Financial Aid - Catalog

Financial aid administered by the Financial Aid office at Helena College is based on an evaluation of academic accomplishments, financial need, and availability of resources. Students may qualify for Helena College scholarships, awards, and grants or state and federally sponsored grants, work, and loans. Information about eligibility, applying for and accepting aid, and types of aid are outlined in this section. Some general points:

  • Scholarships are awarded for each academic year.
  • Awards are usually made in the spring for the following academic year.
  • Helena College does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, religion, sex, marital status, color, age, physical handicap, national origin, service in federally or state defined uniform service, veteran status, political ideas, genetic information, gender identity, gender expressions, sexual orientation or physical or mental handicap in the administration of its scholarship program.
  • All scholarships administered by the College are divided evenly between fall and spring semesters.
  • Scholarships are not awarded during the summer session.
  • Recipients of selected awards must inform the donor and/or Financial Aid office of their acceptance.

The following is an example of how financial aid is determined.

The cost of attendance is determined by the College in February of each year for the following academic year. The cost of attendance for a full-time student includes the following factors: (The dollar amounts are for this example only.)

Tuition and Fixed Fees $ 4,000
Room and Board Allowance $ 7,000
Personal Expense*Allowance $ 4,000
Total Cost of Attendance $15,000

*The estimate includes allowances for books, supplies, transportation, and personal expenses.

If the student has applied for federal aid, Helena College accesses the estimated family contribution (EFC) information electronically from the federal processor. If Helena College is not indicated on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as a school that should receive the Student Aid Report (SAR), the student must submit a copy of the SAR to the Financial Aid office or correct their FAFSA by adding the code for Helena College. The College’s code is 007570.

Helena College subtracts the EFC amount from the cost of attendance. The resulting amount is financial need as per federal eligibility guidelines.

The calculation is as follows:

Financial Aid Cost of Attendance $15,000
Less: Calculated EFC (assume $2,000) $ 2,000
Calculated Financial Need $13,000

Financial aid packages are developed using information available at the time of packaging and may be revised if enrollment status and/or financial status change.

Eligibility Requirements for Federal Aid

  • Accepted to Helena College as a degree seeking student.
  • Priority is given to students with FAFSA results submitted to Helena College by March 1st.
  • Possess either a high school diploma or GED.
  • Completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and submitted as soon as possible after the first business day in January. The information should be sent to Helena College, Title IV Code 007570. A FAFSA must be completed each year the student applies for financial aid.
    Note: Submitting a FAFSA ensures that a student will be considered for all financial assistance from Helena College and the federal government.
  • The student should review the Student Aid Report (SAR) sent by the processing center and submit necessary corrections to the Financial Aid Office.

Financial Aid Notification

Students who have been accepted for admission for whom the College has received results of the FAFSA on or before March 1st will receive need-based financial aid packages on or about April 1st. The packages will contain all financial aid awards offered by and through Helena College with directions as to how to accept and receive the awards. After April 1st, students will receive financial aid packages as they are admitted to the College and the results of the FAFSA become available.

Approximately 30% of all FAFSA applicants are selected for a process called verification by the Department of Education. In this process, Helena College will be comparing information from the FAFSA with IRS Federal tax transcripts (and/or parent’s/spouse’s), W-2 forms, or other financial documents. The law requires the college verify this information before awarding federal financial aid. If there are differences between the FAFSA information and supplied financial documents, Helena College will make corrections electronically and notify the student in writing.

Verification must be completed no later than 14 days prior to the end of the first semester of enrollment. A student’s failure to complete verification will result in the cancellation of all federal and institutional need-based aid. In addition:

  • No financial aid will be released until verification is completed.
  • Students employed under the federal or state work-study programs cannot work without completing verification.

(Helena College must review the requested information, under the financial aid program rules (34CFR, Part 668).

