Federal Financial Aid Changes
On December 23, 2011, President Obama signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012 (Public Law 112-74). The new law significantly impacts the Federal Student Aid Programs authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended.
Do not wait to apply for Financial Aid
Apply EARLY for the 2012-2013 academic year, which starts Fall Semester of 2012, by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Financial aid is awarded ONLY when the FAFSA is received and the student's file is completed.
IRS Data Retrieval Tool
Beginning February 1, 2012, students and parents who have submitted their 2011 IRS
tax return will be able to select the IRS Data Retrieval option to transfer tax information
to the 2012-13 FAFSA. We strongly encourage you to select this option when you complete
your FAFSA online.
This option will streamline and expedite the processing of your financial aid application. According to the IRS, electronically filed tax return information will be available online from the IRS site in 1 to 2 weeks after the return is filed. Data from paper tax returns takes 6 to 8 weeks. Using the IRS Data Retrieval option can significantly lower the chances of your file being selected for verification, which will save you time and increase accuracy of your application.
If your FAFSA is selected for verification and you used the IRS Data Retrieval Option, you will not be required to submit any tax return information.
If your FAFSA is selected for verification and you did NOT use the IRS Data Retrieval Option, or you changed the IRS data, you will be required to request an OFFICIAL IRS TAX TRANSCRIPT and submit it to the financial aid office.
**PERSONAL COPIES OF 1040 TAX FORMS CAN NO LONGER BE ACCEPTED.**
Federal Pell Grant Lifetime Eligibility Limit
What has happened?
This law has significantly impacted the Pell Grant Program. Beginning in Fall 2012, students are now limited to 12 semesters (or 600%) of Pell Grant eligibility during their lifetime. This change affects all students, regardless of when or where they received their first Pell Grant. Students who are currently receiving the Pell Grant in the academic year 2011-2012 and have already used 600% of their Pell Grant eligibility will no longer be eligible to receive a Pell Grant starting Fall 2012.
How do I know if this affects me?
If you have attended college for 4 years or longer, receiving the Pell Grant each year, you are likely to exhaust or have already exhausted your lifetime limit of 12 semesters of Pell Grant eligibility during the 2012-2013 school year. If you have attended college and received the Pell Grant for 4 years or less, you will likely not surpass the lifetime limit during the 2012-2013 school year. Whether you have used all of your Pell Grant eligibility or only half, please be aware of the lifetime limit of the Pell Grant when changing majors and/or scheduling classes.
Can I see my lifetime Pell Grant used?
View your Pell Grant records
How is the percentage used calculated?
The percentages are based off the annual award at full-time enrollment status. For students with an annual award for the 2011-2012 academic year, at the maximum award of $5,550, and who attended 12 or more credits in two semesters (Fall and Spring, for example), the percentage used for the 2011-2012 academic year is 100%. If you only attended 9 credits for two semesters, your percentage used for the academic year is 75%.
Ability-to-Benefit (ATB) Provisions Eliminated
What has happened?
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012 (Public Law 112-74), eliminates Federal Student Aid Eligibility for students who do not have a valid high-school diploma or a recognized equivalent (GED), or who do not meet the home-school requirements, first enrolling in a program of study on or after July 1, 2012, will not be eligible to receive Title IV student aid.
Who does this change affect?
New students who are attending college on or after July 1, 2012, who do not have a high-school diploma or a recognized equivalent (GED), or do not meet the home-school requirements.
Will I lose my aid if I was previously approved for the Ability-to-Benefit provisions?
Students may continue to qualify for Federal Student Aid under the ability-to-benefit provisions ONLY if they were enrolled in an eligible program of study before July 1, 2012.
If I start attending on or after July 1, 2012, can I receive any Financial Aid if I do not have a high-school diploma, GED, or do not meet the home school requirements?
If you are a South Carolina Resident, you may be eligible for Lottery Tuition Assistance.
Direct Subsidized Loan Grace Period Interest Subsidy Eliminated
What has happened?
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012 (Public Law 112-74), eliminates the interest subsidy during the six-month grace period provided to students when they are no longer enrolled on at least a half-time basis.
How will this affect me?
Direct Stafford Loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2012 and before July 1, 2014 will no longer have an interest-free six-month grace period. Your interest will begin accruing as of the date you are no longer enrolled at least half-time.