The Basics


Q: What is the purpose of financial aid?
A: The primary purpose of financial aid is to provide assistance to students who otherwise would be unable to pursue their education. The basic premise of financial aid programs is that the primary responsibility for meeting college costs lies with the student and parents. Financial aid provides aid when the family is unable to meet the cost of attendance.

Q: What is financial need?
A: To determine a student's eligibility for financial aid, we calculate a student's demonstrated financial NEED. Need is the difference between the cost of education and what the parents and student might reasonably be expected to contribute to meet college costs. These contributions are determined by using the Federal Methodology as administered by the U.S. Department of Education.

Q: Where does the information that is used to calculate need come from?
A: The expected parental and student contributions are calculated based on the financial information provided by the parents and student on the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Aid) and a Federal Income Tax Return. The analysis system attempts to judge how much a family can realistically afford to contribute, not how much they will pay. The system is concerned with objective facts of a family's financial position and not with the family's financial practices. The analysis procedure is used to determine an expected family contribution based not only upon income, but upon a variety of other variables as well: family size, number of family members attending college, taxes paid, investments, and so forth.

Q: Should I apply for Student Financial Aid?
A: Yes. CPCC encourages all students to apply for financial aid. Financial aid is designed to assist one in meeting the costs of attending college thru means such as grants, loans, college work-study program, and/or scholarships.

Q: How are financial aid awards determined?
A: Awards are based on financial need. Due to the availability of funds, State grants, Federal Work-Study and scholarships are based on a first come first serve basis, based off the priority date.

Q: What should I know about Financial Aid?
  • Avoid lines. Students wishing to apply for financial aid should do so early and meet all priority deadlines.
  • Financial aid awarded is to be used solely for legitimate educational purposes.
  • A student’s financial need is determined by subtracting the expected family contribution from the total cost of attending CPCC. The financial aid awarded should not exceed the student’s college cost budget.
  • The primary purpose of financial aid is to provide assistance to students who, without such aid, would be unable to attend college.
  • Students must renew their financial aid each year.
  • Students who withdraw during a semester must be aware of the Total Withdrawal Policy and Satisfactory Progress Standards. Student Financial Aid eligibility will be affected by withdrawing from classes and changing curriculums.
  • Students receiving financial assistance through any type of Title IV Federal Student Aid Programs, must be making Satisfactory Academic Progress toward a degree, diploma, or certificate. Students enrolled in a high school program or the GED program are ineligible for financial aid.
  • The Financial Aid Office reserves the right to review and cancel a financial aid award at any time because of changes in a student’s financial or academic status.
  • Financial aid employees play a critical role in helping to ensure that malicious actors do not gain access to confidential information that could be used for illegal purposes and in so doing compromise the integrity of the financial aid process, the tax collection system, and the availability of the IRS DRT to assist applicants in completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In keeping with these expectations, Central Piedmont Community College’s Financial Aid employees must not disclose income and tax information from the FAFSA with the applicant (and, if applicable, his or her spouse or parents) unless the FAFSA applicant (and, if applicable, his or her spouse or parents) can authenticate their identity. According to the Department of Education, a FAFSA applicant appearing in person and presenting an unexpired, valid government issued photo identification (e.g. a driver’s license, non-driver’s identification card, other State issued identification, or U.S. passport) is a secure way of doing so for purposes of disclosing FAFSA information.


Click the following videos to learn about the Overview of the Financial  Aid Process and more financial aid basics: