We honor students' confidentiality.

Satisfactory Academic Progress for Students Receiving Financial Aid

In order to be eligible to receive financial aid, students must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress toward the completion of a degree or certificate. The standards for measuring progress follow Federal and Pennsylvania State government regulations.

Financial aid satisfactory academic progress (SAP) – A measure of a student‘s successful progression in his or her educational program that is required for Federal and Pennsylvania State aid programs. Regular evaluation of SAP results in a determination that a student is or is not academically eligible for continued financial aid.

Federal Programs Satisfactory Academic Progress

Procedure for Federal Programs (Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Federal Work-study, Federal Direct (Student) Subsidized/unsubsidized Loan, Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan) and Private Alternative Loans, effective May 2011:

Pennsylvania State Grant Program (PHEAA) Satisfactory Academic Progress

PHEAA SAP will be evaluated beginning in May (after grades are posted for the Spring Semester) for all students who previously received one or more PHEAA Grants, have a Financial Aid Application for the current or upcoming year, and have been tentatively awarded a PHEAA Grant for the upcoming year.

Federal Policy Regarding Federal Student Aid and Drug Law Convictions

A student convicted of a federal or state drug offense that occurred during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving Title IV (federal) financial aid is ineligible for federal student aid (FSA).*

The period of ineligibility for FSA funds
  Possession of illegal drugs Sale of illegal drugs
1st offense 1 year from date of conviction 2 years from date of conviction
2nd offense 2 years from date of conviction Indefinite period
3rd offense
and beyond
Indefinite period Indefinite period
 

* Exceptions include any conviction that was reversed, set aside, or removed from a student's record, a conviction received as a juvenile (unless the student was tried as an adult), and any conviction for an offense that did not occur when a student was receiving Title IV aid.

Reference: U.S. Department of Education's Federal Student Aid Handbook. (2017-18, Volume 1, Chapter 1, pp. 1-21 to 1-22)

Federal Title IV Refund Policy

Definitions

Payment period – the total number of calendar days that a student is scheduled to complete prior to ceasing attendance, including breaks in enrollment of less than five days.Note: During fall or spring semester, the entire semester is usually the payment period.

Module – a course that does not span the entire payment period.

Withdrawal – a student is considered to have withdrawn if the student does not complete all the days in the payment period that the student was scheduled to complete prior to ceasing attendance.

Payment period completed – the total number of calendar days within the payment period that a student completed prior to ceasing attendance, including breaks in enrollment of less than five days.

Percentage of the payment period completed – 'payment period completed' divided by 'payment period'.

Academically-related activity – examples include: taking an exam, interactive tutorial, online instruction (not just logging on), submitting an assignment, or attending a study group assigned by the College, etc. Academic counseling and academic advising are not considered academically-related activities.

Policy/Regulation

When a student withdraws, ceases attending, or is administratively withdrawn during a semester, the College is required by Federal regulation to determine the amount of Title IV grant or loan assistance (Federal Pell, FSEOG, Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan, Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan) that the student earned as of the student's withdrawal date. The unearned portion of the Title IV aid must be returned to the appropriate Title IV program(s).

Determining enrollment status for Return of Title IV Funds

Adjustments to a student's enrollment status made after the student ceases attendance have no bearing on the Return of Title IV Funds requirements.

