Financial Aid Rights & Responsibilities
Each applicant has the right to know:
- What financial aid programs are available at Concordia University?
- The deadlines for submitting applications for available financial aid programs.
- How financial aid is distributed, how decisions are made and the basis for those decisions.
- How financial need and budgets (including costs for tuition, fees, room, board, books, supplies, personal and miscellaneous expenses) are determined.
- What resources (such as parental contribution, other financial aid, student assets etc.) are considered in the need calculation?
- How much of the financial need, as determined by the University, has been met.
- The explanation of the various programs included in the aid package.
- The University's refund policy.
- What portion of the financial aid is grant/gift (non-repayable) and what must be repaid.
- How the University determines whether the applicant is making satisfactory progress and what happens if he/she is not.
Each applicant is responsible for:
- Completing all application forms accurately and honestly and providing the Financial Aid Office with correct information. Reporting incorrect information is a violation of the Law.
- Maintaining satisfactory academic progress as defined in the Concordia University general catalog.
- Returning all additional documentation, verification, corrections and/or information requested.
- Reading and understanding all forms that must be signed and accepting responsibility for the agreements signed.
- Performing the work that is agreed upon in accepting a Work Study award.
- Complying with all deadlines for application and reapplication for Concordia University financial aid.
- Being aware of the refund procedures when withdrawing from Concordia University.
- Receiving clearance from the Financial Aid Office before dropping below full time status or before withdrawing from Concordia University.
Return of Title IV Federal Financial Aid Policy
This policy is in effect as a result of the Higher Education Amendments of 1998 (HEA 98). The Federal Title IV programs covered under this policy include Federal Pell Grant, ACG, SMART Grant SEOG, Federal Stafford Loan, Federal Plus, and Federal Grad Plus Loans. A student withdrawing from Concordia University during a semester must file an Official Withdrawal Form with the Registrar’s Office. If a student is not able to visit the office, he/she may contact a staff person in the Registrar’s Office regarding the withdrawal date. The student’s official withdrawal date will be determined by the University as: 1) the date the student began the University’s withdrawal process; 2) the midpoint of the semester, if the student withdraws without notifying the University; or 3) the student’s last date of attendance at an academically related activity, as documented by the University.
If the student begins the withdrawal process and then later decides to continue attendance at Concordia University, the student must indicate this in writing to the Registrar’s Office and indicate that his/her intention is to complete the semester.
If the student withdraws during a semester, the portion of the federal grants and loans a student is entitled to receive is calculated on a percentage basis by comparing the total number of days in the semester to the number of days that the student completed before he/she withdrew. If the percentage earned is sixty percent (60%) or greater, the student is considered to have earned one hundred percent (100%) of eligibility. This policy does not affect the student’s charges. The University’s withdrawal policy will be used to determine the reduction, if any, in the student’s tuition, room and board charges. Concordia University’s refund policy is determined by a weekly percentage until the sixty percent (60%) or greater point in the semester is reached. If it is determined that a portion of the financial aid received on the student’s behalf is unearned, the University shares with the student the responsibility of returning those funds. Any grants and loans that a student is required to return to the federal programs are considered an overpayment. The student must either repay the amount in full or make satisfactory payment arrangements with the Department of Education to repay the amount. If the student fails to repay or make arrangements to repay an overpayment, the student will lose his/her eligibility to receive future federal financial aid at any institution.
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
Federal regulations require all schools participating in Title IV financial aid programs to have a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy. Title IV financial aid programs include: Pell Grant, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan, Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, Federal Direct PLUS Loans, and Work-Study. The requirements of this policy apply to all students receiving federal and state aid, and institutional aid per university policy.
To remain eligible for federal grants, loans, and work-study, students must meet the standards indicated below at the end of each semester. Please note the standards to establish and maintain eligibility for Title IV assistance are more stringent than the University’s academic standards for continuous enrollment. At the end of each term of enrollment, students must earn the minimum cumulative GPA, minimum number of credit hours, and be within the maximum time frame. Failure to meet the minimum cumulative standards may result in a loss of financial aid eligibility.
