Financial Aid Handbook
FINANCIAL AID & THE PAYMENT OF FEES
Student tuition and fees produce substantially less revenue than is required for an education at Piedmont. Contributions from churches, foundations, trustees, businesses, friends, and alumni provide the balance required for current expenses and major building programs. Generous contributions to Piedmont College also provide annual scholarships, grants, and work-study opportunities for a major portion of the students. These programs are set forth in the Piedmont College Catalog. All questions concerning financial aid should be referred to the Office of Financial Aid.
Payment of Fees, Charges or Fines
Students are required to pay fees, charges, and fines within a specified time. Failure to do so may result in the withholding of grades and/or transcripts until the bill is paid in full. The College reserves the right to charge a student's account for any unpaid fees, charges, or fines.
1. If at any time a credit balance is established on a student's account, the balance will be disbursed to the student within 14 days from the date the balance is created.
2. If students are not able to make payment by the published due dates, deferred payments may be discussed with the Business Office.
3. The Piedmont College payment plans offers a low-cost, flexible way to pay for educational expenses through regularly scheduled monthly payments. There is no interest accrued on the unpaid balance, only a one-time application fee of $40. Applications for participation in PPP are available in the Business Office. No student whose PPP account is in arrears may receive credit or transcripts of credit or register for subsequent classes.
Piedmont College is committed to assisting students and parents in their effort to obtain sufficient resources to meet educational expenses. Further, it is the policy of the College to meet 100 percent of demonstrated unmet financial need, through grants, loans, work and/or scholarship programs, for those students who apply for aid by May 1 for the following fall semester. For students enrolling in spring or summer semesters, please inquire at the Office of Financial Aid for application deadlines. In order to demonstrate financial need, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Once submitted to the federal processor, a Student Aid Report (SAR) is sent to the student. This form must be submitted to the Office of Financial Aid to determine unmet need and eligibility for aid. The student will be sent an official Award Letter outlining aid eligibility and expected expenses.
Piedmont College Scholarship Programs
Piedmont College is fortunate to have scholarship programs that are designed to assist a wide array of students from various backgrounds. Funds are awarded annually to students who are exceptional in academics, leadership skills, in need of financial support and have demonstrated an enthusiasm for learning. For more information on specific scholarships, please refer to the Piedmont College Catalog. It is the policy of Piedmont College to use scholarship funds to assist the greatest number of students possible. Therefore, any scholarship or grant funds (including HOPE and PELL Grants) received for an individual student above the direct cost of tuition and fees, room and board (for residential students) will be refunded to the specific scholarship fund. In this way the College can better serve all the students and avoid over awarding aid to any student or group of students.
Emergency Student Loans
In certain instances, emergency student loans may be obtained to assist with unexpected expenses incurred by students. Typically, the maximum amount available is $250 and must be repaid within 90 days. Interest is charged at 8 percent, accruing from the time the funds are disbursed to the student until such time as the loan is repaid in full. Students may apply for this loan by contacting the Business Office. A final decision will be made by the Vice President for Finance and Administration. Typically, students must be current on all College charges and in good standing academically prior to a loan being approved.
Work Aid & Work Study Programs
Piedmont College has two programs for students who desire to earn part of their college expenses by working at jobs on campus. The work-study program is funded in large part by the federal government, and students must meet financial need criteria in order to qualify as work-study students. For students who do not qualify for assistance under federal programs, Piedmont College maintains a work-aid program. Job availability for both of these programs is limited, so interested students should contact the Office of Financial Aid as early as possible. Student acceptance of assistance under the federal government's work-study and Piedmont College's work-aid programs carries with it an understanding by the College and by the students of certain obligations and commitments, as follows:
1. Students must fill out a work-study/work-aid application, which can be obtained from the Office of Financial Aid.
2. The work assignment will be made by the Office of Financial Aid with as much consideration as possible given to the students' preferences and abilities, depending on the need of the College for student assistance. Students with calculated financial need will be assigned jobs first, followed by job applicants who demonstrate no financial need.
3. Students will perform work assigned faithfully and to the best of their ability. A faculty or staff member will direct and supervise the students' work, judge its quality, and certify the hours worked each week.
4. Any transfer from one job to another involving a change of supervisor will be made only with the approval of the current supervisor and the Office of Financial Aid.
5. Earnings under this program will be used to meet expenses directly related to the students' attendance at the College.
