Financial Aid FAQs | Thomas Nelson Community College

Financial Aid FAQs


Who should I contact if needing help with...?

Applying & Starting school at Thomas Nelson Community College = Admissions Office

FAFSA Application & Finding money to help pay for school = Financial Aid Office

Military or Veteran Educational benefits = Military & Veteran Services Office

Paying the bill, payment plan, 529 payments, or third-party payments = Student Accounting Office

Scholarships and Alumni Donations = TNCC Educational Foundation

Degree requirements, course selection, or academic advice = Academic Advising Office

Course registration, FERPA, student records, transcript request, copy of dipolma = Registrar Office

How does the Financial Aid Office notify its students?

By email and also messages placed in your myTNCC student portal.  We send important financial aid information to the student’s VCCS e-mail address, as well as in your myTNCC student message center. We recommend that students check their VCCS email each week to make sure they don't miss anything and respond to us as quickly as possible.

We encourage students to use our financial aid e-mail address to ask questions or send us important information. Be sure to include your TNCC student ID number when sending us an email. Our e-mail address is We try to respond to your email within 2 business days.

Should I wait to be awarded before I register for classes?

No, don't wait. Please register for classes as soon as the registration process opens for each semester.

We to make sure that you get the classes and the schedule you want. Therefore, you do not want to wait until the last minute to register for classes. We also recommend that you enroll in the earlier sessions (i.e..., 16 week, 8 week for fall and spring; 10 week, 8 week and 5 week1 for summer), by doing so will ensure timely disbursement of any refunds.

Please note that if you register in a later starting session, your financial aid refund will not be processed until after the last day to drop a class with a refund. Check out the "Disbursement Dates" info on the right side menu.

Applying for Aid

Am I eligible for financial aid?

To be eligible for financial aid:

  1. A student must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen;
  2. You must have a valid social security number, and supply Admissions with a copy;
  3. Register with Selective Service (if male, ages 18-25);
  4. Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a degree or certificate seeking with a minimum of 16 credits;
  5. Only enroll in classes that are part of your degree or certificate program
  6. You must have a high school diploma, GED, or have been home-schooled;
  7. Not be enrolled in elementary or secondary school;
  8. Make satisfactory academic progress (SAP);
  9. Meet enrollment status requirements (sufficient credit hours);
  10. Have resolved any drug conviction issue;
  11. Must NOT be in default of a federal student loan or owe an overpayment of a federal student grant.

How do I apply for financial aid?

  1. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year (click here to begin)
    1. Be sure to create your FSA ID before completing your FAFSA (student and parent)
    2. Be sure to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) on your FAFSA when you get to the "Tax" section (student and/or parent)
  2. List Thomas Nelson on your FAFSA (TNCC's school code is 006871)
  3. Using your FSA ID, make sure to sign your FAFSA before submitting it (parents included if you are a "dependent student")
  4. Be sure to submit your FAFSA each year on or before the TNCC priority dates (see below)
  5. Make sure that you receive your FAFSA results back from the Dept. of Education (i.e... Student Aid Report)
  6. Review your FAFSA results (for errors or listed issues)
  7. Log back into your FAFSA (if needed) to correct errors and submit/sign it again
    1. Make sure that you receive your revised FAFSA results back from the Dept. of Education
    2. Review your revised FAFSA results
  8. Thomas Nelson will receive a copy of your FAFSA data from the Dept. of Education (even if you make changes or corrections)
  9. Thomas Nelson will review your FAFSA data and then email you at your VCCS student email address OR the personal email address that you entered on your Admission application, if more information is needed (starting in MARCH of each year)
  10. Log into your myTNCC student portal to read and complete all of your "To-Do" items requested
    1. Go to and click on the log-in for myTNCC portal
  11. Thomas Nelson will award aid once your FAFSA data has been reviewed, is error free, you've turned in all of the requested information, and you have completed all of your "To-DO" items
  12. Email will go out to your VCCS student email address OR the personal email address that you entered on your Admission application, as soon as your award(s) have been posted to your myTNCC portal

The priority dates are as follows:

  • Fall Semester = May 1
  • Spring Semester = November 1
  • Summer Semester = April 1

Why do I need to provide my parents’ information if I am living on my own and supporting myself?

