Financial aid for Blue Ridge Community and Technical College students is part of Enrollment Management Services in the offices at 400 West Stephen Street in Martinsburg. To reach the office by phone, call (304) 260-4380 or visit the website at www.blueridgectc.edu/financial_aid. Current students can view and update financial aid status using BRIDGE.
Financial assistance is available based on scholastic achievement, special talents and abilities, and/or financial need. Awards are given for a period of one academic year, which begins in August, and students must apply for financial aid and/or scholarships each year. The following sections describe guidelines for application, financial aid programs, responsibilities of students and/or parents, and deadlines. More detailed information is available from the Financial Aid Office.
Any student who wishes to apply for federal and/or state financial assistance must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and be admitted to the College in an eligible program. Some certificate programs are eligible for federal aid and the WV HEAPS (Higher Education Assistance for Part-time Students) Grant. All applicants are required to submit the FAFSA and are urged to begin the application process as early as possible after January 1, each year that they will be enrolled. If the student will be enrolled for the Fall, he/she is strongly encouraged to fill out a FAFSA by March 1.
Once the FAFSA is filed with the Department of Education, the application may be selected for a process called verification. The Department of Education randomly selects 30 percent of all applicants for verification. students selected will be notified in writing of required documentation, which includes the verification form, signed copies of student and parent tax returns (for dependent students) and W-2s. Any student with special circumstances, such as loss of employment, extraordinary medical/dental expenses, divorce/separation, or other situations, which could not be reported on the FAFSA, may write a letter to the Financial Aid Office asking for review of his/her circumstances.
Federal and State Grant Programs
Federal Pell Grant
A federal grant, which is based on income, family size, and other factors as determined by filing the FAFSA, is for first time undergraduate students only. The maximum award for 2011–2012 is $5,550. Pell Grants do not have to be paid back and are available for full and part-time attendance.
A supplemental federal grant may be available to students demonstrating exceptional need. Awards are available for full and part-time attendance.
West Virginia Grant Program
This is a need-based state grant program administered by the Higher Education Policy Commission. Awards are to West Virginia residents and amounts vary by institution. For 2011-2012, the grant amount will range from $1,700 to $2,100, based on the Expected Family Contribution and students must be enrolled full-time (12 credit hours or more) each semester. Since it is a need-based program, a FAFSA must be filed before April 15 each year.
West Virginia PROMISE (Providing Real Opportunities for Maximizing In-state Excellence) is a merit-based scholarship program designed to keep qualified students in West Virginia by making college affordable. It pays 100% of mandatory tuition and fees at Blue Ridge Community and Technical College. It is the full responsibility of the student to ensure adherence to the PROMISE guidelines. For full program details, please refer to the College Foundation of WV website: www.cfwv.com www.promisescholarships.org.
Higher Education Assistance for Part-time Student Grant (HEAPS)
This is a need-based state grant for part-time students in degree, or eligible certificate programs. The award amount is based on tuition charges and is determined by individual schools. The usual semester award is equal to six hours of mandatory tuition and fees, which for 2011-2012 will be $768. A FAFSA is required.
Student and Parent Loans
The Financial Aid Office processes student and parent loans through the William D. Ford Direct Loan Program funded by the Department of Education. Students must be enrolled in a minimum of six credit hours in an eligible program to qualify for a Direct Loan. Federal regulations require that a 1.0 percent origination fee, based on the loan amount, be deducted from every Direct Subsidized and Direct Unsubsidized Loan processed. The percentage is four percent for parent loans.
Federal Direct Loans
Any student indicating his/her interest in loans on the FAFSA is processed for the maximum student loans for which he/she is eligible. Any student who wants a lower amount need only indicate that amount when the loan is accepted. The amount any student may borrow each academic year is based on:
- Grade level
- Length of academic program
- Dependent or independent status
Listed below are the maximum amounts per year a student may borrow under the Direct Loan Program as an undergraduate seeking a two-year degree:
|Annual Loan Limits for BRCTC Students
||Annual Loan Limits for Independent Students
|(effective July 1, 2009)
||(and dependent students whose parents can not borrow PLUS)
|Additional Unsubsidized Loan
|Additional Unsubsidized Loan
|First Year Students
||First Year Students
|Second Year Students
||Second Year Students
No student seeking an associate’s degree may borrow above $10,500 each academic year. The amount and type of loan a student may receive varies by his/her total cost of education and the amount of other financial aid received. Any student borrowing under the Direct Loan Program for the first time is required to complete Entrance Counseling on-line at www.studentloans.gov. Grade level for transfer students for loan processing is based on the total number of hours accepted by Blue Ridge Community and Technical College.
When the loan is being processed, a first-time borrower must sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN). The promissory note should be signed electronically at www.studentloans.gov. The electronic confirmation of entrance counseling and completion of an MPN are sent directly to the Financial Aid Office. All loans are disbursed in two payments, usually at the beginning of each term, and are applied to any outstanding obligations to the College before the student receives a refund.
Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)
Applications for the Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) are available on the Blue Ridge Community and Technical College website. Parent loans are processed based on amount requested, on the student’s cost of attendance, and on the amount of other financial aid received. A credit check by the Federal Loan Servicer is required for processing. If a parent’s credit is denied, a student can apply for an unsubsidized loan in his/her name.
Other loans may be available to students with demonstrated need or special situations. These require credit checks and are made by outside lenders such as SallieMae and Campusdoor. Outside loan applications are available online at the lenders’ websites.
Loan Repayment Information
William D. Ford Direct Loans do not have to be repaid until six months after the student graduates or ceases attending on at least a half-time basis. Any student who drops below six hours of enrollment must begin repaying his/her loan six months from that time. Only one six-month grace period is granted to each student. The repayment process for parent loans begins within 60 days after the last disbursement for the year, usually in March if the loan is for two semesters. Current minimum repayment amounts are $50, depending on the repayment plan. Several repayment plans exist for all loan programs. www.nslds.ed.gov. Exit Counseling must be completed at the time of graduation or when the student goes below half-time enrollment.
Exit Counseling is done online at www.nslds.ed.gov. Academic transcripts will not be released until exit counseling is completed and results electronically received by the Financial Aid Office.
Other Types of Assistance
Veteran’s Re-Education Act
Eligibility for funding by the Veteran’s Re-Education Act is determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs, and awards are given to West Virginia residents who have exhausted all other veteran’s benefits and must meet other criteria related to need. Applications may be obtained from the Financial Aid Office.
Military and Veterans Administration Education Assistance
The Veterans Administration provides a number of programs for veterans and service personnel seeking funding for education and/ or training. Please contact the Veterans certifying official at Blue Ridge Community and Technical College to inquire about available assistance. Apply for Veteran Education Benefits at www.va.gov or for questions regarding benefits call 1-888-442-4551.
Students with physical or learning disabilities may be eligible for assistance with education expenses through their state department of vocational rehabilitation. Students should contact the local Division of Rehabilitation Services to inquire about programs available.
Disbursement of Funds
Financial aid is awarded for the full academic year; with half available for the fall semester and half for the spring semester. Student payment for tuition and fees is due prior to the start of each semester. Students receiving financial aid to assist with these expenses will have that aid applied first to institutional charges. Purchase of books and supplies through Blue Ridge Community and Technical College’s bookstore official vendor, may be billed directly to the student account if the student has a credit balance.
Refund of Excess Financial Aid
All financial aid, including loans, is applied to the student account to cover institutional costs. No refund is given to the student until all obligations to the College are met. All Title IV funds awarded (Federal Pell Grant, Federal SEOG and Direct Loans) are refundable according to program regulations. Refund checks for excess financial aid are normally available shortly after classes begin and on a weekly basis thereafter.
Refunds/Returns Due to Withdrawal
The Financial Aid Office is required by of federal statute to recalculate federal financial aid eligibility for students who withdraw, drop out, are dismissed, or take a leave of absence prior to completing 60% of a payment period or term. Federal Title IV financial aid program eligibility must be recalculated in these situations.
If a student leaves the institution prior to completing 60% of a payment period or term, the Financial Aid Office recalculates eligibility for Title IV funds. Recalculation is based on the percentage of aid earned using the following Federal Return of Title IV funds formula:
Percentage of payment period or term completed = the number of days completed up to the withdrawal date divided by the total days in the payment period or term. (Any break of five days or more is not counted as part of the days in the term.) This percentage is also the percentage of earned aid.
