Financial Aid Policies

Financial Aid Policies

Students who receive federal, state, and/or institutional financial aid should be aware of all financial aid policies that affect eligibility to receive student aid.  Several important policies are provided below for review.

Attendance Policy

The College outlines the student attendance requirements that each student must follow. Students should become familiar with and adhere to these requirements to comply with federal regulations governing attendance. This procedure is applied to all credit courses, whether or not student financial aid funds have been utilized to pay for the course(s). Failure to comply with attendance procedures may result in the course being marked with an NS designation for non-attendance.

Eligibility for federal student financial aid is, in part, based on your enrollment status for the semester in which you are enrolled. Federal regulations require that students attend all registered classes to receive federal financial aid funds. Students who register for courses but do not attend will be reported as a No Show for non-attendance by your instructor(s). Your financial aid will be adjusted to reflect your financial aid eligibility only for those classes that you attend.

Students who attend a course and cease attendance at a later point may be required to repay all or a portion of financial aid due to the student’s failure to complete the course. Students who are marked as No Show from courses due to non-attendance, as reported by the instructor, must obtain permission from the instructor to re-enroll in a course. Students’ financial aid will not be adjusted until the passing grades have been posted for all courses, including the course marked with the designation No Show.

Book Voucher Policy

Eligible Courses Policy

Federal regulations require that financial aid be applied only towards required courses listed in a student’s program of study. It is important to note that federal financial aid can only pay for coursework fully acceptable to the eligible degree program in which you are enrolled. Federal student aid cannot pay for coursework consider to be beyond the requirements for a student’s program of study.

Student financial aid will be adjusted based upon the number of eligible credit hours that a student enrolls. Failure to register for eligible courses may result in the student being responsible for payment towards the student account balance.

Cincinnati State uses the degree audit system to determine the number of eligible courses a student is enrolled. For more information or guidance with course registration, meet with your Program Chair or Academic Advisor.

Federal regulations require that financial aid be applied only towards required courses listed in a student’s program of study. It is important to note that federal financial aid can only pay for coursework fully acceptable to the eligible degree program in which you are enrolled. Federal student aid cannot pay for coursework consider to be beyond the requirements for a student’s program of study.

Student financial aid will be adjusted based upon the number of eligible credit hours that a student enrolls. Failure to register for eligible courses may result in the student being responsible for payment towards the student account balance.

Cincinnati State uses the degree audit system to determine the number of eligible courses a student is enrolled. For more information or guidance with course registration, meet with your Program Chair or Academic Advisor.

Federal regulations require that financial aid be applied only towards required courses listed in a student’s program of study. It is important to note that federal financial aid can only pay for coursework fully acceptable to the eligible degree program in which you are enrolled. Federal student aid cannot pay for coursework consider to be beyond the requirements for a student’s program of study.

Student financial aid will be adjusted based upon the number of eligible credit hours that a student enrolls. Failure to register for eligible courses may result in the student being responsible for payment towards the student account balance.

Cincinnati State uses the degree audit system to determine the number of eligible courses a student is enrolled. For more information or guidance with course registration, meet with your Program Chair or Academic Advisor.

Financial Aid Disbursement Policy

This policy applies to students. Institutions are required to use the following disbursement policy for student financial aid every semester of the academic year.

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Packaging Policy

Repeated Courses Policy

In general, students may repeat a course when a grade of B, C, D, or F has previously been earned. When the same course is repeated, the highest grade is calculated in the cumulative GPA. (Note that all grades remain posted on the official student transcript.) However, federal financial aid funds may be used only one time to repeat previously passed courses, for which the student has already earned a passing letter grade. For example, if you have passed a course with a grade of D and have received credit for the course, you may repeat the course to improe your grade only one time and receive federal financial aid funds to pay for the previously passed course.

In some degree programs, students may be required to retake a course as many times as necessary to achieve a grade of C in order to advance to the next level course. However, you will not receive financial aid for the same course more than two times, if you have received credit for the course.

In some cases, it is possible that your total amount of financial aid may cover your account balance when repeating courses. Your financial aid award will be calculated based on the number of eligible financial aid credit hours, excluding non-repeated courses. If you have student loans, you must be enrolled in at least six (6) credits of non-repeated coursework to receive your student loan.

Student Loan Policy

Enrollment & No Show Designation Policy

No Show (NS) Mark Policy for Title IV Recipients

According to federal regulations, an institution must have a procedure for determining whether a Title IV recipient began attendance during a payment period (Office of Financial Aid defines a payment period as a semester), completed the period or should be treated as a “No Show”.

