Online Policy Manual
Student Financial Assistance
Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress
Coursework Treatment in SAP Calculation
Ineligibility Determination Appeal
Terminology and Information Pertaining to this Policy
Treatment of Title IV Aid When a Student Withdraws
*Additional Information about Financial Aid may be found at My.maricopa.edu website.*
The Maricopa Community Colleges provide students financial assistance to enable access to higher education. Student financial assistance shall be awarded on the basis of demonstrated financial need except where funds are specified for recognition of special talents and achievements. Only those with a lawful presence in the United States may qualify for federal financial aid or Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) scholarships. Under Arizona law, any information the student provides about his or her legal status when applying for financial aid or publicly funded scholarships may be subject to mandatory reporting to federal immigration authorities. This does not apply to applications for the private scholarship funds held in and distributed by the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation.
The office of financial aid may request to have the validity of a student’s high school completion evaluated if either the college or the United States Department of Education has reason to believe that the high school diploma is not valid or was not obtained from an entity that provides secondary school education. An evaluation may be conducted on the basis of any of the following:
- Alerts, bulletins, or similar communications provided by any state, federal, or other governmental agency, another institution, a professional or similar organization, or any other resource that might provide information helpful to the evaluation;
- A transcript or other record received from another institution the student may have attended;
- The contents of the student’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid, student information form, or any other information the student provides to the college;
- The independent professional judgment by any official of the office of student financial aid.
How to Apply for Federal Financial Aid
New students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or FAFSA on the Web at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/. Each academic year, continuing students must reapply by completing a FAFSA, Renewal FAFSA, or FAFSA on the Web. Scholarships require separate applications. Specific information regarding financial assistance, including application deadlines or priority dates, may be obtained from the college Office of Student Financial Aid.
Types of Aid
Grants, loans, student employment, and scholarship funds may be available from federal, state, and/or private sources.
The Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation offers a variety of scholarship opportunities. Scholarship opportunities are available year round. However, most scholarships are posted mid-January and most deadlines are the last week of March. Options are available at www.maricopa.edu/foundation/apply/index.php or by calling 480-731-8400.
Distribution of Aid
Criteria by which aid is distributed among eligible financial aid applicants are available on request at the college Office of Student Financial Aid.
Rights and Responsibilities
Students should read all information provided in the process of applying for federal financial aid in order to gain a greater knowledge of all the rights as well as responsibilities involved in receiving that assistance.
Satisfactory Academic Progress
Specific requirements for academic progress for financial aid recipients are applied differently than scholastic standards. In addition to scholastic standards which are explained elsewhere in this catalog, financial aid recipients are also subject to the following Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress. Specific information is available at the college Office of Student Financial Aid.
Refunds and Repayments
In accordance with federal regulations (CFR 668.22), a student may be required to repay federal financial aid funds if they completely withdraw, are withdrawn, or fail to earn a passing grade from all classes during a semester. Further information is available at the college Office of Student Financial Aid. This could affect a student’s ability to receive Financial Aid in the future at any school. For a student receiving Financial Aid, also see Appendix S-7 for Withdrawal procedures.
Verification of Information
- A Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or a change to that FAFSA may be selected for verification. If a student’s FAFSA is selected for verification, the student will be notified via the Student Center in my.maricopa.edu. In most cases, the student will be required to submit documentation as part of the verification process. The earlier the Financial Aid Office receives the required documentation, the earlier the student’s eligibility for financial aid can be determined. The verification process must be completed no later than 120 days after the last date of enrollment or August 31, whichever comes first. In addition, the Financial Aid Office must receive a final and valid electronic SAR by the student’s last day of enrollment or June 30 of the award year, whichever comes first. The verification process must be completed before the Financial Aid Office can award any federal aid.
- If an award has already been made and a FAFSA is selected for verification, the student must provide required documentation within thirty days after it has been requested of the student or on June 30, whichever comes first. If documentation is not received within this deadline, the student’s award may be adjusted or canceled.
- The required forms and documents a student submits for verification will be compared to the information reported on the student’s FAFSA. If the information provided does not match what is shown on the FAFSA, the Financial Aid Office will submit changes to the US Department of Education FAFSA processor. After all changes are made to the FAFSA data, the student’s eligibility for financial aid will be reviewed. If there are any changes to the student’s financial aid eligibility as a result of verification, the student will be notified by means of the Student Center in my.maricopa.edu. If, following verification, the institution discovers evidence of student aid fraud (including identity theft), waste or abuse of US Department of Education funds, such evidence may be referred to the Office of Inspector General of the US Department of Education.
