Common Questions

Below are answers to commonly asked questions.

Category: Application Process

How do I apply for financial aid?
To apply for financial aid, you need to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Paper applications are accepted and available. However, it is highly recommended that you apply online since it is fast, simple and safe. Please check with the Financial Aid Office if you have specific concerns about applying online.

When should I apply for financial aid?
To get the most favorable financial aid package complete a FAFSA as soon as possible. Honolulu Community College has priority dates of March 1st for Fall semester and October 1st for Spring semester. We encourage students to meet these dates, but you may still apply after the priority deadlines. However, be prepared to pay for tuition and other needed educational expenses until you are awarded financial aid.

How often should I apply for financial aid?
The FAFSA needs to be completed once every school year. Applications are available beginning January 1st of each year for the coming school year. Since information may change from one year to the next, you need to complete a financial aid application every year.

What is Honolulu Community College's Federal School Code?
001612

Can I be considered an independent student?
By federal definition, you are considered independent if you meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • You are 24 years of age or older
  • You are working on a degree beyond a Bachelor's degree
  • You are married by the date you file your FAFSA
  • You are a ward of the court, in foster care, in legal guardianship as determined by a court, or both parents are deceased - if you have been legally adopted, this criteria does NOT apply to you
  • You have children and/or legal dependents who will receive more than half of their support from you for the academic year you are applying for aid
  • You are on active duty or a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces. National Guard or Reserves enlistees not activated for duty are NOT considered in this criteria

If you do not meet any of the definitions above, you are considered dependent and must provide your parents' information on your FAFSA.

What is the SAR?
SAR stands for Student Aid Report. It gives you basic information about your eligibility for federal student aid as well as lists your answers to the questions on your FAFSA. If there are any errors or changes needed, you will need to correct your FAFSA. You can submit corrections either at www.fafsa.gov or by mailing the SAR pages provided back to the Federal Processor. Please remember to sign your application anytime a correction is made.

What is the EFC?
EFC stands for Expected Family Contribution. This represents the amount of funds you and your family can contribute to your college expenses. The Federal Government calculates your EFC based on the information provided on your FAFSA and can be found on your Student Aid Report (SAR).

Category: Financial Aid Award Process

How do I use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?
View detailed instructions on how to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool [PDF].

How will I know my financial aid status?
You can check your financial aid status on your UH accounts. Your MyUH Portal (the Financial Aid section) and UH email account will provide you the most updated information about your financial aid; such as student requirements, active messages from financial aid counselors, and financial aid award details. Be sure to check both your MyUH Portal and UH email throughout the summer, we will not send information about your financial aid to any email address outside of UH.

What is the Verification that I need to complete?
Verification is a process where the Financial Aid Office must verify the accuracy of the information that you submitted on your FAFSA. If you are selected for verification, you will be notified on your Student Aid Report (SAR) and you will receive an email notification from the Financial Aid Office. Documents required for verification may include a verification worksheet, a copy of your IRS Tax transcripts, proof of U.S. Citizenship, Social Security Number and/or Selective Service registration.

How do I get a tax transcript?
You have several options:

  1. Go to www.irs.gov/Individuals/Get-Transcript
  2. Visit your local IRS office. The Honolulu IRS office is at 300 Ala Moana Blvd.
  3. Call 1-800-908-9464

When will I know about my financial aid award?
It generally takes about 4-6 weeks, from the time all student requirements are submitted, to process a student's financial aid application. It is important to check MyUH Portal regularly for updates.

How is my need calculated?
This amount is calculated by taking your cost of attendance and subtracting the expected family contribution and outside resources.

How is my financial aid award determined?
Your award is determined by the amount of your Cost of Attendance, Expected Family Contribution, and the availability of federal, state, and private funds administered by Honolulu CC.

What if I need more financial aid?
Unfortunately, due to limited funds, the award offered may not meet all of your educational expenses. In this case, you may consider applying for a student loan by submitting a Loan Request Form [PDF]. It will require an itemized list of expenses for the amount of loan you are requesting. This is used to ensure the funds will be used towards allowable educational expenses.

Category: Disbursement

How do I accept my awards?
Instructions will be sent to your UH email account once you have been awarded. Please review all the information regarding your financial aid before accepting or declining your award. View detailed instructions on how to accept or decline your award.

