Frequently Asked Questions
Below are answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.
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Q. I filed the FAFSA. Why isn’t my financial aid on my account?
A. There are a few reasons your aid may not be showing on your account.
- Make sure you completed the FAFSA for the correct academic year you are wishing to enroll.
- It takes approx. 3-5 business days for our office to receive the FAFSA application from the government.
- You may need to complete additional documents required by the Federal Government. You can check to see if you have any items required by our office in your student dashboard through SMC Wired in the Financial Aid column. Make sure you are viewing the correct aid year by selecting the appropriate academic year from the dropdown menu. For example, if you are trying to complete financial aid requirements for the 2020-21 FAFSA, you will want to make sure you have the Fall 2020 term selected from the drop down.
- Completing a FAFSA does not mean you are eligible for financial aid. Please contact our office if you have questions about your eligibility.
Q. My Student Dashboard says that I have a negative balance (ex. $-369.24). Does this mean I owe the college?
A. No, this means you have a credit balance on your account, which is excess or leftover money. If you use part of your financial aid to purchase books and supplies through the bookstore, then the credit may change your credit balance to reflect the current/remaining amount of your credit after bookstore purchases. Remember, if your credit balance exceeds $1,500 then you can only spend up to $1,500 in the bookstore.
Q. I have registered for all of my classes and purchased all of my textbooks. What happens to my remaining credit balance?
A. Any financial aid remaining on your account after tuition, fees, housing (if living on campus), and/or books and supplies purchased in the bookstore will be processed as a disbursement to you in the form of a paper check or directly deposited into your account approximately six weeks after the beginning of the semester. The remaining funds are meant to help you with any additional education-related costs.
Q. How many credits do I have to take to receive financial aid?
A. Each type of financial aid program has its own requirements. Below is a list of credit hour requirements for each program.
- Pell Grant: As little as 1 credit hour. This program is based on financial need through the FAFSA.
- Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Student Loans: 6 credit hours.
- Tuition Incentive Program (TIP): 6 credit hours.
- Michigan Competitive Scholarship (MCS): 6 credit hours.
- SMC Academic Scholarships: 9 credit hours.
- Other SMC Scholarships and Outside Scholarships: Varies
Please note that in order to receive financial aid, you must be enrolled in classes that are REQUIRED for your degree program.
Q. Does SMC offer any scholarships? If so, where do I go to apply?
A. Yes, SMC offers many scholarships based on a variety of criteria. Browse and apply for SMC scholarships here.
Q. When do loan disbursements happen so I can receive my extra financial aid for additional costs throughout the semester?
A. SMC will hold financial aid on students' accounts until enrollment and attendance is verified each semester. Disbursements are usually processed approximately four weeks after the beginning of each semester.
Note: If you applied for a semester-only loan (meaning only fall semester or only spring semester), the federal government requires intuitions to disburse the funds on two different dates. The first will come on the same date as the traditional disbursement time frame above and the second disbursement will come a few weeks later. It is important to know that the first disbursement may not cover all of your costs, and the second disbursement will cover your remaining balance. Any leftover financial aid on your account from the second disbursement will be disbursed directly to you to use for any educational expenses.
Q. The FAFSA stated that I am eligible for a student loan, but it is not on my account. What is the process to get a student loan?
A. At SMC, we help students through a multi-step process to ensure they are responsible borrowers and understand their rights and responsibilities as borrowers. All first-time and returning borrowers at SMC have steps to complete before loans can be processed on their accounts. Click here for more information about SMC’s loan program.
Q. I received a note saying I still have requirements that need to be completed, but my Student Dashboard, shows Complete. Am I missing something?
A. You most likely are looking at the wrong term from the dropdown menu above the listed requirements in the Financial Aid column. For returning students, the default term is the current term they are enrolled in. You will want to select the term that matches the academic year term and financial aid year. For example, if you are trying to complete financial aid requirements for the 2020-21 FAFSA, you will want to make sure you have the Fall 2020 term selected from the drop down.
Q. I need to pay my bill, but I do not have enough money to cover all of my expenses right now. Does SMC provide payment options?
A. Yes, you can set up a payment plan through SMC Wired. Once logged in, click “Bill and Payment Center” from the “Student Resources” tab. There you can choose between using a credit card, debit card, or e-check. Monthly and biweekly payment plans are available through this option, and automatic withdrawals are taken out of your account based on which type of plan you choose.
For more information, contact the Student Account Specialist at 269-782-1298 or email email@example.com.
Q. I am graduating, but I haven't used all the federal financial aid I'm eligible for. Can I continue to take classes at SMC after I have graduated?
A. This is not allowed because the federal government only permits students to remain eligible if they are pursuing a more advanced degree. This means that you will need to pursue a bachelor's program or higher to keep receiving financial aid if you have not exceeded your lifetime financial aid limits.