Current Students

Orientation Module 2: The Financial Part

Video Transcript
  1. Welcome to module 2 of new student orientation.

  2. While the focus of your college career is to get an education, there are other aspects of college which also require your attention.  The financial part of college is one of those, and it can seem confusing, or even intimidating.  So this module will help you understand important information about paying for college.

  3. You will learn about the various types of aid, how to request financial aid and make sure you keep it, the serious nature of student loans, financial aid freeze dates, drops for non-payment, and ways to pay for college.

  4. There are a number of ways to obtain monetary assistance for college.  From federal and state grants, to scholarships, loans, and even lottery funds, multiple avenues for financial assistance exist.

  5. There are two types of federal aid: the Pell Grant and the FSEOG, or the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant. The Pell Grant provides need-based grants to low-income undergraduate students to promote access to postsecondary education. The Federal Pell Grant is the foundation of financial aid packages.  Eligibility is based on the student's resources and is determined by a formula developed by the U.S. Department of Education.  The FSEOG provides smaller need-based grants to low-income undergraduate students, with priority given to those students with exceptional need.

  6. The state offers the South Carolina Need-Based Grant. The purpose of the SC Need-Based Grant is to provide additional financial aid to South Carolina’s neediest students.   To be eligible, students must be a South Carolina resident for at least 12 months, be enrolled in 6 credit hours of coursework, and have financial needs as determined by the FAFSA.

  7. The Life Scholarship is also offered by the state. To be eligible, students must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and enroll in at least 12 credit hours of non-remedial courses for the fall and spring terms.  To retain the scholarship, 30 credit hours of non-remedial coursework have to be completed within the academic year.

  8. Other scholarship opportunities are available through Piedmont Tech.  To be eligible to apply, students must have successfully completed at least 12 credit hours of coursework.  Each scholarship has it’s own individual requirements, with some based on academic achievement, some based on financial need, and some based on both.  The scholarship process is coordinated through the Student Success Center and more information can be found on the PTC website.

  9. Student loans provide another means of paying for college.  While student loans have a relatively low interest rate, students are strongly cautioned to borrow only what they will need for college-related expenses.  Be aware that bankruptcy will not cancel out your responsibility to pay back a student loan, and it can be an added burden to have an extra loan payment on top of other financial responsibilities.  Borrow wisely.

  10. Another avenue for gaining funds for college is to obtain employment as a student worker at Piedmont Tech.  You can gain valuable work experience at the college while earning an hourly wage.  Students interested in the work study program should contact the financial aid office to apply.  A limited number of positions are available each semester, and students are selected through an interview process.

  11. South Carolina also offers Lottery Tuition Assistance, or LTA, to PTC students.  LTA will not pay for books and other supplies, and it cannot be used if your tuition and fees are already paid by Pell or other means, but it can help if you have all or a portion of your tuition that is not covered by other funding sources.  To be eligible, you must have been a resident of the state for at least 12 months, be enrolled in 6 credit hours, and you must have submitted the FAFSA.  LTA funds are not awarded based on financial need, so it can be a help to those who do not qualify for other aid or qualify for a lesser amount.

  12. How do you request financial aid?  The process starts online.  You must first obtain a federal Personal Identification Number, or PIN, at www.pin.ed.gov.  Once you have a PIN, the application for aid is completed by going to www.fafsa.ed.gov.  The financial aid office will request additional documents from you, so be sure to submit everything they request in a timely manner.  After you have completed the FAFSA process, you will need to re-apply for aid only once a year.  The academic year begins every fall, so in order to make sure the process in completed in plenty of time to receive funds for fall, file your FAFSA as early as possible each year, preferably right after you file your income tax.

  13. Is it possible to lose financial aid once it has been awarded?  Yes, it is very possible to lose your aid.  By providing you with funds for college, the government is investing in you.  As an investor, the government wants to make sure their investment is going to pay off.  If your grades fall, or you withdraw from classes, that shows the government that you may not be a sound investment.  When that happens, the government wants their money back.  To avoid losing your financial aid, you simply have to follow three rules that enable you to maintain satisfactory academic progress, or SAP.  The first rule is called the 67 percent rule, and it simply says that you must successfully complete at least 67% of the classes you attempt each semester.  The minimum GPA rule states that you must keep your overall grade point average, or GPA, at a certain level.  For most programs of study, this level is 2.0, or a “C.”  Finally, the third rule is the 150% rule.  Your major requires only a certain number of credit hours, earned in specific classes, in order to graduate.  If you take a lot of classes that are not required for your major and you exceed 150% of the credit hours required for your program, you are breaking the 150% rule.

  14. It’s important to be aware of financial aid freeze dates, which are posted each semester in your student calendar.  Once the freeze date has arrived for the semester, your aid amount is frozen and cannot increase, even if you add another class to your schedule.  However, if you withdraw from a class, you aid amount can decrease, even after the freeze date.  If you do not have a copy of the current PTC student calendar, contact the PTC Admissions Office to request one.

  15. Prior to each semester, the business office at Piedmont Tech runs a report that shows any students who have not yet paid their tuition.  If your financial aid has not been properly completed or your tuition has not been paid for some other reason, you will be dropped from your classes.  This opens up your seat in each class to other students who might want it, so it is important to act quickly to correct the problem.  Determine the reason the balance has not been paid and take whatever financial actions are needed.  Contact the business office regarding payment and the business office staff will reinstate you in your class, as long as your seat is still available.  If your seat has been taken, you will need to meet with your advisor to determine your options.

  16. If you are not receiving any type of aid or will have to pay a portion of the tuition and fees out of your pocket, there are several ways to pay.  The business office accepts cash, check, credit card, or debit card.  Payment can be made in person, over the phone or online.  A payment plan is available if you prefer to pay in installments.

  17. We’ve discussed a lot of information about the financial aspects of going to college.  Feel free to review this module again if you have questions, or go to the PTC website and click on the Cost & Financial Aid tab for more details.  Please continue your orientation by proceeding to module 3.