Section A: Enrollment, Aid and College Life
The Financial Aid Office helps eligible degree and certificate seeking students obtain funding to meet their educational expenses at Clark College. Last year more than 6,000 students were awarded over $45 million in federal, state, and institutional financial aid.
Types of Financial Aid Available
Financial aid includes grants, tuition waivers, work study, and student loans. The
financial aid programs available to students at Clark College include:
Federal Pell Grant: Awarded based on financial need. Students may receive the Pell Grant for a maximum of three (3) full-time (12 credits or more) terms per academic year. The grant is prorated for less than full-time enrollment. Eligibility is limited to a lifetime maximum of 18 full-time terms.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant: Awarded based on exceptional financial need. The grant is available to students enrolled in six (6) credits or more per term.
Washington State Need Grant: Awarded to eligible Washington State residents up to the cost of tuition. The grant is prorated for less than full-time enrollment. Students may also receive funding to cover a small portion of child care expenses. Students who have earned an AA or AAS/AAT/AFA degree in the past five (5) years are not eligible to receive the State Need Grant.
College Bound Scholarship: Awarded in combination with other state financial aid to cover the average cost of tuition, fees, and a partial book allowance. The scholarship is available to students who sign up in the seventh or eighth grade and meet specific eligibility requirements. Information is available online at www.wsac.wa.gov.
Clark College Grants and Waivers Clark College reserves a percentage of tuition revenue and offers these funds to Washington resident students in the form of institutional grants and tuition waivers. Clark College offers the following institutional grants and waivers:
Clark College Grant: Awarded to eligible Washington State residents based on financial need. The grant
is available to students enrolled in three (3) credits or more per term.
Clark College Need-Based Tuition Waiver: Awarded to eligible Washington State residents based on financial need to reduce the amount of tuition costs. The waiver is available to students enrolled in three (3) credits or more per term.
Clark College Non-Need Based Tuition Waiver: May be awarded to Washington State residents and non-residents with unusual circumstances who do not have sufficient resources to pay the cost of tuition. Eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis by the Financial Aid Director and the Director’s designees.
Federal and State Work Study: Awarded to Washington State residents based on financial need. Funds are earned through
employment on and off campus. Students must be enrolled in at least six (6) credits
Federal Student Loans: Federal Direct loans are borrowed funds that students must repay with interest. A federal student loan allows students to borrow money to help pay for college through loan programs supported by the federal government. They have low interest rates and offer flexible repayment terms, benefits, and options. All students must first complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If you are eligible for a loan, an offer will be included on your award letter.
There are two types of federal student loans: subsidized and unsubsidized. Students that are eligible for a subsidized loan are not charged interest while they remain in school. Interest starts accruing on subsidized loans after a student leaves school. With an unsubsidized loan, interest starts accruing at the time loan funds are disbursed. Students can choose to make interest payments while in school or delay interest payments until after they leave school.
Students who receive their first federal student loan after June 30, 2013, are limited on the maximum period of time they can receive Direct Subsidized Loans. In general, students may only receive Direct Subsidized Loans up to 150% of the published length of their program. This is called the “maximum eligibility period.” The Department of Education will determine loan usage and the maximum eligibility based on the length of program, measured in months. For example, a one (1) year certificate is nine (9) months in length and a two (2) year degree is eighteen (18) months in length. Eligibility for subsidized loans will be lost if a student does not complete the program or enrolls in another program of equal or shorter length.
New students receiving a loan for the first time will receive their first loan disbursement on the 31st day of the term. If the disbursement date falls on a weekend or holiday, the disbursement will be available on the following business day. All students receiving a loan for a single term will receive their disbursements in two installments. Previous borrowers will receive the first disbursement at the beginning of the term; new borrowers will receive the first disbursement on the 31st day and the second disbursement at the mid-point of the term. If the disbursement dates fall on a weekend or holiday, the disbursement will be available on the following business day. Students must be enrolled in six (6) credits or more at the time of each disbursement.
The annual application process begins by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at www.fafsa.gov. The FAFSA is available in January each year. Completing the FAFSA is the first step of the application process. Additional documents will be requested by the Financial Aid Office via student email. A student’s financial aid file is considered complete and ready for processing when all requested documents are received by the Financial Aid Office. For priority processing, students planning to attend summer and/or fall term 2016 should complete their financial aid file by May 18. Priority processing dates for winter and spring 2017 will be published online at www.clark.edu/cc/finaid.
