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Eligibility

General Eligibility Requirements
In order to receive any kind of financial aid, students must meet these general requirements:

Additional eligibility requirements specific to each financial aid program apply.

Determination of Neediest Students
The College believes that the best use of student financial aid funds is to assist as many eligible applicants as possible. This is accomplished by determining the needs of the students and ranking them in a priority order, taking into account all known resources. Those students showing the greatest need will be awarded campus based aid according to program requirements until such funds have been awarded for the award year. In the event that students who have been awarded campus based funds refuse the awards, gain additional resources that result in an over award situation, leave the College for any reason, or fall below half time (1/2) enrollment status, the student will lose those funds and they will be awarded to other students based on the above ranking system.

Financial Aid Academic Requirements
In accordance with the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, students receiving federal financial aid must be in good standing and making satisfactory progress. There exists a conceptual difference between good standing and satisfactory progress. Good standing means that a student is eligible to enroll or to re-enroll, while satisfactory progress means that a student is advancing toward fulfilling degree, diploma, or certificate requirements in a manner consistent with the prescribed policies of the College.

Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

GPA Requirements
In order to receive financial aid, students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0.  All periods of enrollment at SWGTC are included when calculating GPA for SAP purposes, even terms in which the student did not receive financial aid. Grades for all attempts of repeated courses are included in the GPA calculation.  Grades which were previously excluded will remain excluded from the GPA. Grades for Learning Support courses are not included in the GPA calculation for financial aid purposes.  Incomplete grades, transfer credit, exemption exam credit, credit for previous experience, grades for audited courses, and articulated credit are NOT included in the financial aid GPA.  Grades included in the GPA calculation for SAP purposes are:  A, B, C, D, F, and WF.  Grades that are NOT included are:  A*, B*, C*, D*, F*, W, W*, I, I*, IP, IP* TR, EX, AU, and AC. The financial aid GPA for SAP purposes is calculated in Banner after final grades have been posted by the Registrar at the end of each term.

Pace of Progression (Completion Rate)
In order to receive financial aid, students must successfully complete 67% of all credit hours attempted at SWGTC to maintain satisfactory progress. The completion rate is calculated by dividing the cumulative number of credit hours the student has successfully completed by the cumulative number of credit hours the student has attempted.  This calculation is performed in Banner by the Financial Aid Office after final grades are posted by the Registrar at the end of each term. 

All periods of enrollment at SWGTC are included when calculating completion rate, even terms in which the student did not receive financial aid.  All attempts of repeated courses are considered attempted hours in the completion rate calculation.  All attempts of repeated courses are included in the completion rate calculation.  Previously excluded credit hours for repeated courses will remain excluded from the completion rate calculation as calculated in Banner. Credit hours for which a student earns a grade of “I”, “IP”, “W”, and “WF”, as well as all Learning Support credit hours are counted as hours attempted for SAP purposes. Incomplete grades, withdrawals, and failures are considered unsuccessful completions.

Transfers of credit from other institutions are counted as credit hours attempted and earned in the calculation of completion rate. Exemption exam credit, credit for previous experience, grades for audited courses, and articulated credit are NOT included in the completion rate calculation.  Grades which are considered successful completions for financial aid SAP purposes are:  A, B, C, D, A*, B*, C*, D*, TR.  Grades which are considered unsuccessful completions for financial aid SAP purposes are:  F, W, WF, I, IP, F*, W*, WF*, I*, IP*.  Grades of EX, AU, and AC are not included in the calculation of completion rate.

Maximum Time Frame for Federal Pell Grant and Title IV Aid Programs
The purpose of the Federal Title IV financial aid programs is to assist students in meeting their educational expenses while they progress toward timely completion of their educational objectives.  For that reason, federal regulations require that students must complete their educational objective within a maximum time frame of one and one-half times the length of the program in which they are enrolled.  Program length is measured in credit hours and is determined by the number of credit hours required for completion of the program. For example, students enrolled in a diploma program that requires 90 credit hours to complete will be allowed no more than 135 attempted hours.  Students in programs requiring 126 credit hours will be allowed no more than 189 attempted hours, etc.  If it is determined that a student cannot mathematically complete his/her program of study within 150% of the program’s length, then he/she will become ineligible for federal financial aid.  Students who consistently meet the 67% completion rate requirement should also meet this requirement.  Students who fail to meet the 67% completion rate requirement at any time risk exceeding the maximum time frame before completing their program. 

All periods of enrollment are included when calculating maximum time frame, even terms in which the student did not receive financial aid.  All attempts of repeated courses are included.  Credit hours for which a student receives an Incomplete grade (I, I*, IP, IP*) are considered attempted hours.  Transfer credit hours (TR) which are counted toward a student’s program of study are included in this calculation.  Exemption exam credit (EX) and credit for previous work or life experience that is counted toward a student’s program of study is also included in this calculation. 

