Financial assistance is available for curriculum students in the form of scholarships, grants, and work programs. Every effort is made by the institution to help students who need assistance with educational expenses. Financial aid is intended to supplement, not replace, financial contributions from the student and his or her family. Financial aid is distributed at Gaston College without regard to race, sex, religion, national origin, age, or disability.
There are two types of financial aid: gift assistance and work. Gift assistance includes grants and scholarships that do not have to be repaid provided that the student attends classes through the 60% point of the semester and maintains Satisfactory Academic Progress (see the Financial Aid Office for this information). Work study is a self-help program that enables students to pay part of their expenses through their own earnings. The work study program gives students the opportunity to work and earn money at or above the current minimum wage.
How Eligibility is Determined
Gaston College uses the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to assess the financial condition of financial aid applicants. Information entered onto the FAFSA is analyzed according to the requirements of the U.S. Congress and federal guidelines. This ensures that all applicants are treated fairly and equitably. Items such as income, assets, family size, marital status, and number of family members in the household and in college are used to determine eligibility.
Results of the FAFSA indicate the amount the student and his or her family can contribute toward the student’s education. Most financial aid is based on need rather than on scholastic record. Financial need is the difference between the total education expenses and what the family is expected to contribute.
How to Apply for Financial Aid
Students who are entering Gaston College and are in need of financial aid are requested to follow this application procedure:
- After the application for admission has been submitted, the student should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
- The student who wishes to apply for financial assistance must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The student should complete the form on the Internet at www.fafsa.ed.gov using Gaston College school code #002973. It takes 4 – 6 weeks to process a complete file. Therefore, students should submit all financial aid forms several weeks before registering for classes.
- In addition, the student should submit other documentation if requested by the financial aid office. Additional documentation includes the Gaston College Financial Aid Application, the Verification Form, and other financial information.
- Students interested in scholarships and/or work-study should submit a separate Gaston College Foundation Scholarship Application and/or Work-Study Application.
Applicants may apply for scholarships, grants, workstudy, and/or positions. The combined sum of these financial aid awards cannot exceed an applicant’s total financial need. The awarding of aid is based on funds available. Students will be notified of their financial aid eligibility by award notification letter. The letter will state the type and amount of award. Students should retain their copy of their award notification letter for their records. If the student does not plan to enroll or use their financial aid award, the student should notify the Financial Aid Office.
In the event that a student receiving aid withdraws from the institution and stops attending all of their classes prior to the 60% point of the semester, the student will be responsible for repayment of a prorated amount of any portion of payments that were extended to the student for living expenses and that would no longer be attributed to meeting expenses related to attendance. If the student never attends a class(es), the student is not eligible to receive financial aid for the class(es) and will be responsible for repayment and billed for the aid for which he or she became ineligible. Students will be ineligible for future aid until repayment has been made.
Failure to maintain financial aid satisfactory academic progress will result in the loss of eligibility for financial aid. Eligibility may be regained unless the student has exceeded his or her eligibility to receive federal aid. Student coursework must be restricted to the major that is on file in the Records and Registration Office. Courses taken outside of the approved major may require adjustment to the financial aid award. Financial Aid will pay for repeated courses as long as it is within the college’s repeat policy guidelines. However, Financial Aid will not pay for excessive repeats beyond this policy nor will it pay for repeated courses that are not necessary to complete the student's major (i.e., Elective Courses). In addition, Financial Aid will pay for developmental courses up to a maximum of 30 credit hours.
It is the student’s responsibility to:
(related to Financial Aid)
- Review and consider all information about the school’s programs before enrolling.
- Complete all application forms accurately and submit them on time to the right department.
- Pay special attention to and accurately complete the application for Financial Aid. Errors can result in long delays in receiving aid. Intentional mis-reporting of information on application forms for federal financial aid is a violation of the law and is considered a criminal offense, subject to penalties under the U.S. Criminal Code.
- Return all additional documentation, verification, corrections, and new information to the Financial Aid Office.
- Read and understand all forms before signing them and keep copies of all forms.
- Notify the lender of loans of changes in name, address, and school status if the student has previously received a student loan.
- Perform the work that is agreed upon in accepting a college work-study award.
- Know and comply with the deadlines (both U.S. Department of Education and Gaston College) for application or reapplication for aid.
- Contact the Financial Aid Office before withdrawing from school or changing course schedule.