Washington Application for State Financial Aid (WASFA)
Eligibility for Washington State financial aid has been expanded to include students who are ineligible for federal financial aid due to immigration status. DREAMers should complete the WASFA online at www.readysetgrad.org/WASFA. Students who qualify may be eligible for state grant aid and work study.
Financial Aid Awards and Disbursements
The Clark College Financial Aid Office processes the student’s financial aid file and determines eligibility for grants, work study, and loans. Students are notified of their eligibility with an award letter sent to their student email account. All grants and tuition waivers included on the award letter are based on full-time (12 credits or more) enrollment. Grants and tuition waivers are prorated down prior to the start of the term for less than full-time enrollment. Loans included on the award letter are estimates.
All financial aid awards are automatically used to pay tuition and fees. If the financial aid award is not sufficient to pay tuition and fees in full, the student is responsible for payment of any remaining balance. If the financial aid award exceeds the cost of tuition and fees, the student will receive a disbursement. With the exception of summer term, financial aid disbursements are issued the first week of the term. To avoid delays in financial aid disbursements, students should finalize their academic schedule at least one week before the start of the term.
Customers Bank Refund Selection Kit
Through a partnership with Customers Bank, Refund Selection Kits are issued to all Clark College students who apply for financial aid. The kits are mailed by Customer Bank to students after they complete their financial aid file. Students should visit www.clarkdebitcard.com after receiving their kit to choose how they wish to receive their quarterly financial aid disbursements. Students can choose to have their disbursements deposited into an existing bank account, directly deposited into a Bank Mobile Vibe account offered by Customers Bank, or mailed as a paper check. Additional information about the Customers Bank Refund Selection Kit is available online at www.clark.edu/cc/finaid.
A student's enrollment level for the term is established at the time funds are sent to Customers Bank for disbursement. On the census date (the fifth day of the term), the student's enrollment level is finalized and compared to the enrollment level at the time of disbursement. No funding adjustments can be made after the census date.
If a student has added classes during the first five days of the term and is entitled to additional funds, the Financial Aid Office will recalculate the student’s Pell Grant award and disburse the additional funds to the student's Customers Bank option. Students who are eligible to receive additional funds will receive a revised award letter from the Financial Aid Office and notification of disbursement from Customers Bank.
A student who has dropped to a lower enrollment level during the first five days of the term may owe a repayment of Pell Grant funds received. The Financial Aid Office will recalculate the student’s Pell Grant award and bill the student for an overpayment of funds received. Tuition refunds resulting from a drop in credits will be applied to the Pell Grant overpayment to reduce the amount that must be repaid. Students in overpayment status will receive a bill by the end of the third week of the term via email at their student address.
Students will be held responsible for their original enrollment level at the time of financial aid disbursement and may face financial aid warning or suspension, according to the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy http://www.clark.edu/enroll/paying-for-college/get-keep/index.php.
Any class that begins after the official term start date and/or ends before the official term end date is a module class. Credits for these classes are included in a student’s enrollment level at the time of financial aid disbursement.
A repayment of Pell Grant funds received may be required if a student does not commence attendance or drops a late start or module class prior to its start date. The Financial Aid Office will recalculate the student’s Pell Grant award and bill the student for an overpayment of funds received. Tuition refunds resulting from the drop in credits will be applied to the Pell Grant overpayment to reduce the amount that must be repaid.
Students will be held responsible for the original enrollment level at the time of financial aid disbursement and may face financial aid warning or suspension, according to the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy http://www.clark.edu/enroll/paying-for-college/get-keep/index.php.
Pell Grant Overpayments
Students who owe a Pell Grant overpayment will have 45 days to repay their debt in full or make payment arrangements with Clark College. After 45 days the debt will be referred to ED Debt Resolution Services (https://www.myeddebt.ed.gov/) if a student has not repaid the debt in full or made payment arrangements. Students whose debt has been referred are no longer eligible for financial aid, including grants, loans, and work study. The full Clark College Census Date policy is available at http://www.clark.edu/enroll/paying-for-college/documents/Census_Date_Disbursement_Policy.pdf.
Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress
Students must meet Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy requirements
to remain eligible for federal, state, and institutional financial aid.
There are three standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress that are evaluated at the end of each term:
I. Grade Point Average (GPA) If both the term and cumulative GPA fall below 2.0, the student will not have
met the GPA requirement to remain in good standing. In addition, a student must have
a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA at the end of their sixth term.
