Financial Aid Processes and Federal Regulations

Financial Aid Freeze Dates

Financial Aid Freeze Dates are dates when enrollment status is frozen or "locked' for financial aid purposes. On these dates, a "snapshot" is taken of enrollment status to establish "official enrollment" for reporting purposes and financial aid eligibility. At these times, financial aid is adjusted for the term to reflect current enrolled credits eligible for receive financial aid. For example, if a student registered for full-time status at the beginning of a term and then dropped credits before the Freeze Date, financial aid is revised to match eligibility, based on the new number of enrolled credits as of the Freeze Date and types of aid that were awarded. Credits added after the Freeze Date cannot be used to increase financial aid eligibility.

Students must be sure to register correctly for courses in their programs of study and for the correct number of credit hours before Financial Aid Freeze Dates. Otherwise, their aid may require repackaging which also may affect their student bill.

Things to Remember about Financial Aid Freeze Dates:

  • Information or corrections to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) submitted after the Freeze Date may affect financial aid.
  • Enrollment status (full-time, 3/4 time, 1/2 time, less than 1/2 time) is locked for financial aid; actual courses are not locked.
  • Financial aid is adjusted for enrollment level, as appropriate, if course credit load is increased or reduced before the Freeze Date. Students are responsible for payment of any balance on their accounts due to reduced financial aid created by reduced credit load.
  • Adding credits after the Freeze Date does not increase financial aid received.
  • Taking courses that begin after the Freeze Date may affect financial aid. For example, after the Freeze Date, the Federal Pell Grant is not disbursed until after courses have started. The grant is reduced accordingly, if students fail to begin attendance in all classes.


The financial aid package should be completed before course registration or tuition and fees will need to be paid for before the designated due dates. If tuition and fees are not paid within designated due dates, registration is cancelled.

The Financial Aid Office reserves the right to adjust a financial aid package when an over-award is made. Students are required to notify the Financial Aid Office if any additional gift aid assistance is received for educational expenses. Furthermore, the Financial Aid Office voids any award if it is determined that the student provided incorrect or false information on the financial aid application. All financial aid awards are subject to change if the information on which they were based changes, if federal regulations require a change, or an over-award occurs.

Central Piedmont Community College's Financial Aid Office adjusts student awards throughout the drop/add period. After the drop/add period, no awards are adjusted unless a "never attended" or a "complete withdrawal" is received from the instructor before the start date. 

The award letter is based on full-time enrollment for an entire year. Any changes in enrollment status must be reported to the Financial Aid Office.

  • Full-time status (100%) means enrollment for a minimum of 12 credit hours.
  • Three-quarter time status (75%) means enrollment for 9 to 11 credit hours.
  • Half-time status (50%) means enrollment for 6 to 8 credit hours.
  • Less than half-time status consists of enrollment in 1 to 5 credit hours.

Clock Hour/Credit Hour Conversion Programs

The determination of enrollment status (full, 3/4, 1/2, or less) is, by Federal regulations, different for the following program(s) of study:

This determination of enrollment status is different because the programs have one or more courses that cannot be used toward a two-year degree program. Enrollment status determination for the above programs is determined by totaling the clock/contact hours a student takes each semester for each course. Total hours are then divided by 37.5 to obtain the converted credits. Converted credits are then used to determine the enrollment status. For a list of converted courses, check with the Financial Aid Office.

Less Than Half-Time Attendance

Federal regulations require a less than half-time budget calculation restriction to tuition, books and transportation for students who are enrolled less than half-time. If a less-than half-time enrollment status is the result of dropped or never attended classes, Federal Pell is reduced and an over-award could occur. It is the responsibility of the student to satisfy any balance before receiving additional federal aid.

Financial Aid awards cannot be automatically transferred from one college to another. Students need to have results of the FAFSA released to the new college. All documents in a student’s financial aid file are the property of Central Piedmont Community College and cannot be released.