Funds are returned to the appropriate federal program based on the percentage of unearned aid using the following formula:
Aid to be returned = 100% of the aid that could be disbursed minus the percentage of earned aid multiplied by the total amount of aid that could have been disbursed during the payment period or term.
If a student earned less aid than was disbursed, the institution would be required to return a portion of the funds and the student would be required to return a portion of funds. Keep in mind that when Title IV funds are returned, the student borrower may owe a balance to the institution.
If a student earned more aid than was disbursed to him or her, the institution would owe the student a post-withdrawal disbursement which must be paid within 30 days of the student’s withdraw.
Refunds are allocated in the following order:
- Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan
- Subsidized Federal Stafford Loan
- Federal Parent (PLUS) Loan
- Federal Pell Grant
- Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grant
- Other Title IV assistance
- Other State of West Virginia
- Private and Institutional aid
- The student
Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy
The policy for Satisfactory Academic Progress is effective as of July 1, 2011 and supersedes any previous policy. Federal regulations require Blue Ridge CTC to establish Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards for all students in eligible degree or certificate programs who wish to receive financial aid. Any student receiving Title IV Financial Aid is required to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress according to The Compilation of Financial Aid Regulations (34 CFR, through 12/31/95 as published by the Department of Education, section 668.34). Every student is required to complete a certain number of hours attempted to show that he/she is progressing towards a degree in his/her program of study. Each student must also maintain a grade point average consistent with the regulations governing Satisfactory Academic Progress. Satisfactory Academic Progress is required for students to receive financial aid in any of the following programs: Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Federal Work-Study, Federal Direct Loans, or Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) and State Grant Programs including the West Virginia Higher Education Grant and Part-time Programs.
Students must satisfy both grade point average and attempted hours standards for progress toward a degree.
Standards Measured by Grade Point Average
- All Associate Degree and eligible certificate program students must maintain a minimum of a 2.0 grade point average (GPA). This includes transfers and re-admitted students.
- Any student admitted or readmitted on academic probation who does not meet grade point average standards may appeal to the Financial Aid Scholarship and Appeals Committee at Blue Ridge Community and Technical College. Please refer to www.blueridgectc.edu/financial_aid for more information.
Standards Measured by Hours Attempted
As a student progresses through his/her program, he/she must pass at least 70% of credit hours attempted, including transfer and pass/fail hours and the following:
The above types of attempted hours are combined with all passing grades in determining progress. Transfer credits accepted by Blue Ridge CTC will be added to institutional hours to determine total hours attempted.
|15 / 20 = 75%
||15 / 25 = 60%
|Student is passing
||Student is failing
|Hours Attempted Standard
Standards Measured by Maximum Hours
Any student in a program leading to an Associates Degree must complete their degree or certificate program in 96 credit hours or 150% of usual hours required by the program. Students who will be at maximum hours within 24 credits are also checked at the end of each semester for continued eligibility.
Students working on a second degree or certificate will receive financial aid ONLY for the coursework needed to complete the degree, even though they have passed less than 96 hours.
Satisfactory Academic Progress will be evaluated at the end of each semester, including summer term(s). Students must meet all Satisfactory Academic Progress standards. The GPA and percentage standards will be checked at the end of each semester and become effective immediately. Students not in compliance with grade point average and/or percentage standards for the first time will automatically be given a warning period of one semester, during which they will have eligibility for financial aid. Those who are given a warning period will be notified in writing. Each student is offered only one warning period. Students failing academic progress after the warning period are suspended from financial aid eligibility and will be notified in writing. Students may appeal suspension of financial aid based on special circumstances which include, but are not limited to, death of a close relative or injury or illness of the student. The student must provide documentation of the appeal circumstances. All appeals are considered on a case by case basis and a letter of appeal must be submitted, with documentation, to the Financial Aid Office at least one week prior to the appeal date listed in the suspension letter. Students are only permitted one appeal. A student can only regain eligibility by meeting the institutions current Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards,
Blue Ridge Community and Technical College Scholarships
There are various scholarships available to Blue Ridge Community and Technical College Students. Please visit the website at www.blueridgctc.edu/financial_aid