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Greater Altoona Career & Technology Center

1500 Fourth Avenue • Altoona, PA 16602 • 814.946.8450
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Greater Altoona Career & Technology Center
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Financial Aid Guide

How to Apply | Sources of Financial Aid |
Application Standards | Eligibility |
Private Education Loans | Veterans' Benefits


Complete the following steps:

  1. Apply online for the federal Personal Identification Number (PIN) at One parent of a dependent
    student must also secure a federal PIN.

  2. File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA application is available in mid-December and can be submitted beginning January 1st. File online at signing with student and parent (if applicable) federal PINs. Your FAFSA is required to be on file before any financial aid can be finalized. GACTC's School Code is 015272.

    After the US Department of Education processes the FAFSA application, the student will receive a Student Aid Report, which will indicate whether the student may be eligible for a grant, however it will not indicate the amount of the grant. The student may contact the Financial Aid office 2 to 3 days after they have signed their FAFSA form, to find out the status of their grant. The Financial Aid office will then provide more specific grant information to the student. You may contact the Financial Aid Office at 814.505.1257.

    FAFSA applications should be submitted well in advance of program start date (At least 60 days in advance is recommended to allow for possible corrections, verification, etc.). Completion of financial aid paperwork is required to confirm your acceptance into the GACTC program you have chosen. (FAFSA applications are, however, accepted by the US Department of Education until June 30 of the current academic year.)

    7 Easy Steps to the FAFSA

  3. Complete the Federal Direct Student Entrance Counseling. As a first time Direct Student Loan borrower at GACTC, you must complete the federal Entrance Counseling requirement before your loan proceeds will be credited to your account. At, click on the green button and 'Sign In' using your FAFSA PIN. Follow the instructions to complete Entrance Loan Counseling.

    Upon graduation or withdrawal from GACTC, you must complete the federal Exit Counseling requirement at

  4. Loan Master Promissory Note. Securing those funds still requires the submission of a separate Master Promissory Note (MPN). The MPN can be completed online at

  5. Carefully review any communication you receive from our Financial Aid Office and the Federal Student Aid Programs. All requests for information should be returned promptly to the appropriate department or agency, or call the Financial Aid Office for assistance.

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In addition to the primary sources of financial aid (loans and scholarships), other kinds of aid are available to many students. Please check out for more detailed information.


Federal Pell Grant
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (Federal Pell Grant): To apply for a Federal Pell Grant, the student must complete and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA application), which requests information such as current family size and financial information from the last full tax year.

Direct Loan Program
Students and parents can explore the low interest Direct Loan to help pay for the cost of their education. This loan must be paid back, and repayment of Direct Loan usually begins after a one-time 6 month grace period following graduation. A Parent PLUS loan may be available for qualifying parents who want to borrow to help pay for their children's education. This also is a low-interest loan program that provides additional funds for education expenses, and like Stafford loans, must be paid back.

Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA)
Individuals who meet the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act eligibility requirements may participate in classroom training. All applications are taken at the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act Office located in the county of residence. For more information, interested individuals should call their local WIOA office.

Trade Adjustment Act (TAA/TRA)
Funding through the Trade Act is provided to dislocated workers who have lost factory employment due to foreign competition. This funding generally pays for tuition, fees, and required supplies. Normally, individuals are notified at their place of work or their point of contact.

Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) assists with funding for qualified students who possess certain disabilities. Individuals should contact the agency for eligibility determination.

Veterans Benefits/National Guard Benefits
Educational assistance is provided by the Federal Government to qualifying veterans or dependents of deceased or disabled veterans. Call your nearest Veterans Affairs Office, Pennsylvania Department of Military. Or your reserve unit.

My Career Advancement (My CAA) for Military Spouses
Unofficially referred to as Spouse Tuition Assistance, the Department of Defense recently expanded Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA) program can provide up to $6,000 of Financial Assistance for military spouses. Please visit for more information.

Horatio Alger Association Scholarships
The Horatio Alger Association is pleased to offer 510 scholarships valued at up to $2,500 each for students enrolled in a career or technical program in the fall of 2016.

Applicants must meet the following criteria:

In addition to an online application, students will be asked to provide the following:

Download the PDF here.

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A private alternative loan is a non-federal educational loan, typically issued in the student's name and requiring a co-borrower. Students who qualify for an alternative loan—based on their credit history, not need or income.

A private education loan may reduce eligibility for free or lower-cost federal, state, or school student financial aid. You are strongly encouraged to pursue the availability of free or lower-cost financial aid with the school's financial aid office before borrowing a private education loan, you should carefully consider your present level of debt and repayment obligations on all loans.

Private Education/Alternative Loans may be available for certificate/diploma programs that do not meet the requirements necessary for traditional financial aid. Private loans are offered by private lenders and there are no federal forms to complete.

Private education loans tend to cost more than the education loans offered by the federal government, but are less expensive than credit card debt and personal loans through a bank.

The interest rates and fees you pay on a private student loan are based on your credit score and the credit score of your cosigner, if any. Generally, if your credit score is less than 650 (FICO), you are unlikely to be approved for a private student loan. An increase of just 30 to 50 points in your credit score is often enough to get you better terms on your loan.

It is better to apply for a private student loan with a cosigner even if you could qualify for the loan on your own. Just applying with a cosigner usually results in a slightly lower rate, as such loans are not as risky for the lender. Moreover, the interest rates and fees are usually based on the higher of the two credit scores. Therefore, if your cosigner has a much better credit score than you, it could result in a much lower interest rate.

How much should I borrow?
You may borrow any amount up to the full cost of attendance (tuition and fees, and books and supplies). When determining the amount you will need to borrow, keep in mind that some private alternative loans charge a loan origination fee that may be deducted from the loan amount you request.

The following are a few companies who offer Private Education loans to students:
PNC – (Solutions Loans – undergraduate students)
Wells Fargo - - Wells Fargo Collegiate® Loan

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The participates in U.S. Department of Education (DOE) Title IV Funding Programs. Our participation is in compliance with the latest Higher Education Reauthorization Act for Title IV eligibility and certification requirements. Students in full-time adult programs are eligible for funding (programs that are 900 hours or more). Short-term programs such as Nurse Aide, Phlebotomy, Part-time evening classes and online classes are not eligible for Title IV financial aid.

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To be eligible to receive federal financial aid available, a student must:
· Have financial need
· Be enrolled in an approved course of study
· Have a high school diploma or a G.E.D. certificate
· Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
· Make a satisfactory academic progress & have satisfactory (90%) attendance
· Register with Selective Service if required
· Not be in default on a Title IV loan
· Not owe a refund on a Title IV grant

Federal law requires that students may apply for federal aid without paying a fee.

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GI Bill® Education Benefits -

GI Bill® Comparison Tool -

Apply for GI Bill® - VONAPP -

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Financial Aid Officer:
Nathan Lavery


Greater Altoona Career & Technical Center

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