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Financial Aid FAQs

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GENERAL QUESTIONS

You may apply for financial aid by filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. You may apply each year, as early as October 1, for the following academic year. The FAFSA form is available to students and parents at studentaid.gov or through the myStudentAid mobile app. Berry College’s FAFSA code is 001554.

Students and parents will need an FSA ID as well as the tax information corresponding to the “prior-prior year” to the academic year of application. For instance, the 2022-23 FAFSA form will ask for 2020 tax information. Be sure to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool for both the student and the parents’ tax information. The IRS DRT transfers your tax information safely and accurately into your FAFSA.

Yes! Many families mistakenly assume that they do not qualify for aid and miss out on financial aid opportunities offered by the U.S. Department of Education, their state, and/or college. The FAFSA is a free application that will facilitate your qualification for as much aid as possible while you explore different financial aid offers. Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a FAFSA income “cut-off”.

The FAFSA also serves as an application to be qualified for federal direct loans each year. Information concerning your qualification and about how to accept or decline federal direct loans will be available in your MyBerry Student Portal at myportal.berry.edu or at financialaid.berry.edu if you are a returning student. If accepting your loans, your student portal will list a description and link to the mandatory counseling and documents available for completion with your FSA ID at studentaid.gov.

Once you have completed your FAFSA form, the U.S. Department of Education will send you a Student Aid Report (SAR), which is a summary of the FAFSA data you submitted. Be sure to look over your SAR, check for any mistakes, and make corrections to your FAFSA information if necessary.

If you have included Berry College as one of the schools on the FAFSA, the Office of Financial Aid at Berry College will receive an electronic version of your application.

Incoming students are encouraged to submit a FAFSA application by December 1st in order to receive maximum consideration for financial aid assistance.  The Berry priority deadline for filing the FAFSA is February 15th.

Returning Berry College students may submit a FAFSA application as early as October 1st and by February 1st (priority date) of each year in school for the following academic year.

Yes. A student must be accepted for admission to Berry College in order to receive a financial aid offer. A financial aid offer may include scholarships, grants, and loans.

In addition to federal and state aid, Berry College offers merit scholarships (Berry Academic scholarships) and need-based grants (Berry grants from Alumni & Friends) to those students who qualify.

In order to determine qualification for federal aid and Berry grants from Alumni & Friends, Berry College must receive a valid FAFSA from the student each year.

Financial need is determined by subtracting the family’s expected contribution, or EFC as calculated by the FAFSA, from the Cost of Attendance, COA (direct and indirect costs of attending the college). The EFC, however, does not represent the dollar amount a student or family must pay, nor does financial need represent the amount of need-based grant a student will receive.

Students who seek to be qualified only for Berry Academic or other merit scholarships do not need to file a FAFSA.

Students who do not file a FAFSA but would like to be qualified for and receive state of Georgia aid must file the GSFAPPS: Georgia HOPE and Zell Miller Scholarship Grant Application & Georgia Tuition Equalization Grant Application. This one-time application is available at Gafutures.org.

First-year and transfer (spring) admitted students receive their Berry College financial aid offer as early as December. This first financial aid offer is subject to updates as additional information (such as the FAFSA) is received throughout the following months.

Returning students’ financial aid offers are available during the spring and summer.

If you are an incoming admitted student, you may check your MyBerry Student Portal at myportal.berry.edu for your admission and most up-to-date financial aid information and offer. Any items that are missing from your financial aid file may affect your overall eligibility. Please submit any required documents as promptly as possible.

Returning students may check financialaid.berry.edu to review their financial aid information.

  • Not filing or renewing the FAFSA application early enough or by the deadline
  • Not getting an FSA ID before filling out the form
  • Not using the FSA ID correctly (student or parent) when starting the form
  • Not using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool
  • Overlooking definitions and mistakenly assuming the meaning of the following (the FAFSA provides clear definitions for each term)
    • legal guardianship; parents; number of family members; number of family members in college; net worth of investments; taxable college grants and scholarships  
  • Inputting incorrect information or confusing parent with student information
  • Not reporting required information
  • Not signing the FAFSA form

The Office of Financial Aid at Berry College may use the authority dispensed by the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, to exercise professional judgment and adjust certain data elements on the FAFSA under limited unusual circumstances. If any of the following circumstances apply to you and/or your family, please contact your admission counselor (incoming students) or financial aid counselor (returning students). Your counselor will assess the impact of these circumstances in your financial aid eligibility, as well as provide advice about the process and application for professional judgement if applicable.

  • Divorce of parents or student
  • Death of parent or spouse
  • Loss of employment and continued unemployment beyond four months
  • Loss of other income or benefits (such as social security or child support)
  • Excessive and unusual documented medical expenses paid out of pocket

There might be other circumstances which, while affecting your family’s financial circumstances, may not qualify as unusual for the purposes of professional judgement. In such cases, families may file a formal request for additional aid instead. Please note that additional aid is not guaranteed as an outcome of a formal request.

FEDERAL VERIFICATION QUESTIONS

Federal verification is a required process that confirms that the data provided on your FAFSA is accurate. The verification process entails the collection and review of documentation by the Office of Financial Aid. The verification process must be complete before any federal or need-based aid may be given to you.

The U.S. Department of Education selects a group of FAFSA records for verification each year. If your FAFSA is selected for verification, you will be notified by the Department of Education as well as by the Berry College Office of Financial Aid. The Berry College notification specifies the deadline (typically 30 days) by which your verification items must be submitted.

