Financial Aid Policies and Guidelines

Disbursement of Financial Aid

Financial Aid is disbursed to student accounts according to federal and state guidelines and Blackhawk's disbursement schedule. If the combination of grants and loans disbursed to your student account for a semester exceeds the tuition and fees billed for the semester, a refund will be issued to you by Blackhawk's Accounting Office. Visit the college calendar to view disbursement and refund dates.

Book Charge Information

Bookstore charges allow a student to charge their books to their excess financial aid at the Blackhawk Bookstore. Bookstore charges are available from one week before the first day of each semester through the second week of each semester. For more information on bookstore charges, please visit:

Return of Title IV Financial Aid

Federal law states that if you receive federal financial aid and withdraw, drop-out, stop attending or receive failing grades in your classes, you may have to return some federal aid that you received. Failure to attend classes may require you to repay 100% of all the aid you received for the classes you did not attend. To view Blackhawk's Return of Title IV policy , please go to

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Students receiving financial aid must make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) toward completing their program. To view Blackhawk's SAP policy, please go to

Program and Course Eligibility
  • Students must be enrolled in an eligible program to receive federal or state financial aid. Look under “Is my program financial aid eligible?” on  to see if your program is eligible.
  • Courses that are not required for graduation from a student's declared program are not eligible for federal or state financial aid.
  • Students may only receive financial aid for the first completed retake of a course that they previously completed with a non-failing grade.  A non-failing grade is any grade higher than an F.
  • A student must be enrolled in at least six credits within their declared program of study in a semester to be eligible for Federal Direct Student Loans that semester.
  • Students must begin attendance in each course that counts toward their Pell Grant eligibility. If Pell Grant is received for a course, and it’s subsequently determined that the student did not begin attendance in that course, Blackhawk will return the Pell Grant to the Department of Education, and the student will owe the resulting balance to Blackhawk.
  • The number of credits used to determine grant eligibility is locked for each student on the Financial Aid Census day. The Census day for most students will be the end of the full-semester 80% refund period (See Refund Policy in Registration & Records section of this handbook), although the Census day may vary by program. Students are notified by email when their credits are locked for grant purposes each semester. After Census, grant eligibility will not be adjusted for changes in credit load, unless the student does not begin attendance in a course or courses. 

Enrollment Status

A student’s enrollment status is determined each semester and is based on the number of credits they are enrolled in that are required for graduation from their declared program. Enrollment statuses are defined as follows:

  • Full-time: 12 or more credits
  • Three-quarter time: 9-11.99 credits
  • Half-time: 6-8.99 credits
  • Less than half-time: 5.99 or less credits

Financial aid award offers are estimated based on full-time status. Financial aid is reduced for students who are not full-time.

Students must be at least half-time to qualify for the following types of financial aid:

  • Federal Direct Student Loans
  • Most WI state grants, such as the Wisconsin Grant (WHEG), Technical Excellence Scholarship (TES), and the Talent Incentive Grant (TIP), for example.

Pell grants are adjusted based on the precise number of credits a student is enrolled in. These adjustments are needed if the student is enrolled in fewer than 12 credits. It is possible for students enrolled in fewer than six credits to receive a Pell grant, but there are other variables in the eligibility calculation. 

Students with questions about their enrollment status for financial aid purposes should contact the financial aid office.

Important Financial Aid Dates

For information on important dates related to paying for college, such as financial aid disbursement, refund dates, and when financial aid be used for Bookstore purchases, please review Blackhawk’s calendar.