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Managing Your Financial Aid

+Standards of Progress

It is important to be aware of your academic progress and how it impacts financial aid eligibility.

Your Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is assessed after each term. If you have not made satisfactory academic progress, the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships will work with you and your
advisor to get you back on track academically and help you keep your financial aid eligibility.

Who is Affected

Federal financial aid regulations require that students receiving financial aid be monitored for satisfactory academic progress towards the completion of their program of study. All applicants for state and federal student financial aid are evaluated. Recipients of some alternative loans and scholarships also must meet these policy requirements.

What is Evaluated

  1. Completion Rate
  2. Grade Point Average
  3. Maximum Enrollment Limit
  4. Multiple Withdraws in One Year
  5. Multiple Terms Without Passing Grades

Details of each requirement are given below. You must comply with all four elements listed in this section to be placed in Good Standing for financial aid eligibility.

Completion Rate

You must have passing grades for at least 67% of both:

  • TU attempted credits
  • Overall attempted credits

Overall attempted credits are TU attempted credits plus all attempted transfer credits which appear on your grade record, with grades of : A, B, C, D, F, I, IP, M, NP, P, W, or X. Passing grades are courses with grades of: A, B, C, D, or P.

Cumulative Grade Point Average

You must maintain at least a 2.00 cumulative GPA for both:

  • Overall credits: TU credits plus all accepted transfer credits
  • TU credits

Maximum Enrollment Limit

The Maximum Enrollment Limit for undergraduate students is 192 attempted credits and 90 attempted credits for graduate students. This includes all TU attempted credits + all accepted transfer attempted credits. You will be immediately placed in Suspended eligibility status if your transcript shows you have exceeded your maximum attempted credits.

Impact of Multiple Withdraws

If you receive federal or state financial aid and then withdraw from all classes within the University’s Add/Drop period two times in an academic year, you will be placed in Suspended eligibility status immediately after the second withdrawal.

Impact of Multiple Terms Without Passing Grades

If you receive federal or state aid and then have two terms in the academic year without any passing grades, you will be placed in Suspended eligibility status immediately after the second term of all non-passing grades.

When Academic Progress is Evaluated?

Your academic records are reviewed at the end of each term of enrollment and your satisfactory academic progress status for the next term will be determined. If you have reached the 180 credit Maximum Enrollment Limit, you will be placed in Suspended eligibility status immediately. If you have a second term of total withdrawal within the Add/Drop period for the academic year, you will be placed in Suspended eligibility status immediately.

Warning Status

If you do not meet the completion rate and/or the GPA requirements, you will be placed in Warning status for the next term of enrollment. If you are in Warning status, you will be eligible to receive available financial aid for one term. However, you must complete an online Web Advisor Session within the first two weeks of the term. This session will review the satisfactory academic progress policy and provide resources designed to improve academic standing. If you fail to complete this session within the first two weeks of the term, a hold will be placed on future financial aid disbursements until this session is completed. After your Warning term, disbursements may be delayed while your academic progress is reviewed. If you do not achieve Good Standing by the end of your Warning term, you will be placed in Suspended eligibility status.

Suspended Eligibility Status and Appeals

Students placed in Suspended status are not eligible to receive federal or state financial aid. In addition, some alternative loan and scholarship programs require students to be in Good Standing under satisfactory academic progress guidelines.

If you are in Suspended status, you may submit an appeal in writing to the Office of Student Financial Aid & Scholarships which documents special or unforeseen circumstances that interfered with the completion of your coursework or in meeting any other part of the policy.

Submitting an Appeal

The appeal must include an Academic Plan that will bring you into Good Standing or that will satisfy any remaining requirements to complete your degree.

Appeals must be submitted by the end of the second week of the term. Appeals submitted after the deadline will be reviewed but late petitions may result in the loss of funding for the term. If an appeal is approved, you will be placed in Probation status and will be eligible to receive financial aid.

You must follow this Academic Plan for each term of Probation status until you reach Good Standing. If you do not pass the credits and/or earn the GPA given in the Academic Plan, you will be placed in Suspended status again.

Review your Satisfactory Academic Progress status in your Hawklink.

  • Log into your Hawklink
  • Select the aid year
  • Click my “My Financial Aid”

In Suspended Status?

  • Click on the “My To Do List” in your Hawklink. Complete and print the Satisfactory Academic Plan Form
  • Meet with an academic advisor to discuss your status and Academic Plan
  • Submit the completed petition, with documentation, to Financial Aid

In Probation Status?

  • You must meet the requirements listed to continue receiving aid

In Warning Status?

