- Did the federal government process my financial aid application?
- Did El Camino College receive my financial aid application from the federal government?
- What is a Fatal Error Letter?
- What if I need to make corrections to my application?
- Should I print a signature page and mail it to the federal government?
- How do I sign my application?
- Where can I get duplicate financial aid forms if they are lost?
- What kind of documents may I put in the Drop Box?
- Will my financial aid payments be delayed if I use the Drop Box?
- Is there an advantage to turning in documents in person as opposed to leaving them in the Drop Box?
- What date will my file be reviewed after I turn in my documents?
- What happens during a file review process?
- How can I assist with expediting this process?
- Why is a current address, email and phone number critical to the file review process?
- How long does the file review process take to be completed?
- Does withdrawing from classes affect my financial aid payments?
- Do I return my financial aid payments if I am not attending El Camino College?
Responses to Application Questions
You may contact the federal government at 1-800-433-3243 and ask if the Federal Processing Center received and processed your financial aid application. You can visit the FAFSA website and look up your application. You may contact the Financial Aid Office and verify that your application has been received. Please remember that you must have an admission application on file before your federal financial aid application can be processed.
You should first verify that you listed El Camino College Title IV code as 001197 on your application. You may also contact the Financial Aid Office at 310-660-3493 and verify that it has been received.
A Fatal Error Letter means that your application was rejected by the federal processor. The student has to review the data submitted, correct it and ensure that the Financial Aid Office has received it. This process can take up to two weeks by mail or immediately online.
Please make your data corrections online at the FAFSA website. You will need your PIN number and your parents will need to access the website using their PIN number to submit application data changes.
We recommend that you file online at www.fafsa.ed.gov and submit your signature electronically. Paper signatures can be lost at the Department of Education.
You can sign your application electronically using a PIN number. Visit the PIN website, apply for a PIN if you do not already have one and submit your signature electronically. You can process a paper signature via regular first class mail but it is a much slow process.
Responses to questions regarding documents.
The Financial Aid Office receives approximately 250,000 documents during the academic year. The staff tracks all outgoing / incoming documents on our computer system on a daily basis. We ask for your patience and hope that you will give us time to process the heavy workload. You can verify on the portal to see if your documents have been tracked and received. Always keep a photocopy of your documents just in case they are lost.
You can access our forms on this website from the main page. You may resubmit the documents if you believe the documents have been lost. Please give the financial aid staff time to process the paperwork.
Students are now required to turn in all documents requested at the same time. Incomplete files will be returned to you even when you submit them through the drop-box or the mail. Students are encouraged to submit all documents at the same time.
No. The staff in the Financial Aid Office pick-up documents from the Drop Box twice daily. Documents are tracked according to the date they are put into the Drop Box.
Response to D5: Is there an advantage to turning in documents in person as opposed to leaving them in the Drop Box?
The main advantage of turning in documents in person as opposed to using the Drop Box is time and convenience. Students that come to the Financial Aid Office gain the advantage of having the documents reviewed for errors and getting them corrected immediately. Students that use the Drop Box lose this advantage because if any errors are found in the documents the are mailed back to the student with instructions to correct the error. Simply, the student that uses the Drop Box may get a delayed file review date because of document errors.
Your file will be dated for review from the day that you turn in all of your documents. The Financial Aid Office will not know exactly what is needed until a more detailed review of your file can be completed. Remember no two files are exactly the same and some files have difficult issues to resolve. Our office processes files on a first come, first served basis.
Response to File Review Questions
During the file review process, the financial aid advisor reviews all of the data for accuracy and completeness, resolves any critical issues and processes any necessary corrections back through the application processing center. Obviously, this is a simplification of many processes and is intended to educate the student to his or her advantage. The goal is to have as few problems as possible and to get the student to the next step or to generate an Award Letter for the student.
