Financial Aid Policies and Procedures
PCTI is committed to the idea of providing education to qualified students regardless of their financial means. Financial aid is financial assistance to help students of any age meet their educational costs for the academic year. Financial aid is offered to eligible students through scholarships, grants, and loans. The financial aid office is given final authority for all official offers and awards of financial aid on behalf of PCTI under the supervision of the Financial Aid Director. For detailed information on PCTI’s financial aid program, students may obtain a copy of the financial aid handbook from the financial aid office.
DEFINITION OF ACADEMIC YEAR AND FISCAL YEAR
Definition of an Academic Year and a Fiscal Year For the purpose of awarding Federal Student Aid, is the total number of credits and contact hours required for completion of the program. The Academic Year may consist of ten to thirteen months depending on the program of study. The Academic Year is part of a larger Fiscal Year that runs from January 1st through December 31st.
ELIGIBILITY FOR TITLE IV FUNDING
Students must be enrolled as regular students in an eligible program in order to participate in Title IV funding. In order to determine eligibility for Title IV funding, students must comply with our Satisfactory Academic Progress policy included in the student catalog and student handbook and must:
- Not be in default on a loan made under any Title IV, HEA loan program.
- Not have obtained loan amounts that exceed annual or aggregate loan limits made under any title IV, HEA loan program.
- Not have property subject to a judgment lien for a debt owed to the US.
- Not be liable for a grant or Federal Perkins Loan overpayment.
- Not be currently enrolled at a primary or secondary institution.
- Be enrolled at least half time to receive assistance from the Stafford and PLUS loan programs. The Pell and campus-based programs do not require half time enrollment, but the student’s enrollment status does affect the amount of Pell a student receives.
FINANCIAL AID PROGRAMS
The U.S. Department of Education awards about $150 billion every year to help millions of students pay for college. This federal student aid is awarded in the form of grants, work-study funds, and low-interest loans. PCTI participates in the financial aid awarded by the U. S. Department of Education and offers the following on-campus financial aid assistance:
Grants: Typically awarded on the basis of need and generally do not have to be repaid. There are four types of federal student grants:
- Federal Pell Grantsare usually awarded to undergraduate students who have not yet earned a bachelor’s degree. (In some cases, students enrolled in post baccalaureate teacher certification programs may receive Federal Pell Grants.) The maximum Federal Pell Grant award for the 2017-2018 award year is $5,920; however, the actual award depends on the student’s financial need, the college’s cost of attendance, the student’s enrollment status, and the length of the academic year in which the student is enrolled. Students can receive the Federal Pell Grant for up to the equivalent of 12 semesters.
- Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grantsare awarded to students whose parents or guardians were members of the Armed Forces and died as a result of performing military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after Sept. 11, 2001. To qualify, a student must have been under 24 years of age or enrolled in college at the time of the parent’s or guardian’s death.
Loans: Consist of money that the student borrows to help pay for college, and must be repaid (plus interest). There are two federal student loan programs:
- The Federal Perkins Loan Programis a campus-based program that provides low-interest loans to undergraduate and graduate students. The amount of the award depends on the student’s financial need, the amount of other aid the student receives, and the availability of funds at his/her college.
- The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Programenables students and parents to borrow money at low interest rates directly from the federal government. The Direct Loan Program includes Direct Stafford Loans, which are available to undergraduate and graduate students, and Direct PLUS Loans, which are available to parents of dependent students and to graduate and professional-degree students. A Direct Stafford Loan might be subsidized or unsubsidized. Direct PLUS Loans are always unsubsidized. Subsidized loans are based on financial need and are available only to undergraduate students. The federal government pays the interest on subsidized loans while the borrower is in college and during deferment. Unsubsidized loans are based on the student’s education costs and other aid received. The borrower must pay all accrued interest on unsubsidized loans.
Other forms of financial aid that might be available to students include:
- Scholarships: WIOA, local government, private employers, and other organizations award scholarships based on academic ability or other factors.
RETURN TO TITLE IV FUNDS
Students awarded Title IV financial aid must earn their aid by attending classes. When students completely withdraw from school or stop attending school, PCTI must follow rules established by the federal government to determine the amount of financial aid earned.
The Financial Aid Office is required by federal statute to calculate the percentage of earned Title IV Funds received or pending to be received and to return the unearned funds for a student who withdrew, was terminated, or failed to return from an approved leave of absence.
An official withdrawal occurs when the student notifies an instructor, financial aid director, or the Chief Administrative Officer in writing of their withdrawal;
- Completes a Notice of Enrollment Termination Form and a financial aid exit interview (for loan repayment amount).
- If a student notifies the school of a withdrawal in writing then the date of withdrawal will be the date on the written notification
An unofficial withdrawal occurs when the student fails to return from an approved leave of absence.