Financial aid cannot be received simultaneously at two or more colleges.

If any financial aid funds remain after charges are paid, remaining funds are transferred to the student’s Higher One Debit Card (usually within the first four weeks of class). If requested, a check can be mailed to the student's current address. It is important to keep student addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses updated. Changes in personal information can be made online at or in person at Records and Registration in the lobby of the Central High Building on Central Campus.

Any unclaimed refunds are voided after 90 days. Funds can be reissued only BEFORE August 1 for the prior fiscal year award (July 1 to June 30).

Programs/Courses Ineligible for Financial Aid

Diploma or certificate programs containing less than sixteen (16) semester hours are not eligible for Federal student aid. Although the Financial Aid Office makes every effort to monitor these programs, it is the responsibility of the student to ensure acceptance into a program of at least sixteen (16) semester hours in order to be eligible for federal aid. Please note that not all diploma or certificate programs consisting of 16 or more credit hours are eligible for federal student aid. In addition, Career Development, Continuing Education, courses for which credit by examination has been received and/or courses being audited by the student are ineligible for financial aid. For a list of ineligible programs, student may contact their academic counselor or the Financial Aid Office.

Reasons Why Part of a Grant May Need to be Repaid

Unlike loans, grants usually do not have to be repaid. However, there are two reasons why part of a Federal grant may have to be repaid :

1. The amount given was more than the student was eligible to receive. This is called an over-award and can happen if the school makes an error when calculating eligibility for financial aid, or if an audit of financial records reveals that some of the information provided was incorrect (for example, actual income was higher than what was reported on the financial aid application).

2. A student withdrew early from the program for which the grant was given.

Eligibility for Title IV Federal financial aid may be restored by entering into an acceptable repayment plan with the department. As long as payments are made as agreed, the grant-originated debt does not affect eligibility for further aid. However, if students fail to make the agreed-upon payments, their eligibility is permanently lost until the debt is paid in full.

Grant overpayment debts are not eligible for either consolidation or rehabilitation.

Policy on Return to Title IV Funds

Federal regulations require a recalculation of federal financial aid eligibility for students who withdraw, drop out, or are dismissed prior to completing 60 percent of an academic term. (An example of the Return to Title IV Fund calculation is available in the Financial Aid/Veterans Affairs Office.)

Recalculation for percent of aid earned is based on the following formula: Percent earned = Number of Days Completed Prior to Withdrawal Date - Divided By - Total Days In a Semester/Term. If the calculation results in an overpayment, the student owes the balance to the College. In that case, the student should make payment arrangements on the balance with the Financial Aid/Veterans Affairs Office. If the student fails to pay the debt to the College within 45 days of notification, the debt is reported to the U.S.Department of Education as an overpayment. Federal eligibility is lost until the debt is paid or satisfactory arrangements are made with the U.S. Department of Education.

Financial aid students should notify the Financial Aid Office before withdrawing. According to federal regulations, the Return to Title IV recalculation is computed using the 50 percent point of the semester for students who stop attending classes within a given term without formally withdrawing.

FERPA Guidelines

The Financial Aid/Veterans Affairs Office communicates with students using their CPCC email accounts. Due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), only general questions may be answered via email unless students use their CPCC email address and include their student ID numbers. Due to confidentiality requirements described in FERPA regulations, information cannot be disclosed to parents. Students may access their “MyCollege” account to obtain information regarding their grades, financial aid awards, satisfactory academic status, and student billing. When visiting the Financial Aid Office, students should bring their CPCC student ID.

Financial Aid Fraud and Forgery

The falsification and misrepresentation of information submitted for the purpose of receiving financial assistance will result in the cancellation of future assistance and repayment of all prior assistance received under false pretense. Signing someone another person's name and falsification of income information are examples of fraud and forgery. A students who purposely provides false or misleading information to receive federal financial aid is in violation of the college’s Rules of Conduct and may face prosecution under state and federal laws.