Understanding the Financial Aid Process

  1. Fill out your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) at www.fafsa.gov.

    Students should complete their FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1st for the upcoming academic year. To be considered for additional aid, students must complete their FAFSA by the deadlines listed below:

    • March 1st – Maryland State Scholarships
    • Mid - late April – Chesapeake College Scholarship application
    • May 1st – Chesapeake College's priority deadline for Fall
    • December 1st – Chesapeake College's priority deadline for Spring
    • April 1st – Chesapeake College's priority deadline for Summer
  2. Review your SAR (Student Aid Report)

    All students who complete a FAFSA will receive a SAR, either in the mail or via e-mail. The SAR will have a summary of all information submitted on the FAFSA. In addition, the student can make any necessary corrections by visiting the FAFSA website and clicking on “Make Corrections to a Processed FAFSA.” Alternately, students may make corrections directly on the SAR and mail it back to the Department of Education.

  3. Financial Aid receipt of the ISIR (Institutional Student Information Record)

    Beginning in April, the Financial Aid Office will start to download ISIR's. The ISIR contains the same information as your SAR. The ISIR is electronically received from the Federal Processor, usually within 7-10 business days.

    Note: ISIR receipt can take up to 10 days for students and/or parents who do not electronically sign their FAFSA.

    Once your ISIR has been received, the Financial Aid Office will send a letter for any additional documentation and/or forms needed to complete your financial aid file.

  4. Required Forms: Students must submit all requested documentation before receiving financial aid.

    All students who submit a FAFSA could be subject to verification. Verification is a process in which the Financial Aid Office must obtain additional documentation to ensure that the information you provided on your FAFSA is accurate. Thirty percent of all students submitting a FAFSA will be selected for verification. If a student is selected for verification, he/she will have to provide a Verification Worksheet and tax transcript and/or W-2 forms. The Financial Aid Office will contact you if you are selected for verification. Additional documentation may be required on a case-by-case basis.

    If you are required to provide 1040 tax transcripts and W-2 transcripts, this must be requested from the IRS at www.irs.gov or 800-829-1040 or in person at a local IRS office.

  5. SAP – Satisfactory Academic Progress

    Federal regulations require that Chesapeake College establish policies to monitor the academic progress of students who apply for and/or receive federal financial aid. If you are not meeting the SAP requirements, you may have to submit an appeal before your aid can be processed.

    Your financial aid cannot be processed until you have submitted an appeal form and academic plan and it is reviewed by the Director of Financial Aid.

  6. Financial Aid Award Notification

    Award letters are mailed to students throughout the summer beginning in May. Award letters show the aid that has been granted to the student based on the students currents enrollment.

  7. Student Account

    All financial aid is deposited into the student's account and maintained by the Business Office of the college. Any charges, credits, payments, etc. are received and processed only by the Business Office.

  8. Finalizing

    Finalizing is the process of the student coming in person to the Business Office to confirm that they will be attending in the upcoming semester and would like to use the funds on their account to pay for their tuition, fees and/or books. All students receiving any type of financial aid must finalize each semester any time funding is added or deducted from their account. Failure to finalize by the given semester pay-by-date will cause courses to be dropped. By simply completing a FAFSA and/or turning in documents is not equivalent finalizing.

  9. Book Credit

    Prior to the start of the semester, the Financial Aid Office will notify the Business Office which students have funds available to purchase books and supplies. A list will be sent to the campus book store once a day. Any students whose financial aid files are complete, have been awarded financial aid, and have a credit balance will be included on the list sent to the Book Store, 24 hours after the student finalizes at the Business Office. These students may go directly to the Book Store with their class schedule and photo id to make their purchases.

    The Book Store receipt will show the estimated amount of financial aid the student has left after purchasing books and supplies. This is not necessarily the total financial aid amount and is subject to change based on the completion of the student's financial aid file, adding/dropping courses, withdraws, etc.

    Students who do not have enough financial aid to cover their tuition and fees will be responsible for buying their own books.

  10. Refunds

    If a student has money remaining in his/her account after all debts to the college have been taken care of, the Business Office will issue a refund check to the student. Refunds are typically available about 6 weeks after the start of the semester. Checks will be mailed to the address on the students account at the time checks are produced.