Financial Aid Eligibility


When financial assistance is given to students, there are often requirements that need to be met and that help determine how much aid a student may receive.

Minimum Eligibility Requirements

In general, financial aid eligibility requires students:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen with a valid social security number.
  • Register with Selective Service if the student is male and over the age of 17.
  • Have a high school diploma (includes homeschooling) or GED. (If graduated from a foreign high school, the diploma must be evaluated by a company that has a membership with the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services and be equivalent to a U.S. high school diploma.)
  • Enroll in an eligible program as a regular student seeking a degree or certificate. (Not all programs offered at Central Ohio Technical College are eligible for financial aid.
  • Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progressstandards set by Student Financial Services.
  • Provide documentation of any information requested by Student Financial Services.
  • Demonstrate financial need (except for Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students and private loans).
  • Certify that student aid will only be used for educational purposes.
  • Must not be in default on a federal student loan or federal parent loan for undergraduate students and/or not owe an overpayment from any federal program.
  • Must not have outstanding Federal Perkins Loan or federal student loans in excess of the annual or aggregate loan limits.​

Estimated Cost of Attendance (COA)

While actual costs will vary from student to student, COTC uses average cost figures when determining eligibility for financial aid. The instructional and general fee component is based on 12 credit hours of enrollment for each semester. In addition to instructional and general fees, books and supplies, housing, utilities, food, an allowance for personal and miscellaneous expenses, and transportation may be included in determining the cost of attendance. COTC has taken a more conservative approach to awarding, and students are only packaged up to direct cost which includes tuition and fees, and books, course materials, supplies, and equipment. You may have additional loan eligibility beyond what is included in your award package. If you have questions, contact a Student Financial Services specialist.

Allowances for other expenses such as disability and dependent care expenses may also be included in the student’s Cost of Attendance. To include these additional expenses, the student must submit some type of documentation, such as receipts, to Student Financial Services. The child care allowance covers care during periods that include, but are not limited to, class time, study time, fieldwork, internships and commuting time for the student. The allowance should be based on the number and age of dependents and should not exceed reasonable cost in the community for the kind of care provided. For disabled students, an allowance for expenses related to the student’s disability include special services, personal assistance, transportation, equipment and supplies that are reasonably incurred and not provided by other agencies. Increasing the student’s Cost of Attendance does not necessarily provide additional aid for these expenses. For more information, contact a Student Financial Services specialist.

Examples of COTC’s 2024-2025 student budgets (estimated expenses for two semesters):

Full Time (on/off campus)  
Tuition and fees $5,256
Books and supplies $1,104
Rent/housing costs $4,160
Utilities $2,312
Food $2,720
Misc. personal $2,792
Transportation $2,032
Total $20,376
3 semesters: $28,812
Summer only: $8,436
Full Time (with parent)  
Tuition and fees $5,256
Books and supplies $1,104
Living allowance $2,080
Utilities $0
Food $ 2,720
Misc. Personal $2,792
Transportation $2,032
Total $15,984
3 semesters: $22,773
Summer only: $ 6,789

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

The Expected Family Contribution is based on the data provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). A federally mandated formula considers taxable and non-taxable income, assets, and the number in the household and in college. If the student is considered a dependent student, parental data is also included. The formula may be viewed at here.

Receipt of Other Financial Assistance

Federal regulations require the student to disclose and the Office of Student Financial Services to include outside awards in their financial aid package. If the student receives any form of non-federal assist­ance after the award package has been determined, an adjust­ment in the award package may be necessary. In some cases, the adjust­ment may include repayment of federal funds. In all cases, if an adjustment is necessary, the student will be notified by email. When possible, federal and state loans and Federal Work Study eligibility are adjusted before grants or scholarships. Federal Pell Grant funds are not reduced if the student receives a scholarship or other education-based award. Other assistance may include but are not limited to scholarships, grants, fellow­ships, private loans, Ohio National Guard, WIA, TANF and BVR.

Financial Need

Financial need is the amount that remains after the Expected Family Contribution and other resources are subtracted from the Cost of Attendance. If the resulting calculation is a positive figure, the student is considered to have unmet financial need. Student Financial Services attempts to meet the financial need with federal and institutional funds. If the combined Expected Family Contribution and other resources are higher than the Cost of Attendance, the student is not eligible for need-based aid but may qualify for low interest educational loans. Student employment is another source of funding to assist in paying school expenses.

