S-5 Student Financial Assistance
Additional Information about Financial Aid may be found at www.maricopa.edu/students website.*
The Maricopa Community Colleges provide students financial assistance to enable access to higher education. Student financial assistance shall be awarded on the basis of demonstrated financial need except where funds are specified for recognition of special talents and achievements. Only those with a lawful presence in the United States may qualify for federal financial aid or Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) scholarships. Under Arizona law, any information the student provides about his or her legal status when applying for financial aid or publicly funded scholarships may be subject to mandatory reporting to federal immigration authorities. This does not apply to applications for the private scholarship funds held in and distributed by the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation.
The office of financial aid may request to have the validity of a student’s high school completion evaluated if either the college or the United States Department of Education has reason to believe that the high school diploma is not valid or was not obtained from an entity that provides secondary school education. An evaluation may be conducted on the basis of any of the following:
- Alerts, bulletins, or similar communications provided by any state, federal, or other governmental agency, another institution, a professional or similar organization, or any other resource that might provide information helpful to the evaluation;
- A transcript or other record received from another institution the student may have attended;
- The contents of the student’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid, student information form, or any other information the student provides to the college;
- The independent professional judgment by any official of the office of student financial aid.
How to Apply for Federal Financial Aid
New students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or FAFSA on the web at Federal Student Aid. Each academic year, continuing students must reapply by completing a FAFSA, Renewal FAFSA, or FAFSA on the web. Scholarships require separate applications. Specific information regarding financial assistance, including application deadlines or priority dates, may be obtained from the college Office of Student Financial Aid.
Types of Aid
Grants, loans, student employment, and scholarship funds may be available from federal, state, and/or private sources.
The Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation offers a variety of scholarship opportunities. Scholarship opportunities are available year round. However, most scholarships are posted mid-January and most deadlines are the last week of March. Options are available at Scholarship Application or by calling 480-731-8400.
Distribution of Aid
Criteria by which aid is distributed among eligible financial aid applicants are available on request at the college Office of Student Financial Aid.
Rights and Responsibilities
Students should read all information provided in the process of applying for federal financial aid in order to gain a greater knowledge of all the rights as well as responsibilities involved in receiving that assistance.
Satisfactory Academic Progress
Specific requirements for academic progress for financial aid recipients are applied differently than scholastic standards. In addition to scholastic standards which are explained elsewhere in this catalog, financial aid recipients are also subject to the following Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress. Specific information is available at the college Office of Student Financial Aid.
Refunds and Repayments
In accordance with federal regulations (CFR 668.22), a student may be required to repay federal financial aid funds if they completely withdraw, are withdrawn, or fail to earn a passing grade from all classes during a semester. Further information is available at the college Office of Student Financial Aid. This could affect a student’s ability to receive Financial Aid in the future at any school. For a student receiving Financial Aid, also see Appendix S-7 for Withdrawal procedures.
Verification of Information
- A Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or a change to that FAFSA may be selected for verification. If a student’s FAFSA is selected for verification, the student will be notified via the Student Center at www.maricopa.edu/students. In most cases, the student will be required to submit documentation as part of the verification process. The earlier the Financial Aid Office receives the required documentation, the earlier the student’s eligibility for financial aid can be determined. The verification process must be completed no later than 120 days after the last date of enrollment or August 31, whichever comes first. In addition, the Financial Aid Office must receive a final and valid electronic SAR by the student’s last day of enrollment or June 30 of the award year, whichever comes first. The verification process must be completed before the Financial Aid Office can award any federal aid.
- If an award has already been made and a FAFSA is selected for verification, the student must provide required documentation within thirty days after it has been requested of the student or on June 30, whichever comes first. If documentation is not received within this deadline, the student’s award may be adjusted or canceled.
- The required forms and documents a student submits for verification will be compared to the information reported on the student’s FAFSA. If the information provided does not match what is shown on the FAFSA, the Financial Aid Office will submit changes to the US Department of Education FAFSA processor. After all changes are made to the FAFSA data, the student’s eligibility for financial aid will be reviewed. If there are any changes to the student’s financial aid eligibility as a result of verification, the student will be notified by means of the Student Center at www.maricopa.edu/students. If, following verification, the institution discovers evidence of student aid fraud (including identity theft), waste or abuse of US Department of Education funds, such evidence may be referred to the Office of Inspector General of the US Department of Education.
