|MWSU | Financial Aid||F Satisfactory Academic Progress/Return of Title IV Funds|
The Office of Financial Aid communicates with enrolled and prospective students via the student's Missouri Western email and Goldlink accounts. As a general rule, financial aid notices will not be sent by postal mail. Students are responsible for monitoring their status online through Goldlink and for ALL communications sent to their Missouri Western email account.
Incoming students will be issued a Missouri Western email and Goldlink account upon acceptance to the University. Students are encouraged to activate these accounts as soon as possible after receiving access instructions.
Examples of communications sent from the Office of Financial Aid include:
Federal Financial Aid regulations indicate that an individual who does not automatically qualify as an independent student for FAFSA purposes may be reclassified as independent if a financial aid administrator makes a documented determination of independence by reason of unusual circumstances. This determination is commonly referred to as a Dependency Override.
The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) has provided guidance to assist financial aid administrators in making consistent and reasonable Dependency Override decisions.
In accordance with DOE guidance, Missouri Western adheres to the policy that a dependency override cannot be approved for an otherwise dependent FAFSA applicant if one or more following conditions are the ONLY circumstances cited by the applicant:
A Dependency Override generally may be considered for an otherwise dependent FAFSA applicant if one or more of the following conditions are cited by the applicant in his/her written appeal and supported by additional documentation:
Dependency Override Appeal
The student's appeal should provide convincing justification that he/she is truly independent based on at least one of the above conditions.
Approval of a Dependency Override cannot be based solely on the fact that the student was approved for a Dependency Override for the previous award year. However, the previous year’s determination may be a factor in the Dependency Override decision.
In addition, approval of a Dependency Override by a financial aid administrator at another college or university does not mean that a similar determination will automatically be made by Missouri Western. However, the other school’s decision may be a factor in the Dependency Override determination.
Dependency Override determinations are always made by the Missouri Western Office of Financial Aid on an individual, case-by-case basis.
Financial aid funds will be released to student accounts in two equal disbursements and will first be applied to outstanding charges for tuition, fees, room, board, and other University expenses. Remaining funds will be issued to the student. By Federal regulation, excess funds MUST be used for educational expenses.
For students graduating in December, please be aware that student loans must be issued in two disbursements - the first during the third week of class and the second at the midpoint of the semester.
NOTE: If a student's aid package includes PLUS loan funds, credit balance checks will be made payable to the student or parent and will be mailed to the parent’s home address.
The Financial Aid Office will disburse funds each Friday beginning the 2nd Friday of each semester*.
*Federal regulations prohibit the disbursement of Federal Stafford Loan proceeds to freshman, first-time borrowers until 30 days after classes begin. Students should be prepared to cover expenses, such as books, until loan funds are released to the school.
Financial Aid Advance to Purchase Books and Supplies
If a student is scheduled to receive more financial assistance than their current charges, Missouri Western will transfer up to $750 of pending financial assistance to the student's ID card. These funds may be used to purchase books and supplies at the campus bookstore located in the Blum Student Union. The actual amount used will be deducted from pending financial aid. Eligible students will receive notification and instructions via their Missouri Western email account 10 days prior to the first day of classes each semester.
Only the amount of actual purchases will be deducted from the student's excess financial aid. Any unused funds will be issued to the student in the form of a credit balance refund.
Students who use their Missouri Western ID cards to purchase books and supplies, are authorizing the campus bookstore to submit the actual value of their purchases to Missouri Western State University to be deducted from their pending financial aid, regardless of its source. Should the student's financial aid be reduced for any reason the student's account must be paid within thirty (30) days. Students who default on their account, will be responsible for all attorneys' fees, other costs and charges necessary for the collection of the unpaid balance.
If a student needs to return books or supplies purchased using his or her Missouri Western ID, the items must be returned to the campus bookstore. The bookstore will forward the return amount to Missouri Western State University and the student's account will be credited. All refunds will be issued within two weeks.
Only textbooks and school supplies may be purchased through this program. Clothing, emblematic gifts and convenience items may not be purchased.
A student may elect to opt out simply by not presenting his or her ID at the campus bookstore.
To be eligible for financial assistance, students must:
High school students taking dual credit coursework, visiting college students who are not seeking a degree from Missouri Western, and self-enrichment students will not be eligible to receive financial assistance.
