1 Upper Iowa University Self-Paced Degree Program Financial Aid Handbook
2 What is the Self-Paced Degree Program (SPDP)? Upper Iowa University (UIU) offers self-paced correspondence courses as an option for students pursuing a college education. These courses are offered through UIU s Self-Paced Degree Program (SPDP). A correspondence course is a home-study course under which UIU provides instructional material, including examinations on the material to students who are not physically attending classes in a UIU classroom. Correspondence courses are selfpaced. When you complete a portion of the instructional materials, examinations are provided that relate to that portion of the material. Academic Year For the purpose of administering federal financial aid programs, the Federal Title IV academic year is defined in credit hours and instructional time. Students seeking financial aid for the Self-Paced Degree Program must meet the set academic year requirements of 24 credit hours and 24 months of instructional time. The financial aid office measures successful progression of coursework to determine eligibility throughout the academic year. Am I Eligible for Financial Aid for SPDP? Students seeking financial aid must be officially accepted to Upper Iowa University, be degree seeking, and be enrolled at least half-time for Federal Student Aid (FSA) purposes. Students registered in 2 courses (6 credits) per each 6 month enrollment are considered at half-time status. FSA funding covers the cost of tuition and book allowance for each course for halftime students meeting eligibility requirements. For Federal Student Aid (FSA) purposes, Self- Paced Degree Program (SPDP) courses are part of a non-term correspondence program with an academic definition of 24 credit hours in 24 months of instructional time. Students seeking financial aid need to take a minimum of 2 classes for each 6 month enrollment and successfully complete the defined academic year of 24 credit hours during 2 calendar years (24 months) of enrollment before moving to the next academic year in the program. Courses for the SPDP program are 6 months in length. Students have the option of registering for additional courses, having 12 different start dates each calendar year. The FAFSA (www.fafsa.ed.gov) must be completed each year a student attends for eligibility to be determined. Students must complete their financial aid file to be eligible for aid. Qualifying degree seeking students can receive financial aid in one program of choice per enrollment period. Prior enrollments must not overlap new enrollment periods for FSA purposes. Students may be enrolled for concurrent enrollment periods, however for FSA purposes, the choice must be made by the student which program enrollment they want financial aid eligibility awarded. Students receiving FSA funds in another program may choose to register for 1 or more additional courses through SPDP during the same timeframe, as well, by using partial overpayments received and/or through other forms of payment. Process for Financial Aid Once UIU has your FAFSA, we will notify students via for documentation necessary to complete the financial aid file with our office. The will direct you to Net Partner. This virtual online access provides important information, including downloadable forms, award eligibility, disbursement dates, and other important information in regards to your financial aid. Students who wish to opt out of electronic transactions and receive paper
3 notifications must contact the financial aid office for further instruction. notifications are sent once your file is complete which include important award information. You are required to accept or decline sought awarded eligibility. You may accept or decline any portion of a financial aid offer without affecting any other awarded eligibility. Awards that are declined will not be replaced with other aid sources. Cost of Attendance Undergrad students enrolled half-time will have eligibility determined based of the determined cost of attendance. Tuition charges per class are $930. Estimated costs per class for books and supplies are $175; therefore, the cost of attendance includes tuition charges and a book allowance. The Self-Paced Degree Program program s cost of attendance does not include additional allowances for personal expenses, transportation, room or board. Awarded eligibility may cover the cost of courses and a book allowance for those who qualify and complete the process. The cost of attendance is based on the number of classes registered in a 6 month enrollment. Students seeking aid must be registered in a minimum of 2 classes per 6 month enrollment to be considered at half-time status to be eligible for financial aid. Students may enroll in up to 4 courses per 6 month enrollment. The cost of attendance is based on the cost of each class ($930), as well as a book stipend ($175) for each class. For example, if a student is signed up for 2 SPDP courses they would be awarded a maximum of $2210 for that enrollment (Example A). This reflects how FSA funds will cover the actual cost of courses and includes a book allowance. If a student is signed up for 3 SPDP courses you would be awarded a maximum of $3315 for that enrollment (Example B). Example A 2 classes + 2 books = total award ($930 x 2=$1860) + ($175 x 2 =$350) = $2210 Example B 3 classes + 3 books = total award ($930 x 3=$2790) + ($175 x 3 =$525) = $3315 Student awards reflect half-time status. The Financial Aid Office (FAO) will determine eligibility based off the information provided on the FAFSA. The FAO will determine eligibility based on the cost of attendance and half-time Pell chart to determine Federal Pell Grant. Loan eligibility is based on grade level, cost of attendance, and consider other aid eligibility to determine need based and non-need based Direct Loan eligibility. (Maximum borrowing limits set by Federal Student Aid apply). If your financial need or full cost of attendance is met, you may not be eligible for additional aid without reducing other previously awarded aid. When can I start my SPDP Classes? Students are able to start their SPDP classes at 12 different times during the year. The first of each month is a different start date to allow more opportunities for students to enroll in the SPDP. Each class enrollment timeframe is 6 months in length, so once you complete the prior 6 month enrollment, you can start another set of courses the next month. For financial aid purposes, the start of the financial aid year begins with classes starting May 1. For instance, classes starting on May 1, 2014, will be considered part of the school year for financial aid purposes only.
