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Financial Aid — Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about applying for financial aid

What types of federal financial aid programs does NPC administer?

NPC students may obtain Pell Grants and/or Federal Direct Loans, depending on the student's eligibility.

How do I apply for federal financial aid?

You can apply for federal financial aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), at You will need to apply for a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to sign your FAFSA electronically.

Do I need to apply separately for Pell grants and for Federal Direct loans?

No. You can apply for both types of financial aid by completing your FAFSA. If you are also applying for Federal Direct loans, you will also need to complete additional steps at

After I complete my FAFSA, do I have to do anything else?

If you have requested Federal Direct loans, the next step is to complete entrance counseling and your student master promissory note by going to

Am I eligible for federal financial aid?

There is no way to know for certain until you complete your FAFSA, but in most cases you are probably eligible for some form of financial aid. Pell grants are restricted based on certain factors related to your income and that of your family. Student loans are not credit-based and most people are eligible. Students who have defaulted on their previous student loans or have reached their maximum aggregate student loans may not qualify or may require resolution of certain issues in order to qualify. You will be notified if we are having a problem processing your financial aid application.

How much aid can I receive in Pell grants?

The Pell grant is determined by your "EFC" (expected family contribution). This number, along with the amounts of previous Pell grant you have received, will allow NPC to determine what you are eligible for. The maximum a student can receive in a given year is $5,645 as of the 2013/2014 academic year, though this number may increase in the future. The maximum amount a student can receive in Pell grants over a lifetime is six (6) full Pell grants. Once you have received six full Pell grants, you will no longer be eligible to receive Pell grants at any school.

How much aid can I receive in Federal Direct loans?

The loan eligibility is based on your grade level, workload and cost of attendance. A freshman student (with no college credits) can receive up to $9,500 for an academic year. Once the student has completed 24 credits (8 courses), the eligibility increases to $10,500. A Bachelor's degree student who has 60 credits or more is eligible for $12,500 in an academic year.

What are the two types of Federal Direct Loans?

Federal Direct loans can be subsidized or unsubsidized. The two types of loans work in a similar manner, but subsidized loans do not accrue interest while you are in school at least part-time, while unsubsidized loans begin accruing interest from the time of disbursement to the school. Additional information regarding your Federal Direct student loans can be found on This information will also be given to you when you undergo your entrance counseling.

Federal Direct subsidized loans are available based on financial need, while unsubsidized loans are available even without demonstrated financial need. For more information on the distinction between these two types of Federal Direct loans, please see:

What are the lifetime limits for Federal Direct Loans?

The aggregate lifetime loan limits for undergraduate degrees is $23,000 for subsidized loans and $34,500 for unsubsidized loans, for a total of $57,500. This is apart from Pell grant eligibility.

Can I pay on my student loan while in school?

Yes. You can make payments on your student loans while in school, if you so choose, though you do not have to do so.

What if I do not want loans?

You do not need to take out student loans. If you are eligible for Pell grant and do not want student loans you will need to speak to the NPC Admissions Office to set up a payment plan for the balance remaining after the Pell grant is applied towards tuition.

What if I am not eligible for enough financial aid to pay my tuition?

You can cover part of your tuition with financial aid. You will be asked to arrange a payment plan for the outstanding tuition balance.

Questions about the financial aid process

What documents am I definitely going to need?

In addition to filling out a FAFSA, you are definitely going to provide the following forms:

  • NPC Enrollment Agreement (available on the "enrollment forms" page on the NPC student site)
  • Attestation of graduation from high school or equivalent proof of graduation from high school (available on the "enrollment forms" page on the NPC student site)
  • Title IV Authorization Form (available from our electronic form submission system)
  • Personal Data Sheet (available from our electronic form submission system)
  • Student master promissory note (not necessary for students seeking grants only) (accessible from
  • Entrance counseling note (not necessary for students seeking grants only) (accessible from
Might I also have to provide additional documents?

If you are selected for "verification" by the Department of Education, you will have to submit additional documents. You will be notified when and if additional documents are required of you.

Who is selected for verification?

The U.S. Department of Education selects students to be verified based on its own criteria. We do not make this determination.

If I am selected for verification, does that mean I am under suspicion or that I will be denied financial aid?

No. Most verifications can be handled relatively easily and quickly, though a lot depends on how efficiently you are able to provide us with necessary documentation.

If I am selected for verification, what will I have to produce?

You may be asked to produce a variety of documents, including:

  • Verification Worksheets
  • Tax transcripts
  • Transcripts from previous schools in which you were enrolled
  • Statements as to your enrollment history
  • Attestation form as to circumstances of enrollment in previous schools

We will let you know exactly which documents we need from you if this situation arises.

