Financial Aid - Student Eligibility Requirements
- General provisions common to all programs
- Student selection procedures
- Coordination of other aid sources
- Disbursements of awards
- Enrollment changes and consequences for financial aid
- Return of Title IV funds (R2T4) policy for complete withdrawal
- Verification policy and procedures
- Satisfactory academic progress for financial aid recipients
To be eligible to receive federal student financial aid, a student must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen, have a high school diploma or its equivalent, enrolled or accepted for enrollment in an eligible program of study, and pursuing a credit degree or certificate. Each federal student financial aid program also has specific requirements regarding financial need and enrollment status.
In addition to these general and specific requirements, there are several conditions, which must be met before a student can receive funds from any federal student financial aid program. All students who receive federal financial aid must be making satisfactory academic progress in an eligible program of study, not be in default on a Federal Title IV Student Loan, and not owe a refund on a Federal Title IV Grant at any previous institutions they have attended. Male students must also be registered with the selective service (or be exempt from registration according to U.S. Department of Education criteria).
Institutions are responsible for determining student eligibility for applying and receiving each federal student financial aid program, including the PELL Grant, Academic Competitiveness Grant, National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant and Federal Work-Study.
PELL Grants, Academic Competitiveness Grants (ACGs) and National Science and Mathematics to Retain Talent (SMART) Grants are considered entitlement funds and awarded to students who meet the eligibility criteria set by the U.S. Department of Education.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG) and Federal Work-Study (FWS) are considered campus-based funds, which are awarded based on the extent of available funds given to each institution.
In the event that the number of students eligible for campus-based funds exceeds the funds available, Carroll gives preference to students who demonstrate the greatest financial need. When determining who has the greatest financial need, Carroll considers grant assistance that has been provided to the student by any public or private source and funds to which the student is entitled under the PELL Grant Program.
To receive maximum consideration for campus-based programs at Carroll, students should submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by March 1 each year. Students who apply after the deadline are considered for campus-based funds as long as funds remain available.
National SMART Grants are for the third and fourth year of study in an eligible four-year program and are not available to Carroll students.
When developing each student's financial aid package, the Financial Aid Office considers assistance received from all sources intended for education-related expenses. If the Financial Aid Office becomes aware of a new source of assistance after developing the student's financial aid package, the student receives a revised financial aid package that includes the new source of assistance. If the new source of assistance creates results in an over award, the student is notified that he/she must return the over awarded funds for reallocation to the appropriate program(s).
Annual awards from PELL, ACG, SEOG, state and institutional programs are divided into two equal amounts and credited to student accounts in two separate installments. Awards made for a single study term are provided in their entirety for that term. If a student fails to begin attendance prior to the posting of awards to the student's account, the awards are canceled.
Awards are typically transmitted to the student's account in the fourth week of Fall, Spring and Summer Terms. Awards made to the student by the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) are posted to the student's account when the college has received the MHEC payment.
Wage payments earned through FWS are made bi-weekly to the student and are based on the number of hours worked.
Some students may receive financial aid in excess of direct charges for tuition and fees. Cash disbursements to students can be made only after all funds have been posted to the student's account.
Students who make changes to their enrollment within the term receive a revision to their financial aid package through the 60 percent point of the term. This includes enrollment changes due to grades of W and AT.
It is very important to contact the Financial Aid Office prior to making changes to your enrollment status.
Federal student aid recipients who withdraw from all coursework during a term is subject to the Return of Title IV Funds (R2T4) policy. The policy calculates how much Title IV aid the recipient earned for the term in which the withdrawal occurs.
At the college, Title IV aid subject to R2T4 includes:
- Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan
- Federal Direct Subsidized Loan
- Federal Direct Plus Loan
- Federal PELL Grant
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
Financial aid recipients are required to regularly attend class for the entire term. Financial aid is awarded on the assumption that financial aid recipients adhere to this requirement.
