2014–2015 Financial Aid
Academic Standards | Merit Based Scholarships | Scholarships | Other Financial Aid | Stafford Loan | PLUS Loan | Student Employment | Budgets | Determination of Need | Satisfactory Progress | Receiving Financial Aid Funds | Timetable for Review | Reinstatement | Notification | Appeal Process | Withdrawal | Institutional Refund Policy | Miscellaneous Information
Westminster maintains a significant program of merit-based and need-based financial aid to support new and continuing students, and the college makes vigorous efforts every year to expand this broad-base of financial aid offered to provide options to students who excel in their academic studies.
The college is totally committed to the philosophy that every qualified student shall have access to a college education, regardless of personal financial circumstances. The college makes every effort to determine each student’s personal needs and abilities and to create an individually tailored financial aid package which is appropriate to the student’s own unique situation.
Merit-based aid is available to students who have excelled in their studies or extracurricular activities.
Need-based aid is available and awarded to students whose family contribution is judged to be less than Westminster’s total cost, thus demonstrating a need for assistance. These funds are awarded in the form of grants, loans, and employment. In addition, government-subsidized loans may be available to students who do not qualify for other need-based aid, but who still lack the financial resources to pay for their education in full.
Merit-based and need-based financial aid are administered on different criteria; consequently, application procedures and deadlines differ.
All Westminster scholarship and grant funds require a student to maintain good academic standing and satisfactory progress as outlined in the Academic Catalog. The student’s academic standing and progress will be measured at the end of each Spring Term and will be used to determine whether the student is eligible for institutional funds in the next academic year. Both the May and Summer semesters may be used by a student to regain institutional fund eligibility. In general, this requires students to maintain a 2.0 GPA and to have successfully completed 70% of the cumulative credit hours attempted for which they have been enrolled at Westminster College.
Eligibility for restricted and endowed scholarship funds will be determined by the specific donor agreements for each scholarship.
This policy is effective with the Fall 2010 semester for all degree-seeking undergraduate students. Appeals for previous semesters where students received reduced scholarship amounts based on the prior institutional fund renewal policy will not be considered. A student may still receive institutional funds for up to a total of 8 semesters.
To receive merit-based aid, a student must be enrolled full time (at least 12 semester credit hours), except where otherwise specified by the individual award.
Merit-based aid is available at the college as a tuition award. Scholarships are awarded to recognize academic achievement. Consequently, these scholarships are awarded on the basis of merit and do not have to be repaid.
Some scholarships are established to recognize special groups such as non-traditional students, single parents , program of study, part-time students, and others. Although specific criteria vary, scholarship applicants are generally required to maintain good academic standing as outlined in the college’s Academic Standing policy. Scholarship awards are made for the academic year only (Fall and Spring semesters). The total annual award will be divided equally between Fall and Spring semesters.
All admitted applicants will be considered for most merit-based scholarships automatically upon submission of the admissions application. Awards are made on a rolling basis until funds are expended. For Fall semester, to be considered for the full range and amount of merit-based academic scholarships, freshmen applicants should submit the admission application before March 1. Please contact our office for information regarding additional departmental and athletic or talent based awards which are set annually and subject to change.
To be considered for need-based financial aid, students must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. For Fall semester, the FAFSA form may be filed as soon after January 1 as possible. In order to qualify for the full range of programs available, your FAFSA must be processed by April 15 as a priority date. The FAFSA is available online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. The FAFSA code for Westminster College is 003681.
A list of annually-funded scholarships is available in the Office of Financial Aid. Scholarship funds are provided by individuals and/or organizations to support qualified students on a year-to-year basis only.
General Scholarship Fund
In addition to annually-funded scholarships, the college maintains a General Scholarship Fund that consists of a series of financial gifts made to Westminster by individuals and families who support the college. The General Scholarship Fund is used to support the Institutional Scholarships awarded each year.
The college also maintains a series of special scholarships funded by a variety of organizations that prefer to select the recipients for the awards each year. In most cases, these special scholarships have their own application forms, which are available through the Office of Financial Aid.