I graduated from high school 30 years ago and have four college degrees. Do I really need to establish that I am a high school graduate?

Yes. Department of Education regulations require us to obtain documentation that you graduated high school.

I have been told that I am not eligible for financial aid because I am in default. What does that mean?

This means you have not paid on a previous student loan and are no longer eligible to receive financial aid until the default is resolved. Defaulting on a student loan is very serious. The Department of Education can garnish wages and use other means of collection until the default is paid in full. There are many programs available to students if they are having difficulty paying off their loans. Please contact your loan servicer for assistance.

I have another outstanding federal financial aid loan. What should I do about that?

As long as the previous loan is not in default, you do not need to do anything to be eligible for financial aid at NPC. However, you may (and probably should) request a deferral so that you do not need to continue your monthly payments while attending NPC part-time or greater, and so that interest on subsidized loans will not accrue while you are at NPC. Please request an in-school deferment form from NPC. Once we receive this completed form from you, we will notify your loan servicer that you are back in school.

Questions about school tuition, expenses and financial aid

What is my total tuition?

Total tuition for the Associates Degree is $19,695 which includes 60 credits at $325 per credit and one-time Lexis and resource fees totaling $195. The tuition for the entire Bachelor's Degree is $39,195 (120 credits at $325/credit plus the same $195 in fees). There are no other fees or charges unless you fail classes or withdraw after tuition liability has accrued.

What if I have earned college credits at other school?

Credits earned as part of a degree program at another accredited college or university and credits recommended by the American Council on Education (ACE), the National Collegiate Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS) or the Connecticut Credit Assessment Program (CCAP) may be transferred to NPC under certain circumstances. Please contact our admissions office (800-371-6105 x 0) to determine whether your credits are transferrable to NPC. If you do transfer credits to NPC, your tuition will be reduced proportionally based on the number of credits you have transferred. For example, if you transfer 18 credits towards an Associate's degree, you will only have to pay for 42 credits ($13,650) plus the $195 in fees. NPC does not charge transcript evaluation fees.

When should I discuss my transfer courses with NPC?

As early as possible; preferably before you start classes at NPC. This is important because of differences in student loan eligibility based on the number of credits you have already earned.

If I am studying at NPC already, is it too late to transfer in other credits?

No. Credits may be transferred in at any time. However, doing so as early as possible may maximize your financial aid eligibility.

How does financial aid calculate and pay my tuition?

Financial Aid calculates your tuition for each charge per academic year separately. An academic year is 8 courses (24 credits) for a full time student. An academic year can be completed in a nine month period and so a student may begin his or her second academic year after being with the school for only nine months. Please see the section on maintaining eligibility for a discussion of the minimum course load that is necessary to retain your financial aid status.

How much tuition can financial aid pay for in a given academic year?

An academic year is 24 credits at $325/credit = $7,800. Your first academic year will have an additional charge added of $195 for your Lexis and resource fees, for a total of $7,995. In most cases, this amount of your financial aid award will be applied towards your tuition.

Does that mean I am only eligible for $7,800 of financial aid during a given academic year?

No. The Department of Education requires schools to award a student based on the "cost of attendance," which is tuition, room and board (even though you do not live on campus), books and personal expenses. The government may pay financial aid up to your cost of attendance in a given year (assuming you have the eligibility).

Can I get a larger financial aid award if I take more than 24 credits in an academic year?

No. Your financial aid eligibility is based on the academic year and not necessarily based on the number of courses you actually take. If you take more than 8 courses in an academic year, more of your financial aid award will be applied to tuition. What this means is if you are relying on financial aid credit balances (stipends) to cover books and supplies, a work load of more than 8 courses in an academic year may reduce your credit balance and thus the amount of a stipend that you can receive.

How many academic years will it take me to graduate?

Assuming you have no transfer credits and take 24 credits per academic year, it will take 2.5 academic years (2 calendar years) to complete an Associate's Degree and five academic years (4 calendar years) to complete a Bachelor's Degree. If you begin an academic year with fewer than 24 credits remaining on your degree program, your academic year will be prorated by the number of courses left in the program. If you take more than 8 courses per academic year, you can graduate more quickly

Are books included in the cost of tuition and will financial aid pay for it?

Books are not included in your tuition. Purchase of books is required for most NPC courses that are not 100 level paralegal classes. You may use the financial aid credit balance (stipend) you receive to purchase books for your courses. However, NPC will not purchase the books for you. It is your responsibility to acquire the textbooks you need for your courses. We generally schedule new students to take 100 level paralegal classes when they first start so that new students do not need to worry about purchasing textbooks right away. However, this is not a requirement.

What if I do not have enough money in financial aid eligibility to cover tuition?

You will be asked to set up a payment plan to pay your balance.

