Important Financial Aid Policies
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Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy
This Academic Progress for Financial Aid Eligibility policy applies only to applicants/recipients of federal student aid enrolled in one of the credit-hour programs, and sets academic standards which a student must achieve to remain eligible for federal student aid. A student’s status for financial aid eligibility under this policy has no impact on the student’s status under the general Academic Policies and Standards of Palm Beach State College, or vice versa. Hence, the academic department responsible for an academic program may establish different and/or additional academic standards as appropriate to the nature and substance of that program. These additional standards have no effect on financial aid eligibility, but may impact a student’s ability to register.
Academic Progress Policy
The academic standards are measured each “payment period” as follows:
Academic Progress Standards:
|Cumulative Credit Hours
Additional “Maximum Timeframe” Standard: Eligibility is also limited to students completing their programs within one and one-half times the normal program length. The maximum timeframe is reached when the student has “attempted” one and one-half times the number of credit hours required to graduate from his/her program. For example, for students with standard enrollment (no transfer or proficiency credit), the maximum timeframe to complete a sixty credit-hour program is ninety attempted credit-hours.
Consistency with Academic Policies
For purposes of Academic Progress measurement, all issues of grading policy, Grade Point Average (GPA) calculation, attendance, etc. are calculated in accordance with the general academic policies of Palm Beach State College, except as may be noted below.
Academic Progress shall be measured at the end of each academic year (end of the Spring semester).
Completed/Attempted Credit Hours
“Attempted Credit Hours” means the number of credit hours listed in the student’s academic transcript that are applicable to the student’s current academic program. “Completed Credit Hours” means the number of “attempted” credit-hours in which a student earned a passing grade.
Accepted transfer credit (including transfers from other programs of study at Palm Beach State College) shall be considered only if the transferred credit is applicable to the student’s current enrolled program of study. Transfer credit is considered as completed coursework (both attempted and earned) for purposes of this policy.
Return after an Absence
A student who returns after an absence of more than two calendar years, shall be re-evaluated in a manner consistent with a transfer student as noted above.
Academic and Financial Aid Warning Status
Students who fail to meet the standards defined above will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension Status, and will lose eligibility for federal student aid from that point forward. Such loss of eligibility may be subject to Appeal or other actions to potentially re-gain financial aid eligibility (see below).
Financial Aid Suspension and Regaining Academic Eligibility
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal
A loss of eligibility for federal financial aid (Financial Aid Suspension) may be appealed based on mitigating circumstance(s). A mitigating circumstance is defined as an exceptional or unusual event(s) beyond the student’s direct control, which contributed to or caused the academic difficulty. Some examples include: the death of a relative, issues relating to the care of a dependent child, an injury or illness of the student, emotional or psychological issues, or numerous other special circumstances. Appeal letters should be addressed to the Financial Aid Office at your campus and must include a complete description of the circumstances that led to the academic difficulty, how those circumstances have changed, and a plan for future academic success. Copies of supporting documentation should be included. It is strongly advised that each student filing an appeal meet with a member of the Financial Aid Office staff at his/her respective campus. The Advisor will assist the student, provide guidance, and suggest appropriate documentation to include with the letter submission.
A form is available for this purpose (Satisfactory Academic Progress – Student Appeal Form) which guides the student through the proper format and documentation for an appeal. It can be downloaded from the College’s website. If the appeal cannot be approved at the campus Financial Aid Office, it is automatically forwarded to a committee of Financial Aid and administrative staff (SAP Appeals Committee). At this time, the student may be asked to submit additional documentation or explanation to the committee which could benefit the student’s appeal review. Decisions of the SAP Appeals Committee are final and not subject to additional Appeal.
Financial Aid Probation and Academic Plan
Students whose appeals have been approved will be placed on Financial Aid Probation and an academic plan will be created for them. The academic plan is a set of requirements that are designed to return the student to good academic standing before graduation (generally within the maximum timeframe standard). A student meeting the terms of his/her academic plan remains eligible to receive financial aid. Students who fail to meet the terms of their academic plan will lose eligibility for future financial aid (Financial Aid Suspension).
Regaining Eligibility Other Than Through Appeal
Students who have lost federal financial aid eligibility may potentially regain academic eligibility by one or more of the following methods: 1) make up the academic deficiencies at Palm Beach State College without benefit of federal financial aid, and/or 2) be accepted into a different program of study at Palm Beach State College, if the re-evaluated student’s record (based upon the courses applicable to the new program) will be in compliance with all academic standards.
Return to Good Standing
Once a student has returned to good academic standing, any previous academic difficulty, shall have no future bearing on the student’s status. Hence, such students will have benefit of all provisions of this policy, including an opportunity to submit an Appeal.
