Frequently Asked Questions


Financial Aid is made available by federal and state government and private sources in the form of grants, scholarships, loans, and Work-Study. The basis for such assistance is the premise that student (and the parent's of dependent students) have the primary responsibility in meeting education costs. Financial Aid is intended to help fill the gap between a student's/families EFC (Expected Family Contribution) and the cost of attending college.

You must meet general eligibility criteria:

  • You must have a valid Social Security Number.
  • You must be enrolled in a federally recognized program of study leading to a degree or certificate.
  • You must have a high school diploma, GED, or high school proficiency (CHSPE).
  • You must be a U.S. Citizen, a permanent resident, or eligible non-citizen.
  • Male students over the age of 18 must be registered with Selective Service.
  • You must not be in default on a prior student loan or owe a repayment on a federal grant.
  • You must be maintaining SAP (Satisfactory Academic Progress) in your degree or certificate program.

The financial aid application is called the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). You access the application via the website at For detailed instructions you may also visit the studentaid website.

Board of Governor’s Fee Waiver Program (BOGW)
The BOGW is offered by the California Community Colleges for California residents. The BOGW waives the unit enrollment fee for students who qualify. Students who qualify for the BOGW are still responsible for paying Health Fees and any applicable Material Fees.

New for 2012 is the California Dream Act for California residents who may not qualify for BOGW.

Federal Pell Grant Program
The Federal PELL grant program is the largest federal grant program for an undergraduate college student. Awards are based on your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), PELL, and enrollment status. PELL grants range from 0$ to $5550/per academic year.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
The FSEOG program is for students who qualify for the maximum PELL Grant. Funding is limited for this program and awarding is done on a first-come first-served basis. The FSEOG is $500/per academic year.

Federal Work Study (FWS)
The Federal Work Study program provides temporary part-time jobs ranging from 10 to 20 hours per week to eligible students. You must indicate you are interested in "on-campus employment" through the FAFSA. Award amounts are based on unmet need calculated by the FAFSA. The actual amount earned depends on the number of hours worked at the current wage rate. NOTE: Funding is limited; therefore awards are done on a first-come, first-served basis so be sure to complete the financial aid process early!

Cal-Grant Program
Cal-Grant awards are administered by the California Student Aid Commission and are monetary grants given to students to help pay college expenses. For more information on Cal-Grants please go to For more information on your Cal-Grant award go to

Chafee Grant Program for Foster Youth
The California Chafee Grant Program gives money to eligible current or former foster youth to use for career and technical training or college courses. To qualify, you must:

  • Be eligible, or have been eligible, for Independent Living Program (ILP) services between your 16th and 19th birthdays, and
  • Have not reached your 22nd birthday as of July 1 of the award year.

To apply, you must file two applications, the FAFSA and the California Chafee Grant Application.

Federal Direct Loan Program
Federal Direct Loan Program (Subsidized Stafford and Unsubsidized Stafford) offer loans through the federal government. Please view the College of the Siskiyous student loan page for complete information on this program. You must be enrolled in at least 6 units to receive a loan payment.

Because actual income information from the previous year is more accurate and verifiable than estimating income for the current year and fairly measures a family's ability to pay for college the next year. If your income for the current year has changed drastically from the previous year please contact the Financial Aid office for further information.

The federal criterion for being an independent student does not take into consideration where a student lives or whether or not they provide their own support. Refer to "Step 3 – Student" on the FAFSA application.

Ideally, you should complete a FAFSA after you've done your tax return. If your tax return is not done, estimate as accurately as possible the prior year's income and taxed paid using your W-2s, 1099's or paystubs. As soon as you have completed your Federal Tax return, log into your FAFSA and make any necessary corrections to your SAR. The most accurate way to make corrections is to complete the IRS data retrieval and resubmit the FAFSA. NOTE: This tool will only be available to you once you answer "already filed" on the FAFSA application.

Answer according to your marital status the day you sign the FAFSA. Answer "Yes" if you are married on the day you sign the FAFSA; otherwise, answer "No".

