Policies and Procedures

Policies and Procedures

Each year, Fisher College students request student financial assistance to help defray the cost of education. Federal, state, and institutional resources form a partnership with your (and your family's) own commitment to meet your educational costs.

As a student financial aid recipient and partner in this partnership you have a number of responsibilities and rights:
 
Responsibilities
  • Complete and submit application materials to the appropriate agencies within required or recommended timeframes.
  • Read all materials sent to you from the Financial Aid Office and other agencies awarding you aid.
  • Read, understand, and keep copies of all forms you sign.
  • Know and comply with the rules governing the aid you receive. These rules include but are not limited to:
    • You must not be in default on any prior educational loan.
    • You must not owe a refund on a Federal Pell Grant or a Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant due to repayment.
  • Provide additional documentation, federal tax transcripts, W-2's, and any additional information if requested by the Financial Aid Office.
  • Comply with the provisions of any promissory note and all other agreements you sign including repaying your student loans.
  • Complete the registration process each term by the end of the drop/add period in order to ensure availability of all student aid funds you have been awarded. Note: Most aid programs are limited and may be subject to cancellation if your registration process is not completed.
  • Use student financial aid proceeds solely for direct educational costs and related living expenses.
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress.
  • Report private sources of student financial aid to the Financial Aid Office.
  • Report any changes in your status: marital, academic, enrollment, residential, or name status.
  • Keep your local and permanent addresses current with the College Registrar and the Financial Aid Office.
Rights
  • Have all records and data submitted with your application for financial aid treated as confidential information, as prescribed by the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
  • Have an explanation of the award process.
  • Be notified of changes in your financial aid status and the reasons for those changes.
  • Know the conditions of any loan you accept.
  • Know the terms, conditions, and pay rate for any student job you can accept.  

Policies

Eligibility

According to federal regulations, to be eligible for financial aid a student must be enrolled in an approved program leading to a degree or certificate at Fisher College and the student may only receive financial aid for classes that are required for degree completion at Fisher.

Students may not receive financial aid from two schools at the same time. Students can only receive aid from the school at which they are matriculating.

Students must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress.

The maximum time frame allowable to complete a program will be no more than 150% of the published length of the program (measured in total credits attempted, including transfer credits). If a student does not complete a program in less than 150% of the published length of the program they will no longer be eligible for aid. (See Satisfactory Academic Progress policy)

Students must be enrolled at least half time to receive a Federal Direct Loan.

Students must be enrolled full time to receive the maximum Pell Grant. If a student is enrolled less than full time the Pell grant will be re-calculated based on enrollment status.

Financial Aid may be adjusted if a student withdraws from all classes before 60% of the semester is completed. Students may have a balance owed to the college after the adjustments to financial aid are made (See Withdrawals and Leave of Absence.
 

Withdrawal and Leave of Absence

Students who need to withdraw or take a leave of absence from the College may do so for academic, discipline, personal, or medical reasons. If you are receiving federal financial aid and withdraw or take a leave of absence from the College, you may be subject to the federal Return of Title IV Aid and state financial aid return policies.
NOTE: Students must notify Financial Aid about any change in planned period of enrollment, whether due to withdrawal from a class, a leave of absence, a change academic division, or withdrawal from the college.

Withdrawal Process
Students seeking to withdraw from the College for any reason should contact the Registrars office to begin the withdrawal process. Students should also consult with their financial aid counselor prior to leaving to understand the implications this change in status will have on their Offer of Financial Assistance.

Non-attendance does not constitute official withdrawal. If a student who began attendance and did not officially withdraw fails to earn a passing grade in at least one course over an entire term, the college must assume that the student has unofficially withdrawn. For this purpose, non-passing grades are defined as W, NE, *, IP, L, or I. Unofficial withdrawals will be determined within 90 days of the end of the term. Federal financial aid recipients will have their awards reviewed and recalculated, causing a reduction in aid awarded.

Please remember that if you are not enrolled at least half-time for more than six months, your student loans will go into repayment.

Federal Return to Title IV Aid and Overview
The Financial Aid Office is required by federal statute to recalculate federal financial aid eligibility for students who withdraw, drop out, are dismissed, or take a leave of absence prior to completing 60% of a term. From the start of each semester (Day) or term (DAPS) up through the 60% point, a calculation is used to determine the amount of Title IV funds the student has earned a the time of withdrawal. After the 60% point of the semester/term, a student has earned 100% of the Title IV funds he or she was scheduled to receive. 

The student's eligibility for the funds received from federal Title IV financial aid programs must be recalculated in these situations. Recalculation is based on the percentage of earned aid using the following Federal Return of Title IV funds formula. For unofficial withdrawals, the withdrawal date used for aid recalculation is the midpoint of the term.

Percentage of the term completed = the number of days completed up to the withdrawal date divided by the total days in the term. (Any break of five days or more is not counted as part of the days in the term.) This percentage is also the percentage of earned aid.

