2024-2025 Catalog 
    
    May 19, 2024  
2024-2025 Catalog

Financial Aid



Southwest Virginia Community College offers a variety of financial aid assistance to qualified students based on financial need.  All students are encouraged to apply for financial assistance by filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at Studentaid.gov. Determination of need is based upon the student’s financial resources and allowances for tuition, fees, books, supplies, meals, room, transportation, and other expenses. In order to be eligible to receive aid, a student must be enrolled in a curriculum that is approved by the DOE. Federal student aid funds must be used for expenses related to college attendance.  The student must maintain satisfactory academic progress, as determined by the College and the Federal Government in order to continue to be eligible to receive aid. A part of the satisfactory academic progress requirement relates to the completion of courses. Courses with a W or F grade are counted into this measure. Therefore, students considering withdrawal are advised to consult with the financial aid office to check whether this will affect their aid in future terms.

  • Students wishing to apply for financial aid should contact the Financial Aid Office in Dellinger Hall, Room 215. It is strongly encouraged that all students access financial aid applications and resources through Southwest’s website (https://sw.edu).
  • Financial aid is available to students year-round (Fall, Spring, and Summer) Financial aid applications must be filed each year. The fall term is the beginning of a new financial aid year so new applications should be filed two months prior to the fall term. A student can receive financial aid from only one college per semester.  About 20 percent of applications are marked for verification by the federal government. Verification is a process that needs to be completed by a financial aid officer. When performing this process, the financial aid staff is ensuring that the information the student entered on their FAFSA is correct. Students are randomly selected for verification by the Central Processing System (CPS) or are selected by the College if certain error messages exist on their ISIR.
  • Colleges are required to verify all applicants selected by the Central Processing System (CPS). When a student is selected for verification, they will be notified in the SIS Message Center stating what documentation is required, the deadlines for completing any required actions, and the consequences for missing the deadlines. If applicable, the student will also be sent a “Verification Worksheet” that they must complete and return by the deadlines stated in their SIS “to-do list”. The letter will state that the Financial Aid Office cannot move forward with the awarding process until all required documentation is received.
  • Financial aid consists of several different programs, but is, generally, divided into three major categories: grants, scholarships, and work programs. A listing of the various programs offered is listed below.

Federal and State Aid Programs

Pell Grant

Students may apply for this federally funded aid program by completing the Application for Federal Student Aid. This non-repayable grant is available to eligible students enrolled in a regular program.  Awards depend on the student aid index, the cost of education, and the length of enrollment in the academic year.

Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG)

SEOG, a non-repayable grant, is awarded to students having the greatest financial need; priority is given to Pell Grant recipients. Students who are eligible for SEOG funds may be awarded based on their needs, the availability of funds, and other aid received.

Commonwealth Grants (COMA)

Commonwealth Grants are awarded to in-state students who are enrolled at least half-time (six (6) credits or more) and who have extreme financial need.

G3 (Get a Job, Get Ahead)

G3 grants are awarded to in-state students who are enrolled at least half-time (six credits or more), enrolled in an approved curriculum, and have a Family Total Income (FTI) within 400% of the poverty guideline for the evaluated year. 

Part-Time Tuition Assistance Program (PTAP)

The Part-Time Tuition Assistance Program is a state-funded grant provided for students who are enrolled between one and six (1-6) credits per semester in a curriculum leading to the completion of a degree or certificate program.

Federal Loans

Southwest does not participate in Federal Student Loan Programs.

Work Study Program

College Work Study is a federally funded program that permits the College to create jobs for students who are eligible for financial aid. These part-time jobs, awarded to full-time students only, generally will not exceed ten (10) hours per week with pay equal to $12.00/hr. Most college work study jobs are located on campus, but in some instances, a student may be placed off-campus working for a public or private non-profit agency. Students must maintain a 2.0 (+) GPA to be eligible for work-study.

Scholarships - Local

The SWCC Educational Foundation & Institutional Scholarship application is available online and you will be considered for all scholarships for which you qualify. Unless otherwise indicated, applicants must have a minimum of a 2.0 GPA and enroll as a half-time student (min. 6 credit hours). Deadlines vary and are advertised on our website. A list of all general Southwest Educational Foundation & Institutional Scholarships followed by the criteria necessary to apply is published on the Scholarship application site accessible at https://sw.edu/scholarships.

Community-Based Awards

Since other community-based groups may award scholarships, interested students should contact their high school counselor or the College Financial Aid Office. Tuition-Free Options are available for residents of Buchanan, Russell & Tazewell Counties. For more information please visit: https://sw.edu/home2/admissions/paying-for-college/.

 

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Federal regulations require that a student receiving federal financial aid make satisfactory academic progress in accordance with the standards set by the College and the Federal Government. these limitations include all terms of enrollment, whether or not aid was awarded or received. Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards also apply to state aid. Students who do not meet SAP may be considered for institutional and/or foundational funds on an individual basis. Progress is measured throughout the academic program by the student’s cumulative grade point average (Qualitative) and by credits earned as a percentage of those attempted (Quantitative or Pace of Completion). In addition, students must complete their programs of study before attempting 150% of the credits required to complete the program. The College Financial Aid Office will evaluate satisfactory academic progress before aid is awarded and after grades are posted for every term, starting with their first term of enrollment. Some career studies certificate programs (i.e., shorter than 16 credits in total length) are ineligible for student financial aid, but those credits will be counted toward all SAP requirements (GPA, Completion Rate, Maximum Timeframe, and Developmental Maximum) if the student later enrolls in an eligible program. 

 

Student Financial Aid Status

  1. Financial Aid Good Standing (GS) - Students who are meeting all aspects of the satisfactory academic progress policy or successfully following a designated academic progress plan.
  2. Financial Aid Warning Status (WS) -Students who fail to meet satisfactory academic progress for the first time (excluding students who have already attempted 150% of the credits required for their programs of study) will be automatically placed in a Warning Status for one (1) term and are expected to meet SAP requirements by the end of that term. Students who fail to meet satisfactory academic progress requirements at the end of the warning status term will be placed on financial aid suspension. However, with a successful SAP appeal, those students will be placed on financial aid probation and will retain financial aid eligibility.
  3. Financial Aid Probation Status (PS) - Students who do not meet the credit progression schedule and/or the cumulative grade point average standard, or who fail to meet the requirements of their pre-approved academic progress plan, will be placed in Suspension Status (SS). Students in Suspension Status (SS) are not eligible to receive financial aid.
  4. Financial Aid Suspension Status (SS) - Students who do not meet the credit progression schedule and/or the cumulative grade point average standard, or who fail to meet the requirements of their pre-approved academic progress plan, will be placed in Suspension Status (SS). Students in Suspension Status (SS) are not eligible to receive financial aid.
  5. Academic Suspension (AS) - Academic requirements for avoiding warning status and staying in school differ from financial aid requirements for Satisfactory Academic Progress. Academic status will be noted on registration records; financial aid status will be noted on financial aid screens in SIS. Any student suspended from Southwest Virginia Community College for academic or behavioral reasons is automatically ineligible for financial aid.
     

Evaluating Progress

  1. Quantitative Standards or Pace of Completion - Completion Rate (67% Rule): Students must, at a minimum, receive satisfactory grades in 67% of cumulative credits attempted. This calculation is performed by dividing the cumulative total number of successfully completed credits by the cumulative total number of credits attempted. All credits attempted at Southwest (except audits, which must be entered as such by the class census date) are included. All credits accepted in transfer count as both attempted and successfully completed credits. This evaluation will be made prior to aid being awarded and after grades are posted at the end of each semester a student is enrolled at the College. Credits with satisfactory grades at the College are those for which a grade of A, B, C, D, S, or P is earned. Note: Federal student loan borrowers must meet satisfactory academic progress requirements at the point of loan certification and again prior to the disbursement of any loan proceeds.
    Maximum Hours (150% Rule): In order to continue receiving financial aid, a student must complete his/her program of study before attempting 150% of the credits required for that program. Developmental and ESL coursework are excluded from this calculation. Attempted credits from all enrollment periods at the College plus all applicable transfer credits are counted; whether or not the student received financial aid for those terms is of no consequence.
    Transfer Students:: In order to properly calculate satisfactory academic progress, transfer students who apply for financial aid must request official transcripts from all other colleges attended. Official transcripts must be submitted directly to the Admissions/Records Office for evaluation. Credits officially accepted in transfer will be counted in determining the maximum number of allowable semester credit hours for financial aid eligibility. The College has the option on an individual student basis to put a transfer student in Financial Aid Warning Status immediately upon evaluation for financial aid if academic history at previous colleges indicates a pattern of unsuccessful academic work.
  2. Second Degree Students: Credits earned from a first degree or certificate must be counted if the student changes programs or attempts a second degree or certificate. Depending on the circumstances, an appeal might be warranted.

    ESL and Developmental Studies: Students may receive financial aid for a maximum of 30 semester hours of Developmental Studies courses as long as the courses are required as a result of placement testing, the student is in an eligible program of study, and SAP requirements continue to be met. ESL credits are unlimited in number as long as they are taken as part of an eligible program and SAP requirements continue to be met.

    Additional Considerations for Quantitative or Pace of Completion Standards.

    Withdrawals (W grades) that are recorded on the student’s permanent academic transcript will be included as credits attempted and will have an adverse effect on the student’s ability to meet the requirements of the completion rate for financial aid.

    Incomplete Grades: Courses that are assigned an incomplete grade are included in cumulative credits attempted. These cannot be used as credits earned in the progress standard until a successful grade is assigned.

    Repeated courses enable the student to achieve a higher cumulative grade point average. Students can repeat courses with financial aid until successfully completed (with a “D” or better), but repeating courses adversely affects the student’s ability to meet completion rate requirements. Once the student has received a passing grade of “D” or better, the course can only be repeated for a second time in order to be financial aid eligible. Only the latest attempt will count toward the cumulative grade point average.
  3. Qualitative Standards
    Cumulative GPA Requirements (GPA Rule): In order to remain eligible for financial aid consideration, students must meet minimum cumulative grade point average requirements based on a progressive scale. Only non-remedial courses with grades of A, B, C, D, and F are included in this calculation. Transfer credits are excluded from GPA evaluation. In order to graduate, a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0 is required.
     
    Total Number of Credits Attempted  GPA Requirement
    1-15 1.5
    16-30 1.75
    31+ 2.0
 

 

Notification of Failure to Meet SAP

Students who do not meet the credit progression requirements (Quantitative or Pace of Completion) and/or cumulative grade point average requirements (Qualitative) will be immediately ineligible for financial aid. Students will receive notification of their status through their MySouthwest student portal. A notification will show under the student’s message center and the “to-do list”. Each area will explain the SAP failure reason and give the students the contact information to appeal. 

Regaining Eligibility for Financial Aid

Students who do not meet the credit progression requirements (Quantitative or Pace of Completion) and/or cumulative grade point average requirements (Qualitative) will be immediately ineligible for financial aid. Removal from financial aid does not prevent students from enrolling without financial aid if they are otherwise eligible to continue their enrollment. Unless extenuating circumstances exist and an appeal is granted (see “IV. Appeals” for additional information), a student in financial aid suspension should expect to continue classes at his or her own expense until satisfactory academic progress requirements are again met. Students who fail to meet these Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards and who choose to enroll without benefit of student financial aid may request a review of their academic records after any term in which they are enrolled without the receipt of financial aid to determine whether they have again met satisfactory academic progress standards. If standards are met, eligibility is regained for subsequent terms of enrollment in the academic year. Students should consult their campus financial aid advisors for assistance in appealing any element of this policy or to determine how to regain eligibility for financial aid.

Appeals

Under certain circumstances, students who fail to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards and lose eligibility for financial aid can appeal the financial aid suspension. 

