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General Financial Aid Information and Policies

Students who have satisfactory academic records and are in need of aid may qualify for financial assistance. Although the primary responsibility for financing an education remains with students and families, McDowell Technical Community College participates in several programs designed to supplement individual and family contributions. Financial aid may consist of grants, scholarships, campus employment, or any combination of these as determined by the policies of the Financial Aid Office.

You can visit our “Eligibility for Financial Aid” page to find out more about assistance options available to you to pay for college.

Students applying for financial aid at MTCC should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is completed and submitted via an online process here. There is no technical deadline to apply for financial aid at MTCC, but students should apply at least eight weeks prior to the beginning of their first semester at MTCC. Funds are limited in some financial aid categories, i.e. Federal Work Study and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG). Therefore, early applicants are most likely to receive assistance if eligible and funds are available. Students may also be required to submit additional internal and external scholarship applications if interested in applying for aid other than or in addition to Federal and State funds. FAFSA worksheets and scholarship applications are available in the MTCC Financial Aid Office and at local high school guidance offices.

Student financial aid information is kept confidential within the MTCC Financial Aid Office. Student financial aid awards are disbursed once a semester and can be adjusted according to changes in eligibility and enrollment.

In order to guarantee timely usage of financial aid funds at registration, students should apply via the FAFSA prior to the dates listed below:

Fall Semester: July 1
Spring Semester: November 1
Summer Semester: April 1

Applications received after the dates listed will be processed as quickly as possible, but there will be no guarantee that the student will have a definite financial aid decision prior to the beginning of the semester.

Most awards on the student’s award offer letter are based on full-time enrollment. The award will be reduced proportionately if the student attends less than full-time. The requirement for full-time eligibility for Federal and/or State financial aid is 12 or more credit hours; 3/4 time is 9, 10, or 11 credit hours; 1/2 time is 6, 7, or 8 credit hours. In some cases, funds may be disbursed to students attending less than 1/2 time (5 credit hours or less). Students must always be enrolled in at least six credit hours to be eligible for the NC Community College Grant and NC Education Lottery Scholarship.

Because of the number of credit and/or contact hours, the following certificates are not eligible for financial aid:

  • Cosmetology- Manicurist/Nail
  • Technology Certificate
  • Emergency Management- CJ Certificate
  • Emergency Management General Certificate
  • Information Systems Certificate
  • Information Systems Advanced Certificate
  • Network Management Certificate
  • Network Management Advanced Certificate
  • Software and Web Development Certificate
  • Software and Web Development Advanced Certificate
  • Web Administration and Design Certificate
  • Web Administration and Design Advanced Certificate.

Nondiscrimination in Aid Awards

As with all programs of the College, financial aid awards are made equitably without regard to age, race, color, sex, handicap, disability, religion, political affiliation, or national/ethnic origin. For further information, see the College’s policies on discrimination in the General Information Section of this catalog.

In December 2011, President Obama signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012 (Public Law 112-74). This law significantly impacts Federal Student Aid Programs.

One of the most significant changes is Federal Pell Grant Duration of Eligibility. The law reduces the duration of a student’s eligibility to receive a Federal Pell Grant to 12 full-time semesters (or it’s equivalent). This provision applies to all Pell Grant eligible students effective the 2012/2013 academic year. The calculation of the duration of the student’s eligibility will include all years, no matter how far in the past, that the student has received Federal Pell Grant funding. Therefore, every semester that a student has received Pell Grant funding will count toward the semester limit. Students that have attended at less than full-time status in the past, or at present, will be assessed accordingly.

The MTCC Financial Aid Office will attempt to notify students of their remaining eligibility as they apply or reapply for financial aid.

Beginning with the 2017-2018 academic year, students may be eligible to receive 150% of their yearly scheduled Pell Grant award for the year. To be eligible for the additional Pell Grant funds, the student must meet the following criteria:

Must be eligible to receive Pell Grant Funds based on a valid and completed financial aid application.
Must be enrolled at least half-time (six or more credit hours) in the additional semester of eligibility.
Must be enrolled in an eligible degree, diploma or certificate and taking classes within that program.
Must be meeting satisfactory academic progress.

The additional Pell Grant funds received cannot exceed 50% of the student’s yearly scheduled Pell Grant award. Additional funds will be determined on a student-by-student basis and specific to the award year. A crossover payment period is one that includes both June 30 and July overlapping two award years. If a student enrolls in a crossover payment period, MTCC will consider the crossover payment period to occur entirely in one award year. The crossover payment will be assigned to a specific award year and will be determined on a student-by-student basis.