Funds are returned to the appropriate federal program based on the percentage of unearned aid using the following formula:

Aid to be returned = (aid awarded to student minus the percentage of earned aid) multiplied by the total amount of aid that could have been disbursed during the term.

If a student earned less aid than was disbursed, the institution is required to return a portion of the funds that have been received by the student. Keep in mind that when Title IV funds are returned, the student may owe a balance to the institution.

If a student earned more aid than was disbursed, the institution would owe the student a Post-Withdrawal Disbursement (PWD) which must be paid within 180 days of the date of withdrawal. The student will be notified of the amount of a Post- Withdrawal Disbursement by the Office of Financial Aid as well as information of Loan Exit Counseling. This notification will be sent to the student via their Fisher email address.

Refunds are allocated in the following order:

Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans
Subsidized Federal Direct Loans
Federal Perkins Loans
Federal Parent (PLUS) Loans
Federal Pell Grants
Federal SEOG Grants
 

Less Than Full-time Attendance

Undergraduate Students are considered less than full-time when their enrolled in class credits are less than 12 credits per semester. Students must notify the Financial Aid office about any change in planned period of enrollment, whether due to withdrawal from a class, a leave of absence, change in academic division, or withdrawal from the University. Students are awarded financial aid based on a full-time load. Students should consult with their financial aid counselor prior to adjusting their academic load to less than full-time to understand the implications this change in status will have on their Offer of Financial Assistance.

Any student who takes or adjusts their academic load to less than full time must be fully aware of all implications on their financial assistance. Any student who decreases their enrollment to less than full-time will be subject to an adjustment in their financial aid. Students must be enrolled for at least six credits in a full semester to be eligible for nearly all forms of financial assistance.
 

Change in Financial Circumstance

Professional Judgement: Financial Need
Your eligibility for need-based financial aid is determined by federal Department of Education regulations and College policies governing financial aid programs. Using the information you provide, we calculate the amount of family resources you and your parent(s) are expected to contribute toward your educational costs. These resources, known as the expected family contribution, are subtracted from a standard budget of your cost of attendance.The difference between the expected family contribution and the cost of attendance is your maximum eligibility for need-based assistance. 
We recognize that a family's income is not always consistent from one year to the next, and that circumstances beyond a family's control may inhibit a family's ability to contribute to educational expenses.

Change in Financial Circumstances
We welcome the opportunity to discuss a substantial change in you or your family's status since filing the FAFSA. Such circumstances include separation/divorce, loss of income, high medical and/or dental expenses (not covered by insurance), or a catastrophic expense. If you or your family experience a significant financial change (such as those listed above), you must submit the circumstance in writing and include written documentation of the situation. This documentation may be submitted to financialaid@fisher.edu. 

Review Process
The Financial Aid Office will review the submitted documentation and make a determination if there can be a recalculation of your original EFC (Estimated Family Contribution). If there is a recalculation that results in a decrease in your EFC, additional aid will be considered for you based on a funds available basis.

Additional Resources 
If you will be receiving any forms of assistance not listed on your financial aid award letter (such as a scholarship from a high school or other organization), you must notify our office of this additional resource in writing.

Outside awards are considered part of your aid package, and, in most cases, will be applied first to unmet financial need, then to replace loans and/or work-study, and finally, if necessary, to reduce institutional grants and/or scholarships.
 

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Fisher College’s Institutional Policy 

Federal regulations require the College to establish and apply reasonable standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for the purpose of the receipt of financial assistance under the programs authorized by Title IV of the Higher Education Act. The law requires institutions to develop policies regarding SAP. Matriculated students at Fisher College who wish to be considered for financial aid must maintain SAP in their selected course of study as set forth in this policy.

Please note that Satisfactory Academic Progress for financial aid purposes is distinct from the College’s Academic Progress Guidelines.

Remedial Courses: Fisher College has two remedial courses required for new students who fail initial testing (Math MA 003 and English EN 001) and are required pre-college courses. These courses will not be applied towards earned credits but are considered attempted credits.  Strictly, for SAP purposes, remedial courses MA 003 and EN 001 are added to the earned credits to properly gauge the quantitative completion rate.

Institutional Policy

The Office of Financial Aid evaluates SAP at the end of each semester for students in the Undergraduate Program.  Students in Graduate and Professional Studies are evaluated at the end of every two terms.  Students are evaluated based on grade point average (GPA), credit hour completion (incremental progress), and maximum timeframe limitation (degree completion).

Degree-Granting Programs

Quantitative Review: Measures the pace that the student progresses through their degree   program to ensure progression that leads to degree completion within the maximum timeframe.  Withdrawals, failures, incompletes, and repeat courses do affect the completion rate. A minimum of 67% of courses attempted must be completed each academic year. To determine a student’s progression, calculate the total number of successfully completed credits by the total number of attempted credits.

