Federal Verification, Withdrawal, and Satisfactory Progress Policies

 

 

The federal government chooses some FAFSA applications for a process called verification. Through verification, certain data elements listed on the processed FAFSA must be verified by the Student Financial Services office. Students are notified on their processed FAFSA and in their financial aid award packet if they have been selected for verification and what documents are needed.

Verification of Federal Income Tax Information: In order to verify your federal income tax data, student and/or parents (if applicable) must choose the IRS Data Retrieval option in the online FAFSA at fafsa.gov. If the tax filer is not eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval option or is unable to successfully use this option, they must then submit an official IRS tax transcript to Student Financial Services. Tax filers may obtain a PDF copy of their transcript in real-time at IRS.gov or they can order one by calling 1.800.908.9946. Click here to see an overview of the PDF icon IRS Data Retrieval Process

 

IRS Data Retrieval Process: The IRS Data Retrieval Tool allows students and parents to access the IRS tax return information needed to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and transfer the data directly into their FAFSA from the IRS Web site.

If you are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, we highly recommend using the tool for several reasons:

  • It's the easiest way to provide your tax data.
  • It's the best way of ensuring that your FAFSA has accurate tax information.
  • You won't need to provide a copy of your or your parents' tax returns to your college.

 

Students or parents who are married and filed as Married Filing Separately, are married and filed as Head of Household, filed a Form 1040X amended tax return, or filed a Puerto Rican or foreign tax return are not eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, and will need to enter their tax return information manually. Remember, the Form 1040X is used to correct your original filed tax return.

Additionally, students or parents who filed their tax returns electronically within the last three weeks, or through the mail within the last eleven weeks, might need to either enter their tax return information manually or return at a later date to transfer their tax return information into the FAFSA, as their tax return information might not be available for transfer from the IRS.

If you are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, then click Link To IRS to transfer your tax return information from the IRS Web site into your FAFSA. (Note: If you previously transferred your tax return information from the IRS, or you indicate that you filed your tax return electronically within the last three weeks or through the mail within the last eleven weeks, then the Link To IRS button displays once you click the "View option to link to the IRS" hyperlink.)

If you are ineligible or otherwise choose not to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to retrieve tax information, your college may require a copy of your IRS Tax Return Transcript (or your parents' IRS Tax Return Transcript, if you are a dependent student).

Verification of Other Information: Students chosen for verification must submit specified documents. Students and/or parents (if applicable) may need to complete a Verification Worksheet supplied by the Student Financial Services office or, in some cases, simply certify (sign) informational statements. The specific requirements for the student are listed in SAIC Self-Service on the “To Do List” and are also sent by mail to the student with their award letter or under separate cover. The verification process must be completed immediately to avoid a delay in processing. Financial aid (including federal loans and Federal Work-Study payments) may not be disbursed until this process has been completed. Students who secure Federal Work-Study positions must complete verification before submitting a work authorization.

VERIFICATION DEADLINES: For purposes of the Federal Pell Grant, verification must be completed by 120 days after the last day of the student's enrollment. For purposes of FSEOG and the Federal Stafford, PLUS, loan programs, verification must be completed before the last day of attendance; for all other types of aid, verification must be completed before June 30 of the award year. Students who miss the required deadlines risk losing their eligibility for funds.

Return to Title IV Funds  (R2T4)—Financial Aid Withdrawal Policy  

Federal (Title IV) Financial Aid Withdrawal Policy (R2T4)—Fall, Spring, and 12-week Summer Session

The Student Financial Services office recalculates federal financial aid eligibility for students who withdraw, drop out, are dismissed, or take a leave of absence prior to completing a semester.  For student who withdraw, either officially or unofficially, on or before completing 60 percent of the term,  and have received Title IV federal funds in the form of a Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG),  Federal Direct Stafford Loan, or a Federal Direct PLUS Loan, the federal government requires that SAIC review the student’s eligibility for those funds. 

