To receive certain types of aid, individuals must meet certain requirements. There are specific eligibility requirements regarding students' rights and responsibilities, enrollment status, satisfactory academic progress, appeals, maximum gift aid, consequences of withdrawing, refunds, penalties for drug convictions, study abroad, and summer. All of these areas can affect your eligibility for aid.
The Office of Financial Aid complies with the Higher Education Opportunity Act provisions regarding the Code of Conduct required to be adopted and enforced by institutions participating in the Title IV student aid program. Austin College is a member of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) and we follow their code of conduct.
NASFAA Code of Conduct for Institutional Financial Aid Professionals
An institutional financial aid professional is expected to always maintain exemplary standards of professional conduct in all aspects of carrying out his or her responsibilities, specifically including all dealings with any entities involved in any manner in student financial aid, regardless of whether such entities are involved in a government sponsored, subsidized, or regulated activity. In doing so, a financial aid professional should:
- Refrain from taking any action for his or her personal benefit.
- Refrain from taking any action he or she believes is contrary to law, regulation, or the best interests of the students and parents he or she serves.
- Ensure that the information he or she provides is accurate, unbiased, and does not reflect any preference arising from actual or potential personal gain.
- Be objective in making decisions and advising his or her institution regarding relationships with any entity involved in any aspect of student financial aid.
- Refrain from soliciting or accepting anything of other than nominal value from any entity(other than an institution of higher education or a governmental entity such as the U.S.Department of Education) involved in the making, holding, consolidating or processing of any student loans, including anything of value (including reimbursement of expenses) for serving on an advisory board or as part of a training activity of or sponsored by any such entity.
- Disclose to his or her institution, in such manner as his or her institution may prescribe,any involvement with or interest in any entity involved in any aspect of student financial aid.
The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA) requires that institutions participating in the federal student loan programs develop, publish and enforce a code of conduct with respect to students loans. Austin College officers, employees and agents are required to comply with this code of conduct.
Austin College is committed to the highest standard of ethics and conduct, and therefore, Financial Aid staff members are bound to the conflict of interest policies applicable to Austin College employees. Additionally, to comply with the HEOA, Austin College has adopted the following federally mandated Code of Conduct to address specific legislative concerns relating to educational-loan programs.
If any question arises as to whether an activity would be prohibited by either the College’s conflict of interest policies or this Code of Conduct, employees should bring the matter to the attention of their supervisors before engaging in such activity. The College’s conflict of interest policies, in some cases, bar conduct that is permitted by federal regulation, such that even if a gift, program, service, or other benefit is not proscribed by federal regulation, College policy may forbid it. For example, although HEOA permits the acceptance of certain gifts of de minimis value, or reimbursement of certain expenses associated with service on boards, your supervisor may advise that such gifts or reimbursements are prohibited under College policy.
HEOA requires the prohibition of the following activities:
- Participating in a revenue-sharing arrangement with any lender. The HEOA defines “revenue-sharing arrangement” to mean any arrangement between an institution and a lender under which the lender makes private education loans to students attending the institution (or to the families of those students), the institution recommends the lender or the loan products of the lender and, in exchange, the lender pays a fee or provides other material benefits, including revenue or profit-sharing, to the institution or to its officers, employees, or agents;
- Receiving gifts from a lender, guaranty agency or loan servicer. No officer or employee of an institution’s financial aid office (or an employee or agent who otherwise has responsibilities with respect to educational loans) may solicit or accept any gift from a lender, guarantor, or servicer of education loans. The regulations define a “gift” as any gratuity, favor, discount, entertainment, hospitality, loan, or other item having monetary value of more than a de minimis amount. However, a gift does not include (1) standard materials, activities, or programs relating to a loan, default aversion, or financial literacy, such as a brochure, workshop or training; (2) food, training, or informational material provided as part of a training session designed to improve the service of a lender, guarantor, or servicer if the training contributes to the professional development of the institution’s officer, employee or agent; (3) favorable terms and benefits on an education loan provided to a student employed by the institution, if those terms and benefits are comparable to those provided to all students at the institution; (4) entrance and exit counseling, provided that the institution’s staff are in control of the counseling and the counseling does not promote the services of a specific lender; (5) philanthropic contributions from a lender, guarantor, or servicer that are unrelated to education loans, or any contribution that is not made in exchange for advantage related to education loans, and; (6) State education grants, scholarships, or financial aid funds administered by or on behalf of a State;
