Budgeting & Awarding Procedures

Awarding of Title IV Aid


Cost of Attendance

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Cost of attendance (COA) is a college's total estimated expenses for one year including tuition, room and board, books, supplies, transportation, loan fees, and miscellaneous expenses. A school's cost of attendance is used to determine each student's eligibility for financial aid, such as grants and loans.


Budget Categories / Term


Full Time

3/4-time and 1/2-time


Budget Category Fees B/S FD/H P/XP TRNS Total
W/Parent 1332 1200 10000 3500 1500 17532
Away from Parent 1332 1200 19100 4300 1500 27432





Budget Category Fees B/S FD/H P/XP TRNS Total
W/Parent 666 600 5000 1750 750 8766
Away from Parent 666 600 9550 2150 750 13716





Budget Category Fees B/S FD/H P/XP TRNS Total
W/Parent 1995 1800 12222 4278 1833 22128
Away from Parent 1995 1800 23344 5256 1833 34228





Budget Category Fees B/S FD/H P/XP TRNS Total
W/Parent 663 600 2222 778 333 4596
Away from Parent 663 600 4244 956 333 6796



Less than Half-Time


Term Fees B/S FD/H P/XP TRNS Total
Two Semester 320 300 0 0 375 995
One Semester 160 150 0 0 188 498
Twelve Months 477 450 0 0 563 1490
Summer Session 157 150 0 0 188 495




COA - Calculations

COA - Calculations

Food/Housing, personal and transportation expenses for summer: divide by nine and multiply by 2 months.  Summer is based on 14 units.  For LHT summer session it is 3 units x $46 plus $17 health fee plus $2 student representation fee. Books and supplies calculation for less than half time student:  divide academic year (9 month) costs by 4 for two semester amount (then this figure by 2 for one semester & summer amount).  Transportation expenses; use same calculation for LHT books & supplies.  LHT fees for a semester are based on 3 units x $46 per unit plus $20 health fee plus $2 student representation fee.





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Needs Analysis Methodology

Needs Analysis Methodology

The formula types will be used in this order:


- Automatic

- Zero EFC

- Simple

- Regular


If an applicant qualifies for the simple needs test and there is a secondary needs test, it will be the policy of the Grossmont College Financial Aid Office to always use the simple needs test. The secondary needs test may be used through professional judgment. For students who do not qualify for the simple needs test, the regular need test must be used.



Need Analysis Description

The Higher Education Amendments (HEA) of 1992 mandated one need analysis for all Title IV programs, called the Federal Needs Analysis Methodology.  This methodology has three models or applicant types:




Independent with dependents
(other than a spouse);


Independent without dependents

(other than a spouse).


The Federal Needs Analysis Methodology calculates the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), using either the:


Regular formula

Simplified formula

Automatic Zero EFC formula
the automatic eligibility criteria for a Zero EFC is not applicable to a single or married independent student without dependents other than a spouse.



For specific details on all the federal formulas, see the EFC Formula Guide.






Every eligible applicant should receive a combination of financial aid based on the student’s qualifications, financial need, preference, student’s academic and family situation, and criteria developed annually by the Financial Aid Office for equitable distribution of grant aid and self-help aid. The Financial Aid Office has the right to modify awards subject to the availability of funds and to eliminate potential overawards.


The aid year for 2023-24 at Grossmont College covers fall 2023, spring 2024 and summer 2024. When a student applies for financial aid, funds usually come from more than one source (federal, state, private, etc.) and the combination of financial resources is referred to as packaging. Once financial need is determined, students will be awarded aid until their need has been met or until no additional funds are available. State programs are always subject to an approved state budget.



Definition of Financial Need

Student financial aid is packaged (given financial aid from several of the programs for which a student is eligible) based on the student’s financial need. Financial need is determined by a student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as compared to SWC’s Cost of Attendance (COA). To meet with federal regulations, Grossmont College defines the neediest students as those whose EFC = $0.


