Austin College Bulletin 2020-2021
The Austin College Office of Financial Aid is located in Lyndall Finley Wortham Center. Office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Access is provided for students with physical disabilities.
Applying for Financial Aid
The financial aid application process and deadlines are somewhat different for new freshmen and transfer students than for returning Austin College students.
New Freshman and Transfer Students Initial Application
New freshman and transfer students seeking financial aid from Austin College must first be accepted for admission to the college. In addition, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be completed online at www.studentaid.gov using the Austin College school code: 003543. Students may file the FAFSA beginning October 1 of the year prior to their anticipated enrollment. The correct tax information to use when filing the FAFSA is shown in to the chart below:
|When a Student Is Attending College (School Year)||When a Student Can Submit a FAFSA||Which Year’s Income Information
|July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021||October 1, 2019 – June 30, 2021||2018|
For those who have completed their 2018 taxes it is best to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) when completing the FAFSA. The IRS DRT allows students (and their parents, if applicable) to access the IRS tax return information needed to complete the FAFSA and transfer the required information directly into the FAFSA from the IRS. The FAFSA includes a link to the IRS if a student is eligible to use the IRS DRT.
To sign the FAFSA electronically, the student and one parent (if student is dependent) will each need to create a FSA ID. Students may use this site to lookup their FSA ID if one has been lost or forgotten.
Once the FAFSA has been processed, students will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) from the FAFSA Processor. The SAR is usually emailed to the email address provided on the FAFSA application. Please review the SAR carefully. If the student feels that an error has been made, corrections can be made directly on the FAFSA website. The college will receive an electronic copy of the student’s FAFSA data. The results of completing the FAFSA will provide the college with the student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is used to determine the student’s federal student aid eligibility and which of the various aid programs the student and family may access — grants, need-based loans, work programs, or one of several non-need-based loans through which a student or parent may borrow.
To receive priority consideration for financial assistance, a student may complete the FAFSA as early as October 1 and no later than April 1. Please allow up to two weeks between the electronic submission of the FAFSA for information to be processed and received by the school. Any FAFSA received after the April 1 deadline will be considered on a rolling basis subject to available funds.
All financial aid is granted for a maximum of one academic year. All aid awards will be divided equally per semester. Renewal of financial aid is based on academic standing, availability of funds in relation to receipt of FAFSA data, and demonstration of federal need. Financial aid may be terminated if a student is not meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) (see General SAP Standards and Process).
Returning Students Renewal Application
All financial aid is granted for a maximum of one academic year, thus returning students must re-apply for financial aid each year. Students may complete the FAFSA or Renewal FAFSA online at www.studentaid.gov using the Austin College school code: 003543. The correct tax information to use when filing the FAFSA is shown in the chart below:
|When a Student Is Attending College (School Year)||When a Student Can Submit a FAFSA||Which Year’s Income Information Is Required|
|July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021||October 1, 2019 – June 30, 2021||2018|
For those who have completed their 2018 taxes it is best to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) when completing the FAFSA. The IRS DRT allows applicants (and their parents, if applicable) to access the IRS tax return information needed to complete the FAFSA and transfer the required information directly into the FAFSA from the IRS. The FAFSA includes a link to the IRS if a student is eligible to use the IRS DRT.
Once the FAFSA has been processed, students will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) from the FAFSA Processor. The SAR is usually emailed to the email address provided on the FAFSA application. Please review the SAR carefully. If an error has been made, corrections can be made directly on the FAFSA website. The college will receive an electronic copy of FAFSA data. The results of completing the FAFSA will provide the college with the student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC). This number is used to determine federal student aid eligibility and which of the various aid programs the student and family may access — grants, need-based loans, work programs, or one of several non-need-based loans through which a student or parent may borrow.
To receive priority consideration for financial assistance, a student may complete the FAFSA as early as October 1 and no later than May 1. Any FAFSA received after the May 1 deadline will be considered on a rolling basis subject to available funds.