MTCC must have a valid and completed financial aid application for the academic year in which the crossover period occurs. The school will determine which year to use based on the best interest of the student that maximizes the student’s eligibility over the two award years.

Federal regulations require that institutions of higher learning establish minimum standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) that students must meet in order to receive federal/state financial aid. This progress is measured qualitatively and quantitatively.

At McDowell Technical Community College, the records of students are evaluated at the end of each semester, including Summer.

In order to accurately measure a student’s progress, the total academic record must be considered. This includes classes transferred from other institutions, developmental/remedial and curriculum classes. All classes transferred in from other colleges must be in the student’s program of study at MTCC. These classes are counted as attempted and completed in the SAP calculation.

Incomplete grades that are not finalized with a passing grade will be considered an “F” grade and calculated into the GPA accordingly. Students that withdraw from a class with a “Withdrawal Passing” grade will not have their GPA affected by that grade but it will lower the student’s completion (quantitative) rate. However, students withdrawn with a grade of “WF” will have that grade calculated into their GPA as an “F” grade and the completion rate will also be lower.

All grades are used for the calculation of overall GPA for SAP purposes even if the class is retaken and a better grade is received. In this circumstance, both classes will be part of the calculation.

To be eligible for financial aid, students must meet the following minimum guidelines:

  • Qualitative: Maintain a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0
  • Quantitative: Complete a minimum of 67% of cumulative credit hours attempted. Successful completion is defined as receiving a grade of A, B, C, or PD.
  • Time Frame: Must complete program of study in a timeframe not to exceed 150% of the length of the program for full-time students. Transfer credits used toward the student’s program of study will be considered for maximum time frame.

If a student fails to maintain satisfactory academic progress standards by either quantitative and/or qualitative measures, he/she will lose eligibility for Federal and/or State financial aid. If the student feels that he/she has a legitimate mitigating circumstance that prevented successful completion of course work, he/she may complete a Statement of Financial Aid Warning requesting consideration for financial aid. This statement must include the reasons for being unsuccessful in prior semesters and a personal plan as to how they will be effective in completing all classes with passing grades.

This statement is presented to the Director of Financial Aid or the Financial Aid Officer for consideration. If the warning status is granted, the student will receive aid for the upcoming semester and must agree to complete all classes with a grade of ‘C’ or better. Failure to do so will result in suspension of Federal and/or State financial aid. If the student is unable to meet the minimum overall academic standards despite successful completion of all classes in the semester of warning, he/she may complete the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Request to continue financial aid eligibility. The student will be counseled of the probability of this situation prior to signing the Warning request.

Additionally, if a student does not meet the requirements set forth in the Statement of Financial Aid Warning, he/she must appeal via the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Request to apply for future financial aid eligibility. Appeal decisions are made by the MTCC Financial Aid/Scholarship Committee and are final. Only one appeal per academic year will be considered. (Financial Aid Appeal Policy in separate attached document).

Students who have been unable to bring their completion rate and/or grade point average up to the acceptable standards required (67% of attempted courses and 2.0) after the financial aid warning stage will be allowed to appeal their financial aid suspension if any of the following mitigating circumstances apply:

  • Death of an immediate family member
  • Illness/Injury and/or Hospitalization of themselves or an immediate family member
  • Change in academic program
  • Other extenuating circumstances that were not foreseeable to the student and affected their ability to meet academic progress standards.

To appeal the suspension of financial aid, the student must submit a completed MTCC Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Request (available in the Financial Aid Section of the MTCC website) to the MTCC Financial Aid Office. Within this request, the student is asked to explain the circumstances surrounding their current Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) status, identify which appeal category best applies to their circumstances, and give a personalized and detailed academic plan and documentation of the circumstances cited. The student is also asked to meet personally with their academic advisor about their plan and provide documentation that they have done so.

Appeal requests are accepted at any time; however, there are specific monthly deadlines each semester. Any requests received during the month will be evaluated after the appropriate submission date has passed. Complete appeals received by the submission date will be evaluated and a decision will be mailed within 14 to 21 days.

