Financial Aid Policies
How to Apply
- All applicants should complete the FAFSA or the Renewal FAFSA.
- When completing the FAFSA, ALL required items must be answered. Failure to do so may delay your Award Notification.
- Use your full legal name when applying for aid. Do not use nicknames, abbreviations, or middle names as first names. The U.S. Department of Education requires that the name used when applying for aid match your name on Social Security Administration records. You will be asked for other information if there is a conflict.
- When providing your parents names, please use the names that appear on their Social Security Cards. A match will be conducted with Social Security Administration records.
Satisfactory Academic Progress
The U.S. Department of Education requires that all schools have Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policies and consistently enforce these policies.
Grade Point Average (GPA)
SGSC's SAP policy requires that students maintain a progressive minimum GPA based on a students number of attempted hours. The require GPA increases as a student progresses through their academic program. This allows students to develop their academic skills as they attend and make progress toward graduation. The GPA requirements are as follows:
Credit Hours Minimum Cumulative
Attempted Grade Point Average Required
0-9 Hours No minimum
10-15 Hours 1.7
16-30 Hours 1.8
31-45 Hours 1.9
46-more Hours 2.0
Pace of Completion
All students are required to successfully complete at least 67% of the attempted semester hours to maintain the required Pace of Completion. Grades of an A, B, C, and D count as successful completion of a course. Grades of W, WF, I, F, and do not count as successful completion of a course. A grad of V (audited courses) does not count as attempted or successfully completed.
Maximum Time Frame
Students must complete their program of study before they reach 150% of the hours required for their program of study. The Maximum Time Frame for SGSC programs are listed below:
|PROGRAMS||MAXIMUM ATTEMPTED HOURS ALLOWED|
Timing of SAP Reviews
Satisfactory Academic Progress reviews are conducted at the end of every semester. Any student who fails to meet the minimum GPA or Pace of Completion will be placed on financial aid warning the first term the student is in violation of either policy, but will continue to be eligible for financial aid. After a subsequent period of enrollment, those students who were previously placed on financial aid warning and continue not to meet the required GPA or Pace of Completion requirements will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension (Probation) and no longer will be eligible for financial aid assistance.
Any student who reached or exceeds the Maximum Time Frame for their program of student will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension (Probation) and no longer will be eligible for financial aid assistance.
For more information regarding the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy, you can review the policy here.
Special and Unusual Circumstances Appeals
Unusual Circumstance - Family Contribution Appeal (Changes in family income)
If a family has experienced an involuntary change in income from what was reported on FAFSA, a Family Contribution Appeal may be a good option. This can allow the Financial Aid Office to consider the student for PELL grant (or additional PELL grant funds), if the appeal is approved. The reason for the loss of income must be based on reasons completely beyond the family’s control. Here are a few things to consider, before submitting a Family Contribution Appeal:
- Before considering an appeal, a student must first complete the initial FAFSA at https://fafsa.gov to determine what they initially may or may not qualify for.
- If a student already qualifies for the maximum rate of the PELL grant, completing this appeal will not allow the student to qualify for additional PELL grant funds.
- Since Graduate students are not eligible for the PELL grant (only federal loan options), only Undergraduate students pursuing their first bachelor's degree can be considered for this appeal.
- A student must provide documentation of this loss of income. Examples include; separation letters, unemployment documentation, tax returns, W-2’s, current pay stubs, divorce decree, proof of out of pocket medical expenses, or death certificate.
- A student must also provide documentation to show that the loss of income was involuntary. Examples include; laid off from work due to company closing down, divorce, excessive medical expenses, or death of household income earner
Special Circumstance - Dependency Override Appeal
Students that are not; at least 24 years old, married, serving in the military, or have any children of their own - must typically provide parent information on the FAFSA. There can be some exceptions to this, that would warrant completing a Dependency Override Appeal. These exceptions may include;
- parental abuse
- neglect or abandonment
- parent(s) are incarcerated
- one parent is deceased and the other parent's whereabouts are unknown
Standard documentation to validate these exceptions include;
- Police reports or other court documentation
- Signed/notarized statements from reputable third-party sources (minister, counselor, therapist, physician, etc.), that can validate their knowledge of the student and parent relationship.
- Proof of incarceration
- Obituary or Death Certificate
***Please note that parent refusal to provide information on the FAFSA or a student being financially self-sufficient, is not a valid reason to submit a Dependency Override Appeal. Instead, please call our office to ask about a Parental Cessation Form and what funding may be available, when no parent information is provided on FAFSA.***
How do I submit the Family Contribution or Depedency Override Appeal?
Visit https://sgsc.studentforms.com. Once logged in, select the “Request” link to the right of the page. From there, chose either “Family Contribution Appeal” or “Dependency Override Appeal” from the drop-down bar. Once all requirements are uploaded into the portal, please allow 7-10 business days for the committee's review. Further documentation may be requested, after this initial review.
The U.S. Department of Education mandates SGSC use the verification process to check the accuracy and completeness of data provided on the selected applicant’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The verification process is meant to ensure that Federal student financial aid is disbursed equitably and according to Federal law and program regulation. The U.S. Department of Education or the school selects applications for verification.
SGSC uses the Verify My FAFSA website at https://sgsc.verifymyfafsa.com to collect the information and documents needed to complete the verification process. Students who are selected for verification will be notified by email and given a link to the Verify My FAFSA website. The website is the primary communication point for verification information. Students should visit the site often during the verification process for information on outstanding items. Student will receive electronic updates and reminders directly from Verify My FAFSA a notification will be sent to students when their verification has been completed.
If you are selected for verification and the Department of Education is requiring you to verify your identity and sign an educational purpose statement, you must do so in the presence of an employee of SGSC, or a notary, and must provide an original Government approved ID to be scanned and notated along with other requested documents. The form is available in the Office of Financial Aid and at Verify My FAFSA.