Award Amount and Level of Enrollment
Award amount is determined, in part, on the level of enrollment. A reduction in course load after financial aid has been awarded may result in an adjusted financial aid award. Federal student aid recipients are advised to register at the same time for all classes they intend to take during a semester to maximize award. Some federal aid may not be awarded for classes added at a later date. Contact the college Office of Student Financial Aid for more information.
Repeated Coursework and Financial Aid Enrollment Status
Federal regulations regarding repeated coursework may impact your financial aid eligibility and awards. Federal regulations specify that students may receive federal financial aid funding for one repetition of a previously passed course. A passed course is defined as one in which a grade of A, B, C, D, or P is received. If you enroll in a course in which you have previously received passing grades twice, the course will not be counted towards your enrollment level for financial aid purposes. You may repeat a failed course until it is passed. Your enrollment for financial aid purposes will be calculated accordingly.
Maricopa Community Colleges Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for Financial Aid Eligibility
Federal regulations (CFR 668.32(f) and 668.34) require a student to move toward the completion of a degree or certificate within an eligible program when receiving financial aid. Specific requirements for academic progress for financial aid recipients are applied differently than Scholastic Standards. Federal regulations state that Academic Progress Standards must include a review of all periods of enrollment, regardless of whether or not aid was received. Students will be evaluated using the standards described below. Failure to meet any of these minimum standards will result in loss of title IV, HEA program (federal financial aid) eligibility.
Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) will be evaluated at the end of each semester; fall, spring and summer. Programs less than one year in length will be evaluated at the midpoint of the program. Non-standard sessions will be evaluated at the completion of the session.
Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) are evaluated on each of the three measurements outlined below. Failure to meet any of these standards will result in suspension of eligibility for financial aid. Note: Grades of F,I,N,W,X,Y,Z, and courses not yet graded are considered attempted but not meeting progress standards for the purposes of financial aid.
- Grade Point Measurement: Students must meet the following credit hour/cumulative grade point average (CGPA).
Total Credits Attempted*
- Pace of Progression Measurement: Students must successfully complete 2/3 (66.67%) of all attempted course work.
- Maximum Time Frame Measurement: Students have attempted more than 150% of the published credits required for their program of study are considered not meeting SAP.
Course work taken during the semester also included in the evaluation:
- Courses funded through a consortium agreement
- All attempted remedial credits
- Repeated course work
Coursework included in the Pace of Progression evaluation:
- All of those included in the semester evaluation
- All evaluated transfer credits
Course work included in the Maximum Time Frame evaluation:
- All of those included in the Pace of Progression evaluation
- Any Associates degree or higher earned will be considered to have exhausted maximum timeframe eligibility
- All coursework forgiven through the academic renewal process
Course work not included in SAP evaluation:
- Audited courses
- Non-credit courses
- Credit by examination
- Credit for prior learning option (as outlined in the college general catalog)
Students that have applied for federal assistance, but who do not meet the standards, will be notified. This notification will direct students to information regarding the appeal process.
Any student who has lost financial aid eligibility due to extenuating circumstances may appeal. Appeal must:
- Be in writing and submitted to the Financial Aid Office where the student is applying for aid.
- Include the extenuating circumstances that caused the student not to meet SAP standards.
- Include appropriate supporting documentation.
- Include how that condition or situation has been resolved thus allowing the student the ability to meet SAP standards.
Students will be notified of the results of their appeal and any restrictions or conditions pertaining to their appeal. The outcome of an appeal may include a probationary term or denial.
Failure to successfully complete all conditions during the probationary period (as defined in the academic plan) will result in loss of future financial aid eligibility.
A student who has lost financial aid eligibility may only regain eligibility by meeting the minimum SAP standards. Course work taken at other colleges will not be considered for reinstatement purposes.
- Summer Sessions – Enrollment in any or all Summer Sessions within the same calendar year will be considered one term.
- Non-Standard Session – Sessions that do not follow the traditional start and end dates for the semester.
- Attempted Credit – Any credit for which a grade of A, B, C, D, F, I, IP, N, P, W, X, Y, or Z is received and courses not yet graded.
- CGPA [Cumulative Grade Point Average] – The MCCCD grading policy is published in the administrative regulations at 2.3.3. The CGPA does not include credits accepted in transfer.
- Appeal – “A process by which a student who is not meeting the institution’s satisfactory academic progress standards petitions the institution for reconsideration of the student’s eligibility for title IV, HEA program assistance."
