Financial Aid Policies
Financial aid awards to students will be considered upon receipt of the following items:
- Application to the Institution
- Completed FAFSA Application
- Copy of Income Taxes, if required
Financial aid awards may be revised at any time due to changes in enrollment status, additional financial resources, or revised information. The student is responsible for notifying the financial aid office of any changes in his/her financial or academic status. In the event a student is over-awarded, whether by school or student error, the student must repay the over-award to the school so that it can be returned to the proper financial aid account.
Awards Determined by Need
Financial aid awards are determined by a student's need and the availability of funds.
Recipients of financial aid awards are responsible for notifying the financial aid office of any scholarships or loans they have received from outside sources so these may be included in their financial aid package.
Degree Program Necessary
Students receiving financial aid (loans, grants) must be enrolled in a degree program at SCU and maintain, or exceed, the minimum grade point average.
Academic Progress Necessary
After the initial award, financial aid will be given only to students who are satisfactorily progressing in their course work according to the standards outlined in the academic policies. Any student placed on academic probation for two sequential semesters will be ineligible for future financial aid until such time the probation status is cleared.
The current refund policy for FLEX Studies students who drop or withdraw from a course is as follows:
Two weeks before the class begins...............100%
Up to the first class session...........................80%
After attending the first class session...............0%
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy
New SAP Policy Effective July 1, 2011
In order to receive financial aid, students must make satisfactory progress toward a degree. As required by federal regulations effective July 1, 2011, Southwestern Christian University has amended its SAP Policy. Changes will take effect when SAP is calculated at the end of summer 2011.
Qualitative – GPA: Students must meet the University’s policies for continuation of enrollment. In addition, students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA according to the number of credit hours earned.
1-30 credit hours = 1.75 Cum. GPA
31 or more credit hours = 2.0
Quantitative – Passing Percentage: Students must successfully complete at least 75% of all hours attempted. F and W grades count against hours attempted percentage. Transfer credit, if applicable, is included in the passing percentage calculation.
Maximum attempted length for a program of study:
Students reaching the maximum attempted length for a program of study will not be eligible for financial aid. A student is eligible for financial aid for a total of 1.5 times the length of the academic program (i.e. four-year program = 6 years). All transfer hours accepted by the Registrar’s Office toward a student’s program are counted as attempted and earned.
Attempted credits include the following, taken at Southwestern Christian University:
- Successfully completed (with passing grades)
- Non-passing grades (i.e. N,F, E, I,)
- Repeated Classes
- Dropped credits after the add/drop period
- Withdraw from a semester on or after the first day of class that results in a W
- Grades which are changed to a W through the Academic Standards appeal process
- Transfer credits
SAP is evaluated for each student who began a term at the end of each term. As a result, at the end of summer 2011, SCU will administer a new SAP evaluation process. For students who do not meet the SAP standards, the new evaluations process will be as follows:
- The Office of Financial Aid will monitor SAP at the end of each semester including Fall, Spring, and Summer.
- Written notification will be sent to students placed on Financial Aid Warning, Financial Aid Probation, Financial Aid Termination, and Financial Aid Reinstatement if making SAP status.
- In cases where the academic plan is required, the Office of Financial Aid will monitor academic plans and provide a measurement for each student’s pace based on the duration stated in each plan. The plan will be developed by both Financial Aid and Academic Affairs.
Financial Aid Warning
Defined as any student not making SAP standards. Student may receive aid for one semester while on Financial Aid Warning and no appeal is necessary.
- Students who have not completed 75% of their overall attempted credits at the end of a semester will be placed on Financial Aid Warning.
- The Financial Aid Warning period will consist of the next semester the student is enrolled in classes.
- Students will continue to receive financial aid while on Financial Aid Warning.
- If a student fails to meet SAP after being placed on warning they are then in “Financial Aid Termination” status. Once on Termination status a student is no long eligible for Financial Aid, unless they appeal their status, and the appeal is accepted. If the appeal is approved then the status changes to Financial Aid Probation.
Financial Aid Probation
Defined as any student not making SAP standards who has appealed and eligibility for aid has been reinstated.
- Aid may be received for one payment period only.
- Students may be required to fulfill specific terms such as taking a reduced course load or enrolling in specific courses while on Financial Aid Probation.
- If a student cannot mathematically achieve SAP standards in one payment period, then an academic plan will be required.
Defined as stipulation placed on a student following an appeal, that when followed will allow a student to achieve SAP standards in a prescribed amount of time.
- Eligibility for aid has been reinstated and can be received as long as all conditions of the plan are met.
Financial Aid Termination
Defined as a student who is not making SAP standards and who either fails to appeal their status or has their SAP appeal denied. Aid cannot be received while on this status.
- Applies to your financial aid eligibility, not to your registration or academic standing.
