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Financial Aid

Financial Aid

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I apply?
  2. How do I complete a FAFSA?
  3. When is the deadline to apply?
  4. What is a Student Aid Report?
  5. When applying, what other documents may be necessary?
  6. When will I receive my Award Notification?
  7. What should I do with the Award Notification?
  8. What changes could affect my awards?
  9. How do I receive my first loan at CSU?
  10. How long does it take to process the PLUS loan application?
  11. When do I receive my financial aid?
  12. How do I cancel or reduce a loan that has not been disbursed?
  13. How are costs determined?
  14. What is the EFC?
  15. What is my need?
  16. How will my need be met?
  17. What if I have special needs?
  18. What could delay my aid?
  19. When do I receive my aid?
  20. What is Satisfactory Academic Progress?
  21. How do I remain eligible for financial aid?
  22. What is Financial Aid Warning?
  23. What is Financial Aid Termination?
  24. How do I appeal my Financial Aid Termination?
  25. What if I withdraw from classes?
  26. How does the refund policy work?
  27. How many times can a student repeat a course and have federal financial aid pay for it?
  28. What if a student passes a course with a grade higher than F and wishes to retake it for a better grade, but then fails the course the second time?
  29. What if a student is repeating a course and withdraws from it?

How do I apply?

Students seeking financial assistance should use one of two methods to apply:

Method 1 - Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the Renewal Application for Federal Student Aid (Renewal FAFSA). This method allows a student to apply for federal and state aid as well as the HOPE scholarship. The FAFSA is available on-line at www.fafsa.ed.gov. You may sign your application electronically with your Federal Student Aid (FSA) User ID. You can acquire a FSA User ID at https://fsaid.ed.gov/npas/index.htm The application process begins in January and you will need to re-apply for federal financial aid each year.

Method 2 - Complete the HOPE Application. Students seeking a HOPE scholarship or grant only, may apply on-line at www.gafutures.org

Columbus State University 2017-2018 Academic Year Priority Processing dates are:

  • Summer Semester – March 15, 2017
  • Fall Semester – March 15, 2017
  • Spring Semester – November 1, 2017

 

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How do I complete a FAFSA?

Below are tips for completing your FAFSA. For a complete explanation and instructions for each section, visit www.fafsa.ed.gov. If you have questions, please call 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) or visit the Financial Aid Office.

  • A "Help and Hints" sections is available by each question of the FAFSA.
  • Complete the entire application as accurately as possible, including all optional information. Omitting this information may cause delays in processing.
    (Attention Military Personnel: A Leave and Earning Statement (LES) is necessary to complete the FAFSA and verification worksheet. If this document is not available, the student/parent can access the LES at http://mypay.dfas.mil/mypay.aspx using their pin number to determine the standard housing allowance and basic allowance for subsistence (BAS).)
  • List Columbus State University as a college choice. Our school code is 001561.
  • Keep a copy of your tax forms, and any other documents you used to complete the form.

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When is the deadline to apply?

You may file your FAFSA beginning January 1st. However, there is a priority processing date set by CSU. If your application is complete on or before the priority processing date, your request for assistance will be processed before the fee payment deadline.

Columbus State University 2017-18 Academic Year Priority Processing dates are:

  • Summer Semester – March 15, 2017
  • Fall Semester – March 15, 2017
  • Spring Semester – November 1, 2017

 

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What is a Student Aid Report?

A Student Aid Report (SAR) is the result of your Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Columbus State University will receive the electronic version of this report if our school is listed on the FAFSA. You should review your SAR at www.fafsa.ed.gov for completeness and accuracy. You may make corrections electronically at this same website. You will need your FSA User ID to use this site. You can sign up for a FSA User ID at https://fsaid.ed.gov/npas/index.htm - please note that any change to your report may delay our response regarding your notification of eligibility for financial assistance.

If the comments on your SAR state that more information is needed to determine your eligibility for financial aid, you should make the necessary corrections electronically at www.fafsa.ed.gov. A valid SAR is needed before aid can be determined.

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When applying, what other documents may be necessary?

