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Financial Aid Eligibility

+How Does My Aid Get Applied?

Your federal aid is disbursed (paid onto your account) in two equal installments during the fall, and spring.  (If you intend to enroll for Summer, please see the tab for Summer Semester).   Each term, your aid is disbursed onto your student billing account about a week after the census day. Your aid can only be disbursed if:

  1. You have no outstanding holds or requirements. You can always check requirements in Hawklink under “Financial Aid” and “My Eligibility.”
  2. You have been awarded and accepted your financial aid.
  3. All required promissory notes for your loans have been signed and loan counseling is complete.
  4. The credits you are registered for count towards your aid eligibility. Courses may be excluded due to retaking a previously passed course (only one such retake is allowed for federal aid purposes), taking a graduate-level course as an undergraduate student, taking a course at a partner school that does not transfer to TU, or being wait-listed.  To receive loan funds after a term ends, the student must successfully complete a minimum of half-time credits for the previous term(s). If the loan period included both the prior term and the current term, the student also must be enrolled a minimum of half-time in the current term to be eligible for any loan disbursement. If the student is receiving a loan for just one term (e.g., fall term only), the financial aid award must have been offered and accepted before the end of that term. Federal regulations mandate that a loan for a term that has already ended can be certified only if the student is currently enrolled at least half-time and there has been no gap in enrollment
  5. Your expected enrollment matches your actual enrollment. Aid is always packaged for full-time enrollment. Your budget and aid may need to be adjusted if you are less than full-time. You must submit an enrollment revision form if you plan to be less than full-time.
Student Level Full time 3/4 time Half-time

Less than 1/2 time

Undergraduate 12 + 9-11 6-8

1-5

Post-baccalaureate

12 + 9-11 6-8

1-5

Graduate

9 + N/A 5-8

1-4

  • When a reduction in aid is required due to a student’s official enrollment level on the Census Date, the reduction usually creates a balance due on the student’s TU account. If there is a tuition refund because of dropping credits, the tuition refund will be used to reduce the balance due on the student’s account.
  • A student whose Census Date enrollment is less than half-time is not eligible for any federal student loans. In these cases, the entire loan amount for the term will be returned. The return of loan funds will create a bill on the student’s TU account, but also reduces the outstanding principal balance due on the student loan.
  • Any current term financial aid disbursed after the Census Date will be based on the student’s official enrollment on the Census Date or their actual number of credits enrolled at the time of disbursement, whichever is LESS. Credits added after the Census Date cannot be used to increase aid eligibility.

Minimum Enrollment Requirements

The chart below shows the minimum enrollment required to be eligible for each fund type. For a disbursement to occur to a student’s account, their enrollment must also match the enrollment for which they are awarded.

AID TYPES Undergrad Post-baccalaureate Graduate
Federal Pell Grant* 1 N/A N/A
Federal Suppl. Educ. Opp. Grant 6 N/A N/A
Federal Stafford Loan, sub & unsub 6 6 5
Federal PLUS Loan 6 6 5
Scholarships Vary by Scholarship, check with scholarship coordinator

 

*Federal Pell Grant must be prorated based on enrollment level. Fulltime (12+ credits) receives 100%, 3/4time (9-11 credits) receives 75%, 1/2time (6-8 credits) receives 50% and less-than-1/2time (1-5 credits) receives 25%. Enrollment at less than full-time may result in ineligibility for Pell Grant funds.

+How Does Financial Aid Work With Billing?

Financial aid disbursed to your student account pays your tuition and other university fees.  If the amount of your aid does not cover your fill charges, you can set up a payment plan with the Business Office. If the amount of your aid is greater than the eligible charges on your student account, the difference will be refunded to you by the Student Accounts office. The Student Accounts Office is responsible for processing refunds from a student’s account once financial aid has been applied. If you have questions about your bill or your refund, please contact the Student Accounts.

Students who receive money from Federal Work-Study programs are paid wages for the hours worked during the pay period. These funds do not go toward paying student tuition and charges. Federal Work-Study funds are paid out through a regular paycheck which comes from the Human Resources Department and is generally available bi-weekly.

How Does Direct Deposit Work?

If you have direct deposit set up, your refund will be directly deposited to your bank account and should be available after the census day. You can sign up for Direct Deposit online through your Hawklink under My Ledger section. This is the quickest, most efficient way to receive your refund.

+Dropping and Adding Courses

Dropping courses impacts your financial aid in several ways. Aid is based on your enrollment level on the Census Date of each term. For undergraduates, full-time status is 12 or more credits, 3/4 time is 9-11 credits, 1/2 time is 6-8 credits, and less than halftime is 1-5 credits. Less than full-time enrollment may affect your financial aid eligibility. Students enrolled less than halftime are not eligible to receive most types of aid including federal student loans. If you plan on being less than full-time you must submit an enrollment revision form to the Office of Financial Aid.