II. Maximum Timeframe is measured to ensure students are taking required courses to complete their certificate or degree. Eligibility for federal aid expires once a student attempts 150% of the published credits required for a program. Maximum credit warning notifications will be issued when a student reaches 110% of the credits required for a degree or 100% for a certificate. Once a student has attempted 125% of program credits, financial aid will be suspended until an internal review of program progression has been completed. All credits, regardless of whether they were taken while on financial aid, or credits removed with an approved set-aside petition, are used in calculating maximum timeframe. Transfer credits accepted for use towards the current certificate or degree are included. Remedial coursework needed to reach program required classes is counted towards maximum timeframe. Funding of remedial courses is limited to 45 attempted credits. Repeated credits (R grades) are counted as attempted towards maximum timeframe. Once a class has been attempted and credit has been earned, financial aid can only pay for a second attempt. Clark College Financial Aid has the right to request additional documentation at the time of file review. Students that have used 400% or greater of their lifetime Pell eligibility, borrowed $30,000 or more in student loans and/or attended four (4) or more institutions will be required to submit official transcripts from prior institution(s) for credential evaluation in addition to a Maximum Credit Appeal to determine future financial aid eligibility.
III. Pace of Progression Students must complete all financial aid eligible credits funded each term within their enrollment level and 67% of their attempted cumulative credits. Pace of progress that is 66.6% or higher will be rounded to 67%. All program credits, including transfer and remedial credits, will be taken into consideration whether or not aid was received. Grades F (Failed), I (Incomplete), U (Unsatisfactory), W (Withdrawal), Y (In Progress), N (audit), and R (repeat) will count as attempted credits.
Registered Credits at
|Time of Disbursement||Good Standing|
|Full Time (12 -19 credits)||12 credits per term|
|3/4 Time (9-11 credits)||9 credits per term|
|1/2 Time (6-8 credits)||6 credits per term|
|Less Than 1/2 Time (1-5 credits)||All attempted credits per term|
Financial Aid Warning Status
Students will be placed on Financial Aid Warning for one term if:
- Term and cumulative GPA fall below 2.0 at the end of a term, and/or
- Pace of progression is less than 67%, and/or
- Not all attempted credits are completed (as noted on the chart)
|Time of Disbursement||Warning||Suspension|
|Full Time (12 -19 credits)||6 - 11 credits||5 credits or fewer|
|3/4 Time (9-11 credits)||6 - 8 credits||5 credits per term|
|1/2 Time (6-8 credits)||N/A||5 credits per term|
|Less Than 1/2 Time (1-5 credits)||
|Less than all per term attempted credits|
Students on Warning are eligible to receive financial aid the next term of attendance, but are in jeopardy of losing their financial aid eligibility. If all Satisfactory Academic requirements are not met at the end of the next term of attendance, financial aid will be suspended. Warning status will be cleared if all Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements are met at the end of the next term of attendance.
Financial Aid Suspension
Students on financial aid suspension are not eligible for future financial aid including grants, work study, and loans. Immediate financial aid suspension will occur when a student:
- Is on Financial Aid Warning/Probation and:
- Does not complete the number of credits in their enrollment level, and/or
- Do not meet 67% pace of progression, and/or
- Both the term and cumulative GPA fall below 2.0 at the end of the term
- Has a cumulative GPA below 2.0 at the end of the sixth (6th) term
- Has attempted 125% of the credits required for the program
- Has changed their degree more than two times
- Has failed to meet the requirements of an Educational Plan agreement
- Has not completed all attempted credits (as noted on the enrollment chart)
|Time of Disbursement||Suspension|
|Full Time (12 -19 credits)||5 credits or fewer|
|3/4 Time (9-11 credits)||5 credits per term|
|1/2 Time (6-8 credits)||5 credits per term|
|Less Than 1/2 Time (1-5 credits)||Less than all per term attempted credits|
Regaining Financial Aid Eligibility
When students lose financial aid due to lack of academic progress, there are two (2) options
to regain eligibility. The options are:
I. Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal: Failure to maintain good academic standing may be the result of circumstances beyond the student’s control. In cases of student illness, injury, a death in the family or unusual circumstances, students may appeal to regain financial aid eligibility. Students are limited to two (2) appeals at Clark College.
Appeals must include the following:
- Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form.
- Typed and signed statement explaining the circumstances AND what has changed AND the steps taken to ensure academic success in the future.
- Supporting documentation confirming the extenuating circumstances presented in the statement.
- A current degree worksheet completed and signed by the student and program advisor.
Appeals are reviewed by the Financial Aid Advisory Committee bimonthly and students are notified of their decision through student email. The Committee's decision is final. If the appeal is approved, the Committee has the authority to restrict students to specific academic conditions. The student may be required to follow an education plan until satisfactory academic progress is achieved.
