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The Office of Financial Assistance: Financial Assistance FAQ

FAQ or COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is the Academic Year?

At Harris-Stowe State University, the Academic Year is defined as a standard term of two semesters using the credit hour system. All programs with the exception of the Accelerated Business programs are on a fall and spring semester containing 16 weeks for instruction and final exam periods.  The Accelerated Business programs operate two eight sessions within each semester. For the purpose of awarding Federal Student Aid, the academic year is 30 credit hours for 32 weeks.

Do I apply for financial aid every year?

Yes, you are required to submit a Federal Application for Financial Assistance (FASFA) every year. The forms can be accessed online at www.fafsa.ed.gov after January 1. Priority is given to students who complete the application prior to April 1.

What if I have not filed a tax return?

When completing the FAFSA, there is an option for the filing status that states “Will file.” If you are filling out the FAFSA before you have filed, select this status and then insert estimated earnings for each of the questions. Proceed with completing and submitting your FAFSA form. Once you have filed your taxes, it is required that you go back into your FAFSA and change your filing status from “Will file” to “Completed.” Make sure you update all of the figures so that they are identical to the numbers on your tax forms. Failure to update your filing status will delay you from receiving any financial aid.

Click here to view how to request a copy of your tax transcript. 

What is a PIN?

Your Personal Identification Number (PIN) is recognized as your electronic signature. All students and parents who complete the FAFSA and apply for student loans must have one. PINs can be established by following the instructions at this website: www.pin.ed.gov .

How is dependency status determined for financial aid?

The FAFSA asks 13 questions to determine your dependency status for financial aid.

What does being selected for verification mean?

Verification is a process where the information provided on the FAFSA is compared with signed copies of student (and parent/spouse) tax forms, W-2s, and/or other financial documents. Thirty to 35 percent of all financial aid applications are chosen for verification. The selection of an application for verification does not mean the information provided is incorrect. Some applications are selected for review on a random sample basis, and some applications are selected based upon a set of common edits that check data for consistency and logic. If there are discrepancies between the FAFSA and the financial documents, the Office of Financial Assistance will send the necessary corrections electronically to the central processor.

If your application is chosen for verification, you will receive a written request for the necessary information. You will not be eligible for any federal or state aid until all of the necessary documentation is received and the review is complete.

How do I check on the status of my financial aid?

You may review the status of your financial aid by checking your MyHSSU account. To check if all documents are received, please select the Financial Aid Document Tracking menu. To check on your award letter, please select the Financial Aid Awards menu and specify for what academic year you are seeking. To check what financial aid has been transmitted to your account, please select Account by Term.

How does the Office of Financial Assistance communicate with students?

The Office of Financial Aid communicates with enrolled and continuing students via the students’ Hornets email as well as their MyHSSU account. As a general rule, financial aid notices will not be sent by postal mail. Students are responsible for monitoring their status online through MyHSSU and receiving ALL communication sent to their Hornets e-mail account.

Incoming students will be issued a Hornets email and MyHSSU account upon acceptance to the University. Students are required to activate these accounts as soon as possible after receiving access instructions.

When is financial aid disbursed to students?

Harris-Stowe State University does not release funds until verification of attendance has been received in the Office of Financial Assistance for every class in which the student is registered.

Institutional Aid (academic, athletic, tuition waivers and other institutional scholarships) is disbursed at the end of the third week of class.

Federal Pell Grant/Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grant is disbursed at the end of the third week of class.

State Funds are disbursed based on payment by the state. Generally, this is the end of the third week of class.

Direct Federal/Alternative Loans are disbursed 30 days after the start of the semester. For the Federal Direct Loans, students must have a completed Master Promissory Note (MPN) on file with the Department of Education and a completed entrance counseling session prior to loan disbursement. Disbursement rosters will only be received once a week – every Monday. Once the funds have been applied to your account, the Bursar’s Office (per federal regulations) has 14 days to issue the student/parent a refund from any excess funds received of the total bill. For more information on refunds, please contact the Bursar’s Office at (314) 340-5775.