Grossmont College participates in the following financial aid programs:



- Federal Pell Grant


- Direct Loans

- Federal Work Study (FWS)




- California College Promise Grant (CCPG) Fee Waiver

- Cal Grant B or C

- Student Success Completion Grant (SSCG)

- Child Development Grant

- California Promise

- Chafee Grant

- Cal Works Grant

- CalWorks Work Study


- Cooperative Agencies Foster Youth Educational Support (CAFYES)

- New Horizons Grant

- Dreamer Grant

- Osher Scholarships



- Emergency Assistance Program

- Scholarships


Census Date


Census Date

It is the policy of the Grossmont College Financial Aid Office to award aid and evaluate Satisfactory Academic Progress according to Census, the number of units upon which your financial aid award is based.  Census Day is defined as the third Monday of the semester.  Your Census units are verified and adjustments are made to your award for each semester depending upon the number of units in which you are officially enrolled as of that date.


The importance of Census Day is published in your financial aid award notification materials and in the Grossmont College Student Guide to Financial Aid and they are readily available to students in both paper and web formats.  The official calendar dates pertaining to program adjustment during the first two weeks of school are published before every semester in the Grossmont College Class Schedule and are also readily available to students in both paper and web formats.  Census day for students awarded after the third Monday of the semester will be the day the student is awarded.  For example, if you are initially awarded 12 days after Census and you are enrolled in 10 units, your award will be based upon a ¾-time Census status.


In establishing eligibility for financial aid, enrollment status is determined as follows:


Status Fall/Spring Semester Enrollment
Full Time 12+ units
3/4 - Time 9 - 11.5 units
1/2 - Time 6 - 8.5 units
Less than 1/2 - Time 0.5 - 5.5 units



If a student drops below 6 units after Census Day all aid will be cancelled except for Pell Grant.  Classes added after the enrollment status has been established as a result of Census WILL NOT result in an award being increased.  An exception may be made in cases of institutional error.


The following are examples of institutional errors:


The instructor dropped the student in error on the drop roster and the instructor has supplied a typed written statement (or direct e-mail to a Financial Aid Advisor) stating that


    1. they dropped the student in error

    2. why the student was dropped in error and also

    3. stating that the student has been in continual attendance for all class dates.  Furthermore, the instructor would need to include their phone number and e-mail address in case the Financial Aid Advisor reviewing the case had additional questions.  Verification with Admissions & Records that the student was dropped by the instructor may also be required.

Admissions & Records failed to process an add card and it can be documented via typed written statement (or direct e-mail to a Financial Aid Advisor) that the add card was turned in before Census Day and there was sufficient time to process the add card prior to Census Day.



The following are NOT examples of institutional error:


A course was cancelled due to insufficient enrollment or funding, regardless of whether a student was officially notified or not.


The student didn’t know about Census Day.


The class was full and the instructor could not officially add the student before Census Day.


The student turned in an Add Card after Census.


The student thought they were enrolled when they actually were not.


The student was dropped for lack of attendance and was then reinstated by the instructor after Census Day.


The student accidentally dropped themselves via the phone or web.


The student was dropped from a course by Admissions & Records because they had registered for a repeated course (a course for which the student already had received a ‘CR’ or a grade of ‘C’ or better) without petitioning Admissions & Records.


The student did not officially enroll in 2nd eight-week courses before Census Day.



Summer Awarding


Summer Awarding

To be eligible for a summer Pell award, a student must have made Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) or met the Warning standard as of the end of the Spring semester. Students may regain eligibility for summer through the petition process. Students do not have to be enrolled in Fall or Spring to get Summer Pell.


Student must also have remaining eligibility for summer, not having exceeded 100% Pell for the Fall and Spring terms


Summer Pell is calculated using Formula 1 methodology.





Awards may be revised at the request of the student.  Requests for adjustments must be in writing (if initiated by the student) and generally should be considered only once per semester, provided funding is available.


All revisions resulting in an increase or decrease of a student’s award must be documented.

Allowable reasons for revisions include change in residence and documented additions to the budget.

Revisions in award amount for Pell, Cal Grant and campus-based aid will be made for changes in enrollment status resulting from census day.

The Financial Aid Office reserves the right to correct over-awards or make adjustments in aid due to changes in eligibility that occur in the award period, according to federal, state, and/or institutional guidelines.





Financial aid disbursements are made by the Finance Office through BankMobile®. Financial Aid funds will first reduce any debts owed to Grossmont College and the remaining balance will go to students by the disbursement method chosen by the student via BankMobile®. 


