Students seeking financial aid must apply each year in order to qualify for available funding. Information and forms can be obtained from the Financial Aid Office. Although applications are accepted on a revolving basis, the recommended deadlines are March 31 for the fall semester and October 31 for the spring semester. For further information, contact the Financial Aid Office.
Students interested in receiving grants, loans, or student employment must meet these eligibility requirements to be considered for federal aid:
- Be a United States citizen or an Eligible Non-Citizen.
- Have a high school diploma or high school equivalency, or pass an independently administered test (approved by the U.S. Department of Education).
- If applicable, register with the Selective Service or sign a statement indicating you’ve done so.
- Be in good academic standing and be making satisfactory academic progress.
- Need must be clearly established for need-based aid.
- Be enrolled in at least 6 credit hours for Pell Grant, Student Loans and Student Employment.
- Students with criminal convictions have limited eligibility.
- Complete a Free Application for Student Financial Aid (FAFSA) form.
No student will be denied financial assistance on the basis of age, color, disability, gender, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status.
RETURN TO TITLE IV (R2T4)
If a student receiving Federal Title IV funds completely terminates enrollment (i.e. begins the official withdrawal process) or ceases to attend classes (unofficially withdraws) before the end of a payment period, then a recalculation of Federal Financial Aid is required by federal regulations to determine earned and unearned portions of Title IV aid (Federal Student Loans, Pell Grant, and/or Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)).
Official Withdrawal from Classes
A student may officially withdraw from Mesalands Community College by completing a Withdrawal Form obtained from the Student Affairs Office. The student must complete and sign the form. The form must also be signed by an advisor, the Financial Aid Office and by the Business Office. The form should then be turned into Student Affairs for processing. This process must be completed by the published withdrawal deadline on the Institutional Calendar which may be found in the College Catalog or current Course Schedule. A copy of the form is sent to Financial Aid, the instructor, and the Business Office for notification. The date of withdrawal will be recorded as the date the form is processed by Student Affairs.
- Up through the 60% point in the payment period, a pro-rata schedule is used to determine the amount of Title IV funds the student has earned at the time of withdrawal. The amount of Title IV aid earned or unearned is determined by using the Return of Title IV Funds software provided by the U.S. Department of Education. All calculations are based on credit hour term programs.
- After the 60% point in the payment period, a student will have earned 100% of the Title IV funds he or she was scheduled to receive during the period. There are no unearned funds for a student who withdraws after the 60% point.
Unofficial Withdrawal from Classes
- When a student fails all of the courses they attempted in a semester, a R2T4 calculation must be completed to determine a student’s last date of attendance.
- The 50% point of the payment period will be used for the calculation for students who unofficially withdraw.
- If a student can prove that he or she attended an academic class after the 60% point, the provided date will be used in the calculation.
Letters are mailed to students to notify them that a recalculation has been performed. Any remaining amount due to the school and/or the United States Department of Education are included in the letter. A copy of the letter, along with recalculation worksheets and withdrawal information, is placed in the student’s financial aid file.
Return of Title IV Funds
The unearned aid portion due from the College is returned within 45 days of the determination of withdrawal date. The unearned aid will be returned in the following order:
- Unsubsidized Federal Student Loan,
- Subsidized Federal Student Loan
- Pell Grant
The earned portion of the awards will be posted to the student’s account, thus reflecting the new amount owed. Students will be billed for the amount owed to the Title IV programs as well as any amount due to the College resulting from the return of Title IV funds used to cover College charges. If a student has a credit balance post calculation, they will be notified that they must pick up their check from the Business Office.
If a recalculation causes a student to have a balance at the Business Office, a hold will be placed on the student’s account. The student will have to pay the balance owed, before they are able to register for classes, request transcripts to be sent to another university or receive their diploma.
Satisfactory Academic Progress
Regardless of a Return to Title IV calculation, students must meet all required satisfactory academic progress requirements. If a student fails to meet the requirements of satisfactory academic progress, he or she will be placed on Financial Aid Warning for one semester and will be able to receive financial aid the following semester. A student may be released from Financial Aid Warning or become eligible again by reestablishing satisfactory academic progress. If a student fails to meet requirements during the second semester, he or she will be denied financial aid and placed on Financial Aid Suspension.