The federal government has several variables to determine if a student needs to provide parents' information on their FAFSA. Please use the following Dept. of Education questionnaire to determine if you are considered "independent" or "dependent": (questionnaire link)

After reviewing the questionnaire, you are unsure if you meet the requirements to be considered an independent student, contact us as

Do I need to submit another FAFSA for the next semester?

No. You complete the FAFSA once a year prior to the fall semester. That FAFSA is good for that entire school year (Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters).

What is a "visiting" or "transient" student?

A visiting/transient student is non-degree seeking at TNCC and is either taking classes while enrolled at another college/university or taking classes for personal growth and development.

Is a visiting or transient student eligible for financial aid?

No. A visiting or transient student (pursuing a degree at another college and who is taking classes at Thomas Nelson with the intention of transferring their course(s) back to their home institution) is not eligible for financial aid from Thomas Nelson. Such students may consult with the Financial Aid Office at their home institution to see if they are able to do a consortium agreement with Thomas Nelson (whereby the home institution awards the student aid based on enrollment at Thomas Nelson).


What qualifies as a "SIGNED" tax return?

  • Be signed by at least one of the tax filers. The signature must be on the line of the tax return designated for the signature of the tax filer.
  • Or, include the tax preparer’s stamped, typed, signed, or printed name and SSN, EIN (Employer Identification Number), or PTIN (Preparer Tax Identification Number).

If your tax return includes neither the signature of at least one of the tax filers nor the preparer’s certification it does not qualify as a ‘signed tax return’.

Why do I need to submit my tax transcript, W2s, and the verification worksheet to Financial Aid services when I have already entered all that information on my FAFSA?

FAFSA that are selected for verification by the U.S. Department of Education require that the student submit to the financial aid office their tax transcripts and the appropriate verification worksheet in order for the financial aid office to verify that the information submitted on the FAFSA was submitted correctly.  Financial aid awards cannot be determined until the verification process has been completed.

The verification process can actually help families.  Limited financial aid dollars are supposed to go to students who qualify for the money according to federal and state program rules.  In many instances, some students may actually receive more money because Thomas Nelson found an error that increased the student’s financial aid eligibility.

How long does reviewing my tax transcript or other documents take by Financial Aid services?

During non-peak times, the office can process most paperwork within two (2) weeks. During the months of July, August, January and May, processing times may take longer. Please submit any outstanding paperwork as soon as you can to minimize delays.


Do I need to accept or activate my financial aid awards?

No. Our computer system automatically accepts/activates your financial aid awards. There is ONE exception: Student Loans. You do need to accept your loans if you are interested in borrowing money by completing the Federal Direct Student Loan Request Form (for students) & Federal Direct Parent Loan Request Form (for parents) (click here to access our forms site).

If I don’t attend in the fall, will my financial aid carry over to spring?

Your financial aid award package is for the fall and spring semesters (split 50/50). Half of the aid is for the fall and the other half is for spring. If you do not attend the fall semester, that amount is NOT carried over to the spring. You will need to notify us, if you decide not to attend in the fall, so we may adjust your awards. IMPORTANT NOTE: the unused fall semester portion of your Pell grant may be used during the summer semester. State aid is subject to change.

Do I have to be full-time to receive financial aid?

No. For the majority of the financial aid programs, you only need to be at least half-time (6 credits). However, to receive the maximum available aid, you should be a full-time student (12 or more credits). The amount of money that you receive may be reduced due to your number of credits you take.

What if I want to attend another college next semester, do I have to do another FAFSA?

