Financial assistance at SCC is available for degree-seeking students in qualified programs through grants, scholarships, and/or work-study employment. A student must apply for financial assistance and may be offered a single type of assistance or a combination package depending on the level of need and eligibility requirements. Aid may be provided by or through the college, federal and state agencies, foundations, or corporations. The student or the student’s family is considered primarily responsible for paying for educational expenses. Financial assistance from the College and other sources should be considered only as a supplement to the efforts of the student or family. All policies pertaining to financial aid regulations and procedures are available for viewing in the Financial Aid Office and on our website. Most financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, so students are encouraged to apply for financial aid as early as possible.
Financial Aid Programs
Federal Pell Grant
The Federal Pell Grant Program is the largest federal student financial aid program. Pell grants are awarded to help undergraduates who are in curriculum programs pay for their education after high school. These grants may require repayment if the student does not fully complete the term. A student is eligible to receive the Federal Pell Grant for the equivalent of six (6) years or twelve (12) full-time semesters of combined enrollment at all institutions; enrollment is not limited to time spent at Sandhills. To apply for a Federal Pell Grant, students need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The grant amount is determined by the federal government and awarded based on need. Students must complete the financial aid process prior to their last date of attendance in an academic year.
Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grant
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) are awarded to Federal Pell Grant recipients with exceptional financial need. These grants may require repayment if the student does not fully complete the term. Candidates for this grant are selected from applicants who have completed the FAFSA, and funding is limited.
Federal and Institutional Work-Study Program
The Federal and Institutional College Work-Study (WS) Programs provide jobs for students who need additional financial aid. WS gives students a chance to earn money to pay for their educational expenses and is a great way for students to gain valuable work experience. WS students are paid at a rate determined by the institution. Current job descriptions can be found at www.sandhills.edu.
The student must complete an online WS application found at www.sandhills.edu. The WS Coordinator will then determine financial eligibility and send the application to the hiring supervisor. Hiring supervisors are responsible for conducting interviews and making candidate selections for their positions. Before beginning work, all participants must review the Work-Study Handbook and complete all required employment paperwork. WS students are required to complete a monthly timesheet and are paid at the end of the following month. Eligible students are placed in WS positions for each academic year based upon available funds.
Sandhills Community College does not participate in the Federal Direct Loan Program. Alternative loans may be available for curriculum students. Please contact the Financial Aid Office for more information.
The NC Scholarship is awarded to NC residents. These grants may require repayment if the student does not fully complete the term. Eligibility is determined by the State. Students enrolling at a North Carolina Community College with an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $75,000 or less and an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $7,500 or less, as reported on the FAFSA, are guaranteed at least $2,800 from combined federal and state aid. Consideration for funding is automatic once the FAFSA is filed. The FAFSA filing priority date is August 15 for North Carolina Community Colleges. Applicants completing the FAFSA after these dates may be denied if insufficient funds are available.
Limited childcare subsidies are available to economically disadvantaged students. An application may be obtained online or in the Financial Aid Office. The open application period begins in June, and the process of awarding childcare subsidies starts in July. Applications are received on a continuing basis during the school year, and a waiting list is maintained until the following June. All students must re-apply for each academic year. A history of satisfactory academic progress is required, and the student must maintain satisfactory academic progress to continue receiving a childcare subsidy.
Endowed and Donor Scholarships
SCC offers many endowed and donor scholarships. A student completes a single application to apply for all SCC Scholarships. The application must be completed online at www.sandhills.edu beginning in November of each year. There are two deadlines for scholarships. The early consideration deadline is February 28, and the late consideration/final deadline is May 1. Selection of recipients is made by the College during the spring term for scholarship funds to be used for the upcoming school year beginning in the fall.
The Sandhills Promise Program
The Sandhills Promise Program is for Moore and Hoke County residents who graduate from a public/private high school or registered home school having completed four dual enrollment courses at Sandhills with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 and a 67% completion rate by the time of high school graduation. For students who qualify, the College will pay the tuition, technology and activity fees up to the in-state rate for two years, including summer terms. The two years of eligibility begin in the fall semester after high school graduation and end following the summer semester of the second year. To apply, students must complete both the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the SCC Scholarship Application annually. For more information, students may contact the Sandhills Promise Office.
Other Funds and Outside Scholarships
Other outside scholarships and funds are available to assist students. Some of these include employer-paid tuition, the Workforce Investment Act through the Employment Security Commission, Vocational Rehabilitation, Department of Social Services, and Veterans Administration. Please see the appropriate agency to determine qualification for any of these programs.
Federal Aid Eligibility Requirements
To receive aid, a student must follow these guidelines:
- File a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application each school year.
- Take only courses that are needed to fulfill graduation requirements.
- Enroll as a degree-seeking student in an eligible program.