It is an interpretation of the “NS” mark to facilitate compliance with Federal Title IV Regulations. This policy only pertains to those students receiving Title IV funds and will determine the student’s enrollment status with relation disbursement and to the Return of Title IV (R2T4) process.

At the time of disbursement, the Office of Financial Aid reviews and determines student eligibility for Title IV aid. If it is determined that a student receives a “NS” mark for one or more classes, the student Title IV aid will be adjusted accordingly.

Students who receive a “NS” designation for one or more classes, who have been incorrectly marked with a “NS”, it must be determined whether or not this was institution error. Students who have been incorrectly marked with “NS” must wait until passing grades have posted to their academic record in order for the Office of Financial Aid to adjust the student aid for that semester.

If a student receiving Title IV aid receives a “NS” mark for one or more classes and does not receive an earned passing grade (such as an “A”, “B”, “C”, or “D”) upon completion of a class, no financial aid will be disbursed for such classes. Incompletes will not count as a passing grade.

Enrollment

Financial aid will be adjusted according to your hours of enrollment.

For financial aid purposes:

  • Full-time enrollment = 12 or more eligible credit hours
  • Three-quarter time enrollment = 9 to 11 eligible credit hours
  • Half-time enrollment = 6 to 8 eligible credit hours
  • Less-than half-time enrollment = 1 to 5 eligible credit hours

Students must be enrolled for at least half time (six credit hours) in eligible credit hours to be eligible for loans. Any time a Stafford loan-borrowing student withdraws to less than six eligible credit hours, takes off a term, or enrolls less than half time, exit counseling is required. Even though a student may intend to return to Cincinnati State within at least six credit hours, the student is required by federal regulations to complete exit counseling as their repayment deferment time period has begun.

Class attendance is required

Each student is expected to attend all scheduled classes. Each Cincinnati State faculty member will take attendance at every class session for the first two weeks of the semester to establish the student began attendance. Each student should check with his or her instructor to determine how attendance will be taken, and in what ways, if any, attendance is a factor in grading. A student who enrolls but did not attend any classes, does not officially drop or withdraw from the class, or withdraws from a course without having attended the class, will be designated as a no show (NS). The “NS” designation does not appear on a student’s official academic transcript, however:

  • A student who receives an “NS’ designation is financially responsible for payment of the course.
  • A student is not permitted to withdraw from a course in which a “NS” designation has been assigned.
  • A student who registers and receives student loan proceeds but attends less than half-time (six credit hours) is ineligible for all loan proceeds. Cincinnati State will return to the Department of Education (ED) any loan proceeds used to cover tuition cost and notify ED that the student has failed to qualify for the loan. Students who receive a refund of their loan proceeds to cover educational expenses must first repay ED the amount received before Cincinnati State can certify additional loan eligibility for the student.
  • The Office of Financial Aid is required to recalculate a student’s Pell Grant and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) award to reflect only those eligible credit hours and classes for which the student actually began attendance.

The following are various scenarios the Office of Financial Aid may encounter when processing the return of federal student financial aid, known officially as Return of Title IV Funds or R2T4:

A student receiving a “NS” mark in all class(es): Is considered to never have begun attendance in their classes and no financial aid will be disbursed to student account. Student is responsible for payment of courses.

A student receiving a combination of “NS’s” and “W’s:”If any W is after disbursement, the enrollment status should be considered as an official withdrawal and the date of the withdrawal should be used in the R2T4 calculation.

A student receiving a combination of “NS’s” and “F’s”: Is considered an unofficial withdrawal if the NS’s and F’s are reported grades. If in the event, the student earned the grade of F, it is the student responsibility to contact the instructor to complete the appeal e-form. This form is used to review students earn grade and determine if it should be used in the R2T4 calculation.

If it is determined that the student’s enrollment status is as an unofficial withdrawal, or the student receives all failing grades, the instructor will report the student last date of attendance and will be used in the determination of the R2T4 funds.

A student receiving a combination of “NS’s” and Letter Grades (such as an “A”, “B”, “C”, or “D”): Does not require a R2T4 as the student has completed a class.
U.S. Department of Education Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) GEN-04-03 Code of Federal Regulations 34 CFR 668.22

Code of Federal Regulations 34 CFR 668.22(c)
Code of Federal Regulations 34 CFR 668.22(c)(1)(iii)
Code of Federal Regulations 34 CFR 668.22(c)

Official & Unofficial Withdrawals of Title IV (Federal Student Aid Recipients)

Title IV Federal Student Aid and Official and Unofficial Withdrawal from Classes

U.S. Department of Education regulations require that students earn their eligibility for Title IV federal financial aid funds by attending classes.

