Jul 21, 2024  
2022-23 Gaston College Catalog 

Financial Aid

General Information

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 or with the various private loan servicers; however, the staff in the Financial Aid Office is available to answer questions regarding loans and debt management.

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.

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 Department of Education 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:

  1. After the application for admission has been submitted, the student should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  2. 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 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.

How to apply for Scholarships

  1. Scholarship applications are accepted beginning March 1 and will be accepted throughout the year. Applications received by April 30th will have priority consideration for scholarship awards. Applications received after that date will be considered as funds are available.
  2. Go to gaston.academicworks.com
  3. Previous user, click the Sign-In button to log on.
  4. First-time users, click the Sign-Up button to register for a scholarship account.
  5. Your @mymail.gaston.edu email address will be required to log on to the scholarship system.
  6. A password is required to sign-up for an account. Please note the password is required to be exactly 8 characters long and contain at least 1 digit, 1 uppercase letter, and 1 lowercase letter.
  7. Upon signing up, you will receive a confirmation email to ensure your identity. Please make sure to check your spam folder for this email. Once you have confirmed your account, you can begin accessing the system.
  8. Complete the General Application to be considered for most scholarship opportunities.
  9. Apply for additional scholarship opportunities that have additional criteria and questions.
  10. To be considered for a Gaston College scholarship opportunity, a FAFSA must be on file in the Financial Aid Office.
  11. Please complete the FAFSA .

Scholarships are available annually through the Gaston College Foundation. These scholarships do not require repayment and consider financial need, merit, and/or other donor-specified criteria to determine student eligibility.

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. Awards are based on full time enrollment (12 credit hours) unless otherwise noted on the scholarship. Students must enroll in at least 6 credit hours to receive the scholarship as a prorated amount unless the scholarship specifically requires 12 or more credit hours. 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/ beginning March 1 for Fall scholarships and October 1 for the FAFSA. Priority for scholarships is given to applicants who apply before April 30. A list of the Gaston College Foundation Scholarships is also available on the Gaston College website at http://gaston.academicworks.com beginning March 1 for Fall/Spring scholarships and October 1 for the FAFSA. Priority is given to applicants who apply by April 30. A list of the Gaston College Foundation Scholarships is also available on the Gaston College website at http://gaston.academicworks.com.

Other Gaston College Scholarships

Applicants may apply for scholarships, grants, and/or work study positions. The combined sum of these financial 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 his or her 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 classes prior to the 60% point of the semester, the student will be responsible for repayment of a prorated amount of any portion of any financial aid disbursed to the student. 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 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 his or her lifetime Pell eligibility. Student coursework must be restricted to the major that is on file in the Records and Registration Office. Courses taken outside 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 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 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 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:

  1. Have financial need.
  2. Have a recognized/regionally accredited high school or homeschool diploma, or a General Education Development (GED) certificate.
  3. 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.)
  4. Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.
  5. Have a valid Social Security Number.
  6. Make Satisfactory Academic Progress.
  7. Sign a statement of educational purpose/certification statement on refunds and default (found on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
  8. Register with the Selective Service, if male.

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 as provided by your FAFSA.

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 his or her classes through the 60% point of the term. The student must maintain Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards to maintain eligibility.

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. You must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at http://fafsa.gov.

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.

We also have campus jobs that are funded by the College. If you are interested in Work-Study, you should submit an application online at https://www.gaston.edu/pay-for-college/types-of-aid/work-study/. Click on the Work-Study Application to submit the form. Students may also apply in the Financial Aid Office.

SPARC Scholars

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 SPARC, to promote persistence and graduation of these students at the College. The SPARC Scholars scholarships are one element of the larger SPARC initiative. The success of SPARC Scholars will be fostered by financial support, academic learning communities, mentoring, undergraduate research experiences, and supplemental group activities to aid in student learning and prepare students for future achievement. Successful SPARC Scholars will complete the Associate of Science or Associate in Engineering degree and be provided assistance in applying for acceptance to four-year colleges and universities for further study in STEM fields. SPARC is currently supported by a private donor and a grant from the National Science Foundation.

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 for the scholarship through the Gaston College online scholarship application system at gaston.academicworks.com.  Students who meet the base requirements and list their degree program as Associate of Science or Associate of Engineering should be auto matched with the scholarship. Please email the program at sparc3@gaston.edu with any issues applying.

SPARC 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 or Associate of Engineering program at Gaston College
  • Demonstrated financial need based upon federal guidelines as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • Overall unweighted GPA of 3.0 or higher

Scholars will be notified upon acceptance into the program. You can find more detailed information on the SPARC Scholars Scholarships at http://gaston.edu/arts-and-sciences/testing-sparc-3/.

State-Supported Programs

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. Students must demonstrate financial need. Students with bachelor’s degrees are ineligible. Students who register for 15 or more credit hours per semester will receive an additional $200 per semester. NC Community College grants are not available for summer.

North Carolina Community College Less Than Half time Grant

The State Board of Community Colleges allocates funds yearly to each college to provide need-based assistance to students enrolled less than half time and have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as determined by your FAFSA between 801 through 4000 to be eligible for these funds.

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.

Forgivable Education Loans for Service (FELS)

This forgivable-loan was established by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2011 and provides financial assistance to qualified students who are committed to working in North Carolina in fields designated as critical employment shortage areas. Students must be a legal North Carolina resident and NC resident for tuition purposes, present a minimum GPA of 2.80 (at time of application), register with Selective Service if required, must not be in default (or do not owe a refund) under any federal or state loan or grant program, must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (according to the enrolling policy of the institution), and be willing to work in NC in a designated critical employment area. To apply, visit http://cfnc.org/fels.

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.

Wells Fargo 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.

Veterans Information

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 the benefits have been exhausted. Students serving in the Reserves may also be eligible for benefits. Please contact the Veterans Affairs office located in the Myers Center on 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.

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.

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.

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.

Vocational Rehabilitation

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.