In some cases, the Financial Aid office will re-evaluate financial aid awards based on special circumstances. If a student or student’s family have special needs or have recently experienced unusual financial circumstances, they should contact the Financial Aid office. A Special Circumstance/Professional Judgment form is available on the financial aid forms bank on the Helena College website.

Financial aid is not available for audited or challenged courses.

A student may not receive financial aid to repeat a course more than 1 time for courses previously passed. According to federal regulations for financial aid purposes, a grade of “D” is considered passing.

Accepting Financial Aid

  • A postcard notification stating financial aid is ready to be accepted will be mailed to accepted students beginning April 1 or after Helena College receives FAFSA information.
  • The student should acknowledge acceptance of the financial aid by accepting submitting award preference on their MyHC account online at as well as, return all required paperwork listed on the Special Messages tab of the onine award.
  • Financial aid will be disbursed in two installments during the semester. The first installment will occur 7-10 days after the last day to add classes and will consist of all grants, all scholarships and 1/2 student loans for the term. The second installment will be the remaining 1/2 of the student loans and will be disbursed 7-10 days after midterm.
    • Note: Students who are first-time loan borrowers, will not receive their first loan disbursement until 30 days after the start of the first term of attendance.

Student Responsibilities

Upon acceptance and receipt of financial assistance of any kind, it becomes the student’s responsibility to notify the Financial Aid office in writing of changes in financial and/or enrollment status. A change in enrollment and/or financial status may result in revision of financial aid awards. Changes include:

  • Change in the number of enrolled credits;
  • Change in name, address, or telephone number;
  • Change in financial status, including any additional scholarships, grants, or other benefits received; or
  • Withdrawal from the college. Students who withdraw from Helena College during a semester may be responsible for repayment of all or a portion of any financial aid received for the semester. Return of federal fund procedures is federally regulated. Students should contact the Financial Aid office for additional information.

Helena College Scholarships and Awards

Listed below is a partial list of scholarships provided for Helena College students. A complete and up-to-date list can be found on the Helena College website. Some scholarships are offered by the College and others are offered by community organizations, business firms, endowment funds, etc. For more information, students should contact the Financial Aid office.

  • American Business Women’s Scholarship
  • Boeing Access to Education Award
  • Everett D. Potter Scholarship
  • Gianforte Manufacturing Scholarships
  • Harold Hamm Award
  • Helena Brewers/Joyner Realty Scholarship
  • Intermountain Children’s Home Award
  • Montana Food Distributors Association
  • Opportunity Bank of Montana Awards
  • Peter Nelson Scholarships
  • Soroptimist Training Awards Program
  • Soroptimist Vocational Technical Scholarships
  • Student Assistance Foundation Awards
  • Student Senate Scholarships
  • T. Eugene Young Awards

Private Scholarships

Many private organizations provide financial assistance to Helena College students. Scholarship information may be obtained by contacting civic, professional, religious, or other community organizations in addition to high school guidance offices and the internet. Listing of web resources is available on the financial aid page online at One such website is Private scholarships are generally applied one-half to each successive semester after the funds are received.

Tuition Waivers

The Montana Board of Regents has authorized the waiver of either full or partial tuition for certain categories of students. These categories include:

  • Native American
  • Montana Veterans
  • War Orphans
  • Dependents of Prisoners of War
  • Senior Citizens
  • Surviving Dependents of Montana Firefighters or Peace Officers
  • Faculty and Staff
  • MUS Employee Dependent
  • MUS High School Honors

Applications for tuition waivers are made prior to and must be completed within 14 days of the start of the semester in which the student wants to utilize the waiver. For more information and applications, please see the financial aid page at

Vocational Rehabilitation

Certain persons with an employment disability may qualify for education assistance through the Rehabilitative/Visual Services Division, Montana Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services. Students should contact that office at 406-447-6952 for more information.

Note: This information must be included on the Financial Aid Award and will be included in a student’s eligibility for financial aid.