Students placed on Financial Aid Suspension due to adverse academic progress may submit a Petition for Reinstatement of Financial Aid. The Petition should explain any unusual or mitigating circumstances that have affected the student’s academic performance. Examples of mitigating circumstance include—but are not limited to—prolonged and/or severe illness that results in the student or their dependent being placed under a doctor’s care, accidents requiring hospitalization, or death of an immediate family member. Documentation is required to support the circumstance(s). The petition will be presented to the Student Appeals Committee for a decision.
If an appeal is denied or the student does not have unusual or mitigating circumstances, the student will remain ineligible for financial aid. He or she may reestablish eligibility for federal and state financial aid programs by successfully meeting the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements based on their cumulative hours and GPA. The student will not be able to receive financial aid beyond 150% of the degree program until they have reestablished other requirements of satisfactory academic progress.
Federal regulations require that students meet certain academic standards in order to be eligible for federal financial aid. To ensure financial aid recipients are making Satisfactory Academic Progress, academic transcripts are reviewed at the end of each semester to determine eligibility for the next semester. All terms of attendance are reviewed, including periods in which the student did not receive financial aid.
Summer terms are treated on the same merits as fall and spring semesters for the purpose of Satisfactory Academic Progress.
In order to remain in good standing for financial aid, students must meet the following standards:
- Qualitative Progress – Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least a 2.0. Withdrawals and audited classes are not used to determine a student’s GPA.
- Quantitative Progress – Maximum Time Frame – Federal regulations require a student to complete the course work for their program within 150 % of the published length of the educational program. This includes credit hours for transfer courses, withdrawals or repeat courses. For example, if a degree requires 66 credit hours, the student can attempt 66 credits multiplied by 150 % (or 99 credit hours) before they are ineligible for financial aid.
- Pace of Progression– Students must complete 67 % of the semester hours (registered credit hours) attempted at Mesalands Community College. Any course with a grade of Withdrawal (W), Incomplete (I), Audit (AU), or Fail (F), is not considered completed course work.
If a student withdraws from a course(s) or takes an incomplete in a course, the credit hours will count as hours attempted, rather than hours completed. This may affect a student’s quantitative progress, both in maximum time frame and pace of progression. When an incomplete grade changes, the student may request that their satisfactory academic progress be re-evaluated at that time. If the student does not submit a request, their academic progress will be automatically re-evaluated after the student completes the following semester.
Required pre-collegiate courses for credit do affect a student’s enrollment status, GPA, and completion rates. Non-credit courses are not reflected on a student’s transcript and are not calculated into the enrollment status, GPA or completion rate. Students are allowed up to a maximum of 30 credit hours for pre-collegiate courses.
Students are allowed to repeat courses to meet prerequisite or degree requirements while receiving financial aid. The new grade will replace the old grade for the purposes of calculating the student’s cumulative GPA, regardless of any improvement in the grade. The credit hours for the original course and repeated course will be counted in the earned and attempted hours for completion rate calculation.
Students who transfer into a degree program at Mesalands Community College will have the transfer hours calculated with the attempted and earned hours for the purposes of Satisfactory Academic Progress.
A student who changes his or her degree program or pursues a second degree at Mesalands must request a transcript evaluation to determine how many hours will be needed to earn the new degree before they will be considered for financial aid. Once the number of remaining hours needed is determined, the student will be allotted 150% of that total to obtain the degree while being eligible for federal financial aid.
Financial Aid Warning
If a student fails to meet the requirements of satisfactory academic progress, he or she will be placed on Financial Aid Warning for one semester and will be able to receive financial aid the next semester. If a student fails to meet during the second semester, he or she will be denied financial aid. A student may be released from Financial Aid Warning or become eligible again by reestablishing satisfactory academic progress.
Once a student has been denied financial aid for adverse academic progress, the student may submit a Petition for Reinstatement of Financial Aid, if there were unusual, mitigating or extreme circumstances beyond the student’s control.
Examples may include, but are not limited to:
- prolonged and/or severe illness;
- under a physician’s care for the student or a dependent;
- accidents requiring hospitalization;
- death of an immediate family member.
Documentation is required to support the circumstance(s). The petition will be presented to the Financial Aid Appeals Committee for a decision. Applications must be received ten (10) days prior to the start of semester for consideration.
