Financial Aid

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A limited amount of financial aid is awarded by Southern Connecticut State University to those students who can demonstrate financial need and who apply for financial aid by the priority date of March 15. Financial aid should not be viewed as the primary resource that a student uses to pay University charges. It must be noted that an application for financial aid is not a guarantee of the payment for University bills. It is the student's responsibility to ensure that his or her bills are paid by University deadlines. All financial assistance, whether it comes from grants, loans, or part-time employment at the University, is handled by the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships (OFAS), Wintergreen Building.

All students who want to be considered for financial aid for the coming academic year must file the following item with the Federal Processor by the SCSU priority date:

If requested, the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships may require the submission of the following documents:

The OFAS will only accept complete and accurate documents noted above. OFAS may request additional documentation for the completion of the file.

The SCSU priority date for electronic receipt of an applicant's FAFSA and income information is March 15. Students who apply by the priority date will have their financial aid file reviewed before bills are due. 

Final eligibility for financial assistance is based on a student being officially accepted by the University Admissions Office with a degree program, i.e., matriculated. Any student receiving financial aid must be enrolled at least half- time (six credits). Full-time students (12 credits) are considered for maximum eligibility in all programs. Half-time students (6-11.5 credits) are considered for student loans and Pell Grant. No financial aid is available for eligible non-citizens who do not have the proper INS student visa. All students who are awarded financial aid must remain matriculated making satisfactory academic progress toward a degree. Satisfactory academic progress is defined as the successful completion of 67% of the credits of academic work per academic year and 2.0 grade point average.  

For information on the Financial Aid Refund Policy, please visit the Student Accounts Office website

ACADEMIC PROGRESS STANDARDS (SAP)

The Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy is based on federal guidelines that require each college and university to ensure that student aid applicants are progressing through their academic programs at an acceptable pace while maintaining an acceptable cumulative grade point average. The policy is separate and apart from other academic policies at the university. As such, it is entirely possible that a student may be in good academic standing with the university but may not be making SAP for financial aid eligibility.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards

Grade Point Average (Qualitative): Undergraduate students are expected to maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.00 at SCSU. When calculating the requirements for SAP, GPA will be truncated to the nearest 100th.

Credit Completion Rate (Quantitative): Undergraduate students are expected to successfully complete at least 67% of the cumulative credits attempted at SCSU. When calculating the requirements for SAP, the pace percentage will be rounded to the nearest whole number. In addition to standard courses and grades, the following are included when calculating the credit completion rate:

• Passed courses (P/S)
• Failed courses (F)
• Incompletes (I) and Incomplete extensions (I+)
• Withdrawals (W, WF, and WP)
• Repeated courses
• Credit awarded via waiver exam (EP)
• Non-credit remedial courses (SCSU does not offer remedial coursework at this time.)
• Grades not reported by a professor (R) will be included in this assessment.
• Fresh Start Grades

Please see the sample below regarding attempted credits:

Credits

Grade

Attempted

Earned

3 credits I 3 credits 0 credits

Transfer credits will be counted as attempted and earned credits in the calculation for determining SAP. See sample below:

Summer 2019

Fall 2019

Fall 2019

Spring 2020

Total

3 credits 15 transfer credits 15 credits 15 credits 48 credits

In this scenario, the student needs to pass a minimum of 32 credits (48 attempted credits multiplied by 67% = 32 credits) to successfully complete the credit completion rate.

Maximum Credit Hours: A student may receive financial aid for attempted credits in their program of study; however, the number of attempted credits cannot exceed 150% of the university's published credit hours for the educational program in which the student is enrolled. This includes transfer credits.

Credits for Degree

Maximum Time Frame

Maximum Credits for Degree

122 credits 150% 183 credits

In this example, if the student transfers 90 credits to SCSU and completes 95 credits at SCSU, the student would not be eligible for financial aid because the student exceeded the 150% maximum time frame of 183 credits (90 transfer credits plus 95 registered credits = 185 credits).