Air Force ROTC Scholarship—Available on a competitive basis for 2, 2½, 3, 3½, or 4 years. Provides partial to full tuition, reimbursement for textbooks, and a monthly allowance.
Army ROTC Scholarship—Available on a competitive basis for 2 to 4 years. Provides full tuition, reimbursement for textbooks, and a monthly allowance.
Navy ROTC Scholarship—Available on a competitive basis for 2 to 4 years. Provides full tuition, reimbursement for textbooks, and a monthly allowance.
United Presbyterian Scholarship—Awarded to members of the Presbyterian Church. Students must have a minimum 2.0 GPA.
Church loans based on availability of funds may be obtained through churches maintaining an affiliation with the college (Presbyterian, United Church of Christ). In most cases, these loans are restricted to members of the respective denominations.
The college also maintains a loan fund from which amounts of money may be borrowed under
emergency conditions for short periods of time to meet school-related expenses (based on availability of funds).
Degree-seeking undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to apply for Federal Stafford Student Loan funds.
First-year undergraduate students may borrow up to $5,500 per academic year. Second-year undergraduate students may borrow up to $6,500 per academic year. Undergraduates past the second year may borrow up to $7,500 per academic year to a total aggregate maximum of $31,000 for all loan types (subsidized and unsubsidized loan funds) for dependent undergraduate student education. An aggregate maximum of $23,000 in subsidized loan funds for dependent undergraduate students.
Applicants must apply for need-based financial aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Office of Financial Aid will then determine the amount of a loan that the student may qualify for and certify the student’s loan according to the amounts accepted on the student’s Financial Aid Award Notice.
This loan is available to parents of dependent undergraduate students, and to graduate students. The parents (or graduate students) must have no adverse credit history. Parents may borrow up to the cost of education (budget costs minus any financial aid received) and must use the loan funds solely to pay educational costs. The PLUS is a fixed interest rate loan (for loans disbursed after June 30, 2006) that is currently capped at 10.50%, and repayment begins 60 days after the last disbursement or payments can be deferred for up to six months after the student graduates or drops below half-time enrollment. . If a parent is ineligible for a PLUS loan, the dependent undergraduate student may be eligible to borrow an additional unsubsidized Stafford loan. For further information concerning this program, contact the Financial Aid Office.
The Federal work-study program makes awards based on financial need. Students are given the opportunity to work part-time, on-campus, while attending school. They can work full-time during the summer and other vacation periods. Under this program, the college pays a portion of the student wages and the government pays the remainder.
Students with Federal work study eligibility have the opportunity to apply from a listing of job openings on campus for interviews and hiring. Students are paid every two weeks for work performed until they have earned the total amount of their Federal work study award for the academic year. There are also positions available for summer work.
Student budgets vary depending upon whether the students are dependent or independent, where they live, and the number of credit hours for which they enroll. Sample budgets are shown below and are based on tuition figures for the 2014–2015 academic year.
(The budget is based on an undergraduate, full-time 12–16 hours enrollment each semester, student lives at home with parents, 9-month duration.)
Tuition and Fees $30,364 (2014–2015 year)
Books and Supplies 1,000
Room and Board 2,200
Stafford Loan Fees $72
Personal Expenses 2,300
(This budget is based on an undergraduate, full-time 12–16 hours enrollment each semester, student lives in on-campus housing, 9-month duration.)
Tuition and Fees $30,364
Books and Supplies 1,000
Room and Board 8,456
Transportation 1,100Stafford Loan Fees $72
Personal Expenses 2,300
Dependent/Independent Off Campus
(This budget is based on an undergraduate, full-time 12–16 hours enrollment each semester, 9-month duration.)
Tuition and Fees $30,364
Books and Supplies 1,000
Room and Board 7,200
Stafford Loan Fees $72
Personal Expenses 2,770
To determine the financial need of a student, calculate College Costs (Student Budget) and subtract the Expected Family Contribution. If the Family Contribution is less than the College Costs, financial need is established. The Family Contribution is determined by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), including information about income, assets, and non-taxable income.
