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Western determines how much you and your family can contribute by assessing the information you submit on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). To calculate this need, the federal government has developed a uniform calculation to determine how much each family is expected to contribute toward educational costs. After your level of financial need has been determined, Western will provide a financial aid package that will include all or some of the following forms of aid: grants, loans, and federal work-study.
Federal regulations require all schools participating in Title IV federal financial aid programs to have a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy. Title IV financial aid programs include: Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Federal Direct Subsidized Loan, Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan, and Federal Work‐Study. The requirements of this policy apply to all students as one determinant of eligibility for financial aid.
To remain eligible for federal grants, loans and work‐study, you must meet the standards indicated below at the end of each term. At the end of each term (Fall, Spring and Summer), you must earn the minimum number of credits and the minimum cumulative Grade Point Average. If you do not meet the minimum standards, your eligibility may be in jeopardy.
Grade Point Average – The qualitative measurement is your cumulative GPA used to determine your status. Students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0.
Pace – The quantitative requirement has two parts, (a) Required Completion Rate and (b) Maximum Time frame.
- Required Completion Rate – You must, regardless of degree, earn 67% of all credits attempted. This is a cumulative calculation and includes credits attempted at Western as well as all schools at which courses were taken and counted toward your Western degree. If you do not earn 67% of all credit hours attempted you will be placed on financial aid warning, probation, or suspension depending on your history.
- Maximum Time Frame – In order to maintain satisfactory academic progress, you must complete the degree program within a certain time period. Federal regulations stipulate that the maximum time frame for an undergraduate student cannot exceed 150% of the published length of the academic program. The maximum lengths of study depend on the degree you are currently pursuing. Once you reach the maximum time frame, you are no longer eligible for financial aid. Time is measured in credits, including transfer credits and credits attempted credits while at Western, regardless if you received financial aid and regardless if the credits were successfully completed. If you have reached your maximum time‐frame and have mitigating circumstances, you may appeal to Financial Aid Resources and Planning Services for a brief extension of your aid.
Maximum Time Frame Examples:
|Program||Credits Required for Graduation||Maximum Credits (Cumulative Attempted including Transfer)|
|Accounting (Associate Degree)||62||93|
|Medical Assistant (Technical Diploma)||33||49.5|
Determination of Eligibility
The minimum progress standards will be checked after each term of enrollment (Fall, Spring and Summer). If you do not meet the minimum requirements AND you have been placed in either ‘Suspension’ or ‘Maximum Time Frame Suspension’ status, refer to the “Reestablishing Eligibility” section.
If you are in compliance with Western’s Satisfactory Academic Progress policy you may remain eligible for financial aid if you change your program of study or complete one degree and pursue another degree.
- Change in Program – The maximum time frame for financial aid will include all credits for both past and current programs.
- All undergraduate credits attempted for a given term are counted.
- Audited Courses are not financial aid eligible and are excluded from SAP calculations.
- Consortium/Shared Program credits are included in financial aid SAP calculations.
- Remedial credits are included in your total hours attempted, and, if successfully completed, credits earned. Graded remedial credits are included in your GPA. You can only receive financial aid for 30 remedial credits while taking only remedial credits. Once the limit is reached, your financial aid eligibility will only be based on program-required classes in which you are enrolled.
- Repeated courses count against your maximum time frame (total attempted credits) and reduce your completion rate as they count as earned credits only once. You may repeat a previously passed class one time to review course material or improve a grade. All courses remain on the transcript. Only the highest grade is record and is included in the GPA calculation.
- Transfer credits (earned at another college and accepted by Western) count toward your maximum time frame and your completion rate but excluded from the GPA calculation.
Treatment of Grades
- Attempted‐Not Earned Credits – INC (incomplete), and W (withdrawn), are counted as credits attempted but not successfully completed.
- Attempted‐Earned Credits – Letter grades of A, B, C, D, and CR* count as completed credits.
- Grade Point Average – Grade Point Average (GPA) is calculated using a grade point value for grades A, B, C, D, F, and CR*. Grades of INC and W are excluded from the GPA calculation.
- Incomplete Grade – A grade of INC (incomplete) may be assigned at the discretion of the instructor. A grade of INC is a temporary grade and will automatically become an F grade four weeks after the end of the term if the required course work is not completed. The GPA and completion rate will be recalculated after the IC grades have been converted to F grades.
- Grade Changes – Grades that are changed (for example, through the grade appeal process) will result in the recalculation of the cumulative GPA and completion rate. It is your responsibility to notify Financial Aid Resources and Planning Services when a grade change occurs.
- Withdrawals – A grade of W is assigned when you withdraw from a class after the class has started. W grades are considered attempted but not successfully completed credits. A grade of W affects the completion rate and the maximum time frame calculations, but is excluded from the GPA calculation.