Each semester, students’ Pell grants will be disbursed in three parts – 25% of that term’s eligibility an initial disbursement prior to the start of the semester, with two additional disbursements of another 25% and 50%. Students may view the disbursement calendar for all other eligible disbursements on their Self Service account.  


Prior to each disbursement, a student’s eligibility will be re-confirmed.   Eligibility includes units, financial need, residency, and all other applicable program eligibility requirements.  A student who fails to meet program eligibility requirements will have their aid suspended and/or cancelled.


Grossmont College will not disburse federal Pell, Direct Loan or SEOG funds to a student who is enrolled in only second 8-week courses until the 1st day of instruction for that particular session. This policy also applies to other courses that have start dates which occur after the college census date.


Students who are only enrolled in distance education (on-line) courses must reside in California during that semester to be eligible for financial aid. Students enrolled in on-line courses only who live outside of California are not eligible for federal financial aid.


At the time of disbursement, if the student still owes any mandatory fees (i.e. Out-of-state Tuition and per unit enrollment fees) for that particular term, then any federal grant, federal loan and scholarship aid will be deducted and will be credited to that outstanding balance owed.




Grossmont College has partnered with BankMobile®, a financial services company, to enable students to choose how they receive their financial aid funds – direct deposit, BankMobile® VIBE debit card or paper check. Financial Aid staff can answer questions and assist in the sign-up process. Students must update their addresses with BankMobile®, as well as in Self Service to ensure timely delivery of mail items.  


Credit Balance  

Students with a balance remaining on their account after deducting any eligible outstanding debt to Grossmont College will have funds transferred electronically (EFT).

Federal Work Study (FWS) Payment is made on the end of each month. Funds will be transmitted via EFT to the student’s preferred account.




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Per 34 CFR § 668.51, the Department of Education requires that students selected by CPS (Central Processing System) undergo verification of their FAFSA data if they will or have received Title IV aid. There are certain instances in which verification is not required (see below); however, the school is required to resolve any conflicting information.


Verification Process


Verification Process

Each year the US Department of Education designates financial aid recipients whose documentation will be verified. Grossmont College verifies files identified by the federal government as part of its own verification process and financial aid recipients’ files are verified using federal requirements. Grossmont College may also select students for verification if there is reason to believe information is conflicting or inaccurate or to ensure the verification process is being completed accurately.


Grossmont performs required verification on all students selected for verification, which will begin at the time the college receives the application. If a correction is required because of verification, the correction will be done electronically through CPS. Dream Act application corrections will be made via WebGrants. Verification worksheets will be completed and processed via CampusLogic.


Students who have an ISIR on file that require correction may be given a 120-day extension to submit the SAR/ISIR for correction.


The Financial Aid Office may, at its discretion, require a student to verify any FAFSA information and to provide any reasonable documentation in accordance with consistently applied school policies. Regardless of whether the Financial Aid Office or CPS selects the application, all other verification requirements, such as deadlines and allowable tolerances and interim disbursement rules, apply equally to all students who are being verified.


Verification Documentation


Verification Documentation

Students that do not use the IRS Data Retrieval when completing their FAFSA online, and who must verify their tax and income information, must provide an IRS Tax Transcript to the Financial Aid Office. To request an IRS Tax Transcript, students can call 1-800-908-9946, download or order it online at http://www.irs.gov/ and under the "Tools" section select "Order a Return or Account Transcript.” Alternately, students may provide as signed copy of their IRS 1040 form, including all schedules. Additional information regarding appropriate tax and verification documentation can be found on the relevant academic years Forms Page at: https://www.grossmont.edu/financial-aid/how-to-pay-for-college/financial-aid-forms.phpVerification documents that are submitted incomplete, such as missing dates, required signatures, etc. will not be processed.


Eligibility Changes Resulting from Verification


Eligibility Changes Resulting from Verification

 If the verification process results in a change of a student’s financial aid eligibility, Grossmont College is required to repackage the student for financial aid based on their new eligibility status.  If the recalculation was a result of changes to the income, tax filing status, asset information and/or household size or number in college, the ISIR will be sent back to CPS or WebGrants for correction - even if there was no change in the EFC. Aid will not be awarded until a corrected EFC is returned from CPS. We will use the recalculated EFC from SAM for campus based aid eligibility determination.