- Accepting from a lender, or an affiliate of any lender, any fee, payment, or other financial benefit as compensation for any type of consulting arrangement or contract to provide services to or on behalf of a lender relating to education loans;
- Steering borrowers to particular lenders or delaying loan certifications. For any first-time borrower, an institution may not assign, through the award packaging or other methods, the borrower’s loan to a particular lender. In addition, the institution may not refuse to certify, or delay the certification, of any loan based on the borrower’s selection of a particular lender or guaranty agency;
- Requesting or accepting from any lender any offer of funds for private loans, including funds for an opportunity pool loan, to students in exchange for providing concessions or promises to the lender for a specific number of private education loans made, insured, or guaranteed, a specified loan volume, or a preferred lender arrangement. An “opportunity pool loan” is defined as a private education loan made by a lender to a student attending the institution or the family member of such a student that involves a payment, directly or indirectly, by such institution 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;
- Requesting or accepting from any lender any assistance with call center staffing or financial aid office staffing, except that a lender may provide professional development training, educational counseling materials (as long as the materials identify the lender that assisted in preparing the materials), or staffing services on a short-term, nonrecurring basis during emergencies or disasters; and
- Receiving advisory board compensation. An employee of an institution’s financial aid office (or employee who otherwise has responsibilities with respect to education loans or financial aid) who serves on an advisory board, commission, or group established by a lender or guarantor (or a group of lenders or guarantors) is prohibited from receiving anything of value from the lender, guarantor, or group, except for reimbursement for reasonable expenses incurred by the employee for serving on the board.
Member of NASFAA
As members of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), a person employed as a financial aid administrator of Austin College will follow the NASFAA Code of Conduct.
Department of Education, The Higher Education Opportunity Act (Public Law 110315) (HEOA) enacted August 14, 2008 http://www2.ed.gov/policy/highered/leg/hea08/index.html
Federal Register: HEOA Final Regulations enacted October 28, 2009
For more information contact:
Austin College Office of Financial Aid, 900 N. Grand, Suite 61562, Sherman, TX 75090
Refund Policy for Matriculated Students Who Withdraw
All tuition credits are determined by the Business Office. Since students 18 years of age and older have legal majority status, refund checks are payable to those students.
The tuition credit policy takes into account the fact that Austin College made its commitment to a student for teaching and operating expenses at the time of admission. Space for enrollment that is vacated after class work begins cannot be filled for the remainder of the term. Students who are placed on disciplinary suspension during the term will not receive a credit except for unused room and board.
If a student has been awarded financial aid, any refund will be subject to federal, state, and Austin College financial aid refund policies. Refunds are apportioned according to strict formulas and procedures among the various aid programs from which the student has received assistance. Any refund made to the student will come only after federal, state, and Austin College financial aid programs are reimbursed according to financial aid refund policies. The policies are available in print from the Office of Financial Aid. Federal law requires that any Title IV aid refund be paid back first to Federal Direct Loan Programs, such as the Stafford Loan (subsidized and unsubsidized).
General Deposit: Students who decide to withdraw and fail to notify the college prior to July 15 for the fall term or January 15 for the spring term will forfeit $100 of the $200 general deposit.
Tuition Credits: Credits for students who officially withdraw from the college for a fall term or spring term are made as follows:
|Time Period||Amount Credited|
|Prior to first day of class||100%|
|First week of classes||80%|
|Second week of classes||75%|
|Third week of classes||50%|
|Fourth week of classes||25%|
|After fourth week of classes||0%|
Credits for students who officially withdraw from the college for a summer term are made as follows:
|Time Period||Amount Credited|
|Prior to 1st day of class||100%|
|1st to 3rd day of class||75%|
|4th to 5th day of class||50%|
|After 5th day of class||0%|
On-Campus January Term Course Fee Refund Schedule
The course fee for an On-Campus January term course is published in the Course Schedule on WebHopper in the Comments section. Students who drop a January term course prior to the first class day of January term will receive 100% credit of the course fee. Students who drop a January term course on or after the first day of January term will receive no credit of the course fee.
