Jul 20, 2019  
2019-2020 College Catalog 
    
2019-2020 College Catalog

Financial Information



Residency Requirements

Residency at Tri-County Technical College is an essential part of tuition assessment. Students are required to pay out-of-state tuition if they are not legal residents of the state of South Carolina. Initial determination of one’s resident status is made at the time of admission. The determination made at that time, and any determination made thereafter, prevails for each subsequent semester/term until information becomes available that would impact the existing residency status.

The burden of proof rests with the student to show evidence as deemed necessary to establish and maintain her/his residency status. Questions regarding residency should be directed to the Residency Officer, Pendleton Campus, 133 Ruby Hicks Hall. Students who falsify residential information will be charged the appropriate tuition rate, plus interest at a rate of 8% per annum, and a penalty amounting to 25% of the out-of-state rate for one semester.

Note: Establishing residency at a university or college other than Tri-County Technical College does not guarantee the same residency classification at the College.

Legal residence status is determined by regulations issued under S.C. Code of Laws, 1976, Titles 59-112-10 through 59-112-100.

Out-of-State to In-State Requirements

In order for residency status to be evaluated before the tuition due date, the residency packet must be submitted to the Residency Officer (133 Ruby Hicks Hall, Pendleton Campus) no later than the residency priority date (as indicated on the Academic Calendar). Residency packets will be considered through the last day to add classes for Session A for the term in which the student is attempting to qualify for in-state tuition. However, the student must pay out-of-state tuition prior to the tuition due date. If in-state residency is granted, the student will receive a refund of the tuition difference.

In addition to the residency application (available online at www.tctc.edu/residency), copies of the documents listed below must be included in the residency packet. NOTE: If applying as a dependent of a South Carolina resident, the following documents must also be submitted from the person claiming the student as a dependent.

  • Lease, rental agreement, or closing documents.
  • Most recently filed Federal and State income tax returns. If filing as independent and under age 24, most recently filed federal income tax return for parent or guardian is also required.
  • Documentation of all sources of income.
  • Valid South Carolina driver’s license, or if a non-driver, a South Carolina identification card.
  • Vehicle registration(s) of all vehicles owned.
  • Non-citizens of the United States must provide a copy of their visa, permanent resident card, or other applicable immigration document.

Students seeking an exception to the twelve-month residency requirement must also submit one of the following:

  • Full-time employees must provide a statement from the employer for whom in-state determination is based. Statement must 1) verify full time employment; 2) specify number of hours worked per week; 3) state original date of employment in South Carolina; and 4) specify length of term of employment; if indefinite, state so. Statement must be on company letterhead. If the company does not have letterhead, the statement must be notarized.
  • Retired in South Carolina petitioners must provide documentation of retirement and receipt of retirement income received at a South Carolina address.
  • Military petitioners must provide a copy of their current active duty orders.

NOTE: Incomplete residency packets will not be considered. Additional documentation may be required at the discretion of the Residency Officer.

Out-of-County to In-County Requirements

To qualify for in-county tuition rates, the student must have lived or resided in Anderson, Oconee, or Pickens County continuously for at least twelve months immediately preceding the first day of class of the term for which resident classification is sought. Students must submit to TC Central (105 Ruby Hick Hall, Pendleton Campus or the front desk at the Anderson, Easley, or Oconee Campuses):

  • A completed Change Request: Student Address, Phone, or E-mail form (available online at www.tctc.edu/change).
  • A copy of a valid lease, rental agreement, or closing documents.

Residency changes will be processed through the last day to add classes for Session A for the term in which the student is attempting to qualify for in-county tuition. The student must pay out-of-county tuition prior to the tuition due date. If in-state residency is granted, the student will receive a refund of the tuition difference.

Residency Appeals

Any person, following a decision on resident classification, may appeal the decision to the Tri-County Technical College’s residency appeals committee. This committee, however, is bound by the same laws and regulations as the Residency Officer, so its purpose is only to review the facts and details of any case and to evaluate the correctness of the decision made by the College’s Residency Officer. Neither the committee nor the Residency Officer may waive the provisions of the law or regulations.

Persons wishing to appeal a residency decision must provide a letter to the College’s Residency Officer (133 Ruby Hicks Hall, Pendleton Campus) stating the intention to appeal the decision. The letter must also include a summary of the residency situation and the provision under which the appeal is being made. The Residency Officer will then schedule a meeting of the appeals committee to hear the appeal.

Tuition

Tuition is set on a sliding scale based upon the student’s legal residence as defined in the Code of Laws of South Carolina, guidelines established by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education and the Tri-County Technical College Commission.  Those students who live in Anderson, Oconee and Pickens Counties pay the lowest fees because part of their tax dollars funds the College.  Other students from South Carolina pay a lower fee than out-of-state students because the College derives part of its support from state revenues.

All students, even those taking courses tuition-free, will be responsible for purchasing required textbooks and paying applicable materials and lab fees.