If an appeal is denied or a student does not have unusual or mitigating circumstances, the student remains ineligible to receive financial aid. He or she may reestablish eligibility for federal and state financial aid programs by successfully meeting the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements based on their cumulative hours and GPA. The student will not be able to receive financial aid beyond 150% of the degree program until they have reestablished other requirements of satisfactory academic progress.
If the student’s petition is approved by the committee, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Probation for one semester. If the student cannot re-establish Satisfactory Academic Progress after the probationary semester, he or she will be placed on an Academic Plan until he or she has met the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements. The student must then follow all terms of the Academic Plan in order to continue to receive financial aid. If the student does not meet the Academic plan requirements, the student will be denied all future financial aid at Mesalands Community College.
Any student’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) information may be selected for a process called verification by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and/or the Financial Aid Office. During the review, information reported on the FAFSA is verified for accuracy against documentation submitted by the student and/or their parents. An application may be selected for verification at any time throughout the award year. 34 CFR 668.53. Mesalands Community College (MCC) will verify 100% of student files selected for verification.
Deadlines Students are strongly encouraged to provide the requested documents within two weeks of the request. Documents will be accepted until the last day of regular classes of the last semester of the award year that a student is enrolled in (July 1 – June 30).
Consequences Financial Aid awards will not be finalized or disbursed until all verification requirements have been fulfilled. If corrections need to be made to the student’s FAFSA, disbursements will not be made until the corrected application has been received by Mesalands Community College.
Verified Information Students selected for verification may have the following information verified:
- Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) (Student; Parent; and/or Spouse)
- High School or Equivalency Completion
- Proof of Identification
- Proof of Citizenship
- Household Size
- Number enrolled in college
- S. Income Tax Paid
- Certain untaxed income and benefits:
- Child Support
- Untaxed Individual Retirement Account (IRA) Distributions and Deductions
- Untaxed Portions of Pensions and Annuities
- Education Credits
- Tax Exempt Interest
Additional items will be verified when there is conflicting documentation on file or items selected by Mesalands Community College Financial Aid Staff.
Students selected for verification must submit the required verification worksheet and any other required supplemental documentation. Documents that will be accepted to fulfill requirements are as follows:
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Data Retrieval Process in the FAFSA (preferred method)
- Tax Return Transcript from the IRS (see gov to order a copy)
- Tax Account Transcript from the IRS (if original tax return was amended or adjusted)
- Verification of Non-Filing Status from the IRS (see gov to request)
- Copy of IRS Form 4868 for Extension Filers
- Mesalands Community College Verification worksheets (V1, V4 or V5).
- Official High School or Equivalency Transcript
- Government Issued ID (driver’s license, passport, military ID, etc.)
No Title IV aid will be released until the student has completed any required verification process and submitted an official transcript of high school completion or equivalency.
Students will be notified of verification and required documents via email. In the case, a student does not provide an email, a letter will be sent to the student via mail. Students may access their my.mesalands.edu account to see required documents and status. Students will be notified via email if there are changes to their EFC or awards, through the student award letter.
FAFSA Corrections or Data Correction
Once a student is notified of verification selection, the student must provide all requested documentation. FAFSA corrections may be completed by the student or by the financial aid office. Once corrections have been completed the corrected FAFSA will be submitted to the Central Processing Service (CPS) for validation. Once this process has been completed the student’s financial aid package will be finalized.
As per section 478A (a) of the Higher Education Act (HEA) financial aid administrators are authorized on the basis of adequate documentation, to make adjustments on a case-by-case basis to make adjustments to the cost of attendance or the values of the data items required to calculate the expected student or parent contribution to allow for treatment of an individual eligible applicant with special circumstances. If a student feels that they have extenuating circumstances, they need to contact the financial aid office to determine if an override can be completed.
Mesalands Community College must refer for investigation to the Office of Inspector General (OIG) any credible information indicating that a Title IV aid applicant, school employee, or third party servicer may have engaged in fraud or other criminal misconduct in connection with the Title IV programs. (Note: Fraud is the intent to deceive as opposed to a mistake.)
Common misconducts include but are not limited to:
- Claims of independent student status
- False claims of citizenship
- Use of false identities
- Forgery of signatures of certifications
- False statement of income
If it is determined that a student received funds that they are not entitled to, the student will be required to repay the amount. If a repayment is not made, the overpayment may be referred to the US Department of Education. (34 CFR 668.16 (g)).