Qualitative Measure of Progress
The qualitative requirement sets a minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) for the degree level at which a student is classified. Note: This is the GPA used to determine one’s status and includes grades from courses taken at all other schools that are accepted by Concordia. To remain in compliance, a student must maintain the following cumulative GPA after each period of assessment:
- Minimum Cumulative GPA for undergraduate students is 2.0
- Undergraduate academic scholarship requires a cumulative GPA 2.5
- Undergraduate Presidential Honor’s Scholarship requires a cumulative GPA 3.7
- Minimum Cumulative GPA for graduate students is 3.0
- Minimum Cumulative GPA for graduate MAED students is 3.25
Quantitative Measure of Progress
The quantitative requirement contains two components, (1) Pace of Progression and (2) Maximum Time frame.
- Pace of Progression/Completion Rate
The credit hour completion rate reflects the pace at which students must progress to ensure that they are able to complete their degree program within the maximum time frame. The pace of progression is calculated by dividing the cumulative number of hours the student has successfully earned by the cumulative number of hours the student has attempted. All students regardless of classification must earn 67% of all hours attempted. This is a cumulative calculation and includes credits attempted at all schools before and while attending Concordia.
- Maximum Time frame
The maximum time frame for undergraduate students to complete their degree cannot exceed 150% of the published length of the academic program. Hours are counted starting with the semester the student-entered school, even those semesters in which he/she did not receive financial aid. The maximum time frames are listed below:
- Bachelor’s Degree 180 Attempted Hours
- Master’s Degree Attempted Hours required for program
Hours attempted include all hours pursued in the student’s career and are counted in the maximum time frame whether or not financial aid was received. Attempted hours also include the following: withdrawals, incompletes, failing grades, repeated coursework, and transfer credits accepted by the University.
Repeated Coursework: Students are allowed to repeat a previously passed course and have it count toward enrollment for financial aid eligibility only once. However, all repeats count against the maximum time frame (total attempted credits) and reduce the pace/completion rate because they count as earned credits only once.
Financial Aid Warning
Students who do not meet the SAP standards will be placed on Financial Aid WARNING. While on WARNING status, students will continue to receive financial aid. All students who are notified of their WARNING status should seek academic counseling and take advantage of all other student services available to ensure student success at Concordia University.
Financial Aid Termination
Students who do not meet the SAP standards for more than one term will be PROHIBITED from receiving all financial aid. Being on PROBATION status does not prohibit a student from continuing their education. Students who have lost their financial aid eligibility may be reinstated once they demonstrate satisfactory academic progress.
Reasons to Appeal
Only appeals for the following reasons will be accepted:
- A death of an immediate family member of the student.
- Medical/hospitalization of the student.
- Mitigating circumstances beyond the student’s control that affected their academic progress.
All appeals must be submitted in writing, and include the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal Form, with supporting documentation attached, to the Financial Aid Office. Acceptable documentation for each circumstance must be stated in the appeal letter and supporting documentation must be attached, such as medical records, death certificates and any documentation that supports the student’s mitigating circumstances. The Director of Financial Aid will approve or deny appeals as they are submitted. Results of an appeal will be sent to the student in writing. Any student whose appeal is denied by the Director of Financial Aid has the right to appeal to the Financial Aid Committee. The Financial Aid Committee will use the same criteria in rendering its decision.
If a student’s appeal is approved the student will be placed on PROBATION. A student on PROBATION will continue to be eligible for financial aid on a semester by semester basis provided they meet the required terms and conditions as indicated in the student’s approval. Failure to meet these requirements on a term by term basis will result in TERMINATION of financial aid.
If a student’s appeal is denied the student must meet SAP standards before any further financial aid may be awarded as long as the student hasn’t reached the maximum units.
Treatment of Grades
- Courses for which a student receives a letter grade of A, B, C, D, P or CR are included in the calculation of cumulative credit completion percentage as courses successfully completed.