4 Types of Financial Aid Available for SPDP Federal Pell Grant The Federal Pell Grant program is designed to provide financial assistance to eligible undergraduates. Application is made by filing a FAFSA. The Federal Pell Grant program provides grants to full and part-time students and may be used at any eligible college or university you attend as an undergraduate or until you receive your first baccalaureate degree. The award amount may vary according to the cost of the institution and the number of hours for which you are enrolled. These grants are generally available to families with modest incomes. For FSA purposes, students enrolled in the SPDP program are always considered at half-time status, therefore, Pell Grant is calculated based on half-time. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program is designed to provide financial assistance to eligible undergraduates who demonstrate exceptional financial need and who are Pell Grant eligible. Application is made by filing a FAFSA. The FSEOG program provides grants to full and parttime students and may be used at any eligible college or university you attend as an undergraduate or until you receive your first baccalaureate degree. The award amount may vary according to the cost of the institution and the number of hours for which you are enrolled. FSA purposes, students enrolled in the SPDP program are always considered at half-time status; therefore, FSEOG is calculated based on half-time. Federal Direct Student Loans The Federal Direct Student Loan Program includes both subsidized (need-based) and unsubsidized (not based on financial need) loans. You may have either loan type or a combination on your award letter. During the time you are enrolled at least halftime the federal government will pay the interest on your Subsidized Federal Direct Student Loan(s). Principal payments begin after the six-month grace period. Subsidized loans that are/were disbursed after July 1, 2012 will begin accruing interest as soon as you are done taking class. Unsubsidized Federal Direct Student Loan interest will accrue during the inschool periods. You have the option of paying the interest while you are a student or adding the interest to the principal of your loan. To qualify for a Federal Direct Student Loan, a student must file a FAFSA, be accepted to the university, admitted to a degree program, be enrolled at least half-time, receive an award letter listing the loan and accept the loan via Net Partner. Detailed information about student requirements such as completing student loan entrance counseling and a Master Promissory Note (MPN) are included on the Net Partner website. Year First-Year Undergraduate Second-Year Undergraduate Dependent Students (except students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS Loans) $5,500 No more than $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $6,500 No more than $4,500 of this amount may Independent Students (and dependent undergraduate students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS Loans) $9,500 No more than $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $10,500 No more than $4,500 of this amount may be in
5 Third-Year and Beyond Undergraduate Graduate or Professional Degree Students Maximum Total Debt from Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans be in subsidized loans. $7,500 per year No more than $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. Not Applicable $31,000 No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. subsidized loans. $12,500 per year No more than $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $20,500 $57,500 for undergraduates No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. undergraduate study. For information regarding the lifetime aggregate borrowing limits for these loans, contact the Federal Direct Student Loan Program or National Student Loan Data System (www.nslds.ed.gov). Exit counseling for student loan borrowers is required before you leave the University. When you graduate or cease half-time enrollment, this information will be sent to you by the financial aid office. Outside Scholarships Many firms and agencies extend educational benefits to their employees. Contact the personnel office of your employer(s) to see if they will help finance your education. Don t forget to contact businesses and organizations within your community for possible scholarship funds. Libraries are good places to check for information, too. Please note that outside awards are used in meeting financial need. If your outside awards combined with need-based aid exceed need or cost of attendance, a revision of your financial aid package would be necessary. Please report outside awards to the FAO as the information becomes available. How will I Receive my Financial Aid? Financial aid funds will be credited to your UIU student account for each 6 month enrollment once completion standards are verified. Funding will be applied toward your charges. Funding that is applied to your account for each enrollment during the payment period will be based off the incurred charges for the year (payment period). Do I need to do anything special to receive and keep my financial aid package? Once you have been awarded your financial aid and accepted your eligibility, your coursework will be tracked to determine your completion requirements to receive financial aid. Student eligibility is awarded yearly, being disbursed to eligible students after successfully completing each 6 month enrollment in the payment period, throughout the program s academic year. Successful progression is measured by successful completion of credit hours earned and months of instructional time completed in the defined academic year. Students will not advance to their next annual loan limit, nor receive additional disbursements until the successful completion is achieved. Pell recipients will qualify for the first half of their Pell Grant eligibility after successfully completing 25% of the coursework in the program s defined academic year. The second half of the Pell Grant eligibility is disbursed for students after successful completion of 75% of their required coursework for the defined academic year. If you decide to accept awarded loan eligibility, you will need to complete the required
