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Financial Aid Policies

Financial Aid Policies

Definition of an Academic Year

A Standard Academic Year for Financial Aid spans two semesters, beginning with the first day of Fall semester and ending the last day of the Spring semester, and includes a minimum of 30 weeks of instruction. For example, the 2016-2017 Standard Academic Year began on August 22, 2016 and will end May 11, 2017. A full-time student in the School of Undergraduate Studies is expected to complete at least 24 academic credits during the Standard Academic Year.

Summer sessions immediately following a Spring semester may be included in the Standard Academic Year if necessary; consult with the Student Financial Services office for more information. 

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Definition of Full-Time and Part-Time Status

Full-time enrollment is defined as taking 12 or more credits a semester.  Part-time is taking fewer than 12 credits.  For financial aid purposes, an undergraduate student must be enrolled for at least 6 credits a semester in an eligible program to qualify for most financial aid. 

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Verification is a procedure in which some students are requested to document certain data elements on the FAFSA, mainly income and family size.  

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Satisfactory Academic Progress

In order to maintain eligibility for financial aid, a student must make adequate academic progress toward his/her degree. 

For federal financial aid (Title IV funds), this is determined using both a quantitative and qualitative measure. These measures are taken at the end of each semester.  A semester is defined as the period of time during the school year when a student can receive a disbursement of financial aid funds.  

Eligibility for financial aid is terminated if a student takes longer than 150% of the established time to complete his/her course of study.  Full-time undergraduate students cannot take more than six years to meet their degree requirements, nor can they attempt more than 180 credits to meet their degree requirements. 

Eligibility for financial aid for part-time students and graduate students will be terminated if they take longer than 150% of the established time for their particular program of study. 

Quantitative Measure  

Undergraduate students must successfully complete 120 academic credits toward their degree to graduate.  To meet financial satisfactory progress, a full-time student must cumulatively complete 67% of all credits attempted by the end of each semester. This is approximately 10 credits per semester.  Part-time students must also successfully complete 67% of all credits attempted, or approximately 5 credits per semester.  

Qualitative Measure  

All students must achieve the following grade point average (GPA) to maintain financial aid satisfactory academic progress. 

1 to 24 credits must hold a GPA of 1.65
25 to 59 credits must hold a GPA of 1.85 
60 or more credits must hold a GPA of 2.00 

Transfer and Repeat Credits  

Transfer credits accepted by Chestnut Hill College toward the student’s degree are considered as both attempted and completed for purposes of measuring the student’s rate of completion.  

Failure to Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress  

A student’s satisfactory academic progress is measured at the end of each semester.  Students who do not meet the satisfactory academic progress measure described above will be put on “Financial Aid Warning.”  The student will keep this Warning Status for one full semester, during which he/she is expected to bring their academic standing up to the required standard. The student may receive financial aid for this semester.  If the student succeeds in bringing his/her academic standing to the appropriate level, he/she will continue to be eligible for federal financial aid. However, if the student fails to meet the satisfactory academic progress measure at the end of the “Warning Period,” he/she will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension and no longer be eligible for federal financial aid. 

Appealing the Financial Aid Measure of Academic Progress  

A student who fails to meet satisfactory academic progress after having a Warning Period may appeal to have his/her financial aid continued. A student may appeal this decision to the Financial Aid Academic Appeal Committee (FAAAC) one time.  The appeal will require the student to complete and submit the Financial Aid Academic Appeal Form.  A student will also be required to indicate the circumstances that prohibited successful completion of their coursework.  If supporting documentation is available to substantiate those circumstances, a student should also supply copies to Student Financial Services.  As a federal requirement, a student must consult their academic advisor to establish their academic plan for future success.  The FAAAC will determine if the appeal is granted and then notify the student.

If an appeal is granted, a student will be placed on a probationary period for one semester.  At the end of this semester, the student’s grades will be reviewed to determine if they are making academic progress and adhering to their academic recovery plan.  A review will take place on a semester basis until the student meets the SAP standards.  If SAP recovery requires more than one semester, the FAAAC will determine, on a case by case basis, if the duration of probation should be for two semesters. If an appeal is denied, a student will be ineligible for financial aid thus responsible for changes incurred.  If a student attains satisfactory academic progress after that point, future financial aid can be considered.

Review the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy
Balances Owed to the College

Most aid awards do not cover a full year’s college costs.  Parents and students should expect to contribute toward payment of education.  Balances not covered by financial aid can be paid using the PLUS or alternative loan programs, or parents and students may opt to go on a monthly payment plan. 

Balances Owed to the Student

If a student receives outside grants, scholarships or tuition assistance in addition to institutional grant funding, a combination of these resources can never result in a credit balance on the student's account. Therefore, in instances where outside grant assistance and institutional grant funding result in a credit on the student's account, the student's institutional funding will be reduced and no refund will be credited. Students may not receive refunds from institutional funding.

