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Disbursement of Financial Aid

Financial Aid is disbursed by releasing two payments over the academic year (one each semester).  At the time of disbursement the student must still meet eligibility requirements (academic progress, expected enrollment, financial eligibility, etc).  The bill sent in advance of the semester reflects estimated aid, but funds cannot be applied to the student's account sooner than 10 days before the first day of classes. The student will be notified when funds are credited to the account. If the student aid funds are in excess of account charges a credit balance occurs that will be paid to the student (or parent if it was the parent's loan) within 14 days. If the student or parent wishes to cancel a loan within 14 days of the notification that the loan was applied to the account, then he/she may do so by notifying the Financial Aid Office.  Students may arrange with the Student Accounts Office to have excess funds from their student account automatically transferred by EFT to their bank accounts.  In order for a student's aid to be disbursed on the scheduled disbursement day, the student must have all required documents received and reviewed by the Financial Aid Office.

Return of Federal Title IV Funds

The Financial Aid Office is required by federal statute to recalculate federal Title IV financial aid eligibility for students who withdraw, drop out, are dismissed, or take a leave of absence prior to completing 60% of a payment period or term.

Recalculation is based on the percentage of earned aid using the following Federal Return of Title IV funds formula:

Percentage of 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.

If a student earned less aid than was disbursed, the institution would be required to return a portion of the funds and the student may be required to return a portion of the funds. Keep in mind that when Title IV funds are returned, the student may owe a debit balance to the institution.

If a student earned more aid than was disbursed to him/her, the institution would owe the student a post-withdrawal disbursement which must be paid within 180 days of the student's withdrawal.

The institution must return the amount of Title IV funds for which it is responsible no later than 45 days after the date of the determination of the date of the student's withdrawal.

Refunds are allocated in the following order:

  1. Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans
  2. Subsidized Federal Direct Loans
  3. Federal Perkins Loans
  4. Federal Direct PLUS Loans
  5. Federal Pell Grants for which a Return of Funds is required
  6. Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grants (SEOG) for which a Return of Funds is required
  7. Other assistance under Title IV for which a Return of Funds is required.

Read more on the Treatment of Title IV Aid When a Student Withdraws.

Financial Aid Code of Conduct and Policy on Education Loans

Preamble

This code of conduct applies to all Seton Hill University officers, employees, and agents who have responsibilities with respect to education loans. This code reinforces and reflects Seton Hill University's continuing commitment to conduct financial aid practices with integrity, free from conflicts of interest, in the interest of students, and in compliance with applicable law.

Any violations of this policy will be subject to the Seton Hill University code of conduct which may result in disciplinary action and/or discharge, depending on the severity of the action.

Definition

For purpose of this code of conduct, lending institutions means:

- (a) any entity that itself or through an affiliate engages in the business of making loans to students, parents of others for purposes of financing higher education expenses of that securitizes such loans; or

- (b) any entity, or association of entities, that guarantees or services education loans; or

- any industry, trade or professional association that receives money from any entity described above in subsections (a) and (b).

I. Limitations Regarding Lending Institutions



Seton Hill University prohibits:

  1. any revenue-sharing arrangement with any lending institution. Revenue sharing is any arrangement by which a lender pays Seton Hill University a percentage of the principal loan taken by a borrower or otherwise compensates Seton Hill University as a result of a borrower taking a loan.
  2. accepting or soliciting anything of value from any lending institution related to its education loan activity, including but not be limited to: (i) revenue sharing by a lending institution with Seton Hill University, (ii) Seton hill University's receipt from any lending institution of any computer hardware for which Seton Hill University pays below market prices and (iii) printing costs or services.
  3. accepting or soliciting staffing assistance from a lending institution, including but not limited to call center staffing or financial aid office staffing.
  4. identifying any employee or other agent of a lending institution to students or prospective students of Seton Hill University or their parents as an employee or agent of Seton Hill University.
  5. arranging with a lending institution to provide any opportunity loans, if the provision of such opportunity loans prejudices any other borrower. For purpose of this code, an opportunity loan agreement is an arrangement whereby a lending institution agrees to make loans up to a specified aggregate amount to students with poor or no credit history, or to international students whom the lending institution claims would not otherwise be eligible for its loan programs, in exchange for concessions of promises by the College that may prejudice other borrowers.
  6. accepting or soliciting any funds to be used for private educational loans or opportunity pool loans in exchange for providing a lending institution with a specified number of federal loans, a specified loan volume or a preferred lender arrangement.
  7. assigning a first-time borrower to a particular lender, or refusing to certify, or delaying certification, of any loan based on the borrower's selection of a lending institution.