Once a student is found to have exceeded the maximum time frame allowed, he or she will be ineligible for all types of Title IV federal financial aid.  HOPE eligible students who become ineligible for Title IV financial aid may still receive HOPE Grant and/or Scholarship until they reach the Paid or Attempted Hour Limits for the HOPE Programs, outlined below.  Students may appeal a loss of financial aid eligibility due to maximum time frame requirements if extenuating circumstances prevented them from completing their program within the specified time frame.

If a student graduates from one program and re-enrolls in another program, the maximum time frame will be reset.  However, all previous credit hours attempted that count toward the new program will be included in the new time frame calculation.  (For example, if a student graduates from the Accounting diploma program, and re-enrolls in the Accounting degree program, all previously taken Accounting courses that are counted toward both programs will be counted in the time frame calculation for the new program.)

Financial Aid Warning
Students who fail to maintain either a 2.0 cumulative GPA or 67% cumulative completion rate will be placed on financial aid warning.  Students on financial aid warning will continue to be eligible to receive financial aid for one term only.  Students on financial aid warning must meet all SAP requirements by the end of their warning period in order to receive financial aid in subsequent terms.  Students placed on financial aid warning who fail to raise their cumulative GPA to a 2.0 or higher and their completion rate to 67% or higher by the end of their next term of enrollment will be placed on financial aid suspension and will be ineligible for all forms of financial aid.

Financial Aid Suspension
Students who fail to meet one or more SAP requirements for at least two consecutive terms of enrollment are placed on financial aid suspension and are not eligible for any form of financial aid.  Students have the right to appeal a financial aid suspension if there are extenuating circumstances that have prevented them from meeting the SAP requirements. 

Financial Aid Probation
Students who have failed to make SAP and have been placed on suspension may appeal the suspension if they believe they had extenuating circumstances that prevented them from meeting the SAP requirements.  Students whose appeals are approved are placed on financial aid probation and are eligible to receive financial aid for one term only.  In order to receive financial aid after the probation period, a student must meet all SAP requirements or meet all requirements of an Academic Plan that has been established for him/ her by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee.  Failure to meet SAP requirements or the requirements of an Academic Plan after one term on probation will result in the student being placed on financial aid suspension and losing eligibility for all forms of financial aid.

Reinstatement of Aid
A student who has been placed on financial aid suspension due to unsatisfactory progress will regain eligibility for financial aid when he/she has met the minimum cumulative requirements for Satisfactory Academic Progress.

Notification of SAP Status

All students who fail to meet SAP requirements will be notified of their SAP status at the end of the term in which they failed to make SAP.  SAP is evaluated each term after final grades have been posted by the Registrar.  Students who appeal a financial aid suspension will be notified as soon as a decision is reached by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee regarding their status. 

Appeals
Students have the right to appeal a finding that they are not making satisfactory progress if there are extenuating circumstances that have prevented them from meeting one or more of the SAP requirements, including GPA, completion rate, and maximum time frame.  Appeals must be signed by the student and must be submitted in writing to the Financial Aid Office by the deadline specified in the student’s suspension notification in order to be considered for the next term of enrollment.  Appeals submitted after the deadline or with missing signatures or incomplete information may not be considered prior to the start of the next term of enrollment.   

The Financial Aid Appeals Committee will review all appeals and their decision is FINAL.  Appeals submitted after the Committee has met may not be considered. 

Appeals will be considered for extenuating circumstances only, which may include, but are not limited to, the death of a family member, an injury or illness of the student or their immediate family member, or other special circumstances that are generally outside of the control of the student.  The appeal MUST include information explaining why the student failed to make SAP and what has changed in the student’s situation that will allow him/her to make SAP within the next term of enrollment.  All appeals must also include documentation of the extenuating circumstances that led to the student’s suspension.  Acceptable documentation may include, but is not limited to the following:  medical records, birth or death certificates, obituaries, letters on official letterhead from third party sources not related to the student with signatures, etc. 

If the Financial Aid Appeals Com mittee approves a student’s appeal and determines that the student should be able to meet SAP requirements by the end of the next term, they may place the student on financial aid probation and reinstate the student’s financial aid for one term only.  If the Committee determines that it is not possible for the student to meet SAP by the end of the next term, and the Committee approves the student’s appeal, the Committee will develop an Academic Plan for the student, that if followed, will ensure that the student is able to meet SAP requirements by a specific point in time, as determined by the Committee.  All appeals will be considered on a case by case basis.  A student paying for his/her own tuition and fees or sitting out for one or more terms does not automatically reinstate the student’s financial aid eligibility.     