Each appeal is reviewed by the Director of Financial Aid for completion and adequate documentation. If the appeal is complete, the Financial Aid Subcommittee will be sent all appeal documents via MTCC e-mail. The committee members discuss the information and each sends a decision back to the Director. If the decision is not unanimous, the majority determines the decision. Students are then notified within 10 days via postal mail.
If the appeal is approved, a contract between the MTCC Financial Aid Office and the student is created by the Director. This contract outlines the requirements of the appeal which are as follows:

  • Completion of all registered classes within the appealed semester with a semester grade point average of at least 2.5
  • Completion of financial aid file
  • Understanding that the contract is a result of an appeal and must be signed in the presence of the Financial Aid Director to be valid
  • Understanding that if the student remains below standard despite successfully completing the current semester, he/she will remain on the contract as part of a continued plan until acceptable standards are met.

If the appeal is denied, the student may then request a face-to-face interview with the Director of Financial Aid and the Financial Aid Subcommittee. The decision of the Financial Aid Subcommittee is final. Students are limited to one appeal per academic year.

Students are notified of their SAP status at the end of every term unless it is considered acceptable. If a student is being placed on warning or has been suspended, he/she will receive an email from the MTCC Financial Aid Office and a letter in the postal mail. If the appeal has been denied, a letter will be sent via Postal Mail from the Financial Aid Director.

Students attempting to regain financial aid eligibility remain ineligible for financial aid assistance until the appeal process is completed and a definite decision has been made. Students are informed of their responsibility to pay tuition, fees, and book expenses until that time.

Students who have been unable to bring their completion rate and/or grade point average up to the acceptable standards required (67% of attempted courses and 2.0) after the financial aid warning stage will be allowed to appeal their financial aid suspension if any of the following mitigating circumstances apply:

  • Death of an immediate family member
  • Illness/Injury and/or Hospitalization of themselves or an immediate family member
  • Change in academic program
  • Other extenuating circumstances that were not foreseeable to the student and affected their ability to meet academic progress standards.

To appeal the suspension of financial aid, the student must submit a completed MTCC Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Request (available in the Financial Aid Section of the MTCC website) to the MTCC Financial Aid Office. Within this request, the student is asked to explain the circumstances surrounding their current Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) status, identify which appeal category best applies to their circumstances, give a personalized and detailed academic plan and documentation of the circumstances cited.

Acceptable documentation could be doctor’s and/or hospital notes, police reports, court documents and statements from witnesses that are privy to the past situation. The student is also asked to meet personally with their academic advisor about their plan and provide documentation that they have done so. The advisor and student will determine how many classes have been completed in the student’s program and how many remain.

Appeal requests are accepted at any time; however, there are specific monthly deadlines each semester. Any requests received during the month will be evaluated after the appropriate submission date has passed. Complete appeals received by the submission date will be evaluated and a decision will be mailed within 14 to 21 days.

Each appeal is reviewed by the Director of Financial Aid for completion and adequate documentation. If the appeal is complete, the Financial Aid Subcommittee will be sent all appeal documents via MTCC e-mail. The committee members discuss the information and each sends a decision back to the Director. If the decision is not unanimous, the majority determines the decision. Students are then notified within 10 days via postal mail.

If the appeal is approved, a contract between the MTCC Financial Aid Office and the student is created by the Director. This contract outlines the requirements of the appeal which are as follows:

  • Completion of all registered classes within the appeal semester with a semester grade point average of at least 2.5
  • Completion of financial aid file
  • Understanding that the contract is a result of an appeal and must be signed in the presence of the Financial Aid Director to be valid
  • Understanding that if the student remains below standard despite successfully completing the current semester, he/she will remain on the contract as part of a continued plan until acceptable standards are met.

If the appeal is denied, the student may then request a face to face interview with the Director of Financial Aid and the Financial Aid Subcommittee. The decision of the Financial Aid Subcommittee is final. Students are limited to one appeal per academic year.

Students attempting to regain financial aid eligibility remain ineligible for financial aid assistance until the appeal process is completed and a definite decision has been made. Students are informed of their responsibility to pay tuition, fees and book expenses until that time.

Per Federal Financial Aid Regulations, students receiving financial aid from Title IV funds (Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant and/or Federal Direct Loans) will be required to repay a portion of their awarded financial aid if the student withdraws from all classes prior to the 60% point of the semester. If a student withdraws after the 60% point of the semester, 100% of all aid is considered earned.

These requirements do not apply to any student who does not actually withdraw from all classes. For example, if a student enrolled in 12 credit hours withdraws from a three-credit hour course only, because the student has nine remaining hours, this is not a complete withdrawal.