Tuition is subject to change without notice. Please check the College website for the most current tuition amounts. As of the production of this Catalog, tuition rates per semester/term are as follows (includes the mandatory $6 per credit technology fee and the $2 per credit hour Student Activity fee):

Anderson/Oconee/Pickens Counties    $180.28 per credit hour
All Other SC Counties    $236.28 per credit hour
Out-of-State    $406.28 per credit hour

Senior Citizens

The College offers tuition-free courses, both credit and noncredit, on a space-available basis to senior citizens, 60 years of age or older. To be eligible for tuition-waived courses, a student must be a legal resident of South Carolina and meet all admission requirements. The College may require proof that the student is eligible for tuition-waived status. Specific registration dates are published on the Enrollment and Academic Calendar found at  http://tctc.edu/calendar.

Community and personal interest courses through the Community and Corporate Education Division are not offered on a tuition-free basis.

Children of Veterans

Based on the Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976 Title 59-111-20, the College offers Free Credit Tuition for Certain War Veterans’ Children. The Business Office must receive a letter from the state of South Carolina, Office of the Governor, Division of Veterans’ Affairs, before waiving tuition. These tuition waivers apply only to credit courses.

Children of Firemen, Law-Enforcement Officers, and Other Public Employees Totally Disabled or Killed in the Line of Duty

Based on the Code of Laws of South Carolina, Section 59-111, the College offers tuition-free courses to children of firemen, law-enforcement officers, organized rescue squad members, and other public employees who have become totally disabled or were killed in the line of duty, paid for a period not exceeding four years, regardless of the number of state-supported colleges, universities, or state-supported vocational or technical schools the child attends.

Public and government employees referred to above are defined as:

  • Firemen, both regularly employed and members of volunteer organized units, organized rescue squad members, members of the Civil Air Patrol, law enforcement officers, or corrections officers, as defined herein, including reserve and auxiliary units of counties or municipalities who have become totally disabled or were killed in the line of duty on or after July 1, 1964.
  • Government employees who have become totally disabled or were killed in the line of duty while working on state time on or after July 1, 1996, as a result of a criminal act committed against them which constitutes a felony under the laws of this State.

The College requires proof that the student is eligible for tuition-waived status. Personal interest courses through the Corporate and Community Education Division are not offered on a tuition-free basis.

Application for the waived tuition shall be filed in the governing body of the institution and shall be accompanied by proof or evidence of death or total disability of the parent of the applicant, and such proof or evidence that the injury or death occurred in the line of duty as considered necessary by such governing body, which shall have sole discretion in granting or not granting free tuition.

This article shall not apply to a child or children born after the first year of total disability as herein defined.

Textbooks

Students whose funding for tuition and fees is greater than their account balance, generating a credit balance, may have funds available to charge books at the TCTC Campus Store. Students can review account balances through eTC using the online bill/schedule.  Charges against student accounts are allowed only during a particular time period. See the Campus Store website at www.ishoptctc.com for dates.

Students with credit balances, who prefer to purchase books off campus, may request a refund for books at the Business Office. Generally requests must be made at least 10 days before the Campus Store charging period ends.  A detailed cost sheet from the merchant of choice is required before funds will be processed. See the section on refunds for more information.

Special Fees

Fees are subject to change without notice. Please see the College website for the most current rates. As of the production of this Catalog, current fees include:

  • Application Fee: $30
  • Certification Fee: $150-300 (required for certain courses within the Supply Chain Management curriculum)
  • Course Materials Fee: $10-$150 (when applicable)
  • Credential Order/Reorder Fee: $35
  • Criminal Record Checks, Agency Orientation, and Drug Screens (required for Health Education programs. Certain clinical agency requirements may necessitate more than one background check and/or drug screen.)
  • Criminal Record Checks (required for Early Childhood Development majors)
  • Digital Course Content Fee: Varies with Course
  • Enrollment Fee: $45 (for first-time students or returning students)
  • Equipment and Supply Fees (required for certain majors, such as Early Childhood Development)
  • Exemption Fee: $75 per course
  • Identification Card Replacement: $5
  • Packet Fee: $12 (when applicable)
  • Placement Retesting Fee: $10
  • Registration Fee: $40 (when applicable)
  • Stop Payment/Reissue Check Fee: $30
  • Student Activity Fee: $2 per registered credit hour 
  • Technology Fee: $6 per registered credit hour 
  • Transcript Fee: $9.25 per copy
  • Uniform, Equipment, and Insurance Fees (required for students enrolled in Dental Assisting, Emergency Medical Technology, Medical Assisting, Medical Laboratory Technology, Nursing, Practical Nursing, Surgical Technology, and Veterinary Technology)

Surcharge for In-County Residents

A portion of the College’s operating budget is funded by each of the three counties in our service area (Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens). A surcharge may be assessed on residents of a county if that county does not meet its obligation for funding support of the College.  The surcharge is subject to change without notice and may be assessed before the start of any semester.  The surcharge will be assessed on every registered credit hour for the applicable term.  The surcharge applies to all courses except those offered through Corporate and Community Education.  