Award Amount and Level of Enrollment
Award amount is determined, in part, on the level of enrollment. A reduction in course load after financial aid has been awarded may result in an adjusted financial aid award. Federal student aid recipients are advised to register at the same time for all classes they intend to take during a semester to maximize award. Some federal aid may not be awarded for classes added at a later date. Contact the college Office of Student Financial Aid for more information.
Repeated Coursework and Financial Aid Enrollment Status
Federal regulations regarding repeated coursework may impact your financial aid eligibility and awards. Federal regulations specify that students may receive federal financial aid funding for one repetition of a previously passed course. A passed course is defined as one in which a grade of A, B, C, D, or P is received. If you enroll in a course in which you have previously received passing grades twice, the course will not be counted towards your enrollment level for financial aid purposes. You may repeat a failed course until it is passed. Your enrollment for financial aid purposes will be calculated accordingly.
Maricopa Community Colleges Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for Financial Aid Eligibility
Federal regulations (CFR 668.32(f) and 668.34) require a student to move toward the completion of a degree or certificate within an eligible program when receiving financial aid. Specific requirements for academic progress for financial aid recipients are applied differently than Scholastic Standards. Federal regulations state that Academic Progress Standards must include a review of all periods of enrollment, regardless of whether or not aid was received. Students will be evaluated using the standards described below. Failure to meet any of these minimum standards will result in loss of Title IV, HEA program (federal financial aid) eligibility.
To remain eligible for federal and state aid programs, students must meet ALL of MCCCD’s Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards regardless of whether a student has received financial aid in the past or not. These standards apply to a student’s entire academic records at any MCCCD college, including transfer credit hours accepted by the college.
- Definitions and Terminology Pertaining to this Policy
- Summer: Enrollment in the summer semester includes all courses scheduled within the summer enrollment period with all coursework counted in the SAP evaluation.
- Non-Standard Session / Clock Hour: Sessions that do not follow the traditional start and end dates for the semester.
- Attempted Credit: Any credit for which a grade of A, B, C, D, F, I, IP, N, P, W, Y, or Z is received and courses not yet graded.
- CGPA [Cumulative Grade Point Average]: The MCCCD grading policy is published in the administrative regulations at 2.3.3. The CGPA does not include credits accepted in transfer.
- Financial Aid Warning: status assigned to an eligible payment period for the next enrolled semester after failing SAP GPA (2.0) and/or Completion Pace (⅔). Students not meeting maximum timeframe evaluation are not eligible for a warning period.
- Appeal: A process by which a student who is not meeting the institution’s satisfactory academic progress standards is eligible to appeal the institution for reconsideration of the student’s eligibility for Title IV, HEA program assistance based on extenuating circumstances.
- Extenuating Circumstance: A one-time (not on-going) circumstance that is beyond the reasonable control of the student. Examples of extenuating circumstances may include, but not limited to:
- Documented medical condition or serious illness that prevented you from performing certain life tasks
- Documented illness of a family member that required your presence for a significant amount of time
- Death of immediate family member which impacted you significantly enough to affect participation in your courses
- Involuntary call to active military duty
- Documented involuntary change in employment conditions that prevented you from attending classes
- Any other extraordinary/emergency circumstances, such as a natural disaster
- Financial Aid Probation: A status assigned by an institution to a student who fails to make satisfactory academic progress and who has appealed and has had eligibility for aid reinstated. A student in this status may not receive Title IV, HEA program funds for the subsequent payment period unless the student makes satisfactory academic progress or the institution determines that the student met the requirements specified by the institution in the academic plan for the student.
- Academic Plan – A plan developed through the SAP Appeal Process which will lead a student to qualify for further Title IV, HEA program funds and complete the program within 150% of published program length.
- Financial Aid Suspension – The status assigned upon failing to meet the minimum SAP standards or the terms of probationary status. Students in this status are not eligible to receive Title IV, HEA assistance.
- Federal regulations (CFR 668.32(f) and 668.34) require institutions of higher education to evaluate Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) using qualitative (GPA) and quantitative (pace of progression) standards.
- Qualitative and quantitative measures of SAP are required to ensure students receiving Federal Student Aid are progressing towards the completion of a degree or certificate within an eligible program.
- Specific requirements for academic progress for Federal Student Aid recipients are applied differently than Scholastic Standards. Federal regulations state that SAP Standards must include a review of all periods of enrollment, regardless of whether or not aid was received. Standards are applicable for all enrolled payment periods, including all levels of enrollment (full-time or part-time enrollment). Students will be evaluated using the standards described below.
