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West Chester, PA 19383
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What You Need to Know
For Undergraduate Students, a full-time course load is defined as taking 12 or more credits. For Graduate students, a full-time course load is defined as taking 9 or more credits. If a student is making a change to their schedule during the semester, whether it be dropping below full-time status or adding up to full-time status, it may impact the amount of financial aid they are receiving.
Please review the information provided below on how each type of enrollment change impacts a student’s financial aid and progress. You can also download or pick up a brochure on Information for Students Considering Withdrawal .
If a student withdraws from a class during or after the add/drop period, there could potentially be a need to adjust the financial aid that was originally awarded. It is in a student’s best interest to contact the Office of Financial Aid to inquire about the possible impact a course withdrawal may have based on their individual enrollment status and the types of financial aid awarded.
Federal regulations require that if a student withdraws from all classes after the add/drop period ends, a Return to Title IV (R2T4) calculation must be performed to determine how much of the student’s aid must be returned to the government. If a student drops all of his/her courses during the add/drop period, the full amount of their federal financial aid will be returned. The types of aid impacted are as follows:
The amount of aid that will possibly have to be returned is based on the exact date that is used to complete the R2T4 process. Once the student has completed more than 60% of the semester, the student has earned all the Title IV funding (100%) that he/she was scheduled to receive for that term, and no aid has to be returned to the government.
The R2T4 policies govern only the amount of Federal Aid that must be returned in the case of a withdrawal. The amount of your actual charges (e.g., tuition, fees, etc.) is determined by our institutional policy, which can be reviewed in the University Refund Policy.
Students at West Chester University who receive all "Z" grades, which indicates that they ceased attendance at some point in the term, will be reviewed as “unofficial withdrawals”. Students with "NG" status will also be contacted in order to confirm they are intending to complete the work and earn a grade in the course in the given time.
For students who are reviewed as an unofficial withdrawal, professors will be contacted directly by the Office of Financial Aid to determine the last date of academic activity. The Office of Financial Aid will utilize the reported last date of academic activity in the Return to Title IV (R2T4) calculations. If a date cannot be determined by the professors, then the 50% mark in the term will be utilized as the default.
Students who choose to audit a course may also see a change in their financial aid award, even if the change to the “audit” status takes place in the middle of the term. This is due to the fact that for Title IV purposes, auditing a course does not count as an earned grade and therefore would not be taken into consideration when determining a student’s enrollment status.
For example, if a student was registered for 12 credits, but was auditing one, 3 credit course, they would be considered part-time since only 9 of the credits count for Title IV aid purposes. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid if you have questions about how auditing coursework will impact your award.
The Pennsylvania State Grant (PHEAA) award will be adjusted based on institutional policy of refund/reduction in tuition charges for a full University withdrawal for the term.
For example, if you are withdrawing during the third week of the term at a 40% tuition charge you will only be eligible to keep 40% of your PA State Grant award for the term.
Students should be aware that withdrawing from all courses during a term could have an effect on their Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), which requires students to earn 67% of the credits they have attempted. Students should also be made aware that a return of funds to the federal government might create a balance due on their student account. Institutional policy dictates that all students that drop below half-time status for a term are required to complete Federal Exit Loan Counseling (Note: this does not mean you will not be able to be considered for financial aid in future terms if you re-enroll, but instead is an educational tutorial that should be completed online at studentloans.gov).
Students considering withdrawing from all their classes should considering making an appointment with the Office of Financial Aid to discuss their situation prior to their withdrawal.
Please review information on the implications of the Federal Shutdown for financial aid here.
A student enrolled in elementary or secondary school is not eligible for aid from the Federal Student Aid programs, even if she is simultaneously enrolled in an eligible college program.
Male citizens and male immigrants residing in the U.S. aged 18 through 25 are required to register with the Selective Service System at www.sss.gov, with limited exceptions. This requirement applies to any person assigned the sex of male at birth.
Female students and male immigrants who entered the country at age 26 or older are exempted.