  • If prior to ceasing attendance, a student drops modules that have not yet started, the dropped modules will not be included when determining the student's payment period. Eligibility for Title IV funds may need to be recalculated.
  • If a student drops modules that have not yet started, after ceasing attendance in all courses, the dropped modules will be included in determining the student's payment period.
Withdrawal date determination
  • The date a student officially notifies the Registrar's Office, in writing or in person, of his or her intent to withdraw or,
  • If a student ceases attendance without providing official notification to the Registrar's Office, the withdrawal date will be the last date of attendance as determined from faculty attendance records
    • For online courses, the last date of attendance is determined by the last date of participation in an academically-related activity.
Withdrawal date determination for students taking one or more modules and no courses that span the entire semester
  • If a student fails to complete all modules scheduled for a semester, the student is considered a withdrawal at the time the student ceases attendance.
  • If a student withdraws from a module but indicates in writing to the Financial Aid Office that he or she will attend a later module during the same semester, the student is not considered a withdrawal.
    • If the student fails to attend the later module, the date of withdrawal reverts to the original withdrawal from the prior module. The later module will be included in the period of enrollment.
  • Without written confirmation of the student's intent to attend a later module in the same semester, a student who withdraws from a module or has ceased attendance is considered a withdrawal.
  • If a student begins but fails to complete the final module(s) in a semester, the student is considered to have withdrawn.
  • If a student receives a failing grade for the final module(s) in a semester, the College must determine if the student ceased attending and is therefore considered a withdrawal.
  • The Return of Title IV Funds process will begin as soon as possible after it is determined that a student has withdrawn or ceased attendance. If the student returns for a later module in the payment period, the Return of Title IV Funds will be reversed.
Earned and unearned Title IV financial aid
  • Based on the withdrawal date, the College determines the percentage of the payment period completed.
  • Earned Title IV aid is calculated using the percentage of the payment period completed.
    • If a student completes more than 60% of the days he or she was scheduled to complete, the student is considered to have earned 100% of the Title IV grants or awards for the semester.
    • Earned Title IV aid may not be sufficient to cover the College charges and a balance due may result.
  • Unearned Title IV aid is the remaining Title IV aid that the student did not earn based on the date of withdrawal.
    • All unearned Title IV aid must be returned to the specific Federal program.
Repayment

The responsibility to repay the unearned Title IV funds to specific Federal programs is shared by the College and the student.

  • Federal regulation requires that Title IV financial aid be used to cover only the length of time the student was enrolled before withdrawal, dismissal, or ceasing attendance.
  • The College's share is the lesser of:
    • The total amount of unearned Title IV funds; or
    • Institutional (College) charges incurred for the billing period multiplied by the percentage of aid that was unearned.
  • 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. Federal SEOG
    6. Other Title IV assistance for which a return of funds is required
  • The student's share is the difference between the unearned Title IV funds and the College's share.
  • Timeframe for the Return of Title IV Funds to the Federal programs:
    • Return of Title IV Funds process will begin as soon as possible after it is determined that a student has withdrawn or ceased attendance.
    • The College must determine the withdrawal date for a student who withdrew without providing notification no later than 30 days after the end of the semester.
    • The College must return funds no later than 45 days after the date the College determined that the student withdrew.

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.

Important Information about PHEAA's Distance Learning Policy

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) has a distance learning (education) policy for its Pennsylvania State Grant program. The policy can impact students in two ways:

1. Students enrolled in an online program of study are ineligible for PHEAA Grants. 

2. For students enrolled in all other programs of study: If you take more than 50% of your credits as distance learning you are ineligible for PHEAA Grants. As of the Summer 2013 Semester, PHEAA's Distance Learning policy requires colleges to measure the percent of credits that students enroll in on a semester basis. (Previously, the College calculated distance learning credits on a program basis.) At least 50% of a student's credits each semester must be 'in the classroom' to remain eligible for a PHEAA Grant, assuming all other eligibility requirements are met.

Semester examples
  Classroom Credits Distance Credits Eligible for PHEAA?
Lamar 7 7 Yes*
Shawn 8 7 Yes*
Amy 7 8 No

*If Lamar or Shawn drops or withdraws below seven classroom credits, they will become ineligible because their distance learning percentage will rise above 50%.

