Financial Aid Policies
Students should be aware of all financial aid policies that govern their eligibility to receive federal student aid. Several important financial aid policies are outlined below and are sent to students Tri-C email account each semester.
Important Regulatory Updates/Changes
Recent changes in policies by the Department of Education will expand access to aid and affect the following groups of students:
- Students who are an unaccompanied homeless youth or are unaccompanied, self-supporting, and at-risk of being homeless
- Students who have qualified loan discharges
Unaccompanied Homeless Youth
- The Department of Education has expanded the acceptable documentation for students who on or after July 1, 2022, are determined to be an unaccompanied youth who is homeless or is self-supporting and at risk of being homeless allowing expanded access to federal student aid for qualified students.
- Tri-C has implemented processes to aid students who meet the criteria based on the following definitions:
- Unaccompanied: when a student, under the age of 24, is not living in the physical custody of a parent or guardian
- Homeless: lacking fixed, regular, and adequate housing
- At-risk of being homeless: when a student’s housing may cease to be fixed, regular, and adequate, for example, a student who is being evicted and has been unable to find fixed, regular, and adequate housing
- Self-supporting: when a student pays for his or her own living expenses, including fixed, regular, and adequate housing
- If you are an unaccompanied homeless youth please contact the Student Financial Aid & Scholarships Office for guidance and view the Federal Student Aid and Homeless Youth FAQ for more information.
Pell Grant LEU Restoration
- Students who received an eligible loan discharge (e.g., borrower defense, false certification, identity theft, etc.) will be identified by the Department of Education (ED).
- ED will restore each identified student’s Pell Grant eligibility by adjusting the student’s Pell Grant Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU) attributable to the Pell Grant award received for attendance at a school where the student also received a loan discharge.
- ED will send notifications of changes in eligibility to students who received a Pell Grant LEU Restoration for a discharge adjustment that may allow for additional Pell Grant eligibility.
General Eligibility Requirements
In addition to the financial aid policies outlined on this website, there are some basic criteria that you must meet to be eligible for federal financial aid:
- Be a U.S. Citizen/U.S. National or eligible non-citizen
- Have a high school diploma from an accredited high school, GED or were home-schooled
- Be enrolled in an eligible program as a student seeking a degree or certificate.
- Not in default on a previously borrowed student loan or owe an overpayment to the Department of Education
- Be in compliance with the College’s Satisfactory Academic Progress policy
Academic Qualifications and Equivalence
To receive Title IV funds, a student must be qualified to study at the postsecondary level. A student qualifies if he/she:
- has a high school diploma (this can be from a foreign school if it is equivalent to a U.S. high school diploma);
- has the recognized equivalent of a high school diploma, such as a general educational development (GED) certificate or other state sanctioned test or diploma-equivalency certificate;
- has completed homeschooling at the secondary level as defined by state law;
- has completed secondary school education in a homeschool setting which qualifies for an exemption from compulsory attendance requirements under state law, if state law does not require a homeschooled student to receive a credential for their education; or
- has completed one of the ability-to-benefit (ATB) alternatives and is either currently enrolled in an eligible career pathway program or first enrolled in an eligible postsecondary program prior to July 1, 2012.
Please note: Students that do not meet these qualifications are highly encouraged to contact the ASPIRE program to inquire about how to obtain a high school equivalency.
Recognized equivalents of a high school diploma
The Department recognizes several equivalents to a high school diploma:
- A GED certificate;
- an associate’s degree;
- successful completion of at least 60 semester or trimester credit hours or 72 quarter credit hours that does not result in the awarding of an associate’s degree, but that is acceptable for full credit toward a bachelor’s degree at any institution; or
- enrollment in a bachelor’s degree program where at least 60 semester or trimester credit hours or 72 quarter credit hours have been successfully completed, including credit hours transferred into the bachelor’s degree program.
Identity Verification Policy
Cuyahoga Community College requires students enrolled in web-based only courses AND applying for federal financial aid to sign an identity verification form. Students are required to sign and submit the identity verification form in person at the Student Financial Aid and Scholarships office, and present a government issued, unexpired form of identification. Please see below for a list of acceptable identification.
Students who live in Cuyahoga and surrounding counties, including Lake, Geauga, Portage, Summit, Medina and Lorain must submit these requirements in person.
Students who live outside of the counties listed or have a physical disability that prohibits them from attending campus in person will need to contact the Student Financial Aid and Scholarships office to request an identity verification form to be completed with a notary. The notarized forms may not be faxed as the original copy is required and must be mailed to the Student Financial Aid & Scholarships office with a clear copy of a government issued, unexpired form of identification. The identity information submitted will be verified against the information on the student’s FAFSA. If the name on the form of identification does not match the student’s FAFSA, additional documentation may be required.
Tri-C’s identity verification form will be required one time. The form will not have to be submitted again for any future terms at the college with web-based only courses. This requirement cannot be waived under any circumstances and failure to complete the form will prevent federal financial aid to disburse to the student’s account. Completing Tri-C’s identity verification form does not waive the requirement of the US Department of Education’s Statement of Educational Purpose if applicable.
