Financial Aid Policies & Procedures
Satisfactory Academic Progress
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is the standard that determines a student's eligibility for federal student aid, measured at the end of each academic period, and it considers all previous academic hours from other institutions; violations lead to aid ineligibility.
To be eligible for Title IV federal student aid, a student must maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP) toward the successful continued progression of an educational degree or certificate. Progress is measured by an objective set of standards at the end of each payment period for the fall, spring, and summer semesters. All acceptable hours appearing on transcripts from prior schools will be used to determine SAP status. Hours are included in the calculation of whether Federal Student Aid was received or not. Violation of any section of this policy will result in the loss of Federal Student Aid eligibility.
All Title IV federal student aid recipients will be measured using the same objective standards; GPA, PACE, and maximum timeframe. TCC does not group Title IV recipients into categories for the purpose of monitoring SAP. Additionally, the same SAP requirements must be met by all students regardless of enrollment status, i.e. full-time, part-time, or less than half-time.
The financial aid office will evaluate SAP for all Title IV federal student aid recipients at the end of each payment period, fall, spring, and summer to ensure students are meeting qualitative and quantitative standards as well as the maximum time frame.
Title IV federal student aid recipients are required to meet the following standards at the end of each payment period, fall, spring, and summer:
Qualitative Progress Requirement
- 1.70 cumulative GPA for all students who have attempted less than 31 credit hours.
- 2.00 cumulative GPA for all students who have attempted 31 or more credit hours.
Quantitative Progress Requirement
- PACE at which a student must progress through their educational program to ensure completion of the program within the maximum time frame: complete at least 67% of the total number of credit hours attempted. PACE is calculated by dividing the cumulative number of hours the student has completed by the cumulative number of hours the student has attempted.
Maximum Time Frame Requirement
- Complete a degree program within a maximum time frame of 95 attempted credit hours. A student’s number of attempted credit hours cannot exceed 150% of the hours required for the degree being pursued. The average two-year degree at TCC requires 63 credit hours; 63 multiplied by 150% is equal to 95.
Students are required to have official transcripts from all prior accredited institutions of higher learning on file with the TCC Enrollment Services Office. All coursework accepted for credit by TCC will be considered in the qualitative (GPA) quantitative (PACE) and maximum time frame requirements of SAP including remedial (zero level) and repeated coursework.
When a previously non-passed course is repeated, both grades will remain on the permanent record and both grades will be used to compute the cumulative GPA in the calculation of a student's Satisfactory Academic Progress status. Each repetition will count towards the attempted hours.
When a previously passed course is repeated, both grades will remain on the permanent record and both grades will be used to compute the cumulative GPA in the calculation of a student's Satisfactory Academic Progress status. Each repetition will count towards the attempted hours; however, the course will only count toward completed hours once.
|Grade||Effect of Grade|
|A, B, C, D, and S||The letter grades are used to indicate the successful completion of a course. All passing grades are considered in the qualitative (GPA), quantitative (PACE), and maximum time frame requirements of SAP including remedial (zero level) and repeated course work.|
|DA, DB, and DC||The letter grades are used to indicate successful completion of a remedial course. All passing grades are considered in the qualitative (GPA), quantitative (PACE), and maximum time frame requirements of SAP including remedial (zero level) and repeated course work.|
|F||The letter grade is used to indicate the unsuccessful completion of a course. All non-passing grades are considered in the qualitative (GPA), quantitative (PACE), and maximum time frame requirements of SAP including remedial (zero level) and repeated coursework.|
|DD and DF||The letter grades are used to indicate unsuccessful completion of a remedial course. All non-passing grades are considered in the qualitative (GPA), quantitative (PACE), and maximum time frame requirements of SAP including remedial (zero level) and repeated coursework.|
|W||The grade is used to indicate that a student has officially withdrawn from a course. This grade is considered non-passing and will count in the quantitative (PACE) and maximum time frame requirements of SAP including remedial (zero level) and repeated course work. This grade is GPA-neutral.|
|AW||The grade is used to indicate that a student was administratively withdrawn from a course. This grade is considered non-passing and will count in the quantitative (PACE) and maximum time frame requirements of SAP including remedial (zero level) and repeated course work. This grade is GPA-neutral.|
|I||The grade is used to indicate the student has not completed all course requirements in order to earn credit. This grade is considered non-passing and will count in the quantitative (PACE) and maximum time frame requirements of SAP including remedial (zero level) and repeated course work. This grade is GPA-neutral.|
|AU||The grade is used to indicate the student has audited a course and is not seeking course credit. This grade is considered non-passing and will count in the quantitative (PACE) and maximum time frame requirements of SAP including remedial (zero level) and repeated course work. This grade is GPA-neutral. Any aid received for audited courses will be returned to the appropriate program and the student will be responsible for repayment to TCC.|
Students who fail to meet either the PACE component, GPA component, or both, will be placed on financial aid warning for one payment period. Students on financial aid warning remain eligible to receive Title IV funds and should work to improve their GPA and PACE. Failure to meet all SAP standards at the end of the warning period will result in financial aid suspension and the loss of Title IV federal student aid eligibility. There is no warning period once a student reaches their maximum time frame.
