2024-2025 Catalog and Handbook 
    May 20, 2024  
2024-2025 Catalog and Handbook

Step 5: Pay for College


The tuition for all credit courses is set by the Virginia State Board of Community Colleges and is subject to change. Tuition and fees are listed at the following website: www.mecc.edu/paying-for-college.

A Virginia domicile is eligible for in-state tuition rates and is one who has been domiciled in, and is and has been a bona fide legal resident of Virginia for a period of at least one year prior to the commencement of the term or semester of entitlement.

Students classified as out-of-state who can provide clear and convincing evidence that they were eligible for Virginia domicile on the first day of class for a term may have their tuition status changed for the current term. In the event that a student’s circumstances change after a semester has begun, the student’s tuition status may be eligible for reclassification. This reclassification shall be effective for the next academic semester or term following the date of the application for reclassification.

Tuition and fees are due and payable on the scheduled enrollment days. Personal checks are acceptable in the amount of the tuition due. Tuition may be paid via MasterCard or Visa or on line through the student center in PeopleSoft SIS using QuikPAY. The QuikPAY service allows payments to be made by credit/debit card, checking account or savings account.

Chapter 31, Chapter 35, and Chapter 33 Recipients

A DND (Do Not Drop) Service Indicator will be placed on the record of any individual entitled to educational assistance under Chapter 31, (VR&E), Chapter 35, or Chapter 33, Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits under the following conditions prior to the first day of the semester: 1) The individual has provided a copy of his/her Certificate of Eligibility for entitlement to educational assistance under chapter 31 or 33 (a “certificate of eligibility” can also include a “Statement of Benefits” obtained from the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) website -eBenefits, or a VAT 28-1905 form for chapter 31 authorization purposes). 2) The individual has submitted a completed and-signed Certificate of Understanding for the current academic year; and 3) the individual has submitted a completed and signed MECC Certification Request for VA Educational Benefits for the current semester.

The DND Service Indicator will remain on the individual’s record until the date on which payment from the VA is made to the institution; or 90 days after the date the institution certified tuition and fees following the receipt of the documents listed above (whichever date is earlier).

Chapter 33 recipients with an eligibility of less than 100% must pay their portion of tuition/fees by the end of the expiration period.

Payment of tuition and fees also enables the student to use the library, learning laboratory, bookstore, parking lot, student lounge, and other facilities of the College. There are no special laboratory or library fees, but students are expected to pay charges for any College property which they damage or lose. This policy also applies to Chapter 31, Chapter 35, and Chapter 33 individuals with a DND Service Indicator charges for any College property which they damage or lose.

Appeals Process for Applicants Denied In-State Tuition

The initial assessment of eligibility for in-state tuition is made by Enrollment Services/ Admission. Students who wish to appeal their domicile/in-state classification should contact the Dean of Enrollment Services.

Tuition Payment Plan

To assist in meeting educational expenses, MECC offers the Nelnet Payment Plan to help budget tuition costs. There are no interest or finance charges assessed and no credit check. Students may budget tuition and fees in the following manner:

  • Automatic Bank Payment: This is a bank draft from a checking account or savings account, on the 16th day of each month.
  • Credit Card Option: If you elect to use this option, the monthly payment, along with a convenience fee, are automatically charged to the designated credit card. The convenience fee is in addition to the non-refundable Nelnet enrollment fee. Payments will be charged on the 16th day of each month until the balance is paid in full.

Tuition Payment Plan Enrollment Fee

There is a small enrollment fee for using the Nelnet payment plan. The amount of the fee depends on the time in which you enroll in the plan. The enrollment fee varies from $35 to $45. This is the total cost; no interest is applied. The down payment, along with the enrollment fee is deducted from the designated bank account or charged to the designated credit card within one to two business days after registering for the payment plan. Additional scheduled payments are always on the 16th of the month. If bank drafts fail for insufficient funds on any of the payments, you will be assessed a $25 service fee by Nelnet and additional service fees assessed by your bank. Nelnet will attempt another draft on the 5th of the following month. Students enrolled in the payment plan must be sure the funds are available for the bank drafts against your account.