Residence Halls, Jordan Language House, Bryan Apartments, Johnson ’Roo Suites, The Dr. Marjorie Hass Village on Grand, North Flats and The Flats at Brockett Court: A residence hall contract or lease is a binding agreement between the college and the student. Individuals choosing to cancel this contract after acceptance by the Student Life Office will be charged according to the cancellation schedule as defined in the contract.
|Date of Termination||Amount Refunded|
|Prior to taking occupancy||100% of semester housing rent|
|Week One||90% of semester housing rent|
|Week Two||80% of semester housing rent|
|Week Three||60% of semester housing rent|
|Week Four||40% of semester housing rent|
|Week Five||20% of semester housing rent|
|After Week Five||No Refund|
Board: Credits for students on the meal plans will be calculated as above after deducting Hopper Dollars for the semester.
Military Mobilization: If a student withdraws from Austin College as a result of military mobilization for a period of 30 days or more, and does not receive academic credit, the college will grant a full tuition credit (100 percent) and where applicable, all financial aid will be returned to the appropriate programs (federal, state, and institutional). Room and board will be prorated for the length of residence at the school.
The student will:
- Be required to show proof of military duty (copy of orders) upon withdrawal. Should student resume enrollment at Austin College, proof of discharge from military service (usually DD Form 214) must be provided.
- Be responsible for prorated room and board charges. There will be no credit of fees (i.e., activity fee, transcript fee, etc.).
If the student is the recipient of Title IV federal aid, the Office of Financial Aid is required to do a Return of Title IV Funds calculation if the withdrawal occurs prior to the 60 percent point in the semester.
The college will:
- As determined appropriate by the instructor, grant a student a withdrawal in all courses by designating “withdrawn military” on the student’s transcript; or
- As determined appropriate by the instructor, assign an appropriate final grade or course credit to a student who has satisfactorily completed a substantial amount of course work and who has demonstrated sufficient mastery of the course material; or
- As determined appropriate by the instructor, grant an incomplete grade in all courses.
- Allow the student to return to Austin College following military duty and select to follow the curricular requirements of the Bulletin in effect at the time of initial admission or select to follow current curricular requirements at the point of re-entry.
- Allow the student to keep the academic scholarship awarded by the Office of Admission upon entrance to the college as long as the student left in good standing (grade point average requirement was met).
For students who receive need-based financial aid (whether from federal, state, or institutional sources), there is no guarantee that the same financial aid will be available upon returning to Austin College since a student’s federal need can change each year. Thus, need-based aid is dependent upon a student’s federal need calculation.
Refund Policy for Institutional Aid
If a student withdraws from Austin College, institutional scholarship funds will be prorated by the same amount as tuition for the first 4 weeks of the enrollment period. For example, if a student withdraws during the 80% tuition refund period, the tuition is refunded at 80% and the institutional scholarship is retained at 20%. After the first 4 weeks, a student earns 100% of their institutional scholarship amount since tuition is retained at 100%. Austin College will not issue any refund of institutional aid back to the student.
Other Institutional Grant Aid
If a student withdraws from Austin College, other institutional grant aid will be prorated by the same amount as tuition for the first 4 weeks of the enrollment period. For example, if a student withdraws during the 80% tuition refund period, the tuition is refunded at 80% and the other institutional grant aid is retained at 20%. After the first 4 weeks, a student earns 100% of their institutional grant aid amount since tuition is retained at 100%. Austin College will not issue any refund of institutional aid back to the student.
Every student who is enrolled at Austin College who elects to interrupt her/his persistence to degree completion by leaving the College will be coded as withdrawn.
Effective Date of Withdrawal
This date is the last date of attendance in any academically related activity such as, but not limited to, going to class, participating in a study group, participating in a group project, attending a lecture/speaker, etc. This date is used by the Office of Financial Aid for calculating Return of Title IV Funds or institutional refunds of tuition, if applicable.