If approved, aid is reactivated based on available funding at the time the appeal
is approved and may not reflect the original award. An approved appeal does not negate
any repayment owed to the financial aid programs or Clark College.
II. Request for Reinstatement: If a student chooses not to appeal or has exhausted the two (2) appeal limit, they may submit a Request for Reinstatement when they have met all of the following conditions:
- Cumulative GPA is 2.0 or higher AND
- Enrolled in and completed a minimum of five (5) program required credits (CAP courses are ineligible) AND
- Pace of progression is 67% or higher
When attempting to reinstate, all credits in the reinstatement term must be completed. Grades of F (Failed), U (Unsatisfactory), W (Withdraw), Y (In Progress), N (Audit), and R (Repeat) will hinder eligibility for reinstatement and may increase the number of credits needed to reinstate.
If the reinstatement is approved, aid is reactivated based on available funding at the time the reinstatement is approved and may not reflect the original award. Students may be restricted to specific academic conditions and must remain in good academic standing to receive continued funding. An approved reinstatement does not negate any repayment owed to the financial aid programs or Clark College.
Financial Aid Probation
If the Financial Aid Advisory Committee approves a student's appeal, financial aid will be reactivated on a probationary status. Financial aid suspension will occur if the student does not meet all the satisfactory academic progress requirements at the end of the next term of attendance (see warning section for details).
Other Requirements and Limitations
Maximum Timeframe: Financial aid can fund up to 125% of the required credits to complete a certificate or degree. All credits, regardless of whether they were taken while on financial aid, or credits removed with an approved set-aside petition, are used in calculating maximum timeframe. Transfer credits accepted for use towards the current certificate or degree are included. Remedial coursework needed to reach program required classes is counted towards maximum timeframe. Funding for remedial courses is limited to 45 attempted credits. Repeated credits (R grades) are counted as attempted towards maximum timeframe. Once a class has been attempted and credit has been earned, financial aid can only pay for a second attempt.
Program Changes: Students are allowed to change their program of study up to two (2) times. Pace of progression and maximum timeframe are reset with each program change. If a student was approved in a previous appeal with specific academic conditions, those conditions must be met before changing their program. If a student would like to change their program without meeting the appeal's academic conditions, a student must submit a Request for Financial Aid Extension to the Financial Aid Office. If the program change is approved, new conditions will be applied. Once a student has completed two (2) degrees at Clark College they are no longer eligible for financial aid.
Title IV Repayment Policy
Students who receive financial aid are subject to the Federal Return of Title IV Policy.
This policy is effective when a student withdraws or fails all credits. Students who
attend through the 60% point of the term earn 100% of their aid and will not owe a
repayment. Students who do not attend through the 60% point in the term may owe a
repayment to the financial aid programs. The student’s withdrawal date is used to
calculate repayment and is determined as follows:
Official Withdrawal: The date the student began the institution’s withdrawal process by officially notifying the institution in writing of their intent to withdraw.
Unofficial Withdrawal: The last date of attendance, defined as the last date of participation in an academic related activity, reported to the Financial Aid Office by the instructor or the midpoint of the period of enrollment. The latest date will be used to calculate the repayment.
Return of Funds
Funds are returned to the following Federal sources in order of priority, as established by Congress:
- Unsubsidized Direct Loans
- Subsidized Direct Loans
- Direct PLUS Loans
- Pell Grants
- Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants
- Other Federal, State, Private, or Institutional financial assistance
There are six (6) basic steps to the formula for calculating the amount of funds that must be returned to the Title IV programs:
- Determine the date of withdrawal and percentage of payment period attended by the student.
- Calculate the amount of Title IV aid earned by the student.
- Compare the amount earned and amounts disbursed to determine amount unearned.
- If amount earned is greater than amount disbursed, determine late disbursement.
- If amount earned is less than amount disbursed, determine amount of Title IV aid that must be returned from tuition payments and repayment owed by the student.
- Calculate portion of funds to be returned by the institution and student.
Both Clark College and the student have specific responsibilities under this policy.
If the student does not attend through the 60% point of the term, the college and
the student may be required to return a portion of aid to the Federal Government.
Funds returned by Clark College will become student debt owed to the College. Funds
received by the student directly will become student debt owed to the Federal Government.
Clark College will provide guidance and repayment options. Students will have 45 days
to pay their debt in full or make arrangements to pay their debt. If, within 45 days,
the student fails to pay in full or make arrangements to pay, the debt will be referred
to ED Debt Resolution Services (www.myeddebt.com/borrower/). Students who fail to comply with the terms of their agreement to repay will immediately
become ineligible for Title IV funds.