II. Limitations on College Officers, Employees or Agents



Seton Hill University prohibits any officer, employee, or agent of Seton Hill University who has responsibility with respect to education loans from:

  1. receiving any remuneration for serving as a member or participant of an advisory board of a lending institution, or receiving any reimbursement of expenses for so serving, provided, however, that participation on advisory boards that are unrelated in any way to higher education loans shall not be prohibited by the code. Notwithstanding the above, individuals are not prohibited from serving on a board of directors of a publicly traded or privately held company.
  2. consulting or providing other contract services for a lending institution. This article does not prohibit a financial aid officer from consulting for, or serving on advisory board constituted by, the federal government consistent with Seton Hill University's Policy on Conflict of Interest and Conflict of Commitment and federal law.
  3. owning stock or holding any another financial interest in a lending institution, other than through ownership of shares in a publicly traded mutual fund or similar investment vehicle in which the person does not exercise any discretion regarding the investment of the assets of the investment vehicle.
  4. soliciting or accepting gifts or anything of more than de minimus value on his or her own behalf of another from or on behalf of a lending institution and receiving any payment or reimbursement by a lending institution to a College employee for lodging, meals, or travel to conferences or training seminars. This provision shall not be construed to prohibit any officer, employee, or agent of Seton Hill University who has responsibility with respect to educational loans from conducting non-College business activity with any lending institution, or prevent Seton Hill University from holding membership in any nonprofit professional association.

For purpose of this code, "gifts" include any gratuity, favor, discount, entertainment, hospitality, loan, or other item having a monetary value of more than a de minimus amount, including services, transportation, lodging, and meals. A gift does not include standard materials, activities or programs related to a loan being provided; favorable terms, conditions or borrower benefits provided to a student employed by Seton Hill University if comparable terms are provided to all students of Seton Hill University; philanthropic contributions to an institution unrelated to education loans; or state education grants, scholarships or financial aid funds.

III. Member of NASFAA



As members of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), a person employed as a financial aid administrator of Seton Hill University will follow NASFAA Code of Conduct

Financial Aid Rights and Responsibilities

Students receiving financial aid have the right to know:

  • Cost of attendance calculation and Seton Hill's policy on refunds for students who withdraw.
  • Financial assistance available (including information on all federal, state, local, private, and institutional financial aid programs).
  • Procedures and deadlines for submitting applications for each available financial aid program and how financial aid recipients are selected.
  • How financial need is determined.
  • Interest rates and other costs on any student loan the student has, the total amount to be repaid, the length of time for repayment, when repayment must start, a sample repayment schedule and what cancellation or deferment (postponement) provisions apply.
  • If offered a federal work-study job, the type of job, the hours the student must work, the duties, the rate of pay, and how and when payment will be made.
  • A request for reconsideration of the financial aid package is possible if a mistake has been made or if enrollment or financial circumstances have changed.
  • How satisfactory progress is determined and what happens if the student is not making satisfactory academic progress.
  • How and when the student will receive financial assistance payments.

Students receiving financial aid at Seton Hill University accept that they must meet the following responsibilities:

  • Know and meet all deadlines for applying or re-applying for financial aid. Financial aid has an annual reapplication process. Awards are made on an annual basis and are disbursed on a semester by semester basis. No awards are credited to a student's account until all information requested by the Financial Aid Office has been received.
  • Complete and submit the SHU financial aid application, FAFSA and student loan application (if applicable) accurately and on time to the right point of destination.
  • Provide all documentation, corrections, and new information requested by either the Office of Financial Aid or the agency to which the student applied for aid.
  • Complete a Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling prior to receiving the first disbursement of a Federal Perkins Loan or Federal Stafford Loan at the university.
  • Satisfactorily perform the work agreed upon for a federal work-study job, if the student has one.
  • Understand the university's refund policy. If the student withdraws from school within a short time after starting classes, the student may be entitled to a partial reduction of educational charges. After a certain date, charges will not be reduced. The student must check with SHU's Student Accounts Office to determine deadlines for withdrawal.
  • Read, understand, and keep copies of all forms the student is asked to sign.
  • Notify the University of any information that has changed since the student applied for financial aid including change in name, address, or attendance status (half-time, full-time, etc.), number of family members enrolled in college or housing status.
  • Notify the Financial Aid Office of any outside scholarships or employer reimbursement benefits.
  • Must be enrolled at least half time (6 undergraduate or 5 graduate credits) in a degree or certificate program. Must meet terms of academic progress as stated in the University catalog.
  • Complete exit counseling upon withdrawal or graduation if the student has a federal education loan.
  • Repay any student loans. When the student signs a promissory note, the student agrees to repay any loans.
  • Understand that the Financial Aid Office has the right to review, revise and/or cancel a financial aid award because of change in financial, housing or enrollment status; lack of academic progress; or if the offer was awarded based upon erroneous information submitted on the FAFSA or SHU application.
  • Seton Hill University does not substitute funds for any portion of an award which is declined by the student.

Definition of Academic Year

An academic year at Seton Hill University consists of 2 semesters, each 15 weeks in length. The fall semester begins in late August and ends in mid-December. The spring semester begins in mid-January and ends in early May. To be considered full-time, a student must be enrolled for a minimum of 12 credits in each semester.