Financial aid eligibility each term is based on your level of enrollment on the Census Date. On this date, budgets and financial aid are adjusted and locked based on your enrollment level at that time. If your aid was paid at the full-time amount and you are less than full-time on the Census Date, your budget will be revised and your aid may need to be reduced to reflect your Census Date enrollment. This revision may create a new bill on your TU student billing account.

+What is Financial Aid Census Date?

The Census Date is the point at which your enrollment is locked for financial aid purposes. During the fall and spring terms, the census coincides with the last date you can drop classes for a full tuition refund on TU. At this point in the term, credit hours are locked and financial aid for the term is adjusted to reflect the student’s official enrolled credits. For example, if the student received aid at the beginning of the term based on full-time enrollment and then dropped credits, aid is then revised to match their eligibility based on the number of credits enrolled in as of the Census Date and types of aid that were awarded. If a student withdraws from all courses after the census date, further aid adjustments may be required.

How Does the Census Work for Summer Term?

During the summer term, the census coincides with the last date you can add courses in session one. Dropping courses after the summer Census Date may result in a reversal of your Pell Grant. You must participate in all of your courses in order to earn the federal financial aid that is disbursed for that term. If you drop a course before that course began or if we are unable to verify your participation in a course, we are required to reverse any Pell Grant payments made for that course. Reversed Pell will be returned to the Department of Education. This reversal of aid may create a new bill on your TU student billing account. What is the Financial Aid Census?

The summer term is unique because there are sessions that do not span the entire 11-week term. During the summer term, if you drop a course before that course session began, we are required to reverse any Pell Grant payments made for that course. Reversed Pell will be returned to the Department of Education. This reversal of aid may create a new bill on your TU student billing account.

Dropping or withdrawing from courses after the census date, may also impact your financial aid eligibility for the current and future terms. Withdrawing from all courses, failing to complete courses (unofficially withdrawing), or not participating in courses, may result in the partial or full loss of aid eligibility for that term. Future term eligibility will depend on continuing to make Satisfactory Academic Progress.

+Making Changes

You are assumed to be full-time (12 credits undergraduate/9 credits graduate) unless you tell us otherwise. If your enrollment does not match, your financial aid does not disburse until after our Census Date. To help avoid any delays, let us know your enrollment plans PRIOR to the start of the term by submitting an Enrollment Revision form. Most types of aid require at least half-time enrollment (6 credits undergraduate/5 credits graduate).

Changes in Your Financial Situation

The FAFSA application uses tax data from prior years, which may not always be an accurate reflection of your current situation. The Department of Education allows for an institution to use professional judgment to change certain elements of the FAFSA application if adequate documentation can be provided. If you or your family has experienced a loss of employment, change in marital status, or other extraordinary circumstance, you may appeal to have your situation reviewed by our office. If approved, your federal aid eligibility and financial need may be recalculated, based on the new information. You must file your FAFSA in the standard way and then submit your additional documentation for your special conditions appeal. For more information regarding a special conditions appeal, please contact the Office of Financial Aid.

Change Your Application or Award

Revisions can be made to your financial aid or cost of attendance for: change of grade level, accepting previously declined loans, decreasing previously accepted but not yet disbursed loans, involuntary loss of income by parent or student, out of the ordinary expenses such as medical and childcare costs, the cost of a computer, and tuition in excess of your financial aid budget.

Revision Request Form: Use this form to make changes to your financial aid such as enrollment changes for future terms and increasing and decreasing your Stafford Loans.

2018/2019 Cost of Attendance Increase form: You may have your estimated cost of attendance increased for costs resulting from special circumstances that were not included in the original financial aid calculation. Examples of these costs are significant out-of-pocket medical expenses not covered by insurance, childcare costs, or the cost of purchasing a computer. An increase in your cost of attendance does not automatically equal an increase in your financial aid unless you have remaining eligibility. Lastly, if you wish to increase a PLUS or alternative loan, you may have to apply for another loan. Consult with the Office of Student Financial Aid regarding specific rules for your situation.

2018/2019 Student Re-evaluation Request: Use this form to request a re-evaluation of your financial aid based on changes in your and/or your spouse’s financial status. Applicable circumstances include the following: divorce, separation, or death of a spouse whose income is listed on your FAFSA; loss of income due to disabling illness or injury; involuntary loss of employment; involuntary reduction or elimination of monetary benefits from an outside agency/person (such as Social Security benefits or child support).

2018/2019 Parent Re-evaluation Request: Use this form to request a re-evaluation of your financial aid based on changes in your parents’ financial status. Applicable circumstances include the following: divorce, separation, or death of a parent whose income is listed on your FAFSA; loss of income due to disabling illness or injury; involuntary loss of employment; involuntary reduction or elimination of monetary benefits from an outside agency/person (such as Social Security benefits or child support).

+What Else Do I Need to Know?

You are responsible for managing your Financial Aid experience, so be sure to check your Hawklink frequently and review any emails you receive from us as they may include requests for additional information or action. Call (229) 584-2460, email us at finaid@thomasu.edu, or stop by if you have any questions, we are here to help you!

 

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