Any change in your enrollment status for a given semester may result in a reduction or cancellation of your financial assistance.
Enrollment and cost of attendance proration
Financial aid is awarded to you on the assumption that you will be enrolled full time for the academic year. If you will not be enrolling as a full time student, adjustments will need to be made to your awards and cost of attendance prior to disbursement. Full time enrollment for financial aid purposes is 12 hours for undergraduates and 9 hours for graduates each semester (fall, spring or summer).
Adjustments to your Cost of Attendance are made twice during each semester, once around 7 days before each term begins and the second on the census date (12th class day for fall and spring).
If you are not enrolled at least full time on the census date for the semester (12th day of classes for fall and spring), your cost of attendance will be reduced and prorated based on your actual enrollment. Such a reduction may result in your becoming ineligible for financial aid that you have already received. As a result, you will be required, as set forth by federal regulations, to repay the aid for which you are no longer eligible.
All undergraduate, graduate, and professional students are subject to repeated coursework rules. The retaking of previously passed coursework for the second or subsequent time cannot be considered for aid eligibility. If you are enrolled in such hours on the census day (12th day of classes during the fall or spring semester), your aid-eligible enrollment will be reduced accordingly. You may be required to repay any aid that you received for such courses.
For instance, dropping classes from full time to half time or less may make you responsible for any repayment of the difference between the amount you received and the amount specified for the new enrollment status. For specific disbursement rules for each Financial Aid program (grants, loans, etc.), go to How Aid Works.
Example 1: If a student is enrolled in 12 credit hours as an undergraduate for the fall term, their budget is $11,891. If that student drops down to 6 credit hours before the first adjustment, their budget will get reduced to $9,347, which will, in turn, adjust the student’s awards to fit that budget.
Example 2: A student is enrolled in 12 credit hours for the fall term at the first adjustment, and their Pell grant is $2,865. By the census date, the student is only enrolled in 6 credit hours. Since the student is now enrolled half time, we would adjust the student’s Pell grant to $1,432.
Attendance in class
Federal regulations require that students attend all classes in order to receive federal financial aid funds. Eligibility for federal student aid is, in part, based on your enrollment status for the term in which you are enrolled. Enrollment will be checked beginning the first class day of each term through the census date (12th class day for fall and spring). Attendance is defined by physical attendance or participation in an academically related activity such as submission of an assignment, examination or participation in group or online discussion. Students who register for courses but do not attend or participate will be reported for non-attendance. Your financial aid will be adjusted each term and you will receive funding for only those classes you actually attend.
Faculty members will be required to complete an attendance roster provided to them after each census date. Students will be administratively dropped from any course where attendance cannot be demonstrated. Based upon this information, your financial aid will be re-evaluated accordingly.
Students who have documented proof of attendance may be eligible to have their enrollment and financial aid reconsidered.
Example: A student is enrolled in 12 credit hours. The student has three face-to-face classes and one online class. The student goes to two of the face-to-face classes regularly and turns in class assignments on a consistent basis in the online class. The professors of the two face-to-face classes the student attends regularly and the online class will mark the student as attending. In the other face-to-face class, the professor will mark the student as not attending, and the student’s financial aid package will be adjusted to reflect 9 credit hours instead of 12 credit hours.
Attendance in class is established if grades of A, B, C, D or F are earned at the end of the term. However, a student will be considered not attending classes if grades of W, WH, WP or QF are received. SFA has a policy in place that considers a grade of a QF to be not attending.
Financial aid withdrawal policy
Federal regulations require SFA to perform a calculation for the return of federal financial aid when a financial aid recipient withdraws, is expelled or otherwise ceases to be a student at SFA. The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships has 30 days from the student's withdrawal date to perform the calculation and 45 days to return the appropriate funds when applicable. The return amount due to the federal financial aid program(s) is calculated on a per diem basis with a formula established by federal regulations.
In other words, we will calculate the percentage of aid you have earned by dividing the number of days you were enrolled before withdrawal by the number of days in the semester. The remaining portion of your aid will be returned. Returns are required to be calculated on any student who withdraws before 60% of the semester is completed. An example of the federal refund formula is available upon request.
The returns will be applied to the financial aid programs in the following order:
- Federal Unsubsidized Stafford loans
- Federal Subsidized Stafford loans
- Perkins loans
- PLUS loans
- Pell grants
- FSEOG grants
- and other Title IV programs.
Funds returned to the federal loan program will reduce your loan balance with their lender.
You're responsible for reimbursing SFA for any funds returned by the university on your behalf, the amount of which you'll be notified by mail. Balances must be paid through Student Business Services. Following the guidance of the Department of Education, the financial aid office will not make changes to a withdrawal calculation after the 30-day timeframe.
If you withdraw from the Summer I term (drop all courses Summer I), you must notify the financial aid office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org (including your CID) that you plan to attend the Summer II term. Failure to do this will result in your summer financial aid being canceled.
In the event that a non-federal financial assistance program or privately funded scholarship has their own return policy, their policy supersedes this policy.
Receiving all QF’s or a combination of W’s and QF’s for the semester
Federal regulations require that SFA identify all unofficial withdrawals and perform a calculation for the return of their federal financial aid. An official withdrawal is a student who stops attending classes before the end of the semester without notifying the Registrar’s Office that they have withdrawn from the university. If you receive all QF’s or a combination of W’s and QF’s for the semester, you will be classified as an unofficial withdrawal.
By federal law, SFA must return up to 50% of the federal financial aid assistance received by students who unofficially withdraw. This means that a calculation will be done by the Financial Aid Office for the return of part of the federal aid the student received the semester they ceased attending. This money will be sent back to the federal program as described under the withdrawal policy, and the student will be required to repay this amount to the University.
Students who receive all QF’s or a combination of QF’s and W’s must notify the Financial Aid Office to see if they can be excluded from this calculation. Students will be excluded if they sat for at least one final, whether or not they passed it. In addition, students who turned in assignments or received a test grade after 60% of the semester is completed will not be required to return federal financial aid. Students should contact their professor if they believe a discrepancy exists. Documentation of either of the above two exclusions must be provided by the professor or dean. Acceptable documentation would be a letter or e-mail from the student’s professor or dean.
Federal funds must be returned within 45 calendar days of the date the school determined the student withdrew after grades are posted. The Financial Aid Office must receive documentation of exclusions within 30 calendar days of grades being posted unless an extension has been granted by the Financial Aid Office.
The returns will be applied to the financial aid programs in the following order: Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Federal Direct Subsidized Loans, Perkins loans, PLUS loans, Pell grants, FSEOG grants and other Title IV programs. Funds returned to the federal loan program will reduce the student’s loan balance with their lender. The student will be responsible for reimbursing SFA for any funds returned by the university on behalf of the student. Student will be notified of this amount by mail, and balances must be paid in the Business Office.