It is the student’s responsibility to provide requested information so that the verification process can be completed by the SGSC’s published deadline of April 24th. SGSC is unable to disburse federal student financial aid until the verification process is complete. Failure to complete the verification process may result in a student being ineligible for federal financial aid and being responsible for payment of all charges. Failure to pay for classes by the published deadlines may result in the student being dropped from registered classes.
Verification may include, but is not limited to, a review of the following data for a student, a student’s spouse, or the parents of a dependent student:
- Adjusted Gross Income
- Number in College
- Taxes Paid
- Income Earned from Work
- Untaxed Income and Benefits
- Household Size
- Identity Information
- High School Graduation
In addition, the verification process is used to resolve inconsistent or conflicting information on the FAFSA.
Important Note: If an applicant uses the FAFSA IRS Data Retrieval Tool to transfer federal income tax return data to the FAFSA, the applicant is generally notrequired to provide income documentation.
In most instances, Verify My FAFSA submits corrections to the Central Processor (CPS) for information found to be inaccurate or incomplete. Occasionally the student will be asked to correct the FAFSA data by going to the FAFSA on the Web website (http://www.studentaid.gov/). If changes made to the FAFSA impact the student’s Estimated Family Contribution (EFC), the new Student Aid Report sent by the CPS as a result of those changes will reflect the new EFC.
SGSC is responsible for checking all other eligibility criteria before packaging financial aid for the student. SGSC is also responsible for notifying the student of any changes made to an existing financial aid award package as a result of verification. SGSC is required to notify the U.S. Office of Inspector General if they suspect that a student, employee or other individual has misreported information or altered documentation submitted in order for a student to fraudulently obtain federal funds.
Financial Aid Awards
- Each year, the OFA receives requests for more funds than are available. Although Federal Pell Grant and Federal Direct and Federal PLUS Loans are available to eligible students year-round, other funds are awarded to eligible students on a first-come, first-serve basis.
- The OFA uses your permanent home address on file in the Registrar's Office. Contact the Registrar's Office for information about changing your address.
- The OFA reserves the right to review and cancel awards at any time if you fail to meet the requirements of the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy or because changes in your financial or academic status, academic program, resident status, enrollment status, etc. All student financial aid awards are contingent upon the availability of funds.
- Aid awards are made for the normal academic year consisting of the Fall and Spring semesters. Maymester and Summer term are considered trailers to the normal academic year. Students interested in receiving aid must complete a one page Institutional Application for Summer Aid, which is available during the Spring semester. The Institutional Application for Summer Aid serves as an official notice of your intent to enroll during the Maymester and/or Summer term.
- Irregular, non-degree, or transient students are not eligible for federal or state aid. HOPE Scholarship recipients may contact the OFA to request information on receiving HOPE as a transient student at another HOPE eligible institution.
- A student's enrollment status is determined as follows:
12+ hours Full-Time
9-11 hours 3/4 Time
6-8 hours Half-Time
5 or Fewer Less-Than-Half Time
- Your official enrollment status is determined each term at the end of the Drop/Add period. If you enroll full-time, then drop below full-time during the drop/add period, your award amounts may be decreased.
- Please be aware that as of Fall Semester 2009 each semester hour up to 15 will incur a charge.
All fee payments, including financial aid payments, are due in the Cashier Office located on the first floor of Engram Hall. If you pre-register for classes for an upcoming term, note the Payment Deadline on your Fee Invoice. Your schedule will be canceled if you fail to pay your fees by the deadline.
Return of Financial Aid for Withdrawals
- The Return of Title IV (R2T4) Policy applies to all students who have been disbursed federal funds. In accordance with federal regulations, the institution and the student are required to return unearned portions of Title IV assistance (federal grants and/or federal loans). This return of unearned funds applies to students who have completely withdrawn or who are determined to have stopped attending prior to the 60% point of the term.
- The school and the student share responsibility for returning unearned Title IV aid.
- The school returns any unearned Title IV funds that have been paid to the school to cover the student’s institutional charges.
- The student returns unearned Title IV funds that he or she received from loan and/or grant funds based on the R2T4 calculation.
- SGSC will process aid adjustments within 45 calendar days from the date of determination that a student officially withdraws or unofficially withdraws (stops attending). Unofficial withdrawals are determined end of each term; Office of Financial Aid identifies students who did not successfully complete any courses and who were reported as stopping attendance by all faculty members with grades of F$ or U$. For students who do not earn a passing grade in any course and stopped attendance in all courses, a report is run showing the Last Date of Attendance (Academic Activity) reported by Faculty.
Examples of academically related activities are:
- Examinations or quizzes
- Computer-assisted instruction (only with submission of coursework)
- Academic advising or counseling
- Academic conferences
- Completing an academic assignment, paper, or project
- Attending a study group required by the institution where attendance is taken.
* Just logging into the online coursework without completing any exam, quiz or post is not considered valid Academic Activity for R2T4 Last Date of Attendance.
- The calculation to determine that amount of aid to be returned is based on the percentage of earned aid using the following Federal Return of Title IV funds formula:
- Percentage of payment period or term completed = the number of days completed up to the withdrawal date divided by the total days in the payment period or term. (Any break of five days or more is not counted as part of the days in the term.) This percentage is also the percentage of earned aid.
- Funds are returned to the appropriate federal program based on the percentage of unearned aid using the following formula:
- Aid to be returned = (100% of the aid that could be disbursed minus the percentage of earned aid) multiplied by the total amount of aid that could have been disbursed during the payment period or term.
- A reduction to the student’s account in either tuition charges or fee charges that takes place after the student has withdrawn has no bearing on the Return to Title IV calculation or the amount the school or student earned.