- Notify the Financial Aid Office in writing about additional income not reported on Financial Aid Application.
- Express written appreciation to any scholarship donor.
- Understand and maintain Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards in order to continue to receive financial aid. Students are not considered to be making satisfactory academic progress if they do not maintain at least a 2.0 GPA each semester.
- Officially drop or withdraw from a class(es) that the student registered for but is not attending even if that student applied for and/or received financial aid. The student cannot assume that automatic drops or withdrawals will be performed for them in the event that they do not pay for his or her registration fees.
- Make sure that his or her legal name, as it appears on the student's social security card, is on file with the Records and Registration Office and is the name used on a FAFSA application.
- Make sure that a correct address is on file with the Records and Registration Office in order to properly receive correspondence and/or refund checks (if applicable) that are mailed.
Federally Supported Programs
Federally supported programs are funded by the government through the U. S. Department of Education. These programs consist of the Federal Pell Grant, Academic Competitiveness Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), and the Federal College Work Study. Every student who is applying for financial aid at Gaston College must apply for the Federal Pell Grant by completing the FAFSA. The student should complete the form on the Internet at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Please include Gaston College’s Title IV school code #002973 on the application which will enable the U.S. Department of Education to provide a Student Aid Report (SAR) to Gaston College.
Gaston College does not participate in the Stafford or Federal Direct Loan programs and Gaston College does not certify student loans. There are many sources of alternative or private loans to help provide funding to students of the College. Gaston College does not endorse the use of any particular alternative loan program, but rather encourages its students to thoroughly review the programs available and to select the program that best meets their personal needs.
Eligibility for Federally Supported Programs
Students must meet the following requirements before they can receive federal financial aid funds:
- Have financial need.
- Have a recognized/regionally accredited high school diploma, a General Education Development (GED) certificate, or a passing mark on an independently administered test approved by the U.S. Department of Education or meet other standards that are approved by the U.S. Department of Education.
- Be enrolled as a regular student working toward a degree, diploma, or approved certificate in an eligible program. (Students may not receive aid for correspondence or telecommunications courses unless they are part of an associate, bachelor, or graduate degree program.)
- Be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen.
- Have a valid Social Security Number.
- Make satisfactory academic progress.
- Sign a statement of educational purpose/certification statement on refunds and default (found on the Student Aid Report).
- Sign a statement of updated information, if required (found on the Student Aid Report).
- Register with the Selective Services, if required.
Federal Pell Grant
The Federal Pell Grant program is designed to provide financial assistance to those in need. The amount of the Federal Pell Grant is determined on the basis of the student’s and his or her family’s financial resources and the expected family contribution.
The Federal Pell Grant Award is a grant and does not have to be repaid as long as the student maintains eligibility requirements for federally supported programs and attends their classes through the 60% point of the term. The student must maintain Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
This program of direct grants of financial aid is for undergraduate students of exceptional financial need who, without the grants, would be unable to continue their education. FSEOG is a grant and does not have to be repaid as long as the student maintains eligibility requirements for federally supported programs and attends their classes through the 60% point of the term. The student must maintain Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards.
Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG)
This grant is available to Federal Pell Grant recipients that are enrolled at least half-time (6 credit hours or more) in an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program or in a two-academic year program acceptable for full credit toward a bachelor’s degree. The recipient must have completed a rigorous high school program of study and must be a recent high school graduate within the last two years. A student may receive only two ACG awards, one for the first (freshman) and second (sophomore) academic years. If a first year student, the recipient cannot have been previously enrolled in an undergraduate program. To receive these funds for the second year, the student must have at least a cumulative 3.0 grade point average on a 4.0 scale during the first academic year.
ACG is a grant and does not have to be repaid as long as the student maintains eligibility requirements for federally supported programs and attends their classes through the 60% point of the term. The student must maintain Financial Aid Satisfactory
Academic Progress Standards.
Federal College Work-Study Program
Gaston College participates in the college work-study program, which provides on campus work opportunities for students needing financial assistance to attend school. Work is available in the library, faculty offices, administrative offices, laboratories, shops, and building and ground maintenance. Students working under this program are paid monthly for the work performed. To be considered for the work-study program, and to determine the number of hours per week a student may work under the program, the Financial Aid Office will consider a student’s (1) need for financial assistance, (2) class schedule (enrolled in at least 6 credit hours), (3) health, and (4) academic progress.