Return to Title IV Policy (R2T4)
When a student withdraws or his/her enrollment is otherwise terminated, the College will not only calculate the amount of tuition/fees that will be refunded to the student (if any), but also the amount of federal financial aid (aka “Title IV”) that must be returned to the Federal Student Aid Programs (if any). This process is referred to as “Return to Title IV” (R2T4). The calculation of R2T4 has no relationship to the tuition and fees that the student may be charged by the College. The R2T4 calculation is performed using forms and/or software compliant with U.S. Department of Education guidelines. The return of unearned military TA funds will follow the same guidelines as the Department of Education Title IV funding (R2T4).
R2T4 and Modules (Credit Hour Programs Only)
If a student withdraws but notifies the College, in writing, of his or her intent to return in a later module in that same semester with 45 calendar days of the original withdrawal, and actually returns for that module, the student is not considered to have withdrawn for purposes of R2T4. A student who returns in this manner and subsequently withdraws will have their R2T4 calculation based upon the subsequent Withdrawal Date.
R2T4 and Calculation Information
Title IV funds are earned in a prorated manner based upon calendar days through the student’s “Withdrawal Date” (see definitions below). After the 60 percent point in the payment period, a student is considered to have earned 100 percent of the Federal Student Aid funds they were eligible to receive for that payment period.
R2T4 and Payment Information
The “payment period” is defined as the semester for credit-hour programs, and one-half of the scheduled clock-hours in one academic year for clock-hour programs.
R2T4 and Withdrawal Date
The Withdrawal Date is the student’s last date of documented attendance (LDA) from the College’s official attendance records.
R2T4 and Percentage Basis for R2T4 Proration
For credit-hour programs, the percentage of the payment period completed is the calendar days completed in the period divided by the total calendar days in the period as of the withdrawal date (not including College breaks of five or more days).
For the Career Certificate Program (CCP-clock-hour) programs, the percentage of the payment period completed is the total number of scheduled clock-hours in the payment period, divided into the number of clock hours scheduled to have been completed by the student through the student’s Withdrawal Date.
R2T4 and Return of Unearned Funds
If, based on the calculation, the student has earned less than the amount of Title IV funds disbursed, the unearned funds must be returned. The College must return the lesser of:
- the amount of federal financial aid funds that the student has not earned, or
- the amount of institutional charges that the student incurred for the payment period multiplied by the percentage of federal financial aid funds that was not earned.
The student (or parent, in the case of a PLUS loan) must return or repay, as appropriate:
- any Federal Direct Student Loan Program or Federal PLUS funds in accordance with the contracted terms of the loan, and
- the remaining unearned federal grant funds (not to exceed 50 percent of the grant owed) as an overpayment” of the grant (see below).
Refunds are calculated according to applicable federal law and regulation. All returned funds for which the College is responsible will be issued by the Business Office promptly after the College has determined that the student has withdrawn and the applicable return calculations have been completed. (once the Withdrawal Date has been determined, the refunds and R2T4 calculations and all associated transactions are generally completed with thirty calendar days, but never longer than forty-five days).
Any amount of unearned federal grant funds that a student must return directly is called an “overpayment”. The maximum amount of a grant overpayment is one half of the grant funds received or scheduled to be received. While this occurs very rarely, students in this circumstance must make arrangements with the College and/or the U.S. Department of Education to return the unearned grant funds. Failure to do so will result in loss of future eligibility for Federal Student Aid, and potential other legal actions by the U.S. Department of Education.
Financial Aid Programs R2T4 Refund Sequence
Unearned funds returned by the College must be credited to outstanding balances on Title IV loans made to the student or on behalf of the student for the payment period for which a return of funds is required. Those funds will be credited to outstanding balances in the following order:
- Unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loan,
- Subsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loan, and
- Federal Direct PLUS Loan received on behalf of the student.
If unearned funds remain to be returned after repayment of all outstanding loan amounts for the payment period, the remaining excess must be credited to any amount awarded for the payment period in the following order:
- Federal Pell Grant.
- Federal SEOG, and
- Other grant or loan assistance authorized by Title IV of the Higher Education Act
The College will disburse Federal Pell Grant funds that had not yet been disbursed at the time of the student’s withdrawal/termination, but for which the student remains eligible under the R2T4 calculation. In the case of student or parent loan funds, the College will calculate the student (or parent’s) eligibility for a “post-withdrawal disbursement”. The Financial Aid Office will advise the student and/or parent borrower of the amount(s) available and the fourteen calendar day deadline to accept or decline the post-withdrawal disbursement. If a response is not received from the student and/or parent within the permitted time frame or the student declines the funds, the College will not request the funds from Title IV programs. If the post-withdrawal disbursement is accepted, the funds will first be used to settle any outstanding financial obligation to the College.