The Financial Aid Office notifies the student with a new award letter via the student’s school email account regarding the change in their eligibility. Corrections are made in the Financial Aid System and sent to the Central Processing System (CPS) at the Department of Education. Students are notified of corrections through receipt of an acknowledgment from CPS.





Deadlines for verification document submission are as follows:


December 16, 2023

Last day to submit verification documentation for students attending ONLY the FA23 term


June 30, 2024

Last day to submit a 2023-24 FAFSA or CADAA application


August 1, 2024

Last day to submit verification documentation for the 2023-24 award year


September 2, 2024

Last day to submit corrections to an electronic ISIR.






Institutions are required to refer applicants who may have engaged in fraud or other criminal misconduct in connection with the financial aid application to the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Education, or, if more appropriate, to a State or local law enforcement agency having jurisdiction to investigate the matter. Referrals to local or state agencies must be reported by the institution on an annual basis to the Inspector General.


Suspected fraud should be reported to the hotline of the Department of Education Inspector General (1-800-MIS-USED) or the Long Beach Regional Office at (562) 980-4141. For more information, visit Office of the Inspector General - Misused.


Fraud may exist if the institution has reason to suspect:


falsified documents or forged signatures on the financial aid application itself or on documents submitted for verification of information on the application;


use of false or fictitious names or aliases, addresses, or Social Security numbers, including deliberate use of multiple Social Security numbers;


false claims of citizenship;


a pattern of misreported information from one year to the next;


false claims of independent status;


false statements of income;


stolen or fraudulently endorsed financial aid checks;


embezzlement of financial aid checks or funds;


kickbacks to receive grants, loans or employment under FWS;




unreported prior loans or grants, and receipt of concurrent full grants during one award year.




Professional Judgement

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Professional Judgement is the discretion granted to financial aid administrators by law to override dependency status and/or make adjustments to need analysis, including data elements used to calculate the EFC and costs within the COA components on a case-by-case basis. The financial aid administrator decides if adjustments to standard components of need analysis are warranted due to special circumstances. This authority comes from Section 479A of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA), as amended.


Please Note: 

The school does not have the authority to make direct adjustments to the EFC or to the formula used to calculate the EFC, just data elements on the FAFSA which may change the EFC.


Nothing in [Title IV] shall be interpreted as limiting the authority of the student financial aid administrator, on the basis of adequate documentation, to make necessary adjustments to the cost of attendance and expected family contribution (or both) to allow for treatment of individual students with special circumstances. In addition, nothing in this title shall be interpreted as limiting the authority of the student financial aid administrator to use supplementary information about the financial status or personal circumstance of eligible applicants in selecting recipients and determining the amounts of awards under [the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Federal Work-Study, Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Family Educational Loan or the Federal Direct Loan Programs]. Special circumstances may include tuition expenses at an elementary or secondary school, medical or dental expenses not covered by insurance, unusually high child care costs, recent unemployment of a family member, the number of parents enrolled at least half-time in a degree, certificate, or other program leading to a recognized educational credential at an institution with a program participation agreement under section 487, or other changes in a family’s income, a family’s assets, or a student’s status.


Adjustments in need analysis may either result in an increase or decrease in the student’s need.  If the aid administrator is satisfied that the adjustment is based on verifiable information and may be justified as reasonable on grounds of professional judgment, the resulting need figure is valid for all forms of aid, regardless of source.



Types of Professional Judgement


Types of Professional Judgement

Change of Dependency Status

Students who do not meet the federal criteria to be considered independent based on the 2023-2024 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) may submit this form with supporting documentation for review to determine if unusual circumstances exist for granting a dependency status adjustment. Unusual Circumstances are reviewed on a case-by-case basis for students.


The following are circumstances that will NOT be considered:

- Parent(s) refusal to contribute to the student’s education;

- Parent(s) did not claim student on their tax returns;

- Parent(s) unwillingness to provide information on the FAFSA;

- Student demonstrates total financial self–sufficiency 


The ability to change the dependency status is only granted to the Financial Aid Advisor, with a second review performed by the Financial Aid Supervisor.


Students submitting requests to have their dependency status changed from dependent to independent are required to submit documentation that clearly indicates extenuating circumstances with the students and parental relationship.  Students who were raised by family members other than their parents would also be considered for a dependency override.  Documentation must be verifiable.  Support letters should come from credible sources, preferably not associated with the student—such as a counselor, teacher, medical professional, social worker, or religious leader.  All documentation needs to have contact information from the individual writing the letter—including their address, phone number, and a “wet” (or original) signature.


Schools cannot use professional judgment and substitute another party as a parent. Those who are not considered a parent on the FAFSA include, but are not limited to:


Foster parents
unless they have legally adopted the student

Surviving stepparents
unless they have legally adopted the student

Legal guardian

Other family member
(unless they have legally adopted the student)



Students who are classified as dependent due to the criteria above may be considered independent under professional judgment.  In extreme hardship cases, the Financial Aid Office may be able to assist a student who is technically dependent, but who does not or cannot have contact with his/her parents.  This applies to situations where the student’s physical or emotional welfare is jeopardized by contact with the parents or where abandonment can be demonstrated.  In such cases, the student must complete the REQUEST FOR DEPENDENCY STATUS OVERRIDE form and provide written documentation from a third party professional (e.g. minister, psychologist, social worker, etc.). A dependency override may also be appropriate for a student in a Registered Domestic Partnership with the California Secretary of State. Official documentation of the partnership will be required as part of the request.


Income Change

If the student, their spouse or parent(s) have experienced a significant change in or loss of income compared to the income used on the FAFSA, they may be eligible for an Income Change, through the use of Professional Judgement. All income changes are considered on a case-by-case basis.


When making the adjustment, documentation of reasonable projected earnings can be used.



Processing of Professional Judgement Requests


Processing of Professional Judgement Requests

Professional Judgement Procedure


Students requesting a Change of Dependency Status or Income Change should meet with their Financial Aid Advisor and submit all requested documentation.


If a Professional Judgment request is submitted, the student will be institutionally selected for Verification (if not previously selected). Be aware that during the Verification process, corrections to the FAFSA may be required which can result in a change to a student's aid eligibility.


The file will then be reviewed to determine if all required documentation has been submitted. If additional documentation is required, the student will be notified by email.


The Financial Aid Office will determine if a student's Professional Judgment request meets the criteria to make data element changes to their FAFSA.


If approved, appropriate changes will be made to the student's FAFSA and submitted to the Department of Education. The Department of Education will then recalculate the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and the student's eligibility for need based aid. The student will be notified by email.


If denied, the student will be notified by email.


The ability to use professional judgment for adjustments of data elements on the ISIR is granted to the Financial Aid Advisor, Supervisor, and/or Director.


Third party documentation of changed circumstances should be used, whenever possible, to document the request for professional judgment.  In addition, students (and parents) will need to submit a formal request for an assessment of special circumstances, in certain cases.


Adjustments on all “dollar” data elements that affect the EFC are allowed by law, including unemployment.  These adjustments, however, must be documented along with the reason for the use of Professional Judgment.


Grossmont College uses Department of Education software to re-compute the family contribution both for corrections to reported data and for changes resulting when professional judgment is exercised.  Therefore, when changes are made to a student's or parents' analysis of financial need, single data element changes resulting from receipt of corrected, updated, or enhanced information are entered and the revised family contribution is automatically recalculated.  The changed EFC is used for eligibility determination for all programs.  No payment is made on Pell Grant until a valid ISIR is received. 


Changes to federal methodology are done only through individual data element changes and on an individual, case-by-case basis. Substitutions of data elements that result in a changed family contribution are thoroughly documented in the student file, recomputed in and generate a valid ISIR through correction in FAA Access to CPS Online or through Campus Logic.



Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)


Satisfactory Academic Progress - SAP

Student who do not meet the standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress have the right to appeal their disqualification for aid, based on extenuating circumstances. Financial Aid Advisors are granted the use of “professional judgment” when participating on the Financial Aid Appeal Committee.  Thus, for financial aid appeals purposes, Financial Aid Specialists on Appeal Committees have the ability to “override” the SAP status and make an SAP ineligible student—eligible for financial aid.



More information on Satisfactory Academic Progress and the standards, disqualification and reinstatement by appeal processes that must be met in order to maintain eligibility for all federal programs and state Cal Grant programs can be found in our Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.