No. If you plan on attending another college next semester, you must go back to your current FAFSA and add the new school code to your application and resubmit it. You will also want to contact our office to let us know that you will not be attending the following semester, so we can cancel any pending awards for you.

If I want to audit a class, will financial aid pay for it?

No. Financial aid will only pay for classes that are being taken for credit towards a degree or certificate program. Audited classes are NOT eligible to be paid with financial aid funds. Continuing Education Unit/Credit (CEU) classes are also not eligible to be paid with financial aid funds. If you change your status for a class to an audit during the term, your financial aid will be reduced accordingly and you may owe a portion of financial aid money back to the College.


What are the differences between the subsidized and unsubsidized federal student loans?

The Federal Direct Subsidized Student Loan is based on financial need. You will not be charged interest as long as you are enrolled in six or more credits.

The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Student Loan is not need based. It is available to students regardless of financial need. You will be charged interest from the time the loan is disbursed (while in school or after) until it is paid in full.

You will have the option of allowing the interest to accrue until you enter repayment or making a small interest payment quarterly to the Direct Loan Servicer for the unsubsidized student loan. The amount of your subsidized and /or unsubsidized loan will depend on your grade level and be limited to your cost of attendance.

Why do I need to complete entrance loan counseling?

You must complete the entrance loan counseling to enhance your understanding of the individual loan programs as well as your rights and responsibilities. As part of our loan default prevention program, we require students to complete loan entrance counseling each academic year. You should complete the loan entrance counseling when you have been awarded for the next academic year. The website to complete entrance loan counseling is

What is the Master Promissory Note (MPN)?

The MPN is a student loan promissory note that is used to make/approve a Federal Direct subsidized or unsubsidized student loans for multiple academic years (good for up to ten years while attending the same college).

Why do I need to complete exit loan counseling?

Thomas Nelson is required to provide student loan borrowers with additional loan counseling before they graduate from school. Upon graduation, leaving school, or dropping below half-time attendance, you will be required to complete exit loan counseling to review your rights and responsibilities. You are also required to update any necessary information with the Direct Loan Servicer.

Financial Aid Disbursements

Why does my account information show financial aid “pending” and “tuition due” when I have been awarded financial aid?

The award information is posted as “pending” until Financial Aid verifies your actual enrollment for the semester, which occurs approximately 2-3 weeks after the census date for the sessions that you are enrolled. Once the authorization and disbursement process is complete, the amount of your financial aid will be applied to your account with the Business Office. You are responsible for paying any tuition amount that your financial aid does not cover by the “pay by” date given to you when you register for classes. If you are unable to pay the balance all at once, you may schedule payments through Thomas Nelson’s payment plan.

What happens to my leftover financial aid?

If your award exceeds the amount of your tuition plus the amount you spent at the bookstore, you will receive a balance check for the balance approximately 6-8 weeks into the semester. Keep in mind that if you are enrolled in multiple sessions (16 week and 8 week 2, as an example) that begin and end at different times, it will delay the disbursement of your balance check.

You should receive your check seven to ten days after the refund is posted by the Business Office.  It will be sent to the address listed for you in the Student Information System.  If you have moved, make sure your address is correct in order to receive your check in a timely manner.

How can I use my financial aid to purchase my books and supplies?

Students who have pending/anticipated aid in excess of paying their tuition and fees have three ways to purchase their books and supplies up to $1,300.00 at the Thomas Nelson Bookstore. They may order on-line, rent selected textbooks or come in person to purchase their books and supplies. If they order on-line, they can also have their orders shipped to them, using their financial aid. E-mails are sent to students several weeks before the semester begins to inform them of the dates and processes. Students using their financial aid to purchase their books and supplies at the bookstore will need to complete and submit their Bookstore Authorization Form prior to using going to the bookstore

Special Circumstances/Unique Situations

What will happen if I drop any or all of my classes (withdraw from Thomas Nelson)?