The maximum timeframe allowed to complete a program will be no more than 150% of the published length of the program. To determine 150% maximum timeframe the reviewer will take the total credits attempted (including transfer credits) and compare it to the total number of credits required plus an additional 50% to determine the maximum timeframe allowed.  

Qualitative Review: The student must maintain a certain GPA to continue financial aid eligibility. Fisher  College will review GPA progress as follows:
Bachelor Programs
 

1-59 Attempted Credits

Minimum GPA 1.8

60+ Attempted Credits

Minimum GPA 2.0

Associate Program

1-29 Attempted Credits

Minimum GPA 1.8

30+ Attempted Credits

Minimum GPA 2.0

Certificate Programs

Quantitative Review:  Measures the pace that the student progresses through their degree   program to ensure progression that leads to degree completion within the maximum timeframe.  Withdrawals, failures, incompletes, and repeat courses do affect the completion rate. A minimum of 67% of courses attempted must be completed each academic year. To determine a student’s progression, calculate the total number of successfully completed credits by the total number of attempted credits.
 
The maximum timeframe allowed to complete a program will be no more than 150% of the published length of the program. To determine 150% maximum timeframe the reviewer will take the total credits attempted (including transfer credits) and compare it to the total number of credits required plus an additional 50% to determine the maximum timeframe allowed.  
 

Qualitative Review: The student must maintain a certain GPA to continue financial aid eligibility. A Fisher College Student attempting a certification must have a GPA of 2.0 for each academic term.

Institutional Procedures

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy is located in the Fisher College Academic Catalog.

Financial Aid Warning: The first time a student fails to meet the SAP standards, they will receive a notice from the Office of Financial Aid that they are on Financial Aid Warning for one academic semester.  The student will not lose their financial aid eligibility during the period of warning, and will have one semester to bring their progress up to standards.

Financial Aid Probation: When a student fails to meet SAP after the Financial Aid Warning period, the financial aid office will review the students file once again.

If the student completes a Financial Aid Warning period and receives a letter grade (F) for every class they attempted the student will receive notice of financial aid Suspension with no option to appeal.          

If the student completes the semester of Financial Aid Warning and still is not making SAP but has letter grades other than (F) for the Warning period, they will have the opportunity to write a financial aid appeal. The student must write a letter of appeal explaining the extenuating circumstance that has led to their poor performance in academics. They will also need to provide an academic plan and any other supporting documents that helps clarify their situation. The student will advance to a Financial Aid Probation period, only if the Financial Aid Office approves a successful appeal. Depending on the situation, a student’s probation period might require more than one semester to meet progress but the probation period should not extend past two semesters or terms at any time.

Financial Aid Suspension

If a student fails to meet the SAP standards at the end of Financial Aid Probation, the student will no longer be eligible for Institutional or Title IV financial aid at Fisher College. The student would be responsible for any balance found on the student account.  Financial assistance cannot retroactively apply for the term during the period the student regains eligibility.

Appeal Process

When the SAP appeal is complete it will be presented to the SAP appeal committee of the financial aid office. The decision that is rendered is final and if approved will be presented to the student along with the terms and conditions outlined in a SAP appeal contract. Fisher College reserves the right to consult any authorized individuals within the College who may be in a position to provide further information or who can otherwise corroborate the student’s circumstances. The appeal process will result in one of two decisions:  Appeal Approved or Appeal Denied.

Appeal Approved

When the appeal is approved, financial aid will be reinstated and the student will have one additional probationary semester (or two terms for DAPS) in which to meet all SAP standards. If at the end of the additional probationary period the student has still not met all SAP requirements, but is showing improvement, they will be reviewed for another probationary period.  This means that the student is keeping with the academic plan per the student’s academic advisor and has met with the Director of Financial Aid to determine further eligibility. This will be on a case-by-case basis.   

Appeal Denied

If the appeal is denied, financial assistance will be suspended until the student meets all SAP progress requirements as stated.

Notification of SAP  

All SAP notices will be mailed to students.

Financial Aid Warning Letter: Notifies the student that they have fallen below the Fisher College SAP standards and are onFinancial Aid Warning for the next academic semester or term. 

Financial Aid Probation Letter: This letter informs the student that they have not    improved and will be required to submit an appeal letter, academic plan, and any other supporting documents if they expect financial aid to continue.  Failure to submit the appeal letter in a timely basis will result in the cancellation of all financial aid.

Loss of Eligibility Suspension Letter: This letter notifies the student that he or she has not regained eligibility during the Probationary Period and will no longer receive any financial aid beginning with the next academic semester or term.

Removal of Probationary or Suspension Status: This letter notifies the student that they have regained eligibility for financial aid, either after a period of probation or suspension.

Appeal Approved or Appeal Denied: Students who file a SAP Appeal will be notified by letter of the results.