ACCEPTABLE FORMS OF IDENTIFICATION
A valid unexpired government-issued photo identification (photo ID) can include, but is not limited to, the following:
- U.S. Passport
- Driver's license
- Non-driver's identification card/other state-issued ID
- Permanent Resident Card or Resident Alien Card (I-551)
- Certification of Naturalization if it contains a recognizable photo
- Inmate ID from a government facility; or State-issued voter ID (even if does not have an expiration date)
Financial Aid Award Year
Fall semester will be the start of the financial aid award year. Students should complete the 2023-2024 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.gov to be considered for federal financial aid for the Fall 2023, Spring 2024, and Summer 2024 semesters. This includes all federal financial aid programs, Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplementary Education Opportunity Grant, Federal Work-Study and Federal Student Loans.
Students interested in applying federal financial aid toward the Summer 2024 Semester should contact the Student Financial Aid and Scholarships office for more information about specific Summer financial aid eligibility or review our Summer Financial Aid page.
Courses in Program
Federal regulations require that students only receive federal financial aid (Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Grant, Federal Direct Loans, Federal College Work-study) for courses that count towards their degree/certificate. Students must be enrolled in a financial aid eligible degree or certificate program and taking classes included in that program.
To comply with these regulations, Tri-C compares the student's registered coursework to the required courses outlined in the student's Degree Works audit. Registered courses not included in the audit will not be counted when determining federal aid eligibility and federal aid will be adjusted based upon only courses in the student's degree/certificate. Please note: English as a Second Language (ESL) courses, First Year Experience (GEN 1070) and remedial coursework (up to 30 credit hours) are eligible for federal aid but will not be included in the audit.
To maximize federal financial aid, students should review their declared major and register for courses listed in their degree/certificate as outlined in their Degree Works audit.
An example on how this impacts federal aid: a student is registered for 12 credit hours, which is considered full-time. When Tri-C compares the registered courses to those required for the degree/certificate, Tri-C determines only nine of those credit hours are included in the student's degree audit. After this review, the student's federal financial aid will be adjusted to the 3/4 time amount (nine credit hours), even though the student is still registered full-time.
Please see important Frequently Asked Questions regarding this policy.
Repeated Courses and Financial Aid
In general, students may repeat a course in which a grade of B, C, D, E, P, NP or F has been previously earned. When an identical course is repeated, the highest grade will be used in computing the cumulative GPA (note, that all grades remain posted on the official student transcript). Pass/No Pass courses are not counted toward GPA calculations therefore the Pass/No Pass option cannot be used when repeating a course. Credit for courses will be awarded only once in the semester in which the highest grade was awarded for the course, unless the course description specifically states that additional credit may be earned.
However, federal financial aid funds may be used only one time to repeat previously passed courses, for which students have already received credit. For example, if you have passed a course with a grade of D and have received credit for the course, you may only repeat the course one time and receive federal financial aid funds to repeat a previously passed course to improve your grade. You may be required to retake the course as many times as necessary to achieve a C grade in order to advance to the level course, but you will not receive financial aid for the same course more than two times, for which you have received credit.
In some cases, it is still possible that the dollar amount of the financial award may cover your tuition balance. Your financial aid award will be calculated based on your eligible financial aid coursework excluding non-repeated courses. If you have student loans, you will have to be enrolled in at least six credits non-repeated coursework to receive your student loan and to be eligible for your work-study awards.
Further, if you have not passed a course by receiving an F or WF grade or withdrawn (W) from a course and have not received credit, you will be able to receive financial aid to repeat the course, provided you are in compliance with the College's Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.
Financial Aid Disbursement Policy- Summer 2023
Financial aid funds are applied to your tuition charges on your Tri-C account no sooner than 35 days after the start of every part-of-term (session). For example, if you are enrolled in a course during the Summer 2023 full-term session and enrolled in a course during Session K, your financial aid funds for your full-term course will be applied to your Tri-C student account on or after July 16, 2023 and your financial aid funds for your Session K course will be applied to your Tri-C student account on or after Aug. 6, 2023.
Based on the session for which you are enrolled, your financial aid will be applied to your Tri-C student account 35 days after the start of each session. For more information about when financial aid funds are released for the semester, check the Important Dates webpage.
NOTE: Fourteen days after financial aid funds are applied to your Tri-C student account, a refund will be sent via the refund preference that you selected with BankMobile.
At the start of each session, Bookstore Accounts are established on your My Tri-C card for use in the Barnes & Noble book stores for students who have a finalized financial aid award and who will have federal financial aid in excess of at least $100 above tuition and fee costs. To learn more about how to use Book Account, you can get more information on the Book Accounts - FAQ.
Attendance Policy for Financial Aid
The College’s Procedure for Student Attendance outlines the student attendance requirements that each student must follow. Students should become familiar with and adhere to these requirements to comply with federal regulations governing attendance. This procedure is applied to all credit courses whether or not student financial aid funds have been utilized to pay for the course(s). Failure to comply with attendance procedures may result in course being dropped for non-attendance.