North Carolina Student Incentive Grant
Legal residents of North Carolina who are enrolled full-time and maintain satisfactory academic progress may apply for the North Carolina Student Incentive Grant (NCSIG). Students must demonstrate “substantial financial need.”
The NCSIG program is administered in North Carolina by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Details of the application process are available from high school guidance counselors and from the Financial Aid Office. Application deadline is March 15 each year for the following academic year.
North Carolina Community College Grant
The North Carolina Community College Grant is a need-based grant established by the NC Legislature to provide funds to help meet the educational costs of North Carolina residents attending community colleges. Legal residents of North Carolina who are enrolled at least half-time (6 credit hours) in an eligible program and maintain satisfactory academic progress may apply. Students must demonstrate financial need. Students with a bachelor’s degree are ineligible. NC Community College grants are not available for summer.
The North Carolina Community College Grant program is offered by the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority through College Foundation, Inc. Applicants must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year they attend school. Details of the application process are available from the Financial Aid Office.
North Carolina Education Lottery Scholarship
The North Carolina Education Lottery Scholarship program was created by the 2005 North Carolina General Assembly to provide needed assistance to North Carolina students attending eligible colleges and universities located with the state of North Carolina. Legal residents of North Carolina who are enrolled at least half-time (6 credit hours) in an eligible program and maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements of the institution they attend may apply. Students with a bachelor’s degree are ineligible. North Carolina Education Lottery Scholarships are not available for summer sessions.
The North Carolina Education Lottery Scholarship program is offered by the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority through College Foundation, Inc. Applicants must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year they attend school. Eligibility and awards are determined annually. Details of the application process are available from the Financial Aid Office.
North Carolina Student Loan Program for Health, Science, and Mathematics
This program was formerly known as the North Carolina Medical Student Loan Program, and it is operated as a Special Program Department of the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority. To be eligible for the loan, students must be legal residents of North Carolina who are enrolled full-time in degree programs oriented toward careers in health, mathematics, or science. Students may apply for this loan through the NC Education Assistance Authority. Students may attend a North Carolina post-secondary institution or eligible out-of-state institution. Award recipients are chosen according to major, academic capabilities, and financial need. Further information is available from the Financial Aid Office.
Nurse Education Scholarship Loan Program (NESLP)
The North Carolina General Assembly created this program in 1989 in an attempt to alleviate a nursing shortage and is administered by the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority.
NESLP awards are available to North Carolina residents that are enrolled in the LPN or the RN program. Awards are based upon financial need and other factors such as academic performance. The repayment of the loan may be forgiven by working as a nurse in North Carolina. NESLP recipient recommendations are made by the Office of Financial Aid based on information from the Gaston College Nursing Department and data from the student’s financial aid application.
Nurse Scholars Program
The Nurse Scholars Program is a competitive, merit based scholarship/loan program available to students who have chosen to enter the nursing profession. This program was created in 1989 by the North Carolina General Assembly to address the shortage of trained nurses practicing in North Carolina. An 11-member Nurse Scholars Commission selects recipients for the award on the basis of superior academics, leadership potential, and desire to practice nursing on a full-time basis in North Carolina. Recipients must be U.S. Citizens and North Carolina residents. Students must plan to enter a nursing program at one of the North Carolina colleges, universities, or hospitals that offer nurse education programs which prepare students for licensure as a Registered Nurse (RN). Recipients are selected based on information received from the Gaston College Nursing Department. Financial need is not a criterion.
The Nurse Scholars Program is administered by the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority. Applications may be received from any of the participating colleges offering nurse education programs, counselor offices in the high schools in North Carolina, and from the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority.
State Employees Credit Union “People Helping People” Scholarship
The SECU Foundation established this two-year scholarship program to assist North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) students in achieving academic success. Each North Carolina Community College receives two (2) scholarships. These scholarships are distributed semi-annually in two payments for fall semester and spring semester for a maximum of four (4) consecutive semesters. Scholarships are not transferable to another student or another school.
Preference is given to students whose parents or guardians and family members are public sector employees who live and work in North Carolina. The committee considers students who best exemplify the membership philosophy of credit unions, “People Helping People”, and have demonstrated leadership, excellence of character, integrity, and community involvement. The recipient is selected without regard to race, sex, color, creed, religious preference, age, national origin or disability. The committee recognizes the individual most deserving of an opportunity to attend college. Recipients are selected by the Gaston College Scholarship Committee. To be considered for this scholarship, students must complete a Gaston College Scholarship application.
