New and Critical Updates

Recent legislative changes, and well as changes within Bergen Community College, may affect your financial aid. To keep you aware of any new requirements, we will post any updates regularly. These types of updates may also be sent to you via email or through your account, so be sure to check these frequently.

Using Prior Year Tax Information on FAFSA

There has been a significant change to income and tax information that students should be aware of when they complete their 2017-2018 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Previously, students have been required to provide their most recent tax year information on their FAFSA.
For example, the 2015-2016 FAFSA required 2014 income data and the 2016-2017 required the use of 2015 income data. The 2017-2018 will also require 2015 income and tax information as we transition to a new federal methodology known as “prior-prior” year income (PPY). This is a one-time situation where two award years will use the same 2015 income and tax information when completing the FAFSA.

Comment Code 399 Policy for Selected Applicants Only

With the change to PPY income, income data needs to be accurate and consistent between both the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 FAFSA applications. This includes (but is not limited): federal tax return type, tax filing status, adjusted gross income, income tax paid, exemption numbers, tax exempt interest income, untaxed portions of pension and IRA distributions, education benefits, and other forms of untaxed income.

The change to PPY may result in conflicting information or discrepancies in income and tax data between the two FAFSA application award years. If this happens, a student’s 2017-2018 FAFSA application will be flagged by the U.S. Department of Education with a Code 399. The Office of Financial Aid is required by law to review these applications and compare 2015 income and tax related items for both award years to determine the accuracy of reported information.

The Office of Financial Aid will review all FAFSA applications that have been flagged with a Code 399. In some cases, we will be able to resolve discrepant income and tax information from one aid year to another. If we are unable to clear conflicting information, the student will be notified via a missing information letter that will include a list of required documents for the award year (or years) in question. We ask that students reply promptly to our request for additional information. This will allow us to review income and tax data and make applicable adjustments if warranted.

How Can Conflicting Information Impact a Student’s Financial Aid?

Once a student is flagged with a Code 399, if resolution is required, all future 16-17 or 17-18 award year disbursements of financial aid will be suspended. This is true even if a student has already received a disbursement of financial aid or a refund of excess financial aid dollars.

If it is determined that the students is no longer eligible for the full amount of his or her need based award, and we are not able to adjust future disbursements of aid downward, the student will be considered to have a Title IV overpayment.

If this happens the following may apply to resolve the overpayment:

1. The student will be required to repay the portion of federal need based grant dollars (Pell Grant and /or SEOG).

Notes: Students will be flagged in the federal system as having a Title IV overpayment. This will impact their ability to receive financial aid from either Bergen Community College or at another school.

2. Any identified over award of a Direct Subsidized loan will need to be repaid under the terms and conditions of the student’s promissory note.

3. The student’s financial aid package will be suspended or cancelled. This could result in an owing balance to the College as the student becomes responsible for all education related charges.

While the Office of Financial Aid never likes to cancel aid, if conflicting information is not resolved, we are required to take the applicable actions as outlined above.

Financial Aid Awards for Winter 2018

 The Office of Financial Aid is pleased to announce awards for the 2018 Winter semester.

 To qualify you must:

  •  Be enrolled in an Associate Degree or eligible Certificate program;
  • Have completed a 2017-2018 FAFSA;
  • Have completed all verification requirements, if applicable;
  • Be registered for the Spring 2018 semester.

 Please Note:

  • This will reduce your Spring 2018 eligibility.
  • Federal Pell Grants, Federal Direct Loans, & NJ State (TAG & EOF) awards are eligible (NJ Stars is not).
  • Payment of classes will be during the Spring semester.
  •  Book Vouchers will not be available for Winter semester.

Bergen’s Electronic Refund Process

Bergen Community College is pleased to announce that you may now receive your financial aid refund through direct deposit to your bank account.
To set up your refund through direct deposit to your bank account:

  1. Log in to BCC Portal/ Web Advisor (
  2. Go to WebAdvisor for Students
  3. Go to Financial Information for Students
  4. Click on Bank Information (U.S) and complete the form.

Once you have completed the process, your account will be set up in 48 hours and your refund payment will be sent directly to your bank account. An email will be sent to your BCC email account notifying you that the refund is available.