Actual Date Student Moved Out of their Residence
This date is the actual date student moved out of his/her on-campus residence. It is used by the Business Office for pro-rating any refunds for room and board.
The Withdrawal Process
- The student may initiate the withdrawal process by contacting (email, in person, or phone call) the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Athletics.
- If the student initiated the withdrawal process in person then Student Affairs will give a withdrawal form to the student which must be signed off by the Office of Financial Aid and the Business Office. This enables these two offices to give pertinent information to the student regarding his/her withdrawal and the impact it will have regarding loan repayment, exit counseling, etc.
- If the student initiated the withdrawal process by emailing or phoning Student Affairs, a withdrawal form is completed by Student Affairs and sent as an attachment to the registrar, business office, financial aid and mentor.
- If the student stops going to all classes, the College reserves the right to exclude, at any time, students whose conduct or academic standing it regards as unsatisfactory, and do an administrative withdrawal. The last date of attendance in any class, any academically related activity such as, but not limited to, going to class, participating in a study group, participating in a group project, attending a lecture/speaker, etc. will be used as the student’s last day of attendance for withdrawal purposes.
- The Business Office will do exit counseling and apply the Institutional Refund Policy, if applicable.
- The Office of Financial Aid will apply the Return of Title IV Funds Policy, if applicable, and/or adjust aid as necessary.
If the student wants to return to the College s/he will coordinate their return through the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Athletics. This return to Austin College will be termed a “re-enrollment.”Re-enrollment will possess all the benefits currently allowed with the old ‘intent to return’ status. This process will initiate as it currently does with the VPSA office and be coordinated with other areas, particularly the Registrar’s office.
Note, however: this process does not replace the readmission process that is designated for students who are separated from the College for a variety of reasons, most notably academic performance.
1998 Amendments to the Higher Education Act of 1995, 34 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) Section 668.22
The treatment of Title IV federal funds policy becomes mandatory for students who withdraw on or after October 7, 2000.
- Title IV Federal Aid – Pell Grant, Federal SEOG Grant, Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Stafford Loan and Federal PLUS Loan and Federal Work Study (Federal Work Study is not included in the calculation of the Return of Title IV Federal Aid).
- Other Title IV Federal Aid ( for those who withdraw on or after July 1, 2006) – Federal ACG Grant, National SMART Grant and TEACH Grant.
Title IV funds are awarded to a student under the assumption that the student will attend for the entire period for which the assistance is awarded. When a student withdraws, the student may no longer be eligible for the full amount of the Title IV funds that the student was originally scheduled to receive. If a recipient of Title IV grant or loan funds withdraws from school after beginning attendance, the amount of Title IV grant or loan assistance earnedby the student must be determined.
If a student receives more Title IV aid than the amount earned, the school, the student, or both, must return the unearned Title IV funds in a specific order (see #3 below). If a student receives less Title IV aid than the amount earned, the school must offer a disbursement to the student of the earned aid that was not received. This is called a post-withdrawal disbursement.
A student who remains enrolled beyond the 60% point in the semester is considered to have earned 100% of all Title IV aid for that semester and is not subject to the Return of Title IV Funds policy.
Withdrawal Process: (Austin College is an institution that has chosen not to require mandatory attendance record keeping)
If a student completely withdraws from school during the semester or stops attending, but fails to officially withdraw, the student may be required to return the unearned Title IV aid received to help pay educational expenses.
The withdrawal process begins with the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Athletics. A student may officially withdraw via telephone or email, written notice, or in person or a student may stop attending classes and fails to officially withdraw. The latter would be considered an administrative withdrawal.
A withdrawal form is usually completed by the student, signed/dated, and then distributed to the following offices: Business Office, Financial Aid, Mentor/Advisor and Library. An administrative withdrawal is done by the Office of the V.P. for Student Affairs and Athletics.
A detailed copy of the Institutional Withdrawal Policy can be obtained from the Office of Financial Aid or the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Athletics.