SAIC is required to apply a federally mandated formula to determine how much of the federal funding was “earned” up to the time of withdrawal. This review and recalculation is called  “Return to Title IV(R2T4).”   The Title IV funds that were disbursed in excess of the earned amount must be returned to the federal government by the school and/or the student.  If a student has received a refund from financial aid, which was to be used for education-related personal expenses,  the student may be required to return a portion of those funds to the school. This portion represents funds that were intended to pay for education-related expenses through the end of the term. 

The  amount to be returned to the school will be determined by institutional costs, refunds  received for non-school expenses and the funds that must be returned to the government.  The amount to be returned to the federal government will be calculated from the date the student officially withdrew from classes or, in the case of an unofficial withdrawal, the last date the student was involved in an academically related activity. An unofficial withdrawal is when a student stops attending classes, but does not withdraw from those classes or notify the school  and eventually receives NCR grades. In the case of a student earning all NCR grades, the instructor reported last date of attendance is used to determine the withdrawal date, and the amount of aid to be returned. If a last date of attendance is not received from the instructor, the mid-point of the semester will be used.

*Federal financial aid  subject to this calculation includes the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans and Federal PLUS Loans.

**"Withdrawal date" is defined as the actual date the student began the institution's withdrawal process, the students' last date of recorded attendance, or the midpoint of the semester for a student who leaves without notifying the institution.

 

Return To Title IV Funds (R2T4)—Summer Module Session Financial Aid Withdrawal Policy

(For module sessions other than 12 weeks in length)

The summer term is subject to federal financial aid withdrawal rules that differ from those rules for other terms because the summer term is offered in modules. A module is a course that does not span the entire length of a term. The summer term is 12 weeks long and summer term courses are offered in sessions that are three weeks, six weeks, nine weeks, and twelve weeks in length. For purposes of this policy, sessions that are three, six, or nine weeks in length are considered modules.

If a student enrolls in at least one module during the summer term, then the student is subject to this policy. If a student enrolls only in courses in the twelve week session, then the student is subject to the same Federal (Title IV) Financial Aid Withdrawal Return to Title IV Funds (R2T4) Policy that applies during the fall and spring terms and is not subject to this summer policy. This summer policy is separate from the Federal (Title IV) Financial Aid Withdrawal Policy Return to Title IV Funds (R2T4) that applies to the fall and spring terms.

 

Students are encouraged to officially withdraw per the SAIC policies listed in the Bulletin in order to have their records processed as accurately as possible. In such cases where students do not officially withdraw, they may be considered an unofficial withdrawal.
 
Federal financial aid regulations state that a student who has federal aid and receives failing grades in all courses for a semester must be considered an unofficial withdrawal unless the institution can document that the student engaged in some academic activity beyond the 60 percent point of that semester.
 
Each semester, the Registration and Records office will review these students to determine if they must be considered an unofficial withdrawal. Final determination must be made within 30 days after the last day of the semester.
 
If the student is determined to be an unofficial withdrawal, the Student Financial Services office is required to perform a repayment calculation to ascertain the amount of federal financial aid which was “unearned” by that student for the period for which no activity can be documented and, therefore, must be returned to the federal aid programs (excluding Federal Work-Study).
 
This is documented in the Return of Funds Policy listed in the Bulletin at saic.edu/bulletin and on the SAIC Student Financial Services website at saic.edu/sfs. For any student for whom the last date of academic activity cannot be documented as occurring on or after the 60 percent point of semester, the withdrawal date will be considered the midpoint (50 percent) of the semester unless documented otherwise. The result is 50 percent of their federal aid is unearned and must be returned to the federal aid programs. This may result in a balance due on the student's account and is the student's responsibility. Any adjustments made will appear on their next invoice.

 

The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended by the Program Integrity Regulations passed on October 29, 2010, mandates institutions of higher education to establish a standard of satisfactory academic progress for students who receive federal financial aid.

Therefore, to be eligible to receive Title IV financial aid funds, including Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants, Federal Work-Study, and Federal Direct Loan Programs (Stafford, PLUS, and Grad PLUS), students must meet SAIC's financial aid satisfactory academic progress standards (FASAP).

