Paying for college: Understanding financial aid at KCC

Editor’s note: The following article was published in July in Kellogg Community College’s Summer 2012 edition of CareerFocus magazine with the headline, “YES, you can afford college: Understanding Financial aid.” View the full CareerFocus publication online at or pick up a print copy from the newspaper racks on campus. Image note: The above image is from morgueFile user mconners and is used under the morgueFile Free License.

By Nikki Sarpolis and Nicole Jewell, Director of Financial Aid at Kellogg Community College

The cost of tuition should not stand in the way of getting a college education. At Kellogg Community College, nearly 70 percent of all students receive some financial aid, and the Financial Aid Office will provide assistance with the application process.

What is financial aid?

Financial aid is money provided by federal, state and institutional sources to help students meet college expenses. Financial aid may include paying for tuition, fees, books, supplies and transportation. KCC participates in many federal and state student aid programs, which you may be eligible for. In addition, there are private foundation grants and scholarships available. In many situations where students have great need, tuition and fees are completely paid for by financial aid.

How do I get started?

The best way to determine what funds you qualify for is by completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application online at

When do I need to file a FAFSA?

File as soon as you can after Jan. 1 for the upcoming academic year. Filing a FAFSA after the priority processing deadline — Nov. 16 for the Spring 2013 semester — may delay your aid and disqualify you from awards you may otherwise be entitled to. You must resolve all errors and/or conflicting data and provide requested documents to the Financial Aid Office no later than six weeks prior to the beginning of the semester.

What happens once I file my FAFSA form?

You will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) from the U.S. Department of Education. The College receives a similar document, and you will be asked to provide information via your KCC email account. If you are eligible for aid, the College will send you an estimated award letter.

What types of financial aid are available?

You may receive a Federal Pell Grant, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Work-Study award, and have the option of taking out a William D. Ford Federal Direct Student Loan (Direct Loan), which you must repay to the federal government.

Scholarships can also help you finance your education. Check out the following links for scholarship searches and information:

KCC also offers several awards and scholarships for current students, and there are also scholarship opportunities available through the Kellogg Community College Foundation. For a complete list, visit

Does the College have a tuition payment plan?

KCC contracts with Nelnet Business Solutions to provide payment plans for all students. Information detailing the FACTS payment plan can be found online at and is also available at all of the KCC registration sites. The cost for activating a payment plan with Nelnet is $30 and plans are available for the fall, spring and summer semesters. Any questions regarding the tuition payment plan can be directed to the College’s Business Office at 269-965-4140.

For more information and to view KCC’s Financial Aid Reference Guide, please visit:


Grants: Money a student receives based on financial need. The student does not have to pay back a grant.

Scholarships: Money a student gets based on grades or talent that is not paid back.

Loans: Money borrowed for college that needs to be paid back.

Work-Study Program: Money a student earns by working while attending college.

For more information about financial aid at Kellogg Community College, visit