Payment of Tuition and Fees

Paying Tuition

Students may pay tuition and fees by cash, check, credit or debit card. The College accepts American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa.  Payments are accepted online, in person, by U.S. mail, or by phone. Payments made with credit/debit cards must be paid online.

  • The easiest and most convenient way to pay is online through eTC portal accounts using checks, credit cards, or debit cards. 
  • Students paying in person should go to the Pendleton Campus Cashier’s Office in Ruby Hicks or the front desks at the Anderson, Easley, or Oconee campuses.
  • Students can pay by mail by sending checks to Tri-County Technical College, Attention: Business Office, P.O. Box 587, Pendleton, SC, 29670.
  • Credit students may also enroll in a payment plan during specified periods of enrollment. This is an interest-free monthly payment plan that drafts payments directly from a bank account or credit card. There is a $30 nonrefundable fee to participate each semester. Students must enroll in a payment plan each semester as it does not roll from term to term. For information on the payment plan, students may access their eTC portal account or contact the Business Office at 864-646-1802.

Dishonored (Returned) Checks

A dishonored check is one that is returned to the College as unpaid.  These checks include stop payments, insufficient funds, refer to maker, account closed and any other reason for unpaid funds. A $30 fee will be assessed for each dishonored check.  Checking account holders will be notified via certified mail to contact the Business Office within 10 days before the item is turned over for prosecution.  If restitution is not made, the returned item will be forwarded to the local solicitor’s office or other 3rd party collection agency for collection. At that time, the College cannot accept payment from the student.  The solicitor’s office or 3rd party collection agency will be responsible for collecting payment.  Once warrants are issued they cannot be withdrawn by the College.  Students will not be allowed to register or receive transcripts until the dishonored check is paid in full.

Sponsorships

A sponsorship is defined as a program provided by an employer or other organization that pays Tri-County Technical College directly for a portion or all tuition, fees and/or books. Proper documentation must be submitted to the Business Office at least five business days before the tuition deadline for each term to ensure payment arrangements are made and course schedules remain intact.

Consequences of Debts Owed to the College

  • Students who owe the College for tuition, books, parking tickets, or library fines will not receive grades until their bills have been paid; these debts could be from any time enrolled in the College.
  • Students who owe the College will not be allowed to register for subsequent terms until their bills have been paid.
  • Students will not be permitted to graduate or receive transcripts until all prior debts to the College are paid in full.

Account Balances and Collection

The Business Office staff strives to bill accurately and to collect revenue generated by student tuition and fees, outside entities and related parties; to support the College by delivering excellent customer service; to evaluate constantly and to improve processes and procedures to improve efficiency of operations; and to ensure fair and honest treatment to customers.

The Business Office is responsible for collecting outstanding balances from self-pay, financial aid, or other sources. Billed charges include tuition, lab and technology fees, and certain miscellaneous charges including book charges, penalties and fines.

The Business Office staff will send statements to students’ active e-mail and mailing addresses with the College. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure the address is correct on their student account and to monitor e-mail accounts. If a student is enrolled in an active payment plan for the term and is not current with installments, then the account is considered past due. Balances are due immediately.

If an account is not paid by the end of a term, the account will be moved to collections status. Once in collections, the current balance may not be seen online. Students will need to contact the Business Office to make full payment. The College may add any and all collection cost to student accounts. Account balances that remain in collection status will be submitted to a collection agency and/or the South Carolina Department of Revenue. South Carolina Department of Revenue will withhold the amount due to Tri-County Technical College, plus a $25.00 administrative fee from tax refunds. If the refund amount is not sufficient to cover the entire balance owed to the College, South Carolina Department of Revenue may also garnish wages. The Business Office will submit the account balance each year thereafter until the full balance is satisfied.

Refunds

It is the responsibility of the student to initiate all action for a schedule change, except in the case of cancelled courses, in order to receive a refund.  See the Enrollment and Academic Calendar for refund deadlines at www.tctc.edu/calendar.

Refunds are processed throughout the semester.  Parts of term vary in length from the semester term and will be in proportion to the semester term refund schedule.  Specific dates for each term are listed in the Class Schedule and on the Tri-County Technical College website.

Refunds due to a student will be calculated within approximately six weeks from the beginning of the semester. Thereafter, refunds are processed weekly.

Refunds will be processed using Bank Mobile. Bank Mobile provides refunds via direct deposit to a personal bank account, a Bank Mobile Vibe Account, or by paper check.  More information on Bank Mobile and the refund process may be reviewed at refundselection.com.

Cancelled Courses

When a course cancellation reduces a student’s course load, the student (or sponsor) will receive a 100% refund (including associated courses fees).  No action is required by the student to initiate the refund. Students receiving financial aid must initiate contact the Financial Aid Office to have their financial aid award adjusted.

Dropped Courses or Reduction of Credit Hours

Refunds will be computed based upon the actual number of reduced credit hours. 

Terms of varying lengths will have refund periods that correspond to the drop periods. If the drop period is equivalent to less than one instructional day, no refund will be granted. The specific drop periods for each term are noted on the Enrollment and Academic Calendar found at www.tctc.edu/calendar.