  • If a Title IV recipient ceases to be enrolled (does not attend classes) prior to the end of the semester, the student’s eligibility for Title IV funding must be recalculated.
  • The recalculation process (R2T4) may require portions of the Title IV funding to be returned to the Department of Education.
  • The student will owe the amount returned to the College and must pay this amount before registering for any subsequent semesters, or must make satisfactory repayment arrangements with the Student Accounts Office.

Official Withdrawals

Upon dropping all classes for any given semester, a student is considered to have officially withdrawn from Cincinnati State, even if future enrollment is anticipated.

To officially withdraw, a student must complete steps to clear the courses from their record. The options are:

  • Using MyServices, choose Withdraw from Classes and follow the steps provided to complete the request.
  • Submit a Course Withdrawal Form to the Office of the Registrar.
  • Send an email  message to the Office of the Registrar (ro@cincinnatistate.edu ) requesting courses be withdrawn. 

A student who withdraws up to the 60% point of the semester, is subject to a financial aid re-calculation and must return a pro-rated portion of their financial aid to Cincinnati State.

Unofficial Withdrawals

A student will be considered to be an Unofficial Withdrawal if she/he receives a failing grade (F or U) in all classes for which the student was registered in the semester, and the student began class attendance.

Instructors are required to report the late date of attendance for students receiving failing grades.

Official and Unofficial Withdrawals
A student who has a mixture of withdrawals and grades of “F or U” in all classes in a semester will have the most recent date (last course withdrawal or last date of attendance reported by the instructor) used in the R2T4 calculation.

Refunds of Title IV Funds
If a student receives less Title IV program funds than the amount earned, the College must comply with the procedures for late disbursement specified by the Department of Education regulations.

If a student receives more Title IV program funds than the amount earned, the College will return the unearned funds, as required and in the order specified, to the Title IV program(s).

Refunds on behalf of a Title IV aid recipient must be distributed in the following order:

  • Federal Unsubsidized Stafford
  • Federal Subsidized Stafford
  • Federal PLUS (Parent Loan)
  • Federal Perkins Loan
  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans
  • Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans
  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal SEOG
  • Other federal, state, private or institutional sources of student aid

Return of Title IV Funds Policy

How will withdrawing from all my classes after the 50% refund date affect my financial aid?

A portion of your financial aid may need to be returned back to the Department of Education. A portion of student fees is no longer covered by financial aid, and the student is liable for paying the balance of school charges. This amount will be subject to immediate repayment and no further registration activity will be allowed. Official transcripts will not be released until the balance is paid in full.

Title IV Refund Calculation Process

To calculate the Return of Title IV Aid, the Financial Aid office:

  • Determines the number of calendar days the student attended classes (Calendar day does not include scheduled breaks of at least five consecutive days or more.)
  • Calculates the percentage of Title IV Aid Earned and Unearned
  • Calculates the amount of institutional charges
  • Determines the amount that must be returned to each Title IV program
  • Calculates the student’s and school’s responsibility to the grant and loan programs
  • Returns funds to the programs according to regulatory requirements
  • Collects grant overpayment, or follows the overpayment procedures

Worksheets used to determine the amount of Return of Title IV aid are available upon request in the Financial Aid Office.

THE INSTITUTIONAL REFUND POLICY IS DIFFERENT THAN THE FEDERAL TITLE IV REFUND POLICY.

PLEASE SEE THE COLLEGE CATALOG FOR INFORMATION REGARDING THE INSTITUTIONAL REFUND POLICY FOR ALL INSTITUTIONAL FUNDING.

Unofficial Withdrawal and Financial Aid Eligibility

The Department of Education considers a student who has failed to receive a passing grade (F, I, IP & W) in all their registered courses or combination of these letter grades in a given term to have unofficially withdrawn from the college and ineligible for a portion of their financial aid.

However, if the college can substantiate that the student earned at least one of the “F” grades in the term, by participating in an academically related activity after a certain point of the term, the student is considered to have earned the “F” grade. Therefore, the student is not officially withdrawn from the college and eligible to receive financial aid.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

The Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy is required for institutions with students who receive federal financial aid, to measure student academic progress towards a degree or certificate. The policy applies to all students.

