected fraud emanating from misrepresentation, be reported to the Office of the Inspector General.



In accordance with the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, the Los Angeles Community College District (hereinafter referred to as LACCD) established the following Standards of Academic Progress.

These standards apply to all students who apply for and receive financial aid from the programs listed below.

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
  • Federal Work-Study (FWS)
  • Federal Perkins Loan
  • Federal Family Educational Loan (FFEL)
  • Federal Direct Student Loan (FDSL)
  • Cal Grant B and C
  • Child Development Teacher Grant

Professional Judgment may be exercised in applying these standards in accordance with Section 479A of the Higher Education Act of 1965 as amended through June 1994. Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards are reasonable if they are the same as or stricter than the institution’s standards for a student enrolled in the same educational program who is not receiving assistance under Title IV Federal Financial Aid Program.

Current and previous coursework earned at any college within the LACCD will be reviewed for compliance with the standards put forth in this policy.

Consortium Classes

  • All classes throughout the LACCD will be included when reviewing satisfactory academic progress.
  • For students aided under a Consortium Agreement with colleges outside the LACCD, consortium classes will be included during satisfactory academic progress review by the home school, which is the college that processes the student’s aid. Not all colleges participate in outside consortium agreements.


  • A Certificate Program that prepares a student for gainful employment in a recognized occupation.
  • An Associate Degree (AA or AS), or,
  • A two-year academic Transfer Program that is acceptable for full credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree.



  • Maintain a 2.0 cumulative GPA (Grade Point Average).
  • Have not earned an AA, AS, or higher degree outside of LACCD
  • Fewer than ninety (90) attempted units for students who indicated AA/AS Degree or transfer as their educational goal.
    • Basic Skills/Remedial classes are excluded from the ninety (90) unit limit when determining units attempted. Students may receive federal aid for up to 30 units of remedial coursework.
    • Students who have already earned an Associate or higher degree will need to follow the appeal procedure.
    • In Progress (IP) grades count as attempted units in the maximum time frame only. It does not affect cumulative grade point average in the qualitative measure nor is it included as completed units in the quantitative measure.
  • Completion of 67% cumulative units attempted.
    • Entries recorded in the student’s academic record as Incomplete (INC), No Credit (NCR), and/or Withdrawal (W) are considered non-grades and must be 33% or less than the cumulative units attempted.


  • Satisfactory academic progress for financial aid students will be determined annually at the beginning of the academic year.
  • Students who are disqualified from financial aid will be notified by mail and may inquire about the appeal procedure in the Financial Aid Office.
  • A student who has been disqualified at any college in the LACCD is disqualified at all colleges within the LACCD.
  • A change of one (1) educational goal or major course of study will be permitted. Students are eligible to receive financial aid for one educational goal at the institution of attendance.
  • Disqualification.
    • Students will be disqualified if they have one or more of the following academic deficiencies at the end of the Spring semester.
      • Total units attempted (excluding Basic Skill/Remedial classes) are equal to or greater than ninety (90).
      • Associate or higher degree has been earned.
      • Cumulative GPA is less than 2.0.o Cumulative Non-Grades are more than 33%.
  • Warning Letter.
    • Students will receive a Warning Letter at the end of the Fall semester if they have one or more of the following academic deficiencies:
      • Cumulative GPA is less than 2.0.
      • Cumulative non-grades are greater than 33%.
      • Number of units attempted reaches forty-five (45).


Students who are attending for the purpose of obtaining an Associate of Arts Degree (AA), an Associate of Science Degree (AS), a certificate, or completion of requirements for transfer to a four-year college are allowed 90 attempted units in which to complete their objective.

  • Exceptions will be made only when the requirements of a student’s objective cause the student to exceed the maximum time limit.
  • Short Length Certificate Programs.
    • Some certificate objectives in the Los Angeles Community Colleges may be completed in less time than that required for the Associate of Arts, Associate of Science and transfer objectives.
  • The following table shows the normal completion time and maximum time for certificate programs of varying length.

Maximum Time Length

  • To be eligible for financial aid, a program must be at least six (6) months in length with a minimum of sixteen (16) units. Students enrolled in a certificate program may continue to qualify for financial aid up to ninety (90) attempted units, six (6) full-time semesters, or the equivalent, if they are planning to obtain an A. A. or A. S. Degree, or to transfer to a four-year school in addition to obtaining the certificate.


  • Summer and Winter terms are included in the evaluation of Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards.


  • A student who attempts to obtain financial aid by fraud will be suspended from financial aid for unsatisfactory conduct.
  • The college will report such instances to local law enforcement agencies, to the California Student Aid Commission, and to the Federal Government.
  • Restitution of any financial aid received in such manner will be required.