Financial Aid F.A.Q.
Q: What types of financial aid are available at PTC?
- Federal Pell Grant
- Federal SEOG –Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
- SC Needs-Based Grant
- SC Lottery Tuition Assistance Program
- Federal Direct Loans
- Federal Direct Plus Loans
- Life Scholarship
- VA Educational Benefits
See Types of Aid for details on each type of aid.
Q: How do I apply for financial assistance?
The first step in applying for financial assistance is to complete the FAFSA – Free Application for Federal Student Aid electronically at www.fafsa.ed.gov. See FAFSA on the Web Worksheet for detailed instructions.
Q: When should I apply?
Students must apply each academic year and should begin the application process after January 1 at least 90 days prior to the date that funds are needed. At PTC, the academic year runs as follows: Fall Term (August – December), Spring Term (January – May), Summer Term (May-August).
Q: What documents will I need to complete my financial aid application?
- Federal PIN - student. (Parent PIN also required for Dependent students)
- Social Security Number
- Date of Birth
- Drivers’ License - if you have one
- Federal income Tax Returns and W2’s
- Parent Information for dependent students
See FAFSA on the Web Worksheet for detailed instructions.
Q: What happens with my financial aid if I drop a class during the Add/Drop period?
The financial aid award will be adjusted for the hours of enrollment after the drop occurs.
Q: What happens with my financial aid if I withdraw from a class after the Add/Drop period?
The financial aid will not be adjusted for individual classes that are withdrawn as long as the student is still enrolled in other classes. A withdrawal however, will affect the student’s completion rate, which in turn may affect the standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress.
Q: When can I charge books in the Campus Shop using my financial aid?
Students are generally able to use their financial aid in the campus shop during a couple of weeks before each semester begins and ending on the last day of the add/drop period. Please refer to the financial aid calendar for specific dates.
Q: What happens if I charge books at the Campus Shop using my financial aid then my schedule changes?
The student may owe a balance to the Business Office if their charges exceed the new credit available on their account.
Q: When will my financial aid be available on my account?
Financial aid awards will post as paid on your student account each term on specific dates published on the financial aid calendar, student calendar, and on your Pathway account.
Q: When will financial aid disbursement checks be mailed?
The financial aid disbursement checks are generally mailed approximately 3 to 4 weeks after the first official day of classes beginning each semester. The disbursement dates are pre-determined and posted on the student calendar, the financial aid calendar, and on your Pathway account.
Q: What happens with my financial aid if I withdraw from ALL classes during a semester?
The financial aid award may be pro-rated based on the last date of attendance which could result in an overpayment. In some cases the student may owe a balance back to the Department of Education and/or to PTC. If money is owed to the Department of Education, the student will not be eligible for Title IV aid.
Q: What is the Title IV Unearned Aid Policy?
If a student receiving federal financial aid completely withdraws during a semester, the institution must calculate the amount of federal aid not earned and have these funds returned to the Department of Education. A student must be enrolled in at least 60% of the term to be considered to have earned the aid awarded.
Q: What is a Transient student? Does a Transient student qualify for any financial assistance?
Transient students are not seeking degrees at Piedmont Technical College and cannot receive financial aid.
Q: What is a Federal Subsidized Direct Loan?
A loan in which the federal government pays the interest (subsidizes the interest) while the borrower is enrolled in at least half-time status. The borrower only pays the interest that accrues once enrollment drops below half-time. A first-year student may borrow up to $3500 per academic year and a second-year student may borrow up to $4500 per academic year. For more information see PTC’s Loan Policy.
Q: What is a Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan?
A loan in which the borrower is responsible for paying the interest that begins accruing as soon as the lending agency releases the funds. A dependent student may borrow up to $2000 per academic year while an Independent student may borrow up to $6000 per academic year. For more information see PTC’s Loan Policy.
Q: What is Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)?
Students who are receiving federal and state financial aid must be making measurable progress toward completion of a degree, diploma or certificate program in a reasonable period of time. Federal regulations restrict the awarding of financial assistance beyond 150% of the published program length. To maintain SAP, a student must complete at least 67% of all hours attempted and maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0. For detailed guidelines see our SAP Policy.
Q: What is the 150% Suspension policy?
If a student’s total attempted hours exceed 1.5 times the published program length, they are placed on 150% suspension. A Degree Evaluation--Program Completion Assessment Form must be completed by the student’s academic advisor and returned to the Financial Aid Office indicating all required classes that need to be completed in their current program of study.
Q: What is the Life Scholarship? Do I qualify?
This is a state scholarship program for SC residents who have graduated from SC high schools with a 3.0 GPA and meet all other LIFE eligibility requirements. The PTC LIFE Affidavit Form completed by the student will be used to determine eligibility. The student must be enrolled full-time (12 credit hours or more) and this scholarship is only awarded during fall and spring semesters.
Q: What is the Work-study program? How do I apply?
The Federal Work-Study Program provides federal funds that are earned through part-time employment to assist students in financing the costs of their education. Students must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and complete a Work-Study Application to determine eligibility.
Q: What is my student budget or cost of attendance (COA)?
The student’s cost of attendance or budget is an estimated cost that a student may incur while attending college during an academic year which includes, tuition/ fees, books/supplies, transportation, room and board, and miscellaneous charges. The COA is determined by the student’s residency, dependency status (dependent or independent), and their enrollment status. This COA is not the actual amount that the student has to pay to the college for tuition, fees, and books.
Q: If I do not have a high school diploma or GED, can I still qualify for financial aid?
