For Financial Aid information, contact the Yakima Valley Community College Financial Aid Office (509-574-6855).
Students in the Dental Hygiene, Nursing, and Radiologic Sciences programs are required to meet certain academic requirements prior to being admitted to the program. While completing these prerequisites, the Financial Aid Office is able to process financial aid for the students because the classes they are taking meet Associate Degree requirements. In other words, if the student is later denied admittance to their program of choice, the student is able to utilize the completed credits toward completion of the Associate Degree.
This policy, in essence, allows students to officially pursue two degrees. Non-Allied Health students are rarely afforded this opportunity to pursue two degrees sequentially. The financial aid available to YVCC is limited and inadequate to serve all needy students. Most students who graduate with a YVCC two-year degree must wait a minimum of two years before accessing financial aid funds again at YVCC. As a result, the exception that allows the sequential degree intentions for Allied Health students comes with a caveat:
Students are eligible for financial aid funding for only six quarters prior to entry into their declared program. For those students who are unable to complete prerequisites within the six quarters, an Extension Request form may be completed to document why additional quarters are necessary (for example, developmental course requirements).
When this policy was first developed, the Allied Health programs were reportedly six quarters long. Federal regulations limit a student to 12 quarters of aid if pursuing a six quarter program (150% of the program length + 50% for developmental classes). When the Allied Health exception was created, the formula used subtracted the length of the Allied Health program (six quarters) from the 12 quarter maximum. This resulted in six allowable quarters for prerequisites.
One last issue is the financial aid regulation that restricts students to taking only classes that are required for their degree intention. If the student is enrolling a sixth quarter of prerequisites and only needs one or two more prerequisite classes, the financial aid calculation should be limited to the enrollment level of only those necessary prerequisite classes. On the other hand, students who must wait more than one quarter for acceptance into their Allied Health program may complete an Extension Request form to document why it is the student's best interest to complete the Associate Degree prior to entry into their program.
In summary, the limit of six quarters for Allied Health prerequisites may be extended in certain cases. The six quarter limit may be based on an outdated methodology and should be revisited when Financial Aid Office procedures are updated for the new academic year.