Do I have to pay back the financial aid that I receive?
Student loans always need to be repaid. Most grants, scholarships and tuition waivers do not need to be repaid if you are attending and progressing in your classes.

How will I receive my financial aid money?
Once you have accepted your award and you are enrolled at the enrollment level indicated on your award offer, the monies will be credited to your student account. Please note that if your enrollment level is not the same level your financial aid award was based upon, the disbursement of your financial aid could be delayed. Some aid may require additional steps before monies are disbursed, please check your UH accounts to see if you have completed all student requirements.

When will I get my financial aid?
When your financial aid is successfully processed, the Cashier's Office will apply your financial aid towards your student account according to the dates required by Federal Regulations.

Grants and waivers will be credited to your student account no earlier than 10 days prior to the start of the semester based on your enrollment level at that time. For first-time and first-year student loan borrowers, loans will be disbursed 30 days after the first day of school as required by Federal Regulations. For federal work study, once you are placed in a position, you will receive your work study monies in the form of a paycheck for the hours worked.

Do I have to meet the payment deadline for tuition?
If you have been awarded financial aid by the payment deadline and have not declined all financial aid given to you, your classes will be held and you do not have to pay. Be aware filling out the FAFSA is not enough to hold your classes.

Please note if you are not awarded financial aid by the payment deadline, and are registered for classes, you will need to pay for your classes or start a tuition payment plan through MyUH Portal.

How will I receive my remaining financial aid funds?
Your financial aid will be used to pay for Honolulu CC tuition, student activities fees, and publication fees. If you have already paid for tuition and fees or the amount of the disbursement is greater than your Honolulu CC tuition and fees, you will receive either a refund check or e-Refund for the remaining funds.

How do I get my financial aid refund?
You will receive either a paper check or e-Refund. If you did not sign up for e-Refund, a paper check will be mailed to you at the address on file in your student records. If you signed up for e-Refund, your refund will be electronically deposited into your bank account.

What is e-Refund? How do I sign up for it?
e-Refund is a simple and secure way to receive your financial aid refund. This allows a student to have their refund deposited directly into their bank account and not have to wait for a refund check in the mail. View detailed information on how to sign up for eRefund [PDF].

How do I check my refund status?
View detailed instructions on how to check your refund status [PDF].

How do I complete the Loan Entrance Counseling and Loan Promissory Note?
View detailed instructions on how to complete the Loan Entrance Counseling and Master Promissory Note [PDF].

How can I manage my school loans?
You can track and manage your federal student loans on the NSLDS Student Access Website.

Category: Maintaining Eligibility

What if I want to take a class at another campus?
If you are seeking financial aid funding for a course at another UH community college campus, you will need to complete the Dual Enrollment Authorization Form [PDF]. To be eligible, you must be enrolled for a minimum of at least one credit here at Honolulu CC, the courses at the other campus must go towards the degree that you are seeking, and the course must have not been attempted at Honolulu CC previously.

What happens if I withdraw from a class?
Per federal regulations, our office must apply a federal formula to determine if funds need to be repaid. In addition, your withdrawal may place you in jeopardy of receiving financial aid in future semesters based on our Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy [PDF].

What happens if I fail a class?
Depending on your last date of attendance in that class, you may need to repay some financial aid. If you attended class all semester, you may not need to repay the financial aid. However, the failed class may place you in jeopardy of receiving financial aid in future semesters based on the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy [PDF].

What is the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy?
It is a policy that all students receiving financial aid must comply with. Students must be making satisfactory academic progress in accordance with U.S. Department of Education regulations. View the complete Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy [PDF]. Below is a brief overview:

  1. Have a declared major at Honolulu CC.
  2. Maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0.
  3. Complete at least 67% of all credits attempted.

What if I don't meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy?
You may be put on probation and be unable to receive financial aid until your academic performance meets the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy [PDF].

Exceptions to this policy may be appealed in writing to the Financial Aid Administrator by completing a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form [PDF]. In this case, the financial aid administrator will need to review your information and determine whether or not you can be considered for financial based on federal regulations. Please note that appealing probation is a long process. Be prepared to pay for tuition and other needed educational supplies until your appeal is completely reviewed.