  • The refund schedule is as follows:
    • Before or during the drop period: 100%
    • After the drop period: 0% 
  • To be eligible for a refund, students must initiate the drop action by dropping the course(s) via their eTC account. The refund request will be processed within 30 days.
  • Students who never attend a class during the first two weeks of class will be administratively dropped and receive a refund within 30 days.
  • Recipients of Title IV Federal Financial Aid (Pell Grant) who withdraw from all classes prior to completing 60% of the term will have tuition and fee charges adjusted and financial aid funds returned to the government in accordance with the statutory repayment policy. In certain instances, this repayment may result in a debt to the College and/or the government that the student must repay. Copies of this regulation and related examples are available in the Financial Aid Office.

Financial Aid

The Office of Financial Aid strives to enhance the knowledge and growth of all students. This office is dedicated to providing exceptional service to our students, their families, and the community.  This office will empower students with information and tools to help them maximize their educational experience, become community-minded, and make informed decisions. Financial Aid will accomplish this within the framework of upholding regulatory compliance, providing access to financial resources and financial education, and creating cross-campus partnerships. Students will be treated with personalized service, taking into consideration their individual needs and unique circumstances.

Financial aid is available in the form of grants, scholarships, loans, and student employment. The Office of Financial Aid will create financial aid eligibility letters using one or all of these forms of aid to assist students to cover their educational expenses. 

Students should apply for financial aid early since priority processing dates are established for several types of aid. Priority dates are included on the Enrollment and Academic Calendar, found at www.tctc.edu/calendar.

Financial Aid Policies

  • A student’s financial need is determined by subtracting the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from the total Cost of Attendance (COA) for the College. The financial aid available to a student is not to exceed the total COA and is to be used only for legitimate educational purposes.
  • Students must reapply for financial aid each academic year.
  • Students receiving financial aid who withdraw from any classes for the term should inquire with the Financial Aid Office as this could affect eligibility of current and/or continued assistance.
  • The Financial Aid Office reserves the right to review and cancel aid at any time because of changes in a student’s financial, academic, or enrollment status based on all applicable laws and regulations.
  • Students receiving financial assistance through any of the Title IV Federal Student Aid Programs must be making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) toward an eligible degree, diploma, or certificate.
  • For the fall semester, students are encouraged to apply by April 1 to be considered for all Federal or State financial aid.

Application Process

Applying for and receiving financial aid is an annual process that students must initiate each year to become eligible for federal and state aid. For the majority of aid, the first step is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at fafsa.ed.gov.  Once completed, the student’s information will be sent to Tri-County for review by the Financial Aid Office. The office will review the application, possibly request additional documentation, review all necessary documents, and, finally, determine and notify the student of financial aid eligibility for the upcoming academic year.  The communication process will occur through eTC, Tri-County’s online student portal, and the student’s college e-mail address.

Verification

Some FAFSAs will be selected by the Department of Education (ED) for a process called Verification. If selected for Verification, additional documentation will be requested through eTC, the online student portal, and College e-mail accounts. The Verification process will need to be completed before financial aid can be determined and applied to students’ accounts. If the process has not been completed prior to the tuition due date, students must secure courses through other payment methods, such as paying in full or enrolling in the payment plan. Once the process has been completed, the students’ qualifying financial aid will be credited to their bills.

Students are urged not to send sensitive documents or personal information via unsecure methods to the Financial Aid Office.

Types of Financial Aid

Federal Pell Grant

Undergraduate students who have not received a bachelor’s or professional degree may be considered for the Federal Pell Grant program. The amount of the grant received is based on financial need and depends on the student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as determined by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the student’s enrollment status. A FAFSA must be completed for each new academic year.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) are available to students who have not completed a bachelor’s or professional degree. FSEOG is awarded to exceptionally needy students. Priority is given to Pell Grant eligible students with the lowest Expected Family Contributions (EFCs). There is no guarantee that every eligible student will be able to receive an FSEOG award. Funding for this program is limited.

SC Legislative Incentive for Future Excellence Scholarship (LIFE)

All students are encouraged to apply for financial aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). However, LIFE (Legislative Incentive for Future Excellence) Scholarships do not require the submission of a FAFSA. Eligibility is determined once the final, official high school transcript is received by the TCTC Admissions Office.

The LIFE Scholarship is an academic scholarship funded by the State of South Carolina. It is awarded to legal residents of South Carolina who graduated from a South Carolina high school or an approved home-school program, or who were dependents of active-duty SC resident military stationed outside of the state when they graduated from high school. 

The LIFE Scholarship cannot be awarded to any student who has been convicted of a felony or any second or subsequent alcohol/drug related offense. A LIFE Scholarship cannot be awarded to any student who owes a repayment to a federal or state grant program or is in default on a federal student loan.

LIFE Scholarships are awarded to entering first year students who earned a minimum 3.0 SC Uniform GPA in high school. LIFE is disbursed to those students who enroll in a minimum of 12 non-remedial credit hours per semester and are seeking a degree, diploma, or certificate that meets the U.S. Department of Education’s Title IV regulations. Course numbers of 100 or below, as well as English 150 and Math 150, are considered remedial coursework and are not counted in the LIFE enrollment status for eligibility.