  • Appeals are encouraged if:
    • Extenuating circumstances exist (e.g., student’s serious illness or accident; death, accident or serious illness in the immediate family; other mitigating circumstances), or  
    • The student has successfully completed one degree and is attempting another, or  
    • The student on suspension for other than Maximum Hours (150%), who has not yet met SAP requirements, has during suspension enrolled in and successfully completed at least 12 semester credits at the College with a minimum GPA of 2.0.
  • Students appealing a suspension must:
    • Fill out the appeal form indicating the reason (ie. Failed GPA, completing less than 67% or completing 150% of credits needed)
    • Compose a statement that summarizes why you have failed to complete 67% of your attempted courses/ why you fell below the minimum GPA/ why you have completed 150 % more credit than your degree requires and how you intend to make sure this doesn’t happen again. 
    • Contact an academic advisor to discuss the appeal and what resources are available to assist you with a successful semester, such as tutoring or class scheduling assistance. (onlineadvisor@sw.edu or call 276.964.7300)
    • Ask the advisor to go to SIs and provide an academic advisement report for your program of study. 
    • Provide the documents in 1-4 to the Financial Aid Office along with signatures. (Dellinger Hall Room 215, financialaid@sw.edu or call 276.964.7724) 
  • Only complete appeal submissions, with appropriate documentation, such as doctor’s excuse, hospital admission papers, obituary, etc., will be evaluated by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee. The decision is final. Depending on the circumstances, the student could be required to complete additional requirements (i.e., see a career counselor or another type of counselor, meet with an advisor to develop an academic progress plan for completion, limit enrollment, etc.) before an appeal is granted. The goal is to help the student get back on track for graduation. The reasonableness of the student’s ability for improvement to again meet SAP standards and complete the student’s program of study will be carefully considered.
  • Students who have appeals approved will be in probationary status for the coming term. During probationary status, all attempted credits must be successfully completed with at least C or S grades, and any additional requirements of probation must be met, or the student will return to suspension. If an academic progress plan has been pre-approved by financial aid, continuing to meet the requirements of that plan will put the student back into good standing.

Repayment of TITLE IV aid when a Student Withdraws

When a recipient of Title IV grant (Pell or FSEOG) assistance withdraws from the College during a semester in which the recipient began attendance, the College must determine the amount of Title IV grant assistance that the student earned as of the student’s withdrawal date in accordance with federal regulations (34 CFR, Part 668, Section 668.22, November 1, 1999).  If the student never begins attendance, a full refund of all charges assessed (tuition, fees, bookstore charges) against the Pell Grant or FSEOG programs will be returned by the College.

If the total amount of Title IV grant assistance that the student earned is less than the amount of Title IV grant assistance that was disbursed to the student as of the date of the institution’s determination that the student withdrew, the difference between these amounts must be returned to the Title IV programs.

If the total amount of Title IV grant assistance that the student earned is greater than the total amount disbursed to the student, the difference between these amounts must be treated as a post-withdrawal disbursement.

If outstanding charges exist on the student’s account, the College may credit the student’s account with all or a portion of the post-withdrawal disbursement, up to the amount of the outstanding charges. If a credit balance exists on a student’s account after charges are applied, the credit balance must be disbursed as soon as possible but no later than 14 days after the calculation of the R2T4.

The College must offer any amount of a post-withdrawal disbursement that is not credited to the student’s account to the student within 30 days of the date of the college’s determination that the student withdrew.  The College must provide written notification to the student identifying the type and amount of the Title IV funds that make up the post-withdrawal disbursement.  The written notice must explain that the student may accept or decline some or all of the post-withdrawal disbursement and that no post-withdrawal disbursement will be made to the student if the student does not respond within 14 days of the date that the institution sent the notification.  If no response is received from the student, no portion of the post-withdrawal disbursement may be disbursed to the student.

See also Return of Unearned Military Tuition Assistance Policy

Withdrawal Date for a Student Receiving Title IV Aid

For a student who ceases attendance the withdrawal date is:

  1. The date that the student began the withdrawal process by submitting a completed withdrawal form to the Office of Admissions and Records.
  2. The date, as determined by the College, that the student otherwise provided official notification to Office of Admissions and Records, in writing or orally, of his or her intent to withdraw.
  3. If the student ceases attendance without providing official notification to the Office of Admissions and Records of his or her withdrawal, the mid-point of the semester or period of enrollment.
  4. If the College determines that a student did not begin the College’s withdrawal process or otherwise provides official notification because of illness, accident, grievous personal loss, or other such circumstances beyond the student’s control, the date that the College determines is related to that circumstance.
  5. The student’s last date of attendance at an academically-related activity, provided that the College documents that the activity is academically related and documents the student’s attendance at the activity.  An academically-related activity includes, but is not limited to, an exam, a tutorial, computer-assisted instruction, academic counseling, academic advisement, turning in a class assignment, or attending a study group that is assigned by the College.

The College must document a student’s withdrawal date and maintain the documentation as of the date of the College’s determination that the student withdrew. “Official notification to the College” is a notice of intent to withdraw that a student provides to the Office of Admissions and Records.

Calculation of Amount of Title IV Aid Earned by the Student

The amount of Title IV grant assistance that is earned by the student is calculated by:

  1. Determining the percentage of the payment period completed.  The percentage of the payment period completed is determined by dividing the total number of calendar days in the payment period into the number of calendar days completed in that period as of the student’s withdrawal date.  The total number of calendar days in a payment period includes all days within the period, except that scheduled breaks of at least five consecutive days are excluded from the total number of calendar days in the calculation.
  2. Determining the percentage of assistance earned by the student.  The percentage of the Title IV assistance that has been earned by the student is equal to the percentage of the payment period that the student completed as of the student’s withdrawal date, if this date occurs on or before completion of 60 percent (60%) of the payment period.  The amount of aid earned is considered to be 100 percent (100%)  if the student’s withdrawal date occurs after completion of 60 percent  (60%) of the payment period.
  3. Determining the percentage of assistance unearned by the student.  The percentage of Title IV grant assistance that has not been earned by the student is calculated by determining the complement of the percentage of Title IV grant assistance earned by the student.
  4. Determining the percentage of unearned Title IV assistance to be returned.  The unearned amount of Title IV assistance to be returned is calculated by subtracting the amount of Title IV assistance earned by the student from the amount of Title IV aid that was disbursed to the student as of the date of the College’s determination that the student withdrew.

Return of Unearned Title IV Aid by the College

The College must return the lesser of:

  1. The total amount of unearned Title IV assistance to be returned as calculated above; or
  2. An amount equal to the total charges by the College incurred by the student for the payment period multiplied by the percentage of Title IV grant assistance that has not been earned by the student as calculated in (3) above. Charges by the College are tuition, fees, and bookstore charges assessed by the College.

Return of Unearned Title IV Aid by the Student

After the College has allocated the unearned funds for which it is responsible, the student must return assistance for which the student is responsible. The amount of assistance that the student is responsible for returning is calculated by subtracting the amount of unearned aid that the College is required to return from the total amount of unearned Title IV assistance to be returned. However, a student is not required to return 50 percent (50%) of the grant assistance that is the responsibility of the student to repay.

A student who owes an overpayment of Title IV assistance remains eligible for Title IV program funds through and beyond the earlier of 45 days from the date the College sends a notification to the student of the overpayment, or 45 days from the date the College was required to notify the student of the overpayment if, during those 45 days, the student:

  1. Repays the overpayment in full to the College or
  2. Signs a repayment agreement with the U.S. Secretary of Education.

The College must send the student a notice within 30 days of the date of determination of withdrawal, if the student owes a Title IV overpayment.  If the student does not repay the overpayment in full, the College must refer the student overpayment to the Secretary of Education for collection. A student wishing to enter into a repayment arrangement with the U.S. Secretary of Education should call 1.800.621.3155. Referral to the Secretary must take place within the earlier of 45 days from the date the College sends a notification to the student of the overpayment, or 45 days from the date the College was required to notify the student of the overpayment. A student who owes an overpayment is ineligible for Title IV program funds.

Order of Return of Title IV Aid

Unearned funds returned by the College or the student must be credited to any amount awarded for the payment period for which a return of funds is required in the following order:  Federal Pell Grants and Federal SEOG Program aid.

Timeframe for Return of Title IV Aid

The College must return the amount of Title IV funds for which it is responsible as soon as possible, but not later than 30 days after the date of the College’s determination that the student withdrew.  The College must determine the withdrawal date for a student who withdraws without providing notification to the College no later than 30 days after the end of the payment period.

Appeal Process

Students or parents who believe that individual circumstances warrant exceptions from the published refund and repayment policies may appeal in writing to the Office of Admissions and Records.