Otherwise eligible undergraduate students who have already received a bachelor's degree may only receive loan funds while pursuing an additional major or bachelor's degree. This includes students in double major or dual degree programs who have already met the requirements for one major or degree.
Students Enrolled at More Than One Institution
Students who are enrolled at more than one college or university at the same time may receive financial aid from only one of the institutions, not both. Contact the Office of Financial Aid for more information.
Students may view and accept offered awards on Goldlink beginning April 15th each year. Regulations require students to report any external sources of monetary assistance that are not reflected on the award notification.
Financial aid awards are based the student’s demonstrated financial need, enrollment status, achievement, and other criteria. It is the student’s responsibility to notify the Financial Aid Office when there is a change in enrollment status, or if there is a change in family, or financial situation that may affect eligibility to receive financial assistance.
Financial aid awards may be reduced or canceled if aid received from ALL sources causes the student to exceed unmet need or cost of attendance or if the student does not meet eligibility criteria. Adjustments made to financial aid awards or in a student’s eligibility to receive financial assistance will be posted on Goldlink.
The federal Central Processing System (CPS) selects approximately 30% of all FAFSA filers for the verification review process. Missouri Western may also select additional filers for review to ensure accuracy and consistency.
During the review, the Financial Aid Office will verify all mandatory items identified by the U.S. Department of Education (adjusted gross income, non-taxable income, household size, number of exemptions, the number in college and taxes paid, food stamps and child support paid). In addition, the Financial Aid Office may verify discretionary items.
Notification of Selection
Students who are selected for a verification review, by either the CPS or by Missouri Western, will be notified via their Missouri Western email account and will see all required documents listed on Goldlink.
The Financial Aid Office must collect all required documents and resolve any conflicting information before awarding aid.
Applicants whose FAFSA information requires correction will have those corrections electronically processed by the Financial Aid Office. The corrections will generate an updated Student Aid Report (SAR) which will be sent to the student by the federal Central Processing System (CPS). The student's Expected Family Contribution (EFC) may change based on corrections made.
If conflicting information is discovered after aid is awarded or disbursed, the Financial Aid Office must resolve the conflicting information and the student will be required to repay aid received in excess of his/her eligibility. All conflicts must be resolved regardless of whether the student was selected for verification or not.
Over-Payments of Aid
Federal law provides that a student who has been convicted of an offense under any federal or state law involving the possession or sale of a controlled substance during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving financial aid shall not be eligible to receive any federal or institutional grant, loan, or work assistance during the period beginning on the date of such conviction and ending after the interval specified in the following table.
If convicted of an offense involving:
A student whose eligibility has been suspended based on a conviction for possession or sale of a controlled substance may resume eligibility before the end of the ineligibility period if:
Federal regulations require institutions to establish reasonable standards to ensure that recipients of Title IV financial aid are making satisfactory academic progress toward completion of a degree program. These standards must establish the maximum timeframe for degree completion and include minimum standards for rate of completion (pace) and cumulative GPA.
Satisfactory academic progress (SAP) will be evaluated at the end of each semester based on each of the standards outlined below. A student who fails to meet satisfactory academic progress standards will lose eligibility for federal financial assistance the following semester. Federal financial assistance consists of the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Work-Study, Federal Stafford Loans, Federal Perkins Loans, Federal Parent Loans, Federal SEOG, and Federal TEACH Grant.
Attempted and Completed Hours
Attempted Hours consist of any hours the student is enrolled in at the end of the official add/drop period including those hours that are earned, withdrawn from, audited, repeated, failed, taken as pass/fail or are incomplete. Hours for which the student did not receive financial aid and those waived under an academic renewal policy must be included as attempted hours.
Successful completion is defined as the absence of failing or incomplete grades and voluntary/involuntary withdrawals.
Remedial coursework will count as both attempted and completed hours. Transfer hours that are accepted toward the student’s educational program will count as both attempted and completed hours.
A current student who falls below satisfactory academic progress standards for the 1st time may be granted a one (1) semester warning period to improve his or her progress. During the warning period the student may continue to receive federal financial assistance. To be granted a warning period, the student must attend a satisfactory academic progress seminar and sign a warning period acknowledgement.