A student is considered to be incarcerated if she is serving a criminal sentence in a federal, state, or local penitentiary, prison, jail, reformatory, work farm, or similar correctional institution (whether it is operated by the government or a contractor). A student is not considered to be incarcerated if she is in a halfway house or home detention or is sentenced to serve only weekends.
Incarcerated students are not eligible for FSA loans but are eligible for Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOGs) and Federal Work-Study (FWS). They are also eligible for Pell Grants if not incarcerated in a federal or state penal institution.
You have the right to ask a school:
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Financial Aid eligibility is based on a formula established by Congress that takes into account family income, certain assets and expenses that are required (taxes), necessary (basic living expenses) and related to earning income (employment-related expenses). In addition there are eligibility requirements students must meet to receive financial aid, including successful academic progress. For additional information or to schedule an appointment please contact the Financial Aid office at (610) 436-2627 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your educational expenses may be in excess of the standard Cost of Attendance used to determine your aid package. If you have documentation to support these expenses you may request an adjustment to your cost of attendance – A Budget Adjustment.
Many students feel they are independent for various reasons. How you answer the questions in the dependency section of the FAFSA determines your dependency status according to federal law.
Where there are extenuating circumstances students may appeal their dependency status. Exceptions are made only when adequate documentation of extenuating family circumstances exists.
Complete and submit an Appeal to Be Independent Form , complete the request carefully. You may need to request a Dependency Override again if you cannot answer the questions on the FAFSA as an Independent student, in the following year.
Note: The school you plan to attend must submit the Dependency Override on your behalf. West Chester University will not honor a Dependency Override authorized by another institution.
The College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 (CCRAA) expanded the definition of "independent student" to include youth who are 1) unaccompanied and homeless, or 2) unaccompanied, self-support, and at-risk of homeless at any time during the award year in which they submit the FAFSA. The CCRAA uses the McKinney-Vento Act's definitions of
The U.S. Department of Education has defined "youth" to mean 24 or younger.
If you do not have an unaccompanied homeless youth determination but believe you qualify for one please contact Tori Nuccio, Single Point of Contact for Unaccompanied Homeless & Foster Youth at email@example.com. Please also contact Tori Nuccio if you have a determination and would like to learn more about the WCU Promise Program. Learn more about the West Chester University Promise Program: Support Unaccompanied Students 365 Days of the Year .
Should your family's circumstances change after you submit your FAFSA you may have grounds for a "Professional Judgment"evaluation. For added insight please see our FAQs concerning this topic.
If you or your parents have unusual circumstances that affect the ability to contribute money to the cost of your attendance at WCU (for example, high medical expenses), you may complete an Unusual Circumstance Worksheet in order to have your aid application reconsidered.
If you or your parents have experienced loss of income since reporting the FAFSA data you may request a Special Circumstance Review by scheduling a phone appointment with our office, in order to have your aid application reconsidered.
Frequently Requested Forms for Professional Judgment and Special Situations
Each student will be reviewed for progress annually after the spring semester. A student must meet the following requirements in order to satisfy the academic progress policies for Federal and State financial aid. Failure to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in accordance with these standards will result in the loss of financial aid until such time as the student is again maintaining satisfactory academic progress.
A student must meet the following requirements in order to be making satisfactory academic progress and have an aid package containing Federal Title IV financial aid generated on their behalf.
Students denied financial aid for non-compliance may appeal that denial through the SAP Academic Appeal Process.
Courses taken at other institutions will be used in the determination of satisfactory progress only if they are accepted for transfer to WCU and count toward the student's degree. Credits transfer, but grades do not.
The following definitions are used in the academic progress assessment:
After students are determined by PHEAA to be eligible for a state grant, the Financial Aid Office determines if they are maintaining satisfactory academic progress. Students may receive a maximum of 8 full-time semester grants (or its equivalent). PHEAA state grant progress is reviewed annually after the spring semester. To qualify, students must:
If you believe that you have grounds to request an exception to this policy, complete and submit a State Grant Program Academic Progress Exception Form .