Federal Financial Aid

Students should complete the FAFSA after January 1 and request that the Student Aid Report (SAR) be sent to Helena College University of Montana, Title IV Code 007570. It takes approximately 4 to 6 weeks for a paper FAFSA application to be processed. Applications submitted via the internet take considerably less time ( Students (and parents, if applicable) must have a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID which will be comprised of a user-selected username and password to sign the FAFSA electronically ( Students must re-apply for federal aid each year. Delays in receiving financial aid are often the result of late or incomplete submission of the FAFSA.

Eligibility for the following indicated federal financial aid resources depends on submission of the FAFSA. The Student Aid Report (SAR), resulting from the FAFSA, provides an expected family contribution (EFC), which is used to determine eligibility for federal need-based financial aid.

  1. Federal Pell Grants are awarded to students with exceptional financial need.
    1. Note: Pell grants are available to all students who are eligible; however, the following grants are awarded on a priority basis only.
  2. Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) funds are limited and are available to students with exceptional financial need who have received a Federal Pell Grant.
  3. Montana Higher Education Grant (MHEG) funds are limited and are a state-sponsored grant available to Montana residents enrolled at least half-time and who have exceptional financial need.
  4. Baker Grant funds are limited and are a state-sponsored grant available to Montana residents enrolled full-time who have a minimum of $3,625 in earned income, and have an EFC between 501 and 8,050.
  5. Work-study employment opportunities are available through the need-based Federal Work Study (FWS) as well as the need-based and non-need based State Work Study (SWS) programs. Limited funds are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, in accordance with College policy. Awards are usually between 10 and 15 hours per week. These funds are not awarded within the financial aid package. If students are interested in work study, they will need to contact the Financial Aid office.
  6. Loan monies at federally regulated interest rates are available to students and their parents. Federal loans are awarded on a need and non-need basis as documented through the FAFSA.
    1. Federal Stafford Loan – available to students on either a need (subsidized) or non-need (unsubsidized) basis. Subsidized loans do not require payment of interest by the student so long as the student is attending college at least half-time. The federal government subsidizes the interest burden. Unsubsidized loans do accrue interest upon disbursement. Unless the student pays the interest while they are in school, the interest will capitalize on top of the principle amount upon repayment status. Interest rates are set annually in accordance with federal regulations.
    2. Federal PLUS (Parent) Loan – for parents of dependent students who want to borrow to help pay for their student’s education. Interest rates are set annually in accordance with federal regulations.

College-Related Federal Tax Provisions

Helena College students and families may be eligible for selected education-related tax provisions of the Federal Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, including:

  1. American Opportunity Tax Credit provides a maximum $1,500 per year tax credit (non-refundable) for each eligible taxpayer for the first two years of college.
  2. Lifetime Learning Tax Credit provides a maximum $2,000 per year tax credit (non-refundable) per family for years of eligible undergraduate or graduate/professional study after the first two years of college.
  3. Student Loan Interest Deduction provides a non- refundable deduction (not credit) of interest on qualified education loans used to finance qualified education expenses. The maximum deduction each taxpayer is permitted to take is $2,500.
  4. IRA withdrawals eliminate the 10% penalty for early withdrawal of tax-deductible amounts placed in Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA) used to pay qualified educational expenses.
  5. IRA contributions provide a new education IRA for tax years beginning after December 31, 1997.

Note: Students are advised that there are numerous eligibility requirements and other specifics contained in the tax provisions and should contact their tax advisor before making decisions. More detailed information can be found at

Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

Requirement and Purpose

Federal regulations require that students make satisfactory progress toward attainment of a degree, diploma, or certificate objective in order to participate in federal student assistance programs. Helena College University of Montana interprets federal intent of the satisfactory progress regulations as a means to prevent abuse of federal student assistance programs as opposed to placing limitations on students.

Helena College’s financial aid satisfactory academic progress policy is provided to ensure compliance with federal regulations and to prevent abuse of federal student assistance programs while supporting students’ efforts to attain educational objectives. These standards represent minimum performance requirements based on federal statute and regulation and do not necessarily coincide with academic program requirements. In addition to meeting these standards, a student must fulfill all other requirements to receive financial aid.