SAIC will also use FASAP to determine a student's eligibility to receive SAIC need-based financial aid. Below you will find SAIC's Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress plans for undergraduate students and graduate and certificate students. It is important to note that FASAP is calculated separately from academic good standing. Students are responsible for being familiar with both of these policies. Students who do are not in good standing and are placed on suspension are ineligible to receive financial aid but may, however, appeal their status as in written in the FASAP Policy.  Questions can be directed to Academic Advising or Student Financial Services as appropriate.

General Information

The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended by the Program Integrity Regulations, effective July 1, 2011, mandates that institutions of higher education establish a standard of satisfactory academic progress for students who receive federal student financial aid under Title IV of the Higher Education Act (referred to in this policy as “Federal Student Aid”). Therefore, to be eligible to receive Federal Student Aid, including Pell Grants, Perkins Loans, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants, Federal Work-­­Study, and Federal Direct Loan

Programs (Stafford and PLUS), undergraduate students must meet SAIC’s financial aid satisfactory academic progress standards (FASAP) as outlined in this policy. SAIC will also use FASAP to determine a student’s eligibility to receive SAIC need-­­based financial aid.

FASAP looks at two factors: whether the student is in good standing and the student’s pace of completion. FASAP will be measured three times a year, after the completion of the Fall, Spring and Summer semesters. FASAP will also be measured at the end of each student's second year.

It is important to note that FASAP is calculated separately from Academic Standing. Students are responsible for being familiar with both of these policies. Questions can be directed to Academic Advising or Student Financial Services, as applicable.

 

Standards

  1. Financial Aid Good Standing (Qualitative)

Undergraduate students are considered to be in financial aid good standing when they receive credit toward their degree for 2/3 of all credit hours attempted.

SAIC adheres to a credit/no credit grading system. Successful completion of a course will result in a grade of CR for Credit and will count toward the student’s degree. Grades of NCR for No Credit, W for Withdrawal and INC for Incomplete represent unsuccessful completion of a course, and will not count toward the student’s degree. To determine whether a student is in financial aid good standing, FASAP measures cumulative credit hours completed (grades of CR) versus cumulative credit hours attempted (grades of CR, NCR, W and INC). Credits attributable to all repeated courses (discussed below) are included in this equation. Transfer credits accepted by SAIC are also included in this equation as both hours attempted and hours completed. It is important for students to note that hours attempted includes courses for which a W grade for withdrawal (including those received through the Academic Review Board) was received, regardless of whether or not the student was passing the course at the time of withdrawal.

2.  Pace of Completion/Maximum Time Frames (Quantitative)

  1. Federal Student Aid. At the completion of the Fall, Spring and Summer semesters, students' cumulative pace of completion will be calculated. Pace of completion 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, regardless of whether or not the student received Federal Student Aid for those credit hours. For quantitative purposes, grades of NCR for No Credit, W for Withdrawal and INC for Incomplete represent unsuccessful completion of a course, and will be counted towards pace of completion when calculating the maximum number of hours that can be attempted. Credits attributable to all repeated courses (discussed below) are included in the hours attempted. Transfer hours are included in both the completed and attempted hours. In order to remain eligible for Federal Student Aid, a student must progress throughout the educational program at a pace sufficient to ensure that the student will complete the program within the maximum timeframe permitted for Federal Student Aid, which is defined at 150% of the length of the degree program as measured in credit hours. SAIC requires students to maintain a consistent pace throughout their academic program. Therefore, to meet the pace of completion standard, a student must have successfully completed 2/3 of the cumulative credit hours attempted through the review period. It is important to note that a student who reaches a point at which he or she cannot complete the degree requirements within 150% of the program's required hours will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension (defined below), unless the student successfully appeals such suspension.

 

Students who change degrees will be expected to maintain the pace of progression and complete the degree within the maximum time frame of the degree into which they transfer.