After filling out your application and receiving your Student Aid Report, additional documents may be requested. Any of the following may be requested:

  • Signed copies of a federal tax return of the student, spouse, and/or parents.
  • Verification worksheet.
    (Attention Military Personnel: A Leave and Earning Statement (LES) is necessary to complete the FAFSA and verification worksheet. If this document is not available, the student/parent can access the LES at http://mypay.dfas.mil/mypay.aspx using their pin number to determine the standard housing allowance and basic allowance for subsistence (BAS).)
  • A copy of the birth certificate to authenticate citizenship.
  • A copy of the Selective Service Registration card for verification of registration.
  • A copy of the social security card to verify the correct name and number on file with the Social Security Administration.
  • A copy of the resident alien card for documentation of eligible non-citizens.

To ensure that you are processed on or before the fee payment deadline date, all of your documents should be submitted before the applicable deadline dates. We recommend that you respond to any request for additional documents within 10 days.

 

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When will I receive my Award Notification?

If your FAFSA was processed and we have a valid Student Aid Report (SAR) and all required documentation, you should receive an award notification by email approximately 2-3 weeks from the date we received your report. You must be accepted for admission to CSU for aid to be awarded.

If the type of financial aid you are requesting does not require you to complete the FAFSA, you should receive an award notification by email approximately 3-4 weeks from the date that we receive your application.

If your application was received on or before the priority processing deadline date, you will receive notification of your award on or before the fee payment deadline for the term. If you do not receive your award notification by this time, please contact our office.

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What should I do with the Award Notification?

Log into your myCSU account, click on Enrollment Services tab and review My Award Letter Information. Read your award notification very carefully. Contact the Financial Aid Office immediately if you have any questions regarding the type and/or amount of your award(s). If you are a dependent student and your parent(s) are interested in applying for a parent's loan, a PLUS application must be completed and returned to the Financial Aid Office for processing

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What changes could affect my awards?

Your initial award(s) will be based on full-time enrollment for each term awarded. These are some examples that may cause your award(s) to be revised:

  • change in enrollment status

  • receipt of additional awards such as scholarships, grants, etc.

  • changes in reported financial information since your original award

  • an increase or decrease in your loan eligibility

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How do I receive my first loan at CSU?

If this is your first loan at CSU, you must complete the following 3 steps to finalize processing of an educational loan. Award amounts are subject to change based on availability of funds.

If you have previously signed a Master Promissory Note for a Direct Stafford Loan and received loan proceeds then complete steps 1 and 2 for Entrance Counseling.

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How long does it take to process the PLUS loan application?

Once the Financial Aid Office receives the PLUS loan application it will take approximately 2-4 weeks to process the application. The application is then electronically forwarded to the Department of Education, (ED). They will conduct a credit check on the application and notify CSU in approximately five (5) business days with a credit decision. If the loan is approved, the Financial Aid Office will send your parent an award letter and instructions.

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When do I receive my financial aid?

Funds awarded are first transferred to pay institutional charges. The remaining balance is credited to your refund preference via BankMobile Disbursements no earlier than the end of the second week of classes if your application process was completed by the priority processing deadline and you early registered for classes.

All other students with aid receive their credit balance per their refund preference with BankMobile Disbursements no later than 14 days after their funds are applied to their institutional charges.

You will receive a new disclosure statement from the federal loan origination center for each new loan (before or at the time the first part of your loan is paid to you or credited to your account). This disclosure statement provides comprehensive information about the types of loans you are borrowing, the amount, your loan period and the anticipated disbursement dates.

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How do I cancel or reduce a loan that has not been disbursed?

Login to your myCSU account, click on the Enrollment Services Tab. Then select My Award Letter Information -> My Award Letter. At the bottom of the Online Financial Aid Award Letter, select Reduce/Decline Awards.

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How are the costs determined?

Your educational costs are the average costs for a student based on the following information that you provided on the FAFSA:

  • Whether you are a Georgia resident or non-resident.
  • Where you plan to live while you are in school.
  • Your dependency status as determined by federal criteria.
  • Current year packaging budgets--undergraduates and graduates.

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What is the EFC?

The EFC is the expected family contribution. It is an amount derived from information you provided on your FAFSA. Based on the federal needs analysis formula, the family contribution is an estimated amount that you and/or your family should be able to provide toward your educational expenses over the course of the academic year.

Your contribution is based on the following information you provided on your FAFSA:

  • Your family's income and assets.
  • The number of people enrolled in college in your household.
  • Number of people in household.

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What is My Need?

Your financial need is the amount remaining after applying your expected family contribution to your cost of attendance.

Cost of Attendance
- Family Contribution
= Financial Need

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How Will My Need be Met?

Your need will be met through:

  • Family savings.
  • Current Family income.
  • Student Employment.
  • Financial aid in the form of grants, federal work study and/or loans.

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What if I Have Special Circumstances?

If you feel that you have extenuating circumstances, consult your Financial Aid Counselor. If you qualify for any adjustments to your educational costs, your student/parent contribution, or your dependency status, you will be notified of any adjustments/changes.

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What Could Delay My Aid?
Some reasons your money may not be available on the first day of classes:

  • Late admissions
  • Late in completing your financial aid application
  • Missing documents
  • Enrollment changes
  • Information that you are in default on a student loan or owe a repayment to any Title IV financial aid program.

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When Do I Receive My Aid?
Financial aid funds awarded are first used to pay institutional charges. Financial aid in excess of institutional charges is first released to the student's selected refund preference via BankMobile Disbursements at the end of the second week of the term. After the second week of the term, these funds are released no later than 14 days from the day the excess balance occurred.

If this is your first loan, you must complete the following 3 steps to finalize processing of an educational loan.

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What is Satisfactory Academic Progress?

Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

The Columbus State University Financial Aid Office administers Title IV Federal Student Aid under guidelines from the U. S. Department of Education. The Secretary of Education requires schools to develop and implement policies by which academic progress is evaluated and monitored. In order to receive federal or state financial aid, a student must meet Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards. Students who fail to meet SAP standards will be notified by the Financial Aid Office.

Eligibility is based upon an evaluation each semester of the student's entire academic record including transferred coursework, regardless of whether financial aid was received. Transfer students are first evaluated at the end of their first term of enrollment at Columbus State University (CSU).

A student is evaluated on both qualitative and quantitative measures. All regular courses are included in the computation of total hours attempted. Remedial courses are not counted.

The minimum acceptable standards for receiving federal or state aid are as follows:

Qualitative Measurement

Grade Point Average (GPA): All undergraduate financial aid recipients must maintain a grade point average at or above the minimum that corresponds with the total number of hours attempted in the charts below. Graduate students must maintain a graduate GPA of 3.0.

Undergraduates who began enrollment fall 2009 and later:

Undergraduate total hours attempted*

Minimum overall financial aid grade point average

00-29

2.00

30-59

2.00

60-89

2.00

90 or more

2.00

Undergraduates who began enrollment prior to fall 2009:

Undergraduate total hours attempted*

Minimum overall financial aid grade point average

00-29

1.40

30-59

1.60

60-89

1.80

90 or more

2.00

* transfer hours and CSU hours

Quantitative Measurement

Maximum Timeframe: Students must not exceed 150% of the normal length of their program. For example, the maximum timeframe of eligibility for an undergraduate student is 185 attempted hours for a 123 hour program. The maximum timeframe of eligibility for a graduate student is 54 attempted hours for a 36 hour program.

Pace - Students are expected to successfully complete a minimum of 67% of the total hours attempted (transfer hours included). Pace is calculated as cumulative successful hours/cumulative hours attempted. Successful hours are those with grades of A, B, C, D, S, K and T. Unsuccessful hours are those with grades of F, WF, W, U, NR, I, and IP.

Students who fail to meet the GPA, Maximum Timeframe, or Pace standards will be in violation of the Financial Aid SAP policy. Financial aid is terminated immediately for students exceeding their maximum timeframe.

Warning Status: Students failing to meet GPA or Pace Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress standards who met these standards their prior term are allowed to continue one term receiving financial aid with a status of Warning. Students must meet all Financial Aid SAP standards at the end of their next term of enrollment or financial aid will be terminated. A Warning Status is not applicable to students who have exceeded the Maximum Timeframe for their program.

SAP Appeals: Students notified that they are not making Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress may submit a written appeal explaining their extenuating circumstances with supporting documents attached. The Request for Financial Aid Appeal Form (http://finaid.columbusstate.edu/forms) must be used for the appeal submission. Examples of acceptable extenuating circumstances are listed on the form. A Financial Aid Appeals Committee determines whether the appeal is approved. Students will receive a response to appeals within approximately two weeks. Students with approved appeals must complete an Academic Plan Agreement with the Financial Aid Office and adhere to the requirements each semester of the plan in order to receive financial aid.

Reinstatement of Aid: A student terminated from aid for failure to meet GPA and/or Pace measurements may request reinstatement of aid, without the need for an appeal, to the Financial Aid Office once they meet the minimum standards for GPA and Pace.

 

How do I remain eligible for financial aid?

You must meet the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy standards (see above) to remain eligible to receive financial aid.

 

What is Financial Aid Warning?

Students failing to meet GPA or Pace Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress standards (see policy above) who met these standards their prior term are allowed to continue one term receiving financial aid with a status of Warning. Students must meet all Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress standards at the end of their next term of enrollment or lose financial aid eligibility. A Warning Status is not applicable to students who have exceeded the Maximum Timeframe for their program.

 

What is Financial Aid termination?

Students who have not met Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards after one term on Warning Status are no longer eligible for aid. In addition, students who exceed the maximum timeframe for degree or certificate completion are in violation of the Financial Aid SAP standards, therefore financial aid eligibility is terminated.

Allowable maximums are:

Bachelor's degree 185 attempted semester hours

Master's degree 54 attempted semester hours

Specialist in Education 45 attempted semester hours

Certificate 45 attempted semester hours

 

How do I appeal my Financial Aid Termination?

Students notified that they are not making Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress may submit a written appeal explaining their extenuating circumstances with supporting documents attached. The Request for Financial Aid Appeal Form (http://finaid.columbusstate.edu/forms) must be used for the appeal submission. Examples of acceptable extenuating circumstances are listed on the form. A Financial Aid Appeals Committee determines whether the appeal is approved. Students will receive a response to appeals within approximately two weeks.

What if I Withdraw from Classes?
If you receive an "I" (Incomplete), "W" (Withdrawal), "F" (Failing), "IP" (Incomplete in Progress), "U" (Unsatisfactory) or "WF" (Withdrawal Failing), those courses are included in the total hours attempted toward the maximum time frame for degree completion.

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How does the refund policy work?
Fees will be recalculated and appropriate adjustments made for students who register and then find it necessary to drop a course before the end of the schedule change period. No refund will be made for a reduction in credit hours after the schedule change period. Students who formally withdraw from the university before the official first day of the semester will be entitled to a complete (100%) refund of all registration fees. Students withdrawing from all courses after the official first day of the semester will be entitled to a prorated refund of tuition, fees and elective charges. The proportion refundable is determined by the date of withdrawal and is equal to that portion of the period of enrollment for which the student has been charged that remains on the last day of attendance, up to the 60 percent point in time of the semester. Specific dates reflecting the above refund schedule are published each semester in the Schedule of Courses.

All students receiving financial assistance who formally withdraw or who stop attending all classes are subject to regulations regarding the return of funds to the appropriate aid program.

Refunds are applied in the following order:

  1. Unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loan
  2. Subsidized Direct Stafford Loan
  3. Perkins Loan
  4. Direct PLUS Loan
  5. Pell Grant
  6. Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
  7. Other Title IV programs
  8. HOPE Scholarship
  9. Other non-Title IV programs

NOTE: The student must return unearned aid for which he/she is responsible by repaying funds to the applicable aid program.

The following steps are performed in refund determination:

Step 1. Determine the student's Title IV aid and HOPE for the term
Step 2. Calculate the percentage of Title IV aid and HOPE earned
Step 3. Determine the amount of Title IV aid and HOPE earned by the student
Step 4. Determine the total Title IV aid and HOPE to be returned
Step 5. Determine the amount of unearned Title IV aid and HOPE due from the school
Step 6. Determine the amount of unearned Title IV aid and HOPE due from the student

Examples are available in the Financial Aid Office, University Hall.

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How many times can a student repeat a course and have federal financial aid pay for it?
If a student passes a course with a grade higher than an “F” and wishes to retake it at Columbus State University or by transfer of credit for a better grade, they may repeat the course ONE time and receive federal financial aid funds for it as long as they meet all other eligibility requirements, including the school's SAP policy.

If a student fails a course they may repeat the course at Columbus State University or by transfer of credits and receive federal financial aid funds for it until they receive a passing grade and as long as they meet all other eligibility requirements, including the school's SAP policy.

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What if a student passes a course with a grade higher than F and wishes to retake it for a better grade, but then fails the course the second time?
The failed course counts as their retake and the student cannot be paid for retaking the course a third time.

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What if a student is repeating a course and withdraws from it?
If a student is repeating a course and withdraws from the course, it is not counted as their paid retake.

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