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. Gaston College does not participate in any of the Federal Direct Loan Programs.
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.gov using Gaston College school code #002973. It may take up to four 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 or by College Foundation, Inc School Servicing Center (CFI).CFI provides verification services for the Gaston College Financial Aid Office.
- Students interested in scholarships should log on to https://gaston.academicworks.com/users/sign_in from January to March for Fall scholarships. Students interested in work-study should submit a separate Work-Study Application in the Financial Aid Office.
Applicants may apply for scholarships, grants, and/or workstudy 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 or 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 (SAP) will result in the loss of eligibility for financial aid. Eligibility may be regained as long as the student has not exceeded their lifetime Pell eligibility. 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 attempted 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 from any previous institution.
- 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 the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
- Express written appreciation to any scholarship donor.
- Understand and maintain Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) 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 and 67% completion rate 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 the student's 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, 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.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 or homeschool diploma, or a General Education Development (GED) certificate.
- Be enrolled as a regular student working toward a degree or diploma 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 Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
- 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.
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.
In response to a growing need for a well-trained science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) talent pool, Gaston College has developed an initiative, known as SPARC3, to promote persistence and graduation of these students at the college. The SPARC3 Scholars scholarships are one element of the larger SPARC3 initiative. The success of SPARC3 Scholars will be fostered by financial support, academic learning communities, mentoring, undergraduate research experiences, and supplemental group activities in order to aid in student learning and prepare students for future achievement. Successful SPARC3 Scholars will complete the Associate of Science degree and be provided assistance in applying for acceptance to four-year colleges and universities for further study in STEM fields. SPARC3 is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DUE-1355569.
How to Apply
Gaston College subscribes to the open-door admission policy. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and possess a high school diploma or equivalent to enroll. Students should apply using Gaston College's existing scholarship management system. Please see the Office of Financial Aid for more information about the application process. For more information about the SPARC3 program, please contact SPARC3 Director Ashley Hagler at email@example.com.
SPARC3 Scholars will be expected to meet additional eligibility requirements including:
- U.S. citizenship, nationality, or lawful U.S. permanent residence
- Full-time enrollment in the Associate of Science program at Gaston College
- Demonstrated financial need based upon federal guidelines
- Overall unweighted GPA of 2.75 or higher
- Submission of a letter of intent to complete the Associate of Science degree at Gaston College
- Brief interview with SPARC3 Program Staff
Scholars will be notified upon acceptance into the program.
North Carolina Community College Grant
The North Carolina Community College Grant is a need-based grant 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. Legal residents of North Carolina who are enrolled at least half-time (six 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.
North Carolina Education Lottery Scholarship
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. 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.
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 N.C. 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 at https://academicworks.com/ from January to March for Fall scholarships and the FAFSA. Completed applications must be received by March 31 each year for the following academic year. A list of the Gaston College Foundation Scholarships is also available on the Gaston College website at www.gaston.edu/admissions/scholarships_grants.php
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 or 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 or 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 awards are not to be extended beyond three semesters for a diploma program or five semesters for a degree program. Off-campus Work Based Learning 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 Counseling 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.