Financial Aid Policies and Procedures
Leave of Absence Policy
EFFECTIVE August 1, 2005. As per federal regulations, if a student needs to request a temporary withdrawal from his/her core curriculum for any unforeseen or unusual circumstances, it is referred to as a Leave of Absence (LOA). A student may request and be approved for more than one LOA in a 12-month period. However, the total number of cumulative days allowed for a Leave of Absence in a 12-month period shall not exceed 180 days within the 365-day period. Students must apply for a LOA prior to the last day of attendance. During the Leave of Absence, the student is not considered withdrawn and no return calculation is required. A student may not receive federal financial aid disbursements while on a LOA. SWU will not assess any additional charges to the student’s account while he/she is on an approved LOA with an effective start date of the LOA being the last day of the currently enrolled course. SWU will not grant approval for a LOA to start in the middle of an enrolled course; however, students must still contact the Student Services Coordinator if they plan to discontinue attendance in a currently enrolled course.
It is the university policy that you are permitted only the amount of days absolutely needed for this leave.
Reasons: The following reasons support the application for a LOA (though others may be considered): Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), military deployment, jury duty, unavoidable breaks in class attendance, etc.
NOTE: Waivers of courses authorized by Academic Records and due to a student having received previous credit for the course are considered Leaves of Absence and fall under this policy.
Process: A student must request a LOA in writing using the approved SWU LOA Request form. The request must match above guidelines. A student must submit the LOA Request form to the Student Services Coordinator at his/her particular location prior to the last day of attendance. The Student Services Coordinator will forward the request form to Financial Aid for approval/denial.
The effective start date of a LOA will be the last day of the currently enrolled course and no additional charges will be incurred during the LOA. SWU will not grant approval for a LOA to start in the middle of an enrolled course.
Upon approval by Financial Aid, the student’s account will be frozen and any unearned additional funds will not be disbursed and posted. If the student cannot return on the re-entry date indicated on the LOA Request form, the student must contact the Student Services Coordinator. If the student does not return on the re-entry date indicated on the LOA Request form and does not contact the Student Services Coordinator to submit a new LOA request, then the student will be dropped from the program. Any unearned financial funds will be subject to return to the originating federal or state aid source. At that point the student is responsible for any monies owed to the school.
The University reserves the right to make changes to institutional policies without prior notice to the student.
Students will be duly notified of any change in policy.
Southern Wesleyan University verifies the files of those students identified by the central processing system as requiring verification when the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is returned. Therefore, the student applicant should submit the FAFSA as soon as possible after the previous year’s taxes are filed. When the FAFSA has been returned to the Financial Aid Office electronically, if the file requires federally-mandated verification procedures, the student will be notified and will need to complete and submit the Verification Worksheet as well as submit a copy of the previous year’s Tax Return Transcript. The Tax Return Transcript may be obtained from the IRS by phone at 1-800-908-9946 or online at www.irs.gov. The Financial Aid Office is required to certify that all information submitted is complete and consistent; in the event that questions may arise in the verification process, certain other documents may be required of the student to substantiate claims or to resolve conflicting information. Compliance with all such requests is necessary, and federal funds cannot be certified or released to a student until all such verification is complete.
ALL students must submit (in addition to the FAFSA), the following forms to the Financial Aid Office:
- SWU Financial Aid Office Application
- Master Promissory Note (if requesting loans)
- Entrance Counseling (if requesting loans)
- Authorization Form
Students will not be certified as "financial aid students" until all documents have been received, are accurate (if not complete or inaccurate, documents may be returned to the student for completion), and verification completed (if required). Therefore, students requesting financial aid must have all documents in and all verifications complete BEFORE they begin coursework.
What is Financial Need?
