Verification Policies & Procedures for Federal Student Aid Applications
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An applicant will be required to verify (validate by documentation) any and all information provided on the FAFSA if the application is selected for verification. Verification selection can occur in the federal processing and edit systems or in the Student Financial Assistance office if there is reason to believe that any application information critical to the calculation of the student's expected family contribution (EFC) is inaccurate or in conflict with other information.
If an application is selected for verification, the Student Financial Assistance Office will give notice to the applicant. The notice will specify what items of information must be verified and will detail what documents and procedures are required for verification. It will also specify the time period within which the applicant shall provide the required documentation, and will advise the applicant of the consequences of the applicant's failure to comply within the specified period.
The time period granted to the applicant for completion of required documentation may vary with the complexity of the requirements and with the time remaining in the school term for which funding is sought. Normally, the student is afforded 45 days from the request date to provide verification documents to the Student Financial Assistance Office. Overall, the deadline for submission of verification documents must be at least 30 days prior to the end of the school term for which funding is sought and to allow for processing (and correction, if needed) before the end of the term.
Should the applicant fail to provide required documentation within the specified time period, the application is considered invalid and the applicant will forfeit eligibility for assistance from the federal Title IV student aid programs for the program year for which the invalid application was filed.
If the verification documents provided within the specified time period confirm the accuracy of all application items requiring verification, the application is finalized and, if all other requirements have been met, a letter is sent to notify the applicant. If the verification documents reveal inaccuracies in the application the SAR/ISIR will be corrected and submitted electronically. If incomplete or inadequate verification documents are submitted, the applicant is notified of deficiencies and instructed on how to correct them.
Should review of an application for Title IV student aid indicate that the applicant may have engaged in fraud or other criminal misconduct in connection with his/her application, the Student Financial Assistance Office must refer the student for investigation on all relevant information to the Office of the Inspector General of the United States Department of Education. Examples of such information include (but not limited to) false claims of independent student status, false claims of citizenship, use of false identities, forgery of signatures or certificates and false statements of income.
Withdrawals Impact on Federal Financial Assistance
Students who alter their enrollment status (drop or add courses) during the course of a semester are subject to having their eligibility for federal financial assistance recalculated and could be required to return some, if not all of their Federal Assistance. Students should review the following explanations carefully.
Enrollment Changes Prior to the Census Date
A student's official enrollment status (12 or more credit hours = full time, 9-11 credit hours = three quarters time, 6-8 credit hours = half time and less than 6 credit hours = less than half time) is measured after the 10th class day of each semester (5th day for the summer semester). This is the "census date". Assistance that was previously offered for the term will be re-evaluated and either be increased, decreased, cancelled or left unchanged based on the student's status as of the census date. An increase in hours after this date cannot reinstate assistance lost because of inadequate enrollment on the census date. New awards calculated after the census date are based on the student's actual enrollment status as of the date of the calculation.
Dropping Out, Withdrawing or Being Expelled
Students who unofficially withdraw (drop out, walk away, etc.), officially withdraw (see Academic Policies section) or are expelled, will have the percentage of aid earned (the amount of federal assistance the student can keep) calculated based on the percentage of the term actually completed. For example, if a student only completes 20% of a term, only 20% of their aid would be considered earned and 80% of their aid would be considered unearned and therefore subject to return. The date used to calculate this percentage is the official withdrawal date, or for those who unofficially withdraw, it is either the mid-point of the term (50% return) or the last day the student participated in a documented, academically-related activity. Students who withdraw after completing at least 60% of the term, will be considered to have earned 100% of their federal assistance. Please note, students who withdraw are still subject to the Standards of Progress evaluation.
Students must start attending classes to establish eligibility for federal assistance. If a student fails to initiate attendance in some, or all, courses, their eligibility for federal assistance can be recalculated, excluding those courses, regardless of the student's "enrollment status". The student would be responsible for the return of all "over-awarded" funds as a result of their never attending the course(s). Students who claim federal funds and never attend any class are subject to referral to the Office Inspector General, Department of Education, for possible federal fraud investigation.
Written examples of return of funds calculations are available in the Enrollment Services Office upon request. The Enrollment Services Office reserves the right to modify or change the above policy as necessary.
Standards of Satisfactory Progress for Federal Student Financial Aid
In accordance with Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and all relevant amendments since, students receiving federal assistance, (i.e. Pell Grants, Stafford Loans, Federal Work-Study, etc.) must meet and maintain certain academic and satisfactory progress standards to remain eligible to receive such assistance each term. Although the following information identifies the main factors that must be evaluated, the student should check with the Enrollment Services Office for the most current policy as these standards are subject to revision. Please note the standards provided below are evaluated at the end of each term.
This evaluation includes all terms attempted regardless of whether or not the student received financial assistance.
- Enrollment Status: Students must be enrolled as classified students in a degree or certificate program to be eligible for aid. In addition, loan applicants must be enrolled for six or more credit hours.
- Census Date: Students must finalize their class registration by the end of business on this day. The student’s enrollment status will be measured and aid eligibility cancelled, reduced or increased, as necessary. The Census date is the 10th class day (fifth day of each summer session) of the term.
- Grade Point Average (GPA): Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least a 2.0.
- Satisfactory Progress Ratio: Students must successfully complete on a cumulative basis at least 67 percent of the courses they attempt.
Satisfactory progress ratios are calculated by dividing hours earned by hours attempted. For example, if 12 hours are attempted and 9 hours are earned, the ratio is 9/12 = 75 percent. Grades of A, B, C, D and S qualify as earned and attempted hours. Audits, incompletes, withdrawals, drops, F’s and U’s are attempted hours but are not earned. Repeat courses count as attempted each try, but count as earned only once. Additional restrictions exist on multiple repeats.
- Maximum Hours Attempted (Maximum Time Frame): Federal regulations require students to complete their program of study within a reasonable time frame. The time frame is defined as 1½ times the minimum credit hours required to complete a program. For programs requiring 64 credit hours, the regulations would allow up to 96 credit hours to be attempted. The student should determine the number of credit hours required for their selected program. All hours attempted, whether on aid or not, are counted. Transfer students hours earned at other schools are included in this count. At any point it is determined that the student can no longer complete their program by this maximum hours, the student is no longer eligible for federal assistance.
Satisfactory: Satisfactory status is achieved when all criteria explained above are being met or when a student is meeting the requirements established under an individual academic action plan.
Financial Aid Warning: A student on Financial Aid Warning may receive Title IV funds (possibly lose other assistance) for one payment period. During this payment period, the student must meet the required standards to avoid Financial Aid Suspension.
Financial Aid Probation: A status assigned by the institution to a student who fails to make satisfactory academic progress and who has appealed and has had eligibility for aid reinstated under the conditions of an individual academic action plan.
Financial Aid Suspension: Students on Financial Aid Suspension cannot be paid Title IV federal assistance.
Federal regulations allow students whose failure to meet the required standards was caused by;
- the death of a relative of the student;
- an injury or illness of the student;or
- other significant extenuating circumstances, to submit a written appeal for reconsideration by the college.
Circumstances need to be of sufficient magnitude and generally outside of the student’s control in order for the request to be approved. If approved an academic action plan will be established for the student. The student must agree to and meet the requirements of the action plan and meet the requirements in order to be funded, until they are once again meeting the over-all standards of progress requirements. The “Request for Reinstatement of Financial Aid” form is available from the Enrollment Services Office.