Registering: Register for the Nelnet Payment Plan online at www.mecc.edu/paying-for-college. Students need their Student ID, social security number, bank name and telephone number, check/savings account and routing numbers or credit card information.

Terms and Conditions: A number of terms and conditions apply to the agreement with Nelnet. Students should thoroughly review all terms and conditions before submitting the agreement. Failure to comply with these terms and conditions may result in cancellation of classes at MECC. For example: If the full amount of your down payment does not clear the bank, the contract with Nelnet will be immediately terminated and the payment amount satisfied by the contract with MECC will be voided on the student account, leaving an unpaid tuition balance. It is very important to let the Business Office know when you register for the Nelnet Payment Plan. The Business Office is not informed of payment plan registration until the next business day. If the last day to pay tuition is the same day as enrollment in the payment plan, students must request a DO NOT DROP be placed on their account to insure classes will not be dropped for non-payment. The last day to pay tuition may not necessarily be the last day you may register for the payment plan. It is the student’s responsibility to see that tuition is paid on time or to inform the Business Office that you have completed an application with Nelnet. The number of months you have to finish paying for your tuition depends on how early you apply for the payment plan. Check with the Business Office for details on each semester deadlines.

Students must contact the Business Office if they drop a class (a class is canceled) or add a class, to have the payment plan adjusted accordingly. In addition, the student may log in to their Nelnet Payment Plan account and request an adjustment to their balance resulting from changes in their class schedule or contact a Nelnet representative for assistance. No adjustments are made to any plan without authorization from the student. Questions concerning the Nelnet Payment Plan should be addressed to the Business Office.

Tuition and Fees Refunds

Students shall be eligible for a refund for those credit hours dropped during the same add/drop period within which the credit hours were added. The refund will be at the applicable per credit hour rate, but no refund will exceed the student’s tuition and fees charges. A student will receive a full refund for any course dropped during the first two weeks of classes in a standard session (or 15% of the calendar days in a nonstandard session). Refer also to the Title IV Return of Funds Policy in the MECC Student Handbook.

Should MECC not be able to deliver fully the instruction for which a student has paid, the College will provide an alternative for receiving this instruction or a reasonable refund.

A student who believes that individual circumstances warrant an exception to this refund policy may appeal in writing to the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Workforce Solutions.

Military (US Department of Defense) Tuition Assistance Refunds

Active military students may receive military Tuition Assistance {TA) funds for their course enrollment(s) with MECC. When an active military student withdraws from a course(s), the student may not be eligible to receive the full amount of TA funds. MECC will return unearned TA funds on a proportional basis through the 60% portion of the period for which the TA funds were provided. Thus, TA funds are earned proportionally through the last day of course attendance, with unearned funds returned based upon when a student stops attending.

Return of Unearned TA Funds: Any student may drop a course(s) without financial encumbrance within the allowable refund period (last day to drop and receive a refund). During this time, 100% of TA funds will be returned to the government.

After this time and when a military student receiving TA funds from the Department of Defense withdraws or ceases attending, MECC will return unearned TA funds to the government on a proportional basis through the 60% portion of the period for which the TA funds were provided.

MECC will return any unearned TA funds directly to the military service, not to the service member. The student will be notified within 30 days of the withdrawal as to the portion of the funds that need to be returned. However, when the military student stops attending for military obligation, MECC will work toward solutions that avoid student debt for the returned portion of the TA funds.