6 coursework by the end date of the courses to receive a loan disbursement. Extensions do not apply to financial aid. Completion standards must be met for the program to be awarded additional eligibility for future enrollments. Students will not advance to their next annual loan limit, nor receive additional disbursements until the successful completion of 24 credits and 24 months of instructional time is met. Financial aid eligibility will disburse for each 6 month enrollment and cannot disburse early for students meeting their completion requirements prior to the end date. Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards and Duration of Eligibility for Receiving Financial Aid at UIU The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, requires students to maintain satisfactory academic progress toward their degree in order to receive financial aid. At UIU, these standards apply to students who are receiving or applying for financial aid from one or more of the various federal, state, or institutional grant, scholarship, work, or loan programs. The Upper Iowa University Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards for Financial Aid apply to all students seeking to establish or maintain financial aid eligibility. These standards apply to a student's entire degree program including terms in which financial aid was not applied for or disbursed. These standards contain both a quantitative (cumulative credit hours earned divided by cumulative credit hours attempted) component and a qualitative (cumulative GPA) component. These are the minimum standards required in order to maintain financial aid eligibility. Specific aid programs, college, or department standards may require MORE THAN these minimum standards for good academic standing and continued approval for enrollment. The academic progress of financial aid recipients will be monitored a minimum of once each academic year. Students should contact the Academic Review Committee with questions regarding the intent and interpretation of these standards. Duration of Eligibility Students must earn two-thirds (67% rounded) of their attempted credit hours (on a cumulative basis) in order to continue to receive financial aid. Students who do not achieve this quantitative measure of progress toward earning a degree or certificate have the option of appealing for the restoration of financial aid eligibility for a probationary period. Student appeals should include a discussion of the factors which contributed to the lack of progress and the measures planned by the student (including an academic improvement plan) to assist in a return to satisfactory academic progress compliance. Probationary periods will be determined on a per student basis. General financial aid eligibility will terminate when the credit hours required for a specific degree/program are earned or the student has attempted greater than 150% of the credit hours required for a specific degree/program. Grade Point Average (GPA) Requirements Students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average for the appropriate grade level listed below: Freshman 1.75 (0 to 29 completed credits) Sophomore 1.90 (30-59 completed credits) Junior and above 2.00 (60+ completed credits) Students who do not meet this qualitative measure of progress toward earning a degree or certificate have the option of appealing for the restoration of financial aid eligibility for a probationary period. Appeals should include a discussion of the factors which contributed to the cumulative GPA and the measures planned
7 by the student (including an academic plan) to assist in a return to satisfactory academic progress compliance. Probationary periods will be determined on a per student basis. Transfer Credits Upon admission, transfer students are assumed to be maintaining satisfactory academic progress. After admission to the university, courses successfully completed in subsequent terms at another institution that fulfill degree requirements at UIU may be used to achieve satisfactory academic progress compliance. Students must provide documentation to the Academic Review Committee regarding such credit. Failure to Meet Requirements Satisfactory academic progress for financial aid is reviewed upon the completion or each enrollment. Students who do not meet the requirements outlined above jeopardize their eligibility for financial aid and are placed in one of the following statuses: Financial Aid Warning: Students in their first enrollment of noncompliance will be placed on Financial Aid Warning for one enrollment. During the warning period, students are eligible to receive financial aid. Students are encouraged to seek academic counseling to ensure they satisfy all deficiencies during this period, and to consult with their Academic Advisor if they have any questions. Financial Aid Suspension: Students who do not meet the above minimum requirements at the end of their enrollment during warning will be placed on financial aid suspension. Financial Aid Suspension means that the student is not eligible to receive financial aid from one or more of the various federal, state, or institutional grant, scholarship, work, or loan programs until all deficiencies have been rectified. Full aid eligibility may be reinstated upon completion of sufficient credits and/or improvement of the GPA to meet the required standards. Suspension Appeal: Students may appeal the suspension by completing the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal. If