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An overaward of financial aid occurs when all of the financial aid received by a student exceeds the student’s cost of attendance (COA). Federal regulations require institutions to consider all financial resources when calculating a student’s eligibility. All financial resources that are received must be reviewed to ensure that it fits within the established budget for the student and does not exceed the cost of attendance (COA).  Financial resources include but are not limited to:

  • Grants
  • Loans
  • Scholarships
  • Tuition discounts and waivers
  • Fellowships/assistantships
  • Work study
  • Specific Veteran educational benefits
  • Similar programs used to cover postsecondary educational expenses

How does an overaward occur?

A student may be overawarded if the Financial Aid Office is not made aware of additional financial resources at the time of packaging, or if a student’s class load or housing status changes after packaging. Students are responsible for notifying the Financial Aid Office of any additional aid they may receive. In order to resolve overawards, the Financial Aid Office is required by federal regulation to determine if any  aid needs to be reduced. Any student account balance that may result from these adjustments is the responsibility of the student.

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Withdrawing From One or More Classes

For full-time undergraduate (SUS), for financial aid purposes, the College has established the first day following the end of each semester’s Add/Drop Period as the date when registration is fixed.  Prior to this day, which is the Add/Drop Period, a student may drop a class without being charged or having that class appear on his or her transcript. 

 The credits from this dropped class will not be counted toward financial aid eligibility.   If the class, which was dropped during the Add/Drop Period, reduces the student to part-time status (or less than part-time status) then the student will be considered part-time (or less than part-time) for financial aid purposes. 

If the student withdraws from the class after the last day of the Add/Drop Period, the student will be charged for the class and the class will be reflected on his or her transcript.  The credits of this class may still be counted toward financial aid eligibility. Even if the withdrawn class leaves the student with a class schedule less than twelve credits, the student will still be considered full-time for financial aid. 

Classes Dropped After the Add/Drop Period  

It is possible that a student may be allowed to “drop” a class after the Add/Drop Period and after the date when the College determined that registration is fixed.  Because dropping the class is done with College permission and is not a true withdrawal, the student is not charged tuition, no record of the class will appear on his or her transcript, and the credits from this class may not count toward financial aid eligibility.  If dropping this class changes the student’s enrollment status (example:  full-time to part-time), the student’s financial aid must be adjusted to meet the new enrollment status. 

Timing of a dropped class  

If the dropped class causes a reduction in financial aid eligibility, Student Financial Services must recalculate financial aid eligibility, and return all appropriate funds within 45 days of the date when the class was officially dropped.  This must be done even if the funds were already disbursed or if the student received a refund resulting from those funds. 

Full Details for Withdrawing and Financial Implications
Withdrawing From the College/Return of Title IV Financial Aid

For financial aid purposes, a withdrawal from the College occurs when a student ceases to be enrolled as a matriculated student pursuing a degree, by formally withdrawing from the College, dropping out, by taking fewer than the required number of credits per term to qualify for federal financial aid, by being dismissed, or by taking a leave of absence prior to completing at least 60% of a payment period or term, usually defined as a semester.  The student’s Federal financial aid (Title IV funding) must be recalculated in these situations. 

Recalculation is based on the percentage of earned aid using the following Federal Return of Title IV Funds formula:  

  • The percentage of the payment period is the number of days completed up to the withdrawal date.  This percentage is divided by the total days in the payment period or term.  (Any break of five days or more is not counted as part of the days in the term.) The resulting percentage is also the percentage of earned aid. 
  • Funds are returned to the appropriate federal program based on the percentage of unearned aid using the following formula:  
  • Aid to be returned (which is 100% of the aid that could be disbursed minus the percentage of aid actually earned) is multiplied by the total amount of aid that could have been disbursed during the payment period or term. 

If a student earned less aid than was disbursed, the institution would be required to return a portion of the funds and the student would be required to return a portion of the funds.  Keep in mind that when Title IV funds are returned, the student borrower may owe a debit balance to the institution.  If a student earned more aid than was disbursed to him or her, the institution would owe the student a post-withdrawal disbursement which must be paid within 120 days of the student’s withdrawal. 

Refunds are allocated in the following order: 

  • Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan/Unsubsidized Direct Loan 
  • Subsidized Federal Direct Loan/Subsidized Direct Loan 
  • Federal Perkins Loan Federal Parent (PLUS) Loan/Direct PLUS Loan 
  • Federal Pell Grant 
  • Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grant (SEOG) 
  • Other assistance under the Federal Title IV programs (e.g. LEAP) 

Modular Classes (part-time students)  

For financial aid purposes, modular classes are courses that do not run the full length of the payment period (semester). 

If a student withdraws from a modular class and attends no other class in the payment period, he/she is a withdrawal and the Federal Recalculation of Title IV Funds is required.  If the student withdraws from a modular class but returns to attend a subsequent class offered within the same payment period, he/she is not considered a withdrawal and no Federal Recalculation of Title IV funds is required. 

Chestnut Hill College Funds 

All Chestnut Hill College funds, including merit, need-based aid, and athletic awards, are retained at the same percentage rate that tuition is retained.  For example:  if a student withdraws and owes 40 percent of the semester’s tuition, he/she will retain 40 percent of any Chestnut Hill funds applied to the account. 

PHEAA State Grant  

The PHEAA State Grant is retained at the same percentage rate that tuition is retained, similar to the policy for Chestnut Hill funds above. 

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