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Helpful Hints and Frequently Asked Questions

Helpful Hints

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA)

  • The FAFSA determines a student’s eligibility for the Federal Financial Aid (Federal Pell Grant, Federal Direct Loans, etc.).
  • Once the FAFSA is completed, it typically takes 3-5 days for a student’s FAFSA information to be received by the Financial Aid office from the Central Processing System.
  • Students should complete a FAFSA even if they feel they are not eligible for Federal Financial Aid.
  • A new FAFSA must be completed each year a student attends college.
  • Mesalands Community College school code is 032063
  • Mesalands Community College financial aid priority deadline is March 31st. Applications will be accepted after this date, availability of funds may be limited and are award on a first come first served basis.
  • Students (Spouse) and parents must provide tax information on the FAFSA.
    • 2019-2020 FAFSA, use 2017 taxes
    • 2020-2021 FAFSA, use 2018 taxes
    • 2021-2022 FAFSA, use 2019 taxes
  • A student who is under the age of 24, has no dependents and is not married is considered a Dependent Student. A Dependent Student must provide their parents tax information to complete the FAFSA, and a parent must sign the application.
  • A student who is over the age of 24, has children or other dependents other than children or a spouse is considered an Independent Student. Independent students must provide their personal tax information and spouse (if applicable).
  • A student and their parent must apply for a Federal Student Aid (FSA) Id when completing the FAFSA. This is used as their electronic signature for the FAFSA application. This does not expire, please keep username and password with your records.
  • The amount of an academic/merit based scholarship and/or grants may be determined by the number of credit hours a student has taken the previous semester, and/or the number of credit hours a student is enrolled in for the current semester. The student must also be degree or certificate seeking in order to receive Financial Aid.
  • Federal and State Financial Aid programs offered at Mesalands Community College include: Federal Pell Grant, Federal Direct Student Loans (Subsidized & Unsubsidized), Parent Plus Loans, Federal Work Study, Federal SEOG, New Mexico Legislative Lottery Scholarship, State Work Study, State Student Incentive Grant and College Opportunity Grant.
  • If a student needs assistance filling out the FAFSA, they can make an appointment with the Financial Aid Office for assistance.
  • Mesalands Community College schedules several dates in the Fall and Spring each year, to provide assistance to prospective/returning students both on campus and at local high schools to complete the FAFSA. Contact the Financial Aid Office for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Mesalands Community College Scholarship Application

  • Complete one scholarship application to qualify for several institutional and Mesalands Community College Foundation scholarships. A short essay will be required.
  • Check with the Financial Aid Office for additional scholarship opportunities that may require a separate application.
  • Most scholarships require that a student has a FAFSA on file in the Financial Aid Office.

For additional information about Financial Aid or eligibility requirements, please contact the Financial Aid Office at (575) 461-4413, ext. 136.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

What is Financial Aid?

Financial Aid consists of Need-Based Aid and Merit-Based Aid.

  • Need-Based Aid consists of grants, work study, student loans and some scholarships. It is awarded to students who have a need as determined by a formula as determined through the FAFSA.
  • Merit-Based Aid is generally given in the form of scholarships. Awards are determined by a student’s grade point average (GPA) and/or involvement in athletics or extra-curricular activities.

How do I apply for financial aid?

Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine eligibility for federal Title IV aid, including Pell Grants, Federal Grants, Work Study, Student Loans and State Grants.  Students can complete a FAFSA at

What is a FSA ID?

The Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID or username and password serve as a student and parent’s electronic signature on the FAFSA application. Signatures are required for the application to be processed.  If you experience difficulty creating a FSA ID, please contact the financial aid office for assistance.

What is included in the Cost of Attendance (COA)?

A student’s COA consists of tuition, fees, books, supplies, room and board, some transportation expenses, and an allowance for personal items. A student’s COA is based on their dependency status, living arrangements, and/or program of study. For example, the COA of a dependent student living at home with his or her parents would not be as high as that of an independent student living on his or her own.

What is Mesalands Community College’s priority deadline?

March 31st is the priority deadline to be eligible for the maximum amount of financial aid if eligible. Applications are accepted after the priority deadline.

How is my dependency status determined for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?

Unless a student meets at least one of the following criteria, they are considered a dependent student for the FAFSA, regardless of self-sufficiency:

  • Is 24 years of age or older (including students who will turn 24 within the award year).
  • Is married
  • Will be working on a master’s or doctorate program
  • Serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces
  • A veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • Has children and provides more than half of their own support
  • Since turning age 13, both parents were deceased
  • Was in foster care since turning age 13
  • Has dependents (other than children or spouse) who live with the student and receive more than half of their support from that student
  • Was a dependent or ward of the court since turning age 13
  • Is currently or was an emancipated minor
  • Is currently or was in a legal guardianship as determined by a court in your state of legal residence.
  • Is homeless or at risk of being homeless

Students who have extenuating circumstances and can provide documentation regarding their situation should contact the Financial Aid Office for more information.

My family’s income has changed significantly since I submitted the information requested on FAFSA. What should I do?

First, complete the FAFSA as requested. After you have received your Student Aid Report (SAR), you may complete the Special Conditions Request forms. The College will then consider your request.

I find the financial aid application process confusing. Should I pay someone to assist me?

We do not recommend that students pay outside advisors for assistance with financial aid forms and applications. The FAFSA is free to file at  (The first “F” stands for FREE. Please be aware that a student should never be asked to pay for financial aid information, including FAFSA completion or scholarship information.). Students who are experiencing trouble with a question should contact our office at (575) 461-4413, extension 136, or after hours at (800) 433-3243 for help.

How is Enrollment Status Broken Down?

Enrollment Status

Student’s enrollment status is based on the following:

  • Full-Time – 12 or more credit hours
  • Three-Quarter Time – 9-11 credit hours
  • Half-Time – 6-8 credit hours
  • Less than Half-Time – 5 credit hours or less


  • AGI– Adjusted Gross Income
  • CAG– College Affordability Grant
  • COA– Cost of Attendance
  • ED– U.S. Department of Education
  • EFC– Expected Family Contribution provided by the FAFSA
  • FAFSA– Free Application for Federal Student Aid
  • FSA ID – Federal Student Aid ID. The FSA username and password serves as the students and parents electronic signature on the FAFSA application, as well as used to access
  • FSEOG– Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant
  • FWS– Federal Work-Study
  • GPA– Grade Point Average
  • IRS– Internal Revenue Service
  • ISIR– Institutional Student Information Record – the report that the College receives when a student lists the Mesalands Community College code (032063) on their FAFSA
  • Merit Based Aidis determined by qualifications such as GPA and/or specific activities
  • Need Based Aidis only available to a qualified student who has remaining need. COA – EFC = Need
  • R2T4– Return to Title IV – please see policies for more information.
  • SAP– Satisfactory Academic Progress – please see policies for more information
  • SAR– Student Aid Report
  • SSIG– State Student Incentive Grant
  • SSN– Social Security Number
  • SSS– Selective Service System
  • SWS– State Work-Study