Students must meet the required SAP standards in order to receive financial aid from the following federal, state, and institutional financial aid programs managed by the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships:

• Federal Pell Grant
• Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
• Federal Direct Loan (subsidized and unsubsidized)
• Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan
• Federal Work Study
• Roberta B. Willis Scholarship - Need Based Grant
• Governor's Scholarship - Need Based Grant
• Connecticut State University Grant
• State Scholarship and Grant Programs
• Other programs as defined by the fund requirements

The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships will review the academic records of financial aid recipients before disbursing aid for the upcoming semester. Academic records will be reviewed 14 days after the grade published date therefore allowing for any necessary adjustments to be made by the Registrar. Any changes to pace or GPA made to a student's account after the 14 days will not be taken into consideration until the following SAP assessment period. Only students who meet the minimum satisfactory academic progress standards will have their aid disbursed.

The first semester in which a student fails to meet one of SCSU's SAP standards, a SAP "Warning" notification will be sent to the student via e-mail. The student will remain eligible for aid in the next term and if at the end of that term they are meeting the minimum SAP requirements the "Warning" status will be lifted.

The second consecutive semester in which a student fails to meet the minimum SAP standards, after the "Warning" semester, the student will be notified via e-mail of their ineligibility to receive financial aid at SCSU. If extenuating circumstances exist which caused the student to fail one of the SAP standards, the student can submit an appeal for review and possible reinstatement of his/her financial aid as determined by SCSU. SAP appeals may be based on factors such as: (1) the death of a relative; (2) an injury to or illness of the student; or (3) other special circumstances.

To file an appeal, the student must complete the SAP Appeal Form and attach a written statement that addresses why he/she failed to make SAP and what has changed that will allow him/her to meet the SAP standards during the next academic year. The SAP Appeal Form, written statement and supporting documentation must be emailed to SapAppeal@SouthernCT.edu for review and resolution. The SAP Appeal form can be downloaded from our OneStop forms page.

The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships will review each appeal and make one of the following determinations:

• The student's appeal may be denied thus making him/her ineligible for any Title IV funding and most other financial assistance. The student would then be responsible for making payment arrangements with the Student Account's Office. In this case, the student must regain eligibility without financial aid before reinstatement of financial aid. In rare extenuating circumstances, after one semester of not being aid eligible, a student may make a second SAP appeal. In this case the student must have shown significant academic improvement during their semester without aid.

• The student's appeal may be approved. The student will be placed on “financial aid probation." This will allow the student to receive financial aid contingent upon the successful completion of the requirements set forth in the SAP Academic Plan for Financial Aid Eligibility. The conditions of the SAP Academic Plan are individually tailored for each student. Eligibility for aid may be reinstated conditionally based upon the student agreeing to and following the SAP Academic Plan.

TREATMENT OF TITLE IV AID WHEN STUDENTS WITHDRAW

The law specifies how Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) must determine the amount of Title IV program assistance that a student earns when withdrawing from school. The Title IV programs that are covered by this law are: Federal Pell Grants, Iraq Afghanistan Service Grants, Academic Competitiveness Grants, National SMART Grants, TEACH Grants, Direct Loans, PLUS Loans, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOGs), and Federal Perkins Loans.

When a student withdraws during the payment period or period of enrollment, the amount of Title IV program assistance that student has earned up to that point is determined by a specific formula. If the student received (or SCSU or parent received on the student's behalf) less assistance than the amount that the student earned, the student may be able to receive those additional funds. If the student received more assistance than the student earned, the excess funds must be returned by SCSU and/or the student.

The following is the order in which Title IV funds are returned:

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loan
  • Direct Subsidized Loan
  • Federal Perkins Loan
  • Direct Graduate PLUS
  • Direct PLUS Loan
  • Pell Grant
  • Academic Competitiveness Grant
  • National SMART Grant
  • Federal SEOG
  • TEACH Grant
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant

After the excess funds have been returned for the above Title IV funds, the non-Title IV fund grants will be calculated, if applicable. These include:

  • Roberta B. Willis Scholarship (Need-Based)
  • Connecticut State University Grant (CSUG)
  • Individual State Grants, such as Vermont Student Assistance, etc.

The amount of assistance that a student has earned is determined on a prorata basis. For example, if the student completed 30% of the student's payment period or period of enrollment, the student earns 30% of the assistance the student was originally scheduled to receive. Once a student has completed more than 60% of the payment period or period of enrollment, the student earns all the assistance that the student was scheduled to receive for that period.

