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Census Date
About Census Date

The census date is a set by the college and typically marks the end of the add/drop period.  On this day, the college takes a "snapshot" of all students' enrollment which becomes the "official enrollment" that is used for both state reporting and financial aid eligibility.

Generally, the classes you are enrolled in AND ATTENDING as of census date will determine the amount of financial aid grant money you will receive. (Loans are not effected by census date.)

If you are enrolled and attending less than full time as of census date, your aid will likely be less than what was reported to you in your initial award letter or email. This is because students are initially awarded based on the expectation of full-time enrollment.  Then aid is then adjusted on census date to their actual enrollment. (See the section on the web page Applying for Aid for an explanation of "estimated aid.")

 For financial aid purposes, there are generally 4 enrollment levels: 

  • Full-time (12 or more credits)

  • 3/4-time (9 -11 credits)

  • 1/2-time (6 - 8 credits)

  • Less than 1/2-time (1-5 credits)

What does this mean for you?  

If you increase or decrease your enrollment level through the enrollment snapshot/census date, your financial aid will be adjusted, as appropriate, to ensure that it is the appropriate amount given for your enrollment level. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you decrease your enrollment after the first class day but on or before the census date, you aid will be decreased as well to match your enrollment (as already explained). However, you may still owe some tuition and fee charges to the school because of the refund policy.  Students in this situation will be responsible for any balance owed the cashier's office. 

Additionally, since Pell eligibility begins on the first day of classes and is calculated day to day, a student who drops all their classes during the add/drop period (and before the census date) will be considered a Return to Title IV (R2T4). To read more about R2T4, click here.

If you increase your enrollment level after the census date, your aid will not be increased, except in the case of loans.  This means, for example, that a student who is enrolled in 10 credits as of the census date, and who later adds a 2 credit class, will not have his/her grant aid adjusted upward to the full-time level.  Rather, the aid will remain at the 3/4-time level. 

If you decrease your enrollment level after the census date, your grant aid will not be reduced.  This means, for example, that a student who is enrolled in 15 credits as of the census date, and who later drops a 5 credit class, will not have his/her aid reduced to the 3/4-time level.  Rather, the aid will remain at the full-time level and for Satisfactory Academic Progress purposes, the student will be held accountable for completing a full-time course load.   If a student has loans, however, and drops below 6 hours, any future disbursements will be canceled per federal regulations.


Some additional notes about census date and financial aid:

If your initial financial aid award is made:

  • before census,it is based on the assumption that you will be enrolled full time.    (12 credit hours or more)                             

  • after census,it is based on your actual enrollment status.