Financial Aid Policies
APPLICATION & ELIGIBILITY
At Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU), graduate and professional students who are matriculated and enrolled at least half-time (4.5 credit hours or more per semester) are eligible to apply for financial aid. To qualify, students must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online using SCSU's school code - 001406. Be sure to file by our priority date of February 15th for returning students and March 15th for new students to have your financial aid reviewed before the billing due date. Please note that students must provide their Social Security number (SSN) on the University admissions application and/or Common Application. The SSN is used to match the FAFSA record to the University record. Students must maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP) to remain aid eligible according to the University's SAP policy.
Financial aid is not available for international students.
COURSE AND PROGRAM OF STUDY ELIGIBILITY
The US Department of Education regulations require that a student be enrolled in a degree-seeking or eligible certificate program to receive federal financial aid including Direct Loans and Federal Work Study. This regulation will officially go into effect Fall 2023.
Aggregate lifetime limits exist for all aid programs; therefore, timely degree completion is critical. Therefore, students must be enrolled in courses that are applicable to the degree, or eligible certificate, to qualify for federal financial aid. If a student is enrolled in courses that are not required, the federal financial aid award could be prorated or cancelled.
All degree programs and teacher certification programs at Southern are eligible for federal financial aid, as well as many of our certificate programs. If a certificate program is not eligible for federal financial aid, it will be stated on the program application and in the program information published in the Graduate Catalog.
A course is eligible for federal financial aid if it satisfies a requirement in the student’s program of study. Students may consult their degree evaluation to review which courses will fulfill program requirements. In-progress or complete courses listed in the ‘Excess’ section are not aid eligible.
Students are required to follow the academic calendar for all course registration add/drop periods. Federal financial aid eligibility will be determined based on a student’s current program of study and course registration as of the Financial Aid Freeze Date.
Minors must be officially declared and reflected in the degree evaluation by the financial aid freeze date to be included as eligible coursework for financial aid. Students will not qualify for federal financial aid once all degree requirements for their first bachelor’s degree have been met, whether the student has been conferred a bachelor’s degree or not, even if they still have minor classes to complete.
TIP: Students can avoid losing aid eligibility by arranging all courses in their minor to be complete during or prior to the last semester in which all other degree program requirements will be met.
If a student enrolls in at least 9 credits of eligible coursework at the graduate level then the student is considered full-time for federal financial aid programs. Note that part-time students may still receive pro-rated federal financial aid based upon their enrollment status. However, if a student moves from full-time to part-time status, some federal aid programs may need to be reduced or cancelled.
A repeat course may be eligible for federal financial aid depending upon whether the course was previously passed or not. Students may only repeat previously passed courses one additional time. There are no restrictions on the number of repeats for a previously failed course. More Info on the Repeat Coursework Policy.
A prerequisite course is eligible for federal aid programs if the course satisfies a degree requirement in the program of study, such as a general education requirement (LEP) or an elective credit needed to meet overall program requirements.
FEDERAL WORK STUDY PROGRAM (FWS)
FWS is a federal program that provides part-time employment opportunities for part-time and full-time matriculated students. Eligibility is based on need as determined by the federal processor. Employment opportunities on campus include jobs in the University's library, laboratories, facilities operations, health services, and various campus offices. Southern also places students in local, off-campus nonprofit agencies. Employment opportunities are numerous and can provide career-related experience. Students may work up to 20 hours a week while classes are in session, and 35 hours a week during holiday breaks and vacation periods.
FINANCIAL AID FREEZE DATE POLICY
In accordance with federal and state regulations, Southern Connecticut State University uses a “freeze date” each semester to determine a student’s enrollment status for awarding federal and state financial aid. The freeze date will align with the last day to withdraw from classes at 40% refundable term charges for the fall and spring semesters.
