Description of Financial Aid Programs | Federal Financial Aid Criteria to be an Independent Student
Financial Aid Procedures

Office of Financial Aid's

Financial Aid Programs

Office of Financial Aid Home Page

During the 2014-2015 academic year, approximately $20,118,023 in financial aid was awarded to students attending Schenectady County Community College. In fact, over 70% of the full time, matriculated students attending SCCC received at least one form of financial aid.

The chart below indicates the estimated breakdown of all Financial Aid Disbursements for 2014-2015:

Financial Aid Program


Number of Recipients

Federal Pell Grants $8,747,315 2,632
Scholarships 177,117 251
Federal SEOG Grants 86,512 275
Federal Work Study 92,931 58
EOP Grants 28,831 82
TRIO Grants 31,161 40
Student Loans 8,473,788 2,000
TAP 2,393,006 1,243
APTS 87,363 69
TOTAL $26,118,023

Determining Financial Need and Eligibility

The financial aid program at SCCC provides monetary assistance to matriculated students who can benefit from further education, but who cannot do so without such assistance.

Amounts of awards vary and depend upon the student's demonstrated and verified financial need, as well as the amount of government funds available for distribution. The primary responsibility for meeting the expenses of a college education rests with the student and family.

An estimated family contribution toward college is determined through a process called "need analysis," which measures family financial circumstances. Financial need is then defined as the difference between the family contribution and the cost to attend Schenectady County Community College.

To apply for most types of financial aid, a student must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Using this information, the SCCC Financial Aid Staff will determine eligibility for federal financial assistance. The FAFSA is also the first step to apply for the New York State TAP grant. New York State will send each student an Express TAP Application for their review and signature.


Federal Pell Grant

Pell grants are Federal financial aid grants that do not have to be repaid by the student. Students must be enrolled in a degree or certificate program either full-time or part-time. The award period covers one academic year, and students must not yet have a Bachelor's degree. Awards are based on family income, assets, size of family, cost of education, etc.

Educational Opportunity Program

EOP stipends are grants, and they do not have to be repaid. Eligible students must be both academically and educationally disadvantaged and they must be qualified for EOP during their first year in college. The amount of the awards are based on need as determined by the Financial Aid Office. Students are eligible for a maximum of six semesters of full- time EOP eligibility at a two-year college.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant

FSEOG awards are Federal grants that do not have to be repaid by the student. They are based on need as determined by the Financial Aid Office. First priority in awarding FSEOG grants is given to students who are Pell grant recipients with the smallest estimated family contribution. Funding is limited.

Tuition Assistance Program

TAP is a New York State grant for full-time students who are New York State residents and it does not have to be repaid. Eligibility is based on New York State NET TAXABLE INCOME (after deductions). Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid in order to apply for TAP.

Aid for Part-Time Study

APTS is a New York State grant for part-time students (6-11 credits) which does not have to be repaid. Awards are based on family NET taxable income and are awarded each semester. Students are required to maintain a 2.0 cumulative grade point average.

Federal Work Study Program

FWS gives eligible students an opportunity to earn additional financial aid. The amount of the award is the maximum amount that may be earned. The expected pay rate is $8.50 per hour. The pay rate is $8.75 per hour for students who had work study the entire prior year. Work assignments are usually 10-15 hours per week. Since funds and job opportunities are limited, receiving a Federal work study award is not a guarantee of a Federal work study job. Students should report to the Career and Employment Services Office during the first two weeks of classes for their job assignments.

Federal William D. Ford Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Stafford Loan

A first year undergraduate student (with less than 30 earned or transfer credits) may borrow up to $5,500 per year with a maximum of $3,500 of that amount being in a subsidized loan. Second year students (with at least 30 earned or transfer credits) may borrow up to a maximum of $6,500 per year with a maximum of $4,500 of that amount being in a subsidized loan. Additionally a dependent undergraduate student may only borrow up to an aggregate limit of $31,000. Independent students may have up to an additional $4,000 in unsubsidized loans per year.

Federal Financial Aid Criteria to be an Independent Student

For the 2015-2016 academic year, the following are the federal criteria for independence.

You are independent if you answer "yes" to any of the following questions:

  • Were you born before January 1, 1992?
  • As of today, are you married or separated?
  • Are you currently on active duty with the U.S. Armed Forces?
  • Are you a Veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?
  • Do you have children that receive more than half of their support from you?
  • Do you have dependents, other than children or spouse, who lives with you and that you provide more than half of their support?
  • Since the age of 13, were both parents deceased, were you in foster care, or were you a ward of the court?
  • Are you or were you an emancipated minor as determined by a court?
  • Are you or were you in legal guardianship as determined by a court?
  • At any time on or after July 1, 2014, were you considered to be an unaccompanied youth or homeless?

If you answered "no" to every question, you are dependent on your parents for federal financial aid purposes.

If you answered "yes" to any question, you are independent of your parents for federal financial aid purposes.