What if I am denied financial aid?

Although we can usually tell fairly quickly to what extent you will be eligible for financial aid, applications for financial aid sometimes fail due to unforeseen problems or a student's inability to provide necessary documentation. If we are unable to process your application in a reasonable period of time, we may inform you that financial aid will not cover your tuition and ask you to arrange a payment plan if you wish to continue studying at NPC.

Questions about timing and stipends

My FAFSA was accepted. Does that mean I'm receiving financial aid?

No. Your FAFSA is only the first step in completing your financial aid. We will evaluate your FAFSA when it is received and send you a welcome to financial aid email. This will give you instructions on how to complete the financial aid requirements to be enrolled and eligible to use your financial aid. Once you have completed these requirements you will be enrolled and we will begin to process your award letter. Once your award has been processed, you will receive an award letter.

What is an award letter?

An award letter tells you how much financial aid you are eligible for in terms of Pell grant eligibility and (if eligible) subsidized and unsubsidized Federal Direct loan eligibility.

How long will it take for me to receive my award letter?

While NPC briefly evaluates your potential eligibility before you are enrolled to ensure your tuition is covered, an award letter will usually be sent to you via email approximately 30 days after your start date.

Is it possible that my award letter will not come until much later than 30 days after my start date?

Yes. Delays in processing a financial aid application can occur for a variety of reasons. In most cases delays occur because a student is selected for verification and/or because we cannot obtain the necessary documents from or on behalf of the student. Providing all requested documentation as quickly as possible will expedite your financial aid application. You can continue to study at NPC during a delay, but the timing of stipend checks will be affected by any such delay.

Do I need to have an award letter before I start at NPC?

No. We will usually allow you to start at NPC pending you're the completion of the processing of your application for financial aid.

Okay, I got my award letter. Now what do I do?

When you receive your award letter, you should read it carefully. You must then decide whether to accept, reduce, or decline the financial aid package we have awarded you. Once you have signed and accepted the award you will need to send via fax or e-mail to If you are accepting student loans, you will need to complete entrance counseling and a student master promissory note (available at Please note that without these documents having been completed, we will not be eligible to receive your student loans. You do not need to notify the school when you have completed these forms.

I agreed to and sent back my award letter. Now what?

Once you have accepted the award and have been enrolled in the school and taking classes for 30 days or more, NPC will request your financial aid from the Department of Education to be applied to your student account.

What are stipends?

NPC offers Pell grants, and Federal Direct loans. The total amount of student eligibility may be more than NPC tuition. If you apply for and accept more financial aid than is necessary to pay your tuition, you will have a Title IV credit balance. This credit balance will be paid to you in the form of a stipend check. Please note that in almost all cases, you will need to accept student loans to generate enough financial aid to receive a stipend.

What can I use stipend money for?

The Department of Education states that a Title IV credit balance (stipend) should be used for cost of attendance at school, which includes, books and supplies, room and board, and personal expenses. We strongly suggest that students use stipend money to pay for school books and supplies. We do not recommend relying on this money to support yourself financially, as timing of stipend payments can be unpredictable.

If I really need more money, can I get more in loans than I am eligible for?

No. No matter how desperate one may be for money, there is nothing we can do to allow a student to take out loans or grants that are in excess of what they are eligible for under applicable rules and regulations.

When will I receive my first stipend?

The first disbursement to the school will usually be received within a week or two of it being requested by the school. Since we cannot make the request until you have been taking classes for 30 days, the minimum amount of time it will take for the school to receive your financial aid is approximately 45 days after you begin classes. If there is a delay in the processing of your application, it may take significantly longer.

I really need the money faster. Can you do anything to expedite the process?

No. The time tables are mandated by federal regulations and we cannot do anything about them.

What will happen when the school gets my financial aid from the government?

It will be posted to your ledger, which can be accessed on the NPC student site.

So, when will I actually get the money?

Once your financial aid has been posted to your ledger, NPC has 14 calendar days to calculate your credit balance and mail a check to you. While we do not intentionally wait 14 days to process credit balance, the volume of financial aid files we handle can cause delays of up to 14 days for your stipend money to be sent to you. It really depends on the size of the roster (list of students sent by the Department of Education to NPC with a disbursement). If you are on a small roster, your stipend may be sent out much sooner than 14 days after it is posted to your ledger. However, please assume that your stipend will be mailed to you approximately 14 days after it posts to your ledger. We post to the school message board every time a full roster is completed and checks mailed.

Is the amount posted to my ledger the amount of my stipend?

No. The amount posted to your ledger is the total amount paid by the government to NPC on your behalf. Your tuition and fees must be deducted from this amount before your stipend amount can be calculated.

