The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Rules for financial aid to be enforced

By Tabitha Redder/managing editor

Beginning this summer, stricter guidelines will dictate financial aid eligibility for students.

For students to receive financial aid, they must be enrolled in courses that comply with their declared degree plan and active academic program.

This regulation is nothing new, but financial aid advisers previously lacked the software to enforce it.

“Now we have the ability to actually look at an eligible program and look at the courses the student was enrolled in and use the degree audit function to match the two together,” student financial services district director Samantha Stalnaker said. “Before, the technology was not available to do a one-on-one individual review.”

Academic programs leading toward four-year degrees are degree plans like an Associate of Arts or an Associate of Science. Other programs include Associate of Applied Science or certificate programs including culinary arts, welding or mechanics.

Stalnaker said if only portions of the student’s hours are in their academic program, only the courses within the program will qualify for financial assistance.

Additionally, if a student has taken all the elective courses their degree plan allows, they won’t be reimbursed for any other electives they choose to take.

“Unfortunately, there are probably a lot of students who are not actually in the programs they are truly studying and there may be some students who are not as aware of the courses they are taking and how it relates to what they want to study,” Stalnaker said. “It depends on the student’s goals academically and professionally.”

Ricks Edmondson, NW’s counseling and advising director, said students’ awareness is key to maintaining financial eligibility.

“The most important thing a student can do is have a degree plan that matches their goal. Just make sure you know what your program of study is and that you’re working off the right degree plan for that program,” he said. “If you follow that, you will usually be in good shape.”

Edmondson recommends visiting WebAdvisor to explore the catalog and requesting to see an academic advisor for assistance.

NE student Kalan Beal is pursuing his Associate of Arts degree and said he didn’t know about the restrictions.

“I feel like this just reinforces that I’d need to be selective with the classes I take,” he said. “This also makes finding out which classes I’m required to take in my specific degree plan even more of a priority.”

Students are encouraged to check WebAdvisor to ensure they are in the correct academic program so they aren’t in danger of losing financial aid eligibility.

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