- If a student fails to return from an approved leave of absence then the withdrawal date will be determined by the last day of physical attendance.
- Any unearned funds will be returned as soon as possible but no later than 45 days from the day the school determined the student would not be returning, which would be the day the student was scheduled to return from a leave of absence.
A student will be dropped from the financial aid program if the student does not attend school for 14 consecutive days. Any unearned Title IV funds will be returned as soon as possible but no later than 45 days from the day the student was dropped from financial aid.
Title IV Refund Calculation
Recalculation is based on the percentage of earned aid using the following federal return of Title IV funds formula:
Percentage of aid earned = the number of days in the payment period completed up to the date of determination that the student withdrew, divided by the total number of days in the payment period. Any break of five days or more is not counted as part of the days in the term.
If this percentage is greater than 60%, the student earns 100% of the disbursed Title IV funds or aid that could have been disbursed.
If this percentage is less than 60%, then the percentage earned is equal to the calculated value.
Funds are returned to the appropriate federal program based on the percent of unearned aid using the following formula
Aid to be returned = (100% minus the percent earned) multiplied by the amount of aid disbursed toward institutional charges. If a student earned less aid than was disbursed, PCTI will be required to return a portion of the funds and the student may be required to return a portion of the funds. All Title IV funds that PCTI must return will be made no later than 45 calendar days after the date the school determines that the student withdrew.
When Title IV funds are returned, the student may owe a balance to PCTI.
A return or refund is determined by filling out a “Treatment of Title IV Funds” with the following information:
- The amount of tuition a student received for the current payment period;
- Calculating the number of hours a student could have attended for the current payment period;
- Calculating the percent of tuition to return by dividing the number of hours the student could have attended by the number of hours in the payment period;
- If the percent calculated is less than or equal to 60%, then the amount of earned tuition would be determined by multiplying the percent amount by the amount of tuition received for that payment period.
- Earned tuition is then subtracted from total tuition received in current payment period to determine the refund amount.
- If the percent calculated is greater than 60% then a refund is not due on the student. However, a return of excess funding may be due as determined by the in house refund worksheet that is also processed upon termination of enrollment in conjunction with the return to Title IV refund calculation worksheets.
If it is determined that a refund or return is due on a student, then the unearned funds will be returned as soon as possible but no later than 45 days after the school determined the student withdrew.
Students will be notified within 30 days of any unearned aid or an overpayment received by the student as determined by a return to Title IV calculation and such funds are to be returned as soon as possible but no later than 45 days after receiving written notification from the PCTI.
If a student earned more aid than was disbursed to them, the PCTI must send written notification to the student (or parent for PLUS loan funds) to offer a post-withdrawal disbursement for any amount not credited to the student’s account no later than 30 calendar days after the date that the school determines that the student withdrew. PCTI is required to make a post-withdrawal disbursement within 45 days of the student’s date of determination that he or she withdrew for grants and within 180 days of the student’s date of determination that he or she withdrew for loans.
Refunds are allocated in the following order:
- Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan
- Subsidized Federal Stafford Loan
- Federal Parent (PLUS) Loan
- Federal Pell Grant
- Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grant
- Other Title IV Assistance
- State Tuition Assistance Grants (if applicable)
- Private and Institutional Aid
- The Student
The student will also be notified of his/her responsibility to repay any loan amount that is still owed. An estimated repayment amount will be outlined in the exit interview, which a student must sign upon termination of enrollment. An exit interview with repayment information will be mailed to any student who unofficially withdraws from enrollment with instructions to sign and return a copy of the exit interview to the Financial Aid Director.
If a student did not receive all of the funds that he or she earned, he or she may be due a post-withdrawal disbursement. If the post-withdrawal disbursement includes loan funds, PCTI must get permission before it can disburse them. A student may choose to decline some or all of the loan funds so the student will not incur additional debt. PCTI may automatically use all or a portion of the post-withdrawal disbursement (including loan funds, if the student accepts them) for tuition and fees. For all other school charges, PCTI needs the student’s permission to use the post-withdrawal disbursement. If the student does not give permission, then the student will be offered the funds.
If PCTI is not required to return all of the excess funds, the student must return the remaining amount. If any loan funds must be returned, the student (or parent for a PLUS Loan) is required to repay the funds in accordance with the terms of the promissory note.
Any amount of unearned grant funds that the student must return is called an overpayment. The amount of a grant overpayment that the student must repay is half of the grant funds received or were scheduled to receive. The student must make arrangements with PCTI or the Department of Education to return the unearned grant funds.
The requirements for Title IV program funds when a student withdraws are separate from any refund policy that the school may have. Therefore, a student may still owe funds to the school to cover unpaid institutional charges. The school may also charge for any Title IV program funds that the school was required to return. Any student that doesn’t already know what the school’s refund policy is, may ask the Financial Aid Director for a copy of the refund policy, or refer to the student’s contract.