Students must be registered for all classes before the freeze date to receive aid for those classes. Additional Federal and state aid will not be available for classes added after a student’s credit hours have been frozen. Any classes that are dropped or withdrawn from a student’s schedule after the freeze date will not decrease a student’s financial aid award. This assumes that the student still maintains some enrollment in other courses during that term. If a student withdraws from all courses, that student is considered withdrawn from the university and their aid will be prorated based on the date they ceased to be enrolled. Similarly, if a student receives grades of F-Failed, or N-Never Attended for all courses in a semester, a financial aid recalculation will be performed based on the number of days a student attended in the semester. Students are responsible for payment of any balance on their accounts due to a reduction in their financial aid award.
Financial aid awards associated with late starting classes will not be disbursed until attendance is confirmed in those classes. Students should plan accordingly with regard to financial aid refunds when enrolled in classes that start at some point after the beginning date of the semester. Financial aid will be reduced if a student fails to begin attendance in all classes.
If a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), a corrected FAFSA, or an Application for Undocumented Student Financial Aid is submitted after the freeze date, a student’s enrollment status for financial aid eligibility will be determined at the time their application is reveiewed.
Eligibility for financial aid will be based on a student’s credit hours as of the freeze date:
|9.00+ credit hours
|6.75+ credit hours
|4.50+ credit hours
|2.25+ credits hours
|Less than half-time
Please visit the Freeze Date Policy website for more information or contact the Financial Aid Office with questions about how the freeze date may impact financial aid awards.
Graduate Assistantships and Internships
The purpose of graduate assistantships is to allow well qualified matriculated graduate students to participate in institutional activities academically relevant to the student's program of study. SCSU has three graduate assistantship programs: (1) an academic department graduate assistantship (GA); (2) a Graduate Studies Scholarship (GSS) program; and (3) a Graduate Studies Graduate Assistantship (GSGA) program. The academic department graduate assistantship (GA) is administered under the auspices of the academic department. The GSS and GSGA programs are administered under the School of Graduate and Professional Studies.
Academic Department Graduate Assistantship
Graduate assistants must be fully admitted to the Graduate School and pursuing work leading to a master 's degree, Ed.D, sixth-year certificate, post-master's planned program, or post-baccalaureate teacher certification. Graduate assistants are appointed by the dean of the school in which the graduate assistant (GA) is to be employed upon recommendation of the department chair where the GA is to be employed. GA's are expected to be enrolled in required courses within their planned program of graduate study and/or prerequisites necessary to offset any undergraduate deficiencies prior to undertaking the graduate program of study. To receive or maintain a GA position, a minimum GPA of 3.00 for all post-baccalaureate course work completed at SCSU is required. GA's may be required to meet other specific criteria within the department.
There are two levels of academic department graduate assistantships. Full-time graduate assistants appointed to provide 20 hours of service per week or 300 total hours of service per semester and half-time graduate assistants appointed to provide 10 hours of service per week or 150 hours of service per semester. Full-time graduate assistants will be compensated at the rate of $4,800 per semester. Half-time graduate assistants will be compensated at the rate of $2,400 per semester.
Full-time graduate assistants must be enrolled as a full-time graduate student (9 or more credit hours per semester). Half-time graduate assistants may be either a full-time graduate student, as defined above, or a part-time graduate student for this policy is defined as a graduate student enrolled for 1.0 or greater credit hours but fewer than 9 credit hours per semester. For both full-time and part-time graduate students, all credit hours for which the student is registered must be part of the approved program plan on file with the department and the Registrar 's office.
Academic department graduate assistantship appointments are annual but may be renewed on a semester to semester basis. Graduate assistantships may be renewed for additional semesters at the discretion of the employing department or unit provided the student meets all eligibility criteria for that GA position, i.e., enrollment status, GPA, and any other departmental criteria.
Full-time and half-time graduate assistants who are full-time students will pay in-state or out-of-state tuition as defined in Board Policy and as stated in the current graduate catalog. Half-time graduate assistants who are part-time students will pay in-state or out-of-state tuition and all course fees including the General University Fee as defined in the Board Policy and as stated in the current graduate catalog. The following fees will be waived for both full-time and half-time graduate assistants: University Fee; University General Fee except for that portion attributable to student accident insurance; and the Student Activity Fee. The usual waiver policy for health insurance applies. It should be noted that half-time graduate assistants who are part-time students are not assessed these fees.