What is satisfactory academic progress (SAP) for financial assistance?

Students are required to achieve a 2.0 cumulative GPA and complete 66 percent of their attempted course work each semester. Federal regulations limit the maximum number of hours a student may attempt and continue to receive financial aid to 150 percent. Click here to view the entire SAP policy

How does financial assistance communicate satisfactory academic progress status?

Although students will be notified in writing should they fall below satisfactory academic progress standards, it is the student’s responsibility to know his or her academic standing in regard to this policy. Failure to receive notification does not dispute or reverse the termination of a student’s eligibility to receive financial assistance. Students are responsible for monitoring their status online through their MyHSSU account and for receiving ALL communications sent to their Hornets email account.

What is financial-aid probation?

Students who fail to achieve satisfactory academic progress for a semester will be placed on probation. During this semester, students are required to sign a retention contract and complete whatever tasks are required to fulfill the Success Plan they will create with the retention coordinator. Students are still eligible to receive financial aid during the probationary semester as long as they are in compliance with the retention coordinator.

When are students required to submit an appeal?

Students who fail to achieve satisfactory academic progress for two consecutive semesters will be placed on suspension. Once a student is placed on suspension, they are considered ineligible to receive any form of financial assistance. A student is given the opportunity to appeal this decision by submitting proof to the Office of Financial Assistance that their failing grades were due to a problem that has since been resolved. Financial aid appeals must be based on an undue hardship caused by a personal injury, illness, death of an immediate family member or other mitigating circumstances supported with appropriate documentation. Documentation must be provided. The appeals committee, comprised of Office of Financial Assistance staff, advisors, and other University personnel, cannot/will not access any student’s private medical or educational records, due to privacy laws. Appeals without appropriate documentation will automatically be denied. The appeal submission process is currently under construction. Please contact our office directly at (314) 340-3500 for directions on submitting an appeal today.

How is aid awarded and disbursed for students on retention?

Financial Aid for students on retention is awarded on a semester basis. Funds are request and released once the student is in compliance with their retention plan. Per Federal regulations, loans will be disbursed in two separate disbursements. The first disbursement is 30 days after the semester begins, and the second semester is mid-way through the semester.

How does Harris-Stowe State University award summer financial aid?

Harris-Stowe State University’s academic year runs fall, spring and summer. Therefore, your eligibility for summer financial aid depends on how much of your financial aid eligibility was already received. You may be eligible for subsidized and/or unsubsidized Direct loans if you did not already borrow the maximum amount for your grade level and you are attending at least half time in a degree-seeking program. If you were eligible for the Pell grant during fall and spring semesters and did not receive your maximum annual award, you may be eligible for Pell grant funds. We recommend that you check with the Office of Financial Assistance to determine your eligibility for summer financial aid.

 

HOW FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE IS DETERMINED

Several factors are important to a student's continued eligibility for financial assistance through Harris-Stowe State University. Some things to consider:

1. The student's need status must continue to exist and not be eliminated as a result of outside assistance such as loans, grants or scholarships.

2. Enrollment must be maintained in at least six semester hours of coursework during any regular semester for partial aid, or in at least 12 semester hours during any regular semester for full financial assistance.

3. The information given relative to the student's need status or the amounts and sources of outside financial assistance received must not be found to have been knowingly misstated.

4. Academic progress that is at least conditionally satisfactory (status "P") must be maintained. However, if the student has the status "P" he or she is not eligible for any loans.

5. The student must not be in default on a Title IV loan and must not owe a repayment on any federal grants at any institution.

6. The student must reapply each school year. Priority date is April 1, but applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

 

TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR SCHOLARSHIPS

1. Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the award year in which they are applying. The FAFSA has to be completed and on file in the Office of Financial Assistance before a scholarship can be awarded.