Students eligible for federal financial aid begin earning Title IV funds on the first day of class attendance. Students are awarded funds on the assumption that he/she is eligible for the full amount received. Students that stop attending classes should obtain a drop/withdrawal form from the Student Services department. Each instructor should be contacted so that the last day of attendance can be documented and the appropriate grade given. If the student ceases to attend without informing his/her instructor and/or the Registrar’s office, the student will be withdrawn from classes by the instructor as the maximum absence number in the class is reached.

Once the student is withdrawn from all classes, the MTCC Financial Aid office is responsible for calculating any amount of overpayment based on the last date of attendance if the student completely withdraws from all classes. If the student withdraws prior to the 60% point of the semester, a calculation of unearned financial aid will be completed and the amount of funds owed by the school and student will be determined.

If the student withdraws after the 60% point, the calculation will still be completed. However, the student will not owe return funds. If the student withdraws prior to the 60% point of the semester, he or she could be responsible for repayment in part to the US Department of Education (DOE), in addition to McDowell Technical Community College (MTCC). The student is given written notification via the US Postal Service of the amount that is owed due to overpayment.

There are two amounts that can be owed when the Title IV recalculation is done. The first amount is the portion of tuition, fees and books that the student did not earn. The school must initially return this portion and then the student is billed for this amount. The second amount is the portion of the financial aid disbursement that the student owes back to DOE.

The amount of repayment is due in full when notification is received. As long as there is any unpaid balance at MTCC or with DOE, the student will not be awarded financial aid funds. Additionally, any unpaid balance to MTCC will prevent the student from future registrations or receiving MTCC transcripts.

The College returns Title IV funds to the programs from which the student received aid during the payment period, in the following order, up to the net amount disbursed from each source:

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant.

The College will return its portion of unearned Title IV funds within 45 days of the date the institution determined the student withdrew.

The student is responsible for repaying their portion of the original grant overpayment that is in excess of the total Title IV grant funds that he or she received. Student overpayments of $50 or less are not to be repaid. A written notification will be sent to the student by the Financial Aid Office.

A student is allowed 45 days from the date of notification to repay grant overpayments to the College. A student who does not repay their portion of the funds within 45 days becomes ineligible for Title IV funds.

If the payment is not made within 45 days, the College reports the student portion overpayment to NSLDS. At the same time, the College will refer to Borrower Services. The College mails the student a letter which informs him or her how to contact Borrower Services in order to set up a payment agreement or make arrangements to pay the debt in full.

The College requires the student to repay the College the school portion of all unearned funds returned by the College to the US Department of Education. The student has 90 days to repay these funds to the College. If the unearned funds are not repaid within the 90 days, the student’s account will be turned over to the NC Department of Revenue for collection.

Verification is the process of confirming the accuracy of student-reported data on the financial aid application. Only a portion of MTCC’s student population will apply for federal/state financial aid. A percentage determined by the Department of Education (DOE) will be verified. All applications flagged by DOE are verified. MTCC will also request verification if there is conflicting information or a discrepancy and the situation warrants investigation.

The following person(s) may be excluded from verification:

  • Death of the student
  • Student ineligible to receive Title IV aid due to a reason other than verification
  • Student eligible to receive only unsubsidized loans (MTCC does not participate in the Federal Student Loan Program)
  • Applicant verified by another school (letter from other school confirming verification process was completed is necessary)
  • Both parents are mentally incapacitated (dependent student)
  • Both parents or custodial parent are deceased (dependent student)
  • Parents residing in a country other than the US and can’t be contacted by normal means (dependent student)
  •  Parents can’t be located because student does not have contact (dependent)
  • Spouse has died or is mentally incapacitated (independent student)
  • Spouse residing in country other than US and can’t be contacted by normal means (independent student)
  • Spouse can’t be located because student does not have contact (independent student)
  • Students have documents lost or destroyed due to natural disaster.

When the student applies for federal/state financial aid via FAFSA.gov, the option to link tax information directly from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is presented unless the student has divorced or separated during or after the tax year being used for the application. The following items can be directly imported form the IRS to the FAFSA (forms 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ):

  • Type of tax return filed
  • Filing status
  • Adjusted gross income (AGI)
  • Taxes paid
  • Income earned from work
  • Exemptions


In addition, the following items are also imported if filing 1040 or 1040A (not 1040EZ):

  • Education credits
  • IRA deductions
  • Tax-exempt interest income
  • Untaxed IRA distribution
  • Untaxed pensions


There are three active verification tracking groups. Students selected for verification will be placed in one of these tracking groups by DOE.

