Financial Aid Award Letter Guide

The Financial Aid Office provides the following information to assist you in understanding your financial aid award.

Enrollment_Requirements

Athletic_Aid_Not_Listed

Regular_Student_Employment

Additional_Resources

Adjusting_or_Canceling_Awards

Eligibility_Requirements

Special_Circumstances

Financial_Aid_Budgets

Work_Study_Award

Maximum_Aid_Allowed

EFC

Student_Loans

Withdrawing

 

 


Award Letter

The Award Letter identifies the financial aid available to you based on program eligibility requirements, including grants, loans, and scholarships for the academic award year.  Private or outside scholarships are estimated and contingent upon actual receipt of funds from the appropriate agencies.  The Award Letter also includes instructions for accepting, declining or reducing aid.  Please read your Award Letter carefully.
 
 
Enrollment Requirements
 
 
Your award is based on the assumption that you will be enrolled full time each semester. Full time requires 12 hours for Undergraduate students and 9 hours for Graduate students.
 Enrollment is verified each semester prior to disbursement of all funds, and at the end of the add/drop period. If you are enrolled less than full-time, your Pell award will be prorated and other awards may have to be adjusted. You must be enrolled at least half-time to receive loan disbursements. Half-time is 6 hours for Undergraduates and 4 hours for Graduates.
 
Awards are Subject to Change
 
A financial aid award may be reduced or canceled. The most common reasons for an award adjustment include changes in enrollment, residency status or housing arrangements and over awards due to the receipt of aid from other sources. An award may also be adjusted due to changes or inaccuracies in the information on which the award was based.  We reserve the right to adjust or cancel your award as a result of any information we receive that affects your eligibility.
 
Additional Financial Resources
You are required to notify the Financial Aid Office of any additional financial resources – loans, scholarships, grants, fee waivers, veterans’ benefits, vocational rehabilitation, etc. – you receive which are not listed on your award notification. These resources may cause adjustments and/or a reduction of the financial aid originally offered.
 
 
Financial Aid Budgets
The Estimated Cost of Attendance budget on your award notification includes your approximate school costs as well as a standard allowance for other educational related expenses.  A Cost of Attendance budget is not intended to represent a student’s actual room, board, transportation or other personal expenses.  The allowable portion for educational related expenses is the same for all students to ensure that all are treated equally and fairly in the processing and awarding of federal and state financial aid.
 
The following budgets represent average costs for a 9-month period which encompasses the Fall & Spring semesters.

2012-13 Full-Time Undergraduate Budgets Living With Parents
Living in Dorms Living Off Campus*
Tuition/Fees $4,956 $4,956 $4,956
Books/Supplies $1,200 $1,200 $1,200
Room/Board $2,924 $5,890 $8,022
Transportation $3,406 $2,044 $3,406
Misc/Personal Expenses $2,110 $2,110 $2,110
Total Undergraduate Resident Budget $14,596 $16,200 $19,694
Non-Resident Tuition and Fees $6,996 $6,996 $6,996
Total Non-Resident Undergraduate Budget $21,592 $23,196 $26,690

 
 
2012-13 Three Quarter-Time Undergraduate Budgets Living With Parents
Living in Dorms Living Off Campus*
Tuition/Fees $3,660 $3,660 $3,660
Books/Supplies $900 $900 $900
Room/Board $2,924 $5,890 $8,022
Transportation $3,406 $2,044 $3,406
Misc/Personal Expenses $2,110 $2,110 $2,110
Total Undergraduate Resident Budget $13,000 $14,604 $18,098
Non-Resident Tuition and Fees $5,132 $5,132 $5,132
Total Non-Resident Undergraduate Budget $18,132 $19,736 $23,230
 

2012-13 Half-Time Undergraduate Budgets Living With Parents
Living in Dorms Living Off Campus*
Tuition/Fees $2,688 $2,688 $2,688
Books/Supplies $600 $600 $600
Room/Board $2,924 $5,890 $8,022
Transportation $3,406 $2,044 $3,406
Misc/Personal Expenses $2,110 $2,110 $2,110
Total Undergraduate Resident Budget $11,728 $13,332 $16,826
Non-Resident Tuition and Fees $3,732 $3,732 $3,732
Total Non-Resident Undergraduate Budget $15,460 $17,064 $20,558

 
2012-13 Less-Than-Half-Time Undergraduate Budgets Living With Parents
Living in Dorms Living Off Campus*
Tuition/Fees $1,716 $1,716 $1,716
Books/Supplies $300 $300 $300
Transportation $3,406 $2,044 $3,406
Total Undergraduate Resident Budget $5,422 $4,060 $5,422
Non-Resident Tuition and Fees $2,332 $2,332 $2,332
Total Non-Resident Undergraduate Budget $5,422 $6,392 $7,754
 