Being that all financial aid is granted for a maximum of one academic year all aid awards will be divided equally per semester. Renewal of financial aid is based on academic standing, availability of funds in relation to receipt of FAFSA data, and demonstration of federal need. Financial aid may be terminated if a student is not meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) (see General SAP Standards and Process).
The Verification Process
Verification is a comparison of reported FAFSA information with previous tax transcripts and other external documentation. Please keep in mind that verification of the FAFSA data may result in a change to the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which may require an adjustment to the financial aid package as required by the subsequent re-calculation of the FAFSA data.
To avoid verification delays, use the IRS DRT process when filing the FAFSA. Some students are not eligible for this process. For example, if a student’s parents are married and filed separate returns, they will need to request an IRS tax return transcript for both parents via one of the methods indicated below and send them to the Office of Financial Aid.
The IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT)
If the 2018 tax return was filed electronically, the applicant may be able to use the IRS DRT. If a student did not or was not able to use the IRS DRT the student must submit the 2018 student/spouse, if independent, IRS Tax Return Transcripts(s) and the 2018 Parent(s), if dependent, IRS Tax Return Transcript(s). In addition to the IRS Tax Transcripts, the Office of Financial Aid may request other documentation to complete verification. A student may be required to send signed statements regarding household size, number in college, child support documentation, food stamp documentation, W2s, etc.
NOTE: If marital status changes after January 1, 2019, please send IRS tax transcript(s) and all W-2s that reflect current status to the office. If marital status changes from married to single, the student will need to complete the Financial Aid Appeal Wrap and return to the Office of Financial Aid with appropriate documentation.
If a student needs to request a 2018 tax return transcript from the IRS, free of charge, please do so in one of the following ways:
- Request online
Register @ irs.gov/individuals/get-transcript
Once received, fax to 903.813.3198
- Request by mail
For detailed instructions go to www.irs.gov/individuals/get-transcript
Once received, fax to 903.813.3198
*If an extension for 2018 is filed, the student will need to send the Office of Financial Aid a copy of IRS form 4868 or a copy of the IRS approval of an extension beyond automatic six months extension and copies of all W2s for each source of employment income received in 2018.
Financial Aid for Study Abroad
Students applying to Tier 1 study abroad programs will be approved for a single semester of financial aid, provided they are in good standing, meet the requirements for their chosen program provider, and successfully complete the pre-departure process. The Office of Financial Aid will adjust student budgets to allow for the cost of studying abroad and in some cases the student’s federal need may increase, allowing students to possibly qualify for additional federal and/or state aid including loans. A student may apply for institutional scholarships for study abroad. However, any additional institutional scholarships awarded will not exceed the cost of tuition at Austin College.
All students receiving financial aid for a semester abroad are obligated to enroll in at least one additional long semester in residence at Austin College.
Since the student budget created for living off campus does not include the actual cost of living on campus with a meal plan, a reasonable allowance is used for housing and food based on cost of living for the area and from surveys completed by former students who lived off campus. In many cases, the student budget for living off campus is not as large as a student budget for living on campus in a residence hall with a meal plan which, in turn, gives the student living off campus a reduced demonstrated financial need. This means a student living off campus may not qualify for as much need-based aid (grants, work-study, loans, etc.) as the student has qualified for in the past. Austin College merit-based scholarships are not affected if a student lives off campus.
Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) and Related Policies
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. These various policies can also be found on the Financial Aid webpage.
General SAP Standards and Process
Satisfactory Academic Progress will be reviewed at the end of each payment period (fall and spring semesters) by the Office of Financial Aid. This includes those who transfer in or are readmitted to the College.
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Requirements
All financial aid recipients must complete the number of cumulative credit units by the end of each long semester (fall or spring) as listed in the table below. Part-time students must reach the required credit unit level in double the number of terms.
