Frequently Asked Questions about Financial Aid

ATTENTION:FAFSA needs to be completed prior to registration.



Financial Aid Information

Types of Aid


Higher Education
Grant Program

Frequently Asked

Check Process

Tution and Cost Fee


Common Questions:

What is the Sisseton Wahpeton College school code?

SWC School Code is 016080.

• What is your mailing address?

Office of Financial Aid
Sisseton Wahpeton College
PO Box 689
Sisseton SD 57262

• Who is eligible for federal financial aid?

A financial aid eligible student:

1. Is not in default on a federal loan.
2. Does not owe a refund on any federal or state grant program.
3. Is a U.S. citizen or has a valid alien registration card.
4. Is in good academic standing and is making satisfactory progress towards an eligible degree program.
5. Is registered with Selective Service as required by law.
6. Has a valid social security number.

• How can I apply for Financial Aid?

Starting in the 2005/2006 financial aid years the FAFSA (PELL) financial aid process will be completed online. All students may access the financial aid forms online. If you are a new student, a PIN number will be mailed to you when the office of Financial Aid receives your FAFSA results (ISIR/SAR).

• I thought financial aid meant “free money,” such as grants and scholarships, which I do not have to pay back.

The term financial aid is a general term. It includes federal grants, tribal scholarships, tuition waivers and private scholarships. At SWC, the financial aid that students may apply for is primarily in the form of federal, institutional and private scholarships.

I probably don’t qualify for aid. Should I apply for aid anyway?

Yes. Many families mistakenly think they don’t qualify for aid and prevent themselves from receiving financial aid by failing to apply for it. The FAFSA form is free. There is no good excuse for not applying.

What is the difference between a grant and a scholarship?

A grant is a gift. It does not have to be repaid. A scholarship is an achievement award that is usually based on academic grades, abilities, skills, class rank, etc.

• Do I need to be admitted before I can apply for financial aid?

No. You can apply for financial aid any time after January 1. To actually receive funds, however, you must be admitted and enrolled at SWC.

• Why can’t I submit my financial aid application before January 1?

The need analysis process for financial aid uses the family’s income and tax information from the most recent tax year (the base year) to judge your eligibility for need-based financial aid during the upcoming academic year (the award year). Since the base year ends December 31, you cannot submit a financial aid application until January 1. After all, your parents might earn a year-end bonus or realize capital gains from selling stocks on December 31. If you submit the financial aid application before January 1, it will be rejected.

• Will my financial aid be automatically renewed next year?

No. Every student needs to reapply for aid every academic year.

Where can I get additional information about federal student financial aid?

Call the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) or 1-800-730-8913 (if hearing impaired) and ask for a free copy of The Student Guide: Financial Aid from the US Department of Education. This toll-free hotline is run by the US Department of Education and can answer questions about federal and state student aid programs and applications. You can also write to:

Federal Student Information Center
PO Box 84
Washington, DC 20044

• How are personal and familial contributions determined?

Once your financial data is submitted, your family contribution is calculated based on the “Federal Methodology.” The contribution consists of the student’s share and parents’ share. The formula takes into consideration income and assets then subtracts taxes and standard living expenses.

What is your institution’s policy regarding parental information?

Parental income and asset information must be included on the renewal/FAFSA in order to be considered for financial aid administered through SWC. Parental U.S. federal signed tax returns (from the previous year) must be submitted to the office of financial aid, if requested to do so.

How do I apply for a Pell grant and other types of need-based aid?

Apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

• What happens if I receive aid from other resources, a corporation, parent’s employment, religious organization, etc.?

The office of financial aid will review any outside aid a student receives to determine if the total amount of aid received exceeds the student’s budget. Adjustments to the student’s financial aid award may be required.

• What if I have other questions?

For general inquiries regarding financial aid:
E-mail: jmanylightnings@swc.tc or sflute@swc.tc

FAFSA Questions:

Where can I get the FAFSA?

The online version of the form is available at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov.

Does the FAFSA on the web have advantages over the paper FAFSA?

Yes. The FAFSA on the web guides you through the application and assists you in providing the right responses. Consequently, there are little or no errors with this method and, therefore, no delays in processing your student aid. We recommend that you have your (and your parents’, if applicable) tax returns ready when you complete the FAFSA, electronically or otherwise.

How soon after January 1 should the FAFSA form be sent in? Is it better to wait until the income tax forms have been completed?

Send in the form as soon as possible after January 1. Do not wait until your taxes are done. Although it is better to do your taxes early, it is all right to use estimates of your income, so long as they aren’t very far off from the actual values. You will have an opportunity to correct any errors later. If you wait too long, you might miss the deadline for state aid. Most states require the FAFSA to be submitted by March 1 and some even as early as early or mid-February.

I sent in my FAFSA over four weeks ago but haven’t heard anything. What should I do?

If you haven’t received a Student Aid Report (SAR), call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (toll free) or 1-319-337-5665. You must provide them with your social security number and date of birth as verification. You can also write to Federal Student Aid Programs to find out whether or not your FAFSA has been processed or to request a duplicate copy of your SAR.