Federal regulations require that Cincinnati State Technical and Community College review the academic progress of students receiving federal financial aid. The review process evaluates whether a student is “making measurable progress toward completion of their course of study in order to continue receiving federal financial aid.” All credits attempted, since the first semester of enrollment, and transfer credits, must be included, whether or not federal financial aid was used.

At Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is evaluated at the end of each semester (Fall, Spring, and Summer) as well as when a FAFSA is received after the evaluation period for the semester. If it is determined that the student is not making satisfactory academic progress, the student will receive an e-mail notification.

SAP must be met by students receiving Federal Student Aid (FSA), under Title IV programs, including: College Work-Study, Pell Grant, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct Loan, and Parent PLUS Loan programs. These standards also apply to the following State of Ohio funded programs: Ohio Academic Scholars, Ohio War Orphan, NEALP, Frank O’Bannon, Choose Ohio First and Ohio Safety Officer Scholarships.

All Cincinnati State scholarship recipients are expected to adhere to the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.

Minimum Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Standards
A student’s cumulative grade point average (GPA) and the percentage of credits completed are used to determine SAP. The review is based on students’ entire enrollment history at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College including any enrollment period in which a student did not receive financial aid, and all transfer credits received. Although withdrawing from a class, or receiving an Incomplete or No Show grade will not affect a students’ grade point average (GPA), it will affect the percentage of credits attempted.

It is the student’s responsibility to read, understand, and adhere to the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy in order to remain eligible for financial aid. Failure to comply with this policy can result in the student’s financial aid being terminated at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College.

Completion Rate & Grade Point Average (GPA) Requirements
To be making satisfactory academic progress, a student must:

  • Maintain a minimum cumulative (GPA) of 2.0 to remain eligible, and
  • Complete at least 67% (or two-thirds) of all courses attempted.
    •  Earned grades of A, B, C, D, P or S are considered completed credits and are calculated in a student’s cumulative grade point average (GPA),
    • Withdrawals (W), incompletes (I), No Show (NS), and failing grades (F) are not considered completed credits but count toward a student’s attempted credits.
    • Students who drop courses from the time of registration through the fourteenth calendar day of the semester are not counted towards credit hours attempted.
    • If an incomplete (I) grade turns into a passing grade of A, B, C, D, P, or S, during the next evaluation period it will be considered as completed credits.
    • If an incomplete (I) grade turns into a failing grade of F, or U, during the next evaluation period it will be considered as attempted credits.
    • Academic Forgiveness does not count in the computation of the cumulative GPA or course completion percentage for Financial Aid purposes.

Failure to meet the GPA and/or Completion Percentage Requirements of SAP leads to these steps:

Financial Aid Warning: (After 12 credit hours attempted)
Students who are not meeting SAP after attempting at least 12 credit hours will be placed on financial aid warning and will be notified of their financial aid status. Students are eligible for federal financial aid and are encouraged to re-evaluate their academic progression toward the completion of their course of study, obtain academic advising, and other academic support resources to support their academic success.

Financial Aid Suspension: (any semester after being placed on a Financial Aid Warning) Students, who are not meeting SAP after failing to meet SAP after being placed on Financial Aid Warning, will be placed on financial aid suspension and notified of their financial aid status.
Students who are placed on financial aid suspension will be ineligible to receive financial aid unless they have an approved SAP Appeal. Due to the limited amount of processing time between semesters, students who have elected to register for the next semester will be held financially responsible for all tuition and other institutional charges on their student account.

Financial Aid SAP Appeal:
Students may appeal the suspension of their federal financial aid by documenting any extenuating and/or mitigating circumstances that may have led to their inability to maintain satisfactory academic progress. Students who submit a financial aid appeal are not automatically reinstated for federal financial aid. The Office of Financial Aid considers the students’ written appeal, other supporting documentation, and federal regulations when making a final determination of financial aid reinstatement.

Federal regulations restrict those circumstances that may enable a SAP appeal from being successfully approved. Students should provide as much documentation as possible regarding unusual and/or mitigating circumstances with their appeal to be afforded full consideration. The Office of Financial Aid considers students’ written appeal, supporting documentation, and federal regulations when making a final determination.

There are several reasons a student may file a SAP appeal. These include the following: death of a family member; disabling illness or injury to the student; disabling illness or injury of an immediate family member that required the student’s care, the student’s emotional or mental health issue that required professional care, or other unusual circumstances beyond the student’s control and/or demonstrated progressive academic improvement.