If a student successfully files a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal, the student will be placed on financial aid probation. Students on financial aid probation are eligible for Title IV Federal Student Aid. Students who require more than one payment period to meet the minimum GPA and PACE standards will be placed on an academic plan. Students on an academic plan will be placed on financial aid probation until the student completes the academic plan, at which time they must meet all the minimum qualitative and quantitative standards. Failure to successfully complete or comply with the provisions of the academic plan will result in financial aid suspension and the loss of Title IV Federal Student Aid eligibility.
Students who fail to meet the requirements of this policy will be suspended from financial aid. Funds affected by this policy include all applicable federal, state, and college funds including but not limited to Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Federal Direct Loans, Federal Direct PLUS (Parent) Loans, Federal Work-Study, Oklahoma’s Promise, OTAG and Tulsa Achieves.
Students on financial aid suspension have the right to appeal. A student may appeal the suspension of financial aid due to extenuating circumstances. Exceptional circumstances may include but are not limited to illness, death of an immediate family member, or traumatic events in the student’s life.
A student on financial aid suspension may appeal if they do not meet the GPA and/or PACE requirements. Students on financial aid suspension may appeal once per semester. The student must complete the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal form and include the following:
- A typed statement, explaining the circumstances which prevented the student from maintaining SAP. The typed statement must address the following: Why does the student fail to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress standards? What has changed in the student’s circumstances? What the student plans to do differently from the past in order to meet minimum Satisfactory Academic Progress standards?
- Required documentation that supports the circumstances in the written statement. Acceptable documentation can be but is not limited to, medical or legal documents, police reports, letters from college staff or faculty, employers, counselors, attorneys, doctors, or other objective persons who are knowledgeable of the student’s circumstances. Acceptable documentation does not include letters from friends and/or family.
- An academic plan and SAP calculator that was created in collaboration with a TCC Academic Advisor. This includes counseling the student, reviewing their degree audit, program requirements, and academic progress, as well as providing the Satisfactory Academic Progress calculator.
- Completed a degree audit if over 95 attempted hours or will be over 95 attempted hours before the end of the academic plan. This should be signed by a TCC Academic Advisor and indicate the number of hours remaining to complete the degree (including the current semester).
Additionally, a student on financial aid suspension may appeal if they exceed the maximum time frame. A request for an extension of excessive hours should be submitted using the appropriate form to the financial aid office. Students must include the following for the appeal:
- Completed Request for Extension of Excessive Hours form,
- A typed statement explaining why the student has attempted more hours than allowed for their program.
- Documentation of relevant circumstances.
- Degree Audit signed by a TCC Academic Advisor indicating the number of hours remaining to complete the degree (including the current semester).
When a student fails to meet GPA and/or PACE SAP standards and wishes to submit an appeal to the financial aid office, he or she must also submit an academic plan. Academic plans are developed in collaboration with a TCC Academic Advisor in the Office of Student Development. An academic advisor will counsel the student and review their degree audit, program requirements, and academic progress, as well as provide the SAP calculator. The Satisfactory Academic Progress calculator is a mathematical tool to determine the plan’s target completion date given the specified GPA and PACE rate.
The academic plan will establish on an individual, case-by-case basis, the student’s needed GPA and PACE rate in order to meet minimum SAP standards. Additionally, the academic plan, if successfully followed, will identify when the student will be able to meet the minimum SAP standards.
Upon the development of an agreeable academic plan, the student will submit the plan along with other appeal requirements to the financial aid office. Students on an academic plan will be evaluated at the end of each payment period; fall, spring, and summer. Failure to successfully complete and/or comply with the provisions of the academic plan will result in financial aid suspension and the loss of Title IV federal student aid eligibility.
TCC has established SAP committees at each of the four main campuses. These committees are made up of 5-8 individuals consisting of TCC staff and faculty. Serving on the committee is a 12-18 month obligation for all members with the exception of the Financial Aid Counselor. Each of the four Financial Aid Counselors is responsible for attending the committee meetings to provide guidance to the committee and to ensure compliance with the regulations. Committee members are routed to an electronic workflow of pending appeals. Committee members will review SAP appeals, supporting documentation, and academic plans through TCC’s imaging system. Upon reaching a decision, the committee chairperson will enter the decision into the workflow which will subsequently update the student’s record in Banner.
If an appeal is approved by a Satisfactory Academic Progress Committee, the student will be placed on financial aid probation. Students on financial aid probation are eligible for Title IV federal student aid. Students who require more than one payment period to meet the minimum GPA and PACE standards will be placed on an academic plan until the student completes the academic plan, at which time they must meet all of the minimum qualitative and quantitative standards. Failure to successfully complete and/or comply with the provisions of the academic plan will result in financial aid suspension and the loss of Title IV federal student aid eligibility.
If an appeal is denied by one of the SAP committees, the student will remain on financial aid suspension. Students on financial aid suspension are ineligible for Title IV federal student aid. Students should successfully complete at least six credit hours at their own expense at TCC, or attend another accredited institution of higher education and earn at least a 2.0 GPA before submitting another appeal.
Students may reestablish financial aid eligibility by:
- Successfully completing coursework until the minimum standards are met, or
- Successfully appealing financial aid suspension.
When a student appeals for financial aid suspension, there is no guarantee the appeal will be approved. Once suspended, there is no guarantee a student may receive financial aid until he or she is meeting minimum standards again. Upon reaching the minimum standards, the student will need to re-submit an appeal in order for their progress to be reviewed.