Indicators of Progress

Financial aid satisfactory academic progress (SAP) is measured ‘qualitatively’ and ‘quantitatively’.

Quality of work is measured by cumulative grade point average (GPA) resulting from work done at Helena College.

Quantity of work is measured against a maximum time frame in which the student must complete the educational objective. The quantitative measurement requires designation of a minimum amount of work a student must successfully complete (credit hours earned) by the end of designated periods of enrollment (full-time equivalent semesters). The quantitative measure is cumulative for all periods of enrollment and for all transfer credits, including periods of enrollment in which students did not receive federal student financial assistance.

Enrollment Status

Student status is based on the following:

  • Full time (FT) - Attempting 12 or more credits
  • Three-quarter time (QT) – Attempting 9-11 credits
  • Half-Time (HT) – Attempting 6-8 credits
  • Less-than-half-time (LTHT) – Attempting 5 or fewer credits

For financial aid awarding and satisfactory academic progress purposes, enrollment status is based on credit hours for which the student is enrolled as of the published date considered to the end of the add/drop period of the term for the majority of students. Financial aid will be adjusted to reflect less-than-full-time status if the student is not registered for at least 12 credit hours on that date. Financial aid will not be adjusted to reflect credit hours added after that date. Students who are registered for a class on the first day of the term but never began attendance in that class cannot include that class in determining enrollment status for financial aid purposes. Financial aid will be adjusted if students are reported as never having started attendance in one or more of their classes. All summer sessions jointly are considered one term.

Students Subject to SAP Measurements

Students currently enrolled and re-admits are subject to SAP measurement. In most instances, a financial aid package will be provided before grades are posted. If SAP standards have not been met, the financial aid package is voided, pending appeal.

New students, including transfer students, while subject to SAP, are not measured for satisfactory progress until grades have been posted for the first semester of attendance at Helena College.

SAP Measurement Date

SAP measurement is made after completion of each semester.

Measurement Standards of SAP

Qualitative Measurement - A student must possess a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher. A student must meet the above qualitative standard in addition to the quantitative standards.

Quantitative Measurement - Students must pass 70% of the cumulative credits attempted at Helena College in their degree/certificate program. Attempted credits will be based on a student’s credit load at the end of the add/drop period for each term. Audit and non-credit remedial work are not considered in the measurement of SAP. Remedial and repeated course work for which a student received credit multiple times is treated as any other course work. Incompletes are considered as credits attempted when considering maximum time frames. Transfer credits are also considered when determining maximum time frames. If a student withdrew from a class or classes after the add/drop period, the student is considered to have attempted those classes, even though the student did not receive any earned credits from registering for the classes. Withdrawal from classes has a negative impact on SAP measurement.

Duration of Eligibility

Students are expected to complete their program of study within a reasonable time period. A student’s maximum time frame is based on total credit hours attempted at Helena College plus any transfer credits accepted towards their program of study. These limits apply regardless of whether or not the student has received financial assistance. Students are eligible to receive aid for up to 150% of the published number of credit hours for a program of study (see program descriptions in the College catalog).

Example: If a program of study requires 60 credit hours to graduate, the maximum credit limit a student could take and receive financial aid would be 90 credits (60 X 150 percent). All credit hours attempted are counted.

At the end of each semester, the total number of attempted credit hours will be counted to see if the student has reached the maximum number of credit hours for their program. All credit hours are counted which includes:

  • Credit hours attempted in semesters student did not receive financial aid.
  • Credit hours attempted prior to a change in program of study if those hours are applicable to student’s new degree/certificate. A student will be allowed to change their program of study three times prior to receiving a degree/certificate and must inform the Financial Aid office of the change.
  • Credit hours transferred from another institution into student’s program of study at Helena College.

Financial Aid Warning

A student will be placed on financial aid warning if he/she:

  • Fails to maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 or
  • Fails to complete 70% of cumulative attempted credit hours.