In order to be eligible for Federal financial aid, a student must have a high diploma, a GED, or meet the minimum requirements on the college’s placement test to include all parts of the test (reading, writing, and math) during a single testing period.
Q: What does it mean if my FAFSA is selected for verification?
The Department of Education randomly selects applications for a review process called verification. The Financial Aid Office is required to review the FAFSA results for accuracy.
Q: If a student is selected one year, will they automatically be selected the next year?
Not necessarily. Verification is selected by a random process.
Q: Is there anything a student can do to minimize his/her chances of being selected?
If a student completes the FAFSA correctly, he or she is less likely to be selected for verification.
Q: How long does verification typically take, once all of the documents have been received (peak time vs. non-peak time)?
If it’s peak time, meaning times that are close to the beginning of an academic year, it could take up to 2 weeks. Once the documents are reviewed, if changes are required, it usually takes about 3 days for everything to process. Non peak time, it could take approximately 1 week.
Q: Does verification have to be finalized before a financial aid award is posted?
Yes, if a student is selected for verification, the process must be complete before the aid will be posted.
Q: What is dependent verification vs. independent verification?
A dependent student must provide parent information as well as student information. An independent student provides their information and spouse information if they are married.
Q: What is the criteria to be considered “independent” for FA purposes?
An independent student is someone who meets at least one of the following criteria: 24 years or older, married or separated, has a child or other dependent that he or she supports, an orphan, homeless, or a veteran.
Q: How are students notified that they have been chosen for verification?
They receive notification from PTC informing them of required documents and where to obtain them. They also receive a Student Aid Report from the Department of Education that indicates that they are selected and will need to provide the school with additional documents. Students should check their Pathway account periodically for document requirements needed to complete their award.
Q: What documents are typically needed?
When a student is selected for verification, they must complete a verification (dependent or independent) worksheet, which is provided by the school, and a copy of parent (if dependent) and student tax returns and W-2s. A student will never submit someone else’s tax returns (i.e. grandparent), even if that person claimed them.
Q: Aside from tax forms, W-2’s and the dependent or independent worksheet, what are some other types of documents that you may need to complete the verification process?
If the student or parent has no income, they will need to provide a low income verification form.
Q: What if a student &/or his/her parents did not file taxes?
They need to provide how they are supported for the previous year – disability, social security, etc. If they have no income and are living with family members, they need to complete a low income verification form.
Q: What if a student cannot get parent’s tax information?
If a student can’t get parent tax information and has contact with their parents, they can complete a lottery waiver and receive lottery but would not be eligible for Pell or other aid. The student may also qualify for an unsubsidized loan. If a student has been abandoned by their parents (has no contact with the parents), the student can complete a Professional Judgment Request and provide proof of abandonment (i.e. if someone else was listed as guardian at the high school).
Q: What if a student’s income is dramatically different now than it was in the last tax year?
If a student or parent has been laid off or terminated, the student can complete a Professional Judgment Request Form and provide proper documentation which will be reviewed for possible adjustments. Otherwise, the student information would stay the same.
Q: If a student’s EFC looks like he/she will only qualify for Lottery Tuition Assistance, will he/she still need to complete the verification process if selected?
Yes. The student needs to complete the process to receive lottery.
Q: Are there “typical” FAFSA errors that could be easily avoided?
The student needs to apply for a PIN and use it to complete the FAFSA. If a student does not complete the signature page, it is more likely to be selected for verification. Make sure you enter your taxes paid correctly. It is a common error to enter the adjusted gross income for taxes paid. There are helpful hints on the FAFSA to assist with getting tax information from the correct line off of the tax forms. For details on applying for a PIN and tips on completing the FAFSA, see the FAFSA on the Web Worksheet.
Q: Will a student get dropped from classes (non-payment) if they are waiting on verification to be completed?
Yes. When the drop for non-payment is processed by the Business Office, any student with a balance will be dropped from classes. This includes students waiting for verification to be completed.
Q: What can cause a student to be on Financial Aid (FA) suspension?
- 150% - student has taken more than 1 ½ times the number of credits required for their major
- Completion rate – student has successfully completed less than 67% of total credits attempted
See our SAP Policy for details.
Q: How does a student know if she/he is on financial aid suspension?
- A letter is mailed to the student; appeal form is included.
- FA suspension shows in FA tab in student’s Pathway account.
Q: How does a student apply for an appeal?
- For 150% suspension, a Degree Assessment--Program Assessment Form is required to be filled out by student’s academic advisor listing only courses allowed.
- A Satisfactory Academic Appeal Form must be completed and submitted with appropriate documentation.
Q: What is the appeal process timeline? (When/how often are they reviewed?)
- Non-peak times – 5 days;
- Peak times – should know before semester starts, try to process as received
- Appeals are reviewed every semester
- Would a student awaiting an appeal review be dropped for non-payment?
- FA works with Bus Office & Records to not drop while appeal is pending
- If a decision is made that the appeal is denied, then drop for non-pay would occur
Q: When is an appeal usually granted? When is it usually denied?
The appeals committee uses a scoring sheet (up to 16 points); must achieve 12 points to be approved; there are some “judgment points” for committee discretion. For a repeat appealer, it would be approved if student did as required in previous approval, but student must still appeal until they are no longer on suspension.
If denied for Title IV (PELL, loan), student may still receive LTA if they meet requirements for Reasonable Academic Progress (RAP...if attempted 24 credit hours must have 2.0 GPA).
Q: For a re-admit student, in what circumstances might they find themselves needing to do an appeal?
If student did not meet SAP when they left the college, they would come back in under a suspension status.