the appeal is accepted by the Academic Review Committee, students will be required to complete an Academic Improvement Plan or meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements within the next enrollment. Appeals must be submitted no later than two weeks prior to the start of the next enrollment. If the appeal is accepted, students will be placed on Financial Aid Probation. Documentation of circumstances is required. Students must include the following as part of their appeal: Write a personal statement. It is important to be concise. This is the opportunity to discuss the factors that adversely impacted the academic performance. It is also the place to write a specific action plan for returning to good standing. This should not merely be a statement of good intentions. Specific reasons/issues/circumstances that adversely impacted the academic performance include: personal/family issues time management, study skills, or test taking strategies medical issues- requires documentation be presented to academic advisor choice of major difficulty with a particular subject working too many hours lack of awareness or use of available academic support resources such as the Learning Resources Center, Writing Center, professors' office hours, academic advisor(s) lack of awareness or use of available student support services such as Counseling Center, Career Services, etc. Other issues as appropriate
8 The specific Academic Improvement Plan should include how the student has resolved or plans to resolve any issues or circumstances that have negatively impacted the academic performance. For example, if a student made a poor choice when selecting a major, what are the plans for changing to an appropriate major? A student should approach any and all factors in the same manner. A statement from their academic advisor supporting the appeal, along with a copy of the Academic Improvement Plan that has been agreed upon by the student is needed. An Academic Improvement Plan that has been agreed upon by the student and the Academic Review Committee. If the student does not follow the stated plan, the student will revert to Financial Aid Suspension. **Students should be prepared to seek other options of payment if the appeal is not approved. Appeal Process and Questions The Academic Review Committee will evaluate student appeals for restoration of aid for a probationary period. For questions regarding this policy or the appeal process, contact: Betty Whitesell Academic Review Committee Chair Financial Aid Probation: Students who submit an acceptable Academic Improvement Plan by the deadline outlined above will be considered for aid in the following enrollment on a probationary basis. Students on Financial Aid Probation will be reviewed for continued aid eligibility upon the completion of each enrollment. If a student is meeting the terms of their approved recovery plan, but does not yet meet the full requirements outlined above, the student will continue on Financial Aid Probation each enrollment until all deficiencies are satisfied. Withdrawing and How it Could Affect my Financial Aid The Higher Education Amendments of 1998, as well as the program integrity regulations in 2010, set forth regulations governing the treatment of Title IV funds when a student withdraws from an institution. There are two types of withdrawals that fall under the return to Title IV (R2T4) federal calculation regulations: Withdrawals (W) student initiates the withdrawal process by contacting the Office of Student Development (Fayette Campus students) or completing the Registrar's Electronic Withdrawal Form available on the UIU website. Administrative Withdrawals (AW) - If a student begins to attend 2 or more classes, having a status of at least half time and receives federal Title IV aid, but then ceases to participate in class without providing official notification to the University, the student is considered administratively withdrawn. For Title IV purposes, the withdrawal date for students who are administratively withdrawn is based on the assignments submitted for the enrollment period. The refund rules for Title IV aid recipients who withdraw are used to determine the unearned portion of Title IV aid that must be returned to the appropriate aid program(s). Enrollment Changes For financial aid purposes, students must take 2 sets of courses (6 month enrollment per set) and successfully complete the coursework prior to the end date of each 6 month enrollment to qualify for awarded eligibility for the payment period (12 months in length). Students who do not successfully complete the assignments within each enrollment or do not re-enroll
9 within 45 days of completing the first set of courses for a second enrollment during the payment period will be considered withdrawn and a refund calculation is required. Students ceasing enrollment during a 12 month payment period are required to complete the Self-paced Degree Program Re-entry Letter, indicating their intentions for future enrollment. Enrollment changes could affect current and future eligibility. Students must be enrolled in a minimum of 6 credits (2 courses) each enrollment to be eligible for aid. At any point in time when a change results in a student s enrollment status being less than half time (less than 6 credits) in a 6 month enrollment, eligibility will cease and a re-calculation may be completed. There is a $93 withdrawal fee for each class you withdraw from. Example of a Title IV return of funds calculation for a Title IV recipient who is considered to have withdrawn: (Self-Paced Degree Program) $4,420 = Institutional Charges $4,420 = Title IV Loans $0 = Title IV Grants $4,420 = Total Title IV aid Student withdrew after completing 1 out of 14 assignments. Percent Earned 1/14 = 7.1% Percent Unearned 100% - 7.1% = 92.9% Amount of Title IV aid earned $4,420 x 7.1% = $ Unearned