Helena College determines the student should be able to make satisfactory academic progress during the subsequent payment period and meet the College’s satisfactory academic progress standards at the end of the payment period.

During a warning semester, the student may still receive financial aid. The student’s future financial aid eligibility is dependent upon how well the student does during the warning semester. If the student completes the required number of credit hours to reach the 70% cumulative pace measure and has a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher, the student will be removed from financial aid warning status and restored to good standing. If, however, the student again fails to meet one or both of those requirements, the student will have their financial aid terminated.

Financial Aid Termination

A student will have their financial aid terminate if he/she:

  • Fails to meet both qualitative and quantitative SAP requirements and has been determined unable to make satisfactory academic progress during the subsequent period.
  • Fails to meet the academic progress requirements at the end of a warning semester.
  • Has been determined to have exceeded the maximum time frame OR has been determined unable to mathematically finish their program in the maximum time frame.

Student Notification of SAP Decisions

The Financial Aid office will, in most instances, measure SAP after developing a financial aid package for a student. In this case, the student will be notified in writing if he or she has not met SAP standards and that the financial aid package is cancelled. At the same time, the student will be notified of the appeal process (described below).


A student who is notified of failure to meet SAP standards may appeal the conclusion reached by the Financial Aid office and/or request that he/she be granted an exception to the policy. The Registrar’s office must grant academic reinstatement to students on academic suspension before the Financial Aid office will consider an appeal for financial aid eligibility reinstatement.

Appeal Requirements

The student must respond in writing to the notification of failure to meet SAP standards. The response must be directed to the Financial Aid Appeals Committee at Helena College. The response must describe in specific terms why Helena College should grant an exception to its established SAP policy.

At a minimum, the response must include the following:

  1. A typed personal statement, plus supporting documentation, as appropriate, explaining the circumstances that have led to failure to meet established SAP standards.
    • The nature and timing of the circumstances (e.g., injury or illness, death of a loved one). A student with a maximum credit hour violation must address the circumstances that prevented their graduation within the applicable credit limit.
    • How the circumstances affected the student’s ability to meet the standards. If more than one enrollment period was affected, each enrollment period and the relevant circumstances must be specifically addressed.
    • How the circumstances have been resolved or managed to permit the student to meet the standards.
  2. The statement should also include a typed academic plan outlining how the student expects to meet the SAP standards, as well as the time frame in which the student expects to be back in compliance with such standards.
  3. Copy of student’s unofficial Helena College transcripts.
  4. Copy of student’s loan debt from the National Student Loan Database System (

Appeal Deadlines and Processing

Appeals for financial aid eligibility reinstatement must be received in the Financial Aid office no later than two weeks prior to the start of the term for which the student desires aid. Appeals will be reviewed by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee on a case-by-case basis as soon as possible and may take two weeks or more for an answer depending on the appeal volume at the time submitted. There will be no appeals accepted for financial aid reinstatement during the summer term.

The Financial Aid Director and Financial Aid Appeals Committee will review the student’s response and will make a decision on the appeal. Two actions may result on the appeal:

  1. The Financial Aid Appeals Committee may deny the appeal. The Financial Aid Director is the final authority regarding SAP decisions. The student will be notified, in writing, of action on the appeal in a timely manner.
  2. The Financial Aid Appeals Committee may approve the appeal. If such is the case, the student will receive written notice of the approval along with conditions to be met in the future, if appropriate. A student may be approved in one of two statuses:
    1. Probation: Helena College determines that the student should be able to make satisfactory academic progress during the subsequent payment period and meet the college’s satisfactory academic progress standards at the end of the payment period.
    2. Academic Plan: The Financial Aid Appeals refers the student to a supplemental advisor. The student and advisor develop a plan that, if followed, will ensure that the student is able to meet the institution’s satisfactory academic progress standards by a specific point in time.

Students approved on an Academic Plan will complete and sign the plan with a supplemental advisor. The plan will be recorded in the Financial Aid office and will be monitored by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee every term. If a student is not academically progressing as planned, financial aid will be terminated.

