Financial Aid

Though Southwestern Michigan College has one of the lowest tuition rates in the region, we know that many students will need further financial assistance to make their educational dreams come true.

The first step to secure funding is filing out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).

All students should apply for financial aid. Although federal financial aid is primarily need-based, those students not expecting to meet the need-based criteria should still complete the FAFSA since it is required for loan applications and scholarships.

Types of Aid

Financial aid at SMC falls into four main categories:

  1. Grants: Need-based awards that do not have to be repaid in most cases.
  2. Scholarships: Money awarded based on grades, talent, or hobbies that does not have to be repaid.

    After the application process is complete, all students are automatically considered for academic merit-based scholarships. All other SMC scholarships can be applied for using the links in the menu.

  3. Federal Work Study: On- or off-campus employment funded by federal dollars.

    The Work Study award is a maximum eligibility amount that the student may earn if they secure a qualified student employment position. The college cannot guarantee employment or that the student will receive the amount of money initially awarded by Work Study.

    The student receives the award in the form of wages. These Work Study earnings may be used to assist with various education-related expenses. Once the student earns their maximum eligibility amount, the hiring department will determine if employment can continue since these funds are limited.

    Students interested in working on campus must be registered, have a complete financial aid file, and complete an online Student Employment Application.

  4. Loans: Money borrowed for college that must be repaid.

Financial Aid Deadlines

Pay attention to the deadlines and what year you are filing your FAFSA. Filing for financial aid has a lot to do with knowing deadlines for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), state financial assistance, and individual college deadlines.

Federal Deadline

If you plan to attend college in the 2014-2015 school year, the deadline for filing the FAFSA form is June 30, 2015. However, if you will be attending college beginning in Fall 2015, you can file for federal aid beginning January 1, 2015.

State Deadline

The deadline for filing for financial aid through the state of Michigan is March 1, 2015 for the 2014-2015 school year. You must be a Michigan resident.

SMC Scholarship Deadline

  • Priority consideration will begin October 2014 and will continue until scholarship funds are exhausted. The college will notify students by mail if they are awarded a scholarship.
  • Graduating high school seniors will automatically be considered for academic scholarships upon submission of application for admission and receipt of high school transcripts and test scores.

Disbursements

Southwestern Michigan College will hold the student’s tuition and fees on their account until enrollment is verified and financial aid is applied to the student account. If the student’s aid is greater than the total tuition and fees for the semester, the student may qualify for a disbursement check (refund of financial aid).

Students qualifying for a refund will receive it either by a check in the mail or via direct deposit. Students can sign up for direct deposit under the Refund option in the Bill and Payment Center.

Financial aid disbursements occur twice during each semester. The first payment will occur approximately 30 days after the beginning of the semester, and a second payment will be made after the midpoint of the semester. After the second disbursement date each semester refund payments will be mailed or direct deposited bi-weekly.

Payment Information

Bills can be paid in-person by cash or check at the cashier’s office on either campus or online using any major credit card or an e-check through the Bill and Payment Center.

Monthly and biweekly payment plans are available through the Bill and Payment Center. Students can make these payments with a credit or debit card or elect to have the payments automatically come out of a checking account.

Students can access the Bill and Payment Center through the My Courses menu on Wired.

For more information, contact Brittney Cavanary, Student Account Specialist, at 800-456-8675, ext. 1298 or email ecashier@swmich.edu.

Resources

The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administration (NASFAA) publishes the Parent and Student Guide to Federal Tax Benefits for Tuition and Fees to provide students, parents, counselors, and others with general guidance to federal education-related tax benefits.

The guide includes basic information about the Hope Scholarship Tax Credit, the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit, and the Tuition and Fees Tax Deduction.

Please see Helpful Links for additional resources.