- Have an official high school or HSE transcript on file with the Admissions Office.
- Have all college transcripts on file with the Admissions Office within the timeframe required by college policy.
- Be a U. S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen.
- Demonstrate financial need.
- Make satisfactory academic progress.
- Not be in default on a federally subsidized education loan.
- Not owe a federal refund due to a withdrawal from all courses during a term of enrollment.
Federal Aid Enrollment Classification
For all semesters of enrollment (fall, spring, summer), full-time credit hours for financial aid are 12 or more credit hours. Financial Aid for students registered for fewer than 12 total credit hours per semester will be prorated as follows:
- 9 to 11 credit hours = ¾ time or 75% of the award
- 6 to 8 credit hours = ½ time or 50% of the award
- Fewer than 6 credit hours = 25% of the award or less — see below
Students who are enrolled for fewer than 6 credit hours per semester may be eligible for only a small amount of Pell Grant, or no Pell Grant at all. Students enrolled for fewer than 6 credit hours are not eligible to receive certain State and Federal grants. NC Scholarship is not awarded to students who are less than half-time credit hours. NC Scholarship is not funded in the summer terms.
Unusual Enrollment History (UEH)
In order to prevent fraud and abuse in the Federal Pell Grant and Federal Direct Loan Programs, the Federal Department of Education (DOE) identifies students with unusual enrollment histories. This policy describes what steps a student must take to resolve questions about their enrollment history and how Sandhills Community College (SCC) will handle the review process to determine the student’s future eligibility for federal and state financial aid at SCC.
When the Department of Education identifies a student with an unusual enrollment history with regard to the receipt of Pell Grant funds and/or Federal Direct Loan funds, SCC must examine the student’s academic and enrollment records to determine whether there are valid reasons for the unusual enrollment history. The outcome of the review will determine whether the evidence supports the continuation of Title IV, HEA program assistance eligibility for the student (which includes but is not limited to the Pell Grant, Federal Work Study, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, as well as all state grants). SCC may also review the enrollment history of a student not identified by DOE as having an unusual enrollment history if it believes the student’s prior academic history warrants such a review.
Unusual Enrollment History Comment Codes
After a student submits a FAFSA (or makes a change to their FAFSA) or the Department of Education generates an update that reflects a change in student eligibility, the student receives a Student Aid Report (SAR). If the SAR shows a Comment Code 359 or 360, SCC must review the student’s academic and enrollment records to determine if additional information must be collected about the student’s prior enrollment. A student selected by SCC for UEH review will be treated as though DOE had assigned Comment Code 360. Examples of unusual enrollment histories that must be reviewed are when a student received Pell Grant and/or Federal Direct Loan funds at three institutions over two award years or at three or more institutions in one award year. Any federal or state aid that has already been awarded for the current award year will be placed on hold pending the outcome of the student’s review by the Financial Aid Office. If a student is deemed ineligible, all funds will be sent back to the government, and the student will owe SCC for all semester costs.
Resolving Unusual Enrollment Histories
SCC Financial Aid must review a student identified as having an unusual enrollment history when the student has indicated intent to enroll at SCC using financial aid. The student must complete an Unusual Enrollment History Form from SCC Financial Aid and provide copies of academic transcripts to the Financial Aid Office for each institution attended (other than SCC) where the Pell Grant and/or Federal Direct Loan funds were received during the review period which includes the four award years prior to the current award year. A student may view their Pell Grant and/or Federal Direct Loan history by going to www.nslds.ed.gov and logging in using their Federal Student Aid PIN. Official academic transcripts for all other institutions attended during the review period must be sent to the SCC Admissions Department (if not already on file) before the student’s record can be reviewed by SCC Financial Aid. Students may obtain copies of the official transcripts already on file with SCC by completing a Request for Unofficial Copy of Other College Transcripts Form available from SCC Admissions or Registrar. During the review, SCC Financial Aid will use information from the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) to identify/verify the institutions where the student received Pell Grant and/or Federal Direct Loan funding over the past four award years.
SAR Comment Code 359
The institution must review the student’s enrollment and financial aid records to determine if, during the four award years prior to the current award year, the student received a Pell Grant at SCC that is performing the review. (Federal Direct Loans are not included in this section because SCC has not participated in the Federal Direct Loan Program during the review period.)
- If the student received the Pell Grant at SCC during the review period, SCC would look to see if the student successfully completed any credits and, if the student dropped or withdrew from classes, the last date of attendance. No additional action is required unless SCC has reason to believe that the student is one who remains enrolled just long enough to collect student aid funds. In this case, SCC must follow the guidance that is provided below for Comment Code 360.
- If the student did not receive the Pell Grant at SCC during the review period, SCC must follow the guidance provided below for Comment Code 360.