No, report only the income and assets of the parent whom you lived with most during the past 12 months. Use a W-2 form or other record(s) that show your parents' share of income and taxes paid on the Federal Tax return. Note: Be prepared to submit W-2 forms for both parents to verify that the income on the FAFSA is reported correctly.

Report the income and assets of the parent whom you have lived with the most during the past 12 months. It does not make a difference which parent claims you as a dependent for tax purposes.

If you did not live with either parent or lived equally with each parent, the parental information must be provided for the parent whom you received the most financial support or the parent from whom you received the most support the last time support was given.

If you are a dependent student and your parent is remarried, the stepparent's information must be provided in order to be considered for federal student aid.

You will provide only your own portion of the income, exemptions, taxes paid, and assets on the FAFSA. Note: Be prepared to submit your and your ex-spouse's W-2 forms to verify that the income on the FAFSA is reported correctly.

Do not report any information for a friend or roommate unless the two of you are married or are considered to have a common-law marriage under your state law. You do report any cash given to you by the friend or roommate as untaxed income.

Check the U.S. Citizen box; do not check both, as this would cause a problem with the application. If you have attained your U.S. Citizenship, do not give the ARN. NOTE: Be sure that the Social Security Administration has comfirmed your citizenship or your FAFSA application will be rejected.

Yes. You will be required to provide documentation to the Financial Aid Office. NOTE: A legal guardianship is someone other than your parents and is usually court ordered.

You may be eligible for the BOGW and/or unsubsidized loans. You will need to do an appeal for an extension of aid. Call the Financial Aid office for details.

It will take a couple of weeks before we can download your FAFSA. Once we download your FAFSA results we will send you an email which will direct you to log in to your Navigator account. Information can be found under your Financial Aid tab. Complete and return the needed items to our office as soon as possible.

Most financial aid awards are based on financial need, which is the difference between the Cost of Attendance (COA) and the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Financial need is calculated by subtracting the EFC from the COA. The resulting number is called financial need; this is the maximum funding that can be received for the current academic year. It is not necessarily the amount of funding you will receive.

The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is a measure of your family's financial strength and is calculated according to a formula established by law. Your family's taxed and untaxed income and assets, your family size, and the number of family members who will attend college or career school during the year is information you report on your FAFSA and is used to calculate your EFC. Schools use the EFC to determine your federal student aid eligibility and financial aid award.

Note: Your EFC is not the amount of money your family will have to pay for college nor is it the amount of federal student aid you will receive. It is a number used by your school to calculate the amount of federal student aid you are eligible to receive.

For more information about the EFC, see Funding Education Beyond High School: The Guide to Federal Student Aid.

The status of your financial aid file can be checked through COS Navigator. Please log into your Navigator account and click on "Financial Aid" tab. Once there, check your Financial Aid status to view missing information. You will also be able to see your academic standing as well.

If your Navigator states we have received all required items to process your file, the latest date listed is your completion date. This will help in determining when you will recieve your aid. Please refer to the Disbursement Schedule on our webpage to see approximately when you will have funds disbursed to you.

For the Federal PELL Grant Program you are not required to enroll as a full-time (12 or more units) student.  The awards listed on your Award Letter are based on full-time enrollment, however, payments are based on the number of units you are actively attending at the time we disburse funds.

Programs for which you must be enrolled in at least 6 units are: Cal-Grant, FWS, FSEOG, and Federal Direct Loans.

Possibly, you will be notified in writing by the Financial Aid Office of how much you owe. Federal Work-Study (FWS) earnings and the BOGW do not have to be repaid. Note: Failure to repay funding will prevent any future financial aid anywhere in the United States.

No, financial aid doesn't automatically transfer from one college to another. If you are transferring to another college, you must add the other school's federal code to your current FAFSA. Contact the new school's financial aid office to find out what steps you need to take to complete the financial aid process at that school.

No, you cannot receive aid from more than one school during the same term. You may put up to 10 different school codes on your FAFSA, but you must decide which school you would like to receive your financial aid.

Note: If you are attending two colleges and would like to be paid for all the units you are taking, please ask the other school about "What is a consortium agreement" for more information.

Need help? Contact Financial Aid

Phone: (530) 938-5209(530) 938-5209
Fax: (530) 938-5367