Financial Aid Facts for Faculty and Staff
While faculty are not expected to know the ins and outs of financial aid, and should always refer students to the Office of Financial Aid, knowing a few basic rules can be helpful.
Applying for Financial Aid
- The FAFSA must be completed each year to receive federal and state aid. It is available January 1st of each year for the upcoming academic year.
- Beginning with the 2017-2018 cycle, the FAFSA will be available October 1st.
- We encourage all students to complete the FAFSA. It is free and the information will be available in the event a financial emergency arises and a student needs to utilize available student loans.
- The Department of Education randomly selects approximately 1/3 of the student population for verification. The Office of Financial Aid cannot override this selection, and students must be verified according to the guidelines provided by the Department of Education.
- Requested documents to complete verification may include:
- Federal tax transcripts
- Proof of any untaxed income
- Proof of separation
- Undergraduate students under the age of 24 are always considered dependent students, even if self-sufficiency is demonstrated.
- Exceptions to the dependency rule include:
- Cases of neglect or abandonment (documentation required)
- Veteran students
- Students who provide at least 50% of support for a minor child
- Married students
- Students enrolled in a graduate or professional program
- Students must be enrolled in a program which leads to an Associate’s degree or higher.
- Post-baccalaureate Teacher’s Certification programs are also aid eligible.
- Financial aid can only pay for courses that are required for the student’s program of study, and must be listed in the degree audit. The degree requirements must be published and available to all qualifying students.
Enrollment Requirements to Receive Financial Aid and Scholarships
- Many institutional and donor scholarships require students to attend full-time to receive assistance, but many federal and state financial aid programs do NOT require students to attend full-time to qualify for assistance. Financial aid is initially awarded based on full time enrollment and is prorated based on the student’s actual enrollment.
- Enrollment status for federal and state aid is determined on the last day to add classes for the semester and financial aid is adjusted accordingly.
- Students requesting a loan must be registered for a minimum of 6 credit hours.
- Financial aid is awarded for the academic year, half for the fall and half for the spring.
- Students have the option to reallocate funds to absorb the cost of the Summer term. This reallocation will decrease the aid available to the student for the Fall and Spring semesters.
- In the event a student wishes to reallocate funds to cover the cost associated with the Summer term, he or she must inform the Office of Financial Aid, in writing, prior to the disbursement of Spring funds.
- After tuition, fees, and book charges are deducted, any remaining credit balance is disbursed to students who have fulfilled all financial aid requirements. This begins after the census date, approximately 3 weeks following the start of the semester.
Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Requirements
- Dual enrollment hours DO count as attempted hours for federal/state aid.
- Undergraduate students with 225 or more attempted hours are not eligible to receive financial aid. There is no appeal if a student has 225 or more attempted hours.
- All financial aid recipients must meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). Failure to meet the following requirements for Satisfactory Academic Progress in coordination with Federal Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Guidelines, may result in the loss of financial aid:
- Minimum Cumulative GPA: Students must maintain a 2.0 cumulative GPA.
- Course Completion Rate (CCR): Students must earn (pass) a cumulative 67% of all credit hours attempted.
- Maximum Time Frame: Students must receive a degree within 150% of the published program length. For a student to be placed on unsatisfactory progress due to the maximum time frame, they would either meet or exceed 180 attempted hours. All grades, A, B, C, D, F, P, I, FN, and W count as attempted hours. Students will be notified that they are Approaching 150% when they meet or exceed 150 attempted credit hours. When students exceed the maximum time frame and choose to appeal, a degree completion plan is required. The degree completion plan specifies the classes and number of hours a student needs to graduate. If the student’s appeal is approved, he or she is expected to adhere to the approved degree completion plan. If there are extenuating circumstances that will change the student’s graduation date, a revised degree completion plan may be submitted for review.
- A student not meeting SAP is allowed one probationary, or warning, term. The student is eligible to receive financial aid throughout this warning term.
- A student is not permitted to be on Financial Aid Warning for two consecutive semesters. In the event the student does not meet SAP in the term following a warning, financial aid is terminated.
- A student is permitted to submit a SAP appeal in an effort to have financial aid reinstated. In order for an appeal to be granted, the student must be able to sufficiently document the extenuating circumstances that contributed to SAP failure. A degree completion plan must accompany the appeal.
- The peak time for obtaining a degree completion plan will be at the end of each term after the students are notified of their new SAP status, and at the beginning of each term when students are submitting appeals in advance of the first day of classes.
- Students who have an appeal approved will have specific semester GPA and course completion rate to maintain until requirements are met.
- If an appeal is approved, the student must complete and pass the courses outlined in the degree completion plan. In the event the student does not adhere to the conditions outlined in the appeal approval, the terms of the appeal are deemed to have been violated, and the student’s financial aid is once again terminated.
Supervisor‘s Guide to Student Employment
- Students must clock in and clock out using Paychex Time and Labor.
- The supervisor is responsible for reviewing and approving the hours worked.
- Federal Work-Study (FWS) students are not permitted to work during scheduled class times. If a class is canceled, the student may work IF the supervisor has written verification that the class will not be in session during the normally scheduled time. A copy of this verification must be submitted to the Office of Financial Aid.
- FWS students may not work during holidays, scheduled Fall and Spring Breaks, or before or after class start or end dates. Exceptions are made only if the student has remaining eligibility.
- The supervisor is responsible for training and guiding the student. Should disciplinary action become necessary, it is up to the supervisor to abide by the University’s corrective action policy.
- FWS eligible students are permitted to work no more than 20 hours per week. Exceptions can be made so long as the student has remaining unmet need, and the University has remaining work-study funds available. Requests for exceptions must be documented and submitted to the Office of Financial Aid.
- Students must be enrolled in classes at least part-time to be considered for Federal Work-Study employment.
- Students who are not enrolled in a Summer term are permitted to work and receive payment through work-study funds, so long as the student is enrolled in the following fall term, has submitted a FAFSA for the upcoming Academic Year, and exhibits financial need.
Advising Students Who Are Considering Dropping or Withdrawing from Courses
- Students considering or being advised to drop courses or withdraw from all classes should speak with a financial aid representative before doing so.
- Some of the implications for financial aid students of dropping or withdrawing from classes include:
- Repayment of federal and state financial aid; repayment amounts generally vary with the length of time enrolled during the term.
- Loss of future financial aid eligibility due to lack of satisfactory academic progress. Federal financial aid regulations require that institutions measure a student’s progression towards graduation, not just GPA when determining on-going eligibility for financial aid.
Students Who Stop Attending Classes
- Federal aid recipients who cease attendance and receive grades of FN in all classes, or a combination of FNs and any of the following grades in all classes for the semester –W, I, are considered unofficially withdrawn. The determination that a student has unofficially withdrawn is made after grades are posted at the end of the semester.
- Unofficially withdrawn students are held to the same repayment of federal aid calculation as students who officially withdrew from classes during the semester.