No student will be eligible to receive federal or state aid for more than 10 long terms for a four-year program. No student will be eligible to receive Austin College institutional aid for more than 8 long terms for a four-year program.
A 2.00 cumulative grade point average (GPA) earned at Austin College is required for graduation from Austin College and is not rounded.
|Number of Long Terms (Fall or Spring) at Austin College||Minimum Number of Credit Units to be Completed||Minimum Cumulative GPA|
Advanced Placement (AP) credits, International Baccalaureate (IB) credits, and institutional exams for placement credit will not be used in the determination of credit units attempted or completed for Satisfactory Academic Progress purposes.
|Number of Long Terms (Fall or Spring) at Austin College||Minimum Number of Credit Units to be Completed||Minimum Cumulative GPA|
A transfer student who enrolls at Austin College will be considered to be maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress for their first payment period of their enrollment. At the end of a transfer student’s first payment period, progress will be reviewed in the same manner as for all other Austin College students. The number of credit units accepted for transfer credit will only be considered toward completing graduation requirements as both credit units attempted and credit units completed. Only the cumulative GPA earned and the completed credit units completed at Austin College will be considered when evaluating the requirements for SAP.
Maximum Time Frame for Financial Aid
For an undergraduate student, the maximum time frame to receive Federal Title IV aid is 51 attempted credit units (150% of published length of program—34 credit units at Austin College for undergraduate students). If a SAP review shows that a student cannot complete the degree program within 51 attempted credit units, all Title IV aid is stopped. For a graduate student, the master’s degree must be completed within two years following enrollment as a full-time graduate student.
Students eligible to receive education benefits from the Veterans Affairs (VA) Administration must provide their certification form from the VA to the Registrar’s Office. To receive benefits from the various programs, i.e. Chapter 30, 31, 33, 35, 1606 or 1607, students must be making SAP toward a degree. Any student receiving VA benefits who is on academic probation risks losing benefits. If probation persists beyond two semesters the student’s status is reported to the VA for termination of benefits. As of August 2009 veteran benefits no longer impact eligibility for Federal Title IV aid. The Office of Financial Aid will determine eligibility for institutional aid based on the percentage of tuition covered by the VA benefits. In some cases, VA recipients may not be eligible for tuition-specific scholarships or grants at Austin College.
Post 9/11 – Yellow Ribbon Program
The Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program (Yellow Ribbon Program) is a provision of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008. This program allows institutions of higher learning (degree granting institutions) in the United States to voluntarily enter into an agreement with the VA to contribute funds to help cover unmet tuition expenses when those expenses exceed the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition rate which is up to $25,163.14 effective August 1, 2020. This tuition rate is subject to change each academic year.
The institution will then contribute up to 50% of those expenses and the VA will match the same amount as the institution. Students who qualify for Yellow Ribbon benefits will not be eligible for any other institutional funds.
For the 2020-2021 academic year, Austin College will participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program.
To be eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program:
- The student must be approved by the VA to receive Chapter 33 Post 9/11 GI Bill® benefits at the 100% level. If the student’s eligibility percentage is below 100%, the student is not eligible to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program.
- The student must have entitlement left. (The student will continue to use entitlement under the Post 9/11 GI Bill® while participating in the Yellow Ribbon Program.)
- The student must provide the VA Coordinator in the Registrar’s Office at Austin College with the proper documentation needed to receive VA benefits under Chapter 33 Post 9/11 GI Bill® while at Austin College.
- The student cannot be active duty or an active duty spouse.
- The student must be and remain in good academic standing with Austin College. Austin College is not required to continue making Yellow Ribbon contributions if a student is not making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).
To learn more about the Yellow Ribbon Program visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website.
Non-Completion of Courses
Students who withdraw after the semester has begun have failed to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards. These students will receive a Financial Aid Warning for the next semester in which they enroll. If students withdraw from Austin College during the Financial Aid Warning period, they will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension and will be ineligible to receive any financial aid should they return to Austin College.