If the student did not receive all of the funds that the student earned, the student may be due a post-withdrawal disbursement. If the student's Post-withdrawal disbursement includes loan funds, SCSU must get the student's permission before it can disburse them. A student may choose to decline some or all of the loan funds so that the student does not incur additional debt. SCSU may automatically use all or a portion of the student's post-withdrawal disbursement of grant funds for tuition, fees, and room and board charges (as contracted with the school). SCSU needs the student's permission to use the post-withdrawal grant disbursement for all other school charges. If the student does not give permission, the student will not be offered the funds. However, it may be in the student's best interest to allow SCSU to keep the funds to reduce the student's debt at the school.

There are some Title IV funds that a student may be scheduled to receive that cannot be disbursed to the student once the student withdraws because of other eligibility requirements. For example, if the student is a first-time, first-year undergraduate student and the student has not completed the first 30 days of the student's program before the student withdraws, the student will not receive any FFEL or Direct Loan funds that the student would have received had the student remained enrolled past the 30th day.

If a student receives (or SCSU or parent receives on his behalf) excess Title IV program funds that must be returned, SCSU must return a portion of the excess equal to the lesser of:

  • The student's institutional charges multiplied by the unearned percentage of the student's funds, or
  • The entire amount of excess funds.

SCSU must return this amount even if it didn't keep this amount of the student's Title IV program funds.

If SCSU is not required to return all of the excess funds, the student must return the remaining amount. Any loan funds that the student must return, the student (or the student's parent for a PLUS Loan) repays in accordance with the terms of the promissory note. That is, the student makes scheduled payments to the holder of the loan over a period of time.

Any amount of unearned grant funds that a student must return is called an overpayment. The maximum amount of a grant overpayment that a student must repay is half of the grant funds the student received or was scheduled to receive. A student does not have to repay a grant overpayment if the original amount of the overpayment is $50 or less. A student must make arrangements with SCSU or the Department of Education to return the unearned grant funds.

SCSU is required to return the unearned funds within 45 days from the date OFAS has determined the student has withdrawn.

If a student withdraws online from all courses, the student is subject to the withdrawal calculation. SCSU is required to determine the portion of the financial aid the student has earned and the portion of financial aid to be returned to the appropriate fund. If a student plans on withdrawing from all courses for a semester, the student should download the withdrawal form at SouthernCT.edu/registrar and submit it to the Registrar's Office. The student will be responsible to pay any outstanding balance that the student may owe to the university.

If a student received financial aid during the semester and decides to withdraw from a course or several courses during the semester this may have an impact on the amount of financial aid a student may be eligible to receive for the semester. In some cases the financial aid may be adjusted or canceled depending on the total number of credits registered for the semester. Therefore, the student will be responsible to pay any outstanding balance that the student may owe to the university.

SCSU is required to perform the withdrawal calculation for students who decide to stop attending classes and never withdraw from the university. SCSU will determine the last date the student attended and perform the withdrawal calculation. If the student did not attend any of the classes, SCSU is required to return all of the funds back.

The requirements for Title IV program funds when the student withdraws are separate from any refund policy that SCSU may have. Therefore, the student may still owe funds to SCSU to cover unpaid institutional charges. SCSU may also charge the student for any Title IV program funds that the school was required to return. If a student does not already know what the student's school's refund policy is, the student can ask the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships for a copy. SCSU can also provide the student with the requirements and procedures for officially withdrawing from school.

If a student has questions about the student's Title IV program funds, the student can call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FEDAID (1-800-433-3243).TTY users may call 1-800-730-8913. Information is also available on Student Aid on the Web at studentaid.ed.gov.

GRANTS, LOANS, AND FEDERAL WORK STUDY PROGRAM

For information on the following grants, loans, and programs, please visit the website of the Office of Financial Aid:

  • Federal Pell Grants
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants
  • Federal Direct Loan Program (Subsidized and Unsubsidized)
  • Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)
  • Federal Work-Study Program
  • Connecticut State University Grant
  • Roberta B. Willis Scholarship (Need-Based)

SCHOLARSHIPS

It is important for students to research and apply for scholarships to help pay for their education.  The more scholarship money received, the less a student will have to borrow in student loans.  A complete list of available scholarships is available on the website of the Office of Financial Aid, which includes SCSU Foundation-based scholarships.