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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply for financial aid?

Students apply for financial aid by completing the FAFSA and designating MassBay as a school to receive it. If additional documentation is requested, students must respond to these requests as quickly as possible.

How and when will I be notified that I am eligible for financial aid?

Once your financial aid file is complete and your application is reviewed, you will receive an Award Letter in the mail and your MassBay email. Award Letters begin to be mailed in April.

Why does the FAFSA say that I have to include my parent(s) information if I support myself?

The federal definition of an independent student is very specific and does not necessarily mean that the parent(s) are supporting the student. However, the federal government feels that it is the parent(s') responsibility to assist their children in paying for their education. To the extent that parent(s) are unable to assist, financial aid is available to help out. Students are considered "independent" for financial aid purposes, if they meet any of the following criteria:

  • Is 24 years old.
  • Is currently married.
  • Is an orphan or ward of the court.
  • Is a Veteran.
  • Has dependents who receive more than half of their financial support from the student.
  • Is a graduate student.
  • Is an emancipated minor.
  • Is or was in legal guardianship.
  • Is homeless (see FAFSA for details)


Students who do not meet these criteria must provide their parent(s) information on the application. An appeal process is available for the student with extenuating circumstances that make it impossible for the student to obtain their parent(s)' information. Examples of extenuating circumstances are listed on the Dependency Status Review Form which can be found on our forms section of the website.

I received a letter stating that I am not eligible for a MASSGrant, does this mean I am not eligible for financial aid?

Not necessarily. MassBay’s financial aid eligibility criteria are different from the criteria to qualify for the MASSGrant. If you are denied a MASSGrant, you may still be eligible for our other aid programs.

What happens if I withdraw from the college? Can I still keep my financial aid?

If you attended classes, you are entitled to keep a portion of your financial aid, based on the date you officially withdraw. It is very important that you complete the official withdrawal process. A federally mandated calculation is done to determine how much of the financial aid you can keep. Basically, you earn a percentage of your financial aid for each day you attend classes. For example, if you attend 30% of the semester, you may keep 30% of your financial aid. Students who receive state grants or tuition waivers may be able to keep enough grant or waiver just to cover the costs of their tuition and fee charges. Once you attend 60% of the semester, you are considered to have earned 100% of your financial aid. If you receive a financial aid refund check and withdraw before earning 100% of your financial aid, you may be required to return some of these funds. More information is available in the Financial Aid Office.

What is the Student Aid Report that I received?

The Student Aid Report was sent to you by the U.S. Department of Education's federal application processor. If you provided an email address on the FAFSA, then it was emailed, otherwise it was mailed. It has important information that you should review.
Review all of the data you provided and make sure it is accurate. If you find a mistake you can make corrections at www.fafsa.gov.
Check on the last section and be sure you see MassBay Community College listed as one of the schools that received your information.
MassBay encourages students and parents to use the IRS Data Retrieval tool as the fastest and most accurate means of providing tax information. If you did not initially use IRS Data Retrieval you may be able to make a correction and utilize the tool.
The federal processor matches some of your personal information with other federal agencies to verify that you have met certain eligibility requirements. If there is a mismatch you will be required to submit additional documentation to the Financial Aid Office. It is important to respond to all requests for additional information in a timely manner.

What is MassBay’s federal school code?

The Federal School Code is 002171

Can I use financial aid to buy books?

Yes, bookstore allowances are available. If your financial aid is awarded at least one week prior to the start of the semester, and your FEDERAL financial aid funds exceeds your tuition and fee charges, you will also be notified by MassBay email when your bookstore allowance is ready. Students who are using student loans toward their books must complete all loan requirements prior to being issued an allowance. If you choose not use the allowance offered to you, those funds will be refunded to you later in the semester. Please contact the Student Accounts Office to authorize a bookstore voucher to be created.

How long does it take to receive an Award Letter?

Once you complete the FAFSA, the Financial Aid Office reviews your application to determine if additional documents are necessary. If more information is required, we must wait until you respond to this request before we can continue working on your file. Once your file is complete, depending on the time of year, it may take several weeks before you will receive an Award Letter. Although you can submit your FAFSA as early as October preceding the next fall semester, the Financial Aid Office will begin reviewing applications in March. It is not unusual for the entire process to take 12-16 weeks.

I received a letter stating that I am on Financial Aid Suspension - What does this mean?

Students are placed on suspension if they are not meeting the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements. Academic records are reviewed at least annually to ensure students meet these standards. Students who are suspended do not qualify for financial aid but may regain eligibility by either submitting an appeal or paying out-of-pocket until the meet the standards.

Who is my student loan servicer?

You can look up your student loan servicer at www.nslds.ed.gov. You must log in using your FSA User ID. A list of your loans will appear and you can access your loan servicer information by clicking the loan number on the left.

If my financial aid exceeds my tuition and fee charges when will a refund check be available?

Refund checks for students with a credit balance are generally available in late October for the Fall semester, middle of March for the Spring semester, and mid-point of July for the Summer term. The Student Accounts office will mail your check to your address on file. If you would like to see if a refund check has been generated, please log into Bay Navigator and View your Account Activity. If your credit balance is the result of a student loan, all required loan documents must be completed before a refund check is issued.

How is the amount of my award determined?

Your financial aid award is based on a number of factors including but not limited to: the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from your FAFSA, the number of credits you plan to enroll, your dependency status, and whether or not you applied by our Priority Filing Dates.

When is financial aid disbursed?

Financial aid funds are generally credited to students’ MASSBAY accounts around 45 calendar days into each semester and weekly thereafter.

How do I maintain eligibility for financial aid each year?

While certain aid programs have their own criteria, students generally maintain their eligibility by filing their FAFSA on time each academic year, and meeting the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards.