Financial Aid Procedures and Guidelines

Census Date and Financial Aid Awards 

Students who are eligible for financial aid and enroll at CLC receive an award notification that lists each type of financial aid they might be able to receive. The award amount shown in the award notification is based on full-time enrollment in an eligible program. The actual amount of aid a student receives will be based on enrollment as of the financial aid census date. Please refer to the “Important Dates” web page for the 2023-2024 Aid Year census dates. At census, the financial aid office will “freeze” student enrollment and adjust awards to the correct amount, based on actual aid eligible hours enrolled as of that time. Late-starting classes that are added after the census date, may not be eligible for financial aid. If financial aid includes a class that has not yet started, the student will not be able to drop that class without contacting a financial aid specialist. The aid will be adjusted after the student is permitted to drop and they may be required to return a portion of the aid received.

 Late applicants (awarded after the scheduled census date) will be processed during the remainder of the semester. The amount of the award will be based on enrollment in aid-eligible classes at the time the award is processed. Late awards will be disbursed during the next scheduled disbursement.

Bookstore Charges

Students with anticipated credit balances on their student account, based on anticipated financial aid (Pell Grant), will be allowed to charge books in advance of receiving financial aid in the CLC Bookstore. Check the Financial Aid website at to determine the dates when book charges are accepted. Items charged in the Bookstore are paid when a student’s aid is disbursed. If for any reason, the student is not awarded enough Financial Aid to cover the amount of the bookstore charges, the student is fully responsible for repayment of any charges incurred.

Important Note: Book charging for all students is based on the Federal Pell Grant Chart, please be aware that you may show book charging eligibility even through the Department of Education (ED) notified you via your Student Aid Report (SAR) that you have reached your life-time Pell eligibility.


The Financial Aid Office will credit funds to student accounts according to a disbursement schedule set up each semester. Check the Financial Aid website at for the dates on which funds will be applied to student accounts.

 As a reminder, the Finance Office has up to 14 business days to issue student refunds. To sign up for direct deposit visit us online at

Withdrawals and Return of the Title IV (Financial Aid) Funds

College of Lake County is required only to determine the amount of Title IV funds a student has earned as of the date the student ceases enrollment. The amount of Title IV funds earned by the student is based on the amount of time the student was actually enrolled; it has no relationship to the student’s incurred institutional charges.

Federal Regulations define that a student is considered to have withdrawn when they do not complete all scheduled days required to complete the semester. Students enrolled in courses that do not span the entire semester are considered to have withdrawn if at the time of a withdrawn course(s) the student is not actively attending other courses. Students enrolled in courses that do not span the entire semester are not considered to have withdrawn if at the time of withdrawing from the course(s) a written confirmation of intent to attend a future course(s) within the current semester is provided. The written confirmation of intent must be provided at the time of withdrawal.

Title IV funds are awarded to a student under the assumption that the student will attend school for the entire period for which the assistance is awarded. When a student withdraws, the student may no longer be eligible for the full amount of Title IV funds that the student was originally schedule to receive.

If a recipient of Title IV grant or loan funds withdraws from a school after beginning attendance, the amount of Title IV grant or loan assistance earned by the student must be determined. If the amount disbursed to the student is greater than the amount the student earned, unearned funds must be returned.

If the amount disbursed to the student is less than the amount the student earned, and for which the students is otherwise eligible, the student is eligible to receive a post-withdrawal disbursement of the earned aid that was not received.

Please feel free to contact the Financial Aid Office if you have any questions concerning this provision.

Is Student a Withdrawal?

1. Did the student cease to attend before completing or fail to begin attendance in a course scheduled to attend?

•  If yes, go to question 2

•  If no, student not a withdrawal

2. When the student ceased to attend or failed to begin attendance in a scheduled course, was the student attending other courses?

•  If yes, student not a withdrawal

•  If no, go to question 3

3. Did the student confirm attendance in a later course within the current semester? (Course must begin within 45 days of withdrawal)

•  If no, student is a withdrawal.

•  If not a withdrawal, Pell recalculations may apply

 Ineligible Programs and Courses

In order to be eligible to receive financial aid, a student must be enrolled in and actively pursuing a degree or certificate in an eligible program of study. The college offers a wide range of associate degrees and certificates in eligible programs. The Associate in Arts, Associate in Science, Associate in Engineering Science, Associate in Fine Arts, Associate in General Studies and most Associate in Applied Science degree programs are eligible. Most career certificate programs that require at least 16 credit hours to complete are eligible as well. (See a financial aid specialist for more information on eligibility.)

 The college offers courses that meet a wide range of community need. Some courses are not eligible to be included in a financial aid award. Courses that do not meet these criteria, non-credit courses, adult education courses as well as audited courses and some career courses are not eligible for financial aid. Eligible courses are those that may be applied to completion of a degree or certificate, and/or developmental courses that are at a post high school level and prepare a student to take college-level classes. Only courses required to complete a student’s program of study are eligible for financial aid. Special circumstances exist for students taking courses as prerequisites for program admission. Students may only receive financial aid for up to 30 hours of developmental courses.

Refund of Surplus Financial Aid Funds

The Finance Department will issue refunds by direct deposit (ACH) or by check to students based on credit balances within 14 days after their financial aid is credited to their student account. The Finance Department will deduct tuition, fees and book charges from the student’s account before refunding the remaining balance. Students can grant permission to use their aid refund to pay for other charges. Please check the Financial Aid website at for the dates on which the Finance Department generates student refunds.