Schools may also select students for verification institutionally. Berry College will verify the records of students participating in any of the special scholarship programs each academic year. Special scholarship programs include the Gate of Opportunity Program, the Lettie Pate Whitehead Scholarship, and the Bonner Scholars Program.

Your financial aid offer may change as a result of the verification process. Berry College reserves the right to revoke any aid offer based on disqualification or failure to provide the required items needed for verification by the specified deadline.

Please note: The amount of documentation requested to fulfill the verification requirement may be minimized by the use of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool in your FAFSA. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) allows students and parents who filed a U.S. tax return with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to access the IRS tax return information needed and transfer the data directly into their FAFSA. The DRT is available in the finances section of the FAFSA online form; you will see a “Link to IRS” button if you are eligible to use the IRS DRT. We strongly encourage you to click the “Link to IRS” button to retrieve this information.

Most verification selections will require that you file a Verification Worksheet - V1 form.

Additionally, you may be asked to submit documentation at the discretion of the Office of Financial Aid. The following are some examples of the most frequently requested documents:

  • IRS Tax Return Transcript
  • Ink-signed copy of your Tax Return
  • W-2 form, Schedule C, 1099 forms, or comparable wage statements
  • Proof of IRS Tax Filing Extension
  • Marital Status documentation

A comprehensive list of the documents required to complete the verification of your financial aid file with Berry College is available in your MyBerry Student Portal at myportal.berry.edu if you are an incoming student or at financialaid.berry.edu if you are a returning student.

You may submit your financial aid related documents securely via our Financial Aid Document Upload Portal. The Financial Aid Document Upload Portal is available in the student portal. Once you log in, click ‘Finances’ and navigate to the ‘Financial Aid’ page.  Each item with a status of “Not Received” or 'Requires Resubmission' will need to be resolved before the verification process of your information may begin.

Click here for more information about the Financial Aid Document Upload Portal

Please make sure that you include your full name and Berry student ID number on the top right corner of each document.

Because of the sensitive nature of the information requested, please do not e-mail documents. If needed, you may mail documents to our office at the following address.

Berry College Office of Financial Aid
2277 Martha Berry Hwy
Mount Berry GA 30149-5007

The Office of Financial Aid strives to complete the verification of files as quickly and accurately as possible. Before the verification process may begin, our office will be in touch about the status of your file if it appears to be incomplete. Once the process begins, it may take 10 to 20 business days to complete. During the process, a Verification Specialist may determine that additional information is needed. In such case, we will reach out with a detailed request and a deadline for submission. The amount of time needed to verify your financial aid file depends on the amount of information to be reviewed and the timing of its submission. Please contact your admission counselor (incoming students) or your financial aid counselor (returning students) with any concerns.

SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS QUESTIONS

SAP is a federally mandated policy that establishes three measurements of successful academic progress to be met by all students receiving all kinds of financial aid. The SAP policy requires students to demonstrate that they are moving through their academic program at a reasonable pace and "making progress" toward their degree. Berry College’s SAP policy is located in the “Admission & Financial Aid” section of the college catalog.

Students who do not maintain SAP for two consecutive terms will have their financial aid suspended (Financial Aid Suspension) and become ineligible for all types of financial assistance.

Yes. You can appeal if extenuating circumstances have contributed to your failure to maintain good standing. Documented medical reasons, serious illness or death of a family member are examples that may be considered in an appeal. Please be sure to speak to a financial aid counselor for further guidance.

Withdrawing some courses once you have received your financial aid funds may affect your future eligibility for aid. If you completely withdraw from Berry College before the 61st percentile of the semester, you will be required to repay a percentage of the financial aid that you have received for the semester. This may cause a balance to be paid to the institution.

If you are a financial aid recipient and are thinking about dropping hours, withdrawing from any classes or completely withdrawing from the college, please consult with a financial aid counselor. This can have a negative impact on your SAP status. 

STUDENT WORK QUESTIONS

Federal Work-Study is a need-based financial aid program that allows a student to work and earn money. You will be qualified for FWS funds if you file the FAFSA and have financial need.

FWS funds may be offered as part of your financial aid. You will receive these funds via payroll and according to your participation in the LifeWorks program.

All Berry College students, regardless of financial need or having filed a FAFSA, have the opportunity to work by participating in the LifeWorks program.

SCHOLARSHIP QUESTIONS

You will be offered merit-based scholarships at the time of admission. When Berry receives your FAFSA and your financial aid file is complete for review, you will be evaluated for additional financial aid based on your financial need. 

If you are the recipient of an external scholarship, it is important that the College receives the funds from the donor in ample time to credit it towards your tuition and fees. When mailing the scholarship check to Berry College, the donor must specify your name and student ID or SSN, the term in which the funds are to be applied, what the funds are to be used for (ex: tuition and fees), and whether any remaining funds can be given to that student. Scholarships may be mailed to the following address.

Berry College
PO Box 490129
Mount Berry, Georgia
30149-0129

Returning students may check with their academic advisor or department for scholarship opportunities each spring semester for the following academic year.

The Office of Financial Aid maintains a compilation of external scholarships available in VikingWeb (Click on General Information and Outside Resources). Additionally, the following are good sources of financial aid related information as well as scholarship opportunities.

www.finaid.org

www.collegeboard.ORG

www.fastweb.com

Please be aware of and protect yourself against scholarship scams! Never pay to apply for a scholarship.

Yes! The Office of Financial Aid is open from 8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. Please call 706.236.1714 or email us at financialaid@berry.edu to schedule an appointment with a financial aid counselor.

In order to speak with relatives or family members, the enrolled student must have granted permissions in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). Students may grant or update FERPA permissions by completing the Release of Information Form available in VikingWeb.

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