Students must maintain satisfactory progress in their academic studies in order to receive Title IV (Federal) student financial aid funds and institutionally funded financial aid. Title IV (Federal) student financial aid includes the following programs:
Federal Pell Grant
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
Federal Work Study (FWS)
Federal Perkins Loan
Federal Stafford Loan (Direct Loan)
Federal PLUS Loan
The Financial Aid Office will utilize the College’s Academic Standing Policy. In addition, full-time and part-time (undergraduate and graduate) students must complete at least 70 percent of the semester credit hours for which they enrolled to be making satisfactory progress. Any class that appears on the academic transcript as “graded” will be counted toward total credit hours enrolled.
Transcript grades include the following:
|B+, B, B-||Above Average||T||Temporary||NC||No Credit|
|C+, C, C-||Average||W||Withdrawn||X||Repeat|
|D+, D, D-||Poor||WF||Withdrawn failing||R||Repeated|
|F||Failure||UW||Unofficial withdrawal||AU||Audit [no credit]|
Once a student attains sophomore or second-year status and after, (28 earned hours and above), the student must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or higher.
If satisfactory progress requirements are not met, the student will be determined ineligible to receive Title IV student financial aid funds.
Students enrolled in the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) Program will be reviewed for compliance with the Satisfactory Progress Policy using grade equivalencies. Grades of “EX” (Exceeds Project Standards) are regarded as equivalent to “A” level work; grades of “M” (Meets Project Standards) are regarded as equivalent to “B” or “C” level work; grades of “DN” (Does Not Meet Project Standards) are regarded as equivalent to “D” or “F” level work. Grades of “EX” and “M” will be counted as credit hours completed while grades of “DN” will not be counted as credit hours completed.
Students’ records will be reviewed at the end of each academic year to determine whether they are in compliance with the Satisfactory Progress Policy. The academic year ends with May Term and will include any period of time during the academic year the student was enrolled. Students who have grade changes that affect academic progress after it has been reviewed are responsible for notifying the Financial Aid Office so that their progress may be re-reviewed for compliance. Grade changes, including incomplete grade updates, affecting student eligibility for financial aid must be on file with the Registrar’s Office prior to the first date of classes in the next semester of enrollment in order for the student’s record to be re-reviewed for satisfactory progress in that semester.
Grade Reports Special Note
The following will not be counted as credit hours completed:
F Failure I Incomplete
W Withdrawn NC No Credit
UW Unofficial withdrawal X Repeat
WF Withdrawn Failing T Temporary
Enrollment Status forStudent Financial Aid Funds
Full time Undergraduate students taking 12 credit hours or more are eligible to receive financial aid funds. Halftime student status is taking between 6 credit hours through 11 credit hours and aid will be awarded based on enrollment status. Students pursuing a second undergraduate degree may be awarded additional financial aid; however are not eligible for Pell Grant funds. Financial aid awards will be adjusted based on enrollment status of fulltime or half-time.
Retaking Courses and Student Financial Aid
The regulatory definition for full-time enrollment status has been revised to allow a student to retake (one time only per previously passed course), any previously passed course. For this purpose, passed means any grade higher than an “F,” regardless of any school or program policy requiring a higher qualitative grade or measure to have been considered to have passed the course. This retaken class may be counted towards a student’s enrollment status and the student may be awarded Title IV aid for the enrollment status based on inclusion of the class.
After becoming ineligible for student financial aid funds, a student can be considered for receipt of financial aid only when the completion percentage and grade point average requirements have been met.
The Financial Aid Office will notify by letter any student receiving financial assistance who does not meet the satisfactory progress requirement and has been determined to be ineligible for financial aid. The notice will be addressed to the student’s most current local address on file at the college. It is the student’s responsibility to inform the Registrar’s Office of a correct mailing address at all times.
Any student who has been determined to be ineligible for financial aid has the right to appeal. The following appeal process will be utilized:
- The student appealing the satisfactory progress decision will submit a written appeal to the Associate Director of Financial Aid to discuss the circumstances which caused the student not to be able to meet the satisfactory progress requirements and provide documentation of those circumstances when possible and as requested. The Associate Director of Financial Aid will give a decision in writing, within five working days of receipt of the appeal.