SAR Comment Code 360
SCC must review the student’s academic records to determine if the student received academic credit at the institutions the student attended during the four award years prior to the current award year. Based upon the academic transcripts provided by the student, SCC must determine, for each of the previously attended institutions, whether academic credit was earned during the award year in which the student received Pell Grant and/or Federal Direct Loan funds. Academic credit is considered to have been earned if the academic records show that the student completed any credit hours or clock hours, or if a grade was earned for any remedial classes.
- Academic Credit Earned: If SCC determines that the student earned any academic credit at each of the previously attended institutions during the relevant award years, no further action is required unless SCC has other reasons to believe that the student is one who enrolls just to receive the credit balance. In such instances, SCC must require the student to provide additional information as discussed below under “Academic Credit Not Earned.” If it is determined that academic credit was not earned at one or more of the previously attended institutions, SCC must follow the “Academic Credit Not Earned” guidance below.
- Academic Credit Not Earned: If the student did not earn academic credit at a previously attended institution
and, if applicable, at the institution performing the review, SCC must obtain documentation
from the student explaining why the student failed to earn academic credit.
- Documentation Required: The student must have completed an Unusual Enrollment History Form from SCC Financial Aid to explain the failure to earn academic credit. Personal reasons may include illness, family emergency, a change where the student is living, and military obligations. Academic reasons may include unexpected academic challenges or that the academic program did not meet the student’s needs. Whatever the reason, the student must, to the extent possible, submit third party documentation to support their claims. SCC may be unable to approve a claim that is submitted without supporting documentation.
SCC UEH Review Process
The SCC Financial Aid administrator will determine whether the circumstances of the failure of the student to receive academic credit, as evidenced by the student’s academic records and other documentation, support the continuation of Title IV, HEA program assistance eligibility. Specifically, the institution must determine whether the documentation supports (1) the reasons given by the student for the student’s failure to earn academic credit; and (2) that the student did not enroll only to receive credit balance funds. The Financial Aid administrator will review the student’s documentation, and the student will be informed of the decision in writing.
Denial of Continued Eligibility
If a student did not earn academic credit at one or more of the relevant institutions and does not provide, to the Financial Aid administrator’s satisfaction, an acceptable explanation and documentation for each of those failures, SCC must deny the student any additional Title IV, HEA program assistance and any state grants. If a student disagrees with the determination by the Financial Aid administrator, the student may appeal the decision to the Vice President of Student Services. This appeal must be submitted in writing within five (5) business days from the date of the letter from the Financial Aid administrator. The decision of the Vice President of Student Services is final and is not appealable to the Department of Education.
Regaining Aid Eligibility
If SCC denies a student continued Title IV, HEA program assistance under the circumstances described above, the student who attends Sandhills Community College (without federal or state financial aid) may regain financial aid eligibility upon successful completion of academic credit and theiraca subsequent written request to the Financial Aid Office for renewal of Title IV, HEA program eligibility. Once approved, the student would regain eligibility for the Pell Grant, campus-based aid programs, and state grants beginning with the payment period in which the student met the eligibility requirements.
Veterans Benefits, Programs, and Guidelines
Sandhills Community College education programs are approved by the North Carolina State Approving Agency for the enrollment of persons eligible for education assistance benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Those entitled to VA benefits are eligible veterans, participants in the Montgomery G.I. Bill® contributory program, active-duty military in voluntary education programs, drilling National Guard, drilling Reservists, and spouses and children of disabled or deceased veterans. The VA certifying official in the on-campus Veterans Center provides information and assistance to students applying for VA education benefits. Following is a general description of the veteran benefit programs available at SCC. Please see the VA certifying official regarding any specific questions regarding these programs.
Sandhills Community College is a member of the Service Members Opportunity Colleges (SMOC), a participant in the Concurrent Admissions Program (ConAP), and a Principles of Excellence educational institution.
Montgomery GI Bill® (MGIB)
The MGIB program provides up to 36 months of education benefits. This benefit may be used for approved degree and certificate programs at SCC. Remedial, deficiency, and refresher courses may be approved under certain circumstances. Generally, benefits are payable for 10 years following an individual’s release from active duty. This program is also commonly known as Chapter 30.
Montgomery GI Bill® - Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR)
The MGIB-SR program may be available to a student if he/she is a member of the Selected Reserve. The Selected Reserve includes the Army Reserve, Navy Reserve, Air Force Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve and Coast Guard Reserve, and the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard. This benefit may be used for approved degree and certificate programs here at SCC. Remedial, deficiency, and refresher courses may be approved under certain circumstances.
Post-9/11 GI Bill® (Chapter 33)
The Post-9/11 GI Bill® provides up to 36 months of education benefit. This benefit is for eligible individuals who served on active duty after 09/10/01. This benefit may be used for approved degree and certificate programs at SCC. Remedial, deficiency, and refresher courses may be approved under certain circumstances. Generally, benefits are payable for 15 years following an individual’s eligibility date, unless a student qualifies for the Forever GI Bill® detailed below. There is a transferability component for eligible individuals to transfer this benefit to spouse or dependents. This program is known as Chapter 33.
The Veterans Benefits and Transaction Act of 2018 (Public Law 115-407) provides provisions regarding GI Bill® processes. GI Bill® beneficiaries (Chapter 33) are allowed to attend their course(s) of education or training without paying tuition and fees out of pocket if the beneficiary provides the school certifying official a Certificate of Eligibility (CoE) or a valid VA Form 22-1990. The college will not impose a penalty or payment requirement on the beneficiary based on late (more than 90 days) payments from VA. However, the CoE or VA Form 22-1990 must be received no later than the first day of the program.
Forever GI Bill®
The Forever GI Bill® eliminates the 15-year time limitation for service members (and dependents) discharged on or after January 1, 2013. As with the Post-9/11 GI Bill®, the benefit may be used for approved degree and certification programs at SCC. Remedial, deficiency, and refresher courses may be approved under certain circumstances.
Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program (DEA)
DEA provides education and training opportunities to eligible dependents of veterans who are permanently and totally disabled due to a service-related condition or who died while on active duty or as a result of a service-related condition. The program offers up to 36 months of education benefits. These benefits may be used for approved degree and certificate programs at SCC. Remedial, deficiency, and refresher courses may be approved under certain circumstances.
Veteran Readiness and Employment (Chapter 31)
The Veterans Benefits and Transaction Act of 2018 (Public Law 115-407) provides provisions regarding Chapter 31 processes. VR&E beneficiaries (Chapter 31) are allowed to attend their course(s) of education or training without paying tuition and fees out of pocket if their assigned VR&E Counselor send the SCO an approved authorization letter. The college will not impose a penalty or payment requirement on the beneficiary based on late (more than 90 days) payments from VA. However, the authorization letter must be received no later than the first day of the program.
VA Work-Study Program
Work-study is available on a limited basis to students receiving VA education benefits and attending school at least three-quarter time. An individual working under this program may work at the college’s VA office or at approved state employment offices. Work-study is paid at the minimum wage rate, and students can work up to 25 hours a week.
NC National Guard Tuition Assistance Program (NC TAP)
NC TAP is available to any student who is a member of the North Carolina National Guard and pays tuition/fees. Students who wish to apply for the benefits must do so through the website http://nc.ng.mil/ESO/Pages/NCTAP.aspx.
The Yellow Ribbon Program
The Yellow Ribbon Program offers tuition assistance to Chapter 33 veterans whose out-of-state tuition costs are not fully covered by their benefits and their maximum benefit payable is 100%. It is a federal program funded by both the Department of Veterans Affairs and Sandhills Community College. The program is administered on a first-come, first-served basis each academic year. For questions regarding the program, please contact the Veterans Affairs Office.
VA General Eligibility Requirements
To be eligible for educational benefits, the student must be enrolled in an approved curriculum, taking only those courses required for graduation in the chosen curriculum. Students must make and maintain academic progress in their program of study for their benefits to be continuously certified.
The VA will not pay for enrollment in the following: (1) course audits, (2) repeated courses previously passed unless a higher grade is required for approved program of study, (3) credit by examination, (4) courses not required in chosen curriculum, (5) continuing education classes, and (6) dropped or withdrawn classes.
VA regulations governing institution-approved training of veterans and/or dependents of veterans require that certain documents be on file prior to certification of enrollment. Certification will not be made until the VA certifying official receives all documentation. It takes 60-90 days from the date of certification for benefits to start. Required documentation is as follows:
- Application for admission with all required documentation;
- Proper Application for VA benefits (form 22-1990, 22-5490, or 28-1990) and all required
supporting documentation, including but not limited to the following items:
- Copy of Member 4 of the DD-214 or National Guard form DD-2384 “NOBE” signed by the Unit Commander;
- Copy of marriage certificate (if applicable);
- Copy of divorce decree (if applicable);
- Dependent children’s birth certificates (if applicable);
- Official high school transcript or HSE scores and all academic transcripts from each college or trade school previously attended.
If VA benefits have been received for prior training, the student must submit form 22-1995, Change of Program or Place of Training.
All veterans and dependents of veterans are required to submit a VA Cert Alert to the institution’s VA office each semester. A student will not be certified for their enrollment until this form is submitted and approved.
Students receiving VA benefits must notify the VA certifying official of any changes in course load, attendance, or enrollment status within three days of the change. Failure to notify the VA certifying official of these changes may result in termination of benefits and certification of future benefits at the end of the subsequent term upon receipt of the student’s official grade report.
GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.