Academic Plans
Students who successfully appeal a financial aid suspension and are placed on probation may be required to follow an Academic Plan as determined by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee in order to continue receiving financial aid.  Students on an Academic Plan are required to meet all requirements of the Plan each term.  The fulfillment of these requirements will be evaluated at the end of each term.  Failure to meet all requirements of the Academic Plan will result in the student being placed on financial aid suspension.  Academic Plans will be developed for each student on an individual basis, but at a minimum will include the requirement that the student successfully complete all attempted courses with a grade of C or better.  Other components of an Academic Plan may include any combination of the following, but are not limited to, a requirement to meet with the student’s academic advisor and/or a member of Student Affairs Retention staff each term, a requirement not to take online classes, to enroll only part-time, to repeat a specific course, to take a particular course, to participate in a specific workshop on campus, or any other activity or requirement that the Appeals Committee believes will enable the student to meet SAP requirements by a specific point in time and ultimately enable the student to successfully complete his/her program of study in a timely manner.  A student on probation and required to follow an Academic Plan who changes his/her program of study may have the Academic Plan revoked by the Appeals Committee and be placed back on suspension until he/she re-submits an appeal explaining how he/she will make SAP in the next term of enrollment with the new program of study.  The Financial Aid Office will verify that all requirements of the Academic Plan have been met prior to posting aid for the next term. 

HOPE GRANT AND SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAMS
For eligibility information on the HOPE Grant, HOPE Scholarship, Zell Miller Scholarship and HOPE GED programs, please click here.

LIMITS OF ELIGIBILITY

Federal Pell Grant
Students may receive the Pell Grant for the equivalent of twelve (12) semesters of full-time attendance at any institution.

Combined Paid-Hours Limit for HOPE and Zell Miller Scholarships
An eligible student may receive HOPE Scholarship or the Zell Miller Scholarship until he or she reaches the Combined Paid-Hours Limit of 190 quarter or 127 semester credit hours from any combination of HOPE Scholarship Paid-Hours, plus Zell Miller Scholarship Paid-Hours, plus HOPE Grant Paid-Hours, plus ACCEL Program Paid-Hours for credit hours taken at all institutions.

Once a student has reached the Combined Paid-Hours Limit, they will be ineligible for HOPE Grant payment as well.

Attempted Hours Limit for HOPE and Zell Miller Scholarships
A student is ineligible to receive HOPE Scholarship and Zell Miller Scholarship payment once he or she reaches the Attempted Hours Limit of 127 college level  semester credit hours, regardless of how payment was made for those hours.

Paid-Hours Limit for HOPE Grant
An eligible student may receive HOPE Grant payment for the equivalent of  63 semester credit hours at all institutions.

LEARNING SUPPORT AND FINANCIAL AID   
Students who are accepted to the College under Learning Support admissions status are not eligible to receive financial aid from any of the Federal Pell Grant or Title IV aid programs until they reach the minimum of provisional admission status.  A student admitted in provisional status may not receive federal financial aid for more than one academic year’s worth of credit hours of Learning Support coursework. 
Students taking Learning Support courses under either Learning Support or Provisional admissions status may receive HOPE Grant  if they meet the HOPE Grant  eligibility requirements for the program they wish to enter.  HOPE Scholarship and Zell Miller Scholarship funds will not be paid for Learning Support courses for any student.
(For the 2011-2012 award year, the academic year is defined for financial aid purposes as 48 credit hours for the summer quarter only, and 24 credit hours for fall and spring semesters.)

Determination of Overpayments 

Fall and spring semester at SWGTC are each sixteen (16) weeks long.  Summer semester is ten (10) weeks long.  Federal Pell Grant and Title IV aid payments are posted to students’ accounts within 14 days of the start of the term. Federal Pell Grant funds are awarded under the assumption that the student will attend school for the entire term.  Students who withdraw after receiving a financial aid refund check may be found to have received an overpayment.

Return of Title IV Funds Policy
If the student totally withdraws from school, federal regulations require that his/her Pell award for the withdrawal term be recalculated as follows:
The number of calendar days attended during the term is divided by the total number of calendar days in the term.
The resulting percentage is multiplied by the Pell award for the term. This is the new Pell award amount he/she is entitled to receive.

If the student has received Pell Grant funds in excess of this new award amount, he/she may owe a balance. If the student has received a financial aid refund for the term or had charges in the bookstore against his/her financial aid awards, he/she will be notified of any amount to be repaid. Any student who owes a balance due to a financial aid over award will be ineligible for further financial aid assistance until he/she has repaid these funds.

If an eligible student is receiving HOPE funds for the term, that award will be applied to tuition and fee charges before Pell Grant funds

 

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