Students will be notified by TCC email of any changes to their satisfactory academic progress status such as a warning, or probation. The email will direct them to their MyTCC Financial Aid Dashboard in the MyTCC portal where they will see detailed information about their SAP status and notification of their right to appeal. Additionally, if a student has appealed their suspension they will be notified via TCC email that the SAP Committee has reached a decision. The email will direct them to their MyTCC Financial Aid Dashboard in the MyTCC portal where they will view the decision.
Disbursements and Refunds
All financial aid is disbursed to students through the Bursar’s Office. Financial aid funds will first reduce any debt students owe TCC such as tuition and fees. Any remaining balance (refund) will go directly to the students by the disbursement method selected by the student (Debit Card, direct deposit, or paper check).
The first disbursement of financial aid (grants, federal student loans, and scholarships) to eligible students will occur approximately one week after the add/drop period of each semester. Subsequent disbursements will occur each week until the semester ends. Refunds are issued to students once a week.
Pell Grants pay based on the number of credit hours you are enrolled in at the end of the add/drop period. Check the academic calendar for the exact date of each semester. If you add a class after the add/drop deadline, you cannot be paid Pell for the additional credit hours.
Federal Direct Student Loans are issued in two disbursements. If your loan is for two semesters (for example, fall and spring) then you will receive half of your total loan each semester. If your loan is for one semester (for example, spring only) then your second disbursement will be available at the calendar midpoint of the semester. You must be enrolled in at least six credit hours to receive a loan disbursement.
If you are a first-time, first-year borrower, Federal regulations require that you wait until 30 days after the semester has begun to receive your first disbursement.
Scholarships are issued in two disbursements – half for Fall and half for Spring.
TCC does participate in private loans.
Student Rights and Responsibilities
Student Rights encompass access to financial aid information, application deadlines, and the right to appeal, while Student Responsibilities involve accurate applications, prompt document submission, and compliance with policies and deadlines to prevent aid repayment.
Students at TCC applying for, and receiving financial aid, have a right to the following:
- Information on all financial assistance available, which includes all federal, state, and institutional financial aid programs.
- Disclosure of application deadlines for each financial aid program and for any supporting documentation.
- Specific information regarding fees, tuition, and the refund policy for those who drop out of school (withdraw).
- An explanation of how students are selected to receive financial aid and how financial need is determined. This process includes a consideration of costs of tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, transportation, personal and miscellaneous expenses, etc., plus the student’s income and assets, parental contribution, and other financial aid (such as scholarships), and so on.
- Knowledge of what resources are considered in the calculation of student needs.
- Knowledge of how a financial aid package is determined.
- An explanation of various programs awarded in the student’s financial aid package. If a student feels unfairly treated, a reconsideration of the award may be requested.
- If a return of Federal funds (Title IV funds) needs to be calculated, the student has the right to know the portion of financial aid the student received that must be repaid.
- If a return of Federal funds (Title IV funds) needs to be calculated for a loan, the student has the right to know what the interest rate is, the total amount to be repaid if any, when repayment begins, and the conditions of deferment and cancellation.
- Knowledge of how TCC determines whether students are making “satisfactory academic progress” and the consequences of not meeting this requirement.
- A student has the right to challenge or appeal a financial aid award or any other decision of the Financial Aid Office pertaining to the student, which does not fall under the jurisdiction of federal or state regulations. The right includes answers to questions, explanations of policies and decisions, and requests for reconsideration.
Students at TCC applying for and receiving financial aid are responsible for the following:
- Reviewing and considering all information about TCC’s academic programs before enrolling.
- Completing all the application forms accurately and completely and submitting them to the right place on time. If this is not done, financial aid could be delayed. Since errors can cause misunderstanding and misrepresentation of information provided, errors must be corrected before any financial aid can be received. Intentional misreporting of information on application forms for federal financial aid is a violation of the law and is considered a criminal offense subject to penalties under the U.S. Criminal Code, and subjects the student’s application to denial. Additionally, regulations require that all cases of suspected fraud emanating from misrepresentation, be reported to the Office of the Inspector General.
- Promptly return all additional documentation, verification, corrections, and/or new information requested by either the Financial Aid Office or the agency or agencies to which an application was submitted.
- Reading and understanding all forms that the student is asked to sign.
- Notifying the agency holding the student’s federal loan (The U.S. Department of Education, etc) of any changes in the student’s name, address, or school enrollment status.
- Performing the work that is agreed upon in accepting a college work-study award.
- Knowing and complying with the deadlines for application or reapplication for aid.
- Knowing and complying with the TCC Federal Aid Refund Policy.
- Repaying financial aid funds if it is determined that the student was ineligible to receive the funds.
Direct Loans are low-interest federal student loans that help students and parents cover the costs of higher education, available through the U.S. Department of Education and must be repaid.
Each educational institution decides which loan programs it will make available to its students. TCC offers a variety of loans to students who qualify. However, TCC will not process any request for loans without the student first completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. We wish to make sure that students are provided the opportunity to first qualify for grants before loans are processed.
TCC is a low-cost community college that grants certificates and two-year associate degrees to prepare students for transfer to four-year universities for bachelor’s degrees. Students who default on their student loans affect TCC’s ability to participate in the financial aid programs once the institution’s default rate reaches certain levels. Students should not use all their loan eligibility at a two-year school. It’s important to have some eligibility left for use at a 4-year college so academic goals can be reached.
