Frequently Asked Questions

Message to the Student

Financial aid is money to help pay for college and expenses associated with attending college. 

Financial aid is also a partnership between you, the student, and Cañada College. If you receive financial aid, it is expected you will treat your education with the same kind of responsibility that you would a job. You must enroll in courses needed to complete your chosen program, work hard at learning, and move responsibly toward successful completion of your educational goal.

Most financial aid is awarded to students based on demonstrated need. The financial aid application process is set up to measure in a fair way how much each individual student needs. Many of the rules associated with receiving financial aid have been developed to make sure you, as a student, are treated fairly and also to guarantee you take your share of responsibility in the partnership.

We understand that the rules that govern the financial aid programs are often confusing. Our Financial Aid Office staff is available to answer your questions and provide special assistance if and when you need it. Please let us know if you, a friend, or a family member need assistance as a non-English speaking student. We have Spanish-speaking staff and provide information in other languages. We will be happy to assist you.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you are/were in foster care or another court ordered out of home placement between your 16th and 18th birthday, and have not reached your 22nd birthday, you may be eligible for up to $5,000 of additional grant assistance through the Chafee Grant. To learn more about this special grant and to apply on-line go to or contact the Cañada College Foster Youth Liaisons, Margie Carrington, Director of Financial Aid Services at (650) 306-3307 or Soraya Sohrabi, Transfer Service Coordinator and Counselor at (650) 306-3493.

To complete Chafee Grant application requirements, in addition to verification of qualifying foster youth status, the following forms must be submitted: Chafee Grant Application, the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA), and Chafee Need Analysis Report (NAR), which is completeted by the Financial Aid Office.

Please contact us even if you were not formally placed in foster care but have similar support challenges in going to college. We look forward to assisting you through the process and being part of your support system at Cañada College.

Check out these other resources for foster youth and former foster youth:

Financial Aid is money to assist with your college expenses and is available in the form of fee waivers, grants (gift aid), work-study (need based student employment), scholarships (both need and merit based), and loans, which must be repaid. To determine eligibility, students must file a FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid each year.

** If you are a Dreamer, you are not eligible for federal aid, but you may be eligible for a BOG fee waiver and Cal Grant. You must complete the Dream Act Application to determine Cal Grant eligibility.

You may use your financial aid to pay for school fees and tuition, books, transportation, room and board, and other educationally related costs you have while attending Cañada. Financial aid is provided by the Federal government, the State of California, and by Cañada College for students who attend this college.

Student Eligibility

To be considered eligible for and receive Federal Student aid, an applicant must:

  • Be a U.S. Citizen or an eligible non-citizen (permanent resident, resident alien, refugee, asylee). NOTE: The Board of Governors Fee Waiver (BOGFW) has a less restrictive residency requirement for non U.S. citizens
  • Be enrolled in a degree, certificate, or eligible transfer program in a declared major as defined in the Student Educational Plan
  • Be making satisfactory academic progress according to financial aid policy
  • Have financial need as determined through the results from the FAFSA
  • Not be in default on a Federal student loan or owe a repayment on a Federal student grant
  • Have a high school diploma, a GED (General Equivalency Diploma), their equivalent, or if enrolled prior to July 1, 2012, you may be able to demonstrate an ability to benefit from the course of study selected based on an assessment test score or successful completion of at least 6.0 credit hours of college course work
  • Supply an accurate name and Social Security Number
  • Be registered with the Selective Service unless not required to register 

In the second or subsequent year(s) of application, you may submit a Renewal FAFSA on-line only. The Renewal FAFSA contains prior year data and asks the student to update the information from the previous year. You must use your FSA ID to access your processed FAFSA. 


The SAR is your notification that the FAFSA has been processed. When you receive the SAR, it must be checked for accuracy. Processing the on-line FAFSA normally takes a few days up to a week and the paper FAFSA from four to six weeks.