- Under the following circumstances, students will be placed on Financial Aid Termination status and will be ineligible to receive future financial aid
- Students who have not reached the required 75% completion rate by the end of the Financial Aid Warning period.
- Students reaching the maximum attempted length for a program of study. A student is eligible for financial aid for a total of 1.5 times the length of the academic program (i.e. four-year program = 6 years). All transfer hours accepted by the Registrar’s Office toward a student’s program are counted as attempted and earned.
- Second degree students reaching the maximum attempted credits.
- Students academically dismissed due to poor academic performance as prescribed by Southwestern Christian University.
Reinstating Financial Aid Eligibility
- Students may regain eligibility by successfully achieving any of the below requirements:
- 1-30 credit hours = 1.75 Cum. GPA
- 31 or more credit hours = 2.0
- Successfully complete at least 75% of all hours attempted. F and W grades count against hours attempted percentage. Transfer credit, if applicable, is included in the passing percentage calculation.
- OR through a granted SAP appeal.
- The status of students who have reached the required 75% completion rate or meet the required GPA will be changed to making SAP at the end of the warning period.
Appealing Termination of Financial Aid
- If special circumstances prevent students from meeting the 75% completion rate and/or graduating within the maximum completion time, the termination of eligibility may be appealed to the SAP Appeals Committee.
- An appeal reviewed by the Committee does not guarantee reinstatement of financial aid.
- Appropriate circumstances include
- Serious medical illness or injury to the student
- Death of an immediate family member
- Other special circumstances
- Appeal forms must be submitted with supporting documentation prior to or during the semester for which funds are needed.
- Appeal forms submitted for a specific term will not be granted for that term if either of the following occur:
- If the student withdraws while waiting for an appeal decision during that term.
- Appeal form received after a student has stopped attending that term.
- As part of the appeal, information regarding why the student failed to make SAP and what has changed in the student’s situation that will allow the student to demonstrate SAP at the next evaluation must be included.
- All questions must be completed on the appeal form or it will be returned to the student.
- Students appealing Financial Aid Termination may be requested to submit an Academic Plan that ensures achievement of at least the required 75%, the minimum required GPA, and/or graduation by a specified time.
- Completion rate of attempted credits at Southwestern Christian University will be considered as part of the appeal process.
- Students granted an SAP appeal will be placed on Financial Aid Probation and will be monitored each semester.
- The length of the Financial Aid Probation period will depend on the specifics of the appeal.
- Appeal forms are available at the Financial Aid Office.
Verification is the process of checking the accuracy of the information reported on the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). The guidelines used for verification are published annually in the U.S. Department of Education’s Verification Guide. It is Southwestern Christian University’s (SCU) policy to verify all applicants selected for verification by the U.S. Department of Education. SCU also reserves the right to select additional applications for verification. Many students are selected for Verification and you may be expected to provide additional documentation when necessary to be able to receive your federal aid.
For verification purposes SWCU defines a financial aid applicant as an enrolled student who is eligible to receive any for of Title IV federal financial aid.
Deadlines: A FAFSA reflecting inaccurate data must be corrected and submitted to SCU before aid is disbursed. All documentation required for verification must be received no later than September 15 for the fall semester and February 15 for the spring semester. Any applicant who fails to meet these deadlines will forfeit all financial aid.
Documentation Requirements: The following documentation must be on file with the SCU Financial Aid Office to satisfy the verification requirements for selected applicants: (1) Signed copy of parents’ and student’s latest tax return. (2) Complete verification worksheet. (3) Any other documentation requested by the Financial Aid Office.
Correction Procedures: Upon having a signed Correction Release Form from the student the financial aid office will electronically submit to the U.S. Department of Education corrections to FAFSA data resulting from verification. The U.S. Department of Education will then send notification of these changes to the applicant as notification of these corrections.
Notification: Applicants will be notified of award changes due to verification corrections by receipt of an updated Award Letter in the mail from the Financial Aid Office within three weeks.
Standard Procedures for Overpayments/Overawards: If corrections resulting from the verification process decrease an applicant’s award eligibility and create an overpayment, SCU will send notification of this situation to the applicant within 30 day of this finding and applicant will be required to make arrangements to correct the over-award within two weeks from the date of the notice. If correction or collection of the overpayment from the applicant cannot be made, SCU will refer the overpayment to the U.S. Department of Education for collection.
Misuse of Financial Aid and Referral Process: The SCU Financial Aid Office will report any suspected fraud or falsified information (on the part of the student, the parent, preparer of financial aid applications, or related parties) to the U.S. Department of Education and all other related parties for immediate action. This information will be forwarded to authorized agencies in addition to the U.S. Department of Education for investigation such as the Office of Inspector General. Anyone who suspects fraud or abuse may make a confidential report by contacting the Office of Inspector General at 1-800-MIS-USED (1-800-647-8733) or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.