Developmental credits, in most cases, cannot be used toward the calculation. Only when a student has been granted a Remedial Exception for a semester can (some) developmental credits be included in the calculation. PHEAA policy permits Remedial Exceptions when:

  • A full-time student has 6-11 non-developmental credits.
  • A part-time student has 3-5 non-developmental credits.
  • A student's prior number of Remedial Exceptions** is not greater than .50 for full-time students or .75 for part-time students.
Examples with developmental credits
  Total Credits Developmental Credits Remedial Exception? Classroom Credits Distance Credits Eligible for PHEAA?
Courtney 15 3 No
(full-time with 12 non-developmental)
6 6 Yes
Jon 15 3 No
(full-time with 12 non-developmental)
5 7 No
Marissa 12 6 Yes
(full-time with 6 non-developmental)
6 6 Yes

**0.50 = 1 full-time semester Remedial Exception. Students with prior Remedial Exceptions can view the cumulative total of exceptions from the 'PHEAA Breakdown' section of the 'View Financial Aid Information' page of SIS.

Hybrid Courses

Hybrid courses combine classroom and distance learning and are identified by Penn College course section numbers of 98 or 99. Academic schools inform the Registrar’s Office of the percentage of distance learning instruction and this percentage is available for students to view when scheduling. As long as a hybrid course consists of 50% or more classroom instruction, it is considered (by PHEAA) as a classroom course. Hybrid courses that consist of more than 50% distance learning instruction are considered as distance learning courses. Refer to the instruction breakdown provided for hybrids on the College 'Course Offerings' information provided on the Registrar's Web page and my PCT Portal page.

If you have questions about PHEAA's Distance Learning policy and/or how it might impact your eligibility for PHEAA Grants, don't hesitate to contact the Financial Aid Office.

PHEAA's Distance Education Pilot (DE) Program

This PHEAA program began in the Fall Semester of 2013. It allows students taking primarily distance education classes to be considered for special 'DE Pilot' state grant awards. Penn College recognizes the importance of distance learning to many students, so we are happy to participate. Students who are ineligible for 'regular' state grant awards due to either of the two reasons explained in the above policy and who meet all other PHEAA eligibility criteria are nominated by the Financial Aid Office for DE Pilot awards. We identify students eligible for nomination; students do not need to contact the Financial Aid Office.

There is limited funding for the DE Pilot Program so please understand that neither PHEAA nor the Financial Aid Office can guarantee that any student nominated for a DE Pilot award will receive it. Distance education students need to be taking classes only in their official program(s) of study to be considered for nomination. PHEAA has limited remaining funding for the 2016-2017 academic year and for Summer 2017 Semester.

Federal Policy Regarding Repeated Coursework

A student may receive Federal financial aid (Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Federal Work-study, Direct (Student) Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan, Direct Parent PLUS Loan) a maximum of two (2) times when repeating a previously passed course (taken at Penn College or transferred in). In other words, once a student has passed a course the student has one additional attempt to complete the same course and still be eligible to receive Federal financial aid for that course.

What if I withdraw from a course the 2nd time I attempt it, after passing it the first time? Is the course eligible for Federal aid if I attempt the course a 3rd time?

Yes. A withdrawal is not a 'completed' attempt.

Does it matter whether I received Federal financial aid the first time I passed the course that I want to repeat?

No. Federal aid cannot be awarded for a course that you passed once, completed in a 2nd attempt, and plan to take a 3rd time, regardless of whether you previously had Federal aid or not.

If I am eligible for a Federal Pell Grant and I schedule 14 credits and 3 of my credits are impacted by this policy, what happens to my Pell Grant?

We must base your Pell Grant award on 11 (14 total minus 3 ineligible) credits, and your account will be credited with a 3/4-time Pell Grant.

If I am eligible for a Federal Direct Loan and I schedule 7 credits and 3 of my credits are impacted by this policy, what happens to my Loan?

We must base your eligibility on 4 (7 total minus 3 ineligible) credits. Since a minimum of 6 credits is required to be eligible for a Direct Loan, we will cancel your Direct Loan.

Contact Financial Aid Office

Name
  • Address
    • Pennsylvania College of Technology
      DIF 108
      One College Avenue
      Williamsport, PA 17701