- Failure to meet any of the minimum standards outlined below will result in a student’s loss of HEA, Title IV Federal Student Aid.
- Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) will be evaluated at the end of each payment period. For credit hour programs, a payment period is a semester (Fall, Spring, and Summer). For clock hour programs, a payment period / evaluation will depend on the hours required in the program.
- Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) are evaluated based on qualitative (GPA), quantitative (pace of progression), and maximum timeframe. Failure to meet any of these standards may result in the loss of eligibility for financial aid. Grades of F, I, N, W, Y, Z, and courses not yet graded are considered attempted, but not completed in evaluating SAP. Late grades will be recalculated and may change eligibility.
- Grade Point Average Qualitative Measurement: Students must maintain a 2.0 cumulative Grade Point Average in order to meet SAP GPA requirements.
- Pace of Progression Quantitative Measurement: Students must successfully complete 2/3 (66.67%) of all attempted course work. For clock hour programs, please refer to program attendance requirements.
- Maximum Time Frame Measurement: Students must be able to complete their program within 150% of the published program length. Once students have attempted 150% of the published program length, they are no longer eligible for Federal Student Aid. For example, a 16 credit certificate program will allow up to 24 credit hours to complete the program. A 60 credit Associate’s degree will allow up to 90 credit hours to complete the program.
- Courses included in SAP evaluation:
- All attempted coursework, regardless of enrollment status
- Courses funded through a Consortium Agreement
- All attempted remedial credits, including English as a Second Language (ESL) courses.
- Repeated course work
- All transferred coursework
- Grades attempted, but not completed (F, I, N, W, Y, Z)
- Course work included in the Maximum Time Frame evaluation:
- All of those included in the Pace of Progression evaluation
- Any Bachelor’s degree (or higher) earned will be considered to have exhausted maximum timeframe eligibility
- All coursework forgiven through the Academic Renewal Process
- Course work not included in SAP evaluation:
- Audited courses
- Non-credit courses
- Credit by examination
- Credit for prior learning option (as outlined in the college general catalog)
Students who have applied for Federal Student Aid, but are not meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements, will be notified via email of their FA Warning or ineligibility for financial aid. The notification will direct students to information regarding available college resources during the Warning Period and the appeal process in cases of extenuating circumstances.
Financial Aid Warning
Students are allowed a warning period upon failing Qualitative and/or Quantitative SAP standards. The warning period allows one (1) payment period (semester) of Federal Student Aid eligibility upon failing SAP. The warning period will follow the semester for which SAP was not met, meaning the next semester for which the student registers for classes. In order to receive the Warning period, students must be meeting Maximum Timeframe requirements.
Any student who has lost federal student aid eligibility due to a resolved, one-time extenuating circumstance may appeal to have their financial aid reinstated by completing a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form. The form must address:
- what caused the student’s work to fall below acceptable standards--specific explanations must be provided, including any supporting documentation,
- each incomplete/failed course,
- how the extenuating circumstance has been resolved, and
- how the student will maintain good academic standards and progress toward the degree if the appeal is granted.
The outcome of the appeal will depend upon:
- the nature of the extenuating circumstances (if the stated circumstance qualifies as such),
- the quality of the documentation provided, and
- how well the student has demonstrated the ability to progress towards degree completion within a reasonable time period.
All documentation submitted is confidential. All decisions are final and cannot be appealed. For assistance in completing the SAP appeal paperwork, including examples of supporting documentation, visit your college Financial Aid Office.
Students will be notified of the results of their appeal within ten (10) days of filing the appeal. Notification will include any restrictions or conditions pertaining to their appeal. The outcome of an appeal may include a probationary period. Appeals granted longer than one (1) payment period must include an academic plan, which must be followed. Failure to follow an approved academic plan will result in immediate suspension of Federal Student Aid. Students are responsible for any and all debt incurred as a result of this adjustment to financial aid.
Failure to successfully complete all conditions during the probationary period (as defined in the academic plan) will result in loss of future financial aid eligibility.
A student who has lost financial aid eligibility may only regain eligibility by meeting the minimum SAP standards. Transfer coursework taken at other colleges will be considered for reinstatement purposes.
If you are receiving federal financial aid it is important to read the information below prior to making a decision to withdraw.
Treatment of Title IV Aid When a Student Withdraws
POLICY SUMMARY STATEMENT
To provide guidance on the treatment of federal student aid (Title IV) funds when a student withdraws from a Maricopa College.