Wachovia Technical Scholarship
This fund was established through a gift from the Wachovia Bank and Trust Company to the NC Community College System. To qualify as a candidate for this scholarship, a person must be a full-time student enrolled in the second year of a two-year technical program; must demonstrate financial need and scholastic promise; and must use the scholarship to pay for books, tuition, and transportation. The recipient is selected by the Gaston College Scholarship Committee. To be considered for this scholarship, students must complete a Gaston College Scholarship application.
Gaston College Foundation Scholarships
The Gaston College Foundation, Inc. offers a variety of scholarships for Gaston College students. Foundation scholarships are often established through donations from clubs, individuals, businesses, and other foundations. Donors will often assist in establishing the criteria for awarding foundation scholarships. Applicants are considered for all scholarships for which they qualify. To be eligible for a Gaston College Foundation scholarship, applicants must satisfy all Gaston College admissions requirements including any required placement tests for their program of study and complete a Gaston College Foundation Scholarship Application and the FAFSA. Completed applications must be received by March 31 each year for the following academic year. Contact the Foundation at 704.922.6511 for a complete list of individual scholarship criteria. A list of the Gaston College Foundation Scholarships is also available on the Gaston College website at www.gaston.edu/admissions/admfinaid.html.
Other Gaston College Scholarships
Gaston College has established academic scholarships for high school seniors residing in Gaston and Lincoln counties who plan to enroll at Gaston College as freshman during the year of their high school graduation. High school seniors interested in academic scholarships should submit the appropriate application for the Management Honors (Academic) Scholarship or Careers Scholarship. These applications must be signed by the student’s high school counselor. Completed applications must be received by March 31 for the following academic year.
Management Honors (Academic) Scholarship
These scholarships are designed for high school seniors who have demonstrated academic excellence and plan to attend Gaston College. These scholarships are not based on need. To be eligible applicants must have maintained a “B” average (3.0 on a 4.0 scale) or better during high school, must present evidence of expectation of high school graduation, and plan to attend Gaston College full-time. Applicants must satisfy all requirements for their proposed programs of study. Applicants must be from Gaston and Lincoln counties. Scholarships are renewable for a second year provided the recipient maintains a 3.0 grade point average while enrolled at Gaston College.
These scholarships are designed for high school seniors who have demonstrated academic excellence and intend to pursue careers in specified engineering technologies or industrial technologies majors and who satisfy all entrance requirements for their proposed programs of study at Gaston College. These scholarships are not based on need. To be eligible for these scholarships, applicants must have maintained a “B” average (3.0 on a 4.0 scale) or better during high school, must present evidence of expectation of high school graduation and plan to attend Gaston College full-time. Applicants must intend to pursue a degree, diploma, or certificate in engineering technologies or industrial technologies. Applicants must be from Gaston and Lincoln counties. Scholarships are renewable for a second year provided the recipient maintains a 3.0 grade point average while enrolled at Gaston College. Career Scholarships the award are not to be extended beyond three semesters for a diploma program or five semesters for a degree program. Off-campus co-op semesters are not included in the scholarship.
Gaston College is approved by the Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA) to offer VA educational benefits. Students who are eligible to receive veterans’ benefits should contact the Veterans Affairs Office located in the Myers Center on the Dallas Campus and complete the necessary forms before benefits can begin.
Students who are eligible for VA benefits should submit a copy of their class schedule each semester to the VA Office. It is the student’s responsibility to follow college and/or Department of Veteran Affairs regulations. Failure to do so may put the student in repayment. Gaston College’s Veterans Affairs Office must be notified of any schedule changes. If a student changes his or her program of study, the student must complete and submit a Petition for Major Change form to the Records and Registration Office and complete and submit the appropriate DVA forms to the Veterans Affairs Office.
The state of North Carolina may provide financial assistance for students who have physical or mental disabilities learning disability, or emotional impairment. Interested students should contact their local Vocational Rehabilitation Office for further information. The Gastonia office is located at 109 W. Eighth Avenue, Gastonia, NC 28054, 704.853.5358. The Lincolnton office is located at 529 North Aspen Street, Lincolnton, NC 28092. 704.735.8035.