  1. SAIC Need-­­Based Financial Aid.  In order to maintain eligibility for SAIC need-­­ based financial aid, a student must meet the pace of completion criteria outlined above. However, notwithstanding anything in this policy to the contrary, a student's eligibility for SAIC need-­­based financial aid will terminate when:
  • the student has completed the number of credit hours required for the degree or certificate in his or her program of record, or
  • has attempted 156 credit hours for their degree requiring 126 credit hours for completion.

 

Administration

1.  Notice

Students will be notified by email or in writing if they fail to achieve financial aid good standing or maintain pace of completion after FASAP is reviewed. (Note that because of the criteria used to measure the two standards, a student who fails to achieve good standing will typically also fail to maintain pace of completion.) Students who are not in good standing or maintaining pace of completion and who have received an INC grade(s) will be reviewed again after the end of the add/drop period of the next term (i.e., once a final grade of CR/NCR has been awarded).

2.  Financial Aid Warning

An undergraduate student who has not successfully completed 2/3 of all credit hours attempted during the review process will be placed on Financial Aid Warning until the next review period. During this warning period, the student will be eligible to receive Federal Student Aid and SAIC need-­­based funds.  A student who has successfully completed 2/3 of all credit hours attempted at the next review period will return to financial aid good standing and/or resume pace of completion. A student who has not successfully completed 2/3 of all credit hours attempted at the next review period will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension.

3.  Financial Aid Suspension

A student on Financial Aid Suspension is no longer eligible to receive Federal Student Aid or SAIC need-­­based financial aid.

4.  Appeal of Financial Aid Suspension

An undergraduate student may appeal his or her Financial Aid Suspension with the Student Financial Services Office if the student believes that extenuating circumstances exist. Appeals should be submitted on the FASAP Appeal Form available in the Student Financial Services Office and on the SAIC website. Appeals must be received at least one week prior to the first day of classes of the following semester. The student’s appeal must include why he or she failed to make satisfactory academic progress (i.e., death of a relative, injury, illness or other circumstances) and what has changed that will allow the student to make satisfactory academic progress by the end of the next payment period. Prior to submitting an appeal, it is recommended that the student meet with his or her Student Financial Services Advisor. The

decision of the Student Financial Services Office with respect to the student’s appeal will be final and the student will not be entitled to amend and re-­­submit his or her request for appeal.

5.  Financial Aid Probation

If an undergraduate student successfully appeals his or her Financial Aid Suspension, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Probation and will be expected to meet financial aid good standing and/or resume pace of completion by the end of the next payment period. (SAIC has three payment periods: Summer, Fall and Winter/Spring.) Alternatively, a student on Financial Aid Probation may be placed on an academic plan that will ensure that the student is able to meet satisfactory academic progress for financial aid purposes by a specific point in time. An academic plan will be coordinated with an Academic Advisor to ensure success. If a student does not successfully meet the previously listed terms of their Financial Aid Probation, he or she will return to Financial Aid Suspension and will no longer be eligible to receive Federal Student Aid or SAIC need-­­based financial aid.

6.  Alternative Actions

A student who is unsuccessful in his or her attempt to appeal a Financial Aid Suspension or who does not wish to pursue an appeal of such suspension may nonetheless regain eligibility for Federal Student Aid and SAIC need-­­based financial aid by taking actions that bring him or her into compliance with the standards of this policy. For example, a student who continues to take classes without using Federal Student Aid or SAIC need-­­based financial aid may be returned to financial aid good standing when he or she successfully completes 2/3 of all credit hours attempted. Alternative actions, however, cannot serve as the basis of regaining eligibility for Federal Student Aid or SAIC need-­­based aid by a student who reaches a point at which he or  she cannot complete the degree requirements within 150% of the program's required hours.

 

Repeated Courses

Except for institutionally approved repeatable courses, students may repeat a course and receive Federal Student Aid only once in the case of a passed course. Students may receive Federal Student Aid for repeat of failed courses until the course is passed, subject to the eligibility requirements stated above. Credits attributable to all repeated courses are included in the hours attempted for qualitative and quantitative purposes.

 

Second Degree Students

Students seeking a second undergraduate degree are subject to the maximum time frame as outlined earlier in the policy. Students pursuing a second undergraduate degree are eligible for federal student loans and federal work-­­study only, through the federal financial aid programs.