If you believe that there are extenuating circumstances, you should contact the Financial Aid Office.

Financial Aid Procedures

  1. The primary purpose of financial aid is to provide financial assistance within available resources to those students who, without such assistance, would be unable to attend Schenectady County Community College (SCCC). SCCC assumes that the student's family has the first obligation to provide financial assistance for the education of the students. The second obligation falls upon the student to contribute to his/her own education from personal assets and earnings, including appropriate borrowing against future earnings.

  2. Within its available resources SCCC attempts to meet the financial needs of its students. Thus a student's financial need is determined by subtracting the family's contribution from the total cost of attending SCCC. The total financial aid awarded a student (grants and loans) can never exceed the college’s cost of attendance.

  3. The amount of a student's financial aid is contingent upon the student enrolling for the specified number of credits each semester. Students must be accepted into a degree or certificate program. A student will be ineligible for financial aid upon failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress as explained in the web site section on Satisfactory Academic Progress for Federal Financial Aid Eligibility.

  4. Students have a maximum time frame for completion of their program not to exceed 150% of the normal requirements of that program. For example if 60 credits are required for graduation, the student cannot attempt more than 90 credits (150%) and maintain their financial aid eligibility. It may be possible to appeal this due to extenuating circumstances.

  5. Students who withdraw from the College, or stop attending all of their classes within the first 60% of the semester, may be liable for tuition, fees and other charges, and may have to repay all or part of the Federal financial aid grant and/or loan funds that they have received.

  6. The Federal Tax Reform Act of 1986 requires that, all financial aid grant assistance (Pell, TAP, ACG, EOP, SEOG, scholarships, etc.), minus the cost of tuition, fees, books and supplies, must be considered taxable income for the recipient. It is the student’s responsibility to keep appropriate records and receipts. Questions should be addressed to the Internal Revenue Service or other tax professionals.

Federal Financial Aid Refund Policy

The U.S. Department of Education has implemented a new refund policy for federal financial aid programs (Pell, SEOG and Student Loans). When a student withdraws from or stops attending all classes in the first 60% of a term, federal regulations require that the college calculate the percentage and amount of federal financial aid the student did not "earn" by their attendance and return those funds to the federal programs. For example, if a student withdraws after attending only 30% of the term, then that student is only entitled to 30% of his federal financial aid (grants and loans). Students who attend classes after the 60% point in the term are considered to have earned all federal funds.

If a student received more federal financial aid than the amount earned, the College is required to return the unearned funds to the U.S. Department of Education. Students need to be aware that if this unearned federal assistance was used to pay College charges for tuition, fees and books, they may now owe the College for the portion of tuition, fees, and books that was previously covered by the unearned portion of their federal financial aid. If students received a cash disbursement of a Federal Pell Grant and/or Federal SEOG grant funds, they may also be required to repay a portion of these unearned federal grants to the U.S. Department of Education.

Students who owe an outstanding balance to the U.S. Department of Education will be notified of any outstanding balances owed within 30 days of the date that they withdrew from all of their classes or 30 days from the date the College learned that they were not attending all of their classes. The students will then have 45 days to repay the overpayments or to reach satisfactory repayment arrangements with the College or the U.S. Department of Education. If a student does not repay the overpayment or make satisfactory arrangements within the 45 days, he/she will be considered to have a federal financial aid overaward, and the student’s account will be referred to the U.S. Department of Education for collection. Students will not be eligible for federal financial aid at any college until the overaward has been cleared.

Students who owe the College a balance for tuition, fees and/or bookstore charges due to the reduction in their federal financial aid eligibility, must make payment with the College Student Accounts Office within four weeks of notification. Additional information, and examples of the new refund policy, is available from the Student Accounts office.

When an overpayment for institutional costs has occurred, a return of funds to the federal financial aid programs will be made in the following order:

  1. Unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans.
  2. Subsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans.
  3. Federal Direct PLUS Loans.
  4. Federal Pell Grants for which a return of funds is required.
  5. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) for which a return of funds is required.

Financial Aid for Study Abroad

Students who choose to study abroad for part of their educational experience at Schenectady County Community College may be eligible for federal financial aid for attendance at the foreign institution. The study abroad credits may be considered enrollment at SCCC for the purpose of federal financial aid if the courses are satisfying degree requirements in the student's SCCC program that are not yet satisfied. The College must also have a written agreement with the institution offering the study abroad program to insure that it is an eligible program.

A study abroad program is an eligible program if:

  1. A student studying abroad concurrently remains enrolled in an eligible program at Schenectady County Community College; and

  2. Schenectady County Community College awards academic credit for courses in the program of study abroad; and

  3. Schenectady County Community College will accept the courses taken abroad in transfer credit as courses satisfying requirements in the student's degree program that are not already satisfied.

Students should make an appointment to discuss their course and financial aid options with their academic advisor, Division Dean and the Director of Financial Aid, Mrs. Cynthia Decker, 221 Elston Hall, (518) 381-1353.


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