Financial Aid Procedures

Credit Clock Programs

If you are enrolled in one of the following programs and have been awarded Federal Pell Grant Funds, your award payment may be less than what is indicated on your award letter:

Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Electrical / Electronics Technology
Autobody Repair Heavy Equipment and Transport Technology
Automotive Systems Technology Plumbing
Carpentry Welding Technology

Federal regulations mandate that enrollment status for payment of Federal funds be based off the formula of credit clock conversion. Essentially credit clock conversion takes the contact hours in which you enroll for a term, multiplies that number by 16 and then divides the total by 30.

This means that the Federal Pell Grant Award reflected on your award letter is based on full-time enrollment. If you are in one of the programs listed above you would have to be enrolled in at least 23 to 24 contact hours to receive the full-time award. Anything less than at least 23 to 24 contact hours will result in a reduction in payment of Federal funds.

If you are enrolled or plan to enroll in one of these programs and have additional questions, please contact your Financial Aid Technician.

Termination of Funds

Federal regulations require that students receiving Title IV financial assistance must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). At Forsyth Technical Community College, Satisfactory Academic Progress is measured using three standards: Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA), Completion Rate – the percentage of credit hours attempted that are completed, and the maximum number of credit hours allowed before graduation from the student’s program.  These standards are checked at the end of each term.


Cumulative GPA – A student must maintain at least a 2.00 cumulative grade point average.  Transfer credits, credits by examination, and Pass grades are not counted as part of the GPA calculation.  A WF and an R grade will be counted as an F.  A class that has been repeated will have the last grade received counted in the GPA.

Completion Rate – Students must complete, with a letter grade of A, B, C, D, P, R, or F, at least 66% of all coursework attempted. This includes every course (a cumulative history) on their Forsyth Tech transcript.  Transfer courses accepted by the College are included in addition to all courses taken at Forsyth Tech.  Hours for each attempt of a repeated course will be included.  However, courses dropped during the 75% refund period are not shown on the transcript and, therefore, are not counted.  Once a student graduates from a program, the completion rate starts over if the student enrolls in a new program.

Credit Hour Limitation:   Students are required to complete their program of study within a maximum credit hour limitation, excluding up to 30 hours to complete any necessary remedial courses determined by institutional testing. The maximum for a program may not exceed 150% of the number of credits required for the program. For example, a student enrolled in a program that requires 64 credits for graduation may receive federal aid for up to 96 hours. All periods of enrollment, regardless of whether or not the student received aid, are included. Withdrawals, incompletes, repeated courses, transfer credit, and credit by examination will count toward the 150% credit hour limitation. The college is required to suspend aid eligibility as soon as it is determined that the student cannot meet the 150% requirement.  If a student has not completed the graduation requirements for the program by the 120% point, the aid office will suspend the student’s financial aid eligibility until the student and Program Chair can certify that the student will be able to graduate within the 150% deadline or until the student graduates from a program.


Incomplete: Incompletes will count as credit hours attempted, but not completed.

Withdrawal:  All grades of “W”, “WP”, and “WF” will count as credit hours attempted but not completed.

R Grade:  An R will count as an attempted credit and as a failure for the purpose of financial aid.

Repeated Course:  Repeated courses count as credit hours attempted for each enrollment.  If a student has passed a course but repeats it one time after receiving a passing grade, the credits will be counted as part of the student’s enrollment for the purpose of financial aid.  Subsequent repetition of the same course will not be eligible for financial aid but will be counted as hours attempted.

Audit or Credit by Examination:  Audits and proficiency exams are not covered by any type of financial aid. Students are responsible for all costs incurred with these types of courses.  Credit by exam hours do count toward credit hours attempted and earned.  Audits do not carry credit hours and are not counted as attempts or completions.

Program Change:  Students who change programs should be aware that all hours attempted, regardless of the program, will count toward the maximum credit hour allowance unless the student graduates. Students who graduate from one program, and wish to earn another Associate Degree, Diploma, or Certificate will be allowed to complete a new program within a new 150% credit hour allowance.

Academic Forgiveness:  Forsyth Technical Community College sometimes allows academic forgiveness for academic purposes.  However, it is not allowed for financial aid.  Both the grade and the credits will continue to be included in the satisfactory academic progress calculation.


Consequences of failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress:  Students receiving financial aid who do not satisfactorily complete either the cumulative GPA or the 66% completion rate will be placed on financial aid warning status.  Students will be sent an email through the campus email system.  A student who has not met the requirements will have the next enrolled term to reestablish satisfactory academic progress.  If a student does not earn the required cumulative grade point average and completion rate at the end of the following term, he/she will be ineligible for financial aid and placed on financial aid suspension status.  Federal and state aid will remain suspended until the student enrolls for subsequent semesters/terms, at his or her own expense, and completes the work necessary to regain satisfactory progress. If a student reaches the 120% time frame, federal and state financial aid will be suspended until the student and Program Chair certify the student can graduate within the 150% time frame.  If it is determined the student cannot complete the requirements within the 150% time frame, the student will be ineligible for financial aid until the student graduates from a program.

Note:  Maintaining satisfactory academic progress for financial aid may not be the same as remaining in good standing in the program. Each program has its own requirements. As a result, even though a student may meet satisfactory progress for financial aid purposes, they may not be meeting the requirements necessary to continue in their program. It is the student’s responsibility to know his or her program requirements.


Appeal Procedures for Financial Aid Suspension:  Students whose financial aid has been suspended due to unsatisfactory progress may appeal this decision. However, the student must be able to document mitigating circumstances. A student must indicate in writing to the Office of Student Financial Services why the aid should not be suspended. An appeal may be made if there are unusual situations such as injury to or illness of the student, death of a family member, undue hardship, or other serious crisis. External documentation may be required. Federal Direct Loan recipients also will need to complete “Financial Literacy 101” at and include the completion certificate as part of the supporting documentation for the appeal.  The appeal will be reviewed to determine whether or not reinstatement of aid is justified, and the student will be notified of the decision through a campus email. If the appeal is approved, the student will be placed on academic probation which will allow one term of financial aid. The student will be given an academic plan that must be met at the end of the next enrolled term.  The academic plan generally requires a term GPA of 2.5 and a 100% completion rate; under certain circumstances other conditions may apply.  If the appeal is not approved, the student has the right to request a second appeal with the Forsyth Technical Community College Financial Aid Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee’s decision will exhaust all avenues of the appeal process.  The student may appeal financial aid suspension a maximum of two times during the student’s enrollment at Forsyth Tech.  If a student’s appeal is approved and the student does not meet the academic plan, financial aid will be terminated until the student has returned to satisfactory status or graduated.  There is no appeal for failure to meet the academic plan.


For students receiving financial aid, Satisfactory Academic Progress notifications will be sent to the Forsyth Tech e-mail address after grade posting in the fall, spring and summer. Students may access this e-mail via TechLink at


If, at any time during the year, students have any questions about financial aid and their SAP standing, they should contact the Office of Student Financial Services.

Return of Title IV Funds Policy

All students receiving federal financial aid who totally withdraw before the 60 percent point of the term will have to pay the unearned portion of federal financial aid funds received back to the federal government or risk losing financial aid eligibility at all colleges across the country.

Q: How can you avoid this problem?

A: Stay in school and complete your classes!  It is as simple as that.

For a more complete information sheet on the Return of Title IV Funds policy, including Forsyth Technical Community College procedures and sample refund calculations, please refer to the Return of Title IV Funds Policy sheet enclosed with your award information package. Students may also inquire in the Office of Student Financial Services.