- Courses for which a student receives a letter grade of IP, I, N, NP, IF, or F will be treated as credits attempted but not successfully completed.
Credits for which a grade of “W” is received are considered attempted credits but not successfully completed credits. A grade of “W” does not impact GPA but does negatively impact the cumulative completion percentage and counts toward the maximum time frame.
Students are allowed to repeat a course as often as allowed by the academic policies of the university. Students are allowed to repeat a previously passed course and have it count toward enrollment for financial aid eligibility only once. However, all repeats count against the maximum timeframe (total attempted credits) and reduce the pace/completion rate because they count as earned credits only once.
Transfer credits accepted by the institution and applied toward a student’s degree, diploma, or certificate requirements to graduate will apply toward the maximum time frame calculation. If at the point of admission a transfer student’s prior academic record does not meet the colleges minimum cumulative qualitative or quantitative SAP standards, the university may immediately place the student in a probation status for financial aid eligibility.
Credits for which financial aid is received under a consortium agreement will be included in the calculation of cumulative GPA, completion percentage, and maximum time frame.
Audited courses will not be funded by financial aid and are not included in any financial aid satisfactory academic progress measurements.
Conflict of Interest Policy and Code of Conduct for Financial Aid Professionals
The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA) requires institutions of higher education to establish and follow a Code of Conduct with respect to student loans that prohibits conflicts of interest for any financial aid professional [HEOA § 487(a)(25)]. Concordia University is an eligible institution under the Federal Insured Student Loan Program.
In accordance with this requirement, the Office of Financial Aid at Concordia University has issued the following conflict of interest policy and code of conduct.
The purpose of this policy is to prohibit conflicts of interest in situations involving student financial aid and to establish standards of conduct for employees with responsibility for student financial aid.
This Policy applies to all employees who work in the Office of Financial Aid and all other college employees who have responsibilities related to education loans or other forms of student financial aid. Agents of the College with responsibility for education loans or other student financial aid are also expected to abide by the terms of this Policy.
- Conflict of Interest: A conflict of interest exists when an employee’s financial interests or other opportunities for personal benefit may compromise, or reasonably appear to compromise, the independence of judgment with which the employee performs his/her responsibilities at the College.
- Gift: Any gratuity, favor, discount, entertainment, hospitality, loan, or other item having a monetary value of more than a de minimus amount. The term includes a gift of services, transportation, lodging, or meals, whether provided in kind, by purchase of a ticket, payment in advance, or reimbursement after the expense has been incurred. The term “gift” does not include any of the following:
- Standard materials, activities, or programs on issues related to a loan, default aversion, default prevention, or financial literacy, such as a brochure, a workshop, or training.
- Training or informational material furnished to the College as an integral part of a training session that is designed to improve the service of a lender, guarantor, or servicer of educational loans to the College, if such training contributes to the professional development of the College’s employees.
- Favorable terms, conditions, and borrower benefits on an education loan provided to a student employed by the College or an employee who is the parent of a student if such terms, conditions, or benefits are comparable to those provided to all students of the College and are not provided because of the student’s or parent’s employment with the College.
- Entrance and exit counseling services provided to borrowers to meet the College’s responsibilities for entrance and exit counseling under federal law, so long as the College’s employees are in control of the counseling, and such counseling does not promote the products or services of any specific lender.
- Philanthropic contributions to an institution from a lender, servicer, or guarantor of education loans that are unrelated to education loans or any contribution from any lender, guarantor, or servicer that is not made in exchange for any advantage related to education loans.
- State education grants, scholarships, or financial aid funds administered by or on behalf of a State.
- Opportunity pool loan: A private education loan made by a lender to a student attending the College or the family member of such a student that involves a payment, directly or indirectly, by the College of points, premiums, additional interest, or financial support to such lender for the purpose of such lender extending credit to the student or the family.
