Jul 21, 2024  
2021-2022 Gaston College Student Handbook 

Financial Aid and Veterans Affairs


Financial Aid (Applies to Curriculum Students Only)

Financial Aid Philosophy - The U. S. Department of Education and Gaston College maintain the view that the primary responsibility for providing educational expenses rests with the student and the student’s family. However, students who cannot provide the entire cost, and demonstrate financial need, may obtain monetary assistance through the Financial Aid Office.

Financial Aid is distributed at Gaston College without regard to race, sex, religion, national origin, age, or disability. Gaston College is an equal opportunity educational institution. Please note: Gaston College does not participate in the Federal Direct Loan Program.

Types of Financial Aid

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. 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.

Application Procedure

Students who are entering Gaston College and are in need of financial aid are requested to follow this application procedure:

  1. After the application for admission has been submitted (see the Office of Admissions), the student should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  2. Students should submit their FAFSA information at fafsa.gov using Gaston College school code #002973. Normally, Gaston will have access to your FAFSA within 1-2 weeks, however, it can take up to four weeks to process a complete file depending on any additional documents that may be required. Therefore, students should submit all financial aid forms several weeks before registering for classes.
  3. In addition, the student should submit other documentation if requested by the Financial Aid Office. Additional documentation includes the Verification Form, IRS tax documentation, and other financial information.
  4. Students interested in scholarships and/or work-study must submit separate applications. Gaston College Foundation Scholarship Applications must be completed online through the online scholarship system, which is located on the College’s home page each year beginning March 1 with a priority deadline of April 30. The Work-Study Application is available online in the Financial Aid forms section on the College web page or in the Financial Aid Office.

Applicants may apply for a scholarship, grant, work-study, or any combination of these. The total combined sum of these must not exceed total financial need. The awarding of aid is based on funds available. Students will be notified of their financial aid eligibility via mail, e-mail, and their Self-Service account. The award letter will state the type and amount of awards. Students should retain their copy of the award notification letter for their records. If the student does not plan to enroll or use their financial aid award at Gaston College, the student should notify the financial aid office immediately.

In the event that a student receiving federal aid completely withdraws from the institution and stops attending all of their classes prior to the 60% point of the semester, the student could be responsible for repayment of a prorated portion of all financial aid funds.  Financial Aid does not pay for audited courses, credit-by-exam, or a certificate in the certified nursing assistant program (CNA). If the student never attends 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 in which they became ineligible. It is the student’s responsibility to complete the necessary forms in the Registrar’s Office to drop or withdraw. If the student never attends their class(es) and does not officially drop or withdraw, the student is still responsible for the payment of their tuition, fees, and/or books. In addition, the student may not be entitled to their Gaston College financial aid award(s) if they have received all or part of the awards at another institution prior to enrolling at Gaston College.

The student has the obligation to read, understand and maintain the “Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Standards” as defined specifically for financial aid recipients. The student’s failure to read and understand the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards and Policies does not release the student from their responsibilities. Failure to maintain 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 Office of Records and Registration. 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 falls 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., courses that have been repeated twice and successfully passed/completed, or Elective Courses). In addition, Financial Aid will pay for remedial/developmental courses up to a maximum of 30 attempted credit hours.

Student Responsibilities (related to Financial Aid)

  • Review and consider all information about the College’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 misrepresentation 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 previous student 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 and 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/or 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. Students cannot assume that automatic drops or withdrawals will be performed for them in the event that they do not pay for their 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 Office of Records and Registration (via your Self-Service Account) and is the name used on your FAFSA application.
  • Make sure that your correct mailing address and current phone number are on file with the Office of Records and Registration (via your Self-Service Account) in order to properly receive correspondence and/or refund checks (if applicable) that are mailed. 

Unofficial Withdrawals and Financial Aid

Financial aid is awarded to students contingent upon completion of the semester. Federal financial aid recipients who completely withdraw from class, stop attending, drop out, or are dismissed/suspended from class prior to completing 60% of the semester are subject to a Return of Title IV (R2T4) calculation that will determine if the student is responsible for repayments of any financial aid. Return of Title IV (R2T4) calculations are based on the student’s recorded attendance and/or class participation. State financial aid recipients who completely withdraw from class, stop attending, drop out, or are dismissed/suspended from class prior to completing 35% of the semester are subject to a Return to State calculation that will determine if the student is responsible for repayments of any financial aid.

Additionally, all attempted courses (excluding developmental coursework) including withdrawals and transfer credit and all periods of attendance at Gaston College are considered towards the 150% maximum time frame requirements regardless of whether financial aid was received for these periods. Once a student reaches the 150% maximum time frame, the student will be considered ineligible for aid.

Consequences of Withdrawals for Students Who Receive Financial Aid

Federal financial aid recipients who withdraw from class or stop attending prior to completing the semester may owe a repayment to the U.S. Government. Calculations are based on the last date of attendance/participation in the class. If a portion of the aid is unearned, the College is required to return the funds to the federal government. If it is determined that a student owes the U.S. Department of Education, failure of the student to repay the debt or make payment arrangements within 45 days of notification will result in the loss of Title IV eligibility at all institutions. In addition, the student will not be allowed to register for future terms at the College.


