Financial Aid FAQs

Our mission is to educate and empower current and prospective students with information and resources to financially support their educational dreams. We are committed to the accurate and efficient administration and delivery of student financial aid. We value positive relationships with our students and parents, help to guide them to success and act as a resource for our entire Kaua‘i ‘ohana.


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The academic year is defined as fall and spring semesters, with an optional trailer summer semester. Fall semester begins in August and ends in December. Spring semester begins in January and ends in May and summer semester starts in May and ends in July.
Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or, if you are a continuing student, the Renewal Free Application for Federal Student Aid (RFAFSA). Either can be submitted between the October prior to the beginning of the academic year and June of the summer session following the academic year. For example, for the 2018-2019 academic year, you may apply between October 2017 and June 2019.
Yes.The best time to apply is October 1st. We are now using prior, prior year tax returns. For example, for the 2018-2019 school year, the 2016 Federal Tax Returns are used. For the 2019-2020, the 2017 Federal Tax Returns are used.
You are not required to attend full-time to receive financial aid. The amount that you are awarded is prorated according to the number of credit hours for which you enroll.
I live on my own and support myself. Why does the FAFSA require my parent(s) income? Financial aid eligibility is based on the principle that it is the responsibility of the dependent student and his or her parent(s) to pay for the student’s education. It doesn't matter if you don't live with your parent(s) and/or if you support yourself. If you are considered a dependent student based on the questions on the FAFSA, you will be required to report parent(s) income information on the FAFSA.  Please see this video Determining Your Dependency Status for more information.
If your income information has changed significantly from what was reported on your FAFSA, you may qualify to complete a Professional Judgement Request Form. Proof of current income must be provided with the form. Please contact the Financial Aid Office for additional information at 808-245-8360. Screen reader support enabled
No, the money does not carry over to fall. The financial aid award year includes Fall, Spring and Summer semesters. Fall semester is at the beginning of the award year, so any unused funds go unused.
Satisfactory Academic Progress is a minimum academic standard that a student must maintain in order to receive financial aid. For an undergraduate student, a 2.0 GPA and a 67% completion rate (pace) is required to continue to receive financial aid. .
Yes, but processing your application cannot be completed, or an award made until you have been accepted in an approved program of study.
Students in Continuing Education courses are not eligible for the Pell Grant.
Government regulations require that students receiving financial aid maintain satisfactory academic progress. One such requirement is that you maintain a 2.0-grade point average. Another is that you must pass a minimum of two-thirds of the total cumulative credit hours attempted. This means that failing grades and withdrawals will count against you. It is always best to talk to the Financial Aid Office before dropping any classes.
Generally, grants and scholarships do not have to be repaid. Student loans will have to be repaid after you are no longer enrolled or have dropped below 6 credits. You may be required to repay a portion of any Pell Grant and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) funds you received if you withdraw from school completely on or before the 60% point of the semester or if you do not pass, with a "D" or better, at least one of your courses for that semester. However, it is always best to talk to the Financial Aid Office in order to make an informed decision.
Cost of attendance includes tuition, fees, books, and supplies as well as some basic living expenses such as housing, food, transportation, and personal items. Averages are used for each of these expenses rather than exact costs of the individual student.
Each year the Financial Aid Office establishes student educational budgets for use in determining the student's need. These budgets, although modest, are seen as adequate for the typical student. Where you live, whether you buy new or used books, and your general spending habits will determine what your actual expenses will be. A copy of the current year's budget may be obtained from the Financial Aid Office.
The Department of Education applies a formula created by Congress to the information on your FAFSA. It considers the total taxable and nontaxable income, the family's assets, the number of people in the household, the number of college students, and the age and marital status of the parents.

Generally, you must be able to answer 'yes' to at least one of the questions in the student status section of the FAFSA to be considered independent. If you have extenuating circumstances that you feel should qualify you as independent, you may contact the Financial Aid Office for consideration of those circumstances. However, federal regulation clearly states that the following do not qualify you to be classified as independent:

• you do not live with your parents

• your parents are financially unable to pay for your college education

• your parents refuse to pay for your college education

• you do not want your parents' help

Verification is a process by which the accuracy of the information on your FAFSA is confirmed by the Financial Aid Office. If your application is selected for verification, the Financial Aid Office will contact you for additional information, including tax transcripts of your federal tax return (and your parent's if you are a dependent student). You will not be awarded any financial aid until all requested documents are completed and returned to the Financial Aid Office. In addition to the applicants selected by the Department of Education, the school is also required to verify applications that seem to have conflicting information.

