Financial Aid Eligibility Requirements

Students applying for financial assistance must:

  • Complete the FAFSA each academic year;
  • Have earned a high school diploma or HSE (formerly GED) – (some special exceptions occur for students who began college before July 1, 2012);
  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen;
  • Be working toward a degree or certificate as a matriculated student in an approved program;
  • Be taking courses that are required within your program of study;
  • Be making satisfactory academic progress, or SAP as detailed in Academic Standards Related to Federal and State Financial Aid;
  • Be registered with Selective Service, if required;
  • Demonstrate financial need according to formulas established by federal and state governing bodies;
  • Not owe a refund on a federal grant or be in default on a federal student loan;
  • Not be convicted of certain criminal convictions; for more information see criminal conviction(s).
  • Submit documents, as required by the College, state and/or federal government;
  • Sign a statement of educational purpose affirming that funds received from financial aid will be used solely for educational expenses related to attendance at RCC.

Students concurrently enrolled in secondary schools – for instance, students accepted to RCC as Early Admits – are not eligible for Federal Title IV funds but may be eligible for the New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP).

Beginning 2016-2017 and continuing through 2018-2019:

RCC was approved to participate in a federal Department of Education Dual Enrollment Experimental Sites Initiative for our Early Admits. This experiment allows Early Admits who meet the Pell Grant income thresholds to receive this award. The Department of Education provides annual funding limitations for this program. See Financial Aid for more information about potential participation in the experiment.

The following students are not eligible for federal or state financial aid:

  • Students who are undocumented immigrants;
  • Students who have been granted employment authorization under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) who have no other permanent or conditional residency in the U.S.
  • Students who are studying in the U.S. on an international student visa.

Student Eligibility Rules Related to the Payment of Federal and State Financial Aid

For more information on any of the topics discussed below, please visit Financial Aid, Room 8141 of the Technology Center.

  1. Timing of Award Letter

    • The award letter includes all awards approved and processed by Financial Aid through the date of the letter.
    • Any application for additional aid that was completed on or after the date of mailed letter will be included on a subsequent, revised award letter.
  2. Award Amounts
    • Award amounts are based upon your enrollment status at the time the award package is created.
    • If you have not registered for an academic period, the award amounts shown are typically based on full-time attendance.
    • Award amounts are estimated and may change if your enrollment status, matriculation, degree choice, attendance, or FAFSA data changes.
    • Academic schedules for less-than-half-time study (1 to 5 credits) may result in reduced or eliminated award eligibility.
  3. Attendance
    • In order to maintain eligibility for your full financial aid awards, you must attend your registered classes.
    • If you drop one or more courses, or if you withdraw from all of your courses, you may lose all or part of your financial aid.
    • See Financial Aid before you drop any of your courses so you can be aware of the financial ramifications.
  4. Matriculation in an Approved Degree or Certificate
    • You must be a matriculated student at RCC. This is someone who has been accepted for admission and is pursuing a chosen degree or certificate. Undeclared is a valid major only while you have less than 30 cumulative earned credits.
    • At RCC, you may change your major at any time; however, for financial aid purposes, we use the major that is active on the last day of the three-week Add/Drop Period for determining aid eligibility for that particular semester.
    • In order for a course to count in your enrollment status for financial aid purposes, the course must be
      • a required course in your program of study,
      • an elective that is allowed in your program of study, or
      • a credit-bearing or non-credit-bearing pre- or co-requisite for a required course in your program of study.
    • If a course is not a requirement of your program, the course cannot count in your enrollment status for financial aid purposes and you may lose all or part of your financial aid award.
  5. Remedial (Non-Credit-Bearing) Coursework
    • Your federal financial aid will assist with costs for remedial, non-credit-bearing coursework for up to one academic year, or 30 credit-equivalents;
    • ESL courses do not count in the 30 credit-equivalent limitation.
  6. Pell Grant Lifetime Eligibility
    • If you receive a Federal Pell Grant, your lifetime eligibility is monitored by the Federal government.
    • You are eligible for six years, or twelve semesters, of full-time Pell Grant assistance.
  7. Satisfactory Academic Progress
    • In order to maintain your eligibility for federal and state financial aid, you must meet specific Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards.
    • See the federal and state standards of academic progress.
    • Failure to meet these standards will cause a loss in financial aid unless you can
      • Successfully appeal your federal SAP determination, and/or
      • Successfully file a waiver request for your New York State SAP determination.
  8. Disbursement of Financial Aid
    • Disbursement of aid typically begins six weeks after the start of each semester.
    • All of your financial aid awards, with the exception of Federal Work Study, will be paid through your RCC student account and will be used first to cover tuition and fee charges.
    • You will not receive a financial aid refund until your student account is fully paid.
    • If the disbursement, or payment, of your financial aid causes a credit balance on your account, the Student Accounts will send you a refund for the credit amount within 14 days from the day that the financial aid award was posted to your account.
  9. Summer Semesters
    • There is financial aid available for summer sessions if you meet specific eligibility standards. See Financial Aid for more information.
    • Awards for the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Work Study, and/or the Federal Direct Student Loan Program may be paid from the previous or future award year.
    • Consult your prior or future year financial aid award letters for possible summer aid.
  10. Federal Student Loans
    • RCC does not automatically package federal student loans.
    • You may request a student loan by submitting a Student Loan Request.
    • Subsidized and unsubsidized loans have fees that are taken out by the government prior to disbursement; your award letter indicates an estimate of the gross amount of the loan(s).
  11. Subsidized Loan Lifetime Eligibility
    • If you are a first-time borrower as of July 1, 2013, you have a limit on the maximum time period that you may borrow a subsidized Direct Student Loan.
    • Once you have borrowed subsidized loans for a period of time equal to 150% of the length of your program of study, you are no longer eligible for additional subsidized loans. You may still borrow from the unsubsidized loan program.
  12. Federal Work Study
    • In order to receive your FWS award, you must be placed in an on- or off-campus FWS position and be willing to work up to 20 hours per week.
    • FWS awardees must contact Career Readiness and Success.
    • If you are placed and work in a FWS position, you will receive a payroll check every two weeks.
    • You may decline your FWS award without affecting any of your other aid.
  13. Prohibited Dual Degrees
    • If you wish to earn more than one RCC degree, please be cautioned that there are certain institutional restrictions in doing so (Dual Degree Policy).
    • For financial aid purposes, if you are enrolled in a prohibited dual degree, you are considered non-matriculated and are not eligible for federal or state financial aid.
  14. Prospective Nursing Students Matriculated in a Liberal Arts Degree
    • You must apply to the Nursing Department and they must accept you into the AS NURSING degree before you are considered matriculated in that program.
    • While awaiting acceptance for the Nursing degree, you may be matriculated into a liberal arts degree.
    • If you are matriculated in a liberal arts degree, financial aid will be determined based upon course requirements in the liberal arts degree, not the Nursing degree.
  15. Information Requests
    • You must comply with all requests for information from Rockland Community College, the U.S. Department of Education, and the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation.
    • Failure to comply with information requests may jeopardize your financial aid awards.