All About Grants

Qualify Based on Your FAFSA

Grants are one of the best types of financial aid because you don’t have to pay them back. They’re designed to help make college accessible for everyone so that all students can pursue their dreams.

The two biggest grant programs are the Federal Pell Grant and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant. You may have heard that if your family’s income is above a certain level, you aren’t eligible for federal grants. That isn’t necessarily true. 

Your eligibility primarily depends on the results from your Free Application for Federal Student Aid. You also must meet a few other eligibility requirements.

No matter what your family income may be, you should fill out the FAFSA. Students who skip the FAFSA leave billions of dollars on the table every year.

Oakland Community College Federal Grant Recalculation Policy

Oakland Community College established a Policy with the implementation of Datatel for recalculating the Federal Pell Grant based on Enrollment changes and refund periods during a semester.  Federal Pell Grant (PELL) is included in the following Policy.

A student’s financial aid award is paid out based on current enrollment at the time of transmittal. Transmittals are run biweekly throughout the Financial Aid Payment Period (Semester).  

All classes at Oakland Community College have an individual 100% refund period which is described in the Oakland Community College Catalogue.   A student shall receive all eligible Pell funding for any classes that the student is enrolled in beyond the end of the 100% refund period for that class.  The total of all credits represented by all classes that the student is enrolled in through the 100% refund period will establish the enrollment for which Pell will be calculated and paid by OCC.

If a student drops a course within that 100% refund period of the course then the student will receive a refund for the cost of the classes and that course will not be considered in the Federal grant eligibility calculation.  If the student has already received Pell grant funds for that class before the student dropped and earned 100% refund, then the student will be billed for the appropriate amount of Pell funds received based on the new enrollment status.

If a student registers for a class before the 100% refund period of that class has ended then the enrollment will be adjusted for that class and the Pell will be recalculated to include the additional enrollment.

If a student registers or drops a class after the 100% refund period of that class, then the class will not be included in the recalculation of Pell as the registration.  As a result, enrollment will not be increased for a class added after the 100% refund period of the class and enrollment will not be decreased for a drop that occurred after the 100% refund period of the class.

Student Financial Resources and Scholarships will consider exceptions to the enrollment if the student, by no mistake of their own, was dropped or added to a class by enrollment services as an institutional error.  For example, if a student added a class at the start of the semester, and then was dropped from the class by enrollment services as a result of an institutional error, SFRS may pay on the class after the class is reinstated, even if the class is re-instated after the 100% refund date.

Negative and Positive Adjustments based on this policy may be made throughout the entire Payment Period (Semester).

If a student withdraws from all classes of enrollment after the 100% refund period of the classes, then the student will be process through the Return of Title IV Procedures.

Federal Pell Grant

The main source of grant money is the Federal Pell Grant program. Your lifetime eligibility for Pell Grants is limited to 12 full-time semesters or their equivalent.

A regular Pell Grant applies to fall and winter semesters, but Year-Round Pell boosts your regular grant by 50 percent so you can continue with summer classes. Taking classes during summer semester helps you finish your degree faster.

To qualify for summer Pell money, you must take at least six credits total during the two summer semesters and meet the other Pell Grant requirements. That’s it. If you’re eligible to receive a grant, you’ll get it automatically when you register for summer classes.

How much Pell money you receive for summer depends on:

  • How much you received for fall and winter semesters
  • How many credits you take during the summer

Here’s an example: Say you took 12 credits in both fall and winter and qualified for a Pell Grant of $4,000, or $2,000 per semester. If you took 12 credits during the summer semesters, you’d get another $2,000. If you took nine credits, you’d receive $1,500. And if you took six credits, you’d get $1,000.

State Grant Programs

The State of Michigan offers several grant programs for college students:

  • Dual Enrollment: Students in grades 9-12 can take up to 10 classes at OCC for free through Dual Enrollment. The Michigan Department of Education funds the program. Learn more.

  • Michigan Indian Tuition Waiver: Students who are at least 25 percent Native American blood quantum and are enrolled citizens of a U.S. Federally Recognized Tribe qualify for free tuition at OCC.

  • Tuition Incentive Program: TIP provides tuition assistance to eligible Medicaid recipients for qualifying certificate, associate degree, and bachelor’s degree programs.

  • Michigan Reconnect: Michigan residents who are at least 25, have a high school diploma or GED, and don’t have a college or university degree can get free tuition at OCC. Learn more.

OCC Grant Programs

OCC has two grant programs of its own:

  • Board of Trustees Awards: Students who live in the district and have financial need are eligible to receive up to $1,600.

  • Student Success Fund: Students who suffer a sudden crisis can apply for a grant. Depending on funding availability, you can receive up to $500 or a laptop computer. You can’t use the money for tuition. Instead, it’s designed to help with rent, utilities, transportation, food, technology needs, textbooks, required course materials, or unexpected expenses. To learn more, contact the OCC Foundation or 248.341.2137.

If Your Financial Situation Changes

After you’ve qualified for a Pell Grant, stuff can happen that affects your ability to pay for college. For example, you or a parent might lose a job, or a family member might need expensive medical care that’s not covered by insurance.  

If something like this happens, contact the Financial Aid office to see if we can increase your Pell Grant. You’ll need a compelling explanation and documentation to support your request. But if you have a strong case, you may be able to get more money.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant

Students with exceptional financial need may qualify for a Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant. Pell Grant recipients receive priority.

As with Pell Grants, your eligibility is determined from information you supply on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Funds for this program are limited, so it’s critical to submit your FAFSA as early as possible.

Don’t Be Forced to Repay Your Federal Grants

Normally, you don’t have to repay federal grants that you receive for college. But in some cases you do.

This can happen if you drop classes, withdraw from school, or just don’t show up for your classes. Consider two cases:

  • If you completely withdraw from OCC before 60 percent of the semester is over, you must repay a pro-rated portion of the federal aid you received. For example, If you complete 20 percent of the semester you must repay 80 percent of the money, if you complete 30 percent you must repay 70 percent, and so forth.

  • If you don’t show up during the first 20 percent of a course, you receive an N mark. This blocks you from attending or dropping the course. You also must repay all your federal financial aid.

If you have to repay your grant, you won’t be able to register for classes or receive financial aid until you do.

Michigan Education Savings Program

The Michigan Education Savings Program allows parents to save money for their child’s college education while saving on taxes. Taxpayers filing jointly may deduct up to $10,000 in MESP contributions each year from their Michigan adjusted gross income. In addition, investment earnings are not subject to federal or state taxes when they’re used for qualified education expenses.