FEDERAL FINANCIAL AID
Financing a college education requires determination, careful planning, and most importantly faith. While we maintain that paying for a college education remains the responsibility of the student, we also believe that God provides for those who are diligent in obeying His call. Students seeking financial aid should review resources available through the Pillar College Financial Aid office.
Pillar College makes it a priority to offer our students a quality education at the lowest possible cost. Tuition and fees only cover a portion of the total cost of education. Additional funds offsetting the cost to students are derived from gifts to the College from area churches and contributors. In this way every student receives assistance through our affordable tuition structure.
Pillar College operates a full student financial aid program, including grants, scholarships, loans and employment, allowing any student a realistic opportunity to finance their college education. More than 95% of all Pillar College students who apply for financial assistance to further their education receive it. We are aware that each family offers a unique financial situation and our Financial Aid staff is available to work with students to find the resources to fund their education at Pillar College.
Students start the process by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine financial need for all scholarships and grants. Additional information can be found online at our web site (www.pillar.edu Admissions/Financial Aid).
Valuable tips for applying for financial aid are listed in the next section.
Pillar College provides equal educational and employment opportunity to all qualified persons regardless of their economic or social status and does not discriminate in any of its policies, programs, or activities on the basis of sex, age, race, ability, marital or parental status, color, or national or ethnic origin.
In order to be eligible for any type of Federal Financial Aid you must:
Be enrolled in a degree seeking program
Be enrolled for at least 3 credits (enrolling for 12 credits is considered full-time).
To be eligible for aid at Pillar College you must complete the FAFSA (Free Application for
Federal Student Aid). Below are some tips that will help you work through the process.
Step 1. Begin by getting an FSA ID:
If you do not already have an FSA ID from having applied for Financial Aid previously, then both the student and the parents (if student is under the age of 24) must first apply for an FSA ID by visiting http://fsaid.ed.gov. When asked for an email address, be sure to use a current email you have immediate access to. Write down your username and password for continued use! It is easy and fast.
Step-2. Complete a FAFSA:
The newly designed FAFSA website allows the applicant to link automatically to the IRS system, and will electronically load all pertinent information into the FAFSA application. A small set of identification questions will be asked, and it might be handy to have the previous year’s tax return for the student and parents available to confirm some items. (This new design saves a LOT of time.)
Where the FAFSA asks for the school code, enter Pillar Colleg’s code: 036663. (New Jersey students must list Pillar College their FIRST choice to be eligible for TAG funding (described below). Students transferring to Pillar College from another college must visit to change their school choice code to add Pillar College (036663) to their FAFSA information.)
New Jersey residents will want to make sure they provide DRIVER’S LICENSE information through the FAFSA application: This will help link your FAFSA information to the New Jersey HESAA (see below) to more easily allow processing of available New Jersey state funding.
The student (and parent, if the student is under the age of 24) signs the FAFSA by using their respective pin numbers. You may then complete the FAFSA process.
When you finish the FAFSA, some information will be presented to you immediately, on screen. You will see if you qualify for a PELL grant, or loan money, and a link will be provided for more information about the Direct Stafford Loans.
Also on this final page of the FAFSA, if you entered your DRIVER’S LICENSE information above, there may be a direct link to your state granting agency. Take advantage of the link on the confirmation page that says Optional Feature Start your state application.
The EFC (Estimated Family Contribution, see sidebar above) will be sent to the student by email for use when completing a Financial Aid Interview with Pillar College. The student must read through the report carefully to determine that all the information on the report is accurate. If the student listed Pillar College as the first college of choice when completing the FAFSA, our Financial Aid Office will also receive this information electronically.
Step 3. Register with the Pillar College Financial Aid Office
After completing the FAFSA, the student must complete the financial aid process at the Pillar College Financial Aid Office. The Pillar College Financial Aid Office will help the student estimate award amounts (both grants and loans), complete a financial aid interview (required by Federal Law), and provide general counseling about financial obligations and borrowing details.
Step 4. Sign Master Promissory Note if applying for loans
Depending on your EFC you may eligible to receive PELL GRANT funding. Funds you receive from a PELL GRANT do not need to be repaid to the government. If, however, you do not receive enough PELL GRANT funding to cover your entire Cost of Attendance, you might decide to borrow the additional funds through the government Direct Stafford Loan program. Loans must be re-paid: Repayment of the loan typically begins six months after the date the student ceases to be enrolled at least halftime (6 credit hours), and repayment terms may extend over a ten-year period. If you decide to borrow money from the federal government through the Direct Stafford Loan program you must sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN). YOU CANNOT BORROW MONEY WITHOUT SIGNING A PROMISSORY NOTE. To begin to explore the borrowing process, go to www.studentloans.gov.
Step 5. Review Your Financial Aid Notice
When your application has been processed at Pillar College, and your Financial Aid has been setup, you will receive a Registration Bill listing the amount of federal and other aid you are eligible to receive. This will show both GRANT and LOAN funds. Notify the Pillar College Financial Aid office immediately should you have any questions about your Registration Bill.
The State of New Jersey offers grant money to certain residents through the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA). This is called TAG (Tuition Assistance Grant). To qualify for the NJ-TAG grant the student must visit the website HESAA.ORG and click the button ENTER ADDITIONAL INFORMATION at the bottom-right of the screen. (If you need help with this please call our Financial Aid office and someone will assist you.) Although New Jersey uses the information that you entered on your FAFSA, New Jersey student aid is calculated differently than is federal aid. New Jersey will send you a Student Eligibility Notice (SEN).
In addition to all of the above, the student may qualify for other scholarships and grants offered at Pillar College. See below for more information. These are also listed in detail at our web site under Admissions/Financial Aid/Scholarships & Grants, where you may also obtain application instructions.
Note: All returning students must file their FAFSA by May 31st to be eligible for NJ TAG in the Fall. First-time students have until October 1st. (For first-time students beginning in January, the deadline for NJ TAG application is March 1st.)
After you complete your FAFSA you may be asked by Pillar College or the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) to provide tax or other documentation to verify the information. It is important to respond quickly to avoid delay in financial aid processing.
Pillar College cannot disburse any Federal Student Aid until the verification process is complete and any corrections required have been made. If verification documentation is not received prior to the beginning of classes the student may be required to pay tuition in full on the first day of class.
All borrowers of student loans are required, by federal regulation, to complete a Federal Direct Loan ENTRANCE INTERVIEW. The Entrance Interview must be completed online before any loan funds can be applied to the student’s account. Visit www.studentloans.gov to complete this.
If you open a student loan you will find it very helpful to visit to review and keep track of your loan(s) as you progress through school.
Completing a Direct Loan EXIT INTERVIEW is required prior to graduation, or whenever a student is enrolled for fewer than 6 credit hours. The Exit Interview is conducted online at www.nslds.gov.
A Direct Stafford Loan may not be certified after the end of the academic year or after the student withdraws or graduates. A Direct Stafford Loan may not be taken out for past due balances from a previous semester.
How Need Based Financial Aid Eligibility is Determined
- The student or parents get a PIN number at www.pin.ed.gov
- The student completes the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Beginning with 2013-2014 the FAFSA retrieves financial information automatically from the IRS.
- The federal processing center determines eligibility for federal assistance based on a number of factors. This process calculates the EFC (Expected Family Contribution) number. The EFC is used to compute all Federal financial aid.
- The Student Aid Report (SAR) is sent to the student and each school the student listed on the FAFSA. The SAR shows the EFC number and informs the student if they are eligible .