Return of Title IV Funds:
- Determine date of withdrawal:
• Official notification from student: via telephone, via email or in person; or
• Since Austin College does not require taking attendance, the college can use a student’s last date of attendance at an academic-related activity [668.22(b), (c), (j) (2)], excluding use of campus housing or meal plan. If the college is unable to document the last date of attendance, 50% of all Title IV aid received during the semester must be returned to the appropriate aid programs.
- Determine the amount of earned (including disbursed and aid that could have been disbursed) versus unearned Title IV Federal aid. The Office of Financial Aid will do a Return of Title IV Funds calculation to determine the amount of Title IV aid that was earned for the length of time the student was enrolled. Any unearned aid must be returned to the appropriate Title IV aid program.
- Unearned aid is distributed according to statutory regulations. Worksheets and software provided by the U.S. Department of Education will be used to determine the amount of aid to be returned and the order in which aid is returned. For clarification, unearned aid will be returned to the appropriate program in the following order:
• Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan
• Subsidized Federal Stafford Loan
• Federal Perkins Loan
• Federal PLUS Loan
• Federal Pell Grant
• Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG)
• National SMART Grant
• Federal SEOG Grant
• TEACH Grant
- In rare instances, a student at Austin College may have a situation whereby the amount of earned aid is greater than the amount of aid disbursed for the payment period. If this is the case, the student would be eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement.
- Withdrawing at Austin College:
• Austin College and the student are responsible for returning unearned aid to the appropriate programs. See NOTE below.
• Withdrawal request must be in writing (email/letter), a phone call or in person
• Withdrawing with intention to return to AC cannot exceed 180 days in any 12-month period
• May allow more than one leave in 12 months as long as total days on leave do not exceed 180 days,
in circumstances identified by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
• Student has the option to return under the same Austin College Bulletin they originally enrolled under. 5
• Merit-based scholarship awarded upon entrance to Austin College would be held for student’s return as long as they returned within the specified time frame from the date of withdrawal and left in good standing (gpa requirements were met, etc.); excluding Theatre, Music, Art and departmental scholarships.
- Timeframe for returning funds:
• Austin College will return funds within 45 days to the appropriate Federal program(s) [Section 668.22 (j), (h)]. See NOTE below.
- The Office of Financial Aid is responsible for the Return of Title IV Funds calculation.
- The Office of Financial Aid notifies the Business Office of the action required as a result of the calculation.
- The Business Office monitors when the federal funds are returned to the appropriate federal program.
- The Office of Financial Aid also sends a written notice within 30 days to the student letting the student know the impact of the Return of Title IV funds calculation.
- The Office of Financial Aid also prepares for any return of funds back to the appropriate Federal programs.
- If the student has to repay any funds, the student has 45 days to either repay the funds or make satisfactory payment arrangements with the Business Office.
- Students who fail to repay the funds within 45 days will be reported to the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) via the National Student Loan Database (NSLDS) and the student will be referred to the DOE for resolution of the debt.
- No further financial aid can be awarded until the debt is paid.
Example of Return of Title IV Funds Calculation (see attached worksheet):
- Determine percentage of Title IV aid earned
• Completed Days = % of earned aid
• Total Days in Payment Period
- Determine the Title IV aid that was disbursed and aid that could have been disbursed
- Determine amount of Title IV Aid Earned by Student
• Multiply % of earned aid by Total aid disbursed (including any aid that could have been disbursed for the payment period)
- If the amount of aid earned by student is less than the amount of aid disbursed, there may be Title IV aid to be returned. Determine how much Title IV aid is to be returned:
• Total Title IV aid disbursed
• Minus Amount of Title IV aid earned
• Amount of Title IV aid to be returned
- Determine amount of unearned Title IV aid due from the school
• Add up all institutional charges for payment period (tuition, fees, room, board, etc.)
• Subtract % of earned aid from 100% to get % of unearned aid
• Multiply % of unearned aid by total institutional charges for payment period to come up with amount of unearned charges for payment period
• Compare amount of Title IV aid to be returned (#4) to amount of unearned charges – the lesser amount is the amount the school must return to the appropriate program(s).