The student can assist with this process by reviewing all of the data on the Student Aid Report. A # (pound sign) or bold text indicates a potential problem. The student must resolve these problems. It is critical that the student review every comment listed on the first page of the Student Aid Report or Electronic Student Aid Report for major errors or clarification on submitted data. Processing corrections is the primary reason for financial aid payment delays.
Response to F3: Why is a current address, email and phone number critical to the file review process?
Absolutely the student must have up-to-date personal information current in the Admission & Records Office. The Financial Aid staff have no way of contacting the student if the snail mail address, email address and/or telephone number is out-of-date. By-the-way, the Admission & Records is where you must go to update this type of information. The Financial Aid staff is not permitted to input this critical data as it is the responsibility of the student to communicate the new information to the Admission & Records Office.
The file review process can be a short time or in some cases when a student does not respond to additional requests for information, it can take a very long time. On average depending upon what is the problem in the file, most issues can be resolved quickly within one to three days. Corrections can sometimes take a little longer depending upon the time period.
Responses to Award Letter questions.
A Financial Aid Award Letter is a document produced to inform the student about the awards given to the student based upon federal and state program eligibility. The Financial Aid Award provides the name of the financial aid award, the amount and totals for the term and year.
You can access the portal and view all of your financial aid awards, the amounts by both term and year. Please remember that the Financial Aid Office estimates awards, makes revisions based upon enrollments and other criteria that affect your eligibility.
If you have submitted all of your documents and have not been awarded it simply means that the Financial Aid staff has not had an opportunity to complete a detailed review of your file. Please be patient! We award students on a first come, first served basis and track the dates that you submitted your last document.
The Financial Aid Award Letter can be used for several other things. Students hired under the Federal Work Study Program are required to present their Financial Aid Award Letter to their supervisor to confirm program participation. Some students use the Financial Aid Award Letter as a supporting document to have application fees waived at other transfer schools for example. Other students use the Financial Aid Award Letter as proof of benefits for some federal housing programs through Health and Human Services.
Responses to Payment questions.
If you read the information attached to your Financial Aid Award Letter it will indicate a disbursement date. Please allow approximately 3-7 days for the mail to reach your home. Please make sure that you always have a current address on file in the Admissions & Records Office.
Absolutely!. Your financial aid payments are determined by your enrollment status. If you withdraw from a class, your financial aid payments are decreased and the course withdrawal(s) will count towards your total attempted units according to our satisfactory academic progress standards.
Yes. If you accept financial aid payments from any college and then do not attend, you are required, by federal law, to return those funds back to the federal programs at that school. If you do not return the financial aid money then your Financial Aid Office must report you to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) and your eligibility for any future financial aid at any school in the United States and Trust Territories is terminated.
Financial Aid Application Missing: Check with the federal application center or El Camino College. Go back to the email address that you used to submit the application electronically. It is possible that you did not actually submit the application. If you sent your application via regular mail and it has been more than four weeks, contact the federal application center.
Financial Aid Documents Submitted but no Award Letter Received: Access the portal for a copy of the Award Letter and/or verify that all documents that you submitted have been tracked. There may be a follow-up document that is outstanding and is listed on My Documents screen.
File Review Status: The Financial Aid Office may be submitting data corrections and your file is in pending status temporarily until it is returned from the federal application center. If you are still receiving a Missing Information Letter then it is likely that your file is still incomplete and requires you to turn in the documents listed on the My Documents screen.
Financial Aid Award Letter: Check the portal for an electronic version of the letter or verify that the address you have listed with Admissions & Records is current. There are various statuses associated with your financial aid awards. An “E” status indicates an estimated award that has not been confirmed. An “A” status indicates the award is confirmed. A “D” status indicates the award was canceled.
Financial Aid Payments Not Received: Review the payment sheet attached to your Financial Aid Award Letter for the date your payments were mailed to you. Allow ten days for mail service. After 10 days refer to the instructions in your payment sheet that was attached to your Financial Aid Award Letter. Payment information cannot be released to students/parents over the phone.