Verification Procedures

Seton Hill University verifies all students who are chosen for verification by the US Department of Education. The verification process consists of the following steps:

  1. Collect copies of prior, prior year federal tax return transcripts and w-2s for parents and students if filed.
  2. Compare tax return information with information reported on FAFSA. 
  3. Financial aid office staff reconcile any discrepancies found between the Verification Form and the ISIR and make electronic corrections as needed.
  4. If student fails to return any required document such as the verification forms and/or loan confirmation by the end of the fiscal year, no aid is processed and posted to the student's account.
  5. Any revisions that are made to a student's financial aid package due to the verification process are reflected in new awards on the student portion of the university internal computer system (The Financial Aid Center) and on the student billing statement which is updated monthly.
  6. Certify loans and disburse financial aid.
  7. If an overpayment should occur due to falsified or incorrect information on the FAFSA the school will notify the US Department of Education.

Professional Judgment

Dependency Overrides

All students are expected to file the FAFSA based on the dependency determination of section 480(d) of the HEA of 1965, as amended. If a student does not meet at least one of these criteria to be considered independent, but requests an exception, if will be evaluated by the Director of Financial Aid. The student will be required to submit a personal statement explaining why he/she believes he/she should be considered independent. Student must also submit documentation from other sources who are aware of the unusual circumstances. This may include statements from relatives, documentation from legal entities, etc. Situations where a student has been living independently for 1 or more years will not, in itself constitute a valid reason for a dependency override. Neither will a parent's refusal to contribute toward a student's education, nor a parent's refusal to provide information on the FAFSA, nor a parent not claiming the student as a dependent on his/her federal tax return qualify as a valid reason for dependency override.

The Director of Financial Aid will evaluate all documents received and render a decision in a timely manner. All documentation will be kept in the student's file and dependency status will be evaluated on an annual basis.

Notice to Students Concerning Penalties for Drug Violations

In order to comply with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989, each year Seton Hill University distributes to all students a brochure that outlines the Seton Hill University Drug-Free Schools Policy as it relates to the HEOA section 488(g) and the HEA section 485(k). In addition to the published information, the conviction of an offense under any drug laws will result in the loss of federal student financial aid.

Suspension of Eligibility for Drug Convictions

As prescribed in section 484® of the Higher Education Act, a student who, during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving any Federal grant, loan, or work assistance, is convicted of any offense under any Federal or State law involving the possession or sale of a controlled substance shall not be eligible to receive any additional grant, loan, or work assistance from the date of that conviction for the period of time specified in the following table:

Period of Ineligibility for Title IV Federal Aid

Number of Offense 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
3+ Offenses Indefinite Period Indefinite Period

(A conviction for sale of drugs includes convictions to sell drugs)

For individuals convicted of both possession and sale of illegal drugs, the overlapping periods of ineligibility will run concurrently, resulting in the longer period of ineligibility prevailing. Only convictions for an offense occurring during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving Federal aid will impact eligibility. Convictions that are reversed, set aside, or removed from the student’s record will not impact eligibility, nor will convictions occurring when the student was a juvenile, unless tried as an adult.

A written notice will be provided to each student who has lost eligibility for Title IV Federal financial aid funds due to a drug conviction and will include the methods by which a student can regain eligibility.

Student Responsibilities if Convicted During Period of Enrollment.

If a student is convicted of a drug offense after receiving Federal aid, they must notify Seton Hill University’s Financial Aid office immediately. That student will be immediately ineligible for further aid and will be required to pay back all aid received after the loss of eligibility.

Students are required to self-certify their eligibility for Federal aid with regard to drug convictions on the FAFSA. If a student has been convicted of a drug offense while receiving Title IV Federal financial aid, they are required to report the conviction on item number 23 of the FAFSA. For additional information on the requirement call a Federal representative at 1-800-433-3243.

Regaining Eligibility

A student regains eligibility the day after the period of ineligibility ends, the date their conviction is overturned, or the date they complete a qualified drug rehabilitation program, whichever occurs first.

A student whose eligibility has been suspended indefinitely may only regain it by successfully completing a qualified drug rehabilitation program.

A qualified drug rehabilitation program must include at least two unannounced drug tests and satisfy at least one of the following requirements:

  • Be qualified to receive funds directly or indirectly from a Federal, State, or local government program.
  • Be qualified to receive payment directly or indirectly from a Federally- or State-licensed insurance company.
  • Be administered or recognized by a Federal, State, or local government agency or court.
  • Be administered or recognized by a Federally- or State-licensed hospital, health clinic, or medical doctor.

It is the student’s responsibility to certify to Seton Hill University’s Financial Aid office that they have successfully completed a rehabilitation program.

The Necessity for Repaying Loans

You must repay a student loan even if your financial circumstances become difficult.  Loans can’t be canceled because you didn’t get the education or job you expected, and they can’t be cancelled because you didn’t complete your education (unless you couldn’t complete your education because your school closed).

If you don’t make your student loan payment or you make your payment late, your loan may eventually go into default.  If you default on your student loan, that status will be reported to credit bureaus, and your credit rating and future borrowing ability will be damaged. In addition, legal action can be taken to require payment through garnishment of wages and withholding of tax refunds.

The Office of Financial Services & the Registrar contains Student Accounts, Financial Aid and the Registrar. Contact the office at HelpFinReg@setonhill.edu or (724) 830-1010.