If the student fails to meet satisfactory academic progress standards at the end of the warning period, he or she will lose eligibility for federal financial aid the following semester.
Students who have exceeded the maximum timeframe for degree completion or have lost eligibility under the standards of a previous satisfactory academic progress policy will not be eligible for a warning period.
In addition, transfer students who are not meeting Missouri Western's Satisfactory Academic Progress standards will be required to submit a letter of appeal to the Satisfactory Academic Progress Committee.
Approaching the Maximum Timeframe
Federal regulations require Missouri Western to ensure that each recipient of Federal financial assistance is able to complete degree requirements within 150% of the published length of the program as measured in attempted hours. In compliance with this regulation, Missouri Western will conduct an evaluation of each student's degree progress each semester as indicated below. In addition, bachelor's degree seeking student should officially declare a degree program upon completion of 60 attempted hours.
If it is determined that a student cannot complete his or her program of study within this timeframe, he or she will become ineligible for federal financial assistance.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Process
A student may submit a written appeal to the Satisfactory Academic Progress Committee if documentable extenuating circumstances caused the student to fall below satisfactory academic progress standards or exceed the maximum timeframe allowed for degree completion.
Examples of circumstances that may warrant an appeal include: lengthy hospitalization or illness; death of a parent, spouse or child at a critical time during the semester; lengthy illness of a child or spouse; or other mitigating circumstance.
Appeals should include the following documentation:
Examples of documentation supporting the extenuating circumstance include: medical documentation; notice of death; accident reports; court documentation; or other relevant documentation.
Appeal deadlines for each term should be posted on the financial aid website. Students may also contact the Financial Aid Office for deadline dates. The decision of the University Satisfactory Academic Progress Committee is final.
A probationary period may be granted only after a student has appealed and has had eligibility for aid reinstated based on the appeal. Students who are granted a one (1) semester probationary period will be required to adhere to an academic plan that, if followed, will ensure the student will complete his or her degree program within the maximum timeframe.
As a general rule, a student on an academic plan will be required to successfully complete all attempted courses with a grade of C or higher and not audit or withdraw from any course. In addition, the student may be required to enroll in only those courses required for completion of his or her degree program and may not be allowed to change his or her major without approval from the Satisfactory Academic Progress Committee. An individual academic plan may also include additional requirements as deemed appropriate by the Satisfactory Academic Progress Committee.
A student on financial aid probation may receive Title IV funds for one semester. At that point, the student must meet satisfactory academic progress standards or the requirements of the established individual academic plan to maintain eligibility for federal financial assistance.
Additional Degree Programs and Degree Completion
A student, who is pursuing an additional undergraduate degree, after completion of the first undergraduate program, should be able to complete degree requirements within 200% of the published length of the program as measured by the student’s overall attempted hours.
Students enrolled in both an associate’s and baccalaureate degree program simultaneously, who have attempted greater than 92 hours, must be enrolled in coursework relevant to the baccalaureate degree program to receive federal financial aid. In this situation, students may be required to appeal to the Satisfactory Academic Progress Committee for reinstatement of financial aid eligibility.
A student who has completed all required coursework for his or her degree program but has not yet received the degree, may not receive further financial aid for that program.
Remedial and Repeated Coursework
Federal regulations allow students to receive financial aid for up to 30 credit hours of remedial coursework. Remedial coursework taken in excess of this limitation must be excluded from the student’s financial aid enrollment status.
Federal financial aid regulations allow students to repeat any coursework previously taken in the program as long as it is not a result of more than one repetition of a previously passed course, or any repetition of a previously passed course due to the student failing other coursework.
Repeating coursework can affect a student’s satisfactory academic progress status in the following manner: the repeated course and the original attempt will be counted in the calculation of overall attempted hours; and the most recent grade received for the course will be included in the calculation of GPA.
Communication of 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 Goldlink and for ALL communications sent to their Missouri Western email account.
The Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) provides the authority for the financial aid administrator to exercise discretion in a number of areas when a student has special or unusual circumstances. This authority is known as professional judgment. It allows the financial aid administrator to treat a student individually when conditions exist that differentiate that student from a class of students.