B. Types of Withdrawal
Students are not required to submit a written request for complete withdrawal of coursework. Students are considered officially withdrawn when they submit a written request to the Records Office to be withdrawn from all coursework. Students are unofficially withdrawn if they ceased attendance in all coursework during the term.
C. Basic Calculation
The student’s total number of days attended in a term is divided by the total number of days in a term. For example, if a student attended 45 days of a term with 105 days, the student attended 42.9 percent of the term and has earned 42.9 percent of the federal student aid awarded for that term.
Students who attended more than 60 percent of the term earn 100 percent of the federal student aid awarded for that term. The 60 percent point for each term is listed on each student’s Financial Aid Award Letter.
The Financial Aid Office offers sample R2T4 calculations at the student’s request.
D. Financial Aid Office Procedures
Class attendance rosters are verified and returned to the Records Office by all instructors during each term. The Records Office notifies the Financial Aid Office of students who did not begin attendance in one or more courses.
Financial aid awards are adjusted for financial aid recipients who do not begin attendance in one or more courses. Financial aid recipients who do not begin attendance in any course receive written notification that their financial aid award has been canceled. Students are responsible for the full balance of their tuition and fee account.
Every three weeks beginning with the first week of the term, the Financial Aid Office runs an enrollment verification report to verify student enrollment changes. In cases where federal student aid recipients have officially withdrawn from all coursework through the Records Office, the Financial Aid Office uses the official withdrawal date to determine if federal student aid must be returned to the appropriate program.
The college returns any funds that must be returned and notifies the recipients by mail that the R2T4 policy has been applied to their account, and they must repay the college. The college returns the funds and notifies the recipients within 45 days of their official withdrawal.
At the end of each term, the Financial Aid Office reviews academic transcripts. Federal student aid recipients with all F grades or a combination of F and W grades are considered an unofficial withdrawal until proven otherwise by the instructors.
Each instructor receives a memo requesting to report the student’s last date of class attendance or online class participation in within 30 days of the term ending. When all dates have been returned, the Financial Aid Office uses the latest date of attendance to determine if any federal student aid must be returned to the appropriate program.
The college returns any funds that must be returned and notifies the recipients by mail that the R2T4 policy has been applied to their account, and they must repay the college. The college returns the funds and notifies the recipients within 45 days of the deadline to determine the student’s last date of attendance.
E. Order of Return of Funds
The college returns unearned Title IV funds to the appropriate program in the order specified by the U.S. Department of Education:
- Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan (UNSUB)
- Federal Direct Subsidized Loan (SUB)
- Federal Direct Plus Loan (PLUS)
- Federal Pell Grant (PELL)
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
F. Post-withdrawal Disbursement
Students who officially withdrawal after beginning attendance in all coursework and prior to the transmittal of federal student aid may be eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement. The Financial Aid Office makes disbursements and/or notifies students who are due a post-withdrawal disbursement within 30 days of their withdrawal date.
If verification is not complete at the time the college completes the R2T4 worksheet for the student, the student is not eligible to receive a post-withdrawal disbursement. If the student completes verification by the verification deadline, a new R2T4 worksheet is completed.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the Student Aid Report (SAR), which is produced from the FAFSA, may be selected by the U.S. Department of Education or the higher education institution for review during the verification process.
As part of this process, the student must submit certain financial documents and other materials to the college. Each student selected for verification is notified in writing of the specific documentation that must be submitted. Documentation includes photocopies of the student's and parent's, if applicable, federal income tax returns. Failure to submit the required materials may result in the student being judged ineligible for student financial aid during the academic year covered by the FAFSA.
If verification shows that FAFSA or SAR information is accurate, the student is notified of eligibility for student financial aid. If corrections are necessary, the college submits the corrections directly to the U.S. Department of Education, and the student receives a corrected SAR. All documents provided by a student for verification are retained in the student's file for auditing purposes.