Requirements of 34 CFR 668.22 are available in the Clark College Financial Aid Office or on the Clark College website at http://www.clark.edu/enroll/paying-for-college/get-keep/refund_policy.php.
State Need Grant Repayment Policy
Students receiving a State Need Grant (SNG) are subject to the Washington State Need Grant repayment policy as defined by the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC). This policy is effective only if a student completely terminates enrollment by withdrawing or failing all credits. Students who remain enrolled through at least 50% of the term will not owe a repayment. Students who officially or unofficially withdraw before the 50% point of the term will owe a repayment. The amount of the repayment is based on the date of official withdrawal or the last date of attendance as documented by the student’s instructors. Students will be billed 50% of a State Need Grant considered unearned. Repayments of a State Need Grant are considered a student debt owed to Clark College. Any unpaid debt will be referred to WSAC at the end of the academic year (June 30). Students who owe a repayment are not eligible for a Washington State Need Grant until the repayment has been paid in full.
Other Educational Resources Available
Funding for scholarships is made possible through the generous support of individuals and organizations. The Clark College Foundation is one of the largest community college foundations in the country and offers many scholarships to Clark College students each year.
Individual scholarships may have their own eligibility criteria where a student must maintain a certain GPA or enrollment level to qualify for funds awarded. Students should refer to their scholarship award letter for the conditions of their award. The scholarship application is separate from the application for financial aid.
The majority of scholarship applications are available January through April, and funds are awarded for the following academic year.
The Sponsored Programs office serves as a liaison between students and various governmental and community agencies that have authorized funding to pay for tuition, books, and supplies.
Workforce Education Services
Clark College Workforce Education Services administers a variety of programs designed to support students who are pursuing vocational or technical non-transfer degree programs and certificate programs. Students enrolled in Adult Basic Education, English as a Second Language, and General Education Development classes may also be eligible. Resources available include:
The Opportunity Grant program serves low-income students who are pursuing professional/technical programs that lead to high-wage, high-demand jobs. Eligible students must be Washington State residents, meet income guidelines, and be enrolled in an approved program. Financial assistance with tuition, books, and mandatory fees may be available for those who qualify.
The Worker Retraining program serves students who have experienced unemployment, who are displaced homemakers, or have been discharged from the military, and are pursuing professional/technical programs that provide them with the ability to re-enter the workforce. Eligible students must live in Washington State and be enrolled in an approved program. Financial assistance with tuition, books, and mandatory fees may be available for those who qualify.
WorkFirst Financial Aid and Work Study
The WorkFirst program serves students who are receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy
Families (TANF) and are pursuing professional/technical programs. Eligible students
must live in Washington State and be enrolled in an approved program. Financial assistance
with tuition, books, and mandatory fees may be available for those who qualify.
On-campus WorkFirst Work Study job opportunities may also be available for those who qualify.
Basic Food Employment and Training (BFET)
The BFET program serves students who are receiving federal basic food benefits and are pursuing professional/technical programs. Eligible students must live in Washington State and be enrolled in an approved program. Students may be eligible to receive subsidized child care assistance through Working Connections/Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). Financial assistance with tuition, books, and mandatory fees may be available for those who qualify.
Veteran Education Resources
360-992-2711 or 360-992-2112
Certifying officials located in the Veterans Resource Center (VRC) serve as a liaison
between Clark College and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Clark College is
approved for VA Education Benefits under Chapters 30, 31, 32, 33, 35, 1606, 1607,
and Military Tuition Assistance (TA).
Eligible veterans and dependents must request certification by term for approved degree and certificate programs. Only courses required within the program will be funded. Audited courses are not eligible. Students are required to make satisfactory academic progress and should contact the Veterans Affairs Office prior to making any schedule changes. Visit http://www.clark.edu/enroll/paying-for-college/VA/VA_CEBVA.pdf for a complete checklist of requirements.
Clark College joins with the Department of Defense (DOD) Voluntary Education Partnership Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and conforms to Executive Order 13607 of April 27, 2012, establishing Principles of Excellence for Educational Institutions Serving Service Members, Veteran Spouses, and other family members. Credit for military experience may be granted toward general elective and specific vocational program coursework. Veterans are required to submit military and all other school transcripts, to be applied toward their intended program of study, no later than the start of their second term of enrollment. Military training and experience granted for credit recommendations are based on the American Council of Education (ACE) guidelines for military training. Military experience is a non-traditional credit program. Students should refer to the Non-Traditional Credit Policy section of this catalog and contact the Veterans Affairs Office for additional information.