- Determine amount of unearned Title IV aid due from the student
• Subtract amount the school must return from the amount of Title IV aid to be returned (#4)
• If < or = to $0, no amount of unearned Title IV aid is due from the student.
• If > $0, there may be a repayment of the student’s loans, but more than likely, the only action the school will need to take is to notify the holder of the loans of the student’s withdrawal date.
• In some cases, there may be grant funds to be returned.
The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, requires that each student maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress in the course of study the student is pursuing in order to receive Federal Title IV financial aid. The concept of satisfactory progress mandates monitoring of both the qualitative measurement (cumulative grade point average) and the quantitative measurement (number of credit units completed). This policy reflects changes to federal regulations that are effective as of July 1, 2011.At Austin College, these standards are also applied to institutional aid programs. For State aid programs, there may be a higher academic requirement and eligibility for those aid programs is subject to the requirements of each program.Details regarding Austin College Financial Aid policies concerning Satisfactory Academic Progress, withdrawals and refunds, packaging procedures, grade point averages required for scholarship renewal, over award procedures, requirements for transfer students, verification, financial aid award notifications, and other financial aid processes are available from the Office of Financial Aid.
- Be sure to read through the Financial Aid Guide, 2021-22.
- It is the student’s responsibility to be familiar with various policies relating to financial aid, institutional withdrawal policy, Return of Title IV Funds policy, dropping below full-time, institutional refund policy, adjusting financial aid, renewal of financial aid, and Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (FA SAP).
- Your financial aid awards are based on certain factors such as your enrollment status (full-time, part-time, etc.) and housing arrangements. It is your responsibility to notify the Financial Aid Office immediately if either of these change. An adjustment to your aid package may be required to remain compliant with state, federal and institutional policies.
- If you or your parent(s), if applicable, plan to borrow to help pay for your college cost, you will need to web accept the loans offered to you by going to Financial Aid Self-Service on your AC portal. Loans will require an application and master promissory note.
- If you drop below full-time enrollment within the first four weeks of a semester, your financial aid may be adjusted. You are advised to check with the Financial Aid Office before you drop below full-time.
- If you withdraw during a semester and have not earned 100% of your aid, it may be necessary to return the unearned portion of your federal aid back to the appropriate Title IV Aid Program. This could leave you owing a balance on your student account.
- If your student account is not paid in full when it is time to register for the next semester, you may have a “hold” put on your registration until you make satisfactory arrangements to clear the balance from the current semester. Contact the Business Office for more information.
- You must notify the Financial Aid Office of any aid received from sources outside of Austin College. Receiving outside aid may affect your current financial aid package.
- Renewal of your financial aid is contingent upon meeting criteria set forth in the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy.
- The application deadline for completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for 2021-22 is May 1. If your FAFSA data is received after this date financial aid offered will be based on available funding at that time.
- Repeating classes may impact your financial aid eligibility. Classes in which you originally received a grade of “F” may be repeated, and funded, until you obtain a passing grade. Classes in which you originally received a passing grade may only be repeated and funded, once, regardless of the grade earned during the second attempt. This limitation pertains to financial aid policy only. Academic policy may allow for additional repeated coursework, without the benefit of financial aid. Contact the Registrar’s Office if you have questions regarding repeated coursework.
- Austin College funded scholarships and/or grants are awarded for a maximum of 8 semesters. For transfer students, the maximum is 6 semesters.
Verification is the process required by the Department of Education to verify the accuracy of the information submitted by or on behalf of a student for the purpose of applying for financial aid. The purpose is to reduce errors in applicant reported data and to insure, to the maximum extent possible, that eligible applicants receive the financial aid they are eligible for. The process of verification is separate than the requirement to resolve conflicting information. Discrepancies in a student's aid application must be resolved before aid can be disbursed, regardless of existing verification policies. The process of verification is also separate from the requirement to "document" certain application items. Unconfirmed selective service registration, unconfirmed eligible non-citizen status, and Veteran's Educational Benefits may be "documented" regardless of any existing verification policies. Schools must verify all FAFSAs selected by Central Processing System (CPS), if student receives need-based aid.