TCC participates in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program (Direct Loans) which is one of the Federal Title IV Programs. It is the philosophy of the Financial Aid Program at TCC that loans should be taken out as the last alternative for financing a student's education. It is also recognized that in many cases, a student loan may be the only viable alternative for meeting educational expenses.
A statement will be included on the Financial Aid Award Notification through MyTCC indicating that the student may be eligible for student loans and those wanting more information are instructed to contact the Financial Aid Office or review the process on the Financial Aid website.
First-year students who have unmet needs after all other financial aid has been awarded may borrow a subsidized Direct Loan up to the amount of their unmet need or $3,500, whichever is less. Second-year students may borrow a subsidized Direct Loan up to the amount of their unmet need, or $4,500, whichever is less. TCC identifies a first-year student as one who has completed 30 or less credit hours toward their current educational program and a second-year student as one who has completed 31 or more credit hours toward their current educational program.
NOTE: TCC can adjust loan amounts for students who advance to the 2nd-year level during the academic year, however, the additional $1000 in Subsidized Direct Loan eligibility can only be applied for the semester(s) where the student has already advanced grade levels (from Freshman to Sophomore).
Also, loan amounts must be prorated for students with only one semester remaining to complete the requirements of the educational program (in other words, if you are graduating and will only be completing one semester in an Academic Year, your loan eligibility must be prorated). Loans are prorated based on your enrolled number of credit hours divided by 24.
Students who do not have sufficient “unmet need” to borrow the annual maximum from the Direct Subsidized Loan program may replace the expected family contribution with an unsubsidized Direct Loan. Students who have no “unmet need” may borrow up to the annual loan limits from the Direct Unsubsidized Loan program. Dependent students may qualify for up to $2,000 in additional unsubsidized loans after any Direct Subsidized Eligibility is taken. Independent students may qualify for up to $6,000 in additional unsubsidized loans after any Direct Subsidized Eligibility is taken. If you do not qualify for Direct Subsidized Loans, you may qualify to take your full eligibility in Direct Unsubsidized loans, subject to your Lifetime and Annual loan limits, as well as the Cost of Attendance.
Students are required to maximize their Direct Subsidized loan eligibility before qualifying for Direct Unsubsidized loans.
Students who have not previously borrowed a Direct Loan at TCC must complete the Direct Loan Entrance Counseling session and a Master Promissory Note (MPN) online.
The Direct Loan Entrance Counseling session will cover those topics specified by federal regulation including borrower rights and responsibilities, repayment options, and consolidation issues.
The Master Promissory Note (MPN) is a legal document in which you promise to repay your loan(s) and any accrued interest and fees to the U.S. Department of Education. It also explains the terms and conditions of your loan(s). You may receive more than one loan under an MPN over a period of up to 10 years to pay for your educational costs.
Students must have completed a FAFSA before Direct Loan eligibility can be determined and a loan process. You must complete a FAFSA for each Academic Year you wish to receive aid.
Students receiving Direct Loans will receive one-half of the loan proceeds in the fall semester and the other half during the spring semester. The second disbursement for spring will occur only after eligibility has been reviewed (see the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy on this page). Direct loans for first-time, first-year borrowers (defined as anyone who has not previously had a Direct Student Loan) will be disbursed at least thirty days after the semester begins.
The aggregate (lifetime) loan limit for undergraduate dependent students is $31,000 (no more than $23,000 of which can be in subsidized loans) and the aggregate loan limit for undergraduate independent students is $57,500 (no more than $23,000 of which can be in subsidized loans). These limits apply to all undergraduate students and are not increased if you transfer to a 4-year institution.
TCC defines the loan period based on the semester a student requests the loan. The loan period can either be an academic year (fall and spring semesters) or a single semester (fall, spring, or summer). If a student receives loans from another school within the same loan period or Academic Year, then we must consider all loans received and certify only the remaining loan eligibility.
Every student loan borrower is required to complete an exit interview at the conclusion of their academic stay with TCC or when they stop attending less than half time (6 credit hours). Students will be required to complete the exit counseling online. TCC is required to document students' online Entrance Counseling and Exit Counseling to demonstrate that TCC has complied with the U.S. Department of Education’s requirements.
Important update on Sula: The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education has removed and amended regulations associated with the Subsidized Usage Limit to conform with changes made by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. Specifically, the Secretary removes the subsidized usage loan limit restriction (SULA) for any borrower who receives a Federal Direct Subsidized Loan first disbursed on or after July 1, 2021, regardless of the award year associated with the loan. In addition, all subsidy benefits will be reinstated retroactively to the date on which the loss of subsidy was applied for all Federal Direct Subsidized Loans with an outstanding balance on July 1, 2021, and for all award years since the 2013-2014 award year. The Secretary also removes regulations related to the subsidized usage loan limit restriction and makes other technical changes.
What this change might mean for you: The SULA requirement went into effect in 2013 as a way to pay for a one-year extension of a lower interest rate for undergraduate students, prior to the move to the variable-fixed interest rate structure. The Subsidized Usage Limit Applies (SULA) repeal is effective for all Direct Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2021. The repeal is not limited to new borrowers; it is loan-specific. SULA still applies to Direct Subsidized Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2013, and before July 1, 2021, but the U.S. Department of Education (ED) will retroactively restore the subsidy and remove accrued interest on the older loans, even if those borrowers don't borrow again.
Moving forward, the repeal will apply to any borrower who receives a Direct Loan first disbursed on or after July 1, 2021, regardless of the award year associated with the loan. In addition, all lost subsidy benefits, if applicable, will be reinstated retroactively to the date on which the loss of subsidy was applied for all Direct Subsidized Loans with an outstanding balance on July 1, 2021, and for all award years since the 2013-14 award year, which was when the SULA requirement was first implemented.
The SULA rules below are only applicable to student loans paid between July 1, 2013, and July 1, 2021. Please see the changes above for the new rules.
Effective for all loans originated after July 1, 2013, Federal Law now limits eligibility for subsidized loans to 150 percent of the length of the student’s academic program. The 150 percent change means students in a two-year program will be eligible for subsidized student loans for the equivalent of three years. The student who reaches this limitation could continue to receive unsubsidized loans if he or she is otherwise eligible (for example, has not run afoul of the school’s satisfactory academic progress requirements). The new limitation affects new borrowers on or after July 1, 2013. Since only periods for which the student received subsidized loans appear to count, the 150 percent limit would only include periods of borrowing that began on or after July 1, 2013. For transfer students who were enrolled in more than one educational program that began on or after July 1, 2013, the limitation would be calculated by taking the difference between 150 percent of the published program length of the longest educational program in which the borrower was enrolled and any periods of enrollment in which the borrower received a subsidized loan.
Once a borrower has reached the 150 percent limitation, their eligibility for an interest subsidy also ends for all outstanding subsidized loans that were disbursed on or after July 1, 2013. At that point, interest on those previously borrowed loans would begin to accrue and would be payable in the same manner as interest on unsubsidized loans.
Federal direct student loans are a long-term financial obligation. Accepting a loan means accepting the responsibility for repaying the money you borrow including interest costs and fees. Before you request a loan, make sure you find out the true costs, interest rates, and how long it will take to repay the loan. Be a smart borrower!
You may only use the student loan to pay for your education expenses at the school that is giving you the loan. Education expenses include school charges such as tuition, room and board, fees, and indirect expenses such as books, supplies, equipment, dependent child care expenses, transportation, and rental or purchase of a personal computer. Credit checks and co-signers are not required for federal direct student loans. However, you cannot be in default on a previous student loan, owe a repayment of other federal financial aid, or be enrolled in less than 6 credit hours.
If your parent is interested in a low-interest loan to help pay for the cost of your college education, have them visit Federal Student Aid PLUS Loan to learn more. Eligibility information, interest rates, and application instructions are there.
One Federal Student Loan Services partner has created a very useful Repayment Plan Estimator to provide estimated payment amounts for each repayment plan based on your loan balance and anticipated income. This tool can be used for all of our students regardless of your loan servicer.
The Pell Grant is a need-based federal financial aid program that provides grants to eligible undergraduate students to help cover the cost of their education, and unlike loans, it does not need to be repaid.
The Pell Grant is paid in prorated payments, meaning if you are not full-time you will generally receive less than the maximum amount. There are no exceptions for prorating Pell Grants.
Pell Grants will be paid on actual enrollment, regardless of whether a degree program recommends a student limit their course loads to certain classes.
The chart below applies to all semesters, including summer. Pell proration is based on a student’s enrollment status as follows:
|Status||Credit Hours Enrolled per Semester||Percent of Eligibility you should receive|
|Full-time||12 or more credit hours a semester||100 percent of Pell Grant eligibility|
|Three-quarter time||9 to 11 credit hours a semester||75 percent of Pell Grant eligibility|
|Half-time||6 to 8 credit hours a semester||50 percent of Pell Grant eligibility|
|Less than half-time||5 or fewer credit hours a semester||25 percent or less of Pell Grant eligibility|
In many cases a student may receive a Pell Grant even while enrolled less than half-time, however, there are some instances when a Pell Grant cannot be paid out unless the student is enrolled in a minimum number of credit hours. This usually only occurs when a student qualifies for a small amount of Pell Grant.
Note: The maximum award amount will be packaged for any Pell Grant eligible student whose parent or guardian died as a result of military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after Sept. 11, 2001. You must have been either under 24 years old or enrolled at least part-time in college at the time of your parent's or guardian's death. If this applies to you, please notify the Financial Aid office.
Beginning July 2012, the federal government has reduced the lifetime eligibility for the federal PELL Grant to a maximum of 12 semesters.
Example: After you receive a Pell Grant for six years of full-time study (12 or more credit hours each semester), you will no longer be allowed to receive the PELL Grant. However, if you attended any semesters on a less than full-time basis (11 or fewer credit hours in a semester), your PELL Grant eligibility will be prorated.
Information on how much lifetime Pell eligibility you have left is available on the National Student Loan Database. You may also see an estimate in the comments section of the Student Aid Report you receive from the FAFSA.
Eligibility for other grants offered by TCC could be affected by reaching or exceeding the lifetime Pell limit.
High School Requirement for Federal Aid: Pell Grants and Federal Student Loans
Students who first enroll in a program of study on or after July 1, 2012, will not be eligible for federal financial aid if they do not have a high school diploma or a recognized equivalent (e.g., GED - General Education Diploma) or do not meet the State's home school requirements.