A minimum of thirty percent of all student financial aid applications are subject to verification. If you are selected for verification, your SAR will note this with both an asterisk (*) to the right of your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and as a comment to read. You will be required to submit additional information after the SAR data is received and reviewed by the Cañada College Financial Aid Office. Some forms that may be requested are as follows:

  • Verification Worksheet (for Dependent or Independent students)
  • IRS Tax Transcript or Verification of Non-filing Status
  • Homeland Security documents to verify eligible non-citizen status
  • Verification of Selective Service registration
  • Your Social Security Card
  • An Income Certification Form
  • DD 214 - To verify status as a veteran

The Financial Aid Office will notify you through WebSMART if any of these or other documents are required to complete your file. All of these other forms are to be submitted directly to the Cañada College Financial Aid Office in person, with a valid college or government issue picture ID. DO NOT MAIL THEM TO THE FEDERAL PROCESSOR WITH YOUR FAFSA!

The process of determining eligibility for financial aid uses standard formulas and standard student budgets. The Financial Aid Office recognizes that some students have unusual, special circumstances that may not be evident in the standard process of determining eligibility. Students with special circumstances are encouraged to contact the Financial Aid Office for review of their financial aid package based on those individual circumstances. Students should complete the Unusual Circumstances Request form and attach receipts or other documentation of unusual circumstances.

Withdrawing from classes can have a direct impact on your financial aid- present and future. If you’ve already received a payment, you may be required to return some. If you withdraw before receiving a payment, you can expect to receive a payment for the amount of units currently enrolled. If you withdraw late in the semester, you may not be meeting our Satisfactory Academic Progress standards.

If you withdraw completely from classes before the end of the fee refund period (see the class schedule for dates) and you receive the BOG fee waiver, you will not be refunded these fees.

Return to Title IV Requirements:

In accordance with Public Law 105-244, students who receive federal financial assistance and completely withdraw from all classes before completing more than 60% of the semester will be required to return any unearned federal funds. The amount of the repayment will be calculated on a pro-rata basis of the number of calendar days in the term. FWS earnings are excluded from the calculation. Pell Grant, FSEOG and Stafford Loans (Title IV federal financial aid) will be included in the calculation.

A student's withdrawal date for the purpose of calculating repayment to a Title IV fund will be:

  • The date the student provides notification in writing to the Admissions Office that s/he intends to withdraw, or
  • The midpoint of the semester for students who do not officially withdraw, or
  • The date posted by the instructor indicating the student's last date of attendance in class.

Cañada College will return any funds due from the institution to the program and will simultaneously notify you of any funds you must repay. If you have not received unearned funds, you will be notified of the availability of those funds. Determination of a repayment will occur within a forty-five day period of the withdrawal. If you do not officially withdraw, the final grade reports will be used to determine the withdrawal date. Cañada College will return funds and notify you within 45 days of receipt of final grades.

Contact the financial aid office if you withdraw!

Return of Title IV is a calculation of federal financial aid fund disbursed to a student who completely withdraws from all classes prior to completing 60% of the enrollment period. This amount of aid is considered unearned and must be returned to the Federal government.

The percentage of Title IV aid earned (student may keep money) is determined as follows:

Number of days student completed = the percentage of Title IV earned.
Number of calendar days in the term
Multiply the amount of Title IV funds paid (disbursed) by the percent shown above. This is the amount of Title IV aid the student is entitled to keep or earned.

If the earned amount is greater than the amount the student has received, the student is owed an additional disbursement. The student will be notified of the amount that can be paid.

If the earned amount is less than the amount the student has received, a repayment of Title IV funds is due.

The percentage of Title IV aid unearned (student must repay money) is determined as follows:

Subtract the amount of aid earned from the total financial aid paid = the amount of aid to be returned or the student's unearned financial aid.
Subtract the college's repayment from the amount shown above (the college's unearned part of the fees).

If the student received a grant, 50% of the balance due will be subtracted from the debt. The remaining amount due must be applied to repayment of the federal funds from which financial aid was received.