Failure to Meet Requirements
Failure to meet satisfactory academic progress (SAP) standards may result in a student being placed in one of the following SAP Statuses:
- Financial Aid Warning – You will be placed on Financial Aid ‘Warning’ status for one term if you fail to meet the required GPA and/or overall credit completion standards. Note: Students on ‘Warning’ are eligible for financial aid.
- To be removed from ‘Warning’ you must attain the required cumulative GPA and/or credit completion rate by the end of your ‘Warning’ period.
- Financial Aid Suspension – You will be placed on Financial Aid ‘Suspension’ if you fail to meet the required GPA and/or overall credit completion standards for two consecutive terms. Note: Students on ‘Suspension’ are NOT eligible for financial aid.
- Financial Aid Probation – Students who are placed on Financial Aid ‘Probation’ are those who have failed their ‘Warning’ period and have an approved academic appeal. Note: Students on ‘Probation’ are eligible for financial aid.
- To be removed from ‘Probation’ you must attain the required cumulative GPA and credit completion rate by the end of your ‘Probation’ period.
- Maximum Time Frame Warning status – Once your record shows you have attempted 125% or more of your undergraduate degree requirements, you will be placed on ‘Maximum Time Frame Warning’ status to indicate you are approaching the maximum time frame for your degree program. Note: Students on ‘Maximum Time Frame Probation’ are eligible for financial aid.
- Maximum Time Frame Suspension status – Once you have attempted credits in excess of 150% of attempted credits for your program, you will be placed in ‘Maximum Time Frame Suspension’ status. Note: Students on ‘Maximum Time Frame Suspension’ are NOT eligible for financial aid.
- Without use of financial aid – You may reestablish financial aid eligibility by enrolling at your own expense and attaining the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards.
- Probation – If you are suspended after the ‘Warning’ term, you may have the right to appeal your suspension status based on non‐academic, extenuating circumstances (i.e. death of an immediate family member, an extended illness, hospitalization, or injury of the student). To appeal a financial aid suspension, you must complete and submit the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal form. If the appeal is approved, you are put on a Probation status and may be required to follow a written Academic Plan.
- Academic Plan – If you are suspended after the ‘Probation’ term, (or you are not able to attain SAP standards after a ‘Warning’ period) you may also regain financial aid eligibility if an Academic Plan is approved with your College Advisor. If you have an approved Academic Plan you must follow the terms of the Academic Plan, which includes completing all courses with a C or better and not dropping any courses after they have stated. If you follow the terms of the Academic Plan, you are eligible for financial aid. However, if you fail to meet the terms of the Academic Plan, you will be permanently denied financial aid.
- Maximum Time Frame Plan – If you have reached 150% of your maximum time frame you may regain financial aid eligibility if a Maximum Time Frame Plan is approved with your College Advisor. With your approved Maximum Time Frame Plan, you must follow the terms of the plan (including the list of classes to be taken per term). If you follow the terms of the Maximum Time Frame Plan are eligible for financial aid.
Special Circumstances for 2021/22 (Fall ’21, Spring ’22, Summer ’22)
If you or your family has experienced a significant reduction in income compared to the financial information provided on the 2021/22 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), your circumstances may be eligible for Professional Judgment review. Circumstances may include one or more of the following:
- Loss or change of employment
- Divorce/separation of parents/spouse
- Change in marital status
- Death of parent(s) or spouse
- One-time taxable income
To request a review of your financial aid due to one of the circumstances listed above, complete ONE of the following (electronic or paper).
(If you are a student with a 0 Expected Family Contribution (EFC) already (you can determine this by logging into your MyFinAid account, selecting Accept Awards and reviewing the Total Resources), you are receiving the maximum grant amounts available and do not need to complete the Special Circumstances form.))
If you have additional expenses or other unrelated expenses not already included in your Cost of Attendance/Budget, you can ask to have your Cost of Attendance evaluated for a potential adjustment. In some cases, these adjustments will have no impact on the financial aid award, depending on the type and amount of the award.
Additional expenses that would be considered in a COA/Budget Appeal include:
- Computer expenses
- Transportation expenses, such as major vehicle repair
- Dependent care
- Program expenses that are not already included in the current budget allocation
- Study Abroad expenses
Additional expenses that are NOT considered in a COA/Budget Appeal include:
- Credit card debt or loan payments
- Routine car maintenance
- Moving expenses
- Cell phone bills
If approved, the Cost of Attendance budget increase may allow you to receive additional loan funding if you are not already receiving the maximum annual loan eligibility. To request a budget increase contact Jerolyn Grandall at email@example.com.
