Eligibility for Financial Aid

Students must meet Federal eligibility requirements to receive financial aid, including “need”. Need is defined as the difference between the cost of attending the college and the total expected family contribution (EFC). The EFC is determined when a student files a FAFSA and a low EFC is best for Pell eligibility. The EFC is then subtracted from the student’s budget or cost of attendance (COA), to determine eligibility for other awards.  For more information on the COA, please visit our Net Price Calculator tool.

Other eligibility factors include, but are not limited to:

Approved Degree Program

  • Undergraduate students must be in an approved degree- or certificate-seeking program.
  • An approved program has at least 24 credit hours.


  • Students must attend each of their courses at least once by the published last day to drop with a refund for the semester.  This is usually the first two weeks of the semester.
  •  For online classes, consult your course syllabus for the definition of attendance.
  • Important note for class attendance: Financial Aid cannot pay for the classes that have not been attended by the refund deadline (see Enrollment, below). This may result in being dropped for non-payment.

Citizenship Status

  • Students must be United States citizens or registered permanent residents in order to be eligible for financial assistance.
  • The Financial Aid Office cannot award federal or state aid to international or foreign students.
  • Students in the country on most types of visas are not eligible for aid.

Cost of Attendance

  • Students who apply for Financial Aid and are in an approved degree program will have a cost of attendance computed, using costs that a student can reasonably expect to incur during the 9 month academic year.
  • The current cost of attendance for students at PDCCC can be found under Tuition Rates. Any student whose Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is higher than the Cost of Attendance will not be eligible for federal or state need-based aid.

Default or Owe Debt

  • Students must not be in default on a Federal Perkins Loan, Stafford Student Loan, Supplemental Loan for Students, or any Ford Direct Loan.
  • A student cannot owe any debt on a Federal Pell Grant or Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant previously awarded at any post-secondary institution.
  • Additionally, PDCCC is part of the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) and will require a student who owes a Title IV aid debt to any other VCCS school to make restitution to that college.

Drug Conviction

  • Eligibility is suspended for students convicted under federal or state law for possession of or sale of illegal drugs (not including alcohol or tobacco) if the conviction occurred while receiving Federal Student Aid.
  • If convicted in the past, this does not automatically mean that a student is ineligible for federal student aid. In order to determine eligibility affected students must contact the Financial Aid Office.

Enrollment Status

  • Students must register for at least twelve credit hours each semester by the “last date to receive a refund” in order to receive the full financial aid award package shown on the Financial Aid Notice.
  • Students who register on a part-time basis may have their financial aid award reduced proportionally to remain in compliance with federal regulations and institutional policies.
  • Some aid requires a minimum number of credits to receive, and therefore is not available if a student drops below that level. Please see Types of Aid for details.
  • Enrollment status is established as of the published last date to receive a refund each semester.
  • Additional classes added after the last date for a refund cannot be used to increase financial aid.
  • Classes withdrawn from after the “last date to receive a refund” will still count toward aid eligibility, as long as attendance was established, unless the student does not complete at least one full semester class (see Return of Title IV aid, below).

High School Diploma

  • To be eligible for aid, students must have a high school diploma or its equivalent (GED).

Repeated or Audited Courses

  • Financial Aid will not cover audited or non-credit classes, other than required developmental courses.
  • Aid is not available for classes in which a student carries an incomplete “I” grade for the same class in a previous term.
  • Financial Aid will pay for repeated classes until a student passes, and then may pay once more for a higher grade.
  • Developmental credits are limited to 30 credits total that financial aid may cover.
  • Repeated courses are always counted in the Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) calculation, and may negatively affect the student’s completion rate.

Return of Title IV Aid (R2T4)

  • Federal Title IV financial aid is based on a paycheck theory. Students must earn the full amount of aid by completing a minimum amount of each term, or repay the unearned portion of the aid.
  • Students who do not satisfactorily complete the term may owe unearned aid back to the College, and will not be eligible for re-enrollment until satisfactory repayment arrangements have been made.
  • Please see the Return of Aid Policy (Title IV) in the College Catalog.
  • Students who withdraw from their classes may not meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (see below).
  • Federal and State awards are subject to the Return of Aid policy.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

  • To remain eligible for any grant, loan, or work assistance, students must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).
  • Students who fail to maintain SAP may not receive any Federal or State aid except for one warning semester and/or if a student files a successful appeal.
  • Satisfactory Academic Progress is not the same as Academic Standing.

Selective Service

  • The Military Selective Service Act of 1983-84 states that any student required to register with the Selective Service who fails to do so is ineligible for Federal and State Incentive Grant Programs.
  • Male students between the ages of 18 and 25 must be registered with Selective Service.
  • Students who are between these ages may go to SSS.Gov to register, or mark the appropriate place on the FAFSA to be automatically registered.
  • Students who have passed their 26th birthday may appeal on the SSS.gov website, if mitigating circumstances exist.

Social Security Number

  • Students must have a valid Social Security Number to receive financial aid.
  • Students must also include the Social Security Number on the College application.
  • Exceptions to this rule are students from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau.
  • The name on file at the Social Security Administration MUST match the name used to file the FAFSA.


  • Students who do not wish to have their Financial Aid eligibility affected in either the current or future terms must withdraw by the published last date to receive a refund.  The student will not get aid for, nor owe tuition for, classes dropped in this way.  The student will owe for any un-returned books.
  • The refund date occurs approximately 14 days into the semester and is not the same as the last day to drop without academic penalty, which is at the 60% point.
  • Withdrawals after the refund date carry one or more penalties such as those found in the Return of Title IV (R2T4) and Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policies.
  • See Return of Title IV Aid, Satisfactory Academic Progress, and Enrollment Status, above, for more details.