Requalification for Federal Student Financial Assistance after Failing to Meet SAP Standards

A student who is disqualified from participation in college need-based, merit and other institutional scholarships, and federal student financial assistance programs may regain eligibility by satisfying the established SAP standards. This can be done by attending college without financial assistance offered by the applicable financial aid. If a student is deemed not to be making satisfactory progress, but later meets the standards, his or her eligibility for aid is reinstated. The other option is the student can pay for and pass at least 6 credits on their own and then re-submit a Financial Aid Reinstatement Appeal. This, however, is not a guarantee of financial aid reinstatement. A student may be paid for the payment period in which he/she regains satisfactory progress, but may not be paid for any payment periods in which the student did not meet the standards.

Additional Information

  • Additional Degree: Students who have obtained an Associate degree and wish to return to Helena College for a subsequent degree may not necessarily be eligible for Financial Aid. Changes from AAS to AS or AA degrees will receive consideration as they are separate and distinct degree programs. The request for a subsequent degree must be submitted to the Director of Financial Aid with a degree audit from the Registrar. If approved for a new degree or certificate, the student will be required to only take courses that relate to the new degree or certificate. It is the student’s responsibility to not take courses that do not fit the program; doing so may result in financial aid termination. There is a maximum of three degree changes in order to receive financial aid. If a student changes his or her major more than three times, he or she will need to appeal for aid to the Director of Financial Aid.
  • Challenge Courses: Students will not be funded.
  • Changed and Late Grades: The student must notify the Financial Aid office of grade changes, including updates for incomplete or missing grades. Grades must be officially changed in the Registrar’s office before financial aid will be reviewed.
  • Evaluation Time Frame: Helena College will evaluate a student’s satisfactory academic progress at the end of each payment period: fall, spring, and summer. A student placed on financial aid warning or termination will be notified via U.S. mail to the current mailing or permanent address on record. It is the responsibility of the student to keep their address updated on their MyHC account.
  • Incomplete: An incomplete course is one for which no term credits were earned. It is construed as an “F” until a positive letter grade is recorded by the Registrar. A student who is placed on warning or termination because of incomplete credits may request that the Financial Aid office review his/her status once the course has been completed.
  • Remedial Courses: Certain sub-100 remedial courses, which do not apply toward graduation requirements, may be included as part of their credit load for determining enrollment status each term. These courses can total no more than half their credit load per term and cannot exceed 30 credits.
  • Return of Federal Title IV Funds: Federal regulations require colleges to recalculate a student’s financial aid for those who officially or unofficially withdraw from classes prior to completing 60% of a semester, to determine the amount of aid that was earned and unearned with the unearned portion returned to the Department of Education.

Return of Federal Title IV Funds Policy


The purposes and intent of this policy are to provide guidance as to how Helena College will calculate the amount of Federal Title IV funds to be returned for a student who has withdrawn from all classes, inform interested parties of the methods and procedures used to calculate the amount, provide a fair and equitable policy, and provide a policy that conforms to federal regulations and the intent of those regulations.

This policy governs the return of Federal Title IV funds disbursed for a student who completely withdraws from a term, payment period, or period of enrollment. It does not apply to a student who has dropped some classes but remains enrolled in other classes at or through Helena College. The general assumption is that a student earns aid based on the period of time he or she remained enrolled.

The Process – General

  1. The student meets with an advisor in the Student Support Center to discuss withdrawal and to fill out a withdrawal form. The Student Support Center sends the student with the withdrawal form to the Financial Aid office.
  2. The Financial Aid Office calculates the amount of funds to be returned.
  3. The Financial Aid office notifies the student and the Business office of funds that Helena College University of Montana must return and the amount the student must return to the Department of Education.
  4. The Financial Aid office returns its share of unearned Federal Title IV funds within 30 days after it determines that the student withdrawal process is complete. The student must repay his/her share either by (1) paying loans in accordance with the terms and conditions of the promissory note or (2) repaying grants directly or under a payment arrangement through the College.

