September 3, 2014

Changes to Financial Aid

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
Financial aid recipients must meet NEW federal guidelines to continue to qualify for aid. The Financial Aid Office will begin reviewing Satisfactory Academic Progress annually for the 2012-2013 aid year. Students who do not meet the satisfactory academic standards at the end of the spring semester will be SUSPENDED from financial aid.

  1. After the end of each spring semester, the academic records of all students who are receiving or applying for federal financial aid will be reviewed. Students whose financial aid eligibility is suspended as a result of failure to meet one or more of the standards of satisfactory academic progress will be notified by the Financial Aid Office. NOTE: Students enrolled in programs that are less than one year will be reviewed at the end of each term.

Each student must complete a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal on the basis of: student injury or illness, death of a relative, or other special circumstances. Each student’s appeal must: 1) explain why satisfactory academic progress has been failed; 2) include documentation of the aforementioned explanation; and 3)indicated what has changed in the student’s situation that will allow the student to make satisfactory academic progress at the student’s next evaluation. In addition, if a student is appealing due to maximum timeframe, the student must also submit a degree audit plan.
If the appeal is approved, the student must accept an academic plan as instructed and developed by the Financial Aid Office. Students with approved appeals will be placed on financial aid probation. This probation will last for one semester. If the student is not meeting satisfactory academic progress at the end of one semester, the student’s probation will continue as long as the student is following their academic plan. Should the student fail to meet the satisfactory academic progress standards after one semester and fail to follow their academic plan, the student will no longer be eligible to receive any financial aid funds. The student is then responsible for paying his or her own fees and cannot be considered for aid eligibility until the standards of satisfactory progress are met.
Students have the following options to maintain and restore financial aid eligibility:

    • Improve academic performance enough to meet the standards,
    • Successfully follow the academic plan as instructed and developed by the Student Financial Aid Office, or
    • Submit additional satisfactory academic progress appeals for different extenuating circumstances.

Repeated Coursework
Effective July 1, 2011, there is a rule change regarding federal financial aid and payment of repeated coursework. If you have taken and passed a course (with a grade of D or higher), federal financial aid will now only pay for you to repeat this course one time. Should you decide to repeat a course for a second (or more) time, federal financial aid will not cover the cost of that course.
If you are currently enrolled in a repeated course for the second time, and you passed the course the first time you enrolled in it, your financial aid may be revised. You should consider dropping the course and adding another course you have not taken before.
High School Diploma
Institutions are now required to develop and follow procedures to evaluate the validity of a student’s high school diploma, if warranted, or if the diploma was not obtained from an entity that provides secondary school education. Students must have a high school diploma or its recognized equivalent, or have been home schooled to the appropriate level, to meet eligibility criterion for the Title IV funds (Pell grants)

IRS Data Retrieval (available at the FAFSA website) is now available two weeks after filing your 2011 income taxes electronically. Use this helpful tool to avoid having to manually load your income tax information on your FAFSA. To view a tutorial of the IRS Data Retrieval process, CLICK HERE (

If you are selected for the “verification” process, you must submit a copy of you and/or your parents’ 2011 IRS Tax Return Transcript. To obtain a copy, call toll free 1-800-908-9946, or go on-line to <> . Click on “Order a Return or Account Transcript”, and then click on “Tax Return Transcript”. (NOTE: Financial Aid Offices can NO LONGER ACCEPT copies of tax returns – IT MUST BE AN OFFICIAL IRS TAX RETURN TRANSCRIPT).
12 Semester Lifetime Limit for Federal Pell Grant
Effective for the 2012-2013 Award Year, the duration of a student’s Federal Pell Grant eligibility will be limited to 12 semesters, or until a bachelor’s degree is earned, whichever comes first. This new amendment to the Higher Education Act, Section 401 (c)(5) is a federal mandate and not subject to appeal.
For more information, click here <> . (

Technical Certificates
Certificate students listed in the following Technical Certificate Programs are eligible for Pell grant. Students must be taking required courses pertaining to their particular technical certificate. If you are taking a course that is not required, your financial aid may be impacted. Contact the Financial Aid Office for more information.

Off -Cycle Courses
For the purposes of financial aid, off- cycle courses is the name used to describe a course whose start date occurs two weeks-or-later in a given semester. For example, the first day of the Fall 2012 semester was August 20, 2012. An off-cycle course, then would be a class whose start date occurs at least two weeks or more into the term (i.e. September 14 or beyond).

If you are registered for a combination of courses (for example, registered both for a course that is not an off-cycle and for a course that is an off-cycle course), THEN your financial aid will be adjusted to reflect the number of courses that have already begun. The adjustment will result in a decrease to your aid amount initially. When the off-cycle course begins, your financial aid will be adjusted upward to reflect the hours from the off-cycle course.

Student Example:
Student is enrolled in 12 hours. All courses begin on August 20, 2012 except one course. That course begins on October 17, 2012. Pell grant eligibility is $2775 for the semester based on 12 hours but because one of the courses does not begin until later in the term, the initial Pell amount will be $2082 (the prorated Pell amount for 9 hours). On October 17, 2012, when the course begins, the Pell grant amount will be increased resulting in an additional $694 being applied to the student’s account.

If you have questions regarding any of the policy changes listed above, please contact the Financial Aid Office at 870-733-6729 or email us at