Maintaining Eligibility Maintaining Eligibility

Maintaining Eligibility

Maintaining Eligibility Students wishing to continue receiving aid must meet all eligibility criteria. The information below contains additional information about different factors that could impact a student’s eligibility.

Frequently Asked Questions

150% Subsidized Usage Limits Apply (SULA)

For loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2013 and before July 1, 2021, the Department of Education placed a limit on the maximum period of time (measured in academic years) that a student can receive Direct Subsidized Loans. In general, a student may not receive Direct Subsidized Loans for more than 150% of the published length of their program within the aforementioned timeframe. This is called the "Maximum Eligibility Period (MEP)". You can usually find the published length of your program of study in your school's catalog. Learn More about (SULA) here.

Unusual Enrollment History

  • The U.S. Department of Education established new regulations to prevent fraud and abuse of the Federal Student Aid (FSA) programs (ex: Federal Pell Grant and Federal Direct Loans) by identifying students with unusual enrollment histories.
  • Some students who have an unusual enrollment history have legitimate reasons for their enrollment at multiple institutions. However, such an enrollment history requires the Financial Aid Office to review a student’s file in order to determine future eligibility.
  • If selected by the Department of Education (via the FAFSA), this must be resolved before a student can receive FSA. The Financial Aid Office will correspond with you if any information regarding unusual enrollment history is required.


Federal regulations require that students receiving Title IV aid, which includes Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Direct Student Loans, and Federal PLUS Loans must attend all classes and have verified attendance in order to receive financial aid funds. Attendance is taken throughout the term and students must be in continuous attendance for all class sessions. Students will only receive financial aid based on their enrollment status as determined by their documented class attendance. Students who decide they are not going to attend class must officially withdraw from the College.

Attendance is determined by a student’s academic engagement. Academic engagement: Active participation by a student in an instructional activity related to the student's course of study that –

  1. Is defined by the institution in accordance with any applicable requirements of its State or accrediting agency;
  2. Includes, but is not limited to:
    1. Attending a synchronous class, lecture, recitation, or field or laboratory activity, physically or online, where there is an opportunity for interaction between the instructor and students;
    2. Submitting an academic assignment;
    3. Taking an assessment or an exam;
    4. Participating in an interactive tutorial, webinar, or other interactive computer-assisted instruction;
    5. Participating in a study group, group project, or an online discussion that is assigned by the institution; or
    6. (Interacting with an instructor about academic matters; and
  3. Does not include, for example -
    1. Living in institutional housing;
    2. Participating in the institution's meal plan;
    3. Logging into an online class or tutorial without any further participation; or
    4. Participating in academic counseling or advisement.

Aggregate Lifetime Loan Limits

  • There is an Aggregate Lifetime Loan Limit on the total amount of subsidized and/or unsubsidized loans that a student may borrow.
  • If the total loan amount a student receives over the course of their education reaches the aggregate loan limit, they’re not eligible to receive additional loans. However, if a student repays some of their loans to bring their outstanding loan debt below the aggregate loan limit, they could then borrow again, up to the amount of their remaining eligibility under the aggregate loan limit.


Pell Lifetime Eligibility Usage (LEU)

The amount of Federal Pell Grant funds you may receive over your lifetime is limited by federal law to be the equivalent of six years of Pell Grant funding. Since the amount of a scheduled Pell Grant award you can receive each award year is equal to 100%, the six-year equivalent is 600%.
If your LEU equals or exceeds 600%, you may no longer receive Pell Grant funding. Similarly, if your LEU is greater than 500% but less than 600%, while you will be eligible for a Pell Grant for the next award year, you will not be able to receive a full scheduled award.  Learn more about Pell Lifetime Eligibility Usage (LEU).
Students can log into using their FSA ID to view their LEU.


Repeated Coursework

Repeating courses for a better grade may affect a student’s eligibility to receive federal aid in future semesters depending on how many times the course is retaken and if the student passed or failed the course. Students wishing to retake a course should check in with the Financial Aid Office to determine how repeating the course may impact eligibility.

Return of Title IV Funds (R2T4)

If you withdraw from FCC and have received financial aid, any refundable amount of your institutional charges (tuition and fees and/or university housing costs) may be returned to the appropriate financial aid sources. You may be expected to repay the “unearned” portion of your financial aid if you withdraw from school or receive any combination of non-passing grades (F, N, W, or X) in all courses in a particular term. Direct Loan borrowers are also required to complete exit counseling.

Your withdrawal date is the date you officially complete the withdrawal process or you unofficially withdraw by ceasing attendance. Unofficial withdrawal dates are provided by faculty when they report a student's last date of attendance. 

Financial aid is returned in the following order:

  • Unsubsidized Direct Stafford loans (other than PLUS loans)
  • Subsidized Direct Stafford loans
  • Direct PLUS loans
  • Federal Pell Grants
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
  • Federal SEOG
  • Federal TEACH Grants

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

Students receiving federal aid need to make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in order to continue receiving Federal Student Aid (FSA) and most types of state financial aid. Students should familiarize themselves with FCC’s SAP policy.

There are three measurements of SAP:

  1. grade point average (GPA)
  2. completion rate (hours attempted vs. hours successfully completed), and
  3. maximum timeframe.

Use our SAP GPA and Completion Rate Calculator to explore different what-if scenarios for your current semester.

If you are suspended from financial aid and you have a documentable extenuating circumstance, you have the right to initiate an SAP appeal.

Contact Information

Phone Icon301.846.2620 (option 1)

Mail Icon[email protected]

Location IconJefferson Hall, 3rd floor

Office Hours

Monday: 8:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday-Friday* 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

*January - July and August
Available until 6:00 p.m. on Thursdays