A student may be employed as a graduate assistant outside of the student's program of study, provided that the assistantship is academically relevant. When a student is employed outside of the student's program of study, notification should be provided to the department chair and both the school dean of the student's program of study and the graduate dean. Students cannot hold other University supported positions (such as graduate student worker; graduate research fellow; graduate teaching assistant; research administrative assistant; resident advisor; graduate intern, or adjunct faculty) while holding the GA position.
Annual review of full-time equivalent (FTE) graduate assistantships will take place between the dean of the school, the department chairperson, and the graduate coordinator as appropriate. One full-time equivalent graduate assistantship is defined as a full-time graduate assistant employed for both the fall and spring terms of an academic year (300 hours of service for two semesters receiving compensation of $9,600 for the two semesters.) During the annual review, the decision of the dean after consultation with the department may be made to hold the number of FTE graduate assistantships steady for the department, decrease the number of FTE graduate assistantships as dictated by the needs and size of the graduate program in the department, or request an increase in the number of FTE graduate assistantships as dictated by the needs and size of the graduate program for the department. The ability to maintain or increase FTE graduate assistantships will be dependent on the overall university budget allocation assigned to support graduate education for any academic year.
The University may provide, from other funds at their disposition, scholarships or grants to supplement the above stipends.
Graduate Studies Scholarship
Graduate Studies Scholarship awards are non-need-based and administered through the School of Graduate and Professional Studies. GSS awards are exclusively for prospective graduate students who plan to enroll in a master's degree, sixth-year or doctoral degree program at Southern in Fall terms. The award is contingent upon a minimum 3.2 grade point average for all undergraduate work. Both full-time and part-time graduate students are eligible for awards.
Graduate School Graduate Assistantship
The Graduate School Graduate Assistantship (GSGA) is a non-need based award administered through the School of Graduate and Professional Studies and is contingent upon: (1) acceptance to a graduate degree, sixth-year certificate, or doctoral degree; (2) the achievement of a minimum 3.2 grade point average for all undergraduate coursework; and (3) a 3.75 grade point average for all graduate coursework. GSGA’s are part-time, experiential learning opportunities for the award recipients. They are awarded to many academic departments across campus and provide selected students with an opportunity to work closely with faculty and peers as a teaching or research assistant.
GSGA awardees will be required to complete 10 contact hours (part-time) or 20 contact hours (full-time) of work each week during the academic year. Specific activities will depend upon the nature of the assistantship as outlined in this application and must be approved by the Dean’s Office in the School of Graduate and Professional Studies (SGPS). Full-time graduate students awarded a GSGA will receive $3,875 each semester. Full-time GSGA’s will have the following fees waived: University Fee, University General Fee (except for that portion attributed to student accident insurance), and the Student Activity Fee. Part-time graduate students will receive $2,560 each semester. No fees are waived for part-time GSGA’s.
Students cannot hold other University supported positions (such as graduate student worker; graduate research fellow; graduate teaching assistant; research administrative assistant; resident advisor; graduate intern, or adjunct faculty) while holding the GSGA award. Students awarded a GSGA must maintain a 3.5 GPA in the fall semester in order to eligible for an award in the spring semester. Students may apply again for a second-year award pending the availability of funding.
Student Affairs Graduate Intern Opportunities
The graduate internship prepares students for a wide range of career opportunities in student services and co-curricular learning at the postsecondary level. This program provides students with an opportunity to develop first-hand knowledge of student affairs' professions and gain hands-on experience in many areas with the Division of Student Affairs. The internships are designed to integrate with the student's program of study to create a strong theory to practice application. These experiences will afford students the opportunity to analyze the functions of various administrative departments, to examine the relation of departments to each other and to the institution, and to understand contemporary societal issues and their impact from an institutional perspective. Working with experienced student affairs administrators the interns will work to improve the quality of campus life, foster a safe, healthy and respectful environment, support academic achievement and success, and promote leadership and civic engagement. The interns also participate in University wide projects and professional development opportunities to begin developing a professional network.
Graduate Internships are 10 month positions (early August through May), 35 hours per week. Interns work with various offices within the Division of Student and University Affairs. In some instances, summer work may be available. It is anticipated that internships will be offered for two consecutive academic years, however, due to funding and performance considerations positions are offered as a single year appointment--subject to renewal--and are contingent on an applicant being accepted and maintaining good standing in an appropriate graduate program at SCSU.
Part-time graduate students shall receive a waiver of part-time tuition and fees, including summer and winter session extension fees up to a total maximum of 18 credit hours, provided interns are enrolled in courses required for their degree program. Full-time graduate students shall be required to pay full-time tuition; however, the full-time fees will be waived, less the cost of accident/sickness insurance.
Remuneration of $15,000. Summer employment opportunities may be available.
Graduate Connecticut State University Grant
SCSU has a limited number of institutional grants for eligible full-time and part-time graduate students. To be considered for this grant, the student needs to be registered full-time (9+ credit hours per semester) or part-time (4.5 - 8.5 credit hours per semester). Also, the student must demonstrate financial need according to the federal financial aid definition: Cost of attendance (financial aid budget) minus Expected Family Contribution (EFC) per the FAFSA equals Financial Need.
Nurse Faculty Loan Program (NFLP)
The purpose of the NFLP is to increase the number of qualified nursing faculty. The program offers partial loan forgiveness for borrowers that graduate and serve as full- time nursing faculty for the prescribed period of time.
Students need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and meet the following criteria to receive the NFLP loan:
- Must be a U.S. citizen or national of the U.S., or a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. and its territories.
- Must be enrolled as a full-time or part-time doctoral program that offers an education component to prepare qualified nurse faculty.
- Must maintain enrollment for a minimum of two consecutive terms/semesters during an academic year.
- Must maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP).
- Must not be in default on any federal loans.
The NFLP loan can help with the cost of tuition, fees, books and laboratory expenses. The NFLP loan cannot be used for room, board, personal, transportation and living expenses.
There is a limited amount of NFLP available. The NFLP is a non-need based loan program. The loan cannot exceed $35,500 per academic year, and not to exceed 5 years of support.
The grace period for NFLP loan repayment is 9 months and begins immediately after the individual ceases to pursue a course of study at the school of nursing. The interest rate of 3 percent begins 3-months after the borrower graduates from the program. The borrower will be given up to 10 years to repay the loan.
NFLP borrowers who fail to establish employment as a full-time nurse faculty at a school of nursing must begin repayment of the NFLP loan following the 9-month grace period at the prevailing market interest rate. The current interest rate is 10.5%.
The borrower must serve as full-time nurse faculty for a consecutive four-year period at an accredited school of nursing following graduation from the program to cancel the maximum amount of the loan.
The borrower may cancel:
- Twenty percent of the principal and the interest on the amount of unpaid loan balance upon completion of each of the first, second, and third year of full-time employment; and
- Twenty-Five percent of the principal and the interest on the amount of the unpaid loan balance upon completion of the fourth year of full-time employment.
Students who are interested in the NFLP loans must complete the following:
- Attend an entrance counseling session
- Accept their NFLP award in Banner Student self-service
- Students will receive an email from UAS following award acceptance in Banner
- Sign all loan documents tin the UAS portal
Satisfactory Academic Progress (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): Graduate students are expected to maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.00 at SCSU. This includes transfer credits. When calculating the requirements for SAP, GPA will be truncated to the nearest 100th.
Credit Completion Rate (Quantitative): Graduate students are expected to successfully complete at least 67% of the cumulative credits attempted at SCSU. This includes transfer credits. 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.)
• Extension courses (Q)
• Grades not reported by a professor (R) will be included in this assessment.
