Financial Aid Processes and Federal Regulations

Financial Aid Freeze Dates

In accordance with federal regulations, the CPCC Financial Aid Office establishes a freeze date each semester to set enrollment status for disbursing federal and state financial aid. Financial Aid freeze dates are the dates when enrollment status is frozen or locked for financial aid purposes. Current enrollment status on freeze dates is considered to be the official enrollment status for reporting purposes and financial aid eligibility. At these times, financial aid is adjusted for the term to reflect current enrolled credits eligible for financial aid. For example, if a student registers for full-time status at the beginning of a term and later drops 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 on the types of aid awarded. Credits added after the Freeze Date cannot be used to increase financial aid eligibility. For students who are retroactively awarded financial aid (after the freeze date), credit hours are frozen at the time the award is made and payment is based on current enrollment status.

Before financial aid freeze dates, students should plan accordingly to register for courses in their program of study and for the correct number of credit hours. Otherwise, their aid may require repackaging, which also might 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 might affect financial aid.
  • Enrollment status (full-time, 3/4 time, 1/2 time, less than 1/2 time) is locked for financial aid eligibility; 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 which 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 for students who fail to begin attendance in all classes.

Awarding Financial Aid

The financial aid package should be completed before course registration, or tuition and fees must be paid before the designated due dates. If tuition and fees are not paid by 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 or 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,
  • federal regulations require a change, or
  • an over-award occurs.

The CPCC 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. 

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

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

  • Dental Assisting Diploma - D45240
  • Ophthalmic Medical Assistant Diploma - D45510.

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. 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.

Transferring to Another College

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

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


Remaining financial aid funds, after tuition/fees and books, are released for disbursement according to the schedule on the Financial Aid Calendar:

The actual dates on which students receive refunds are based on their preferred designated method for receiving refunds:

  • Electronic Deposit to Another Account
    Money is transferred to another account the same business day BankMobile receives funds from Central Piedmont Community College. Typically, it takes 1-2 business days for the receiving bank to credit funds to an account.
  • Electronic Deposit to a BankMobile Vibe Account
    For students who open a BankMobile Vibe Account (upon identity verification), money is deposited the same business day BankMobile receives funds from Central Piedmont Community College.   

Funds may be delayed up to two weeks for students who do not select a preferred refund preference. 

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 Admissions, Records & Registration on any CPCC 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) credit 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) credit hours in order to be eligible for federal aid.

Please note: 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 was received and/or courses being audited by the student are ineligible for financial aid. For a list of ineligible programs, students may contact their academic counselor or a Financial Aid representative.

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. The Return to Title IV recalculation is computed using the 50 percent point of the semester for students who stop attending classes within a term without formally withdrawing, if the last date of attendance cannot be determined. (An example of the Return to Title IV Fund calculation is available in the Financial Aid/Veterans Affairs Office.) Financial aid students should notify the CPCC Financial Aid Office before withdrawing.

Recalculation for percent of aid earned is based on the following formula: Percent Earned equals [Number of Days Completed Prior to Withdrawal Date] divided by [Total Days in a Semester/Term]. If the calculation results in an over payment, the student owes the balance to CPCC.  If the student fails to pay the debt within 45 days of notification, the debt is reported to the U.S. Department of Education as an over payment. Federal eligibility is lost until the debt is paid or satisfactory arrangements are made with the U.S. Department of Education.

FERPA Confidentiality

The CPCC Financial Aid Office communicates with students through 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 CPCC MyCollege account to obtain information regarding their grades, financial aid awards, satisfactory academic status, and student billing. When visiting the CPCC Financial Aid Office, students should bring their CPCC student ID card.

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. Examples of fraud and forgery are: signing another person's name and falsification of income. A student 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.