Transfer students must contact the Financial Aid Office regarding the documents required to confirm continuing LIFE eligibility.

To remain eligible for the LIFE Scholarship, rising second year students must have successfully completed 30 non-remedial credit hours. For students who begin eligibility during the academic year, typically in spring semester, a minimum of 15 non-remedial credit hours is required for renewal in the new academic year. In all cases, the student must maintain a cumulative, collegiate GPA of 3.0 to remain eligible for the LIFE Scholarship. This GPA will include all grades earned at Tri-County Technical College plus all grades attempted (excluding remedial courses) at all other institutions, both in-state and out-of-state.

Students can only receive up to a total of four consecutive semesters of the LIFE Scholarship at a two-year college. The Financial Aid Office has more information regarding eligibility.  

SC Lottery Tuition Assistance (LTA)

Students intending to access Lottery Tuition Assistance (LTA) funds must first complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). South Carolina students who qualify for in-state tuition rates at a South Carolina technical college may be eligible to receive LTA if the tuition and fees are not covered by Federal or other State need-based aid. LTA will not pay for any expenses other than tuition and will not generate a credit balance on an account. LTA by itself will never pay the entire cost of tuition. Students must be South Carolina residents and must enroll in at least 6 credit hours each term in an eligible program. Students must maintain a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA after attempting 24 semester hours in order to continue to receive LTA. Students cannot receive LTA in the same academic year in which LIFE has been received. Additional information on the SC Education Lottery Act is provided on the SC Technical College System website or upon request from the Financial Aid Office.

SC Need-Based Grant (SCNBG)

The South Carolina Need-Based Grant (SCNBG) is available to a limited number of students with financial need determined by the student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC) based on financial information provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students must be South Carolina residents to qualify. There is no guarantee that every eligible student will be able to receive a SCNBG. Funding for this program is limited.

TCTC Foundation Scholarships

Tri-County Technical College Foundation Scholarships are awarded each year to both new and continuing students. Application periods occur twice per year, in March and November.  Application openings and deadlines are posted on Tri-County’s website and multiple communication platforms. The criteria for scholarships vary, but include academic achievement, community participation, and financial need. The online application and important deadlines are available under the Scholarship section on the College website and the eTC student portal.

Federal Work-Study (FWS)

The Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program provides on and off-campus part-time employment opportunities for students. This program is designed to assist students in offsetting the cost of educational expenses while earning on-the-job training and experience to prepare them for future employment. Students participating in the FWS Program must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • A student must meet all the general eligibility requirements for Federal Title IV Financial Aid Programs. 
  • A student must demonstrate financial need as determined by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • A student must be enrolled in a minimum of 6 credit hours.
  • A student must be meeting all Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements.  See section titled “Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for Financial Aid” for additional information.

To find additional information and apply for open positions visit the Financial Aid website or log on to www.collegecentral.com/tctc.

Awarding of FWS funds is contingent upon the time of application, level of financial need, and availability of funds.  Students participating in the program are governed by weekly hour restrictions and are paid directly on a monthly basis at an hourly rate.

Federal Student Loans

Student loans should only be considered as a last resort option to help pay your educational expenses. TCTC encourages students to exhaust all other options, such as grants, scholarships, FWS, and to schedule a visit to the TCTC Money Management Center before deciding to use a student loan.  Students opting to take out a loan should borrow only what is needed to pay educational expenses and what is realistically able to be repaid.

To receive a Federal Direct Loan, complete the following:

  • Federal Direct Student Loan Affirmation Form found on TCTC’s website under Financial Aid Forms. 
  • Entrance Counseling at studentloans.gov.
  • Master Promissory Note (MPN) at studentloans.gov.

Federal Direct (Stafford) Loans

  • Direct Subsidized Loans are available on the basis of financial need. If a student is eligible for a subsidized loan, the government will pay (subsidize) the interest on the loan until repayment begins.
  • Unsubsidized Direct Loans are those for which students are responsible for the interest from the time the unsubsidized loan is disbursed until the loan is paid in full. Students can choose to pay the interest or allow it to accrue (accumulate) and be capitalized. Capitalizing the interest will increase the amount to repay.
  • Annual and Aggregate loan limits apply depending on a student’s dependency status and year enrolled in the College. 
  • After graduating, leaving school, or dropping below half-time enrollment (6 credit hours), students may have a six-month “grace period” before beginning repayment. During this period, students receive repayment information from their loan servicer and the first payment due date. Students are responsible for beginning repayment on time, even if they do not receive this information. Payments are usually due monthly.
  • Visit the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) at www.nslds.ed.gov to find your loan servicer and retrieve information on all federal student loans you borrowed at all educational institutions. 

Federal Direct PLUS Loan for Undergraduate Study

Parents can borrow a Direct PLUS (Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students) loan to help pay a dependent undergraduate student’s educational expenses.The student must be enrolled at least half time (6 credit hours) in an eligible program and have submitted a current Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Parents must have an acceptable credit history.