If you drop from your full-time schedule, it may affect your eligibility. If you completely withdraw during any semester at Thomas Nelson, you may be subject to the Federal Return to Title IV Funds Policy as conducted by Financial Aid Services.

Before withdrawing or stopping attendance in classes, the student should be aware of the proper procedure for withdrawing from classes and the consequences of either withdrawing or stopping attendance. Official withdrawal is always the responsibility of the student and questions regarding withdrawal should be addressed to the student’s advisor or the Registrar’s Office.

Will it affect my financial aid if I receive all Fs, Us, and/ or Ws?

Students receiving financial aid, who receive all Fs, Us and/or Ws, in most cases, will be required to return a portion of the financial aid received. This applies to all federal and some state aid programs. The concept behind the policy is that the college and the student are allowed to retain only the amount of federal/state aid that is earned. If a student withdraws or stops attending classes, a portion of the aid received is considered to be unearned and must be returned to the aid programs from which it was received.

Once the College determines the dollar amounts and which individual aid programs must be repaid, the student will be notified of any amounts he/she owes. Any amount of unearned grant funds that a student must return is called an overpayment. Until the overpayment is repaid, the student is unable to register for future classes and ineligible to receive any financial aid.

Can I use my financial aid at other colleges/universities while attending Thomas Nelson?

You can receive financial assistance based on a combined Thomas Nelson enrollment and enrollment at other eligible institutions, such as Tidewater Community College, Norfolk State University, Hampton University and others under certain conditions. You must be enrolled at least 6 credits at Thomas Nelson (home institution). You can get more information from viewing our Consortium Agreement Form on our homepage under “Forms.’

What can I do if my situation has changed since I submitted my FAFSA?

If you or your family have experienced a change in your financial situation (loss/decrease of income, change in student or parent marital status) after you have completed the FAFSA, our office may be able to re-evaluate your circumstances if our special circumstance policies are applicable. These reviews occur September 14-April 15 of each year. You will want to discuss your circumstances with one of our advisors.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

What is satisfactory academic progress (SAP)?

Maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) means that you must fulfill certain minimum academic standards to keep your financial aid eligibility. There are three rules to SAP:

  1. GPA Rule = you must maintain at least a 2.0 grade point avaerage
  2. 67% Rule = you must pass at least 67% of the classes you sign up for each semester
  3. 150% Rule = you must earn your degree or certificate within 150% of the maximum time frame

More information about SAP can be found on the homepage under "Satisfactory Academic Progress".

Can I appeal my status if I am not maintaining satisfactory academic progress (SAP)?

Yes. If you have become ineligible to receive financial aid because you are not maintaining SAP, you may appeal your status with the SAP Appeal form located under “Forms” on our homepage.

Federal Work-Study

What is the Federal Work-Study Program?

The Federal Work Study Program (FWS) provides jobs for undergraduate with financial need as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Students must file the FAFSA to be considered for Federal Work Study (FWS) funds every year.

If you are not initially awarded FWS, you may contact our office and ask about FWS eligibility.

How many hours may I work as an FWS employee?

When classes are in session, students should not work more than 20 hours per week.  A FWS employee may work up to 29 hours per week, when classes are not in session (exam week, semester breaks, etc).


How do I apply for scholarships?

Thomas Nelson offers a Foundation Scholarship Program, which is administered by the Thomas Nelson Education Foundation. For more information visit our website and go to Scholarships. Information about private scholarships can also be found on our website.

What if I receive an outside scholarship?

Outside scholarship forms or checks should be directed to Lisa Smith. Her address is Thomas Nelson Financial Aid, PO Box 9407, Hampton, VA 23670. Students should make sure that the donors are aware of tuition due dates, so that enrollment may be protected.

Financial Aid & Veteran Affairs

Hampton & Historic Triangle campuses

M 8 a.m.– 5 p.m.
T 8 a.m.– 5 p.m.
W 8 a.m.– 5 p.m.
TH 8 a.m.– 5 p.m.
F 8 a.m.– 12 p.m.