How is need determined?

The basic premise of financial aid is that the primary responsibility for meeting college costs rests with you, the student, and your parents; to the extent you are able to pay. The difference between the cost of attendance at Central and the calculated ability of a family to meet this cost is defined as your "demonstrated need." Your family's ability to meet the cost of attendance is determined from an in-depth assessment of the information reported on FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).

Where do I obtain the FAFSA applications?

The online version of the FAFSA is available at www.fafsa.ed.gov.  The FAFSA school code for Central is 001850.

What types of gift aid are available?

Central College offers many merit and need-based scholarships and grants from our own funds. Legal residents of Iowa may be eligible for the Iowa Tuition Grant if your estimated family contribution is under $13,500 and you complete the FAFSA prior to July 1. Students who have the highest levels of financial need under federal methodology may qualify for Federal Pell Grants and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants.

What types of need-based loans are available?

Federal Perkins Loans: Loans of up to $1,500 per year are offered to students who demonstrate the highest need under federal methodology. Perkins Loans have a fixed interest rate of 5%. There are no origination or insurance fees, and no interest accrues during enrollment or in periods of deferment. Repayment starts nine months after you cease attending college at least half-time.

We do not have the resources to cover our expected family share of the costs of education. What are our options?

To cover the expense of higher education, many families choose to spread the costs over time through a combination of monthly payments  and borrowing through the various student loan programs. Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loans and Federal Parent PLUS Loans are not based on need and may be used to pay a family's share of costs, without reducing eligibility for need-based aid. For more information, call or e-mail Donna Newendorp at 641-628-5187.

What is the income cut-off for financial aid eligibility?

Since income is only one factor that is taken into consideration in determining eligibility for financial aid, there is no income cut-off. In addition to income, we take into consideration many factors, including parent and student assets, family size, tax liability, the number of students in college, business investments, rental property, and student earnings. The only way to determine eligibility for financial aid is to submit an application.

How will the outside scholarships I receive affect my eligibility for need-based financial aid?

Any outside scholarships are viewed as financial resources available to meet your financial need. You are required to report outside scholarships to the Office of Financial Aid. The gift portion of your financial aid package will not be reduced based on your outside scholarships. The increase in gift aid may result in a reduction of the loan or work-study portion of your package.

What is the difference between a Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan and a Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan?

The Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan is awarded on the basis of need according to federal eligibility standards. Interest on this loan does not accrue while the student remains in school at least half time. If other forms of financial aid do not meet the total costs of education, any degree-seeking U. S. citizen or permanent resident, regardless of need, can qualify for a Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan by simply completing the FAFSA. Interest on an unsubsidized loan accrues while the student attends college.

What is the Net Price Calculator?

The net price calculator is a tool that you can use to estimate your “net price” to attend a particular college or university. Net price is the difference between the “sticker” price (full cost) to attend a specific college, minus any grants and scholarships for which you may be eligible. Sticker price includes direct charges (tuition and fees, room and board) and indirect costs (books and supplies, transportation and personal expenses).
Net price calculator

How do we choose between loan options?

You must assess your lending priorities--interest rates, size of monthly payments, student vs. parent loans, deferment provisions, home equity options--and decide what type of loan best meets your current financial needs.

Do I have to maintain a certain grade point average to be eligible for financial aid?

You are expected to maintain satisfactory academic progress as outlined in the Central College catalog.

Do I need to reapply for financial aid each year?

You must reapply for aid each year by submitting the FAFSA if you have need based aid, Unsubsidized Stafford Loan or Teach Grant.

When will I receive my financial aid award from Central?

We begin mailing new student aid awards approximately in ealy March and continue awarding on a rolling basis thereafter. You will need to be accepted for admission and have your FAFSA results to us before we will be able to process your financial aid offer. We make every attempt to email financial aid offers on campus to continuing students before summer break if we have received all of the required information.

What if my family's financial circumstances change after I receive my financial aid award?

Any substantive changes in your family's financial situation should be reported  to the Office of Financial Aid. Examples of such changes are a significant decrease in income, unusual medical expenses, or a change in parents' marital status.

My parents do not claim me as a dependent on their income taxes. Can I be classified as an independent student for financial aid purposes?

Central College follows the FAFSA’s definition of dependency, except in the most extraordinary circumstances. If you are an undergraduate student who was born after January 1, 1991, are not married, do not have legal dependants whom you support and you are not an orphan, ward of the court or Veteran of the Army, Air Force, Marines or Navy, you will be considered dependant for financial aid purposes.

What are Federal Subsidized Stafford Loans?

