Awarding Financial Aid
Institutional Packaging Procedures
Pell Grant is automatically packaged by BANNER when need analysis is electronically received. A copy of the ISIR is printed and forwarded to the Director for packaging. The Director puts the entire package together: Pell Grant, campus-based funds, institutional funds and loans. Stafford Loans are automatically awarded to all eligible students. Parent Loans are only awarded to students who have previously used this program or have initiated the PLUS pre-approval process.
Determination of Total Funds to be Awarded
The Director, along with the Provost and the Director of Admissions, determines the total aid to be awarded during an academic year. The Department of Education sends the FAO information detailing annual fund allocations through the Federal Authorization Letter with the Official Notice of Funding. Determining the total funds available includes an evaluation and projection of available funds and administrative expense. Careful projections are made to enable the FAO staff to offer fair and equitable packages to students. A determination is made based on prior year history, and an increase of projected funds to account for attrition.
Students are encouraged to seek assistance from outside resources. It is required that all outside assistance be reported to the FAO. Student aid, including outside resources, may not exceed the student's cost of attendance. Therefore, if a student has been awarded by the FAO and receives an outside award, an adjustment to the original award letter may be necessary.
Award Letter and Change of Awards
Students receive notice of financial aid via an award letter. Students have the opportunity to change or decline an award via the award letter. A copy of the studentís signed award letter is kept in the studentís folder. If a studentís award changes, they are either sent a revised award letter or called in to initial the change.
Revision of Financial Aid Awards
Once an award letter is sent to the student, there may be instances which warrant a change to the original notification. An Aid Administrator may review a student's circumstances, make an adjustment to an award, and release a revised award letter. This revised award invalidates the original award notice.
Revisions Initiated by the Financial Aid Office
The FAO will automatically consider a revision in a student's aid package when the following occurs:
1. There is conflicting information in the file.
2. There are changes resulting from verification.
3. There is a change in availability of funds.
4. There is an FAO staff member error.
The reverse side of the award letter acknowledges right of the FAO to make a change to any award. Students are sent a letter as soon as possible or the student is called in to initial the change.
Revisions Initiated by Request from Student
Students may decline any portion of their award. Lack of acceptance does not count as a revision. If a student wants to add an award, the request will be referred to the Assistant Director.
It is the student's responsibility to notify the FAO of changes in a student's resources. If the student makes an appointment with an Aid Administrator and reveals a change in circumstances which may affect the student's family contribution, the student should document the situation by writing a letter reiterating the conversation and including supportive documentation. If a change to the award is allowable, the Aid Administrator and the student will initial the change.
An overaward occurs any time a student's disbursed financial aid (federal, institutional, and outside aid) and other resources exceeds the cost of attendance for the award period by more than an allowable tolerance.
Eliminating an Overaward
Before reducing a student's aid package because of an overaward, the Aid Administrator should always attempt to alleviate the situation by reducing or eliminating the overaward. The following possible allowances should be checked.
1. Increase budget using allowable expenses.
2. Adjust EFC.
3. Adjust undisbursed funds (all undisbursed financial aid funds must be withdrawn in the case of an overaward).
Causes of an Overaward and/or Overpayment
There are several causes of an overaward:
1. Student wages - the student earns more than the awarded FWSP allocation.
2. Change in the enrollment status - the student withdraws or drops below the projected enrollment status.
3. Reduction in cost of attendance - the student changes budget categories.
4. Additional resources - the student has resources greater than those used to calculate the award.
5. Administrative error - the Aid Administrator inadvertently makes an error.
6. Fraud - the student intentionally deceives or misrepresents information to obtain funds.
Undergraduate summer school serves as a trailer to the academic year. Therefore, only a limited amount of funds are available. If a student has eligibility for a Pell Grant and has not used his/her entire allocation during the academic year, the appropriate remainder may be used during the summer enrollment period.
Undergraduate students may also apply for Stafford (Subsidized and Unsubsidized) loans (if they have not used their entire allocation during the previous academic year), and FPLUS loans during summer terms. Graduate summer school serves as a header to the academic year, thus students may borrow during the summer as well as fall and spring.
A student may receive Title IV aid if he/she is taking courses at two or more schools, if the participating institutions enter into a consortium agreement. A consortium agreement specifies which institution will process and disburse student aid. The agreement also should stipulate which institution will consider the student enrolled. Whichever institution disburses aid funds is responsible for keeping records and returning Title IV funds in the case of an overaward.
International students are not eligible for federal or state financial aid because they do not meet the citizenship requirement. International students may receive institutional aid, but funds are limited.
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