Financing Your College Education
Financing a college education is frequently a challenge to students and their families. However, in addition to family assistance, personal savings, and summer earnings, there are a number of supplemental ways to pay for college costs. Financial aid can be received through scholarships, grants, loans, or part-time employment. These are generally referred to as “financial aid.”
Please be aware that courses not applicable toward a student’s degree or certificate program are not eligible for New York state or federal financial aid. State and federal financial aid can be given for those courses which are remedial (developmental) in nature and required by the College. Credit-bearing courses that are prerequisites for a required course in a program are not eligible for financial aid unless these courses can fulfill other requirements (i.e., electives) in the program.
The Office of Financial Aid, located in the Orcutt Student Services Center, Room 104, provides financial counseling to students and their families, and is prepared to assist them in analyzing and understanding the financial resources available to them.
It is important that students plan well in advance for the financing of their college education. Early contact with the Office of Financial Aid and filing applications early for financial aid will reduce delay, frustration, disappointment and financial crises.
Purpose of Financial Aid
The primary purpose of financial aid is to provide assistance to students who would not otherwise be able to attend college. The basic premise of student aid is that the primary responsibility for meeting college costs rests with the student and his or her family. The extent of this financial responsibility is determined by a uniform analysis of financial data submitted by the student and family.
Meeting Financial Need
Financial need is the difference between total college costs (tuition, fees, books, room, board, transportation and personal expenses) and the assessed ability of the student and family to contribute to the student’s educational expenses. Student financial aid at Dutchess Community College is awarded on the basis of financial need.
Financial assistance is available for eligible students from several sources — including the federal and state governments, public and private agencies, organizations and companies. Some companies also have tuition reimbursement plans for employees through which students who are employees may defer tuition payments until the end of the semester.
Part-time matriculated students are eligible for some of the same types of aid as full-time students. There are also some governmental programs which provide aid specifically for part-time matriculated students. All students (full-time or part-time) are encouraged to complete the application procedure in order to receive consideration for any appropriate programs for which they are eligible.
All the required papers and forms needed to apply for various types of financial aid are available from the Office of Financial Aid at Dutchess Community College.
Applying for Financial Aid
Free Federal Application. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You may do this by applying on the web, using www.fafsa.gov. Your eligibility for all federal aid programs and most other types of aid administered by Dutchess Community College will be determined by using the FAFSA. To sign your FAFSA electronically, you must have a PIN number. You can apply for a PIN number at www.pin.ed.gov.
Income Documentation. All financial aid applicants and/or their families may be required to submit IRS Tax Return transcripts and/or W-2 forms, and also provide appropriate non-taxable income documentation when required.
Tuition Assistance Program (TAP and APTS)
The New York State Higher Education Services Corporation provides aid to both full-time and part-time students.
TAP (Tuition Assistance Program) grants are designed to assist New York state residents, who are attending college full-time, with tuition costs. A student may apply by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and visit the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (NYSHESC) website when applying online.
APTS (Aid for Part-time Study) grants are available to eligible matriculated students who demonstrate financial need and are enrolling for three to 11 credits. Students must complete the FAFSA to qualify for APTS. There is currently a maximum award of up to seven credits of funding per semester. Applicants, to qualify, must meet NYS satisfactory academic progress standards and meet income guidelines.
EOP Applicants. Applicants may obtain further information by consulting the coordinator of the Educational Opportunity Program located on the 3rd floor of the Orcutt Student Services Center.
Other Governmental Sources of Aid
Veterans Benefits. Dutchess Community College is approved for study under Title 38 US Code: Chapter 30 (New G.I. Bill), Chapter 31 (Vocational Rehabilitation Act), Chapter 32 (Post-Vietnam Era Veterans Educational Assistance Act), Chapter 34 (Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act), Chapter 35 (War Orphans Educational Assistance Act), and Chapter 1606 (Montgomery G.I. Bill - Selective Service), Chapter 1607 (Reserve Educational Assistance Program-REAP), Army Tuition Assistance Program, National Guard & Naval Militia Tuition Assistance Program, Military Spouse Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) and Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP).
Benefits for educational plans are determined by the VA certification process and DCC enrollment status. For more information and applications, contact the Certifying VA Official in the Office of the Registrar.
