Frequently Asked Questions
- How is the Pell Grant calculated?Each student's Pell grant is determined by their Expected Family Contribution (EFC), cost of attendance, and enrollment status.
- Am I guaranteed to receive the amount of Pell that is listed on my award in Lighthouse?No. Lighthouse lists tentative award amounts that are based on full-time enrollment. If you do not take at least 12.0 credit hours per semester, your award will be adjusted based on your enrollment status.
- Does my Pell Grant award include the summer semester?Yes it can but if you go full-time (≥ 12.0 credit hours) in the fall and spring semesters then you will not have Pell grant remaining to use in the summer.
- How do I use Pell grant to pay for my tuition & fees?Your Pell Grant should automatically authorize towards your tuition & fee charges within 24 hours of registration. If your Pell grant does not authorize towards your tuition & fee charges then you need to contact the financial aid office.
- Can I use Pell grant to pay for my books & supplies?You can use Pell grant and other federal funds to pay for your books & supplies so long as you're eligible for disbursement and are expected to receive a refund from your financial aid.
- Do I have to apply for financial aid every year?Yes, you must fill out a new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each October.
- I registered for classes during early registration, but now I don’t want to take them.
If I don’t show up, will they be dropped?NO! It is your responsibility to drop any classes you don’t want to be responsible for during the published drop/add period. If you don’t, you may be responsible for those charges.
- When will my Pell grant disburse?The financial aid office begins disbursing financial aid approximately 3-4 weeks after the first day of classes each semester. Those first 3-4 weeks are used to verify enrollment & attendance.
- Will I receive my Pell grant disbursement all at one time?It depends. You may receive multiple Pell grant disbursements within a single semester if your classes start at different points in time. For example, Associate of Science in Nursing students often have semesters containing classes with different start dates and the timing of their Pell grant disbursements is affected accordingly.
- When do I get a refund for the credit balance that my Pell grant disbursement created?Credit balance refunds are mailed to students within 1-7 business days after disbursement.
Withdrawals & Grades:
- Will withdrawing from all of my classes affect my financial aid?Yes! Please visit https://www.gulfcoast.edu/tuition-aid/financial-aid/return-to-title-iv.html for more information.
- I am really in over my head in my classes, I think withdrawing is my only option.
What can I do?Gulf Coast has resources to help you. Never hesitate to ask your teachers for help. Classmates are often a great resource. There may be tutors and other services available to you. Talk to Financial Aid and Academic Advising before withdrawing to see if there are other options.
- Will I lose my financial aid if I don’t keep my grades up?Yes! Every student that receives federal aid (e.g. Pell grant, Stafford Loans, Work-Study) has to make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). Please visit https://www.gulfcoast.edu/tuition-aid/financial-aid/satisfactory-academic-progress.html for more information.
- The amount of my financial aid award doesn't look right in Lighthouse. Can I call
you and discuss it?We are very limited to what we can discuss on the phone unfortunately due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). This is for your own protection, since we cannot verify who someone is over the phone. We prefer that you visit the financial aid office in person instead. You may also send an email from your GCSC email account to email@example.com.
- Will I automatically receive a Stafford loan offer?No! Please visit https://www.gulfcoast.edu/tuition-aid/financial-aid/loans for more information.
- Can I receive federal financial aid for a class that I am repeating?
- A course that you are repeating, which has not been previously completed with a passing grade, may count towards enrollment status with regard to the awarding of Title IV funds as long as you are achieving Satisfactory Academic Progress or are on an approved SAP appeal.
- A course that you are repeating for the first time, after having previously completed with a passing grade once, may count towards enrollment status with regard to the awarding of Title IV funds as long as you are achieving Satisfactory Academic Progress or are on an approved SAP appeal.
- A course that you are repeating that has already been passed once and already repeated after the first passing grade may not count towards enrollment status with regard to the awarding of Title IV funds.