2012-13 Full-Time Graduate Budgets Living With Parents
Living in Dorms Living Off Campus*
Tuition/Fees $4,432 $4,432 $4,432
Books/Supplies $1,200 $1,200 $1,200
Room/Board $8,022 $5,890 $8,022
Transportation $3,406 $2,044 $3,406
Misc/Personal Expenses $2,110 $2,110 $2,110
Total Graduate Resident Budget $13,024 $14,636 $17,658
Non-Resident Tuition and Fees $6,140 $6,140 $6,140
Total Non-Resident Graduate Budget $19,170 $15,676 $19,170

 

2012-13 Three Quarter-Time Graduate Budgets Living With Parents
Living in Dorms Living Off Campus*
Tuition/Fees $3,248 $3,248 $3,248
Books/Supplies $900 $900 $900
Room/Board $8,022 $5,890 $8,022
Transportation $3,406 $2,044 $3,406
Misc/Personal Expenses $2,110 $2,110 $2,110
Total Graduate Resident Budget $17,686 $14,192 $17,686
Non-Resident Tuition and Fees $4,468 $4,468 $4,468
Total Non-Resident Graduate Budget $22,154 $18,660 $22,154

 

 

2012-13 Half-Time Graduate Budgets Living With Parents
Living in Dorms Living Off Campus*
Tuition/Fees $2,066 $2,066 $2,066
Books/Supplies $600 $600 $600
Room/Board $8,022 $5,890 $8,022
Transportation $3,406 $2,044 $3,406
Misc/Personal Expenses $2,110 $2,110 $2,110
Total Graduate Resident Budget $16,204 $12,710 $16,204
Non-Resident Tuition and Fees $2,790 $2,790 $2,790
Total Non-Resident Graduate Budget $18,994 $15,500 $18,994

*Students living in the Family/Adult Housing are considered to be living "off-campus" for the purpose of assigning financial aid cost-of-attendance budgets.

For students living in the dorms, room and board charges are based on the average cost of a semi-private room, Knight Hall and Tigers Common; and a 20-meal plan.
 
Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is NOT the amount of money that you will pay.
The information that you report on the FAFSA is used to calculate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).  The formula used to determine your EFC is established by law and is used to measure your family's financial strength based on many factors: family income, assets, parent's age, and number of children in the household.  Your EFC is only a number in the equation used to determine your financial need.  The EFC has no correlation to actual tuition, so this is NOT the amount of money the family is expected to pay.
When awarding financial aid, the EFC is subtracted from the cost of education.  The remainder is the amount of need-based financial aid you may receive.  If we cannot meet your total financial need or you feel you will not be in a position to provide your EFC, you may borrow a non-need based loan to help cover the remaining cost of education.  Need-based and non-need based financial aid combined cannot exceed your cost of education.
 
Is there a maximum amount of aid that I can receive?
You are required to report all aid that you receive to the Financial Aid Office.  This includes all private scholarships, veteran's benefits, and Tribal funds.  Your total aid cannot exceed your Cost of Attendance.  If this occurs, the Financial Aid Office is required to reduce or cancel awards made to you from the federal, state, or institutional funds.
The determination of your eligibility for financial aid is based on the FAFSA and general information provided by you; e.g. enrollment, housing status, state residency.  If any of these factors change, it could affect your financial aid by increasing, reducing, or cancelling the amount.  A review takes place at the time the Financial Aid Office becomes aware of the change.
 

My athletic scholarship is not listed on my award letter.  Should I be concerned?

Since it is administered by another office, an athletic scholarship may not be listed on the award letter.  The important thing is that you have written documentation of your award.  If you do not, please contact the Athletic Department for assistance.

I've been offered Federal Work Study.  What is it?

Federal Work Study (CWS on your award letter) is an employment program that allows students to hold part time jobs and earn funds to pay educational costs.  A student's financial need helps determine eligibility for FWS.  FWS students may work up to twenty (20) hours per week.  Jobs are on campus and include work in labs, offices, the library, the wellness center, and other areas.  Students obtain valuable job experience, as well as a monthly paycheck for hours worked.  Students can search available jobs at the kiosks located in the Financial Aid and Human Resources Offices.  Note:  Because receipt of FWS funds is contingent upon the student obtaining and maintaining employment, CWS awards will not be deducted from semester bills.  In addition, late outside scholarships and monetary awards may affect your CWS amount.

I was not offered Work Study.  Can I still work on campus?

Yes, other employment opportunities are available.  Any student, regardless of need, is eligible for Regular Student Employment.  Regular Employment students may work up to twenty (20) hours per week.  Jobs are on campus and include work in labs, offices, the library, the wellness center, and other areas.  Students obtain valuable job experience, as well as a monthly paycheck for hours worked.  Students can search for jobs at the kiosks located in the Financial Aid and Human Resouces Offices.

