Eligibility for Financial Aid
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Remember, to receive financial aid you need to be admitted to an eligible degree or certificate program at the college. All associate degree programs are eligible and some certificate programs are eligible for financial aid. Visit the list of Financial Aid Eligible Certificates.
If you have not applied for admissions, complete the application as soon as possible. Don’t wait to be admitted before completing your FAFSA. It is
best to apply for admission and financial aid at about the same time.
Conditional admission means that you have been admitted to a program, but additional
information is needed by the Admissions Office (usually an updated high school transcript). You
may still receive a financial aid award offer; however, financial aid cannot clear
your bill and you will not be eligible for a book advance or financial aid payment
until the “conditional admit” status is resolved.
A student must meet the following criteria to be eligible for financial aid:
- Complete the FAFSA
- Have a valid Social Security Number
- Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
- Register with Selective Service (males ages 18-25)
- Resolve any drug conviction issues
- Have a high school diploma, High School Equivalency Certificate (HiSET), or home-schooled documentation
- Be accepted into an eligible degree or certificate program
- Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
- Not owe a refund on any federal/state educational grant, nor be in default on any previous education loans
- Submit all required documentation to the Financial Aid Office
Full-Time or Part-Time Enrollment
One of the biggest myths of financial aid is that only full-time students are eligible.
Not true! Many part-time students qualify for financial aid as well. Some even qualify
when they're only enrolled in one course. However, some financial aid programs do
require a certain enrollment level. For example, you need to be enrolled in at least
six credits to receive a student loan, while some students can receive the Pell Grant
when enrolled in only three credits. The golden rule of financial aid is "You must
apply." It's free and the Financial Aid Office will be glad to help you through the
process. Once you submit all information, Financial Aid will do all it can to identify
resources to help you meet your costs. An audited class is not considered when determining
enrollment level for financial aid purposes.
The Money is Good, Day or Evening
Your financial aid award will be used to pay towards your credit enrollment at the
College, whether day, evening, weekend, online, and any Bristol location.
Repeated coursework that falls under certain conditions cannot be included in a student's
enrollment status when determining eligibility for federal financial aid, including
Pell Grants and student loans. Repeated enrollment that is not eligible will be excluded
from your financial aid enrollment status for that term. Federal aid will be recalculated
based on the adjusted enrollment status. The recalculation applies regardless of whether
you received aid for previous course enrollments. Repeat courses may also impact your
SAP status. View the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy.
Pell Grant eligibility for enrollment during Summer semester will be based on the
current academic year's FAFSA as well as the following academic year, using the most
beneficial aid year. The award amount is based on your EFC and enrollment level and
Pell grant usage. Loans are optional and eligibility is dependent on prior usage and
Enrolling in Two Institutions
If you enroll in more than one school during the same semester, you will need to take extra steps for financial aid consideration. Federal and state regulations do not allow you to receive financial aid from two schools at the same time. Contact the Financial Aid Office of the home school for a consortium agreement. When the consortium agreement is approved by both schools, the home school may consider your enrollment at the second school and may include financial assistance for that enrollment. You will be billed by both schools. The financial aid offered at the home school will pay charges at the home school only. You will need to make your own payment arrangements for the tuition and fee charges at the second school.
If you enroll at more than one school during the same academic year, you can receive no more than 100% of your Federal Pell and Federal Direct Loan eligibility
for that year. For example, if you enrolled at another school and received 90% of
your Pell at that school and then transfer to Bristol, you can receive only 10% at
Bristol regardless of your enrollment level. If this applies to you, it's important
that you notify the Bristol Financial Aid Office prior to your enrollment so we can
determine your actual remaining eligibility. At Bristol, our academic year runs fall,
spring, summer (with summer as the trailer semester).
Enrollment in a program of study abroad that has been approved for credit by Bristol Office
of Academic Affairs can be considered enrollment at Bristol for the purposes of financial
Financial Aid Enrollment Level
Your financial aid eligibility is based on your enrollment level on a specific date at
the start of each semester. Your eligibility will be based on your registered credits at
the end of the drop period, which typically ends on the 14th calendar day of the traditional
full semester. You should plan to register for all classes, specifically later-starting
classes, by this freeze date. If you register for a class after the freeze date, that
enrollment will not be included in your financial aid award, which means that you
will be responsible for paying those charges on your own. The freeze date is posted
in the Event Calendar and in the Student Handbook.
Deleted Classes and Total Withdrawals
A deleted class at any time will reduce your financial aid enrollment level and reduce your financial aid award, even if the aid has already been paid out. Deleting all classes or a total withdrawal during the 100% tuition refund period will result in the cancellation of tuition and fees (except $37) and all financial aid. You will be responsible for your book advance charges.
Total withdrawals up to the 60% point of the semester (payment period) will also reduce
your financial aid award.
Enrollment in Modules
For financial aid purposes, you are considered to be enrolled in modules if any of your registered classes do not span the entire length of the traditional semester.