- If the appeal is not approved, and the student wishes to proceed further with the appeal, the student can submit and appeal to the Director of Financial Aid.
The Director of FinancialAid will give a decision, in writing, within five working days of receipt of the appeal.
Federal regulations govern the return of Title IV (federal) financial aid funds that have been disbursed for a student who completely withdraws from college during a term, payment period, or period of enrollment. The Title IV programs included under these regulations are: Federal Pell Grants, , Stafford Loans, PLUS Loans, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), and Federal Perkins Loans. The regulations operate under the principle that a student “earns” his/her financial aid based on the period of time he/she remained enrolled.
During the first 60% of the enrollment period, a student “earns” Title IV federal financial aid funds in direct proportion to the length of time he/she remains enrolled (that is, the percentage of time during the enrollment period that the student remained enrolled is the percentage of disbursable aid for that period that the student earned). A student who withdraws from college beyond the 60% point has “earned” all Title IV federal financial aid for the period.
Unearned Title IV funds, other than Federal Work-Study earnings, must be returned to the federal financial aid programs. Unearned aid is the amount of disbursed Title IV aid that exceeds the amount of Title IV aid earned under the formula.
The responsibility to repay unearned Title IV aid is shared by the institution and the student in proportion to the aid each is assumed to possess.
The institution’s share is the lesser of:
- the total amount of unearned aid; or
- institutional charges multiplied by the percentage of unearned aid.
The student’s share is the difference between the total unearned amount and the institution’s share.
When withdrawing, a student should keep in mind that the requirements for Title IV federal financial aid program funds are separate from the college policy on institutional funds. A student withdrawing from the college during a term in which he or she is receiving a college-funded scholarship or grant will forfeit the scholarship or grant. Students withdrawing after the end of the college’s refund period are liable for all of their college charges even when their financial aid is decreased.
Students considering withdrawal or drop courses affecting enrollment status of less than half-time status should call or visit the Financial Aid Office to determine the specific implications. Official withdrawal notification should be provided to the Registrar’s Office.
In addition, students who do not successfully complete any coursework during a semester will be reviewed to determine whether or not they may have unofficially withdrawn during the course of the semester. If the Financial Aid Office cannot document a student’s attendance through 60% or more of the semester, a student is considered to have unofficially withdrawn and the student’s federal financial aid will be subject to the Return of Title IV Aid calculation described above. A student found to have unofficially withdrawn will have the calculation performed using the 50% point in the semester unless a last date of attendance can be documented.
Additional information, worksheets, and examples of return-of-federal-funds calculations can be obtained from the Financial Aid Office.
Institutional refunds are determined on the date that add/drop or withdrawal forms are completed and processed in the Registrar’s Office. Refer to the appropriate class schedule for the specific refund schedule for each semester. All institutional charges (tuition, fees, and room and board) are refunded based on the refund schedule.
Notification of Award—Students submitting applications and other supporting documentation are notified by mail or electronically aid awarded.
Changes in Financial Status—Students are responsible for reporting any change in family financial resources from extra income, gifts, or outside aid. If the additions reduce the financial need, the award will be reduced. Failure to report additional resources may result in total cancellation of all financial aid. If resources decrease, students may request additional funds.
The college makes every effort to assist its students in securing the financial aid they need to be successful in their studies and career goals, if funds are available.
Employer Reimbursement—Students receiving reimbursement from their employers who apply for need-based financial aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) are required to notify the Financial Aid Office and submit documentation of the amounts to be received. Financial Aid awards may be reduced.
Withdrawal from College—If a student receiving merit-based aid withdraws from the college or be suspended before the end of the semester, the student’s financial aid award is canceled and all unpaid tuition resulting from the cancellation of the merit-based aid for that semester is due and must be paid immediately.
Incoming students are encouraged to apply for financial aid at the time they apply for admission to the college. Continuing students are reminded to reapply for financial aid each academic year. Financial Aid awards are made on a first-come, first-served basis; therefore, it is in each student’s best interest to submit application materials as soon as possible after January 1. Regulations and policies for many of the Federal Financial Aid Programs change periodically. For additional information about any type of financial aid, contact the Office of Financial Aid.