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Answering Your Most Common Questions

Navigating financial aid is one of the most challenging parts of your college experience. We’re here to help you make your college experience affordable and easy to navigate.

Browse our most frequently asked questions below. If you don’t find the answer you’re looking for, feel free to contact us directly for assistance. You can reach the Office of Financial Aid at financialaid@beaconcollege.edu or schedule a meeting online.


Select Beacon College when you submit the FAFSA to ensure we can assess your aid eligibility. FAFSA School Code: 033733

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College Policies

Do I need a certain GPA to retain my financial aid?

Beacon College complies with federal statutes that require students to make satisfactory academic progress in order to retain their financial aid package. The three measures used to determine satisfactory academic progress include: grade point average (GPA), pace of progress (credit hours completed), and maximum timeframe to earn a degree (credit hour limit).

How do I know how much financial aid I am getting?

Your financial aid “package” is determined after you file a FAFSA and we receive the electronic record from the Federal Department of Education. The final product, your financial aid award letter, will be sent to you by email. Normally we begin sending award letters to freshmen and transfer students by the first week in April, sooner if the new federal regulatory changes are available to update our data system. For returning students, we generally must wait for the updated tuition schedule and spring grades to be posted before preparing award letters.

When will I receive my financial aid?

If you are registered for a full-time class load and have satisfied all outstanding financial aid requirements, all your aid should be paid into your student account the following Tuesday after the first week of the start of Fall (and Spring) semester classes. Florida student aid will not be paid if you have not registered for a minimum of 12 credit hours; federal loans will pay with a half-time class load. If you are a returning student whose grades did not pass Beacon’s satisfactory academic progress standards last semester, your appeal letter must be reviewed and approved before financial aid will be paid into your student account.

Normally, the Fall semester is when most problems occur because it is the first semester in the new FAFSA aid year; there are more students with documents to review. Take care of financial aid requirements early, and avoid the extra stress when classes begin!

Note: Even if financial aid was deposited in your account to pay for tuition, you will not have access to any remaining balance until after the second week of classes. The first week of each semester is the period when students can drop classes or withdraw and receive a full tuition refund. Consequently, you must plan for funds other than financial aid during that week to cover any expenses that are not charged directly to your student account.

FAFSA & Verification

Do I have to file for federal student aid every year? When are the deadlines?

Yes, you must apply each year! The priority date is March 1st each year. FAFSA applications are available starting in January for the upcoming year.

The Federal Financial Aid Year runs from July 1st through June 30th. A new FAFSA must be filed for each Aid Year in which you wish to be considered for federal student financial aid. You can determine which FAFSA to file based on your first scheduled day of class. For example, if you are registering for a term that begins after July 1, 2024, you would file the 2024–2025 FAFSA.

Why have I been selected for verification, and what do I do now?

The Federal Department of Education selects approximately a third of all FAFSAs for the process of verification. To satisfy the verification requirement, the student must provide the Beacon College Financial Aid Office with tax records (tax transcript) that verify the tax information submitted on the FAFSA. In addition, the student must provide a signed copy of the appropriate Federal Dependent (or Independent) Verification Worksheet.

Where can I find the verification documents?

The FAFSA verification documents can be found in the myBeacon student portal under Enrollment Services. You can access them directly here. If you have been selected for verification, our financial aid office will work directly with you on which forms need to be completed and how to access them.

Why is the amount I received from my loans not exactly what I asked to borrow?

Federal regulations specify the upfront fees on federal student loans. Private student loans are also subject to upfront fees, but these fees are not regulated by the federal government. That is one reason it is normally best to take advantage of federal student loans before considering a private loan.

Students must pay for dropped classes (“W” grades), so it is important to stay on top of your classes. Seek help immediately if you have a problem in class.

Federal Aid

How do I apply for a federal student loan?

You must complete the FAFSA to be eligible for any federal student aid. You must also be accepted to a degree-seeking academic program at Beacon College. Once we receive the electronic FAFSA record for a new or transferring undergraduate and confirm admission status, our counselors prepare the student’s financial aid “package.” If eligible for a subsidized and/or unsubsidized loan, the maximum eligible loan amounts will be offered to the student in the financial aid “package.” The student must then accept the offered loan, complete Entrance Counseling, and complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN). Parents of undergraduate students can also take a federal education loan known as the Parent PLUS loan. This loan is subject to an annual application and credit check, but if the parent cannot pass the credit check, their student will become eligible for an increased unsubsidized loan.

For particulars about a Parent PLUS loan application, see the information on Federal PLUS Loans on the Federal Student Aid website. First-time PLUS borrowers must also complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN).

Learn more about applying for financial aid.

What is the difference between subsidized and unsubsidized loans?

The federal government offers two different loans. The subsidized loan is need-based and eligibility is based on information provided in the FAFSA. The government pays the loan interest while the student remains in school and maintains at least a half-time class load. The unsubsidized loan is available to students who do not meet the FAFSA needs test. The student is responsible for all interest on unsubsidized loans beginning on the date of each incremental loan disbursement. When the student signs a Master Promissory Note with the Department of Education (DOE), the options of paying the interest while in school or adding the in-school interest to the loan principal will be offered to the student.

I have been offered a certain amount in loans, but I only want to take a portion of what I have been offered. Can I do that?

Yes, however, keep in mind that the amount offered is normally for both the Fall and Spring semesters. Federal regulations dictate that the amount be disbursed in two payments, one for the Fall and one for the Spring. Those disbursements will occur at the beginning of each semester. If you choose a lesser amount and later find that you need more, just ask the Financial Aid Office to make an application for your remaining eligibility. Another option is to obtain the whole amount for Fall and then reassess your needs for the Spring semester. If you find you will not need all of the scheduled Spring amount, just ask the Financial Aid Office to reduce your Spring disbursement. It is best to make such changes soon after the Thanksgiving break.

Why is the amount I received from my loans not exactly what I asked to borrow?

Private student loans are also subject to upfront fees, but these fees are not regulated by the federal government. That is one reason it is always best to take full advantage of federal student loans before considering a private loan. The federal government, instead of a commercial bank or credit union, is the lender for loans made under the Federal Direct Loan program. These loans also have a Loan Origination Fee that may vary from year to year.

What is entrance counseling?

Entrance counseling is a requirement associated with each type of federal student loan. The process provides the student with information about legal financial obligations that many students will undertake for the first time in their lives. You must complete this requirement before your loan will be disbursed. The good news is that you can conveniently satisfy your requirements online. For federal direct loans, go to StudentAid.gov.

What is exit counseling?

Exit counseling is another federal student loan requirement that applies when you withdraw from school or graduate. It is a refresher course about the student’s legal financial obligation. Exit counseling also provides information about the student’s rights and options, and it seeks updated contact information from the student

Florida Aid

How do I verify my Florida residency?

The Florida Department of Education requires institutions to verify student claims of Florida residency before disbursing Florida financial aid to students. Proof of Florida residency consists of signing a certification, such as Beacon College’s Florida Residency Form, and providing an official state document to establish that legal residence has been maintained for 12 consecutive months prior to the first day of classes of the academic term for which assistance is requested. Dependent students must provide an official state document for one of their parents or a legal guardian. Acceptable state documents include two of the following:

  • Florida driver’s license
  • Florida voter registration card
  • Florida vehicle registration
  • Proof of purchase of a permanent home in Florida that is occupied as a primary residence of the claimant (e.g. warranty deed) OR rental lease/agreement or official letter from landlord/property manager on letterhead with move-in dates.
  • Transcripts from a Florida high school for multiple years — if a Florida high school diploma or GED was earned within the last 12 months.
  • Proof of permanent full-time employment in Florida for at least a 12-month period. This may include payment stubs from the previous 12 consecutive months of work in Florida OR a letter on official company letterhead from the employer verifying the previous 12 months of employment in Florida.
  • Proof of homestead exemption in Florida

If you are a new student who was awarded Florida student financial aid, you will be required to submit proof of Florida residency with other financial aid documents through the financial aid portal in order to claim these funds. Once Florida residency is established, students are not required to resubmit documents each year.

How will my Effective Access to Student Education (EASE) be affected by changes from the Florida Legislature?

Award amounts are based on legislative allocations and are subject to change. The award amount for the 2023–2024 academic year is $3,500 ($1,750 for Fall, and $1,750 for Spring semester).

The legislature has continued the requirement that you must be a full-time student.

Need More Information?

We are here to assist you every step of the way. Together, our financial aid staff can support you not just in preparation for your college choice but throughout your time at Beacon. Contact the Office of Financial Aid at 352-638-9792 or financialaid@beaconcollege.edu.