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Financial Aid Changes


The United States Department of Education has made several significant changes that will affect the financial aid award for some TCL students.  While these changes may not affect all students, it is important that all students who receive financial aid understand these critical changes and how they might affect you. Click here  for further information.


If you have questions about these sessions, please contact the Financial Aid Office on the Beaufort Campus.



The federal guidelines for SAP have changed significantly.  They have become much more stringent, so students who are not progressing well academically will reach “financial aid suspension” status much more quickly than in the past.  We are implementing a new required intervention called and “academic plan” to assist students who are approaching this status, but unfortunately, some students will go straight to financial aid suspension and will lose all federal aid, and after one year, will also lose Lottery Tuition Assistance.


The federal government measures SAP in the following three ways:

  • Completion of 67% of attempted coursework;
  • Overall GPA of 2.0, including courses transferred from other institutions; and
  • 150% maximum timeframe to complete an academic program.

Please note that, for financial aid purposes, a grade of “W” can be just as detrimental for students as a grade of “F.”




Duration of the Pell Grant

In December 2011, President Obama signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012.  This law has significantly impacted the Federal Pell grant program. Beginning with the Fall 2012 semester students are now limited to how much Pell grant money you are able to receive.


As a student, you may now only receive the Federal Pell grant for the equivalent of 12 full time semesters in your lifetime.  The 12 full time equivalent semesters of eligibility count for all terms of attendance, regardless of when you attended or where you attended college.


This means that you have 1200% (12 full time semesters x 100%)* of Federal Pell grant you can use in your entire lifetime.



Here is an example of how the Federal government calculates a student’s full time equivalent semester and the percentage of his or her overall individual Pell grant award that he or she has used.

Semester      Hours Registered      Full Time Semester Equivalent      Percent Used
Fall 2008 12 hours 1 full time equivalent 100%
Spring 2009 6 hours 1/2 full time equivalent 50%
Fall 2009 3 hours 1/4 full time equivalent 25%
Fall 2011 9 hours 3/4 full time equivalent 75%
Spring 2012 12 hours 1 full time equivalent 100%
TOTALS 3.5 equivalent semesters 350%










In the example above, even though the student was enrolled for five semesters, since he or she was not registered full-time during each of those semesters, he/she has only used 3.50 semesters of his/her 12 semester’s lifetime eligibility (or 350% of his/her 1200% eligibility).


We will be working to identify students who may be affected by this new rule, and we will be emailing those students over the next few months to let them know they may have potentially already used all of their Pell grant eligibility, therefore making them ineligible to receive the Federal Pell grant after the Summer 2012 semester.


*PLEASE NOTE:  The US Department of Education will be sending information regarding these changes to students as well. The calculation will appear different because TCL breaks the information down to semester dollar amounts expended instead of yearly dollar amounts expended to make it easier for students to estimate what has been used.


Students may access information on the amount of Pell grant they have used at all schools by going to  http://www.nslds.ed.gov.  You will need your PIN number for the FAFSA in order to access your personal information.


Auto-Zero EFC Income Threshold

The income threshold for calculating the automatic zero Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will decrease from $30,000 to $23,000 for the 2012-2013 award year.


Maximum Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

The maximum Expected Family Contribution (EFC) for which a student is eligible to receive a Pell Grant will decrease from $5,273 to $4,995.  Students with an EFC of $4,996 or higher will not be eligible for a Pell Grant for the 2012 -2013 academic year.




The United States Department of Education (DOE) has made a significant change to the documentation requirements for applications selected for verification. Verification is a process to confirm the information provided on an applicant’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).


Since most applicants can quickly and easily access IRS data through the Data Retrieval process during FAFSA filing, the government no longer considers it reasonable for an institution to accept anything less reliable than direct IRS supplied evidence for verification of income data. Therefore, if an applicant selected for verification has not successfully transferred information from the IRS, or one who did transfer the information but then changed it, DOE expects the institution to require the applicant/parent, to provide an official 2011 IRS Tax Transcript (schools can no longer accept personal copies of tax returns for the 2012-2013 academic year)


TCL highly recommends the use of the IRS Data Retrieval option during the initial filing or when subsequent corrections are made to your 2012-2013 FAFSA.

Click the image above to watch a short video about financial aid changes or click here for a PDF version..