Your financial aid award is calculated based on anticipated full-time enrollment (12 credits or more). In most cases you are not required to attend full-time in order to be eligible for a Pell Grant. However, if your actual registration is for less than that (i.e., 1/2 time or 6 credit hours), your Pell Grant will be adjusted accordingly. In addition, TCC adjusts these awards each payment period, as required, based on the student’s enrollment status as of the Pell Recalculation Date (PRD) for the payment period (usually a semester). By rule, Pell Grant is determined by the student’s enrollment status as of the Pell Recalculation Date.
To ensure that you receive the maximum financial aid award you are eligible for, and to avoid having to return funds already credited to your student account, you are strongly encouraged to finalize your course schedule before the Pell Recalculation Date.
|Period||Pell Recalculation Date|
|Fall 2023 Semester||08/31/2023|
|Spring 2024 Semester||02/01/2024|
|Summer 2024 Semester||06/19/2024|
Federal financial aid eligibility is determined, in part, by the amount of eligible credit hours a student is registered for as of the Pell Recalculation Date (enrollment status). Your Pell Grant may be increased, decreased, or even canceled if changes to enrollment are made prior to 9 p.m. local time on the Pell Recalculation Date.
In general, your enrollment status will be captured on the published Pell Recalculation Date.
If you increase or decrease your credit load prior to the Pell Recalculation Date, Pell Grant funds may be adjusted, as appropriate, to match the level of enrollment. If you drop a course or fail to commence attendance in a course, your aid will be reduced or recalculated to reflect active confirmation of your attendance in class. You will be responsible for paying outstanding tuition and fees to the college.
If you are actively enrolled prior to the Pell Recalculation Date and add a course or courses after the Pell Recalculation Date (waitlisted courses are not considered actively enrolled) the enrollment status used to determine Pell Grant eligibility will not be increased, therefore, your Pell Grant will not increase.
SCENARIO 1: A student enrollment status is captured at 6 credits (1/2 time) at the Pell Recalculation Date. After the Pell Recalculation Date, the student adds a 3 credit course increasing their course load to 9 credits (3/4 time).
The enrollment status used to determine Pell Grant funds will remain at 1/2 time and the Pell Grant amount will not increase.
SCENARIO 2: A student drops/withdraws from a course(s) after the Pell Recalculation Date without beginning attendance and then adds another course(s).
The enrollment status used to determine the student's Pell Grant will remain at the same level as captured on the Pell Recalculation Date. However, the student must begin attendance in all courses used to determine their enrollment status.
SCENARIO 3: A student enrollment status is captured at 6 credits (1/2 time) at the Pell Recalculation Date. After the Pell Recalculation Date the student drops a 3 credit class, but then adds another 3 credit class.
The enrollment status used to determine Pell Grant funds will not decrease and will remain at 1/2 time.
Federal regulations require a student seeking federal financial aid be enrolled in an eligible certificate or degree program. In addition to being in an eligible program, federal financial aid can be calculated and disbursed only for coursework required for that program of study.
Courses must meet the following criteria of an eligible class:
- Applicable to the program of study on record (CPoS).
- Needed as a graduation requirement.
- Is not excluded based on the repeat rule.
- Is an eligible remedial course.
In some cases, a student’s enrollment status may not be captured on the published Pell Recalculation Date. For example, students who are determined eligible and enrolled in courses after the Pell Recalculation Date.
SCENARIO 1: An eligible student initially enrolls in courses after the published Pell Recalculation Date. The enrollment status for this student will be determined on the day the student registers for classes. TCC recommends that students register for all coursework simultaneously.
SCENARIO 2: An eligible student who registers and begins attendance in a course(s) prior to the Pell Recalculation Date then withdraws but re-enrolls after the Pell Recalculation Date will have their enrollment status determined based on their original capture (at the time of the withdrawal). This student activated their PRD and can be only calculated at their original status.
SCENARIO 3: A student who has been actively enrolled and whose financial aid eligibility is not determined until after the published Pell Recalculation Date, will have their enrollment status determined at the time the student becomes eligible to receive federal financial aid. This includes all verification and student eligibility requirements.
Verification is the process of confirming the accuracy of financial information provided by students and their families to ensure eligibility for financial aid, and it may involve providing specific documentation and making corrections as needed.
Each year the U.S. Department of Education designates financial aid recipients whose documentation must be verified. TCC verifies every file identified by the federal government as part of its own verification process. Financial aid recipients’ files are verified all year using a verification worksheet designed in part by the U.S. Department of Education and the TCC Financial Aid Office.
A dependent student is required to provide their parents/partner’s IRS Transcript, W2s, and copies of all Tax Schedules. An independent student is required to provide their IRS Transcript; IRS Transcript of their W2s and copies of all Tax Schedules of the student and student’s spouse, if the student is married.
TCC uses a secondary verification process specific to the campus. For example, the College verifies all students who answer yes to “Are you a ward of the court?” If a student is independent only because they answered yes to this question, then the College will require documentation to support this.
If the verification process results in a change in a student’s financial aid eligibility, TCC repackages the student for financial aid based on their new eligibility status and notifies the student with an updated award letter via MyTCC.
Corrections are made in the Financial Aid System and are sent to the Central Processing System (CPS) through Banner. Students are notified that corrections have been processed by receiving a new Student Aid Report (SAR).
