Frequently Asked Questions

What follows are questions that students most often ask the Financial Aid Office (FAO) staff. The appropriate answer is provided for each question.

Would I be eligible for financial aid?

Prejudging eligibility is nearly impossible. The federal formulas are too complicated. Family income is only one of many variables which affect each other in the formulas. Income is non-predictive.
Also, these statements are definite:

  1. Aid recipients must be enrolled in a program which leads to a degree or a vocational diploma.
  2. All recipients must possess a high school diploma or equivalent.
  3. Married students with children are probably eligible.  Married students without children are not likely to be eligible for the Pell Grant, but likely would be able to receive assistance from loan programs and the work-study program.
  4. Dependent student who have their own income may have only limited eligibility for Pell Grant, but may still be eligible for other assistance programs.
  5. Full-time students receive more aid than part-time students.  Part-time students typically receive only Pell Grant.  Scholarships and work-study usually are reserved for full-time students.
  6. Students with bachelor's degrees can only apply for Alternative/Private Education Loans; they are not eligible for Pell Grant.
  7. Students are not eligible for any financial aid if they are in default on student loans or if they owe a refund on a grant to this or any other college.

How do I apply for financial aid?

A student should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It is the only form needed to apply for all aid programs. The form should be mailed to the processing center in the envelope included in the instruction packet. A supply of the FAFSA’s is available in Student Services. They are also available at all Watauga campus offices. A student may also apply over the internet via the FAFSA website.

Do I have to be a full-time student?

No, financial aid recipients do not have to be enrolled full-time. Beginning in the 1993-94 school year, even less than half-time students became eligible to use the Pell Grant. (This is a change from previous years when an enrollment status of at least half-time was required.) However, students enrolled at less than full-time would receive reduced access to aid programs and would receive proportionately reduced awards from the Pell Grant. (See #1e above.)

The half-time enrollment requirement remains in effect for the student loan programs and work-study positions.

When will I know if I qualify for aid?

Three or four weeks after mailing the application the student will receive an eligibility report called a Student Aid Report (SAR). Soon after the student delivers the SAR to the Financial Aid Office (FAO), the award package notification will be sent to the student.

The Electronic Data Exchange process may allow the FAO to receive and process the student's applications much earlier if he/she lists CCC&TI as the intended school on the FAFSA.  This process takes generally 2-3 weeks.

How is my aid amount determined?

The amount of your Pell Grant award is based on your eligibility index or expected family contribution (EFC), your dependency status, and whether you are classified as in-state or out-of-state.  Your actual disbursement, however, will depend on whether you are enrolled as a full-time, three-quarter, half-time or less than half-time student.


12 semester hours or more

Three-quarter time

9-11 semester hours


6-8 semester hours

Less than half-time

3-5 semester hours

What information is needed to complete a FAFSA?

An applicant will need to use data from the last year's IRS form 1040. If the 1040 was not saved, an applicant can request a "tax return transcript" from the IRS by calling 1-800-829-1040.

Why do I have to use last year's income? My income is going to change when I start college.

A student must follow the instructions concerning income on the original application, but is given an opportunity to request special consideration from the FAO (after receiving the SAR) in a case where the financial circumstances have changed since the prior tax year. In most cases, allowances will be made for loss of income during the special consideration process.

How does CCC&TI determine what aid I get?

Aid is awarded on the basis of "need" in 99.9% of cases. The SAR reports an expected family contribution which is subtracted from educational cost to equal "need."

What kinds of help can I receive?

A financial aid award will usually include grants, scholarships, and/or work-study in a package most advantageous to the student as long as funds exist. Pell Grant and loan eligibility are probably the only sources for late applicants.

Does CCC&TI have academic scholarships? Does GPA have anything to do with getting financial aid?

While the use of the term "scholarship" might indicate that academic excellence is the most important factor in selecting recipients, our scholarships are really "grants-in-aid." An applicant's need is the most important factor.

Our achievement awards are more like the traditional scholarships, but are awarded only after nomination by the faculty and staff. These nominations are sought in the spring for presentation at graduation. Achievement awards usually are awarded to students completing their freshman year or to students who are being graduated. Selection is made by a special committee, not the FAO, based on specific criteria.

Academic progress is always checked before any aid is awarded, so GPA does influence continuing eligibility for assistance.