Title IV due to the school $4,420 x 92.1% = $4, Amount for school to return: Compare the amount of Title IV aid to be returned ($4,106.18) to the amount of unearned charges ($4,106.18), and return the lesser amount. UIU will return aid as follows: Title IV Loans $4, Title IV Grants $0 The example shown above does not reflect every student refund situation that may exist. More detailed calculation examples are available in the Financial Aid Office. The refund policy is available on the financial aid website. Upper Iowa University reserves the right to amend the Title IV Return of Funds Policy at any time in order to comply with Federal regulations. Please contact the Financial Aid Office to discuss individual circumstances. Tuition Adjustments for Withdrawal Withdrawing from classes is an expensive decision and may change the financial aid eligibility. Your academic advisor is available to discuss this decision with you. A grade of W (withdrawal) is recorded for any course from which a learner withdraws. Upon receiving a request for withdrawal, using the number of assignments submitted as compared to the total due, a refund of tuition is made. Tuition adjustment percentages are available in the university catalog. Where Can I Seek Counseling About Financial Assistance? Upper Iowa University s Financial Aid Office has staff members who can assist you in understanding your financial aid, budgeting your resources, and loan management. You are encouraged to contact our office when you need help at Other services provided by the Financial Aid Office include
10 assessing eligibility for financial aid, awarding aid, and recommending and processing Federal Direct Stafford Loans. Important Facts 1. Be sure to read the information provided out on Net Partner. 2. You must comply with all federal requirements of the 1983 Amendments to the Military Selective Service Act. 3. If you owe money from a prior over-award of federal funds at any institution, you need to make arrangements for repayment of the overaward. You are not eligible for financial aid if you owe a refund on federal funds. 4. You must be in good standing and be making satisfactory academic progress. You are not eligible to receive financial aid for credits that are not used to complete your degree requirements. 5. You must report any additional financial aid (scholarships, grants, or loans) that you receive that are not listed on your current awards notice from Upper Iowa University. 6. You must meet other conditions listed on Net Partner and contained elsewhere in this handbook. 7. You will need to submit information requested by financial aid specialists, Upper Iowa University, or any other institution or program to which you are applying for aid to clarify your eligibility for aid. If you are selected for verification or financial aid review, you and your parent(s) (if applicable) will be required to provide specified documentation. These may include federal tax information and federal financial aid verification worksheets. Failure to submit requested information could result in the loss of available funds. 8. Books can be purchased through our UIU bookstore. Students awarded financial aid eligibility may charge books. Prices vary depending upon the course requirements. The Financial Aid Office strongly recommends that documents be provided no later than one month prior to the last date of attendance. Failure to meet this deadline results in the loss of federal financial aid eligibility. Please note that there may be earlier deadlines for various forms of financial aid (such as loan certifications) or for private programs that require FAFSA filing. You may have your financial need reviewed if your circumstances change during the academic year. Contact the Financial Aid Office if you feel your calculated financial need should be reviewed. Selective Service Requirement For Financial Aid Recipients The Department of Defense Authorization Act, 1983, which amends the Military Selective Service Act, denies federal financial aid under the Title IV programs (Federal SEOG, Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Work Study, Federal Pell Grant, Federal Direct Stafford Loan and Federal PLUS) of the Higher Education Act to any student who is required to register for the Selective Service but fails to do so. General registration requirements apply to males who are at least 18 years old and were born after December 31, If you believe you are not required to register, call the Selective Service Office at for information regarding exemptions. Do I Need To Fill Out A Financial Aid Application Each Year? Each year you must fully complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Electronic filing is available on the Web at Please contact the Financial Aid Office with questions regarding completing your FAFSA. Information for Independent Students A student s status regarding dependency or
11 independency for purposes of filing for financial assistance is defined by federal regulations as specified in the FAFSA. Questions regarding dependency status should be referred to the Financial Aid Office. Grade Level The university has defined grade level progressions as follows (and financial aid will use this progression for determining the maximum borrowing levels for student loans): Undergraduate (credits earned) 0-29 credits - Freshman credits - Sophomore credits - Junior credits - Senior Above 120 credits - Fifth Year Senior Veterans Benefits The Veterans Administration administers programs for veterans and service persons seeking assistance for education or training. If you are a veteran or a dependent of a veteran and plan to receive educational benefits, as determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs, contact the School Certifying Official to request certification at Also contact the Financial Aid Office to inform them of the amount you will receive.