Return of Financial Aid (Title IV Funds)
Federal financial aid (“Title IV funds”) is awarded to a student under the assumption that the student will attend school for the entire period for which the assistance is awarded. When a student withdraws, the student may no longer be eligible for the full amount of Title IV funds that the student was originally scheduled to receive.
If a recipient of Title IV grant or loan funds withdraws from TCC after beginning attendance, the amount of Title IV grant or loan assistance earned by the student must be determined. If the amount disbursed to the student is greater than the amount the student earned, unearned funds must be returned. If the student receives less Federal Student Aid than the amount earned, in rare cases, TCC offers a disbursement of the earned aid that was not received. This is called a post-withdrawal disbursement.
The withdrawal date established by TCC is the date used by the Financial Aid Office to determine the point in time that the student is considered to have withdrawn so the percentage of the payment period or period of enrollment completed by the student can be determined. The percentage of Title IV aid earned is equal to the percentage of the payment period or period of enrollment completed.
The amount of Title IV aid earned by the student is determined by multiplying the percentage of Title IV aid earned by the total of Title IV program aid disbursed plus the Title IV aid that could have been disbursed to the student or on the student’s behalf.
If the day the student withdrew occurs when or before the student completed 60% of the payment period or period of enrollment, the percentage earned is equal to the percentage of the payment period or period of enrollment that was completed. If the day the student withdrew occurs after the student has completed more than 60% of the payment period or period of enrollment, the percentage earned is 100%. When a student fails to earn a passing grade in any of their classes, TCC must assume, for Title IV purposes that the student has unofficially withdrawn, unless TCC can document that the student completed the period.
If the student receives less Federal Student Aid than the amount earned, TCC offers a disbursement of the earned aid that was not received. This is called a post-withdrawal disbursement. Without obtaining a student’s permission, Title IV grant funds from a post-withdrawal disbursement are credited to a student’s account to pay for tuition and fees for the term for which the student is eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement or are disbursed directly to the student.
If the student receives more Federal Student Aid than the amount earned, TCC, the student, or both must return the unearned funds in a specified order as follows:
- Unsubsidized Direct student loans (other than PLUS loans).
- Subsidized Direct student loans.
- Direct PLUS loans.
- Federal Pell Grants for which a return of funds is required.
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) for which a return of funds is required.
When a Return of Title IV funds is due, TCC and the student may both have a responsibility for returning funds. Funds that are not the responsibility of TCC to return must be returned by the student. TCC exercises its option to collect from the student any funds TCC is obligated to return, and funds required for TCC to return will become a debt on the student’s account which the student will be responsible for paying. This charge is not reported to the Department of Education and simply remains as a debt on the student’s account with TCC.
Within 30 days of determining that a student who withdrew must repay all or part of a Title IV grant, TCC will notify the student that he or she must repay the overpayment. In its notification, TCC will inform the student that the student owes an overpayment of Title IV funds, that the student’s eligibility for additional Title IV funds will end if the student fails to pay TCC by the 45th day following the date TCC sent the notification to the student, and that if the student fails to pay TCC during the 45-day period, the student’s overpayment must be reported to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) and referred to the Debt Resolution Services for collection.
Federal regulations for financial aid require that students who withdraw from all their classes before the 60% point of the semester must return part of their financial aid funds to the U.S. Department of Education because the money is unearned if a student is not enrolled in classes.
Withdrawing from classes can happen in two ways. TCC students can withdraw on their own, and instructors also have the choice of dropping a student who does not attend class. (Some instructors choose not to drop students even if they do not attend class.)
The Admissions Office publishes the withdrawal date for each semester as part of the school calendar. The Financial Aid Office will determine the amount of federal financial aid (Pell Grant, FSEOG, Federal Student Loans, and Parent Plus Loans) that a student earned as of the withdrawal date using federally approved methods to perform the calculations. The order in which Title IV program funds will be returned will follow the federal regulations as outlined in the Federal Student Aid Handbook.
Students will be notified by mail if they are required to repay any portion of the financial aid they received. Students are given 45 days to repay the amount to TCC. After 45 days, the student will owe either TCC for the institutional portion or the U.S. Department of Education directly.
Students who owe money to the U.S. Department of Education are ineligible to receive federal financial aid from any college or institution until they clear that debt.
Students will become eligible for federal financial aid only after they have repaid the full amount or made arrangements directly with the U.S. Department of Education. TCC does not make repayment agreements directly with students other than allowing students 45 days to repay the full amount owed.
Students who owe a repayment to the College will be allowed to pay the college directly. Any outstanding debt will block a student’s ability to enroll in courses and the College sends any unpaid debt to collections.
If a student receives an “F” in a course, the instructor will annotate the last date of attendance on the grade sheet and/or indicate that the “F” was an earned grade. If it is discovered that the “F” was due to withdrawal, then TCC will calculate the return of aid as necessary.
Special Consideration enables students to request a review of their financial aid eligibility in cases of unexpected financial hardships, like job loss or disability, for potential aid package adjustments.
In cases of extenuating circumstances affecting a student’s financial aid eligibility, students may visit with a Financial Aid Counselor at any four TCC locations to discuss their situation.
A student and/or parent should consider requesting a review of the student’s eligibility if either experience:
- Loss of employment.
- Loss of income due to retirement.
