Ten Important Facts about Financial Aid

Ten Important Facts Every Student and Faculty Member Should Know:

1. General Requirements to Receive Federal Student Aid.

What are the general requirements to receive federal student aid?

Eligibility requirements: You MUST:

  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • Demonstrate financial need (for most programs)
  • Be accepted for enrollment as a degree-seeking in an eligible degree, diploma, or certificate program.
  • Have a valid Social Security number (with the exception of students from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau).
  • Meet citizenship requirements.
  • Not have been convicted of drug distribution or drug possession.
  • Have a high school diploma, GED or home school equivalency.
  • If male, register or have registered with the Selective Service between the ages of 18 and 25.
  • Have resolved all issues or problems identified on the Student Aid Report.
  • Not have already earned the equivalent to a Bachelor’s Degree to be considered for the Pell Grant.
  • Complete Verification process, if selected.
  • Be enrolled at least half-time (6 credit hours) for most programs, including the Direct Loan Program.
  • Establish eligibility by attending class and participating in academic activity.
  • Meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements.

2. Part-Time Enrollment Qualifies for Financial Aid.

Students DO NOT need to enroll full-time to qualify for Financial Aid. Part-time students can receive Financial Aid.  To ensure academic success, it is important to balance credit hour load and personal responsibilities (work and family obligations). Be sure to ask for help!

3. Eligible Programs

Not all programs offered are aid eligible programs. To receive aid, students must declare a program of study that requires at least 16 credit hours for completion AND at least 15 weeks of study for completion.

4. Class attendance – Is it required?

To receive federal financial aid dollars, YES!  If you are not attending classes, you have not established eligibility for your financial aid, and we MUST reduce or hold your financial aid until you are in good standing with your class or classes.

5. Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) must be maintained.

Federal regulations mandate that a student receiving financial aid under Title IV programs must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in his/her course of study regardless of whether or not financial aid is awarded each semester. Students are responsible for understanding and adhering to the satisfactory academic progress policy.  Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) will be measured at the end of each term for all students.

Satisfactory Academic Progress is measured with the following standards:

Qualitative (cumulative Grade Point Average must be a minimum of 2.00 GPA).

Quantitative (67% Rule or Completion Rate – must pass 67% of the courses you attempt. Hours earned divided by Hours Attempted).

Maximum Time Frame (receive credential within 150% of credit hours required for program completion).

6. Declaring a Major.

Students with Undecided or Pending majors must declare a major before or at 30 hours attempted to maintain eligibility for Financial Aid. This is an institutional requirement as part of our Satisfactory Academic Progress policy as it relates to Pace Progression.

7. Purchasing Textbooks.

Book funds are provided via a “charge” process for eligible students 10 days before class begins and available nine days after classes begin.

Valuable information surrounding the bookstore charge process using financial aid:

  • If the bookstore has not received a textbook for a class during this time period, a student with Financial Aid can prepay for the book, assuring they can use their Financial Aid funds.
  • The bookstore will alert the student when their textbook has arrived
  • Students must have more anticipated financial aid than the cost of tuition and fees for the term.
  • Students must sign a Financial Aid Release (FAR) authorizing OCTC to release the amount of anticipated aid to Barnes & Noble.
  • If you already have a FAR on file, you do not have to complete another one.
  • The amount you charge at the bookstore is placed on your student account as a bookstore charge and will reduce the amount you receive back in a residual refund.

8. Verification

If your FAFSA was selected for review in a process called Verification, then you must follow the Verification Procedures on our website.  In this process, OCTC (the school) will be comparing information from your FAFSA with information from copies of your (and your spouse’s, if you are married, or your parent’s, if you are dependent) 2011 Federal Tax Return Transcript, and/or with W-2 forms and/ or other financial documents.  Federal Regulations grant the college the right to ask you for this information before awarding federal aid.

9. Earn your keep.

Financial aid funds are earned by students through their academic progress. The award year is from July 1st through June 30th.  Unused funds for the award year can be carried over to summer until depleted.

10. Words of Wisdom -- Go to Class! -- Stay in Class! -- Pass your Class!

Three major regulations trip many of our students up when trying to maintain eligibility for federal student aid.  They are:
No Show:  If you establish eligibility by going to classes, you have dealt with the No Show issue and will be appropriately disburse
Return to Title IV:  If you stay in your classes throughout the term, you will ensure there will be no requirement to repay funds you did not earn
Satisfactory Academic Progress:  If you pass your classes with at least a C grade or better, you will ensure you have met the Satisfactory Academic Progress policies.