V1 – Standard Verification Group

(Tax filers)

  • Adjusted gross income
  • US income tax paid
  • Untaxed portions of IRA distributions
  • Untaxed portions of untaxed pensions
  • IRA deductions and payments
  • Tax-exempt interest income
  • Education credits
  • Household size
  • Number in college

(Non-tax filers)

  • Income from work
  • Household size
  • Number in college


V4 – Custom Verification Group

*This group verifies high school completion and identity/statement of educational purpose


V5 – Aggregate Verification Group

*This group verifies high school completion and identity/statement of educational purpose in addition to all the items in V1 – Standard Verification Group

 

All verification groups will complete the appropriate form(s) and provide documentation (forms available in the MTCC Financial Aid Office) and via www.mcdowelltech.edu (under Tuition and Financial Aid). Forms must be legible and signed by the applicant (independent) or applicant and parent (dependent).

The deadline for verification documentation for the 2020-21 academic year is September 21, 2021, or 120 days after the last day of the student’s enrollment, whichever is earlier. If all information is not received by the deadline, the student forfeits their rights to any aid that might have been eligible for during that academic year.

A student may be eligible for a late disbursement if all verification documentation is received after that time. To be considered for a late disbursement, the Department of Education must have processed a SAR or ISIR with an official EFC while the student was still enrolled.

Prior to starting the application process, students and parents (if necessary) are given the opportunity to create a Student Financial Aid (FSA) ID. This ID is used to log into the FAFSA form and can be used to sign the FAFSA electronically. The ID is also required if the student and/or parent wishes to attempt to use the IRS retrieval tool. The student and parent of dependent students are required to create and maintain a FSA ID. If neither is unable to create an ID, a signature page can be printed from the FAFSA form and submitted via US mail.

If a student is selected for verification in groups V1 or V5 and is unable to use the IRS retrieval tool, a tax transcript from the IRS will be requested from the student and he/she will provide it to the MTCC Financial Aid Office. The procedure for requesting a tax transcript is described on the verification form related to the group. If a student has requested and been unable to receive a tax transcript, an actual tax return can possibly be used. The tax return must be signed and presented with all W-2s.

Documentation of taxed/untaxed income and or filing status that is seen as conflicting will be requested by the MTCC Financial Aid Office. All independent students or parents of dependent students that claim no tax return has been filed for the year being reviewed, will be asked to request a ‘Verification of Non-Filing Status” form from the IRS. Instructions for requesting this form may be found on the Non-Tax Filers Worksheet.

In addition, any student that is flagged with a ‘C’ code indicating a database mismatch will be asked to resolve the issue prior to aid being processed. Examples of circumstances warranting a ‘C’ code include:

  • No selective service verification
  • No citizenship verification
  • Social security number/name discrepancy
  • Defaulted student loan or one cancelled for disability purposes
  • Unusual enrollment history


After all documents are presented to the MTCC Financial Aid Office, the student’s ISIR is compared to what is received. Any conflicting data or items will be updated by the FA office and processed back through DOE to make the necessary corrections.

Students are initially notified of their verification status via their go.mcdowelltech.edu email address. The student is sent a letter via US Postal mail with information regarding the email account and how to access it. Students are asked to present all documents to the MTCC financial aid office. After all documents are received and any necessary changes are made, the student is awarded if eligible. The student is notified of eligibility and award amount via their MTCC WebAdvisor account.

Referrals to the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Education

If after the application for financial aid is reviewed, it appears that the applicant is purposefully engaged in fraud or other criminal misconduct in order to gain eligibility for Title IV, HEA program assistance or to change their amount of assistance, the MTCC financial aid office is required to and will make a referral to the Office of Inspector General as potential fraud.
Examples of this type of information could be but are not limited to:

  • False claims of independent student status
  • False claims of citizenship
  • Use of false identities
  • Forgery of signatures or certifications
  • False statements of income

Additionally, any credible information that indicates an employee, third-party servicer, or agent of the institution that serves in a position that administers Title IV or HEA assistance, may be engaged in fraud will be reported to the OIG.

The institution refers to any fraudulent activity that is relevant to the eligibility and funding of MTCC and our students.