Transfer credits will be counted as attempted and earned credits in the calculation for determining SAP.
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.
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 Direct Loan (subsidized or unsubsidized)
• Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan
• Federal Work Study
• Graduate Connecticut State University Grant
• State Scholarship and Grant Programs
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 FinancialAid@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.
It is highly recommended that students research and apply for scholarships to help pay for their education. Scholarships can lessen the amount a student will need to borrow in loans. For information on where to apply for various scholarships, including SCSU Foundation-Based scholarships, please visit the Scholarship page of our website.
To be eligible for any Federal Direct Loan, a student must file a FAFSA, be matriculated, a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen, enrolled at least half-time (4.5 credits) and maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress as determined by the University. For information on Direct Loan interest rates, fees and next steps, please visit our Financial Aid Loan webpage.
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan
Graduate students may borrow under the Direct Unsubsidized Loan program up to a maximum of $20,500 annually. A graduate student's aggregate loan limit is $138,500, which includes loans borrowed as an undergraduate. The borrower has the option of making interest-only payments while attending school to avoid interest capitalizing on the loan. Repayment of both principal and interest begins after the student graduates or ceases to be enrolled at least half time. Students are granted one grace period per lifetime lasting up to six months. Therefore, if a student did not use the grace period after their undergraduate degree, they are not required to begin their graduate loan repayment until six months after ceasing enrollment. Loans are disbursed in two equal payments to the University, or once per semester.
Federal Direct PLUS Loans for Graduate Students
Graduate students may apply for the Federal Direct PLUS Loan for Graduate students. To be eligible for a Direct Graduate PLUS Loan, students may not be in default on an educational loan or owe a refund for Federal Pell, SEOG or state grants. The amount a student may borrow is based on credit approval and cannot exceed the cost of attendance minus financial aid. Repayment of the loan begins 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed to the University, although the student can request a deferment which will postpone payment obligations. Interest rates on a Direct Graduate PLUS loan are fixed, and information on loan fees, interest rates, or other commonly asked questions are available on the Financial Aid Loans website. It’s important to note, that while a valid FAFSA is a requirement for Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loans, the borrower must also complete the Graduate PLUS Loan application and pass the credit check requirement. Applying for a Direct PLUS Loan is at the discretion of the student borrower.
TREATMENT OF FEDERAL (TITLE IV) AID WHEN STUDENTS WITHDRAW
Federal law specifies how Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) must determine the amount of Title IV program assistance a student has earned when they withdraw from the university. All federal aid programs are covered by this law, but please note that many state and private aid funds also require a pro-ration calculation if a student withdraws before the end of a term.
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 less assistance disbursed to a student’s account than the formula determines they earned, the student may still be able to receive those additional funds. If the student received more assistance than the earned at the time of withdrawal, the excess funds must be returned by SCSU and/or the student.
The following is the order in which Title IV funds are returned if applicable:
- Direct Unsubsidized Loan
- Direct Graduate PLUS
After the excess funds have been returned from the above Title IV funds, the non-Title IV fund grant earned amount will be calculated, if applicable. These include:
- Graduate Connecticut State University Grant (GRCSUG)
- Individual State Grants, such as Vermont Student Assistance, etc.
The amount of assistance that a student has earned is determined on a pro rata basis. For example, if 30% of the student's period of enrollment was completed, the student earns 30% of the assistance the student was originally scheduled to receive. Once a student has completed more than 60% of the 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 eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement. SCSU must get the student's permission before for a post-withdrawal disbursement of loan funds. A student may choose to decline some or all of the loan funds so that the student does not incur additional debt.
If excess Title IV program funds disbursed to a student’s account 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 financial aid funds, or
- The entire amount of excess funds.
SCSU is required to return the unearned funds within 45 days from the date SCSU has determined the student has withdrawn.
If a student plans on withdrawing from all courses for a semester, the student should download the withdrawal form from the OneStop forms page 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.
SCSU is required to perform the withdrawal calculation for students who decide to stop attending classes and never officially 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.
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.