Gaston College and the Gaston College Foundation offer a variety of scholarships each academic year. Foundation scholarships are donated by civic clubs, foundations, friends of the College, and local businesses. Applicants are considered for all scholarships for which they qualify. Gaston College Foundation scholarship applicants must satisfy all Gaston College admissions requirements, including any required placement tests for their program of study. Applicants must submit the FAFSA using Gaston College’s school code #002973 in addition to completing a Gaston College Foundation Scholarship Application. Scholarship applications are accepted beginning March 1 and will be accepted throughout the academic year. Applications received by the priority deadline, usually the end of April or early May, will receive priority consideration for scholarship awards. Applications received after the priority deadline will be considered as funds are available. Completed applications must be submitted online EACH year by the deadline published online. Information about student financial aid and scholarships may be obtained on the Gaston College web page or from the Financial Aid Office located in the Myers Center on the Dallas Campus, in the Student Affairs Office on the Lincoln Campus and Kimbrell Campus in Belmont. A full listing of Gaston College Foundation Scholarships can be obtained in Financial Aid on the Gaston College web page (www.gaston.edu).

College, State, and Federal Awards

  • Federal Pell Grant Program
  • Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant
  • College Work-Study Program (Federal/Institutional)
  • North Carolina Community College Grant
  • North Carolina Education Lottery Scholarship
  • Gaston College Foundation Scholarships
  • Gaston College Academic Scholarships (Management Honors & Careers)
  • North Carolina Forgivable Education Loan for Service (NCFELS)
  • NC Reach Scholarship (Foster Youth)
  • SPARC Scholars
  • State Employees Credit Union “People Helping People” Scholarship
  • Wachovia Technical Scholarship
  • North Carolina Childcare Grant

For additional programs or more information regarding financial aid, please refer to the Gaston College Catalog, web page, or contact the Financial Aid Office.

Veterans Benefits

Gaston College is approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs and NC State Approving Agency to offer VA educational benefits. Eligibility is established by the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA). Eligibility remains in effect until consumed or 10 years from active duty release date for Chapter 30 recipients and 15 years for Chapter 33 recipients (prior to January 1, 2013). Students serving in the Reserves may also be eligible for benefits. Please contact the Veterans Affairs Office located in the Myers Center on the Dallas Campus to complete the necessary forms and any other details.

Applicants for educational benefits must fulfill all requirements for general admission. In addition, transfer applicants must submit for evaluation transcripts from ALL other post-secondary institutions attended.

By law, no certification can be sent to the DVA Regional Office for any course or program until all of the admission requirements have been completed.

Eligibility may apply to widows or widowers of deceased veterans, spouses of living veterans, and children of either who are between 18 and 26 years of age when the death or permanent disability, resulting from service in the Armed Forces, occurs.

Educational benefits are provided under the provisions of Chapter 30, 31, 33, or 35 of Title 38 of the U.S. Code and Chapter 1606 and 1607 of Title 10 of the U.S. Code.

‘AU’ (Audit), ‘NS’ (No Show), and ‘CE’ (Credit by Examination) are not accepted by the Department of Veterans Affairs for payment purposes. Marks of ‘WA’ (Withdrawal), ‘WI’ (Withdrawal by Instructor), and any course that a student does not complete or stops attending can result in repayment of funds to DVA.

All questions and problems pertaining to eligibility, certification of programs, and payment should be directed to the Veterans Affairs Office.

In-State Tuition Policy

Gaston College will NOT charge a tuition rate higher than the rate charged for North Carolina residents to any covered individual receiving Chapters 30, 31, or 33, as long as they are currently living in North Carolina (regardless of the state of legal residency). In addition, the Colonel John M. McHugh Tuition Fairness Act of 2021 now includes Chapter 35 beneficiaries as covered individuals for the purpose of receiving in-state tuition rates.

Return of Department of Defense Military Tuition Assistance

Department of Defense Military Tuition Assistance (TA) is awarded to a student under the assumption that the student will attend school for the entire period for which the assistance is awarded. When a student withdraws, the student may no longer be eligible for the full amount of TA funds originally awarded.

To comply with Department of Defense policy, Gaston College will return any unearned TA funds on a prorated basis through the 60% portion of the period for which the funds were provided. TA funds are earned proportionally during an enrollment period, with unearned funds returned based upon when a student stops attending. These funds are returned to the military Service branch.

Prohibition of High-Pressure Recruitment Tactics

In accordance with Federal regulations, 34 C.F.R 668.71-668.75 and 668.14, and as mandated by the Isakson and Roe Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020 (P.L. 116-315) Gaston College prohibits inducements, including any gratuity, favor, discount, entertainment, hospitality, loan, transportation, lodging, meals or other item having a monetary value of more than a de minimis amount, to any individual or entity, or its agents including third party lead generators or marketing firms other than salaries paid to employees or fees paid to contractors in conformity with all applicable laws for the purpose of securing enrollments of Service members or obtaining access Tuition Assistance funds.

Gaston College prohibits the payment of any commission, bonus, or other incentive payment based directly or indirectly on securing enrollments or federal financial aid, including Tuition Assistance, to any persons or entities engaged in any student recruiting, admission activities, or making decisions regarding the award of student financial assistance.

Gaston College prohibits high-pressure recruitment tactics such as making multiple unsolicited contacts (3 or more), including contacts by phone, email, or in-person, and engaging in same-day recruitment and registration for the purpose of securing Service member enrollments in non-credit courses/programs.