Financial Aid FAQ’s

I am withdrawing from ALL of my classes. Will I owe back financial aid?

The Federal Department of Education requires students to complete at least 60% of the semester in order to keep the financial aid received. If your instructors report that the last date you attended class was before this date, you will have to pay back a portion of your financial aid and a hold will be placed on your account. This hold will not be removed and you will not be able to register for future classes or receive transcripts until this balance is paid. Please note, you will also not be able to use future financial aid to pay this balance.

Please be aware that this balance cannot be appealed for any circumstance (e.g. hospitalization, lack of transportation) with the exception of a student that is being called to active, non-voluntary service in the military. Students called to active service need to speak with the Assistant Director of Financial Aid.

If you withdraw before the 60% point (as reported by your instructors) and you received any of the funds listed below, you will have to pay back a portion of the funds:

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Direct Subsidized Loan
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loan
  • NC Education Lottery Scholarship
  • NC Community College Grant

If I receive a scholarship after I have already received my financial aid award, will I lose any other aid?

In accordance with federal regulations, each student who applies for aid is eligible for a certain amount of need based aid up to their financial need. If an outside scholarship results in your receiving more aid than your financial need, (See How Financial Aid Works for more information about financial need and how it is determined) you may lose other aid. This will depend upon the type of aid you are receiving. Check with your Financial Aid Counselor to find out what action is required.

I am withdrawing from one or more class(es), but I will finish at least one full-term, 16-week class. How will this affect future financial aid?

If you are withdrawing from one or more classes, but will finish at least one full 16-week class , in most cases you will not have to pay back funds (unless it is determined that you stopped attending a class during the first 10% of the semester). However, this may still impact your ability to receive financial aid in the future based on the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.

In order to continue receiving financial aid, you must pass 67% of the cumulative number of credits for which you register (*Please read Academic Requirements for Satisfactory Progress to Maintain Financial Assistance in the school catalog). The courses from which you withdraw will count as classes that were attempted, but not passed, which will bring you closer to the 67% ratio. If you fall below the 67% ratio, you are considered to be making Unsatisfactory Academic Progress. The first semester a student falls below the 67% and/or below the required GPA, the student is placed on Probation. Students in this category may continue to receive Financial Aid for one additional term. If the requirements are not met during the “Probation” semester, the student will be Suspended from aid at the end of the probation term and the next semester’s financial aid will be terminated. There is only one term on Probation during a student’s academic history at PCC.

I received my Federal Stafford Loan and I don’t want to borrow the full amount. Can I ask for less?

Yes! When you complete your Federal Stafford Loan application, only request the amount you will need for the enrollment period. If you have already received the loan funds, contact your Financial Aid Counselor to find out what action is required. Your Financial Aid Counselor can help you make the needed adjustments.

What happens to my financial aid if I withdraw from school?

Depending upon when you withdraw from school, you may be required to repay a portion or all of any aid you have received for the period of enrollment for which you were charged, since the funds you are designed to help you meet your living expenses for the entire period of enrollment. If possible, check with your Financial Aid Counselor before withdrawing from school.

My parents don’t claim me on their tax return and they don’t support me financially. Can I file my financial aid application as independent?

The Higher Education Act of 1965 (last Amended in 1992) established requirements for establishing independence. If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you will be considered independent for financial aid purposes. If you do not answer yes to one of the following questions, you will be considered dependent and must include your parent(s) financial information when you file your FAFSA.

  • Were you born before January 1, 1996?
  • Are you a veteran of the US Armed Forces?
  • Will you be enrolled in a graduated or professional program (beyond a bachelor’s degree) in the current academic year?
  • Are you married?
  • Are you an orphan or ward of the court, or were you a ward of the court until age 18?
  • Do you have legal dependents (other than a spouse) that fit the definition in the FAFSA Instructions?

If you believe there are special circumstances which mitigate your situation, check out the Special Circumstances section of How Financial Aid is Determined.

I’m going to be married during the academic year. Can I fill out my Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as married now, since I will be in a few months?

No. You must indicate your marital status as of the date you are completing the FAFSA. Federal regulations do not allow you to update your martial status once you have filed your FAFSA. It is sometimes beneficial for students to wait and file the FAFSA after you have married. Your Financial Aid Counselor can help you make that determination.

Will I lose my financial aid if I make bad grades?

Yes. Pitt Community College has a Satisfactory Academic Progress policy which is required by federal law. This policy sets forth a qualitative (minimum GPA), quantitative standard (minimum numbers of hours you must complete each term), and maximum time frame for degree completion.

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