Change in Financial Circumstances

Student Financial Services recognizes that a sudden change in family income or an unavoidable expense can have a direct impact on the ability to continue pursuing one’s education, such as loss of employment, divorce/separation, death or substantial reduction in current year income. Student Financial Services may consider those changes and re-evaluate eligibility for financial aid. In order for the application to be reviewed for special circumstances, the student should submit the appropriate Income Appeal (Dependent or Independent) with documentation to support the request. Students are encouraged to speak to a Student Financial Services specialist concerning their circumstances. COTC’s policy is to begin review of income appeals after April 1, 2023, based on 2022 financial information.

The following changes must also be reported to Student Financial Services:

  1. If the student is in default or owes a refund on a federal grant or loan at any institution
  2. Conviction for possessing or selling illegal drugs while receiving federal financial aid

Audit Courses

Financial aid funds cannot be used to pay for audited courses. If a student elects to audit a course, their aid will be adjusted to exclude the audited hours which could cause a balance due to COTC. Audited courses will not be counted in the credit hours attempted or completed for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).

Flex Courses

Financial aid may post to student accounts at the beginning of the semester for flex and term courses that do not begin on the first day of semester. However, during the third week of the semester, aid will be removed for courses that have not started. Once the courses have started and attendance has been reported, aid will re-disburse to the student accounts. If students fail to attend or drop the class(es), a balance may still be due.

Minimum Hours Requirement

In order to receive a Federal Direct Student loan, Federal Direct PLUS loan, Federal Work Study, NEALP and institutional scholarships, students must enroll at least six credit hours per semester at COTC. Some institutional scholarships require full-time enrollment and are identified in the scholarship offer letter and the chart, What Happens if You Enroll Less than Full Time. Failure to enroll in the required number of credit hours will result in cancellation of these awards for the semester. If a student drops below six hours before the loans disburse, the student is no longer eligible for the loans.

Other Changes That May Affect Aid Eligibility

Aid may be revised at any time, based on a change in eligibility, enrollment, program (major), office/institutional error or agency error. If financial aid has already been credited to the student account, the student may be responsible for partial or full repayment of the funds, regardless of the reason for the adjustment. As required by law, revision of the aid package may occur if:

  • Aid was based on false or inaccurate information;
  • Student Financial Services made an error in determining eligibility for or disbursement of financial aid awards;
  • The amount of financial aid received exceeds calculated financial need;
  • Satisfactory Academic Progress is not maintained;
  • The student fails to meet enrollment, grade point average, participation or other requirements of a specific award;
  • The student drops classes or withdraws;​​
  • The student does not attend their classes;
  • The student decides to audit a class;
  • The student enrolls in a program that is not eligible for financial aid;
  • The student enrolls in courses not required to graduate from their plan of study (aid can be adjusted at any time);
  • Student Financial Services is made aware that the student received aid at a previous institution for the current academic year;
  • The student repeats a course for the third time and has passed it once before;
  • A student who completes the academic requirements for a program but does not yet have a degree or certificate is ineligible for additional federal student aid funds for that program.

COTC offers programs that are considered inactive or ineligible are not eligible for financial aid. An example of an ineligible program is a program that is waiting for approval from the federal Department of Education or Ohio Department of Higher Education. Another example of an ineligible program is the& College Credit Plus program. A student registered as a non-degree-, non-certificate-seeking/special status student will not be eligible for financial aid. In each of these situations, a student may continue to take classes in an ineligible or inactive program or in a non-degree seeking status, but will not be eligible for financial assistance from federal, state and institutional financial aid programs while enrolled in these programs. While enrolled in an inactive or ineligible program, all classes attempted may affect financial aid eligibility in the future if the student should change to an eligible program. All classes attempted at COTC and transferred into COTC are counted towards the student’s Maximum Time Frame regardless if the student received financial aid for the classes or not.

Student Financial Services has the right to review, adjust and cancel a financial aid award at any time due to changes in financial or academic status or the failure to provide required documentation. Financial aid is contingent upon many factors, including availability of federal, state and institutional funding.

Repeat Courses

Students may receive financial aid for only one repeat of a previously passed course with a letter grade of a D- or better. Students who repeat failed coursework may continue to receive aid for multiple attempts based on the schools policies and procedures. A student is permitted to retake the class once in hopes of raising the grade and receive aid, but not for any subsequent attempts. If a student failed (F, FN, U) or withdrew from the class, COTC is permitted to give them aid for as many times as they attempt it as long as they are otherwise eligible. (All attempts are included in Satisfactory Academic Progress.)