  • Go to your Hawklink and click “My Financial Aid screen
  • Click on the SAP Warning Video and complete the online session

+Appeals

If you have lost eligibility for financial aid, you have the opportunity to complete and submit an appeal documenting circumstances outside of your control. A financial aid appeal is used to regain conditional financial aid eligibility for a future term. You may not appeal financial aid eligibility for a previous term that has ended or, for unearned financial aid that was billed back to you through your student account because of a withdrawal.Select the appropriate appeal below and completed, sign and submit your appeal to the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships. Loss of financial aid eligibility appeals typically takes two weeks to review. If you have previously submitted an appeal, your subsequent appeal may take longer.

Responses to your appeal (approved, denied, more information needed) are posted to your confidential messages center in your TU Student account at thomasu.edu

2018/2019 Census Date Appeal (pdf)

2018/2019 Satisfactory Academic Progress Petition (pdf)

This petition is for students whose eligibility for financial aid is in Suspended status due to any of these reasons: (1) having passing grades for less than 67% of attempted credits (low completion rate); (2) having a cumulative TU GPA that is below 2.00 for undergraduate or post-baccalaureate students or 3.00 for graduate students; (3) totally withdrawing twice within the Add/Drop period during the academic year; or (4) failing to meet the requirements imposed when a previous petition was approved.

2018/2019 Maximum Enrollment Limit Petition (pdf)

There is a maximum enrollment limit for students receiving federal student aid, based on degree or program of study (see the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for details). You can use this form to request an extension of aid if you have reached the enrollment limit for your degree or program of study.

Dependency Override Petition (pdf)

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) states the criteria used to determine if a student’s parent(s) must provide information on the aid application. If the FAFSA instructs you to provide parental information, but you have special family circumstances which prevent your parent(s) from completing the form, you may use this petition.

Academic Update (pdf)

Use this form to update financial aid with grade changes.

2018/2019 Graduate Academic Progress Petition

Graduate students must take courses that apply to their degree or certificate. At least 67% of all credits enrolled each academic year must be in graduate level courses. This petition is for students who have not met the requirement of enrolling in graduate level credits for at least 67% of their total enrollment for the academic year.

+Withdrawing or Not Completing Courses in a Term

Withdrawing from school can impact your student financial aid for both the term you withdraw and also future terms. Student financial aid is “earned” for each day that participate (eg: attending class or post in an online course discussion), thus if you were not able to attend many sessions of your class or do not have documentation of participation then you may be required to pay back some or all of the aid you received.

There are two types of withdrawals:

Official – all courses were dropped or withdrawn through the Office of Admissions, Registration, and Records.

When a student withdraws prior to completing 60 percent of the term they have not “earned” all of their federal financial aid and a Return of Title IV Funds calculation must be performed. We are required to return the lesser of the unearned portion of federal aid, or of the total institutional charges (tuition and fees, housing charges, etc.) billed to the student.

The unearned portion of the aid is returned to the lender or aid program. For example, if a student completes only 20 percent of the term, then he or she has failed to earn 80 percent of the federal financial aid that was disbursed or could have been disbursed, prior to the withdrawal.

If the return of the funds creates a balance due on the student account, the student will be responsible to pay the balance on their account.

Unofficial – courses were not dropped and all grades on your transcript for the term do not indicate participation (eg: “X” (no basis for grade), “M” (missing), “F” (fail), “W” (withdrawal) and/or “NP” (no pass))

Students who receive all “X” (no basis for grade), “M” (missing), “F” (fail), “W” (withdrawal) and/or “NP” (no pass) grades. Because these grades do not confirm attendance or participation, students are required to provide proof of their last date of attendance in at least one class for which they were registered. These students will be notified by mail and provided with a Proof of Attendance form that they must return to the Office of Student Financial Aid.  Proof of attendance will also be requested from the professors.  When the Office received notification from the professors, the last date of attendance will be posted on the student’s online account.

If no proof is provided by the deadline established by the Office of Student Financial Aid, Students will be billed for a portion of the financial aid that was received.

Other impacts of withdrawing:

Dropping could begin your grace period for federal Stafford loans, or repayment if you have already exhausted your grace period. Find more information at Stafford Loan Repayment.

Withdrawing impacts your Satisfactory Academic Progress and could make you ineligible to receive aid in future terms.

It could also change your academic standing or other academic attributes (such as GPA) with the Office of Admissions, Registration, and Records, or with your department. If possible, please speak with your academic advisor prior to withdrawing to determine the full consequences of your studies.