Note: In addition to calculating a return of Federal Title IV funds for students who notify Helena College of withdrawal, the College must also make the calculation for students who do not “officially” withdraw. The Financial Aid office reviews final semester grades to determine students with all “F” grades followed by attempts to determine if the student withdrew from all classes. If so, the last date of attendance is obtained. To facilitate the process, the Registrar has requested faculty to indicate last date of attendance for all students awarded an “F” grade.

The Details

Earned aid: During the first 60% of the period, a student “earns” Federal Title IV funds in direct proportion to the length of time he or she remains enrolled. That is, the percentage of time during the period that the student remained enrolled is the percentage of dispersible aid for that period that the student earned. A student who remains enrolled beyond the 60% point earns all aid for the period.

Note that institutional costs play no role in determining the amount of Federal Title IV funds to be retained or returned. Also, aid is “dispersible” if the student could have received it at the point of withdrawal.

Unearned aid: The amount of disbursed Title IV aid that exceeds the amount of Title IV aid earned under the required formula. Unearned Federal Title IV funds, other than Federal Work Study, must be returned.

Percentage of period enrolled: The number of days the student remained enrolled divided by the number of days in the period. Calendar days are used, but breaks of at least five days are excluded from both the numerator and denominator. The number of days used to determine the enrolled percentage normally includes weekends; however, scheduled breaks are measured from the first day of the break to the next day that classes are held.

Repayment of unearned aid: The responsibility to repay unearned aid is shared by the institution and the student in proportion to the aid each is assumed to possess.

The institution’s share is the lesser of:

  • The total amount of unearned aid; or
  • Institutional charges multiplied by the percentage of aid that was unearned.

The formula assumes that Federal Title IV funds are directly disbursed to a student only after all institutional charges have been covered, and that Title IV funds are the first resource applied to institutional charges. Institutional charges comprise the amounts that had been assessed prior to the student’s withdrawal, not a reduced amount that might result from an institution’s refund policy.

The institution’s share is allocated among Title IV programs, in an order specified by statute, before the student’s share.

After the student’s share is fully allocated among the Title IV programs, any amount owed to a grant program is reduced by half. Students return their share of unearned aid attributable to a loan under the terms and conditions of the promissory note.

Timeframe for Returning Funds

The institution must return its share of unearned Federal Title IV funds no later than 30 days after it determines that the student withdrew.

The student must repay his or her share either by (1) paying loans in accordance with the terms and conditions of the promissory notes or (2) repaying grants directly or under a payment arrangement through the College or the Department of Education.

Late Disbursements

A student who earned more aid than was disbursed prior to withdrawal is owed a late disbursement. Only the difference between earned aid and aid already disbursed may be late disbursed. Thus, conditions under which unearned aid must be returned and conditions under which a late disbursement is required are mutually exclusive.

The institution may credit late disbursements towards unpaid institutional charges. Authorizations for current year charges remain valid for late disbursements; authorizations for prior year charges become invalid.

Any portion of a late disbursement not credited to the student’s account must be offered as a cash disbursement to the student (or parent in the case of a Federal PLUS Loan).

Withdrawal Date (Unofficial Withdrawal)

For students who withdraw without notifying the institution, the institution must determine the student’s withdrawal date within 30 days after the expiration of the earlier date of the:

  • Payment period or period of enrollment;
  • Academic year in which the student withdrew; or
  • Educational program from which the student withdrew.

The withdrawal date for unofficial withdrawals is the student’s last date of attendance at a documented “academically-related activity” in lieu of any other withdrawal date. “Academically-related activities” include activities confirmed by an employee of the institution, to include exams, tutorials, academic advisement, turning in a class assignment, and attending a study group assigned by the institution. Eating at institution-provided food services and participating in off-campus study groups not assigned by the institution are not “academically-related activities”.