Most aid is awarded based on financial need. To determine financial need, all schools use a common formula: Cost of Attendance (tuition, fees and allowable expenses) minus the Expected Family Contribution (an amount determined by the Department of Education based on information provided on the FAFSA) and minus any other types of assistance that may be received (which would include Pell grants, South Carolina Tuition Grants, veteran’s benefits, and any tuition or scholarship assistance provided by a student’s workplace). Financial aid is designed to help fill the gap between the cost of attendance and the expected family contribution and any other assistance. Financial need will affect the amount of subsidized monies and the amount of unsubsidized monies available through federal loan programs.
Contact Information for the FSA Student Loan Ombudsman's Office
Online assistance: http://www.ombudsman.ed.gov
877-557-2575 (toll free)
U.S. Department of Education
830 First Street, N.E.
Washington, D.C 20202-5144
FEDERAL STUDENT FINANCIAL AID PENALTIES FOR DRUG LAW VIOLATIONS
The Higher Education Act of 1965 as amended (HEA) suspends aid eligibility for students who have been convicted under federal or state law of the sale or possession of drugs, if the offense occurred during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving federal student aid (grants, loans, and/or work-study). If you have a conviction(s) for these offenses, call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) or complete the Student Aid Eligibility Worksheet on the FAFSA to find out how this law applies to you.
If you have lost federal student aid eligibility due to a drug conviction, you can regain eligibility if you pass two unannounced drug tests conducted by a drug rehabilitation program that complies with criteria established by the U.S. Department of Education.
Even if you are ineligible for federal aid, you should complete the FAFSA because you may be eligible for nonfederal aid from states and private institutions. If you regain eligibility during the award year, notify your financial aid administrator immediately. If you are convicted of a drug-related offense after you submit the FAFSA, you might lose eligibility for federal student aid, and you might be liable for returning any financial aid you received during a period of ineligibility.
REFUND POLICY FOR TITLE IV RECIPIENTS
Federal regulations require each educational University to have a written policy for the refund and repayment of federal aid received by students who withdraw during a term for which payment has been received. These policies are effective only if a student completely terminates enrollment (i.e., cancels his/her registration, withdraws, or is dismissed) or stops attending classes before completing 60% or more of the enrollment period.
Students who withdraw during the drop/add period are eligible to receive 100 percent refund of tuition. Following the drop/add period, adjustments to tuition resulting from official resignations are based on the effective date of withdrawal and in accordance with the federally mandated calculation as specified in Section 484B of the Higher Education Act. This law also specified the order of return of Title IV funds to the programs from which they were awarded.
The calculation is based on the period of enrollment completed. That percentage is computed by dividing the total number of calendar days in the term into the number of calendar days completed as of the date of student notification. The percentage of Title IV assistance to which the student is entitled (has "earned") is equal to this percentage of the term completed, up to 60%. If the withdrawal occurs after 60% of the term is completed, the percentage is equal to 100%.
The amount of Title IV aid which must be returned is based on the percentage of "unearned" aid. That percentage is computed by subtracting earned aid from 100%. The University is required to return the lesser of: 1) the unearned aid percentage applied to institutional charges or 2) the unearned aid percentage applied to the total Title IV aid received.
The student is required to return the difference between the amount of unearned aid and the amount returned by the University. The student will be billed for the amount the student owes the Title IV programs and any amount due to the University resulting from the return of Title IV funds used to cover University charges. If the student (or parents in the case of a PLUS loan) is required to return a portion or all of their loan proceeds, the calculated amount is to be repaid according to the loan's terms. Students must return only half the amount of grant funds calculated.
Funds are returned to the following Title IV sources in order of priority:
- Unsubsidized Direct Loans
- Subsidized Direct Loans
- Federal Perkins Loans
- Direct PLUS Loans
- Federal Pell Grants
- Federal SEOG
- Other Title IV assistance for which the return of funds is required
- Other federal, state, or institutional financial assistance
NATIONAL STUDENT LOAN DATA SYSTEM
The National Student Loan Data System is a centralized database of all Title IV (federal) aid that a student has received (including Parent Loan information for Parent Borrowers) at all colleges and universities that participate in T-IV aid. For federal loans it also includes servicer contact information.