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Financial Aid Eligibility

Who is Eligible for Financial Aid?

In order to qualify for financial aid sources, a student must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or national or an eligible non-citizen as defined by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Be enrolled in an eligible curriculum for financial aid purposes.
  • Have a high school diploma or general education development (GED) certificate, or have completed a secondary school education in a home school setting that is treated as a home school or private school under State law.
  • Be meeting the Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) at Tidewater Community College.
  • Have not defaulted on a federal student loan or owe an overpayment on a federal aid program.

Financial aid advisors are available at each campus to answer questions related to eligibility.

Watch Eligibility videos.

Link to Financial Aid TV
Federal Pell Grant Maximum Lifetime Awards

Students are limited to 12 full-time semesters (equivalent to six years or 600%) of total Pell Grant eligibility during their lifetime. All Federal Pell Grant usage throughout the student’s lifetime will be included in this evaluation. Students can view their usage at the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) web site at the following link:

For more information, please see a financial aid advisor or contact the U.S. Department of Education at 1-800-433-3243.

Federal Pell Grant Adjustments

Financial aid awards are made based on anticipated full-time enrollment.  If the student does not enroll full-time, aid is adjusted accordingly after the Last Day to Drop for a Tuition Refund (see Academic Calendar for sixteen week courses).

Students who are receiving a Federal Pell Grant must be enrolled in all intended courses by the Last Day to Drop for a Tuition Refund for the sixteen week semester. No adjustments (increase or decrease) will be made to the Pell Grant award if the student changes enrollment after this date.

If the student adds courses late in the semester (dynamic or second-eight week), he or she may be eligible for state aid or student loans, but there will be no adjustment to the Pell Grant award. This also applies to students who drop a course and then decide to re-enroll after the Last Day to Drop for a Tuition Refund. The only exception to this regulation will be in the case of administrative error.

Students who are reported for never attending a class will have the aid canceled for that class and their Pell Grant award finalized. If the student gains permission from the faculty member to re-enroll after the Last Day to Drop for a Tuition Refund, the Pell Grant award will not be increased. This procedure adheres to federal regulations as defined by the U.S. Department of Education.

Changes in Enrollment May Affect Financial Aid Eligibility

Changes in enrollment may affect a student’s eligibility for financial aid. Students who enroll in class(es) and then drop class(es) by the college’s last day to drop for a tuition refund will receive a full refund of tuition and fees. Any financial aid awarded for the semester will be cancelled.

Students who use financial aid for bookstore purchases but then drop classes and have aid cancelled must return their books to the bookstore for a full refund to the original financial aid source or pay for their charges personally.

Students who enroll in classes and then withdraw before the Last Day to Withdraw without Academic penalty (60% of semester) are subject to a Return of Title IV Funds calculation. This calculation is required by the U.S. Department of Education and is meant to determine the amount of federal financial aid that a student has earned based on the number of days attended. If it is determined that a student has not earned all of the aid he/she received, the student will be responsible for repayment of funds.

Students who receive financial aid but never attend or stop attending courses may have their financial aid cancelled or reduced.  This may result in an overpayment of financial aid which students must repay.  Failure to satisfy an overpayment with TCC will result in referral of the debt to the U.S. Department of Education for collection.  Students with federal overpayments may not receive further federal financial aid until the debt is paid. 

Audited Courses

Students are not eligible to receive financial aid for audited courses. Students who begin in a graded course and then change that course to audited status will lose financial aid eligibility for that course.


More questions answered on The Virginia Education Wizard website.Virginia Education Wizard



Financial assistance is provided for all qualified students through a variety of sources including grants, scholarships, student loans, and the work study program. Tidewater Community College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, political affiliation, veteran status, gender, age, sexual orientation, or disability in its programs or activities.