The cost of tuition and fees shouldn’t stand in the way of attaining an education. Most students rely on some form of financial aid to get through college. In fact, at NIC more than 60 percent of students utilize financial aid.

So while you’re considering going to college, here’s your first course… Financial Aid 101.

What is financial aid?

Financial aid is money provided by federal, state, and institutional sources to help students meet expenses while attending college. Many students find it increasingly difficult to finance a college education without some help. In general, most students that are enrolled in an approved degree or certificate program are eligible to receive financial assistance in some form.

I’m not sure I qualify for financial aid. Should I complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?

Yes, the best way to determine what funds you qualify for is by completing a FAFSA application. It doesn’t cost anything to apply. Financial aid removes financial barriers for families who cannot afford the cost of an education and also provides needed funds for families who can afford only a portion of college costs. Your financial eligibility will be determined by a number of factors, such as family income, the size of your family, and number of family members attending college.

Noncredit courses are generally not covered by federal financial aid. You can complete a FAFSA in the following ways:

• Online (FAFSA on the web) at
• Call 1-800-433-3243 to obtain an application.

When do I file a FAFSA?

Students apply for financial aid each year. If a student depends on financial aid to pay for tuition and fees, they are encouraged to apply four to six weeks prior to the beginning of their first semester. The FAFSA is available Oct. 1 for the academic year beginning the following fall.

What happens once I file my FAFSA form?

After the FAFSA has been filed, you will be emailed a Student Aid Report (SAR), which indicates your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and your financial aid eligibility. If you use the paper version of the FAFSA, you will be notified via postal mail.

What types of financial aid are available?

The FAFSA is used to determine your eligibility for federal and state grants, Work-Study, and loans. Students also have the option to apply for a William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan, which you must pay back. Students must complete the FAFSA and be enrolled for a minimum of six credits in order to receive a loan.

What is the difference between a subsidized direct loan and an unsubsidized direct loan?

Subsidized loans are need-based loans. The interest is paid by the federal government while the student is attending school at least half time (six credits). Unsubsidized loans are not need based, and the interest accrues while attending school.

Are scholarships available?

Applying for scholarships at NIC is separate from filing a FAFSA. Enrolled students will receive credentials to log in to the student portal called MyNIC. There, you can fill out an application for literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships (which do not need to be paid back) proudly provided by the NIC Foundation. Many are need based, but others are for students in specific programs or with certain career goals. Visit for more information.

How do I accept the financial aid I qualified for?

Enrolled students will receive notification in their NIC Cardinal Mail account when financial aid has been awarded. You can view and accept the aid you choose via the MyNIC student portal. This is typically within 1-2 weeks of receiving your FAFSA or 2-3 weeks from the time you complete your financial aid file. If you will only be accepting the Pell Grant, no action is required.
We’re here to help you! NIC’s Financial Aid Office staff realizes that this process can be confusing. Contact us any time with questions.

Contact the NIC Financial Aid Office at (208) 769-3368 or [email protected].
Stop by our office in Lee-Kildow Hall, Room 104 or visit for more information.