Every aid applicant is automatically considered for all the scholarships we administer as long as funds are available. No special applications are needed. Late applicants (after June 1) probably are applying too late to receive scholarship assistance, as those types of funds are usually totally committed by then.

Students should watch for announcements about scholarships from organizations outside the school. These are not always based on need. Local newspapers are a good source of information. As the FAO hears about such scholarships notices are posted on the bulletin board outside the FAO.

What does it cost?

Costs depend on the particular academic program. Our complete "cost of education" budgets are available in the FAO. The direct cost of education which includes tuition, fees, books, uniforms, etc. should be emphasized, but the indirect costs which include room and board, personal costs, clothing, and transportation should certainly be recognized. We base our awards on total costs.

Where can I get more information about financial aid programs you offer?

Details of all the aid programs we administer are in the catalog.

Is child care available?

Special child care assistance may be available. Students should contact Jackie Flint or someone in the Financial Aid Office to apply. Applicants for these special funds must apply for Pell Grant first to help establish eligibility.

Child care costs paid for by a third party or agency will not be considered in the cost of education and will not result in increased financial aid.

I'm 21 years old, single, and have my own apartment. Why do I have to use my parent's income to apply for financial aid?

One of the tenets of financial aid is that parents will be expected to contribute to the educational costs of their children to the extent that they are financially able. The SAR will report that "expected family contribution." Where a student lives has no bearing on independence.

Only six conditions exist which automatically qualify a student as independent. If any one of these conditions is true for a student, then that student is judged to be independent and can apply for aid without using parental income data. To be independent, a student must:

  1. Have been born before 1/1/76.
  2. Be a veteran.
  3. Be working on a degree beyond the bachelor's degree.
  4. Be married.
  5. Be or have been until age 18 an orphan or ward of the court.
  6. Have legal dependents other than a spouse.

A parent's refusal to assist a student is not a condition to qualify a student for independent status.

I still live at home with my parents, but they won't give me the information I need to apply for aid. How can I apply for aid? Can I be considered an independent student?

If parents refuse to cooperate in the application process, there is no way for the student to apply for financial aid. The FAO staff is willing to talk to the parents to try to convince them, but if they refuse, no alternative exists. A student in this situation will not be considered to be independent.

May I receive financial aid for classes that I audit, for which I will receive no credit?

No, classes for which a student receives an audit grade of "Y" can not be included in one's enrollment status for financial aid purposes because such classes do not earn credit towards graduation.

Do independent study courses or telecourses count for financial aid?


If I have to take an incomplete grade (I or CS) in a course, does that affect my financial aid?

Grades of "I" or "CS" do not affect eligibility for financial aid; however, they do affect satisfactory academic progress.  The course can be repeated one more semester and still be counted as part of enrollment status for aid purposes.

Do I automatically receive aid for a second semester or for a second year, or must I reapply?

No second application is necessary for any part of the same academic year for which an application has already been filed. Each application covers a period from August to July. To receive aid for a second year, a student must complete a new application.  We suggest you do this when filing income tax.

What happens to my financial aid if I register for full-time and later withdraw from one or more of my classes?

Whatever enrollment status a student has at the beginning point of the semester is the enrollment status that financial aid recognizes for the semester. If a student were to reduce his/her registration status by failing to attend a class, the Pell Grant would be reduced on a proportionate basis. For example, dropping to six credit hours would change the Pell Grant to a half-time award. Dropping all classes before attending classes would result in the Pell Grant award being eliminated totally.
A student who ceases attendance without completing an official withdrawal form, and for whom the instructor does not complete an instructor withdrawal form, is likely to receive a disbursement to which he/she is not actually entitled. Should a student receive such an overpayment, he/she would be required to repay those funds to the Pell Grant or to any other federal funds he/she might have received. The institution would not allow the student to re-enroll until the account was cleared. The student could not receive aid at this or any other institution until the account was cleared.

Is the Pell Grant available for the Summer Session?

The Pell Grant would not be available if the student had been full-time for the entire previous academic year (fall and spring semester). That student would have received the maximum allowable grant for the year.

If a student had not been full-time during the entire previous academic year, the Pell Grant might be available depending on the funds remaining in the student's annual grant maximum and the enrollment status for the summer. This would be determined by the FAO.

ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS? Please visit the CCC&TI Financial Aid Office located in the John Forlines building, Room F119.  Or call us at 726-2713.  We look forward to meeting with you and assisting you to meet your educational goals!!