Financial Aid Administrators have the discretion to exercise professional judgment to adjust student reported information to account for special circumstances. Professional Judgment can also be exercised in the areas of:
An appeal for Professional Judgment based on special circumstances should include:
Examples of requested documentation include:
An appeal regarding a parent loan (PLUS) approval should include:
A Professional Judgment determination cannot be based solely on the fact that the student was approved the previous award year. However, the previous year’s determination may be a factor in the decision.
In addition, approval of an appeal by a financial aid administrator at another college or university does not mean that a similar determination will automatically be made by Missouri Western. However, the other school’s decision may be a factor in the determination.
Professional Judgment determinations are always made by the Missouri Western Office of Financial Aid on an individual, case-by-case basis.
Official transcripts from all college level coursework must be received and evaluated prior to determining a student's final eligibility for federal financial assistance. No financial assistance will be disbursed until it has been determined that the student is maintaining the academic standards outlined in Missouri Western's Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy. Students should be aware that it can take up to 30 days to complete an evaluation once all transcripts have been received. Students who submit official transcripts after the midpoint of the semester will not be guaranteed financial aid for that semester.
A transfer student who has earned a cumulative GPA that is below a 2.00 or who has not successfully completed at least 70% of the courses he or she has attempted will not be eligible for federal financial assistance. Please refer to Missouri Western's Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for information regarding the student's right to appeal.
A student seeking a first bachelor's degree, who has attempted greater than 134 hours (60 attempted hours for associate's degree seeking students), will be required to submit a letter of appeal to the Satisfactory Academic Progress Committee.
If it is determined that the student cannot complete degree requirements within the maximum timeframe outlined in Missouri Western's Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy, he or she will become ineligible for federal financial assistance.
Transfer students are encouraged to contact the Financial Aid Office for additional information.
Federal regulations specify how Missouri Western must determine the amount of Title IV program assistance that a student has earned if he or she officially withdraws or stops attending. The Title IV programs that are governed by this law are the Federal Pell Grants, Academic Competitiveness Grants, National SMART grants, TEACH Grants, Stafford Loans, PLUS Loans, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOGs), and Federal Perkins Loans.
When a student withdraws or stops attending, the amount of assistance that the student has earned is determined on a prorata basis. For example, if the student has completed 30% of the semester, he or she has earned 30% of the assistance that was scheduled for the period. Once a student has completed more than 60% of the semester, he or she has earned all scheduled assistance for the period. If the student did not receive all of the assistance that was earned, a post-withdrawal disbursement may be due.
If the post-withdrawal disbursement includes loan funds, Missouri Western must receive the student's permission before these funds may be disbursed. The student may choose to decline some, or all, of the loan funds so that additional debt is not incurred.
Missouri Western may automatically use all, or a portion of the student's post-withdrawal disbursement of grant funds for tuition, fees, and room and board charges, however, will require permission to use the post-withdrawal grant disbursement for all other charges. It may be in the student's best interest to allow Missouri Western to keep the funds to reduce debt with the institution.
If a student has received unearned Title IV program funds, Missouri Western MUST return a portion of the excess that is equal to the student’s institutional charges multiplied by the unearned percentage of funds or the entire amount of excess funds, whichever is less.
If Missouri Western is not required to return all of the excess funds, the student must return the remaining amount. Any loan funds that the student must return may be repaid in accordance with the terms of the promissory note. That is, the student may make scheduled payments to the holder of the loan over a period of time.
Any amount of unearned grant funds that a student must return is called an overpayment. The maximum amount of a grant overpayment that the student must repay is half of the grant funds he or she received or was scheduled to receive. The student must make arrangements with the Missouri Western Business Office to return unearned grant funds.
The requirements for Title IV program funds when a student withdraws or stops attending are separate from Missouri Western's Refund Policy. Therefore, a student may still owe funds to Missouri Western to cover unpaid institutional charges. The student will also be responsible for any Title IV program funds that Missouri Western was required to return on his or her behalf.
Missouri Western's Refund Policy may be found online at www.missouriwestern.edu/businessoffice.
Missouri Western's Official Withdrawal Policy may be found online at www.missouriwestern.edu/registrar.
If you have questions about your Title IV program funds, you can call the Federal Student Aid Information