The yearly limit on a PLUS loan is equal to the Cost of Attendance (COA) minus any other financial aid received. If the COA is $10,000, for example, and the student receives $7,000 in other financial aid, parents may be eligible to borrow up to $3,000.

To receive a Federal Direct PLUS Loan, a parent will need to complete the following:

  • Federal Parent PLUS Loan Affirmation Form found on TCTC’s website under Financial Aid Forms. 
  • PLUS Loan application at studentloans.gov.
  • PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) at studentloans.gov.

Private (Alternative) Loans

When federal loans and other aid do not cover a student’s Cost of Attendance (COA), private, or alternative, loan programs may be available. Private loans require a credit check, debt to income analysis, and, in most cases, a credit worthy co-signer. Additional information is available on the Financial Aid website at Private Loans or in the Financial Aid Office.

Qualifying Courses for Financial Aid

Courses Within a Qualified, Declared Program of Study: Students can receive financial aid only for courses that can be applied toward their declared program of study. 

Repeat Coursework: A student who receives a failing grade in a class can repeat that class, but it will affect the completion rate. The number of repeat classes is considered by the review committee when a student is submitting an appeal for loss of financial aid. Classes repeated to improve a passing grade may be repeated one additional time only. 

Financial Aid during Summer Term

Summer financial aid is available to those who qualify but is limited compared to Fall and Spring Semesters.  All information and eligibility requirements outlined in this catalog apply to summer enrollment. Students should view their Financial Aid Eligibility Letter or their Student Bill/Schedule through eTC account after registering to learn about exact eligibility.  

Satisfactory Academic Progress for Federal and Other Student Aid Programs

Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for Financial Aid

Students receiving Federal Financial Aid must be making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) towards a degree, diploma, or certificate. For students who receive State aid, see the listing of the specific fund eligibility requirements in this catalog. SAP is measured by the following three factors:

Grade Point Average (GPA) - (Qualitative Measure)

  • Students must maintain a minimum cumulative institutional Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.00 (C) or better.

Completion Rate - (Quantitative Measure)

  • Students must successfully complete a minimum cumulative completion rate of 67% for all attempted hours, including remedial and transfer credits.
  • Grades of A, B, C, and D count as attempted and completed. All other grades are considered attempted, but not completed.

Maximum Timeframe (MTF) - (Quantitative Measure)

  • Students must complete their program of study within 150% of the hours required to receive their degree, diploma, or certificate for their declared program of study. 
  • The attempted hours are used for this calculation and include all coursework (remedial, failed, withdrawn, and transfer credits) accepted by the College that are part of the student’s declared program of study.

Review Process

During the first term of enrollment at TCTC, students will qualify to receive federal financial aid under the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy (students must also meet all other eligibility standards). 

Students who continue to meet all three above standards at the end of each semester will continue to be eligible to receive federal financial aid until the degree, diploma, or certificate is received.

If at the end of a term a student fails to meet one, two, or all three* standards, the student will be placed into a status of ‘Financial Aid Warning’ for the next term of enrollment. During the warning term, a student is still eligible to receive federal financial aid. 

Students meeting all three standards again at the end of the warning term will go back into good standing and continue being eligible to receive federal financial aid.

Students failing to meet one, two, or all three* of the standards at the end of the warning term will be placed into a status of ‘Financial Aid Suspension’ for the next term of enrollment. Students in suspension status are not eligible to receive any federal financial aid.

* Students will enter a warning status due to the Multiple Time Frame (MTF) rule when they get within 15 credit hours of their MTF. 

Reinstatement/Appeal Process

There are two ways for a student to become eligible for financial aid once entered into the ineligible status of ‘Financial Aid Suspension’:

  • Students may continue taking classes and paying for the coursework out of pocket until all eligibility criteria have been met. South Carolina residents may be able to qualify for Lottery Tuition Assistance (LTA); see prior section for eligibility requirements.
  • Students may complete the SAP appeal process and be granted an approved appeal.

A student on Federal Financial Aid Suspension may appeal by:

  • Completing a financial aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal Form (available on the College’s website under Financial Aid Forms). Documents required:
    • A written statement with an explanation of why the student did not meet the SAP standards and a plan for how the student will be academically successful in the future. 
    • Documentation for the extenuating circumstances sited in the appeal.
    • An Academic Graduation Plan in DegreeWorks completed with an academic advisor prior to the appeal submission.

Acceptable reasons for an appeal include circumstances the student could not have foreseen at the beginning of the term and that are beyond their control. 

Once the SAP Appeal Form has been received by the Financial Aid Office, the appeal process is as follows:

  • Appeals are reviewed by Financial Aid to determine whether to approve or deny the appeal.
  • Appeal decisions will be made in the order in which they are received, and students will be notified via College e-mail address. If a decision has not been made prior to the tuition due date, the student must secure courses through other payment methods such as paying in full or enrolling in the payment plan. If the appeal is approved during the semester, qualifying financial aid will be credited to the student’s account.
  • Students may have their Federal Financial Aid reinstated with the approval of an appeal.
    • Students whose aid has been reinstated by appeal approval will have to adhere to specific terms and conditions outlined with the notification of approval.
    • A signed acknowledgment from the student of the terms and conditions must be returned prior to aid posting to the student’s bill.
  • Students whose appeals are denied must meet all three standards to regain eligibility prior to receiving additional future Federal Financial Aid.
  • All appeal decisions are final and cannot be appealed further.