Students may only receive federal aid funding for one repetition of a previously passed course. There is an exception for courses that require repeats (see examples below). Students taking a required repeat of a course should work with the Office of Financial Aid to ensure those credits are counted appropriately for financial aid eligibility.
Examples of repeated coursework that may, or may not, count for financial aid eligibility:
- Allowable: Repeated coursework may be included if the student received an unsatisfactory or failing grade. There is no limit on the number of attempts allowable if the student does not receive a passing grade.
- Allowable: Repeated coursework may be included if a student needs to meet an academic standard for a particular previously passed course, such as a minimum grade. Example: Student received a D in a course that requires a minimum grade of C for the major or for a prerequisite for another course.
- Allowable: Student is enrolled in 4 credit units that include 1 credit unit repeating a previously passed course. Because the student is enrolled in a minimum of 3 credit units (making the student full-time) that are not repeats, the student’s financial aid eligibility is not impacted by the repeat.
- Not Permissible: Student receives a D in a course that does not have a minimum grade requirement for the major and decides to repeat the course to improve the GPA. The student may repeat this passed course one time, but if the student wants to repeat it a second time, the second repeat would not count for financial aid eligibility. In this example, the student is enrolled in 3 credit units, including the 1 credit unit second repeat, so only 2 credit units will count for financial aid eligibility. Financial aid would be adjusted since the student is no longer a full-time student.
All repeated courses affect financial aid SAP calculations. A repeated course along with the original attempt must be counted as attempted credits.
Incompletes (Grades of “I”)
If a student who received a grade of “I” (incomplete) in a course in the prior term is completing the coursework in the subsequent term to erase the incomplete in the prior term, the student is not considered to be enrolled in the course for the subsequent term. Therefore, the hours in the course do not count toward the student’s enrollment status for the subsequent term, and the student may not receive FSA funds for retaking the course.
However, if a student who received an incomplete in a course in the prior term is retaking the entire course for credit in a subsequent term, the hours in the course count toward the student’s enrollment status and the student may receive federal aid for retaking the course.
Any course with an incomplete grade is counted as a course attempted for SAP purposes. An incomplete grade will not be included in calculating the cumulative GPA used for the period being evaluated. When the incomplete grade is replaced with a final grade in the course, the student’s SAP status will be re-evaluated to determine the final SAP standing for the prior term. It is possible that if SAP is not met, Federal Title IV aid may have to be returned to the appropriate federal aid program.
A course in which the student receives a failing grade will be considered toward the cumulative GPA, credit units attempted, and whether a student is making SAP at the end of each payment period.
Courses with grades of F and U are counted as courses attempted for purposes of calculating GPA and making SAP. Courses with grades of S, W, or I also are counted as courses attempted but are not included in the computation of GPA.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Standings
At the end of each fall and spring terms, a SAP review will be conducted for each student receiving financial aid. A financial aid standing is a status assessed at the end of a term that could have consequences for future financial aid awards. The financial aid standing assessed at the end of a term may or may not coincide with the “academic standings” related to the Academic Probation and Suspension policy of the college (see Academic Regulations). Financial aid standing and academic standing are determined through independent processes based on the nature of their purpose and guiding regulations. Appeals for these different standings are considered independently, and it should not be assumed that if an appeal for academic suspension is approved that an appeal for financial aid suspension would be approved.
Financial Aid Warning
Any student who does not meet the SAP requirements as outlined above will be placed on “Financial Aid Warning” for the following payment period and will be eligible to receive aid during the warning period. By the end of the warning period, the student must be in compliance with the SAP requirements. Students not meeting SAP at the end of the warning period will be ineligible for financial aid and placed on Financial Aid Suspension. A student placed on Financial Aid Suspension following a warning period may elect to submit an Appeal to the Executive Director of Financial Aid for review by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee. See SAP Appeal section for details on what is required in an appeal.
