Financial Aid Eligibility

You might be eligible for more aid than you think.

The following eligibility requirements apply to financial aid assistance provided by the U.S. government, such as grants. While you will need to have completed the FAFSA to apply for many scholarships, individual scholarships have their own eligibility requirements.

When you apply for federal student aid, the U.S. Department of Education verifies some of your information with the following federal agencies: 

Federal Aid Eligibility Requirements

  • Minimum Requirements

    Students should be accepted for admission to the college before any action can be taken on their application for federal financial assistance, including scholarships, student employment, grants, or loans. A student should meet the following eligibility requirements to receive federal assistance:

    • be enrolled or accepted for enrollment in an eligible program (PDF)
    • have a high school diploma or GED
    • be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
    • not be a member of a religious community that directs the program of study or provides maintenance
    • be registered with the Selective Service (males only)
    • not be in default on or owe a repayment a Title IV grant or loan received for attendance at any institution
    • not have borrowed in excess of Title IV loan limits
    • maintain satisfactory academic progress
    • not be enrolled concurrently in an elementary or secondary school
    • provide a valid social security number
    • The law suspends aid eligibility for students convicted under federal or state law of sale or possession of illegal drugs while they are receiving federal student aid. The period of ineligibility varies and depends on whether the conviction was for sale or possession, and whether the student had previous offenses. The student regains eligibility when the period of suspension ends, or in some cases, only when the student completes an acceptable drug rehabilitation program. If you have been convicted of possessing or selling illegal drugs, you must complete a drug conviction worksheet to determine if you are eligible to receive federal funds.
    • maintain correct mailing address with Central Piedmont Student Records — this is the address we use for all financial aid correspondence
    • complete and submit all requested correspondence before the semester's priority date; students who fail to meet the deadline will have to pay out-of-pocket and financial aid will reimburse according to eligibility

    Students should fill out a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Aid) each year regardless of the financial aid they may have been awarded in the past. A student’s financial situation is rarely exactly the same as it was in a previous year. A student that does not fill out a FAFSA may be missing out on some forms of financial aid that they may have been eligible for had they completed the FAFSA.

    Students who are in default on long-term loans (Federal Perkins Loan or Federal Family Educational Loans or Direct loans) received from any post-secondary institution will not be considered for federal financial aid at Central Piedmont until their default status is cleared.

  • Income

    There is no income cutoff for which a student may or may not qualify for financial aid. The analysis procedure determines each student's financial need based upon a number of variables: income, family size, investments, number of family members enrolled at least half-time in college, medical expenses, assets, etc. All students are urged to apply for financial aid for an accurate and professional evaluation, regardless of parents' income level, because income is only one consideration.

  • Enrollment Status, Credit/Clock Hour Conversion Programs

    Required enrollment status for financial aid per semester — fall, spring, summer*:

    • full time status: 12 or more credit hours
    • three-quarter time: 9–11 credit hours
    • half-time: 6–8 credit hours
    • less-than-half-time: 1–5 credit hours

    Less Than Half-Time Attendance

    Federal regulations require a less than half-time budget calculation restriction to tuition, books, and transportation for students who are enrolled less than half-lime. If a less-than half-time enrollment status is the result of dropped or never attended classes, federal Pell is reduced and an over-award could occur. It is the responsibility of the student to satisfy any balance before receiving additional federal aid.

    Credit/Clock Hour Conversion Programs

    The determination of enrollment status (full, 3/4, 1/2, or less) is, by federal regulations, different for the following program(s) of study:

    This determination of enrollment status is different because the programs have one or more courses that cannot be used toward a two-year degree program. Enrollment status determination for the above programs is determined by totaling the clock/contact hours a student takes each semester for each course. Total hours are then divided by 37.5 to obtain the converted credits. Converted credits are then used to determine the enrollment status. 

  • Selective Service Registration Requirement

    Most males from ages 18 through 25 (including permanent residents, other eligible non-citizens, and illegal immigrants) are required to register with the Selective Service System. Anyone required to register must have done so to receive financial aid. You are exempt from this requirement if you are:

    • female
    • male currently in the armed services and on active duty (this exception does not apply to members of the Reserves and National Guard who are not on active duty)
    • male who is not yet 18 at the time they complete their FAFSA (an update is not required during the year, even if the student turns 18 after completing the application)
    • male born before 1960
    • citizen of Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, or the Republic of Palau

    A financial aid counselor determines whether the student’s reason qualifies for exempt status, thereby making him eligible to receive aid.