A dependency override allows a student who traditionally meets dependency status requirements for financial aid purposes an opportunity to appeal based on a special circumstance.
Students who seek a dependency override appeal generally face parental relationship challenges such as estrangement, abusive family environment, abandonment, extended incarceration or other situations.
If you do not have a special circumstance under the dependency override appeal criteria or meet any of the conditions to be considered an Independent student for financial aid purposes, your parents must provide their information on your FAFSA. This is required even if your parents do not claim you on their taxes, you do not live with them, or receive any financial support from them.
To learn more about Dependency Overrides, contact the Manager of Financial Aid Resources and Planning Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dates of Record (2nd Friday of the Term)
Student enrollment status will be reviewed prior to the first disbursement and awards will be adjusted accordingly. After the Date of Record, a student's aid package may be adjusted if classes are cancelled or if they drop a class that has not started. Students may owe a repayment.
Payment of financial aid is based on the number of credits enrolled as of the Date of Record for that trimester. If you add any classes after the Date of Record, your financial aid grant eligibility will not increase. There are no exceptions. Contact Financial Aid Resources and Planning Services at 608-785-9579 for student loan options.
Upcoming Dates of Record
Fall 2021 term: September 17, 2021
Fall 2021 term - CBE 2nd Start: October 22, 2021 (for Competency Based Education programs)
Fall 2021 term - CBE 3rd Start: November 19, 2021 (for Competency Based Education programs)
Spring 2022 term: January 21, 2022
Spring 2022 term - CBE 2nd Start: February 25, 2022 (for Competency Based Education programs)
Spring 2022 term - CBE 3rd Start: March 25, 2022 (for Competency Based Education programs)
Summer 2022 term: May 20, 2022
Summer 2022 term - CBE 2nd Start: June 24, 2022 (for Competency Based Education programs)
Summer 2022 term - CBE 3rd Start: July 22, 2022 (for Competency Based Education programs)
Always contact Financial Aid Resources and Planning Services before dropping classes to determine the effect on your award.
Federal law states that if students receive federal aid and withdraw or drop ALL classes before completing 60% of the trimester, students may have to return a portion of the federal aid received. Federal law also states that once students have completed 60% of the trimester, they have earned 100% of their aid. (Refer to the Return of Title IV Funds Calculation below).
Return of Title IV Funds Calculation
Upon total withdrawal, a student's Federal Financial Aid will be re-evaluated to determine the amount of financial aid a student has earned and how much unearned aid is required to be returned to the appropriate agencies. This includes Federal Financial Aid that was originally used to pay tuition. The total amount required to be returned will be adjusted on the student's account. If the student has a pending refund, it will be used to offset the amount the student is responsible to repay, if any. Please review your MyWestern student account to review the adjustment and see if a balance is owed.
The calculation for determining the percentage of 'earned' and 'unearned' Financial Aid is based on the total number of days completed (up to the withdrawal date) divided by the total number of days in the trimester.
The impact on a student's financial aid will depend on several factors:
- Date of Withdrawal—the actual date the withdrawal process began, or the student's last date of attendance
- Total amount of tuition and fees
- Amount of Federal Financial Aid awarded (disbursed & not disbursed)
Any return of tuition will go to the following federal funds in priority order:
- Direct Unsubsidized Loan
- Direct Subsidized Loan
- Direct Parent PLUS Loan
- Federal Pell Grant
- Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
If you received all “F” grades and an instructor indicated you ceased attendance during the term, you will be considered an “unofficial withdrawal” and a “Return of Title IV Funds Calculation” will be processed by Financial Aid at 50% completion of the semester. You may owe a repayment.
If you received a “F” in a class and an instructor indicated you never attended, your aid package may be revised and you may owe a repayment.
Withdrawal date is defined as the actual date you begin the withdrawal process or your last date of attendance. If you receive all “F” grades for a term, you may be considered an “unofficial withdrawal” and may be required to repay at least 50% of the institutional costs. Your drop and/or withdrawal will affect your Satisfactory Academic Progress.
Certain developmental coursework (if referred by counselor) can be added to a student’s credit load for financial aid purposes if the student maintains at least six regular credits. Dropping or being dropped from a credit course(s) may require repayment of ALL or a portion of financial aid.
If you are enrolled to audit a course you will not be eligible to receive aid for that course.
Your enrollment status will be reviewed prior to the first disbursement and your awards will be adjusted accordingly. If your enrollment status has changed as of the 2nd Friday of the trimester at 4:00 p.m. (Date of Record) your financial aid award package will be recalculated and locked in based on your enrollment status as of this date. (After the Date of Record your aid package may be recalculated if classes are cancelled or if you drop a class that has not started.) You may owe a repayment.
A student cannot receive financial aid at two colleges for the same payment/enrollment period.