- Revenue-sharing arrangement: An arrangement between the College and a lender under which (a) a lender provides or issues a loan to students attending the College or to their families; and (b) the College recommends the lender or the loan products of the lender and in exchange, the lender pays a fee or provides other materials benefits, including revenue or profit sharing, to the College or its employees.
- Institutional Policy Regarding Education Loans and Student Financial Aid
- Revenue-Sharing Arrangements
The College or any agent of the college will not enter into any revenue-sharing arrangement with any lender.
- Interaction with Borrowers
When participating in the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP), the College will not assign a first-time borrower’s federal loan, through award packaging or other methods, to a particular lender. The College will not refuse to certify, or delay certification of, any federal loan based on the borrower’s selection or a particular lender or guaranty agency. When participating in the Federal Direct Loan Program, the College may assign a first time borrower’s federal loan to the Federal Government as the lender. Under no circumstances will the College assign a student’s private student loan to a particular lender, or refuse to certify or delay certification of any private loan, based upon the borrower’s selection of lender or guaranty agency.
- Private Loans
The College will not request or accept from any lender any offer of funds to be used for private education loans, including funds for an opportunity pool loan, to students in exchange for the College providing concessions or promises regarding providing the lender with (i) a specified number of federal loans; (ii) a specified federal loan volume; or (iii) a preferred lender arrangement for federal loans.
The College will not permit a private educational lender to use the College’s name, emblem, mascot, logo, or any other words, pictures, or symbols associated with the College to imply endorsement of private educational loans by that lender.
- Staffing Assistance
The College will not request or accept from any lender any assistance with call center staffing or financial aid office staffing. Nothing in this section, however, prevents the College from accepting assistance from a lender related to (i) professional development training for its staff; (ii) providing educational counseling materials, financial literacy materials, or debt management materials to borrowers, provided that such materials disclose to borrowers the identification of any lender that assisted in preparing or providing such materials; or (iii) staffing services on a short-term, nonrecurring basis to assist the College with financial aid-related functions during emergencies, including State-declared or federally-declared natural disasters, federally-declared national disasters, and other localized disasters and emergencies identified by the Secretary of Education.
- Code of Conduct
- Conflicts of Interest
- No employee shall have a conflict of interest with respect to any education loan or other student financial aid for which the employee has responsibility.
- No employee may process any transaction related to his/her own personal financial aid eligibility or that of a relative.
No employee may accept any gift from a lender, guarantor, or servicer of education loans. A gift to a family member of an employee or to any other individual based on that individual’s relationship with the employee shall be considered a gift to the employee if the gift is given with the knowledge and acquiescence of the employee and the employee has reason to believe the gift was given because of the employee’s position at the College.
Token awards from professional associations (state, regional, or national) that recognize professional milestones or extraordinary service to parents and students, or scholarships for conference attendance or other professional development opportunities, may be accepted.
- Prohibited Contracting Arrangements
No employee shall accept from any lender or affiliate of any lender any fee, payment, or other financial benefit (including the opportunity to purchase stock) as compensation for any type of consulting arrangement or other contract to provide services to a lender or on behalf of a lender relating to education loans.
- Advisory Board Compensation
No employee who serves on an advisory board, commission, or group established by a lender, guarantor, or group of lenders or guarantors may receive anything of value from the lender, guarantor, or group of lenders or guarantors in return for that service.
- Reimbursement of Expenses
Expenses incurred while attending professional association meetings, conferences, or in connection with service on an advisory board, commission, or group described in Section V.D. of this Policy must be paid by the College. Entertainment expenses such as concert or sports tickets or greens fees may not be accepted. Employees are expected to personally pay for such expenses or request reimbursement from the College in accordance with College policy.
Employees may occasionally need to share meals with employees of lenders, guaranty agencies, the State of California, or other colleges or universities in the course of business. Meals offered as a part of meetings, conferences, or other events may be accepted if all participants in the meeting or event are offered the meals or if the meals are included as a part of a registration fee.
- Policy Violations
Violations of this Policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.
This Policy was developed based on the Statement of Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct adopted by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA).