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Frequently Asked Questions about Financial Aid

When should I apply for financial aid?

You can apply by filing the FAFSA starting on October 1 each year, for the school year beginning the following fall. You can apply up until June 30 of the current school year; so if you are starting school or attending school now, and haven’t applied, you can still do so. May 1 is the SCC priority deadline for the following fall's application.

Is my FAFSA information safe at SCC?
Yes.  Per the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Higher Education Act (HEA), any private or sensitive information regarding a student, including FAFSA data, is kept confidential.  For full, detailed information on a student's financial aid status, students must send an email to from their SCC student email account.  Due to federal privacy laws, the Financial Aid Office is limited in what we can say in insecure communications, such as phone calls and personal emails. Students visiting our offices in person will be asked to provide a government issued photo ID.  

How many hours do I have to take to be considered full time for financial aid?

12 credit hours each semester are required for you to be paid the full time amount. These 12 hours must be hours that are required for your program as listed in the catalog. If you are less than full time, your aid will be prorated as follows:

9-11 credit hours = Three quarter time

6-8 credit hours = Half time

5 or less credit hours = Less than half time

For the NC Community College Grant's Full Time Plus Award amount, 15 credit hours each semester are required.


Student loans, the NC Community College Grant and the NC Education Lottery Scholarship require at least 6 credit hours, and other grants and scholarships have their own minimum requirements. However, Pell grants may generally be paid on a less than half time schedule.

  • Remember that financial aid will only cover classes that are a required part of your program of study, and will not pay for classes that you audit, never attend, or test out of.
  • You must start attending all classes immediately when they begin. You must also participate in your on-line classes by the end of the first week of the semester.
  • You must make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) to continue receiving financial aid.

You must inform the Financial Aid Office of any other education assistance you receive while receiving Federal Aid.

When can I charge books and when will I get my refund check?

The Financial Aid Office publishes a schedule of dates that you can charge books to your financial aid and dates that refund checks are mailed out. See the SCC Financial Aid Calendar or contact the Financial Aid Office. You will get a refund check if your tuition and books charges are less than your financial aid amount for the semester. We will verify that you are attending all classes, including on-line classes, before your funds are released. Checks will be mailed by the SCC Business Office approximately six weeks after classes start each semester.

Can I participate in the work-study program?

Work-study is a federal financial aid program where you are paid for working on campus part-time. You must have financial need as defined by the federal guidelines, so not all students qualify. Most of the jobs are clerical in nature, and a limited number of positions are available. Students are paid monthly, and earn $9.00 an hour. If you wish to apply, see How to Apply for Work-Study.

How do I apply for scholarships?

Scholarships are available from many sources in the community and beyond. You are encouraged to apply for any scholarships for which you are eligible. In addition, there are several scholarships each year that are awarded by the SCC Foundation. See How to Apply for Scholarships or contact the SCC Financial Aid Office, if you have additional questions. Most of the deadlines are in the spring and early summer so that scholarships can be awarded starting with the fall semester.

Can I get a student loan?

We encourage you to do everything you can to avoid taking out a student loan while at SCC. Our costs are low enough, that most grant awards will cover tuition and books. If you do need to pursue a student loan, contact the Financial Aid Office at 828.339.4438 or

Can I receive financial aid during the Summer semester?
Potentially.  If a student is eligible for a Pell grant and has been paid full time both for Fall and Spring, then a student can receive additional Pell funds in the Summer, as long as he is enrolled at least 6 credit hours in the Summer. Students who were not full time in the Fall and/or Spring may have remaining Pell funds that can be used in Summer.   State grants are not available during the Summer. Please contact the Financial Aid Office for more information.

What happens to my financial aid if I withdraw from one or more classes?

Partial Withdrawal

If you know right away that you need to drop a class, try to do so during the first week's Schedule Adjustment period so that you can add another class, or get 75% of the tuition refunded. We will adjust your financial aid if necessary to your enrollment status at the Financial Aid Census Date which occurs approximately three weeks after the semester starts. If you decide to withdraw from a class after the Schedule Adjustment period is over, be sure to do so before the last date to withdraw to avoid being given an F grade. You will not have to repay financial aid dollars unless you withdraw from or stop attending all your classes. Even partial withdrawals can hurt your future eligibility, however, because of the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirement to complete 67% of all attempted hours.

Full Withdrawal

If you receive the Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Federal Direct Student Loan or PLUS Loan, you must earn your financial aid by attending class beyond the 60% point of each semester. If you withdraw from all of your classes OR stop attending all your classes before the 60% point of the semester (which is right before the last date to withdraw), you may owe back a portion of the financial aid you received. 

The SCC Financial Aid Office will send you a letter detailing any amounts due to SCC and/or to the United States Department of Education. You will be given 45 days from the date of that letter to repay both amounts to SCC. If you owe funds, there will usually be an amount you owe SCC. This must be repaid before you can enroll in classes again, or before you can request a transcript. There may also be an amount you owe the Department of Education. You must repay this amount or make satisfactory payment arrangements with the Department of Education to remain eligible for federal financial aid beyond the 45 day period. If you do not pay within the 45 days, SCC will begin to collect the amount you owe us, and the Department of Education will begin to collect the amount you owe them.

To owe no funds you must attend a class meeting on or beyond the 60% date (the actual date for you will depend on the day of the week your class meets).

For more important information about withdrawals, see Withdrawals and Financial Aid.

What is Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) and what happens if I fall below the requirements?

SAP is the Department of Education’s way of making sure you are on track to completing your program of study in a timely manner since you are asking them to help fund you. To continue receiving aid at SCC you must make a 2.0 cumulative Grade Point Average, and successfully complete 67% of the cumulative credit hours you have attempted. If you withdraw from a class or get an F grade, then you have attempted that class, but not completed it. If you fall below either of these standards, you will be given one semester of financial aid on Financial Aid Warning to try to improve your results and meet these standards. SAP rules can get rather complicated, so please see Satisfactory Academic Progress for complete information.

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