- Loss of income due to divorce or legal separation.
- Loss of income due to death of a spouse or parent.
- Loss of untaxed income or benefits.
- One-time income (winnings from gambling will not be considered).
- Loss or hardship due to disability or natural disaster.
- Discharge from active military duty.
Such circumstances could include (but are not limited to) the above listed in a student and/or parent situation, also an override of the student's FAFSA dependency status. Special Circumstances requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.
Financial Aid eligibility may be affected if a student takes the same course multiple times; however, there are some circumstances where a student may repeat the same course without any negative impact on aid eligibility.
Repeat coursework that falls under the following conditions cannot be included in a student's enrollment status for Title IV Federal Aid eligibility, including the Federal Pell Grant and Federal Loans:
- Repeating a previously passed course more than twice. A course is considered passed if the student receives a grade of D or better.
- Repeating a previously passed course due to failing other coursework.
- Repeated enrollment that is not aid eligible will be excluded from the student's enrollment status for the term.
- Federal Title IV aid will be recalculated based on the student's adjusted enrollment status.
- This recalculation will be applied regardless of whether a student received aid for previous course enrollments.
- Some courses are repeatable per TCC policy but are still restricted for Federal Title IV aid by these regulations.
- Waitlisted courses do not count toward official enrollment status for financial aid purposes.
Example: A student is repeating a previously passed three-credit-hour course for the third time. The student is enrolled in a total of 12 credit hours for the term. Per federal regulations, the repeated course must be excluded from the student's Title IV enrollment status. Only 9 of the student's twelve hours can be used to calculate their Title IV aid eligibility. The student's Federal Pell Grant will be reduced to reflect three-quarter time instead of full-time enrollment.
Unusual Enrollment History
The U.S. Department of Education monitors students’ activity for Unusual Enrollment History which indicates a student has an unusual enrollment history based on the receipt of federal Pell Grant or loan funds from multiple schools. Usually, students have a legitimate reason for enrollment at multiple schools over a short period of time; however, sometimes this activity is indicative of program abuse.
If your FAFSA is flagged for an Unusual Enrollment History, we are required by the U.S. Department of Education to use the information from the National Student Loan Data System to identify the schools where you received Pell Grants or Direct Student Loans over the past four award years.
TCC Financial Aid staff must determine for each of the previously attended schools, whether academic credit was earned during the award year in which a student received Pell Grant or loan funds. Academic credit is considered to have been earned if the academic records show that the student completed any credit hours.
Actions Based on Academic Credit
If it is determined that a student earned academic credit at each of the previously attended schools during the relevant award years, no further action is required.
If it is determined that a student did not earn academic credit (failed or withdrew), TCC Financial Aid Office must:
- Obtain documentation from the student explaining why he failed to earn academic credit and
- The student did not enroll only to receive a credit balance
Justification must be documented and could include:
- Family emergency
- Change of residence
- Military obligations
- The student might explain that the first enrollment was at a school that presented unexpected academic challenges or
- The academic program did not meet the student’s needs, as determined by the student.
Financial Aid Appeals
The Financial Aid Appeals Committee will review and either approve or deny the student’s request for aid. If approved students must establish an academic plan by following the procedure for a Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Reinstatement and submit a comprehensive Student Education Plan before aid is provided. Students will only be provided aid for those credit hours reflected on the Comprehensive Student Education Plan.
If a student’s Unusual Enrollment petition is denied, they may regain eligibility by completing a semester successfully on their own without financial aid. Success for this purpose is defined by completing all courses enrolled with a 2.0 GPA.
Citation: Gen-13-09 and GEN -15-05
Ability to Benefit
Ability to Benefit (ATB) eligibility for federal financial aid requires a high school diploma or its equivalent, with exceptions for certain cases, including students approved before July 1, 2012, and those who completed six or more college-level units before that date.
Students who do not have a high school diploma or its equivalent will be ineligible for Federal Financial Aid (Title IV funds) and therefore will need to seek alternative (state and/or private) financing. This rule also applies to some state and institutional aid. Students who completed a home-schooling curriculum are considered to have received a high school diploma or its equivalent and remain eligible for Title IV.
Students who were approved for aid under the Ability to Benefit process prior to July 1, 2012, are eligible for federal and state financial aid. Students who completed six or more college-level units as determined by the Assessment Office prior to July 1, 2012, are eligible for federal and state financial aid. You will need to provide proof of your enrollment if enrollment was not at Tulsa Community College before we can determine if you are indeed eligible to take the ATB.
Financial Aid Deadlines
Financial aid deadlines involve submitting the initial FAFSA and ensuring all required documents are submitted in a timely manner.
June 30, 2024:
Deadline to submit an initial FAFSA for the 2023-2024 Academic Year. No new 2023-2024 FAFSA’s will be processed by the Dept. of Education after this date.
July 11, 2024:
Deadline to submit all requested documents in your 2023-2024 Financial Aid dashboard. All 2023-2024 documents (including Financial Aid Appeals) must be submitted by this date to be reviewed.
July 18, 2024:
Deadline to resolve all incomplete requirements in your 2023-2024 Financial Aid dashboard.
Deadline to submit requests for new student loans or increases to existing student loans in the 2023-2024 aid year.
July 30, 2024:
Last possible date to pay eligible aid to a student’s account for Summer 2024.