Financial Aid

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Financial aid encompasses federal grants and loans, state grants and private loans and scholarships, that are intended to help students pay for educational expenses. Financial aid is awarded by Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) to students who can demonstrate financial need by filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). 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. Since grant funding is limited and awarded based on need as well as availability of funds, it is important to file by the University’s priority deadline of February 15th for returning students and March 15th for new students.  Filing a FAFSA is not a guarantee of payment for University bills since financial aid does not always cover all expenses. It is the student's responsibility to ensure that his or her bill is 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), located in the Wintergreen Building.

Application for Financial Aid

All students who want to be considered for financial aid must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online or through the MyStudentAid mobile app. Add Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) to the FAFSA application by using our school code: 001406. SCSU should receive your information electronically within 3-5 business days of your FAFSA being processed.

In some cases, after receiving your FAFSA, the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships may require additional documents in order to complete your file for aid eligibility. Requested documents must be submitted to our office.

If your FAFSA is selected for a process called verification, you will receive a notification from a company called Inceptia that will guide you through the verification process. Verification documents must be submitted directly to Inceptia. For more information please visit our verification page.

The SCSU priority dates for electronic receipt of an applicant's FAFSA is February 15th for returning students and March 15th for new students. Students who apply by the priority date will have their financial aid file reviewed before bills are due and be given the strongest consideration.

To be eligible for financial assistance students must be officially accepted by the University Admissions Office to participate in a degree program, i.e., matriculated. For additional eligibility requirements please visit our Financial Aid Process page. Full-time students (12 credits) are considered for maximum eligibility in all aid programs. Half-time students (6-11.5 credits) are considered for student loans and the Pell Grant. Limited financial aid is available for eligible non-citizens who do not have the proper INS student visa. The application for aid for non-eligible citizens is called the AACTUS and is available on our website. The AACTUS has the same filing deadlines as the FAFSA as it serves as the sole financial aid application for any undocumented students who are not able to submit the FAFSA. All students who are awarded financial aid must remain matriculated and making satisfactory academic progress toward a degree.

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

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 (Pell Grants, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG), Direct Loans, and Federal Work Study).

Time limits and aggregate lifetime limits exists for all aid programs; therefore, timely degree completion is critical, and 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 Undergraduate 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.  Undergraduate programs are outlined on the degree evaluation and include courses in the student’s declared major/concentration, minor, cognate, general education (LEP), writing requirements, or electives needed to meet the overall requirement (i.e. 120-credits).  

Students in the Exploratory program are considered degree-seeking even though they have not declared a major.  Students cannot graduate with a degree in Exploratory and must choose a major prior to earning 60 credits.  Transfer students must choose a major prior to their second semester at Southern if they enter the institution with 60 credits or more.   

For Exploratory students, the degree evaluation outlines the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements excluding the major.  This includes courses in the general education (LEP), writing requirements, and up to 27 elective credits are allowed.  All other courses will be considered excess and are not aid eligible.

The federal rules for dual majors or degrees are specific to the Pell and SEOG grant programs.  For these programs, once the student completes all degree requirements for one major or degree, a student is no longer eligible for Pell or SEOG, whether the student has been conferred a bachelor’s degree or not.  The student will remain eligible for other federal aid programs.

TIP: Students can avoid losing grant aid eligibility by arranging courses to enter their final semester with degree requirements in both majors.

Minors must be officially declared and reflected in the degree evaluation by the financial aid freeze date to be included as eligible coursework for federal financial aid. Students with declared minors 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. 

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 12 credits of eligible coursework at the undergraduate 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.

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.  Students must be registered for all parts of term in a semester before the freeze date to receive aid for that class.  The freeze date will align each semester with the last day to withdraw from classes at 40% refundable term charges.

Financial aid will only pay for courses that are required for a student’s current program. 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.

Financial aid award amounts 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 that time. Students who are retroactively awarded financial aid will be based on current enrollment at the time of application for aid.

Eligibility for a Pell Grant, a Connecticut State University Grant, or any other financial aid fund will be based on a student’s credit hours as of the freeze date:

Credit Hours

Enrollment Status

12.00+ credit hours Full-time
9.00+ credit hours Three-quarter time
6.00+ credit hours Half-time
3.00+ credits hours           Less than half-time

If a student stops attending, withdraws, or receives grades of W-Withdrawn, 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.

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.

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 and Scholarships:

  • 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)

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): 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.

SCHOLARSHIPS

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. 

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 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 from the above Title IV funds, the non-Title IV fund grant earned amount 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 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. 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.

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 Direct Loan funds that the student would have received had the student remained enrolled past the 30th day.
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.

Any loan funds that the student must return, the student (or the parent borrower of the Direct 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 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.