2. Scholarship applications must be completed and returned to the Office of Financial Assistance by the stated deadline. Incomplete applications will not be submitted to the Scholarship Committee for consideration.

3. Students that are awarded renewable scholarships must maintain continuous enrollment and also meet all of the stated criteria to receive the scholarship for each semester and or academic year. Failure to comply with the requirements of the scholarship will result in termination of the award.

4. All awards are based on in-state tuition charges.

5. Unless otherwise specified in the scholarship, money in excess of the tuition, fee, and or room and board charges will not be refunded to the student. If a student is awarded a scholarship in excess of their cost of attendance, the student’s financial aid will be reduced in the following order: federal and or private loans, institutional scholarships, external scholarships given to the institution, third-party scholarships, state grants and federal grant aid.

6. Textbook assistance granted through scholarships and or awards can only be utilized in the Follett Bookstore located on the Harris-Stowe State University campus unless otherwise stated in the scholarship.

7. First-time scholarship recipients are strongly encouraged to attend the Scholarship Awards and Recognition Ceremony the semester prior to receiving their scholarship and or award. All recipients are also urged to write a “Thank You” letter to the donor of each scholarship they receive.

8. Scholarships and or awards cannot be transferred to any other college or university.

9. Decisions of the Scholarship Committee are final and cannot be appealed.

 

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS POLICY

Authority

The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, and the final regulations set forth by the Department of Education in 34 CFR 668 require that institutions of higher education establish standards of satisfactory academic progress. A student who does not meet these standards is not eligible to receive federally funded financial aid. Harris-Stowe State University shall make these standards applicable to all federal and state programs for the purpose of maintaining a consistent and reasonable financial aid policy. This policy does not override any other policy that may have more stringent requirements for renewal set by the governing body for that award.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards

Students are required to make satisfactory academic progress toward a degree if they want to receive federal and state financial aid funds. A student is making satisfactory progress if successfully meeting the three basic standards:

1. A student must maintain academic standing, derived from grades, that is consistent with graduation requirements at the University.

2. A student must complete a reasonable number of credit hours toward a degree each academic year.

3. A maximum time frame of 150 percent of the required hours for the degree is met.

Grade Point Average

Students are required to achieve a 2.0 cumulative GPA to remain eligible for financial aid. 

If a student fails to achieve a 2.0 GPA or other satisfactory academic progress criteria in the probationary semester, a student is ineligible for financial aid unless an appeal is made and granted by the appeals committee.

Attempted Hours and 66 Percent Completion Requirement

Attempted hours will be measured each semester at the end of the second week of the semester. Students are required to complete 66 percent of their attempted course work each semester. For example a student who attempts 12 hours of course work will be required to complete eight credit hours to remain in compliance with the regulation. If 66 percent of the course work is a fraction, the requirements will be rounded up to the next highest number.

If a student fails to complete 66 percent of the attempted course work in a semester, a probationary semester will be allowed in which the student must complete 66 percent of the attempted course work in order to remain eligible for financial aid. If a student fails to complete 66 percent of the course work or meet other satisfactory academic progress criteria in the probationary semester, a student is ineligible for financial aid unless an appeal is made and granted by the appeals committee.

Example: If a student enrolls in 12 hours but only completes six, the student would not be making satisfactory academic progress because only 50 percent of the attempted course work was completed. However, if the student completes eight credit hours, then the student has met satisfactory progress because more than 66 percent of the attempted course work has been completed.

Maximum Time Frame

Federal regulations limit the maximum number of hours a student may attempt and continue to receive financial aid to 150 percent. The number of attempted hours is determined by the degree being pursued. Attempted hours are measured each semester after the second week of the semester.

Each student’s academic process will be measured after each semester has ended to determine the progress made for that semester. Summer semesters will also count as a term of attendance. Each semester of attendance shall be included in the annual review regardless of whether the student received financial assistance or not.

Withdrawals will be counted as attempted if occurring after the second week of class.

If a student fails to graduate within the time frame allotted, the student is ineligible for financial aid.

Degree Program

Hours Required

Maximum Hours

Semester Maximum

Early Childhood Education

128

192

16

Elementary Education

134

201

17

Middle School -Math

132

198

17

Middle School -Natural Science

130

195

16

Middle School -Social Science

132

198

16

Secondary Education: Unified Sci: Bio

149

224

18

Secondary English

130

195

16

Secondary Mathematics

130

195

16

Secondary Social Science

130

195

16

 

All Business Degrees (Accounting, Business Admin., Health Care Mgmt., Hospitality & Tourism Mgmt., Info. Sciences and Computer Tech.)

126

189

15

Criminal Justice

120

180

15

Professional Interdisciplinary Studies

120

180

15

Urban Education

120

180

15

 

Financial Aid Probation

Students who fail to achieve satisfactory academic progress for a semester will be placed on probation. During this semester students are required to sign a retention contract and attend retention sessions. Students are eligible to receive financial aid during the probationary semester.

Appeals

The Financial Aid Appeals Committee is comprised of Financial Aid office staff, advisors, and other University personnel. Financial aid appeals must be based on an undue hardship caused by a personal injury, illness, death of an immediate family member or other mitigating circumstances supported with appropriate documentation. Documentation must be provided. The appeals committee cannot\will not access any student’s private medical or educational records due to privacy laws. Appeals without appropriate documentation will be denied.

Financial Aid Suspension and Reinstatement

If a student is denied an appeal, the student is placed on Financial Aid Suspension. Students will have their eligibility for financial assistance reinstated when they have reached the level of satisfactory academic progress stated in the policy. They may achieve this status by the completion of incomplete grades, correction of incorrect grades, or by bringing their cumulative GPA up to a 2.0 without the benefit of financial aid. It is the student’s responsibility to inform the Office of Financial Assistance of any changes or corrections to their grades for further review.

The Office of Financial Assistance will publish this policy and will notify, by Hornets email, any student who is no longer eligible to receive financial aid funds. 

Transfer Students

Transfer students will be evaluated on the course work completed and the GPA achieved at their prior institution(s) before financial aid is processed. A student who does not meet the policy at Harris-Stowe will be placed on a probationary semester requiring 66 percent of their attempted hours completed and a 2.0 cumulative GPA to remain eligible for subsequent semesters.


HSSU Financial Aid Athletic Award Requirements
1) Student athletes must maintain a 2.0 CGPA at the end of each semester.

2) Student athletes must maintain a cumulative completion rate of 67 percent at the end of each semester.

3) Student athletes must be enrolled in at least 12 credit hours per semester. If a student drops a class, is administratively withdrawn, or never attends one or more of their classes and drops below 12 credit hours the athletic award will be removed. 

4) Student athletes who are on academic suspension, retention or financial aid suspension will not be eligible to receive an athletic award.

5) If a student athlete is not physically able or no longer eligible to play for the sport they have been given the athletic award, the award will be removed.

6) Student athletes must participate in all practices and games for the sport they are playing for the semester they are enrolled.

7) Student athletes must attend all classes they are enrolled in for the semester. It is the responsibility of the student to inform their professor(s) if they will be absent from class due to a scheduled game. As such, the student will be required to make up all work missed while absent.

8) Athletic awards cannot exceed the cost of tuition; not to exceed 12 credit hours a semester. In some cases, a book award of $500 can be granted at the discretion of the athletics’ director.

9) If a student receives another scholarship and the award amount exceeds tuition costs, then one or more of the scholarships will be reduced as needed.

10) Athletic awards may be reduced or removed as needed to prevent a student from being over awarded for the semester. Student athletes cannot receive a refund from an athletic award.

11) All student athletes must comply with the rules of the American Midwest Conference (AMC), National Association of the Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the Harris-Stowe State University Student-Athletic Handbook.


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