FINANCIAL AID PROFESSIONAL JUDGMENT
A financial aid professional may exercise professional judgment and change elements in the federal need analysis to account for circumstances that he/she feels have not been adequately considered in the original FAFSA.
Instructions to Students/Parents:
All requests for the execution of professional judgment must be accompanied by:
- A Professional Judgment Request Form or verbal communication with the Financial Aid Director.
- Require documentation. Please refer to the “Documentation Requirements” when preparing your request for consideration of special circumstances.
- Require a valid and verified Student Aid Report. Please file your Free Application for Federal Student Aid according to the instructions provided by the Department of Education. Your special circumstances will be considered only after we have received your SAR. If you have been selected for verification, we must complete that process before considering your special needs.
- Require a signed copy of the tax transcript. If you have not already provided a copy of all required tax documents for verification, please include one with your request for consideration of special circumstances.
Remember: Any adjustments made to your SAR as a result of your request for a professional judgment decision may delay or change your financial aid package.
All Requests Should Be Directed to: Director of Financial Aid
For Death or Divorce:
- A copy of the death certificate for the parent of a dependent student, spouse of an independent student.
- A copy of the divorce decree or separation agreement.
- A signed copy of the parents and/or student’s prior year income tax return
For loss of wages:
- Termination or resignation letter that includes the last date of employment.
- Completed, signed copy of prior year’s income tax return, W2 forms and any relevant worksheets or schedules.
For loss of benefits:
- Copy of court order that specifies termination date and amount of child support.
- Copy of letter from appropriate state or federal agency that specifies termination date and amount of benefits.
- Completed, signed copy of prior year’s income tax return, W2 forms and any relevant worksheets or schedules.
For extraordinary medical expenses:
- Receipts for medical expenses that show the total patient liability, that is, the amount due and not covered by insurance.
- If the receipts do not indicate whether or not the expense was covered by insurance, they must be accompanied by a letter from the medical provider or insurer stating that the expense, or a specified portion of the expense, was payable by the patient.
- Completed, signed copy of prior year’s income tax return, W2 forms and any relevant worksheets or schedules.
For private school tuition for siblings:
- Copies of official tuition invoices. Only tuition for the prior year may be considered.
Extraordinary travel expense:
- If the expense involves travel via commercial conveyance to/from school, provide a copy of receipts for fare.
- If the expense relates to the use of the student’s own vehicle, provide a statement of travel needs that includes the origination point, the destination point, the number of trips per week/month, the reason for the travel.
- The student’s statement must include an acknowledgment that any false statements will result in the cancellation of student financial aid.
- Federal regulations prohibit including in student expense budgets the direct expenses of purchasing and maintaining an automobile.
- Completed, signed copy of prior year’s income tax return, W2 forms, and any relevant worksheets or schedules.
Extreme business or farm debt, bankruptcy:
- Documentation of the debt.
- Documentation of the value of the business or farm liable for the debt.
- Copy of court ordered bankruptcy payments.
- If a student is under the age of 24, an undergraduate, not married, has no dependents, and is not a veteran, an orphan or a ward of the court, he/she is considered to be dependent for the purposes of federal student aid.
- A dependency override may be requested in cases of complete alienation between a parent and a student. In support of a request for dependency override the student should submit statements from third-parties having first-hand knowledge of the circumstances. These should include statements on agency letterhead from social workers, school officials, church officials or others in positions of authority who are familiar with the situation.
- The Director of Financial Aid will make the final determination in requests for dependency overrides. Federal regulations do not permit a financial aid officer to perform a dependency override because of a parent’s unwillingness to pay for education.
Parent attending College:
A parent’s participation in postsecondary education should be considered in the need analysis only if it affects the family’s ability to pay for a dependent student’s education. If you wish for us to modify your FAFSA to reflect a parent’s enrollment in postsecondary education, please review the one that most closely matches your situation.
Option I – Including the parent in “Number in College”
In order for the Financial Aid Office to determine if you are eligible to have your parent included in the “number in college” on the FAFSA, the parent must meet the following condition and provide the necessary documentation:
- Full-time enrollment in a degree or certificate program. (Attach to the application a certified proof of enrollment from the Registrar’s office at the parent’s institution.)
- If you wish the Financial Aid Office to determine if you are eligible to have your parent included in the “number in college” on the FAFSA, please submit the application which may be printed out online or received from the Financial Aid Office. Attach the above documentation and return to the Office of Financial Aid.
Option II – Including the parent’s educational expenses in EFC
If a parent is enrolled in college but does not meet the condition to be included in the “number in college” on the FAFSA, the Financial Aid Office may still be able to adjust a student’s eligibility for student financial aid using the documentable expenses that the parent incurs related to his/her enrollment in college.