6. Continuance of the employment of any student under these programs depends upon unconditional acceptance of assigned duties. Students who fail to perform the work assigned faithfully and to the best of their ability will be terminated from the program and will not be considered for any campus job until the next semester.
7. Students will wear clothing appropriate to the work setting.
8. Students will not bring their children to work with them in lieu of obtaining or hiring a baby-sitter.
9. Students will inform their supervisor if they must be absent from their duties. Unexpected absences should be reported by telephone; anticipated absences will be excused only with prior permission of the supervisor. Absences must be reported at least two hours before the assigned work-time.
10. During each semester, students may work up to 20 hours per week in all student work assignments.
11. Time sheets are to be filled out by the student. After each weekday, the students will record on a time sheet the inclusive time and number of hours worked. At the close of the pay period, the students will take the completed time sheet to their supervisor for a signature. The student is responsible for being sure the time sheet is turned in on time. If a time sheet is submitted late, students will be paid the following pay period.
12. Students are paid minimum wage as established by federal statute.Satisfactory Academic Progress for Undergraduate Students
All types of financial aid require that a student make satisfactory academic progress (SAP) toward a degree. To be viewed as making satisfactory academic progress a student must (a) have a minimum 2.0 institutional grade point average (GPA), (b) successfully complete 67% of all college-level coursework attempted at Piedmont College, and (c) finish his or her educational program before attempting 150% of the number of hours required for the program.
Financial Aid Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress
The U. S. Department of Education mandates that institutions of higher education establish minimum standards of “satisfactory academic progress” for students receiving financial aid. Piedmont College applies these standards to all applicants for Federal Grants (Pell, FSEOG, and Teach Grant), Federal Stafford loans, Federal Work Study, state scholarships/grants (HOPE, GTEG, et al.), and Piedmont College Scholarships.
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is determined by careful evaluation of qualitative and quantitative criteria. Determination of SAP will be made at the end of each semester.
A. QUALITATIVE CRITERIA - To be eligible for financial aid any current or former student of Piedmont College must have a minimum institutional grade point average (GPA) required for his or her grade level. The GPA scale can be found in the college catalog under academic exclusion.
B. QUANTITATIVE CRITERIA - Financial aid recipients must show measurable progress toward earning a degree by successfully completing at least sixty-seven percent (67%) of all college-level courses they attempt at Piedmont College. This standard will be applied to current students, former students, and transfer students. Semester hours completed will be those college level courses in which a student has received a grade of A, B, C, D or P. Semester hours attempted will include all college level courses for which a student has received a grade of A, B, C, D, F, P, I, NP, W, WF, or NR. Hours and grades for repeated courses will be used in this determination.
C. MAXIMUM LENGTH OF STUDY AT PIEDMONT COLLEGE Federal regulations prohibit a student from receiving aid after attempting 150% of the hours required for the educational program. A student accepted into a degree program may attempt no more than 150% of the required hours in required courses for the degree. (Hours for repeated courses will be included in the total number of attempted hours.) Once a student exceeds the maximum length of study, he or she will no longer be considered making satisfactory academic progress and will not be eligible for financial aid.
D. ACADEMIC EXCLUSION- If a student is placed on academic exclusion, eligibility for financial aid will be terminated and the student will be placed on Financial Aid Probation. When a student is removed from academic exclusion, he or she must contact Financial Aid to request a review of his or her financial aid status.
E. FINANCIAL AID WARNING - Failure by the student to attain the minimum GPA and a 67% completion rate of all college level courses attempted at Piedmont College will indicate the student is not making SAP. In most cases, the first time it is established that a student is not making SAP, the student will be placed on financial aid warning and will be eligible for financial aid for an additional semester.
F. FINANCIAL AID PROBATION - A student, who fails to meet SAP two semesters in a row or is academically excluded from Piedmont College, will be placed on Financial Aid Probation. He or she will not be eligible to receive financial aid while under financial aid probation
G. APPEALS PROCESS - a student, who has lost his or her eligibility and feels there were unusual circumstances that prevented the student from meeting the SAP requirements, may submit an appeal to Financial Aid. This appeal must include the reason SAP was not met and steps the student plans on taking to meet SAP. An SAP Appeal Committee will review each appeal. Denial of an appeal indicates that the student will not be considered eligible for financial aid until he or she attains at least the minimum GPA required by grade level and a 67% completion rate of all college level courses attempted at Piedmont College
H. REESTABLISHING ELIGIBILITY -In the event of termination of financial aid, a student will again be considered making SAP once the student has attain the minimum GPA and a 67% completion rate of all college level courses attempted at Piedmont College. When this occurs, the student should contact Financial Aid to request a review of the student’s SAP. Classes taken after losing eligibility will be at the student’s expense, using funds other than Federal Grants (Pell, FSEOG, and Teach Grant), Federal Stafford loans, Federal Work Study, state scholarships/grants (HOPE, GTEG, et al.), and Piedmont College Scholarships. A student who re-establishes eligibility and then subsequently falls below minimum SAP requirements will be denied financial aid. A student who exceeds the maximum length of study at Piedmont College (item C) cannot re-establish eligibility.
Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid for GRADUATE STUDENTS
The grading system used in graduate courses is as follows: A candidate must earn an overall grade point average of 3.0 “B” (on a four-point scale) calculated on all graduate work attempted. A candidate may earn no more than one “C” in the program. When a candidate receives a “C” or lower grade, he or she should confer with his or her academic advisor to review academic progress. A second “C” or a grade of “D” or “F,” or a GPA below 3.0 will result in academic probation. At this time the candidate’s progress will be reviewed by the dean of the appropriate school and the program director or department chair to determine an approved plan of action to meet program requirements of no more than one “C.” Upon successful completion of the plan of action, the candidate will be removed from probation.
If a student remains on academic probation two semesters without successful completion of all course work, the student will be on academic exclusion and will not be allowed to return to Piedmont College for a period of one semester. Consequently, the student may apply for readmission.
Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid for GRADUATE STUDENTS
Piedmont College has established standards of satisfactory academic progress for students to be considered for federal financial aid under Title IV of the Higher Education Act. Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Regulations are required to be equal to or more stringent than Piedmont College minimum academic requirements. In some cases, a student could be maintaining an acceptable grade point average, but have excessive withdrawals, and not be passing a high enough percentage of classes to remain eligible for financial aid. Therefore, a student could not be eligible for federal financial aid, but still be permitted to attend Piedmont College. In such a case, the student would have to pay for their college expenses without federal, state or institutional financial aid (loans, Pell, SEOG, FWS, etc.)
Federal Student Financial Aid Penalties for Drug Law Violations
A federal or state drug conviction can disqualify a student for FSA funds. Convictions only count
if they were for an offense that occurred during a period of enrollment for which the student was
receiving Title IV aid—they do not count if the offense was not during such a period. Also, a
conviction that was reversed, set aside, or removed from the student’s record does not count, nor
does one received when he or she was a juvenile, unless he or she was tried as an adult.
The chart below illustrates the period of ineligibility for FSA funds, depending on whether the
conviction was for sale or possession and whether the student had previous offenses.
|Number of convictions||Possession||Sale|
|First Offence||1 year for date of conviction||2 years from date of
|Second Offence||2 year from date of
|Third Offence||Indefinite period||Indefinite period|
If you have any questions about the effect of a drug conviction on your Federal Student Aid
Satisfactory Academic Progress -- the positive qualitative movement a student is making at a reasonable rate toward a definite educational goal. Satisfactory Academic Progress is checked simultaneously in three ways, grade point average and percentage of hours passed (Policy #1, Policy #2 and Policy #3 below). A student may be placed on probation, exclusion or dismissal if any one of the Satisfactory Academic Progress minimum standards are not met in any given term.
Full-time Student: properly enrolled for at least 9 hours (Graduate).
Part-time Student: enrolled less than 9 hours graduate.
Financial Aid Good Standing- is evidenced by a student making a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and passing sixty-seven percent of coursework in any given term.
Financial Aid Probation- a trial period, usually one semester of an academic year, in which a student receives aid after failing to meet 1) the minimum good standing grade point average of 3.0 or 2) the minimum percentage of passed courses, in any given term.
Financial Aid Exclusion- a period, usually one semester of an academic year in which a student does not receive scheduled federal financial aid because of 1) the failure to meet the GPA requirements listed below under Policy #2 or 2) failure to meet the minimum number of passed courses during the period of Financial Aid Probation.
Financial Aid Dismissal when a student is dismissed from being an eligible aid recipient. A student may appeal to the Dean for reinstatement after a reasonable period of time, usually one year. The second Financial Aid Dismissal at Piedmont College is permanent.