+Repeat Coursework

Federal regulations limit how many times federal financial aid may be used to retake a course. Repeating coursework affects federal student aid eligibility in multiple ways.

    • Current Term Financial Aid Eligibility

Federal aid may only be used to retake a course one time after a passing grade (D- or better) is received.  We cannot make exceptions to this federal rule even in cases where the grade earned does not meet departmental requirements. When a previously passed course is repeated a second time, we must adjust that student’s budget and federal aid to exclude it. This adjustment may result in a reduction or loss of federal aid eligibility for that term.

    • Pace of Completion

To stay in good standing for federal financial aid, a student maintains a pace of completion of at least 67%. Retaking a previously passed course will count against the pace of completion. See our Satisfactory Academic Progress webpage for more information on pace and maintaining eligibility.

    • Maximum Timeframe

In the majority of TU programs, students are allowed a maximum timeframe of 192 credits to complete their first bachelor’s degree. Repeating courses may cause a student to reach that maximum timeframe before their degree is complete. See our Satisfactory Academic Progress webpage for more information on the maximum timeframe and maintaining eligibility.

    • Aggregate Aid Limits

Multiple retakes may cause a student to reach the federal aggregate aid maximums before their degree is complete. Students should carefully track of how close they are to reaching these aggregate limits which, once reached, may not be appealed.

More information about the non-financial aid impact of repeating coursework may be found through the Registrar’s Web page or from your academic advisor.

+Retroactive Aid (aid for a term that has ended prior to disbursement)

Retroactive Aid must be disbursed based on completed grades/credits, or Census Date registration, whichever is LESS. This includes retroactive grants and loans. Grades that are considered “complete” are A, B, C, D, P, I or IP.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.

+Loans

Repaying Student Loans

How to Repay Your Student Loans

When you graduate, drop below half-time, or withdraw from your academic program, you will receive a six-month Grace Period for your Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans and a nine-month grace period if you borrowed a Perkins Loan. Federal Graduate and Parent PLUS loans do not have a grace period.

You are required to complete Exit Counseling. Once your grace period ends, you must begin repaying your loan(s).

Federal student loans have a variety of repayment options which can be based on the amount you borrow, extended or based on your income.

Student Loans are a valuable resource for funding your education, so you need to be prepared to repay them when you have completed your degree, or are no longer enrolled at least half-time in an accredited program. This webpage will provide you with information on the different types of loans, how to manage your loans, repaying your loans, loan consolidation & forgiveness, and other valuable resources to help make informed decisions for repaying your federal student loans. You can estimate what your loan repayment will look like by using the helpful calculator at studentloans.gov.

Entering into Repayment

After you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment, you have a period of time before you have to begin repayment. This "grace period" will be:

  • Six months for a Federal Stafford Loan (Direct Loan Program SM or Federal Family Education Loan (FFELSM) Program).

More information about repayment, payment plans, interest rates, and loan forgiveness can be found on the Federal Student Aid website.

Repayment Plans

There are multiple repayment plans to suit your needs. To help you choose the plan that is right for you, take the time to review your options. This sample loan repayment schedule can help you get started.

  • Standard - With the standard plan, you'll pay a fixed amount each month until your loans are paid in full. Your monthly payments will be at least $50, and you'll have up to 10 years to repay your loans. Your monthly payment under the standard plan may be higher than it would be under the other plans because your loans will be repaid in the shortest time. For that reason, having a 10-year limit on repayment, you may pay the least interest.
  • Graduated - With this plan, your payments start out low and increase every two years. The length of your repayment period will be up to ten years. If you expect your income to increase steadily over time, this plan may be right for you.
  • Extended - Under the extended plan, you'll pay a fixed annual or graduated repayment amount over a period not to exceed 25 years. You must have more than $30,000 in outstanding loans. Your fixed monthly payment is lower than it would be under the Standard Plan, but you'll ultimately pay more for your loan because of the interest that accumulates during the longer repayment period. This is a good plan if you will need to make smaller monthly payments. Because the repayment period will be 25 years, your monthly payments will be less than with the standard plan. However, you may pay more in interest because you're taking longer to repay the loans. Remember that the longer your loans are in repayment, the more interest you will pay.
  • Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) -Income-Driven Repayment plans are designed to make your student loan debt more affordable by reducing your monthly payments. Your payments under an income-driven repayment plan are usually a percentage of your discretionary income. That percentage varies depending on the plan. More information about IDR plans may be found at the Federal Student Loans website.
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness-In 2007, Congress created the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program to encourage individuals to enter and continue to work full time in public service jobs. Under this program, you may qualify for forgiveness of the remaining balance due on your eligible federal student loans after you have made 120 payments on those loans under certain repayment plans while employed full time by certain public service employers. Since you must make 120 monthly payments on your eligible federal student loans after October 1, 2007, before you qualify for the loan forgiveness, the first cancellations of loan balances will not be granted until October 2017. For more information on this program visit studentloans.gov. PHEAA is the only federal loan servicer designated for this program. More information may be found on the FSA website.
  • Teacher Loan Forgiveness-The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program is intended to encourage individuals to enter and continue in the teaching profession. Under this program, individuals who teach full time for five consecutive, complete academic years in certain elementary and secondary schools that serve low-income families and meet other qualifications may be eligible for forgiveness of up to a combined total of $17,500 in principal and interest on their FFEL and/or Direct Loan program loans. (Note: As of August 14, 2008, an otherwise eligible borrower may qualify for forgiveness if the borrower has provided qualifying teaching services at one or more locations that are operated by an educational service agency.) For more information on this program visit Federal Student Loans Website.