Withdrawing or Dropping Out Means Paying Back Financial Aid
As if there weren't enough reasons to stay in school, financial aid recipients have one more. Recipients who stop attending their classes up to the 60% point in the semester are required to pay back a portion of the financial aid funds. Additionally, recipients enrolled in modules (see section above regarding modules) who do not successfully complete each module may be required to pay back a portion of the financial aid funds. This recalculation of financial aid eligibility is done no later than 45 days after notification that the student is no longer attending.
If a financial aid recipient withdraws completely from Bristol, the financial aid will be prorated based on the percentage of the semester the student attends/completes. The dates used in this proration are gathered in the following order: the last date of attendance, if reported by instructor; the individual course withdrawal date at the time the student withdraws; finally, with no last date or attendance and no withdrawal date, a failed course is considered at 50%.
- For example, a student whose last date of attendance is up to the 30% point of the semester is eligible for only 30% of the financial aid award.
- Financial aid award funds used to pay off charges may be reduced or canceled, leaving the student with unpaid charges.
- A student who has received a financial aid refund and then totally withdraws from
Bristol may be required to return all or part of that refund.
Also, a financial aid recipient who receives any combination of W and F grades for the semester may be required to return all or part of the financial aid funds received.
- For example, a student who receives a W and F grade will need to return some financial aid funds if the documented last date of attendance is before the 60% point.
- A student who receives a W grade and a C grade will not need to return financial aid funds. Note that enrollment in modules requires a passing grade in each module.
- Passing grades are A, B, C, D, S
A financial aid recipient who enrolls in modules for the semester and then does not complete at least one class in each enrolled module may be required to return some financial aid funds received.
- For example, a student enrolls in three credits in a seven-week session and also enrolls in six credits in the traditional full semester session.
- The student receives a passing grade in the seven-week session but then withdraws from the traditional semester classes.
- The student did not successfully complete all modules so financial aid eligibility
will be recalculated based on the percentage of the semester the student was in attendance.
The return of federal financial aid funds takes place in this order:
- Unsubsidized Direct Loans
- Subsidized Direct Loans
- Direct Parent PLUS Loans
- Pell Grant
- Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
Please review Withdrawal and its impact on Financial Aid and the student Summary of Federal Requirements Regarding Financial Aid & Student Withdrawal for further information about the Bristol and financial aid refund policies. If there
are circumstances preventing a student from completing the semester, the student needs
to officially withdraw from Bristol and should contact the Enrollment Center.
Class Withdrawal Affects Eligibility (Student Completion Rate)
Withdrawals, failures or incomplete classes may jeopardize your eligibility. It's
wise to assess the demands in your life (family, work, etc.) and enroll in only as
many courses as you're sure you can successfully complete. Finish what you start and
you can be sure that your financial aid will remain available for you. Federal guidelines
require that a quantitative component be included in the college's Satisfactory Academic
Progress policy. That means that a student receiving financial aid must successfully
complete attempted courses. The college's Student Completion Rate policy requires
that you complete your program within a 150% time frame. If you fall below the College's Student
Completion Rate, you may lose your eligibility for financial assistance. Refer to
the paragraph below on Satisfactory Academic Progress.
Grades Affect Your Eligibility (Grade Point Average)
Federal guidelines require that the College have a qualitative standard (grades) included
in the Satisfactory Academic Policy. Your GPA will be reviewed every semester to determine
if you are maintaining these standards.
Satisfactory Academic Progress
All matriculated students are expected to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress which includes two components:
- Student Completion Rate (SCR)
- Grade Point Average (GPA)
View the full Satisfactory Academic Progress policy.
Aid Suspension Due to Drug Conviction
The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, suspends aid eligibility for students who have been convicted under federal or state law of the sale or possession of drugs, if the offense occurred during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving federal student aid. If you have convictions for these offenses, call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1.800.433.3243 or go to the FAFSA on the Web site, click on "Before Beginning a FAFSA" in the left column, then click on Student Aid Eligibility Worksheet to find out how this law applies to you. If you have lost federal student aid eligibility due to a drug conviction, you can regain eligibility if you pass two unannounced drug tests conducted by a drug rehabilitation program that complies with the criteria established by the U.S. Department of Education.
Degree and Coursework Financial Aid Eligibility
The U.S. Department of Education regulations require that a student must be enrolled in an approved degree-seeking program to receive federal financial aid at Bristol Community College. The majority of Massachusetts financial aid funds follow these same requirements. Essentially, only the coursework that counts toward your degree will be used in determining your hours of enrollment for financial aid purposes (grants, loans, and Federal Work-Study).
If a student is registered for a course that is not applicable to their program and not eligible for aid, they will see the specific course referenced at the top of their Degree Works worksheet.
The majority of Bristol’s degree programs are eligible for financial aid, however there are some certificates that are not. View the full list of eligible and ineligible certificates.