 

Noncredit Courses

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago does not offer or transfer noncredit courses toward undergraduate degrees.

 

 

Rev 08/28/15

General Information

The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended by the Program Integrity Regulations, effective July 1, 2011, mandates that institutions of higher education establish a standard of satisfactory academic progress for students who receive federal financial aid under Title IV of the Higher Education Act (referred to in this policy as "Federal Student Aid"). Therefore, to be eligible to receive Federal Student Aid, including Perkins Loans, Federal Work-­‐Study, and Federal Direct Loan Programs (Stafford, PLUS, and Grad PLUS), graduate and certificate students must meet SAIC’s financial aid satisfactory academic progress standards ("FASAP") as outlined in this policy.  SAIC will also use FASAP to determine a student’s eligibility to receive SAIC need-­‐based financial aid.

FASAP looks at two factors: whether the student is in good standing and the student’s pace of completion. FASAP will be measured three times a year, after the completion of the Fall, Spring and Summer semesters. For those graduate programs that are longer than two years in length, FASAP will also be measured at the end of the participating student's second year.

It is important to note that FASAP is calculated separately from Academic Standing. Students are responsible for being familiar with both of these policies. Questions can be directed to Academic Advising or Student Financial Services, as applicable.

Standards

1.  Financial Aid Good Standing (Qualitative)

Graduate and certificate students are considered to be in financial aid good standing when they successfully complete all credit hours attempted each semester.

SAIC adheres to a credit/no credit grading system. Successful completion of a course will result in a grade of CR for Credit or IP for In-­‐Progress and will count toward the student’s degree.

Grades of NCR for No Credit, W for Withdrawal and INC for Incomplete represent unsuccessful completion of a course, and will not count toward the student’s degree. For purposes of determining a student's financial aid standing and pace of completion (discussed below), credits attributable to repeated courses (discussed below) will be included in the evaluation, but transfer credits accepted by SAIC will not be. Transfer credits accepted by SAIC are also included in this equation as both hours attempted and hours completed.

2. Pace of Completion/Maximum Time Frames (Quantitative)

At the completion of the Fall, Spring and Summer semesters, each student will be reviewed to determine whether he or she has received a grade of CR or IP in 100% of the classes attempted by the student on a cumulative basis.

A student is considered to be failing to maintain pace of completion if the student receives a grade of NCR, W or INC in any course attempted. A student who receives one or more grades of NCR, W or INC will be placed on Financial Aid Warning (defined below), unless the student exceeds the following Maximum Time Frames, in which case the student will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension (defined below).

 

Maximum Time Frames

  • The student exceeds 66 credits in graduate degree or certificate programs requiring 60 credit hours for completion (examples: MFA, MAAT, MSHP)
  • The student exceeds 72 credits in graduate degree or certificate programs requiring 66 credit hours for completion (examples: MAAD/MAAT dual degree)
  • The student exceeds 54 credits in graduate degree or certificate programs requiring 48 credit hours for completion (example: MAAA)
  • The student exceeds 42 credits in graduate degree or certificate programs requiring 36 credit hours for completion (examples: art history certificate, (MAAH, MAAE)
  • The student exceeds 36 credits in graduate degree or certificate programs requiring 30 credit hours for completion (examples: art education certificate, postbaccalaureate certificate)
  • The student exceeds 111 credits in graduate degree or certificate programs requiring 102 credit hours for completion (example, MARCH, MDES)

Students who change degrees will be expected to maintain the pace of progression and complete the degree within the maximum time frame of the degree into which they transfer.

 

Administration

1.  Notice

Students will be notified by email or in writing if they fail to achieve good standing or maintain pace of completion after FASAP is reviewed. Students who are not in good standing or maintaining pace of completion and who have received an INC grade(s) will be reviewed again after the end of the add/drop period of the next term (i.e., once a final grade of CR/NCR has been awarded).