The repayment will be applied to Title IV funds in the following order:

  • Unsubsidized Federal Direct Student Loans
  • Subsidized Federal Direct Student Loans
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
  • Pell Grant

Repayment will be required within 45 days of notification by the College or by the last day of the term of the complete withdrawal. Grant repayments will be reported to the Federal Government immediately. If a student fails to repay the debt due, the student will be reported to the Federal Debt Collection Center in Greenville, Texas.

Any student owing a grant repayment will not be eligible for any federal financial aid until the debt is repaid.

If you have questions about the repayment requirements, please contact the Financial Aid Office at 650-306-3307 for more information about the calculations or the consequences of complete withdrawal.

  • Know what financial aid programs are available
  • Know the priority dates for submitting applications for each of the programs available
  • Be informed of financial aid policies and procedures
  • Know how your financial need was determined and what resources (such as your income, assets, parental contribution, and other financial aid) were considered in the calculation of need
  • Know how much of your financial aid eligibility has been met as determined by the Financial Aid Office
  • Know what portion of your financial aid must be repaid, and what portion is gift or aid received from work
  • Know how the Financial Aid Office determines whether you are making satisfactory academic progress and what the consequences are if you are not
  • Request an explanation of the various programs in your financial aid package
  • Know the terms of any loans you receive, deferment options, cancellation, and forbearance rights


  • Complete all application forms accurately and submit them on time
  • Provide correct information. Misrepresentation of information on financial aid applications is a violation of Federal law and may be a criminal offense
  • Return all documentation, verification forms, corrections, and/or new information requested by either the Financial Aid Office or the agency to which you submitted your application in a timely manner
  • Read and understand all forms that you are asked to sign and keep copies of them
  • Accept responsibility for all agreements that you sign
  • Repay all loans including the interest on those loans
  • Perform the work that is agreed upon in accepting a Federal Work-Study award in a satisfactory manner
  • Be aware of refund and repayment procedures
  • If you are a recipient of a student loan, notify your servicer, Cañada College Financial Aid, and Admissions and Records Offices of any changes of address, name and/or enrollment status
  • If you have a loan, attend a loan Entrance Interview prior to receiving the first disbursement of your loan(s) and an Exit Interview prior to receiving the second disbursement or prior to leaving Cañada College for any other reason
  • File all required student loan deferment or cancellation forms on time
  • Report any change in the information used to determine your eligibility, including name or financial resources
  • Notify the Financial Aid Office immediately if you withdraw from school

Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS) provides academic support, book vouchers, child care payments, and other services for low-income, educationally disadvantaged students. Contact 306-3300, or go to Building 9-133 for more information.

Disabled Student Programs and Services (DSPS) provides accommodations such as mobility assistance, special parking, loan of special adaptive equipment to students with disabilities. Contact Regina Blok at 306-3132, or go to Building 5-207 for more information.

The CalWORKs Program is available to TANF recipients providing payments for childcare, books, transportation costs and job preparation assistance. Contact Gloria Darafshi at 306-3479 in the Counseling Center for more information.

STEM Center (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) provides mentoring, tutoring and support for students in Math, Engineering and Science planning to transfer to a 4-year school in these fields of study. Contact Cathy Lipe at 306-3156, or go to Building 9-Learning Center for more information.

Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Program provides payment for enrollment fees, books, child care, parking permits, or bus passes, and job placement assistance for eligible students. Contact Kathy Smith at 325-6936 at the Menlo Park Center/JobTrain for more information. Eligibility is determined by the Employment Development Department.

Veteran's Benefits information and certification is provided through the Admissions & Records Office. Contact Edith Flores at 306-3492, Building 9-103 for more information.

Scholarship information and applications for local scholarships are coordinated through the Financial Aid Office. Call 306-3307, or go to Building 9-109. Also, check out the scholarship resources in the Career Center, Building 9-113.

Counseling Center: Counseling, Career, and Transfer Services provides assistance for academic counseling, career skills and self-assessment, and transfer to other colleges. Call 306-3452 or go to Building 9 lobby for more information.

TRiO Student Support Services is a federal funded program. Tutoring, mentoring, supplemental counseling and student grants are provided. Contact Melissa Alforja, 306-3365, Building 9-213.