 Academic Standards for Financial Aid Recipients (SAP)

Federal and state regulations require that students make satisfactory and measurable academic progress in their academic work in order to continue to be eligible for federal and state financial aid. At CLC the effective date that begins to measure satisfactory academic progress is the last date to drop a class with no record. This date is specific to each class and is at a point when 15 percent of the class length has passed. Excluded from these standards are courses in Adult Basic Education (ABE), English as a Second Language (ESL), General Education Development (GED), Vocational Skills Technology, Contract Training, Continuing Education and General Studies.

 Satisfactory academic progress is measured in three distinct ways:

1. Course Completion Rate- Students must successfully complete at least 67 percent of all cumulative credit hours attempted at CLC. A successful completion is defined as earning a grade of D or better. Withdrawals (official or unofficial), incompletes, repeated classes and remedial courses are included in hours attempted. Students who do not comply with the requirement will be put on a one-semester warning, but will still receive financial aid for that semester. If 67 percent completion rate is not achieved by the end of that semester, they will be restricted and will no longer be eligible for financial aid until good standing is restored.

2. Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) Students must have a 2.00 cumulative GPA to graduate from the college, therefore, must maintain a 2.00 cumulative GPA. The GPA calculation for SAP includes developmental courses that are not included in the college’s GPA calculation. Students who do not comply with the requirements will be put on a one-semester warning, but will still receive financial aid for that semester. If a 2.00 GPA is not achieved by the end of that semester, they will be restricted and will no longer be eligible for financial aid until good standing is restored.

3.  Program Time Frame to Complete Degree- Students may pursue completion of a degree program on a full- or part-time basis, but the federal government requires that students make progress toward degree completion in a timely fashion. Progress toward completing a degree is measured not by calendar time, but by the total number of attempted hours allowed to complete a degree. Students must be able to complete their program of study within 150 percent of the hours required for the program. Once a student’s attempted hours reach 100 percent of the hours required for the program, the student will be placed on warning status. Students who cannot complete their program of study within 150 percent of the hours required are placed on restricted status and are no longer eligible to receive federal or state aid at the college.

Included in the count of attempted hours is all attempted course work taken at CLC, transfer credit accepted from other institutions and any Advanced Placement or CLEP credit.

All withdrawal grades, failing grades and incompletes, as well as repeated courses and remedial course work, are considered hours attempted and are included in the maximum time frame.

Satisfactory, Warning and Restriction Status

A student will be considered in a good satisfactory status as long as the student meets the requirements described on page 26. A student will be placed on warning status for failing to meet GPA and/or course completion rate requirements and/or program time frame as described above but will be allowed to receive financial aid. A student will be placed on restricted status for failing to meet requirements 1, 2 or 3 as described above and will not be eligible to receive financial aid.

 Appeal Process

Any student placed on Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) restricted status has the right to appeal. All students requesting a SAP Appeal should complete the following steps:

1. Complete a financial aid workshop (see details at Upon completing the workshop, the student will receive their SAP Appeal Form.

2. Provide a detailed statement explaining the circumstances resulting in your failure to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress standards (including third party documents as applicable).

•   All appeals must be complete and provide detailed information about extenuating circumstances. Extenuating circumstances include: personal illness/accident, serious illness or death within the immediate family, auto accident or other situation beyond the reasonable control of the student.

•   Third-party documentation is required when applicable with each appeal. Documentation may include, but is not limited to, copies of medical records, accident reports and/or letters from an Academic Success Advisor, work supervisor or other counselor. Appeals for additional degrees will be considered on a case-by- case basis.

•   Appeals must be submitted in the term for which the student is seeking financial aid. Appeal forms will not be accepted unless all documentation is included with the form.

•   Appeals must include a statement explaining the reason for not meeting the SAP standards and what changes have been made to ensure future success.

•   All appeal decisions are final.

3.   Meet with an Academic Success Advisor and complete an SAP Planning Form. Students with approved appeals will be placed on a probation status for one term. At the end of the probation period, students who meet the terms of the probation will remain eligible for aid for the subsequent semester. Students who do not meet the terms of their probation are returned to restricted status.


Verification is used to confirm that the data reported on your FAFSA form is accurate. If you're selected for verification, we will request additional documentation that supports the information you reported. If a student’s application is selected for verification, and the student does not submit the required documentation requested by the school, the student is not eligible to receive federal student aid. The student also might not receive aid from other non-federal sources. Students should submit all requested documentation by deadlines published by the Financial Aid Office. Any discrepancies found between information provided on the FAFSA and the data provided on verification documents will have to be resolved. The Financial Aid Office will make necessary corrections to your FAFSA and, if necessary, adjust your financial aid awards. Any discrepancies found between the information provided on the FAFSA and the data provided on verification documents will have to be resolved. The Financial Aid Office will make necessary corrections to your FAFSA and, if necessary, adjust your financial aid awards.

 Verification Items may include:

•  Number in household

•  Number in college

•  Certain Federal Income Tax information (you may find your tax transcripts through the IRS's get transcript service at

•  Certain untaxed income and benefits

•  High school completion status

•  Identity/statement of educational purpose

Applicants are strongly encouraged to utilize the IRS Data Retrieval Tool during the application process. This tool allows tax information to be electronically transferred from the IRS website onto the FAFSA application. If the retrieval tool is not utilized, and 2020 federal taxes were required to be filed, a copy of a 2021 Federal Tax Transcript, along with parent’s transcripts for dependent students, may be required. Visit for more information.

Repeated Courses

A student may receive financial aid one time for a repeated credit course. Third attempts will not be counted in the calculation for federal or state student aid.

Financial Aid Online

For news, updates and additional information about applying, receiving and maintaining your financial aid awards, please visit the Financial Aid Office website at Students can access financial aid status information via myStudentCenter. Log in to myStudentCenter at and click “View Financial Aid” in the Finances section on the main page. Next, select the aid year from the list of available years. If there are no awards pending, the application may still be under review.