Federal Student Aid Programs
PO Box 4038
Washington, DC 52243-4038

• My parents are separated or divorced. Which parent is responsible for filling out the FAFSA?

If your parents are separated or divorced, the custodial parent is responsible for filling out the FAFSA. The custodial parent is the parent with whom you lived the most during the past 12 months. Note that this is not necessarily the same as the parent who has legal custody. If you did not live with one parent more than the other, the parent who provided you with the most financial support should fill out the FAFSA. This is probably the parent who claimed you as a dependent on their tax return. If you have not received any support from either parent during the past 12 months, use the most recent calendar year for which you received some support from a parent or lived with either parent.

Note, however, that any child support and/or alimony received from the non-custodial parent must be included on the FAFSA.

• My parents are divorced, and the parent I’m living with has remarried. Does my stepparent have to report his or her income and assets on the FAFSA?

Yes, provided that the parent you’re living with is the one filling out the FAFSA (your custodial parent). If your stepparent is married to them at the time you fill out the FAFSA, they must report their income and assets even if they weren’t married to them in the previous year.

• What do those acronyms on the Student Aid Report (SAR) mean?
The acronyms on the bottom of the SAR represent intermediate results in the need analysis. To fully understand their meaning, you will need to be familiar with the federal need analysis methodology, such as is used by the EFC estimator. The meanings of the acronyms are as follows:

EFC Expected family contribution
TI Total Income
ATI Allowances against total income
STX State and other tax allowance
EA Employment allowance
IPA Income protection allowance
AI Available income
CAI Contribution from available income (independent student)
DNW Discretionary net worth
APA Asset protection allowance
PCA Parents’ contribution from assets
AAI Adjusted available income
TPC Total parents’ contribution
TSC Total student’s contribution
PC Parents’ contribution
SIC Student’s income contribution (dependent)
SCA Student’s contribution from assets (dependent)

If an asterisk appears next to the EFC figure, the student has been selected for verification. The asterisk is followed by a code that explains the reason why the student was selected for verification. The letter explains the reason for selection, and the number indicates the priority, with code 1 the highest priority and code 25 the lowest priority.

• My SAR says that I have been selected for verification. What do I need to do?

There is a verification worksheet that will need to be completed and signed by you and your parents. This includes submitting copies of your federal tax documents and other information as reported on the FAFSA. The Financial Aid Officer will review these documents and if necessary make changes if required. A Pell Grant payment cannot be processed until the verification process is complete.

• My SAR is not accurate. How do I correct it?

Contact the office of financial aid. Your Financial Aid Officer will be able to make most corrections electronically.

FSEOG Questions:

• What is FSEOG and how do I know if I qualify?

At Sisseton-Wahpeton College FSEOG funds are awarded to students with an exceptional financial need. The first selection group is students who are Pell recipients with a zero expected family contribution (EFC) who are enrolled fulltime.

The second selection group is students who are enrolled less then fulltime but more than half time with an EFC of zero and who are attending classes on a regular basis.

The FSEOG awards are determined by compiling a list of all eligible students in both selection groups and the funds are divided equally. If there are adequate funds available the students who are enrolled less than part-time with a zero EFC will be considered.

No additional forms or applications are required other then being eligible as determined by FAFSA.

Tribal Scholarship Questions:

If I am a member of a Federally Recognized Tribe am I eligible for additional education benefits?

Students who are enrolled members of a U.S. Federally Recognized Tribe may be eligible for Tribal Scholarships. For more information please contact your Tribal Education Department or Tribal Scholarship Office at the Tribe in which you are a member.

• I am a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, where can I find information on tribal scholarships?

The Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate offers tribal scholarships to eligible students who are enrolled in accredited colleges and universities. For more information contact the Sisseton Wahpeton College Financial Aid Office as this Tribal Grant (Higher Education Grant Program) is administered by the College at (605)698-3966 ext. 1183 or ext. 1182.

Does the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate offer scholarships that are based on academic achievement?

Yes, enrolled members of the Tribe are eligible for funds under the SWO Higher Education Endowment Program. For more information you can contact the Endowment Director at 605-698-4400.

American Indian College Fund Questions:

• Does the American Indian College Fund provide scholarships for Native American students?

Yes, currently each Tribal College receives funds from the American Indian College Fund to assist enrolled students with scholarships. Each scholarship awarded to a tribal college student through the American Indian College Fund can mean the difference between receiving a college degree or dropping out. Selections are made on the basis of academic success, financial need, and community involvement. Students can use higher education to better their lives and their tribal communities. To apply you can contact the Financial Aid Office at the Tribal College where you are registered for information.

• Does the American Indian College Fund provide scholarships for Non-Native American students?

Yes, Non-Native American students can also apply for scholarships. To apply you can contact the SWC Financial Aid Office for information.











© 2009 Sisseton Wahpeton College
Physical Address: BIA Rd 700, Agency Village, SD 57262
Mailing Address: Agency Village Box 689, Sisseton SD 57262
Main Telephone: (605) 698.3966 Fax: (605) 698.3132