If you wish the Financial Aid Office to adjust the income reported on your FAFSA to account for a parent’s educational expenses, please submit the application which may be printed out online or received from the Office of Financial Aid. Also, attach the following documentation:
- Verification from the parent’s college of admission to a degree or certificate program and at least half-time enrollment in that program.
- Invoice for tuition for a period of enrollment that is concurrent with the FAFSA and the appropriate academic year.
- Receipts for any books, supplies or equipment related to the parent’s enrollment in college.
- Verification from employer that the parent receives no reimbursement for the costs of enrolling in the program.
POLICY CONCERNING CREDIT BALANCES
As a student progresses through his/her education, there may come a time when a credit balance exists in a student’s account. This balance is often a result of financial aid that is over and above the costs of tuition, fees, tools, and other charges. These funds are available to students by the following procedures:
- Schedule an appointment with the financial aid office. You do not need to visit the office to schedule an appointment. A phone call is acceptable.
- Meet with a financial aid counselor to determine if a credit balance exists in your student account.
- If there is indeed a credit balance in your account, simply complete the “Request for Credit Balance” form that is available in the financial aid office.
- Complete and sign a Waiver of Refund and Permission to Retain Funds from Credit Balance Form in the financial aid office.
- Your credit balance funds will be distributed monthly in equal payments by check or ACH during your period of enrollment as determined by the Financial Aid Office.
It is important to note that credit balances will not be disbursed in anticipation of future disbursements. Students are not entitled to receive a credit balance that does not yet exist.
COURSE REPEAT AND INCOMPLETE GRADES
Students who receive an incomplete on a progress report have two weeks to complete the material and receive a grade for that subject. Students who do not receive a grade within the two week period will receive an incomplete for that subject and will have to repeat the class again to achieve a satisfactory grade. Students are not charged additional tuition for course repeats. Students may not graduate with an incomplete grade in any subject area.
CLOCK TO CREDIT HOUR CONVERSION
The federal regulations information regarding reduction of payable financial aid credit hours if you are admitted to a program at PCTI is as follows:
According to the Department of Education’s Clock Hour Regulations that have been in effect since July 1, 2011, programs that do not lead to an Associate’s Degree must use the clock to credit hour conversion formula. For these programs, institutions must determine the actual number of payable financial aid credit hours. This determination is made by dividing the total number of clock hours in a course by 37.5. The result is the new total credit hours for the course in which financial aid will be paid. We must use this total when calculating awards and determining the 150% attempted hours. This regulation applies to all of PCTI’s approved programs. The payable financial aid credit hours determine how much your Pell Grant award will be.
Student Loan Information Published by the Department of Education: For more information about student loans, please refer to The Guide to Federal Student Aid published by the Department of Education. You will find important information regarding repayments, rights and responsibilities, and examples of monthly payment amounts, deferments, forbearance and consolidating loans. National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS): All Title IV, HEA Loans are submitted to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), and will be accessible by guaranty agencies, lenders, and schools determined to be authorized users of the data system. Entrance Counseling for Student Loan Borrowers Exit Counseling for Student Borrowers
FINANCIAL AID RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
As a student, you have the right to:
- know what financial assistance is available to you, including all federal, state, and institutional financial aid programs.
- know the deadlines for submitting applications for applicable financial aid programs and the process required.
- know how your financial need is determined, including how cost of attendance budgets are developed.
- know what resources are considered in the calculation of your financial need, and how much of your need as determined by MU has been met.
- an explanation of the types of aid contained in your financial aid award as well as how to retain eligibility for those funds (if applicable).
- request a review of your current financial situation if you meet certain criteria based on changes since filing the current aid year FAFSA application.
- know what portion of your aid package is grant or gift aid, and what portion must be repaid. In addition, you have the right to know interest rates, total amount to be repaid, procedures for repayment, when repayment begins, and how long you have to repay the loan.
- know the criteria for continued financial aid eligibility, including guidelines for the determination of Satisfactory Academic Progress as defined by the Department of Education.
- know the method and frequency of financial aid disbursements.
As a student you have the responsibility to:
- be aware of your ability to pay any institutional charges based on your available financial aid and personal resources.
- review and understand the terms and conditions of your financial aid award.
- complete all requirements accurately, in a timely manner, and by the appropriate deadlines.
- inform us if you intend to enroll less than full time for any given term so that your aid can be properly adjusted and disbursed.
- inform us of any outside scholarships, assistantships, or additional resources that you receive.
- fill out the FAFSA application completely and accurately. If selected for verification you will provide all requested documents in a timely manner, and ensure that all submitted materials are complete and accurate. Falsification of information on application forms for federal financial assistance is considered a criminal offense, and you may be subject to penalties under the U.S. Criminal Code.
- read and understand all forms that you are asked to submit or sign, realizing that you are legally responsible for all agreements that you sign.
- know and comply with all policies and procedures of PCTI.
- manage your financial aid experience.