Penn College Clock-hour Certificate Programs

This section provides financial aid and related information for students enrolled in clock-hour certificate programs offered through Workforce Development & Continuing Education (12-month Practical Nursing program, 9-month Medical Assistant program, and 6-month Administrative Medical Assistant program)

Types of Aid

Students in clock-hour certificate programs may qualify for the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Direct Stafford Loan and Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan; as well as a private alternative loan. Students in clock-hour programs are ineligible for Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) State Grants, because the programs are less than two calendar years in length. To be considered for aid, students must complete a Penn College Financial Aid Application (FAA) and a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the appropriate financial aid year. Students in the Nursing Programs can apply for the North Campus Practical Nursing Scholarship by contacting staff at the Penn College at Wellsboro.

Academic Programs and Academic Year

All clock-hour certificate programs must have an academic year with a minimum length of 15 weeks and 600 clock hours, in order for students to be eligible to receive federal financial aid. Students are considered attending on a full-time basis if they attend class at least 24 hours per week. The following Penn College’s clock hour programs are equal to or exceed these minimums.

*Students enrolled in the Practical Nursing program will complete part of a second academic year. The financial aid these students receive during the second year will be prorated per federal guidelines based upon the number of clock hours in their second year.

Payment Periods and Disbursement Procedure for Clock-hour Certificate Students

Federal aid, which includes Federal Pell Grants, Federal Direct Stafford Loans, and Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loans, will be disbursed to students (or their tuition accounts) in two or more payments, depending on the number of academic years for their program. The first payment period begins at the start of a program and ends at the halfway point of the academic year. Unless a student has paid the tuition with her/his own money or other funding, some or all of the federal aid a student is eligible for will first go to reduce the student’s tuition bill.

Federal aid payments are normally refunded during the first half of each payment period. Depending on the program, there are two or three payment periods. Programs with one academic year will have two payment periods, while programs that have a second academic year will have either three or four payment periods. The Bursar’s Office sends a letter to students when their accounts are credited with student loan funds, although this does not necessarily mean a student will receive a refund. Students must maintain satisfactory academic progress in order to receive federal aid.

If students are sponsored for educational costs by an agency or program such as Career Link, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, TAA or WIA, their Pell Grant may be first used to reduce that agency’s cost to sponsor them.

Financial Aid Criteria on Satisfactory Academic Progress

In order for students in a clock-hour program to receive financial aid, they must maintain satisfactory academic progress toward completion of their certificate. Satisfactory progress is evaluated at the end of each payment period. Students that do not achieve satisfactory progress at the end of that payment period, they are not eligible for financial aid assistance during the next payment period.. Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is measured in terms of Pace and grade point average (GPA). Pace is defined as the ratio of clock hours completed to clock hours attempted in a program..

Minimum requirements:

GPA: Students must maintain a GPA of at least 75%.
Pace: Students must complete at least 80% of the clock hours that they attempt.

Students not maintaining satisfactory attendance for their academic program of enrollment will have their financial aid assistance delayed or canceled. All payment periods or semesters of attendance at the College will be considered, regardless of what year the student first enrolled or first received federal aid.

Penn College requirements state that students may continue to receive their federal financial aid as long as they maintain the ability to complete their training within 125% of the scheduled clock hours. The 125% refers to the amount of 'calendar time' to complete the scheduled clock hours.

A student determined ineligible for aid may appeal this determination by writing to the Director of Financial Aid or his/her designee, stating the basis for the appeal. Exceptions may be made based on extenuating circumstances including, but not necessarily limited to, documented illness, or change of program. The Director or designee will inform the student in writing of the decision, specifying the conditions, if any, under which an exception has been made, or explaining the reason(s) for denying the appeal and detailing the actions necessary for the student to regain eligibility. A student may request a review of this decision in a meeting of the student, the Director, and the Associate Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid.

Refunds of Financial Aid for Clock-hour Certificate Students

If the amount of a student’s financial aid and any other payments exceeds the cost of a clock-hour program during any payment period, the student will receive a refund from the Bursar's Office. Note that refunds will not be mailed until after the start of a payment period. Attendance and satisfactory academic progress will be verified before any refunds are issued.

Adjustments of Financial Aid

Because scholarships, grants, and other types of financial aid, including Veterans benefits, are awarded at various times throughout the year, students may be awarded financial aid in excess of their cost of attendance. Cost of attendance includes tuition and fees (which varies and is based on credit load), living expenses such as meals and housing, transportation, books and supplies.
Adjustments to financial aid can also be caused by misreported FAFSA information, miscalculated costs or EFC, payments to ineligible students, or payments in excess of grant or loan maximums. Students' total aid received can never exceed their cost of attendance. For this reason, it may be necessary for Penn College to reduce or return the amount of aid previously awarded.

While we make every effort to adjust excessive aid before it is disbursed, students may have to repay federal and/or College funds that exceed their cost of attendance. If repayment is necessary, students will be sent detailed information about the changes required.

Institutional Refund Policy for Clock-hour Certificate Programs

When a student withdraws from a long-term, clock-hour program, 100 percent of the tuition will be refunded if the student makes the request in writing and the letter is postmarked prior to the first scheduled class; and 60 percent will be refunded if the student’s request is made in writing and the letter is postmarked prior to the end of the second week of class. No refunds will be issued after the beginning of the third week of class. If the student originally paid by credit card, a credit will be issued to that credit card account. Please allow two to four weeks for refund processing. Refer to the next section to learn about how withdrawing affects financial aid.

Title IV Refund Policy for Clock-hour Certificate Programs

The current federal refund policy applies to all students receiving Title IV federal financial aid who withdraw, are dismissed, stop attending, or take a leave of absence from the College during the payment period in which they are enrolled.

Stated simply: If a recipient of Title IV aid withdraws during a payment period (or a period of enrollment), the College must calculate the amount of Title IV aid the student earned. Unearned Title IV funds must be returned to the Title IV programs.


Earned Title IV Funds

Title IV funds used to cover educational costs according to the length of time the student was enrolled before withdrawing. The amount of funds earned is directly proportional to the number of clock hours scheduled to have been completed in the payment period as of the student's withdrawal date, by the total number of clock hours in the payment period. If the resulting percentage is greater than 60% a student is considered to have earned all aid.

Unearned Title IV Funds

The amount of grant and loan assistance awarded under Title IV that has not been earned by the student and must be returned to the programs. The unearned Title IV funds percentage is determined by subtracting the earned Title IV percentage from 100. To calculate the amount of unearned Title IV funds, multiply the total disbursed federal financial aid by the unearned Title IV refund percentage.

Withdrawal Date

The responsibility to repay unearned Title IV funds is shared by the College and the student. The College's share is the lesser of:

Total disbursed federal financial aid includes aid that was disbursed, and aid that could have been disbursed, as of the student's withdrawal date.

The student's share is the difference between the unearned Title IV funds and the College's share. The College's share is allocated among the Title IV programs in the following order of return:

  1. Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
  2. Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan
  3. Federal Direct PLUS Loan
  4. Federal Pell Grant
  5. Other Title IV assistance for which a return of funds is required

Verification for Clock-hour Certificate Programs

Approximately 1 out of 3 students who submit a FAFSA are selected for an official review in a process called Federal Verification. Incomplete or conflicting information on your FAFSA may lead to Verification, or your FAFSA record may be chosen at random. Please understand that no federal aid or private loans will be credited toward your College bill until Verification is finalized.

Click here for more information on Verification.