Do you offer direct deposit or expedited delivery via UPS or FedEx?

No. Stipend checks are mailed via USPS first class mail.

What about stipends after the first one?

Stipends beyond the first will be sent shortly after each course start date for the first four courses. The student must complete a four course module to be eligible to receive the next group of stipends. In other words, the stipend for the student's 5th course cannot be sent until the first 4 courses have been completed and grades have been issued. Stipends for the following academic years work in a similar manner.

Questions about maintaining eligibility

How many courses do I need to take to be eligible for financial aid?

You must take at least 4 courses (12 credits) during each academic year to be eligible for financial aid.

What is considered "full time" for financial aid purposes?

You are considered a full time student if you take 8 courses (24 credits) or more in a given academic year. This is generally fulfilled by starting one course each month.

What if I take between 4 and 7 courses in an academic year?

You are eligible for financial aid, but can only receive an amount of financial aid that is proportional to your work load. For example, if you are taking 6 courses in an academic year, you will only be eligible for 75% of the financial aid that a full time student would be eligible for. This will not affect your tuition (since that is reduced by 25% anyway because of reduced course load), but may decrease your eligibility for a stipend by up to 25%.

What if I take 9 or more courses in an academic year?

You are eligible for financial aid, but cannot receive more financial aid that you would were you taking 8 courses in the academic year. You tuition for the additional classes will have to be drawn from the following academic year. Though this will not increase the amount of tuition you pay in the long run, it could decrease your stipends in the short term.

What course load do you recommend?

We recommend starting one course per month for the first 8 months of enrollment and then skipping one month so that you will complete 8 courses in an academic year. However, you are not bound to do this. Please express your wishes to NPC regarding which courses to take and what course load to carry and we will do our best to accommodate you and to explain the ramifications of your decisions.

Do you help me set up my course schedule?

Yes. An NPC admissions staff member will be happy to walk you through choosing a course schedule.

Can my course schedule be changed?

Yes. But please discuss any proposed changes with a financial aid representative to ensure that any change does not cause unexpected problems for your financial aid eligibility.

What is a weekly interaction?

A weekly interaction is a method used to show you are currently fulfilling your school attendance requirements. A weekly interaction can be accomplished by attending a live lecture, submitting an assignment, answering a weekly interaction question posted by your instructor, or completing an exam. Please see any course syllabus for more details on the weekly interaction requirement.

Why do I need to submit a weekly interaction?

The Department of Education requires all students receiving financial aid to be enrolled in school Part-time or greater to be eligible for financial aid. Any student that is absent for 14 days in a row will be placed on a withdraw list. We will contact you to advise you to complete a weekly interaction. If you fail to respond and do not complete a weekly interaction requirement, you will be withdrawn from Financial Aid.

What else do I need to do to maintain eligibility?

You must maintain a grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 or higher. If your GPA dips below 2.0 you may be removed from financial aid until your GPA is raised to 2.0 or higher. You will not be eligible to receive any stipends while you are off financial aid and you will be asked to arrange a payment plan to pay your tuition during this time.

What if I fail a class?

You will need to arrange to re-take or replace the class. Financial Aid will not cover a re-take of a failed class. However, financial aid may cover the taking of a new course to replace the failed course. Please contact financial aid to discuss your options if this situation arises.

What do I do if I need to take a break from school?

Please speak to the NPC student services office about taking a leave of absence. Please do NOT simply stop doing your work, as this will lead to failed courses, increased tuition liability and eventual expulsion from the college. If you are unsure as to whether to take a leave of absence, please contact us for assistance and to discuss your options.

If I fail a class because I have stopped doing my work, can I take a retroactive leave of absence so that I don't have to fail the class?

No. Leaves of absence are effective when applied for and approved by the NPC staff and only as of the date that they are applied for.

I got sick or had another emergency and failed classes because of it. Is there anything you can do for me?

We are happy to work with you on academic matters and to make whatever accommodations we can for you to allow you to recover your academic standing. However, we cannot circumvent Title IV rules. If you are not eligible for financial aid for academic reasons, we simply cannot process your financial aid requests for any reason at all. We will be happy to try to work with you to figure out a way to restore your financial aid eligibility, but this will ultimately depend on your willingness to do what it takes to restore your academic standing.

Questions about contacting financial aid

What should I do if I have questions?

Please feel free to contact us. We can be reached by phone during normal business hours, Arizona time, at 800-371-6105 x 1. We can also be reached by e-mail at Please allow 1-2 business days for a response to an email as we get many email inquiries and they back up sometimes.

What about the NPC Financial Aid Message Board?

This can be a great resource for general information about financial aid. However, please do not post personal information or questions that apply to you specifically, as we cannot answer personal questions in a public forum.