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Maintaining Financial Aid Eligibility

Maintaining Financial Aid Eligibility

Several factors must be taken into consideration when it comes to maintaining your financial aid eligibility:  

Hours Eligible For Financial Aid 

Most of the following hours are eligilbe for financial aid: 
  • Credit hour programs leading to a degree or approved certificate
  • Remedial hours taken that cumulatively total 30 hours or less 
PLEASE NOTE: Foundational Studies (Pre-Credit), Adult Education, Audited Courses, and Continuing Education Courses are NOT eligible for financial aid.  A student can ONLY receive financial aid for courses that satisfy the requirements of his/her academic program.    


Verification is a process by which your college must review you and/or your parents’ tax return(s) and possibly other information, to confirm the accuracy of the information you provided on your FAFSA. 

Your Student Aid Report (SAR) will indicate if you have been selected for verification. Your college will also notify you that you have been selected for verification.  

If you have been selected for verification, the student and/or the parent are required to complete and sign the applicable Verification Worksheet (see below) and submit all required documents to the Financial Aid Office. Please visit your student portal or Financial Aid Office to determine which Verification Worksheet you are required to complete. Failure to do so will result in a delay in the processing of your financial aid. To avoid further delay, please make sure that your address is correct with the Financial Aid and Admissions Offices.  

*If you are selected for verification, please see the link titled The IRS Retrieval Process in the Learn More section on the right hand side of this page.  


Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

A student must maintain both qualitative and quantitative satisfactory academic progress, as defined in the City Colleges of Chicago Student Policy Manual, to be eligible for student financial aid funds.  

Qualitative satisfactory progress requires the student to achieve and maintain a minimum grade point average. Quantitative satisfactory progress requires the student to complete a minimum portion of his/her course work for each term and throughout his/her program of study.  

To view the specific details pertaining to our SAP policy > City Colleges of Chicago Student Policy Manual (page 20).
To learn more about appealing, visit the SAP/Academic Standing Appeal Webiste.​ ​

Enrollment Changes

Changes to your enrollment (e.g. adding or dropping classes), may affect the amount of financial aid that you are entitled to receive. 

Return of Title IV Policy (R2T4)

Students who officially withdraw (WTH) before the 60% point of the semester, or are administratively withdrawn (ADW) from all of their financial aid eligible classes, will be required to return a portion of the Title IV funds they have received. Title IV funds include Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, and Federal Direct Loans. The City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) will apply a federally mandated Return to Title IV calculation, "R2T4" to determine the percentage of financial aid the student has earned, which is based on the percentage of the term he/she completed.

After beginning attendance in a semester, if a student withdraws from all classes and does not confirm attendance in a class beginning later in the same semester, the R2T4 requirements apply.

If a student withdraws from all classes during a semester, but at the time of withdrawal provides confirmation that they will attend a course that begins later in the same semester, the student is not considered to have withdrawn and no R2T4 calculation will be performed.

If a student withdraws from all classes during a semester, and at the time of withdrawal provides confirmation that they will attend a course that begins later in the same semester, but fails to attend the later class, then the student is considered to have withdrawn and an R2T4 calculation will be performed.

If a student who withdrew or stopped attending classes returns to the school within the same semester, the student is treated as though he or she did not cease attendance. If an R2T4 calculation was performed and aid returned, CCC will reinstate Title IV program funds.

CCC performs calculations within 30 days from the date the school determines a student's complete withdrawal. The school must return the funds within 45 days of the calculation. For example, if a student completes 30 percent of the payment period, they earn 30 percent of the aid they were originally scheduled to receive. This means that 70 percent of the scheduled awards remain "unearned" and must be returned to the federal government. If a student attends at least 60% of the semester, then the student is considered to have earned all of his/her financial aid and will not be required to return any eligible federal funds.

The following formula is used to determine the percentage of unearned aid that has to be returned to the federal government:
  • The percent earned is equal to the number of calendar days completed up to the withdrawal date, divided by the total calendar days in the payment period (less any scheduled breaks that are at least 5 days long). Days Attended ÷ Days in Enrollment Period = Percentage Completed
A standard semester contains on average, 110 days.

If it is determined that a student has received financial aid in excess of his/her eligibility, the college will return the financial aid overpayment to the Department of Education on the student's behalf. If a student received a refund from any Title IV federal funds that was credited earlier in the term, the student may be required to return a portion of those funds to the college. This portion represents funds that were intended to pay education-related expenses through the end of each term. The amount to be returned will be calculated from the date on which the student officially withdrew from classes.

If a student stops attending classes without notifying CCC, the withdrawal date will be the midpoint of the semester or the last date of academic activity as determined by CCC. If this return of funds results in a balance on the student’s account, he/she is responsible for paying that balance to the school. If the student does not pay his/her balance, a delinquency hold will be applied to the student's account, and the student will not be permitted to register or order transcripts until the balance is satisfied. Per federal regulations, there is no appeal policy for the R2T4 calculation.

Funds that are returned to the federal government are used to reduce the outstanding balances in individual federal programs. Title IV federal funds returned must be allocated in the following order:
  1. Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan 
  2. Federal Subsidized Direct Loan 
  3. Federal Direct Parent Loan (PLUS) 
  4. Federal Pell Grant 
  5. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) 
If a student did not receive all of the funds that were earned, the student may be due a post-withdrawal disbursement. If the post-withdrawal disbursement includes loan funds, CCC must get the student’s permission before disbursing the funds. Students may choose to decline some or all of the loan funds so that they don’t incur additional debt. CCC may automatically use all or a portion of a student’s post-withdrawal disbursement of Title IV funds for tuition and fees.

Defaulted Student Loans
Students who are currently in a default on any student loan(s) are not eligible for Title IV funds. You must contact your lender/servicer and make arrangements to pay off your previous student loan. Generally you must make at least 6 consecutive monthly payments before you will be eligible for any Title IV funds.​​