• Failing to read the FAFSA instructions - they tell you how to correctly complete it

• Filing late - you should file at least two months before you plan to register

• Leaving blank lines

• Writing or typing incorrect social security numbers

• Failure to sign all the forms submitted to the Financial Aid Office

We recommend that you view our videos under the FAFSA section on the left side of this pag

If you are classified as a dependent student (under 24 and not married or supporting a dependent), you are only eligible for unsubsidized loans. This type of loan is the worst of the two simply because interest starts to accrue as soon as the money is disbursed. The longer you are in school, the more your interest will accumulate. If you are having difficulties convincing your parents of the importance of their financial information, the Financial Aid Office would be more than happy to attempt to speak to your parents regarding its importance. However, if your parents continue to refuse to provide their financial aid information unsubsidized loans may be a temporary way to fund your college. However, we recommend that you apply for as many scholarships as possible to avoid borrowing excessive amounts of unsubsidized loans.
In about two to four weeks, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) from the Department of Education. Your report is also sent to each school that you listed in Section VI on the FAFSA. Review the SAR, make any necessary corrections, and return the correct copy to the Department of Education. If all the information is correct, do nothing. You will hear from the financial aid offices of the schools you listed. They will either ask for more information or notify you of the amount of financial aid you are eligible for.

A student on financial aid suspension who successfully appeals the suspension will be in a financial aid probation status.

During the probationary period, students are eligible to receive financial aid.

At the end of the probationary semester, a student must either:

be making satisfactory academic progress; or

be meeting the conditions of their academic plan

If the student is not making satisfactory academic progress but is successfully following the established academic plan, the student would continue to be eligible for aid in subsequent semesters provided that the student continues to meet the established academic plan.

A student on financial aid probation that is neither making satisfactory academic progress nor successfully following their established academic plan at the end of the probationary semester will be placed on financial aid suspension for future semesters and will not be eligible for further appeals.

It is a federal job program. Eligible students work a maximum of 20-hours per week on campus and receive a monthly paycheck for the time they work. To be eligible, you must have a completed financial aid file that demonstrates financial need, be enrolled in school, and maintain satisfactory academic progress toward your degree.
You may check to see if there are any jobs with FWS listed as their program here.
Yes, here is a list of scholarships that we normally recommend that students apply for. However, you can always check with the Financial Aid Office for details on availability and timelines.
Yes. Alternatives exist, but generally, you must be a high school graduate or have a GED. Please see eligibility here.
Yes. You can go to and complete the electronic version of the FAFSA. If you submit your application online, please be sure you have a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID. The FSA ID will serve as your electronic signature. If you do not have an FSA ID, you will need to print a signature page and mail it. A signature page should be printed at the time you complete your application and should be mailed as quickly as possible.
An FSA ID is your personal identification number. It allows you to enter many of the U.S. Department of Education's Web sites and view the personal information maintained in your accounts. The FSA ID will also serve as an electronic signature for various documents maintained by the U.S. Department of Education. Your FSA ID is normally issued once your first FAFSA has been processed or you can go to to request a new FSA ID or a replacement FSA ID.
The U.S. Department of Education randomly selects at least 30% of applications for a process called verification unless you used the IRS Data Retrieval tool. If you are selected, you must provide tax transcripts and W-2's so the income data on your application can be verified as being correct. There are also occasions when data on the application does not appear to be correct, and the tax transcripts and W-2's are requested to ensure correct information has been provided.
No. You may receive a Pell Grant at only one school at a time. For example, if a student is taking classes at college A and college B at the same time, he or she can receive the Pell Grant at either college A or college B, but not both at the same time.
Financial aid eligibility is determined by several factors. When you send off a FAFSA, the first thing that occurs is your data is run through Congressional Methodology. Simply put, this is a formula that uses the data on the FAFSA to come up with an Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The formula takes into consideration such items as income, assets, number of family members, the number of family members in college, etc. Your EFC determines the amount of aid you are eligible to receive. The lower your EFC, the more Pell Grants you can become eligible for. If your EFC is above 5329, you will not qualify for Pell Grants. However, you can qualify for loans.
No. A program must be at least 16 total credit hours in length, or at least 600 clock hours, and must lead to a degree, diploma, or certificate in order to be eligible for financial aid. If you are considering a diploma or certificate program, please contact the Financial Aid Office to determine eligibility. Special credit and undecided students are not eligible for financial aid.
You may not be eligible for financial aid depending on your new program of study. Please check with the Financial Aid Office to make sure your new program is still eligible for federal aid. If your new program is not eligible for federal aid, you will be responsible for paying back the amount you have charged against your financial aid account and/or receive in the form of a check.
You can find information regarding FSA eligibility in study abroad programs from the chapter on Written Agreements Between Schools (PDF) in the FSA Handbook.