A student must properly document the basis for his or her appeal in accordance with the SAP appeal requirements. A student should refer to the Satisfactory Academic Progress appeal E-form

Approved SAP Financial Aid Appeals:

  • Probation: the granting of financial aid for one semester, based on an approved appeal in which the student must meet all aspects of SAP when grades post for this semester or their aid will be terminated.
  • Academic Plan: the granting of financial aid for each semester until the student is meeting all aspects of SAP, based on an approved appeal, in which the student must receive at least a 2.5 GPA and complete at least 75% of the credit hours attempted when grades post.

Denied SAP Financial Aid Appeals:

A student that has a SAP appeal that has been denied is ineligible to receive financial aid as a result of not meeting minimum SAP requirements. Students may re-appeal when meeting all aspects of SAP. Financial aid awards cannot be paid retroactively for semesters during which a student was ineligible to receive financial aid.

Maximum Time Frame (MTF) for Financial Aid Eligibility:

The maximum number of credits a student can attempt and continue to receive financial aid is dependent on the number of credit hours required to complete the student’s program as indicated in the college catalog.

  • All periods of enrollment at Cincinnati State count towards a student’s MTF regardless of:
    • receiving Financial Aid for those courses,
    • the courses being attempted for another major,
    • receiving academic forgiveness,
    • the courses being withdrawn, or
    • the courses receiving a grade of incomplete.
  • Each course repetition with grades of W, I, or U count towards the student attempted credits.
  • Each course repetition with grades of A, B, C, D, P, or S, count towards the student completed credits.
  • Audited courses are not included in the calculation of credits attempted.
  • Transfer credits that are applicable to a student’s program, are counted towards the student’s MTF. However, this is taken into consideration during the appeal process as the Office of Financial Aid needs confirmation from the student’s academic advisor as to how many of the transfer credit hours count toward the student’s program.
  • Once a student graduates from a program, they are no longer eligible for Financial Aid.
  • Even if a student completes a program, but has not completed a Petition to Graduate, the student is no longer eligible for additional financial aid.
  • Remedial (Academic Foundation) and English as a Second Language (ESL) courses are not counted toward a student’s Maximum Time, but rather have their own maximum number of attempted credit hours. Students may attempt up to thirty (30) credit hours of these combined courses for Financial Aid.

Students will receive a warning notification when they have attempted 100 percent of the number of credit hours required for their program, whether those credit hours were attempted for their current program or not. For example, if the student’s current major has 60 credit hours listed in the catalog to complete the program, once the student has a combination of 60 attempted credit hours (that not ESL or Academic Foundation) and college transfer, they will receive the warning. Once the student has a combination of 90 (60 x 150%) attempted credit hours (that not ESL or Academic Foundation) and college transfer, their financial aid will be suspended.

If a student has a double major, MTF is calculated using the program with the larger number of credit hours. Once that MTF is met, the student must appeal for the Office of Financial Aid to determine the 150% of both programs.

MTF SAP Appeal Process: 

Once a student is suspended for MTF, they may appeal for further financial aid eligibility by completing a Maximum Time Frame Appeal E-form and asking their academic advisor to complete a Progress Review E-Form.

MTF Appeal Outcomes:

  • Approved MTF Appeals: Students with approved Maximum Time Frame Appeal may only complete the number of credit hours approved and must continue to meet all other aspects of SAP.
  • Denied MTF Appeals: Students with a denied MTF Appeal may not receive further Financial Aid at Cincinnati State.

Course Repeats

As long as a student is otherwise eligible to receive financial aid, students may receive financial aid for the next repetition of a previously passed class regardless of the student receiving financial aid for the first instance of passing the course.

A course is considered passed if the student receives a grade of A, B, C, D, P or S.

For purposes of SAP, repeated courses are counted as attempted however many times the course is taken, but only considered completed once, even if the course is passes more than once. This impacts the course completed portion of SAP. For instance, if a three (3) credit hour course is taken twice, with the first attempt receiving a grade of B and the second attempt receiving a grade of A, the course completion percentage of the class would be 3/6 = 50%. The GPA for which the student receives higher grade will be used for the calculation of the student’s cumulative GPA.

Students should check with the academic advisor to determine if they are eligible to take another repetition of a previously passed class as it may be dependent on the grade they received in the course.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy 34 CFR 668.34