2.  Financial Aid Warning

A student on Financial Aid Warning is eligible to receive Federal Student Aid and SAIC need-­‐ based financial aid for the next term in which they enroll (Fall, Winter, Spring, or Summer) provided that the student enrolls in more than six (6) credit hours. To return to financial aid good standing and/or resume pace of completion, however, the graduate degree or certificate student must receive a CR or IP grade in all courses attempted in that following term.

3.  Financial Aid Suspension

A graduate degree or certificate student will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension if the student (i) failed to receive a CR or IP grade in all courses attempted while he or she was on Financial Aid Warning, or (ii) exceeded the Maximum Time Frames permitted for aid. A student who is on Financial Aid Suspension is no longer eligible to receive Federal Student Aid and SAIC need-­‐based financial aid.

4.  Appeal of Financial Aid Suspension

A graduate or certificate student may appeal their Financial Aid Suspension with the Student Financial Services Office if the student believes that extenuating circumstances exist. Appeals must be made in writing and be received at least one week prior to the first day of classes of the following semester. The student’s appeal must include why they failed to make satisfactory academic progress (i.e., death of a relative, injury, illness or other circumstances) and what has changed that will allow the student to make satisfactory academic progress by the end of the next payment period. Prior to submitting an appeal, it is recommended that the student meet with his/her Student Financial Services Advisor. The decision of the Student Financial Services Office with respect to the student’s appeal will be final and the student will not be entitled to amend and re-­‐submit his or her request for appeal.

5.  Financial Aid Probation

If a graduate or certificate student successfully appeals his or her Financial Aid Suspension, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Probation and will be expected to meet financial aid good standing and/or resume pace of completion by the end of the next payment period. SAIC has three payment periods: Summer, Fall and Winter/Spring. Alternatively, a student on Financial Aid Probation may be placed on an academic plan that will ensure that the student is able to meet satisfactory academic progress for financial aid purposes by a specific point in time. An academic plan will be coordinated with an Academic Advisor to ensure success. If the student does not successfully meet the previously listed terms of their Financial Aid Probation, they will return to Financial Aid Suspension and will no longer be eligible to Federal Student Aid and SAIC need-­‐based financial aid.

 

Repeated Courses

Students may repeat a course and receive federal financial aid only once in the case of a passed course, except for institutionally approved repeatable courses. Students may receive federal financial aid for repeat of failed courses until the course is passed, subject to the eligibility requirements noted above.

 

Second Degree Students

Students seeking a second graduate degree are subject to the maximum time frame as outlined earlier in the policy. Students pursuing a second graduate degree are eligible for federal student loans and federal work-­‐study through the federal financial aid programs.

 

 

Rev 08/28/15

A student who is suspended from receiving federal financial aid due to failure to meet Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (FASAP) requirements may appeal his/her suspension.

 

Appeal Procedures

A written letter of appeal must be submitted by the student to the Student Financial Services Office for review.

  1. It is recommended that the student meet with a Student Financial Services Advisor to discuss the appeal process.
  2. The appeal must explain:
    1. why the student failed to make satisfactory academic progress (i.e., injury, or illness (physical or mental), death of a relative, or other circumstances), and
    2. what has changed that will allow the student to make satisfactory academic progress by the next review period.
  3. Appeals must be submitted no later than one week prior to the start of the next semester for which the student is requesting to receive financial aid.
  4. Depending on the circumstances the appeal will be reviewed by the Student Financial Services staff in consultation with Academic Advising or the Satisfactory Academic Progress Committee. The Satisfactory Academic Progress Committee will consist of the representatives from the Student Financial Services Office, Registration and Records, Academic Advising and the Dean’s Office.
  5. The student will be provided written notification of the decision of the Satisfactory Academic Progress Committee from the Chairman of the Appeals Committee of Student Financial Services Office, via email and the US Post Office at their permanent address.

 

Supporting Documentation

  1. To support the student’s request for appeal, it may be necessary for the student to provide written documentation from his/her health care provider(s). If so, the documentation should be on health care provider letterhead.
  2. Submit all materials as a single packet to the Student Financial Services Office. Any missing information will delay consideration of the student’s request.