Financial Aid Probation
Any student who does not meet SAP requirements following a Financial Aid Warning period is placed on Financial Aid Suspension. If the student files an appeal for reinstatement of aid and if the appeal is approved, the student would be placed on “Financial Aid Probation.” A student may receive financial aid for one more payment period while on Financial Aid Probation.
After a payment period on Financial Aid Probation, the student must be making SAP or student must be successfully following an academic plan (described below in SAP Appeals).
Financial Aid Suspension
If the student does not meet all the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements at the end of the Warning period (does not appeal the suspension) or at the end of the Probation period (filed an appeal and was approved to continue receiving aid for one more payment period), the student will be placed on “Financial Aid Suspension.” Students who are on Financial Aid Suspension are not eligible to receive any federal, state or institutional financial aid. This includes grants, loans, student employment and institutional scholarships.
In addition, any students who are readmitted to Austin College following an academic suspension (see Academic Regulations – Academic Probation and Suspension) are not eligible to receive any federal, state or institutional financial aid until SAP is met. The students may enroll at their own expense. SAP is met when students achieve at least a 2.00 cumulative GPA and completes the required number of credit units. It is each student’s responsibility to consult with the Office of Financial Aid to determine what must be done to regain eligibility.
Reinstatement of Aid
Students can regain eligibility for financial aid by enrolling at Austin College at their own expense and achieving at least a 2.00 cumulative GPA and completing the required number of credit units. Periods of enrollment while receiving no Title IV aid count toward the maximum time frame in which to earn the degree. Reinstatement of aid is contingent upon availability of funds. It is each student’s responsibility to consult with the Office of Financial Aid to determine what must be done to regain eligibility.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeals
Students who fail to meet SAP requirements and have lost eligibility for financial aid may appeal this decision. Appeals must be in writing and must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. In the appeal, the students must explain why they failed to make SAP and what has changed that will allow students to meet SAP at the next review. Appeals must be submitted to the Executive Director of Financial Aid no later than July 31 prior to the start of the fall semester or by January 15 prior to the start of the spring semester. Appeals received after these dates will not be considered.
Reasons that may be acceptable for an appeal are: (1) serious illness or accident on the part of the student; (2) death, accident, or serious illness in the immediate family; (3) changes in academic program; (4) other extenuating circumstances.
Reasonable consideration will be given to the student’s ability to meet SAP requirements by the end of the next payment period or the student will be placed on an academic plan to ensure that student is able to meet SAP by a specific point in time.
The Financial Aid Appeals Committee will review the appeal and send written results of the appeal to the student.
Approved appeals will include: (1) terms of reinstatement of financial aid eligibility (i.e. possibility of meeting SAP in the next payment period or possibility of an academic plan over an extended period of time); and (2) consequences for not meeting terms of approval. Approved appeals will result in financial aid being awarded for the payment period, based on available funding.
Denied appeals will include: (1) reason for denial; and (2) what the student must do to meet SAP. Students with denied appeals will not be awarded any financial aid until SAP is met.
Students must continue to meet terms, as established, until SAP is met to continue receiving financial aid on a probationary basis. Once SAP is met, the student is no longer considered to be on financial aid probation. Failure to maintain SAP thereafter will result in receiving an additional Financial Aid Warning for the next payment period.
Financial aid standing and academic standing (see Academic Regulations – Academic Probation and Suspension) are determined through independent processes based on the nature of their purpose and guiding regulations. Appeals for these different standings are considered independently, and it should not be assumed that if an appeal for academic suspension is approved that an appeal for financial aid suspension would be approved.
Types of Financial Aid
Institutional grants may be awarded on the basis of full-time enrollment and demonstrated need by filling out the FAFSA to students pursuing a regular course of study. The amount of any single grant is not fixed, but is determined for each qualified applicant by the Office of Financial Aid.