War Orphans Educational Assistance Act. Educational benefits are provided to children of veterans who died in service or as a result of a disability received while in service. Students who believe that they may be eligible for those benefits are urged to discuss the matter with their local Veterans Administration Office.
ACCES-VR (Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation) is a service of the New York State Department of Education. ACCES-VR provides financial assistance with college costs for eligible clients. For further information, contact the regional office in Poughkeepsie.
Short-term loans of modest amounts may be made to students giving evidence of unexpected financial stress. A 2% handling fee, with a minimum of $1.00 charge, will be made on each loan. A student may only receive one short-term loan per semester, and it is limited to $350. For final determination of the student’s eligibility for a short term loan, the student should consult the Office of the Dean of Student Services.
Satisfactory Academic Progress and Program Pursuit for Financial Aid
To receive any institutional, state and federal Title IV financial assistance, a student must maintain eligibility by making satisfactory academic progress and satisfactory pursuit of program. Students are required to show progress by earning appropriate applicable degree credits, with a specific grade point and quality point average(s) as determined by the institution. Satisfactory academic progress and program pursuit standards are for institutional, state, and federal Title IV financial aid programs. Copies of these eligibility standards are available in the Office of Financial Aid and at www.sunydutchess.edu. Students are encouraged to visit the Office of Financial Aid with any questions about their rights and responsibilities concerning eligibility for financial assistance.
Scholarship Aid from Dutchess Community College
In addition to the various types of financial aid available from governmental and non-governmental sources, Dutchess Community College also administers various types of local scholarship aid. The Charles and Mabel Conklin Scholarship for Academic Excellence is for full-time incoming freshmen who have graduated from a Dutchess County high school in the top 10% of their class. These scholarships cover the cost of tuition for two consecutive years (four semesters) of full-time study at Dutchess Community College.
The DCC Foundation also offers scholarships to our continuing students (24+ credits) and graduating students. Awards for these scholarships are made through the generosity of private donors. Applications are available during the spring semester of each academic year.
Federal Aid Programs
The Office of Financial Aid can assist students and/or their parents with questions concerning all types of federal aid programs. Call the Office of Financial Aid, (845) 431-8030, for more information about:
- Pell Grants
- Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants
- Federal Direct Stafford Loan (subsidized)
- Federal Direct Stafford Loan (unsubsidized)
- Federal Direct PLUS Loan (Parent Loan Undergraduate Students)
- Federal Nursing Student Loans
- College Work Study
- Federal Perkins Loans
- NYS TAP
- NYS APTS
- Institutional Assistance
Your Right To Know
The federal government under the Student Right-to-Know legislation requires colleges and universities to report the percentage of students who began their studies full-time and then completed their programs within 150% of the normal time for completion. This time is three years for an associate degree.
In general, Dutchess Community College students compare favorably with other community colleges in the Hudson Valley. For full-time students entering DCC in the Fall 2011 semester, the percentage of students who graduated within a three-year period (26%) has been consistently among the highest when compared with the other five regional community colleges.
The sample used to satisfy the federal report contains only first-time, full-time students. Since in many programs the majority of students enrolled are part-time, many successful students are not counted in the numbers above.
Several factors tend to delay graduation for community college students: three years is a relatively short time to complete a degree. Many community college students work full time, and tend to change from one program to another and from full- to part-time. They may “stop out” for a semester or more. Also, more than half of the students entering DCC are required to take remedial courses which increases the time necessary to complete a degree.
Several positive factors — including selection of a specialized career goal — can cause community college students to transfer out of the community college before completing their degree. Therefore, the transfer-out rate is a measure of the community college experience as a stepping stone to further success. For the cohort of Dutchess Community College students described above, the transfer-out rate is 18%. DCC is proud that in a recent SUNY report, students who transferred from DCC to four-year SUNY schools had the highest retention rate in the system. This is a testament to the College’s commitment to prepare students for future success.
Adding together these three measures of academic success (graduation, transfer out, and continuing enrollment) we find the full-time students who entered DCC in the fall of 2011 have succeeded at a consistently high rate when compared to the other five regional community colleges. For additional information, please visit: www.sunydutchess.edu/consumerinformation.