- Extenuating Circumstance – Examples are: personal injury or illness, serious illness or death within the immediate family, or other circumstance beyond the reasonable control of the student.
- Supporting Documentation – Examples could include: an obituary notice, divorce decree, an accident report, or a letter from a physician, attorney, social services agency, etc.
- Financial Aid Probation –“A status assigned by an institution to a student who fails to make satisfactory academic progress and who has appealed and has had eligibility for aid reinstated.” A student in this status “may not receive title IV, HEA program funds for the subsequent payment period unless the student makes satisfactory academic progress or the institution determines that the student met the requirements specified by the institution in the academic plan for the student."
- Academic Plan – A plan developed through the SAP Appeal Process which will lead a student to qualify for further title IV, HEA program funds.
- Financial Aid Suspension – The status assigned upon failing to meet the minimum SAP standards or the terms of a probationary status. Students in this status are not eligible to receive title IV, HEA assistance.
For more information, contact the college Financial Aid Office.
Treatment of Title IV Aid When a Student Withdraws
The law specifies how your school must determine the amount of Title IV program assistance that you earn if you withdraw from school. The Title IV programs that are covered by this law are: Federal Pell Grants, National SMART grants, TEACH Grants, Stafford Loans, PLUS Loans, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOGs), and Federal Perkins Loans.
When you withdraw during your payment period or period of enrollment (you may contact the Financial Aid office to define these for you and tell you which one applies) the amount of Title IV program assistance that you have earned up to that point is determined by a specific formula. If you received (or your school or parent received on your behalf) less assistance than the amount that you earned, you may be able to receive those additional funds. If you received more assistance than you earned, the excess funds must be returned by the school and/or you.
The amount of assistance that you have earned is determined on a pro-rata basis. For example, if you completed 30% of your payment period or period of enrollment, you earn 30% of the assistance you were originally scheduled to receive. Once you have completed more than 60% of the payment period or period of enrollment, you earn all the assistance that you were scheduled to receive for that period.
If you did not receive all of the funds that you earned, you may be due a post-withdrawal disbursement. If your post-withdrawal disbursement includes loan funds, your school must get your permission before it can disburse them. You may choose to decline some or all of the loan funds so that you don’t incur additional debt. Your school may automatically use all or a portion of your post-withdrawal disbursement of grant funds for tuition, fees, and room and board charges (as contracted with the school). The school needs your permission to use the post-withdrawal grant disbursement for all other school charges. If you do not give your permission, you will be offered the funds. However, it may be in your best interest to allow the school to keep the funds to reduce your debt at the school.
There are some Title IV funds that you were scheduled to receive that cannot be disbursed to you once you withdraw because of other eligibility requirements. For example, if you are a first-time, first-year undergraduate student and you have not completed the first 30 days of your program before you withdraw, you will not receive any FFEL or Direct loan funds that you would have received had you remained enrolled past the 30th day.
If you receive (or your school or parent receives on your behalf) excess Title IV program funds that must be returned, your school must return a portion of the excess equal to the lesser of:
- your institutional charges multiplied by the unearned percentage of your funds, OR
- the entire amount of excess funds. The school must return this amount even if it didn’t keep this amount of your Title IV program funds.
If your school is not required to return all of the excess funds, you must return the remaining amount. Any loan funds that you must return, you (or your parent for a PLUS Loan) repay in accordance with the terms of the promissory note. That is, you make scheduled payments to the holder of the loan over a period of time. Any amount of unearned grant funds that you must return is called an overpayment. The maximum amount of a grant overpayment that you must repay is half of the grant funds you received or were scheduled to receive. You must make arrangements with your school or the Department of Education to return the unearned grant funds.
The requirements for Title IV program funds when you withdraw are separate from any refund policy that your school may have. Therefore, you may still owe funds to the school to cover unpaid institutional charges. Your school may also charge you for any Title IV program funds that the school was required to return. You can view the tuition refund policy and requirements and procedures for withdrawing from school at www.maricopa.edu/publicstewardship/governance/adminregs/students/2_2.php
AMENDED through the Administrative Regulation approval process, May 29, 2012
AMENDED through the Administrative Regulation approval process, March 13, 2012
TECHNICAL REVISION approved by the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, June 22, 2011
AMENDED through the Administrative Regulation approval process, March 4, 2011
AMENDED through the Administrative Regulation approval process, August 18, 2008
AMENDED through the Administrative Regulation approval process, March 5, 2009
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