The only exception would be If the student left without notification because of circumstances beyond his/her control, the institution may determine a withdrawal date related to the circumstances. The Director of Financial Aid is responsible for making this determination along with the Registrar and the Academic Dean, and Assistant Dean of Student Affairs.

Withdrawal Date (Official Withdrawal)

The withdrawal date for official withdrawals (student notified the institution that he or she was withdrawing) is the date the student began the institution’s withdrawal process or officially notified the institution of intent to withdraw, except the institution may, at its option, use the student’s last date of attendance at a documented “academically-related activity” in lieu of any other withdrawal date. “Academically-related activities” include activities confirmed by an employee of the institution, to include exams, tutorials, academic advisement, turning in a class assignment, and attending a study group assigned by the institution. Eating at institution-provided food services and participating in off-campus study groups not assigned by the institution are not “academically-related activities.”

The withdrawal date for a student who officially withdrew is the later of:

  • The withdrawal; or
  • The date of the student’s notification to the institution.

For a student who unofficially withdrew (withdrew without notifying the institution), this date is the date that the institution becomes aware that the student ceased attendance. The “date of institution’s determination that a student withdrew” is used for the following purposes:

  • It provides the dividing date between disbursed aid and late disbursements; and
  • It starts the clock for the period of time within which the institution must return federal funds.


If a student is withdrawn based on a school initiated suspension during a period of enrollment, the date used for the withdrawal date is as follows:

  • If the student is given the option to appeal the suspension and does not appeal within the time frame allowed, then the date of the initial suspension letter is used in the calculation.
  • If the student does not appeal and can attend classes during the appeal process (regardless of whether they attend or not) then the official date on the appeal denial letter from the college will be used for the calculations rather than the initial suspension letter date.

Drug Related Convictions

A federal or state drug conviction can disqualify a student for federal student aid. Convictions only count if they were for an offense that occurred during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving financial aid. A conviction that was reversed, set aside, or removed from the student’s record does not count, nor does one received when the student was a juvenile, unless he or she was tried as an adult.

The information below illustrates the period of ineligibility for financial aid on whether the conviction was for sale or possession and whether the student had previous offenses. (A conviction for sale of drugs includes convictions for conspiring to sell drugs.)

For a drug possession conviction, eligibility is suspended:

  • One year from date of conviction for 1st offense
  • Two years from date of conviction for 2nd offense
  • Indefinite period for 3+ offenses

For a drug sale conviction, eligibility is suspended:

  • Two years from date of conviction for 1st offense
  • Indefinite period for 2nd offense

If the student was convicted of both possessing and selling illegal drugs, and the periods of ineligibility are different, the student will be ineligible for the longer period.

Regaining Eligibility after a Drug Conviction

A student regains eligibility the day after the period of ineligibility ends or when he or she successfully completes a qualified drug rehabilitation program. Further drug convictions will make him or her ineligible again.

Students denied eligibility for an indefinite period can regain it only after successfully completing a rehabilitation program as described below.

Standards for a Qualified Drug Rehabilitation Program

A qualified drug rehabilitation program must include at least two unannounced drug tests and must satisfy at least one of the following requirements:

  • Be qualified to receive funds directly or indirectly from a federal, state, or local government program
  • Be qualified to receive payment directly or indirectly from a federally or state-licensed insurance company
  • Be administered or recognized by a federal, state, or local government agency or court
  • Be administered or recognized by a federally or state-licensed hospital, health clinic, or medical doctor

Incarcerated Students

A student is considered to be incarcerated if he or she is serving a criminal sentence in a federal, state, or local penitentiary, prison, jail, reformatory, work farm, or similar correctional institution. A student is not considered to be incarcerated if he or she is in a half-way house or home detention or is sentenced to serve only weekends.

Incarcerated students are not eligible to receive federal student loans but are eligible for federal work study and federal supplemental educational opportunity grants (FSEOG). They are also eligible for Pell grants if not incarcerated in a federal or state penal institution.

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