 Student Loans

 Urgent Loan Advisory

East Central University will process Federal Stafford and PLUS loans through the Direct Loan Program beginning with the Summer 2010 term.  Under the Direct Loan program, these federal loan funds will come directly from the federal government.  For important information about the Direct Loan program, including completing your MPN and Entrance Counseling and answers to frequently-asked-questions, please click here.

Before the Financial Aid Office can process and certify loans, you must complete and return a Direct Loan Acceptance Form.  You may request a lesser amount than is indicated on your Award Letter, but not a greater amount.  These requests take time to process, so whenever possible, begin  the loan application/request process early.  Allow at least two weeks before the last date of the semester for loan certification and approval. 

At the time of disbursement, you must be enrolled and attending at least half-time to receive a Direct or Direct PLUS loan. If your enrollment has dropped to less than half-time before the disbursement of loan proceeds, the funds will be returned to the Department of Education and any future disbursements will be canceled.  You will still be responsible for all university charges that have not been paid

 Remember, Stafford Loans must be repaid.  Repayment begins 6 months after the student graduates, withdraws, or drops below half-time status.  Your financial need determines whether the loan is subsidized (the government pays the interest while the student is in school) or unsubsidized (the student is responsible for the interest while attending school).  The federal government sets the interest rates. The rate for subsidized Stafford Loans varies each year.  For the 2010-2011 academic year, the rate for Subsidized Stafford Loans is 4.5%.  The unsubsidized Stafford loan rate is set at a fixed 6.8%.  The government also regulates how much a student may borrow each year.

 

Are there requirements to maintain eligibility for future financial aid?

Financial aid awards are not automatically renewed.  The student must complete a new FAFSA for each award year.  Apply as soon after January 1st as possible for the next school year at www.fafsa.gov

 

Students must make satisfactory academic progress toward a degree or certificate to receive financial aid.  To meet the minimum standards of the ECU Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy, students must meet all three of the following criteria:

 

1.        GPA – In the first 30 attempted hours, the student must achieve at least a 1.7 Cumulative GPA as calculated by the Registrar.  For 31 or more hours, the student must have at least a 2.0 Cumulative GPA.

2.        Hours – Students must successfully complete 70% of all hours attempted.  This includes courses attempted at any college or university even if financial aid was not received.

3.        Maximum Time Frame – Degrees must be completed within 150% of the hours required for the student’s degree program.  For example, the standard 124 hour degree program must be completed in less than 186 hours.

 

The Financial Aid Office will evaluate satisfactory academic progress annually as of the end of the Spring semester.  For students on financial aid probation or suspension, it is also checked at the end of each semester. 

 

If a student fails to meet the requirements of the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy, the student will be placed on financial aid probation for the next semester of enrollment.  Students who fail to meet the minimum requirements during the probationary period or who reach the maximum timeframe will have their financial aid suspended. 

 

Students on financial aid suspension must complete and submit the ECU Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form to the Financial Aid Office along with a written statement explaining mitigating circumstances that impacted their academic performance with supporting documentation.   To review the complete Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy, visit the ECU financial aid website (words in bold are defined here).

 

Please note:  Approval of an appeal by the Registrar for academic suspension does not satisfy the need to appeal financial aid suspension.

 

 Disbursing Financial Aid

Financial Aid funds are generally credited to your account in September for the Fall semester and February for the Spring semester, provided you have submitted all required documents and your file has been processed.  Tuition and all other allowable charges will be deducted from your financial aid (including Direct Loans).  Refunds are issued by the Bursar’s Office after the drop/add period for the term.  Following the initial disbursement each semester funds are disbursed twice weekly as they are received.

If you are receiving OTAG or OHLAP funds, the funds will be sent to ECU several weeks after the start of each semester and the funds will be credited to your account and a refund issued to you if your account is paid in full.

 

 

Withdrawing

Financial aid recipients who withdraw or cease attending all of their classes prior to 60% of the term being completed are subject to the federal rules for the Return of Title IV Funds for any federal aid not earned.  The percentage of unearned aid is equal to the number of calendar days remaining in the term divided by the total number of calendar days in the term.  The repayment amount is considered unearned aid that a student was not eligible to receive due to not completing the term, necessitating the repayment of funds.  The University may have an obligation to return funds to an aid program that was previously applied to the student’s account.  The student may have an obligation to repay funds that were paid directly to him/her.  If the University returns funds that were applied to the student’s account, a balance due the University by the student will result.  Federal aid may not cover all unpaid institutional charges due to the University upon withdrawal.  Failure to repay will prevent future registration at the University. 

 

Special Circumstances

Financial aid is based on the previous year's income.  For example, aid awarded for the 2010-11 academic year is based on family income from the calendar year 2009.  If a family experiences a significant reduction of income during the academic year, the student may ask their financial aid counselor to review their financial aid eligibility.  The federal government allows the school to use professional judgement to make changes to the FAFSA information with proper supporting documentation.