Students with federal eligibility may also qualify for Federal Subsidized Stafford Loans of up to $3,500 for freshmen, $4,500 for sophomores, and $5,500 for juniors and seniors. This loan is currently at a fixed rate of 3.4%. The federal government pays the interest during enrollment and periods of deferment. Repayment begins six months after you cease attending college at least half-time.

What is Federal Work-Study?

You may be offered the opportunity to work on campus and earn money for education-related personal expenses as part of your financial aid offer if you show financial need. Earnings are limited to the amount awarded in the aid package. Typically, Central College students work about 6 to 8 hours per week. Earnings are paid directly to the you by check as the work is performed and are not credited to the student's account. You may use your earnings to cover personal expenses.

How do I have outside scholarships credited to my account?

Outside scholarship donors should include your name, as well as the term(s) for which the scholarship is intended, on the face of the check. Checks should be made payable to Central College (or co-payable to Central College and the student) and sent to the Financial Aid Office, Campus Box 5800, Pella, IA 50219.

What forms and documents do I need to submit to apply for financial aid?

You should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) listing Central College (001850) as one college to receive the results. In addition, you and your parents may be required to submit copies of federal income tax transcripts if selected for verification by the federal processor.

What are the due dates for applying for financial aid?

Incoming freshmen and transfer students are encouraged to submit the FAFSA by March 1. Iowa residents must file the FAFSA prior to July 1 for need-based state aid.

Do we need to have our taxes completed to file the FAFSA application?

No. You may complete the application using reasonable estimates of income. If this is done, please understand that final results using actual tax figures may change the student aid award. You may need to submit copies of your tax return at a later date if you are selected for verification.

Does Central College offer a monthly tuition payment plan?

The monthly payment plan at Central College is a tuition management plan that gives your family the option of dividing the cost of yearly tuition into nine or ten monthly payments, beginning in July or August of the academic year. To learn more about the monthly payment plan, call 641-628-5185.

Are there jobs available for students who are not eligible for Federal Work-Study?

The Office of Student Employment maintains a listing of part-time jobs on campus and in the community. There are usually opportunities on campus, but students with financial need are given priority.

How many semesters of financial aid can I receive?

You may receive institutional aid for eight semesters providing you maintain satisfactory academic progress and meet GPA requirements for scholarship renewal.

If I drop to part-time status, will this affect my financial aid?

All financial aid awards are based upon full-time enrollment in a degree program at Central College. Full-time enrollment for financial aid purposes is defined as a minimum of twelve hours per semester. You should contact the Office of Financial Aid in advance if you plan to enroll in less than 12 semester hours. We would then be able to provide you with the revised tuition costs and financial aid figures so that you can make an informed enrollment decision. Your financial aid and tuition charge will not be adjusted if you drop to less-than-full-time enrollment after the drop/add period, however you will want to make sure that you will still meet the satisfactory academic progress requirements as listed in the Central College catalog. You should be aware that dropping to less than 6 semester hours starts the clock ticking on your grace period for student loans.

Is financial aid available to cover the cost of summer school?

Institutional scholarship aid is not awarded for summer session classes. The tuition costs for summer classes are heavily discounted.

If I take a semester off during the school year, is my aid transferable to summer sessions?

Institutional funds are not transferable to summer sessions, but a student may be eligible to receive unused Federal Pell Grant or Stafford Loan Funds.

Will financial aid cover study abroad options?

In general, if you enroll in one of Central’s study abroad programs, you are awarded aid in the same manner as for a semester on the Pella campus. Central Tuition Exchange and work-study funds will not be available while studying abroad. Students with remaining loan eligibility are able to apply for loans to fund additional costs associated with the overseas program.

Are international students eligible for financial aid?

Students classified as international students by the Office of Admissions are eligible to apply for institutional assistance. If there are questions about working on campus, international students may contact the student employment coordinator at 641-628-5300.

What if one or both of my parents refuse to contribute to my education?

We believe students and their parents have primary responsibility to cover the cost of a Central education to the extent they are able to do so. Financial aid decisions are based on ability, not willingness to pay, with the greatest help going to the most needy families. You may wish to explain to an unwilling parent that we will not share his/her financial information with others. Also, by submitting the necessary financial information on the FAFSA or through verification, the parent is in no way obligated to contribute to educational costs. The information is simply used to determine eligibility for need-based aid. We cannot increase financial aid because of a parent's unwillingness to contribute, so a student may be faced with taking out loans to finance the parent's expected contribution. If there are unusual or extenuating family circumstances, you may submit a written appeal to the Financial Aid Committee.