Students receiving any federal, state or institutional student financial aid must maintain satisfactory academic progress in their chosen credit degree or certificate program of study. Satisfactory academic progress is reviewed at the end of each term and is determined by
- the number of credits completed divided by the number of credits attempted
- the minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) for the number of credits attempted
A. Completion Rate and Minimum Grade Point Average
To receive financial aid, students must meet all three of the following standards for SAP toward the completion of a certificate or degree program's course requirements:
- Maintain a satisfactory Cumulative GPA.
- Successfully complete 2/3 (66.67 percent) of all cumulative attempted credits.
Because withdrawn courses count as attempted credits, excessive withdrawals, failures, and other non-passing grades can lead to completion rate problems. Grades of F, W, U and AT do not count towards completed credits. Incomplete (I) grades are considered if and when a passing grade replaces the I.
- Complete their programs of study before they have attempted more than 150 percent of the published required credits for their programs.
For example, students enrolled in 60 credit programs must complete all required courses before they attempt more than 90 credits. Students who have completed a program may be able to receive funds for additional programs of study.
*Attempted credits include credit courses, non-credit developmental courses, transfer courses, incomplete grades, withdraw, failed and “no-grade” courses.
B. Maximum Time Frame for Receiving Federal Student Financial Aid
Students may receive federal student financial aid for no more than 150 percent of the published length of their chosen eligible degree or certificate program.
If the program requires the student to complete 70 credits, the student's maximum time frame for federal financial aid eligibility is 105 attempted credits (70 multiplied by 1.5).
Credits that are transferred into the student's program of study at Carroll, must be included as attempted credits in the maximum time frame calculation at Carroll.
Attempted credits include transitional courses and those courses with grades of I, U, AT, W and F. Attempted credits for which a student does not receive financial aid are included in the maximum time frame calculation.
C. Financial Aid Suspension and Appeal
Financial aid recipients who fail to meet the satisfactory academic progress standards listed above in section A are placed on financial aid suspension and notified in writing. In order to regain financial aid eligibility, the student needs to meet the standards listed in section A.
Students with mitigating and unusual circumstances are given one chance to appeal their financial aid suspension status. Appeals require both a written explanation of the mitigating and unusual circumstances (with appropriate documentation of the circumstances) and a meeting with an academic advisor. If granted, the appeal may have conditions and require follow-up advising sessions.
The following procedures apply to the financial aid suspension appeal process:
(a) A student whose academic transcript contains only F grades (or a combination of F and W, AT or U) must take and pass at least one Carroll course with a minimum grade of C. This course is at the student's expense. Once this has been accomplished, the student may file his/her one-time appeal by submitting a signed and dated letter and any applicable documentation to the Director of Financial Aid.
(b) A student whose academic transcript contains only W grades or some passing grades may file his/her one-time appeal immediately upon receiving written notification of financial aid suspension. The student must submit a signed and dated letter and any applicable documentation to the Director of Financial Aid within two weeks of receiving financial aid suspension notification.
D. Credit Equivalent for Transitional Courses
MAT 098 is assigned a 1.5 credit equivalent.
ENG 091, ENG 096, MAT 091, MAT 097 and READ 091 are assigned a 3 credit equivalent.
Contact the Financial Aid Office for the credit equivalent of any other course for which the student will not receive credit on his/her academic transcript.
E. Changing or Completing a Program of Study
If a student changes his/her program of study, all previous attempted credits are included in the calculation for satisfactory academic progress and maximum time frame. A student may not continue to receive federal financial aid for a program of study that has been completed, even if the degree or certificate has not yet been received.
F. Transfer Students
Transfer students with no previous Carroll coursework are considered to be in good academic standing with respect to financial aid at the time they matriculate at Carroll.
Transfer students with attempted Carroll coursework at must meet the standards listed above for all coursework attempted at Carroll.
Credits that are transferred into the student's program of study at Carroll must be included in the maximum time frame calculation at Carroll.