B. Policies of Minimum Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress
POLICY #1 of Satisfactory Academic Progress
Students must be earning a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher to remain in good standing for financial aid purposes. Failure to earn a 3.0 warrants immediate placement on financial aid probation, the second time a student falls below a 3.0. One occurrence of a GPA lower than 3.0 does not warrant probation. Students remain on probation until they improve their grade point average or fall into a category that places them on immediate Financial Aid Exclusion.
POLICY #2 of Satisfactory Academic Progress
Students receiving federal, state and/or institutional financial aid must meet the following requirements for Grade Point Average (GPA) or will be automatically placed on Financial Aid Exclusion. If a student remains on academic probation two semesters without successful completion of all course work, the student will be on academic exclusion and will not be allowed to return to Piedmont College for a period of one semester. Consequently, the student may apply for readmission.
POLICY #3 of Satisfactory Academic Progress
In addition, students are allowed a maximum of 1.5 times program credit hours of eligibility for federal student aid. In other words, students must successfully complete 67 percent of attempted hours during any term of enrollment.
C. Evaluative Procedures
1. Semester Review: At the end of each academic term, including summer sessions, the Office of Financial Aid shall review the academic record of each student receiving federal financial aid. The "Minimum Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress" listed in Section B above will be used to determine whether a student is:
a. Eligible to continue receiving federal, state and institutional financial aid;
b. To be placed on financial aid probation;
c. To be removed from financial aid probation;
d. To be placed on financial aid exclusion; or
e. To be placed on financial aid dismissal
f. To be reinstated for federal, state and/or institutional financial aid.
2. Notification: If a students federal financial aid status changes as a result of the semester review, he/she will receive written notice from the Financial Aid Office highlighting reasons for the action.
3. Transfer Students: Students who transfer to Piedmont College from another post-secondary institution (and who have shown by the Financial Aid Transcript that they have not received federal financial aid before September 1, 1987) must meet the requirements for satisfactory academic progress to receive federal financial aid at Piedmont College. This policy supersedes the policy of any institution previously attended.
4. Coursework: All courses taken will be counted in calculating total hours attempted for the purpose of determining full-time enrollment.
5. Incomplete Grades: In the determination of financial aid status, a grade of incomplete "I" will be counted as a grade of "F" until the requirements have been completed and a final grade has been received. The "I" must be removed by the end of the next semester of enrollment. Failure to do so will result in a permanent "F." For students who do not return to Piedmont, the "I" must be removed within one calendar year or it becomes an "F."
6. Total Hours: Students are limited to a maximum of 1.5 times the total program credit hours for federal financial aid. If program is 30 hours then (30 x 1.5) 45 hours attempted would be the maximum period of eligibility for aid.
7. Courses Repeated: When students repeat a course, both grades will be included in the GPA for determining financial aid eligibility. The hours, however, will be counted only once for institutional GPA calculations.
8. Financial Aid Records: The Office of Financial Aid shall maintain a current academic record on both a semester and cumulative basis to determine the academic status for students receiving federal financial aid.
9. Opportunities for Academic Assistance: Students who have been placed on Financial Aid Probation or Exclusion shall be advised of the opportunities for advice, counsel, testing, tutoring and related services available.
Students who have been placed on Financial Aid Probation, Exclusion or Dismissal may appeal, in writing, through the Office of Financial Aid to the Admissions and Scholarship Committee if:
1. failure to achieve minimum standards of satisfactory academic progress resulted from non-academic, extenuating circumstances or
2. this policy was incorrectly applied. An appeal must indicate reasons why minimum standards of satisfactory academic progress were not achieved, and reasons why they should not be placed on Financial Aid Probation or Exclusion. Appropriate documentation must be furnished.
The Admissions and Scholarship Committee will review appeals and determine whether the Financial Aid Probation, Exclusion or Dismissal was justified. Students will be advised, in writing, of the committee's decision. If the appeal is granted, in the case of Financial Aid Probation, students will be removed from Probation. In the case of Financial Aid Exclusion or Dismissal, if the appeal is granted, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Probation for one semester in accordance with the provisions of this policy.
Reinstatement of Aid
When a student is placed on Financial Aid Probation, the student will have several opportunities for guidance during the next upcoming term in which the probation is in effect. For example, a student can request individual academic consultation with senior staff, faculty advising sessions or tutoring. After the term is finished, the student’s academic performance will be evaluated and determination will be made regarding the student’s reinstatement of aid, or exclusion from aid eligibility. The student will be given the final determination in writing. If a student desires to appeal, he/she may follow the appeal procedures outlined in this section.