We encourage you to utilize this process because it will mean that you will receive your refund faster by eliminating the wait for the paper checks by mail and a trip to the bank or ATM. You have our assurance that your banking information will be securely stored in an encrypted format on the College’s network and will not be viewed by other system users.

Last, if you have an existing hold on your student account record or have additional questions please contact the Bursar’s office at 201-447-7105 or by email at [email protected]

My.Bergen.Edu Portal enables students to access several different systems and applications with a single username and password. Essentially, there is now one-stop entry to:

  • Web Advisor
  • Email
  • Calendar
  • Moodle
  • Class Schedule
  • College News & Events
  • Announcements

Also, may be accessed through the Internet from any computer, tablet or Smartphone, on- campus or off-campus.

To access your account, go to and enter the username and password you currently use to sign on to a BCC computer or to check your Bergen email. If you need additional assistance with logging in or other Portal-related items, click the “Portal Help” link at the bottom of the Portal login page.

IRS Data Retrieval Tool

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool allows you and your parents to access the IRS tax return information needed to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students and parents may transfer the data directly into their FAFSA. The IRS Data Tool is easy, accurate and eliminates the need for you to obtain copies or student or parent tax returns.

If you do not use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to provide tax information and your college requests a copy of your tax return or your parents’ tax return, you may be required to obtain an official tax transcript from the IRS.

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool is available for online FAFSA submittals and is accessible through the FAFSA website

The following FAFSA applicants may be ineligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool:

  • Married couple who file separate tax returns
  • Applicants whose marital status has changed as of October 1st (the first day the FAFSA is available)
  • Applicants who are neither eligible nor required to file a Federal Tax Return

Applicants who choose not to use the FAFSA-IRS Data Retrieval Tool OR applicants who use the tool but subsequently change the income information will be informed they must explain to their institutions why information they provided is more accurate than the information available through the IRS.

Federal Pell Lifetime Eligibility Used

Effective July 1, 2012, The U. S. Department of Education established new regulations which reduced the duration to receive a Federal Pell Grant from 18 full-time semesters (or its equivalent) to 12 full-time semesters (or its equivalent). The maximum amount of Pell you are able to receive over your lifetime is limited to be the equivalent of 600% (6 years)

Federal Direct Subsidized Loan Eligibility Used

If you are a first-time borrower on or after July 1, 2013, the U.S. Department of Education established new regulations which reduced the duration to receive a Federal Subsidized Loan (does not apply to Unsubsidized or PLUS). You may not receive Direct Subsidized Loans for more than 150 % of the published length of your program. (150% of a two (2) year Associate Degree program = 3 years subsidized loan eligibility).

Repeating Courses

Federal regulations may prohibit you from receiving financial aid for repeating courses. Once you have taken a course and received a passing grade you may only retake the course one time while receiving financial aid.
  1. If you received an ‘E’ the first time you took a course and then pass with a ‘D’, financial aid will cover only one (1) additional attempt because the second attempt made was a passing grade.
  2. If you received a ‘D’ the first time you took a course and then retake the course and receive an ‘E’,  financial aid will cover both attempts because the second attempt made is not a passing grade.

Federal Verification

After completing the FAFSA, the U.S. Department of Education may select you for a process known as verification for one or more of the following reasons:

  • You were chosen at random
  • Your FAFSA contains estimated information
  • Your FAFSA was incomplete
  • Inconsistencies were found in the information you provided on your FAFSA

The U.S. Department of Education and the Bergen Community College Office of Financial Aid will notify the student if they’ve been ‘Selected’ for verification. The student will not be eligible for financial aid until the verification process is complete. Once all the requested information is received by the College, a Financial Aid Award Notification Letter will be sent explaining the student’s financial aid eligibility.

DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act)

Effective June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed that all loving and committed couples who marry deserve equal legal respect and treatment.

Consistent with the decision, same-sex couples (both the student and the student’s parents) must report their marital status as ‘married’ on the FAFSA if they were legally married in a state or other jurisdiction (foreign country), without regard to where the couple resides or where the student will be attending school.