    Waiving the Selective Service Registration Requirement

    There are certain less common situations in which the registration requirement is waived. Students who are not required to have already registered before meeting one of these criteria and who meet one of the criteria for the entire time they are 18 through 25 qualify for the waiver if they are:

    • unable to register due to being hospitalized, incarcerated, or institutionalized during the entire time student was age 18 to 26
    • enrolled in any officer procurement program at The Citadel, North Georgia College, Norwich University, or Virginia Military Institute
    • commissioned Public Health Service officers on active duty or members of the Reserve of the Public Health Service or commissioned officers of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
    • non-citizens who first entered the U.S. after turning age 26
    • non-citizens who entered the U.S. as lawful non-immigrants on a valid visa and remained in the U.S. on the terms of that visa until after they turned 26 (the date of entry on Form 1-94 will be relevant)

    Necessary Selective Service Documentation

    The Office of Student Financial Aid must document your status (i.e., whether registered, exempt, or can be waived). If selective service status cannot be clearly verified, you will be required to contact Selective Service to either confirm registration or obtain a Status Information Letter and provide that documentation to the financial aid office.

    If your registration is confirmed, you will then be allowed to receive financial aid funds. Otherwise, you will remain ineligible until the situation is reconciled. When resolved, you will receive written confirmation from Selective Service documenting registration, exemption, or waived status.

    Students who were required to register but failed to do so must submit a Selective Service Appeal Form along with a written explanation (with any supporting documentation) of the reason for not registering. You must also include a Status Information Letter obtained from Selective Service with this explanation. The decision of the Office of Financial Aid is final and cannot be appealed.

  • Qualifying Veterans

    Use the following information to determine if you meet the definition of "Veteran" for Purposes of Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid ("FAFSA"):

    • Question: "Are You Currently Serving on ACTIVE DUTY in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training?

      • Answer “Yes” if you are currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces or are a National Guard or Reserves enlistee who is on active duty for other than state or training purposes.
      • Answer “No” if you are a National Guard or Reserves enlistee who is on active duty for state or training purposes.
    • Question: Are You a Veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?
      • Answer “Yes” (you are a veteran) if you have engaged in active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard) or are a National Guard or Reserve enlistee who was called to active duty for purposes other than training, or were a cadet or midshipman at one of the service academies, AND were released under a condition other than dishonorable
      • Answer “Yes” if you are not a veteran now, but will be one by June 30, 2017.
      • Answer “No” (you are not a veteran) if you:
        • have never engaged in active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces
        • are currently an ROTC student or a cadet or midshipman at a service academy
        • are a National Guard or Reserves enlistee activated only for training
        • were engaged in active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces but released under dishonorable conditions
        • are currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces and will continue to serve through June 30, 2017.

    Qualifying Veterans: HEROES Act

    The Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students (HEROES) Act provides for the modification and waiving of some statutory and regulatory provisions related to students who receive financial aid and who are on active duty during a war or other military operation or who reside or are employed in a declared disaster area. These adjustments apply to return of funds and signature requirements for verification and application, among other things. These waivers and modifications were due to expire on September 30, 2007, but on that date the law — and with it the Secretary’s authority to issue the waivers and modifications — was made permanent. As a result, the above actions will remain in effect until September 30, 2012, unless the Secretary ends or changes them before then. For all the details on the Act and a list of the eligible students, see pages 69312–69318 of the Federal Register dated December 12, 2003.  (Reference page AVG-85)

    During the period of eligible military service:

    • forbearance and military service deferment documentation requirements are relaxed
    • in-school status is retained
    • grace period or school-related deferment status is retained for up to 3 years
    • collection activity on defaulted loans may be suspended
    • missed payments are not treated as an interruption of a stream of required payments
    • return of Title IV requirements are modified
    • copies of IRS forms documenting AGI and income tax paid are not required
    • written leave of absence request is not required
    • requirement that loan cancellation or forgiveness service be uninterrupted or consecutive does not apply
    • period of time for cancelling loan proceeds under cash management regulations is extended
    • oral, rather than written, authorizations from the borrower may be accepted by the school