The Federal Pell Grant and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) are available to students with exceptional need. The FAFSA is required. The Office of Financial Aid determines eligibility.
The Tuition Equalization Grants (TEG) may be available to Texas residents who qualify. The availability of TEG funds may be affected by the number of eligible students, the level of institutional allocation, and the timeliness of filing the FAFSA. The Office of Financial Aid determines eligibility.
Loans are available from a variety of sources listed below. Loans carry interest and a legal obligation for repayment.
Federal Direct Loan: The Federal Direct Loan provides an annual maximum of up to $3,500 for freshmen, $4,500 for sophomores, and $5,500 per year for juniors and seniors. In addition, H.R. 5715 allows an additional $2,000 unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan eligibility for undergraduate students. The aggregate loan amount for undergraduates is $31,000, of which no more than $23,000 can be subsidized. Independent students and those students whose parent has been denied a Federal Direct PLUS Loan may qualify for an additional unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan. Freshmen and sophomores may qualify for up to $4,000 per year; juniors and seniors, up to $5,000 per year. The aggregate loan amount for independent undergraduates is $57,500 of which no more than $23,000 can be subsidized. Graduate students are eligible for $20,500 in unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan. Graduate students are no longer eligible for subsidized Federal Direct Loans. The aggregate loan amount for graduate students is $138,500 of which no more than $65,500 can be subsidized.
As of July 1, 2019, the Federal Direct Loan program (for both subsidized and unsubsidized loans) for undergraduate students carries a fixed interest rate of 4.53%. Students demonstrating need, according to the federal formula, may borrow up to their remaining need or the annual maximum on a subsidized Federal Direct Loan. For these loans, the federal government pays the interest while the student is in school or in deferment. Should a student’s demonstrated need be less than the annual maximum, the student may borrow the remainder on an unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan. For any unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan, the student will be responsible for any accrued interest during in-school and during deferment periods. An origination fee of 1.059% will be deducted from each disbursement for both the subsidized and unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan. After graduating, leaving school, or dropping below half-time, the student has a six-month grace period before repayment begins.
For graduate students, the origination fee is 1.059% with a fixed interest rate of 6.08% for any Federal Direct Loan disbursed on or after October, 1, 2019.
To qualify for a Federal Direct Loan, a student must be enrolled (or accepted for enrollment) at least half-time, be in good standing, and making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) at the college. Further inquiries should be made to the Office of Financial Aid.
Alternative Loans: There are other loan options available to help a family meet the remaining cost of attendance. These loans are considered non-need based and typically require creditworthiness. For more information about this type of loan, contact the Office of Financial Aid or visit the Financial Aid webpage.
The college participates in the Federal Work-Study Program and the Texas Work-Study Program, which is available to students with demonstrated financial need. Employment on campus is limited to eight to nine hours per week with an earning potential of approximately $1,000 per semester, however, a student is paid only for actual hours worked.
A student may be terminated by the supervisor if job performance is unsatisfactory.
Austin College Office of Admission awards merit-based scholarships to entering freshmen and transfer students. Austin College offers a number of merit-based scholarships not based on demonstrated financial need. These awards are made solely in recognition of outstanding academic achievement and potential, but other selection criteria may include evidence of leadership ability, a commitment of service to others, and exceptional talents in the performing arts and other extracurricular activities. Merit-based scholarships awarded to freshmen are renewed on an annual basis for a maximum of eight long terms of undergraduate study, excluding summer terms. Those awarded to transfer students are renewed on a term basis for the number of fall and spring terms deemed necessary by the college to complete the Bachelor of Arts degree.
Talent-based scholarships (music, art, and theatre) are awarded by the individual departments to entering freshmen. Freshmen are required to apply for these scholarships with the individual department. Each department will require the student to submit a portfolio for an art scholarship, and to audition for music and theatre scholarships.
It is Austin College policy that no combination of institutional aid (scholarships or grants) may exceed the cost of tuition.