Calculation to Return Unearned TA Funds: For any student using TA funds to pay for education costs at MECC who withdraws from MECC prior to completing 60% of the course, MECC will return any unearned TA funds to the government according to how much of the course a student completes. The percentage of TA funds returneq represents the amount of tuition paid to MECC that must be returned to the government. MECC calculates the return of unearned TA funds using the following formula:

Percentage TA
Funds Returned
= 100% -        # Days Attended           X 100  
# Total Days Course Meets  

These funds must be returned to the government within 45 days of determination of the withdrawal. Date of withdrawal is the date that the student officially withdrew according to the withdrawal documentation in the MECC Records office or the last day of attendance reported by the instructor when the student received final grades of all Fs, or a combination of Fs and Ws, for the term.

The MECC Business Office will return unused TA funds to the government on behalf of the student. However, the MECC Business Office will then add this balance to the student’s MECC account resulting in the student then owing MECC the amount of the returned TA funds.

In calculation of Total Days Course Meets, MECC schedules the minimum number of days a course meets according to 5 days per academic calendar week. MECC schedules courses on a semester basis. However, within the semester, classes may meet for non-standard periods. Although the typical fall or spring semester meets for a minimum of 80 days each and the summer semester meets for a minimum of 50 days, MECC does offer limited courses that meet for different lengths of time.

Return of TA chart  

Refunds, Credits, Reinstatement as a Result of Military Service

Tuition and Required Fees

Pursuant to 23-9.6:2 of the Code of Virginia and corresponding SCHEV Guidelines, Mountain Empire Community College provides for the tuition relief, refund, and reinstatement of students whose service in the uniformed services has required their sudden withdrawal or prolonged absence from their enrollment. Service in the uniformed services is defined as service (whether voluntary or involuntary) on active duty in the Armed Forces, including such service by a member of the National Guard or Reserve, for a period of more than 30 days under call or order to active duty of more than 30 days.

The College provides for the following:

  • Should a student be ordered to active duty (for reservists) or be mobilized (active military) as described in the Code of Virginia, Section 23-9.6:2, and the State Council’s Virginia Tuition Relief, Refund, and Reinstatement Guidelines, and he/she requests to be withdrawn from the College after the last day to withdraw and receive a refund, the student may elect either to be deleted from the registration file and be awarded a full refund or to be administratively withdrawn with no refund and assigned a grade of “W.”
  • The College will provide, at the option of the student, for such refunds to be retained and to be applicable to tuition and fees charged in the semester or term in which the student returns to study.
  • The College will process refunds for textbooks according to established refund policies of the College Bookstore.

Academic Credits and Grades

Students who are called to active duty or are mobilized, meaning serving in the uniformed services, as described in Virginia Tuition Relief, Refund, and Reinstatement Guidelines should have the opportunity to receive an incomplete grade (“I”) until released from active duty (for reservists) or mobilization (for active military personnel). All course requirements shall be completed within one year from the date of release from active duty or mobilization.

Students may be given the option of taking their examinations prior to regularly scheduled times as an exception to VCCS policy 5.6.1 in accordance with the Virginia Tuition Relief, Refund, and Reinstatement Guidelines.

Reinstatement following Active Duty or Mobilization

Students who are called to active duty or are mobilized will be assured a reasonable opportunity to be reinstated in the same programs of study without having to reapply for admission. Reinstatement will be granted if students return to the College after a cumulative absence of not more than five years so long as the student provides notice of intent to return to the institution not later than three years after the completion of the period of service.

Suspension of Students for Non-Payment

A student’s continued attendance at the College is dependent upon proper settlement of all debts owed the institution. Should the student fail to satisfy all due and payable amounts for tuition and fees, College loans, College fines, or other debts owed the College, the student may be suspended. If suspended, no student will be allowed to register in any succeeding semester until all current debts owed to the College have been satisfied.

Books and Materials

Students are expected to obtain their own books, supplies, and consumable materials needed in their studies. The estimated cost of these items will average $750 per semester for a full-time student. Students may also rent their textbooks for the semester at a lower cost. The purchase/rental cost varies according to the number of credit hours taken. Students are urged to check exact book titles and authors required in each course before purchasing books. The College Bookstore has very specific guidelines about returning books for a refund. Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with these guidelines before making any purchases.