SAP Notes of Importance

  • Students are responsible for monitoring Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) status. This can be done using eTC. SAP status is updated at the end of each term once grades are finalized by the Registrar’s Office.
  • At the end of each term, the Financial Aid Office will review the GPA, completion rate, and MTF for every student enrolled. Students on Warning or Suspension will be notified via eTC e-mail. Students who become ineligible (placed on Suspension) will also be notified via the U.S. Postal Service; however, delivery by the postal service cannot be guaranteed, so online communication will be the most timely. Students should check their status regularly as appeal times may be limited due to the start date of the upcoming term.
  • Students who are ineligible cannot receive any form of Federal Financial Aid, including Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans. Some state financial aid may also be affected. Students may contact the Financial Aid Office to inquire about Lottery Tuition Assistance (LTA) eligibility.
  • Example: If a student passes with a D or higher, retakes the same course and receives a D, the student will have a 50% completion rate for those attempts.

Withdrawing from a Term

Students who receive Federal Financial Aid and withdraw, officially or unofficially, regardless of circumstances, may fall under the “Return of Title IV Funds Policy,” depending on their last date of attendance. See section titled “Earned Aid Policy” for additional information.

Earned Aid Policy

Earned Aid Policy - Withdrawing from Classes

Withdrawing from a class or classes can have potential immediate and long-term effects on a student’s financial responsibility and future eligibility to receive financial aid. 

Withdrawing from a course(s), but still remaining enrolled will not have an immediate financial effect/responsibility on the student. The SAP policy outlined in this Catalog remains in effect and the student could lose future financial aid eligibility through that policy. Students should visit Financial Aid before withdrawing from a class or classes to determine the impact on their financial aid eligibility. 

Withdrawing from All Courses in a Term

Tri-County must adhere to the Federal Title IV Earned Aid Policy where students who do not complete the term of enrollment must abide by this policy. Federal financial aid reviewed in this process are the Federal Pell Grant, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), and Federal Direct Loans (Student and PLUS). This policy is based on time, meaning students can federal financial aid based on the time spent enrolled in courses.

Students completing more than 60% have earned full financial aid eligibility for the term, and no funds need to be returned to the Department of Education (ED). This means that when a student does not complete 60% or more of the semester, some of the funds must be returned to ED based on the number of days in attendance. This process typically causes a balance due for the student. For example, if a student withdraws from all courses 5 weeks into a 15-week semester, the student is considered to have earned 33% of their received financial aid and did not earn 67% of the funds. The unearned funds (67%) must be returned to ED and the student will typically owe a balance. 

If a student owes a repayment to the College, transcripts will not be released and future enrollment /registration will not be allowed until that repayment has been made. Students owing a repayment to ED cannot receive Federal Financial Aid funds at any college until that repayment has been made.

For students who withdraw from all courses during a semester, the SAP policy remains in effect and the student could also lose future financial aid eligibility through that policy.

Before withdrawing from all courses for a term, students are encouraged to visit TC Central (Pendleton Campus, Ruby Hicks) to learn about their options and how withdrawing may affect Federal Financial Aid eligibility.

Money Management Center

The mission of the Money Management Center is to empower TCTC students with the information and tools to be financially literate and successful in college and beyond. The Money Management Center will provide information and tools on the subjects of budgeting, credit and credit cards, personal finance, and debt management, and loan management. The Money Management Center is located within the Financial Aid Office on the Pendleton Campus. Students wishing to visit the office should stop in at TC Central first and request to speak with someone in the Money Management Center. Students may also e-mail moneymgt@tctc.edu to schedule an appointment.

The Money Management Center holds numerous financial education events throughout the year. These events are listed on the TCTC Financial Aid webpage and multiple communication platforms throughout all campuses.

Veterans Educational Benefits

The College is approved for veterans’ educational benefits by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education, State Approving Agency (SAA) for training veterans and their dependents. TCTC participates under Title 38 of the U.S. Code in these programs: Chapter 33 Post 9/11 GI Bill © ; Chapter 30 Montgomery GI Bill © -Active Duty; Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation; Chapter 32 VEAP; and Chapter 35 Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA). Title 10 of the U.S. Code are Chapter 1606 Montgomery GI Bill © - Selected Reserve and Chapter 1607 REAP.  For further details and current payment rates regarding these education benefit chapters, please refer to the GI Bill © website at benefits.va.gov/gibill/.

Veterans, their dependents, and members of the National Guard or Reserve may be eligible to receive benefits while pursuing an approved program of education or training. For this section, the term “veteran” can refer to a veteran as well as an eligible dependent or an eligible member of the National Guard or Reserve.