Loan Forgiveness and Cancellation Loans

There are multiple loan forgiveness and cancellation programs available for students that meet certain criteria. The most popular federal student loan forgiveness programs are:

Trouble making Payments?

You have options! Always be sure to communicate with your federal loan servicer to avoid getting into trouble! Some of your options can include:

  • Deferment-a period in which payments of the principal balance are temporarily postponed if you meet certain requirements.
  • The government pays interest on Subsidized loans in deferment
  • Unsubsidized loans accrue interest which can be paid or capitalized
  • Types of Deferment
  • Enrolled at least half-time at an eligible school
  • A study in approved graduate fellowship or in a rehabilitation program for the disabled.
  • Unable to find full-time employment (up to 3 years)
  • Economic Hardship (includes Peace Corps Service) (for up to 3 years)
  • Some Armed Services situations (see exit counseling guide for criteria)
  • Forbearance-if you do not qualify for a deferment, it allows you to postpone or reduce monthly payment amount for a limited & specific period.
  • You are responsible for all interest that accrues and any unpaid interest is capitalized at the end of the forbearance.

These options are not automatic. You must contact your loan servicer and submit the appropriate documentation for consideration!

AVOID Delinquency & Default

Although student loans are not initially based on your credit score, your repayment history will be reported to credit agencies and can affect your score once you begin repaying your loans. If you do default on your student loans you may face the following:

  • Loan balance due in full immediately
  • College records can be placed on hold
  • No longer eligible for loan deferment
  • No longer eligible for federal student aid
  • The account goes to collections
  • Your credit rating will be damaged
  • Federal & State income tax refunds can be withheld and applied to your debt
  • Your wages can be garnished

Don’t let this happen to you! Be sure to keep your loans current & communicate with your lender if you are having trouble making payments!

Loan Consolidation

A Direct Consolidation Loan allows a borrower to consolidate (combine) multiple federal student loans into one loan. The result is a single monthly payment instead of multiple monthly payments. More detailed information and advice are available on the Federal Student Aid website. Remember this is an option, not a requirement. Always work with your federal loan servicer to determine the appropriate course of action that works for you.

EDUCATION LOAN PROGRAM HOW TO START REPAYMENT
Federal Direct Stafford Loans (subsidized and unsubsidized)
  1. Complete student loan exit counseling online. (required)
  2. Set up and access your account on your Direct Loan Servicer's website to make sure your contact information is correct.
  3. Start making payments online on your Direct Loan Servicer's website. Other methods of payment can be found on their website as well.
  4. If you start having trouble making your payments contact your Direct Loan Servicer.
Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loans
  1. Complete loan exit counseling online.
  2. Set up and access your account on your Direct Loan Servicer's website to make sure your contact information is correct.
  3. Start making payments online on your Direct Loan Servicer's website. Other methods of payment can be found on their website as well.
  4. If you start having trouble making your payments contact your Direct Loan Servicer.
Federal Direct PLUS Loans for Graduate and Professional Students
  1. Complete student loan exit counseling online. (required)
  2. Set up and access your account with your Direct Loan Servicing agency and make sure your contact information is correct.
  3. Start making payments online on your Direct Loan Servicer's website. Other methods of payment can be found on their website as well.
  4. If you start having trouble making your payments contact your Direct Loan Servicer.
Private Student Loans (alternative loans)
  1. Contact your lender directly to set up a payment plan and explore methods of payment.
  2. Make sure to notify your lender if your contact information ever changes.
  3. If you start having trouble making your payments, contact your lender.

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