The College is required to ensure that students receive financial aid only for the courses that they attend and complete. Students who are reported as Non-Attendance will be dropped from the course by the 16th day of the semester. Students for whom attendance is not reported will have all financial aid funds held until attendance has been reported in all registered courses.
Eligibility for federal student financial aid is, in part, based on your enrollment status for the session in which you are enrolled. Federal regulations require that students attend all registered classes in order to receive federal financial aid funds. Students who register for courses but do not attend will be reported for non-attendance by Tri-C faculty. Your financial aid will be adjusted to reflect your financial aid eligibility only for those classes that you attend. Students who do not attend classes for the entire term are required to withdraw from the courses.
Students who attend a course and cease attendance at a later point, may be required to repay all or a portion of financial aid due to the student's failure to complete the course. Further, students who are withdrawn for courses due to non-attendance, as reported by the instructor, must obtain permission from the instructor to re-enroll in a course.
Students can view reported attendance in my Tri-C space. If your attendance is not reported by the 15th day of the semester, your financial aid will be held until your instructor confirms your attendance. Financial aid funds are applied to students’ accounts on the 35th day of each enrolled course.
Return of Title IV Policy (Withdrawal Policy)
The Withdrawal and Return of Title IV Policy for Financial Aid outlines your financial responsibility should you change your enrollment status. Students who are considering withdrawing from all classes should contact both the Student Financial Aid and Scholarship office and Enrollment Center to determine how a change in enrollment status will affect their aid eligibility. Information on the process of withdrawing from a class or the semester can be found in the Student Handbook.
Because financial aid funds are paid based on a student’s attendance, any change in status, including a leave of absence, may require a student to repay federal financial aid funds already received. The College understands that unforeseen events may occur in student’s lives that result in a student’s withdrawal from school. Due to these situations, it is very important that students understand this policy and follow the appropriate steps to withdraw when necessary. Withdrawals may also impact students’ future eligibility for federal financial aid funds regardless of the reason for withdrawal. Students enrolled in certain health careers programs should work with the academic department regarding specific leave of absence procedures.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy
Federal regulations require that students "make measurable progress towards completion of their course of study" in order to continue to remain eligible for federal aid. This includes students who have received or are applying for the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Federal Work-Study, Federal Student Loans and the Ohio College Opportunity Grant. Student Financial Aid & Scholarships reviews the academic progress of all students at the end of each semester, including summer and notifies students receiving federal financial aid each semester of their status. This review includes all coursework attempted and includes transfer credits, regardless of whether a student received federal funds or not during that time.
Financial aid students are required to meet and maintain ALL of the following to continue receiving federal financial aid:
- Maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or higher;
- Complete at least 67% of all courses attempted;
- Meet all degree requirements within 150% of the published credits required for the program.
Failure to maintain compliance with these standards may result in loss or disqualification for future federal financial aid. Students that become ineligible for financial aid will be notified. Please note: students that are either missing a grade(s) or have a grade(s) of ‘I’ as part of their academic history cannot have an accurate SAP status determined and therefore will have financial aid eligibility suspended until the grade(s) have been recorded and the SAP status determined.
Furthermore, student's receiving all "F" grades, or a combination of "F", "W", "NP", and/or "I" will be considered and unofficial withdrawal and will be calculated for R2T4 based on latest date of attendance reported by the faculty.
Students should review and be familiar with Tri-C's Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy to ensure compliance.
Non-Institutional Charges Policy
A student has the right to authorize Tri-C to use their federal financial aid award to assist with the costs of such non-institutional charges as parking or library fines, as well as other charges that are applied to their student account. Each student is asked to accept or decline this right during the initial application process and may rescind the decision at any time in writing to the Student Financial Aid and Scholarships office. The Non-Institutional Charges form is required to be able to make charges, such as books, meal plans, bus passes, and vending, to your student account.
Consortium Agreements for Transient or Visiting Students
Cuyahoga Community College participates in consortium agreements as a host institution to allow transient or visiting students to attend Tri-C for one semester and plan to return to their former school for continued study. Students who are transient or visiting are not eligible for financial aid or scholarships at Tri-C but may include the courses taken at Tri-C in their financial aid award at the home institution, subject to approval by the home institution.
Transient or visiting students should obtain the appropriate dean/faculty approval to take courses at Tri-C before a consortium agreement request may be approved. Students must make payment arrangements with the Enrollment Center for enrolled or registered coursework to secure their classes.
Tri-C participates as a home school for the purposes of financial aid and therefore allows Tri-C students to receive financial aid awards for courses taken at another institution that can be applied toward the student's Tri-C degree. If courses taken at the host institution is not applicable for a Tri-C degree, the courses cannot be included in the students' financial aid eligibility. Please send all inquiries regarding consortium agreements to firstname.lastname@example.org.