To receive benefits, veterans must first be admitted into a program of study at the College. Veterans should then contact TC Central (Pendleton Campus) and provide a copy of their DD214 (if application is based on active duty service) or Notice of Basic Eligibility (if application is based on current Reserve or National Guard service). Children, spouses, and widows should contact the Registrar’s Office/Student Data Center to learn more about specific information required for eligibility.

CHANGE OF PROGRAM OF STUDY

To change a program of study (major), the same admission and evaluation process must be followed, and a “Request for Change of Program or Place of Training” Form (22-1995 or 22-5495 if an eligible dependent) must be completed in the Registrar’s Office/Student Data Center or online at www.gibill.va.gov. A “Request for Change of Program or Place of Training” form is needed for a veteran student transferring to Tri-County Technical College who has used benefits elsewhere. The student should complete the form and submit it to the Registrar’s Office/Student Data Center for inclusion in the student’s VA record.

CERTIFICATION OF ENROLLMENT

Certification of enrollment is reported to Veterans Affairs (VA) at the request of the veteran. The veteran must complete the “Request for Certification of Enrollment” form prior to every term, located on the College website. TCTC must review the classes selected at registration each term. The law provides that no payment will be made to an eligible veteran for auditing a course or for taking a course in which a grade assigned is not used in computing graduation requirements. This means that a veteran may not be certified for any course not listed in the curriculum as a graduation requirement. If there are electives listed as part of the curriculum, the total number of elective hours designated by the program should not be exceeded. Only electives listed as approved electives or electives approved in writing by the department head should be taken.

GRADING FOR VA SATISFACTORY PROGRESS

The following rules apply to students receiving VA Educational Benefits:

Non-Punitive Grade: A non-punitive grade is a grade that does not count as earned credit and is not considered in progress standards for graduation. A withdrawal after the drop period is non-punitive if it is not calculated into the student’s GPA, or it is not considered in academic progress criteria. Payment is not allowed for a course in which this grade is awarded. Students receiving a “W” should consult with the Registrar’s Office/Student Data Center if there are any mitigating circumstances.

Grade of “I”: For evaluation of VA Satisfactory Progress, the grade of “I” (incomplete) will be computed as an “F” when calculating the program GPA. Once the permanent grade is assigned, the student should contact the Registrar’s Office/Student Data Center to review the updated status. Enrollment cannot be certified to VA for a course with a current “I” grade.

Grade of “AU”: Enrollment cannot be certified to VA for any course with a grade of “AU” (audit).

CONDITIONS FOR INTERRUPTION OF VETERANS FINANCIAL BENEFITS DUE TO UNSATISFACTORY PROGRESS:

Each veteran certified for benefits in a traditional college program at an institution of higher learning will have an evaluation of academic progress at the end of each term. This will be determined according to the College’s Determination of Academic Progress as defined in this Catalog under Academic Information.

If the student is placed on Academic Probation, this status will be reported to VA in a report at the end of each term as required by federal regulations. Students on Academic Probation are eligible to receive educational benefits unless otherwise notified by the VA.

If a student previously on probation returns to Academic Good Standing, the student is eligible for certification.

If a student previously on probation is changed to Academic Suspension, the student is no longer eligible for certification at this institution. Any certification for the upcoming semester will be terminated with a reason of “Unsatisfactory Conduct or Progress” in accordance with federal regulations. 

CERTIFICATION FOR ONLINE COURSES

In order to meet Veterans Affairs (VA) certification requirements for off-campus courses, such as courses offered via the Internet or other modes of distance learning, the College acknowledges that these courses are part of the College’s approved curriculum, are directly supervised by the College, are measured in the same unit as other courses, are required for graduation, and are part of a program of study approved by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education (state approving agency). The College requires that the faculty teaching these courses use a grading system similar to the grading system used in on-campus courses and include statements in the course syllabus that indicate that appropriate assignments are needed for the completion of the course and that the student is expected to demonstrate, at least once a week, active involvement in the class. Examples of activities that can be used to demonstrate this involvement include, but are not limited to: posting/receiving e-mails, participating in online class discussions and class chat rooms, and completing and submitting course assignments. Further, the College requires that these courses have schedules of time for training and instruction which demonstrate that students shall spend at least as much time in preparation, instruction, and training as is normally required by the College for its on-campus courses.

VERIFICATION OF ENROLLMENT

Students who are receiving benefits under the following VA educational programs must verify their enrollment at the end of each month.

  • Chapter 30 (Montgomery GI Bill © for active duty service)
  • Chapter 1606 (Montgomery GI Bill © for selected reserve)
  • Chapter 1607 (selected reserve called to active duty in response to war or national emergency)
  • Chapter 35 (GI Bill © for eligible dependents non-degree programs only

Verification of enrollment can be completed either by phone at 877-823-2378 or online at www.gibill.va.gov/wave.

DIRECT DEPOSIT FOR EDUCATION PAYMENTS

Veterans receiving benefits by direct deposit can initiate or make changes to their direct deposit by calling 877-838-2778 or online at www.ebenefits.va.gov.