Date of Determination – The date of determination is the date in which the school determines that a student ceased attendance or completely withdrew from school. This may be the date that the institution becomes aware that the student ceased attendance, or the date that the student begins the official withdrawal process at the school.
Earned Aid Calculation – A formula used to determine the amount of Title IV aid the student earned for the payment period. To calculate the amount of Title IV aid earned by the student multiply the percentage of Title IV aid earned by the student, by the total amount of Title IV aid disbursed (including that which could have been disbursed to the student or on behalf of the student), for the payment period as of the student’s withdrawal date.
Official Withdrawal - The process by which a student begins the school’s official withdrawal process or provides official notification to the school of his or her intent to withdraw. The student’s approach to his or her withdrawal directly impacts the school’s date of determination for which the student ceased attendance, and is used in the return of Title IV funds calculation.
To officially withdraw, the student will need to notify a designated office; this office for most MCCCD colleges is the Admissions and Records department. The designated office staff will assist the student to complete the withdrawal process. Schools will utilize a change in student status or comparable form to record a student’s withdrawal, official or unofficial (see “unofficial withdrawal” definition). The school registrar will determine the last date of attendance based on federal and institutional policy and the school’s date of determination. The date of determination is either the date that the student began the prescribed withdrawal process, or the date that the student provided the school with an official notification of his or her intent to withdraw, whichever is later. If the student is present, the student will sign and date the change in status or comparable form. Designated office staff will also sign and date the form, and retain it in the student’s file at the school.
Order Of Return of Title IV Funds - A federally prescribed order for returning Title IV FUNDS required as a result of a return of Title IV funds calculation. Unearned funds, returned by either the institution or the student, are credited to the programs from which the student received the aid from during the payment period, up to the net amount disbursed from each program. Funds will be returned based on the following order:
Unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans
Subsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans
Federal Direct Plus Loans
Federal Pell Grants
Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants
Percentage of Title IV Aid Earned – Definitions for term, and modular programs below, in accordance with ED regulations:
Title IV Credit Balance - A Title IV credit balance occurs whenever the amount of Title IV Funds credited to a student’s account for a payment period exceeds the allowable charges associated with the semester (payment period). All Title IV federal student aid credit balances are disbursed directly to the student and refunded to the method selected in the student center. Refunds are generally processed within 3 business days but no later than 14 days of when credit balance occurred.
STANDARD TERM PROGRAMS
Upon the withdrawal, the District Office Student Financial Services (DOSFS) will calculate the percentage and amount of awarded federal student aid funds that the student has earned in the payment period. In some cases and depending upon the withdrawal date and percentage of completion, the student may earn 100 percent of the FSA funds, the calculation will still be completed as required and the amount earned will be based on the percentage of the term or payment period that was completed in days up to and including the last date of attendance or eligible academic activity, with scheduled attendance locked at census / Pell recalculation. To calculate the amount earned, DOFA will determine the percentage by dividing the number of calendar days completed in the term/payment period up to and including the last date of attendance by the total number of calendar days in the term/payment period. The number of days a student is scheduled to attend during a payment period is determined based on the start and end date of the scheduled term / payment period. All scheduled breaks during the term / payment period are excluded from the calculation.
A program that is offered in modules is a program that consists of course(s) in the program that do not span the entire length of the payment period or period of enrollment. Regulatory change effective July 1, 2021: a program is offered in modules if the program uses a standard-term or non-standard term academic calendar, is not a subscription-based program, and a course or courses in the program do not span the entire length of the payment period or period of enrollment. The DOSFS will calculate the percentage and amount of awarded federal student aid that the student earned within the payment period. If the student has completed more than 49 percent of the payment period, or has completed all of the degree requirements from his/her program before completing the days/hours in the period that he/she was scheduled to complete, or if the student completes coursework equal to or greater than the coursework required for the institution’s definition of a half-time student for the payment period, or the school receives written notification that the student will attend a module that begins in the same payment period or period of enrollment, the student is not considered to have withdrawn, and a Return of Title IV Funds (R2T4) is not required and will not be calculated.
When a student withdraws from the payment period before completing 49 percent of the payment period, the amount of federal student aid the student earned is determined based on a specific formula. The number of days a student is scheduled to attend during a payment period is determined based on the start and end date of the scheduled term / payment period, with scheduled attendance locked at census / Pell recalculation. Scheduled breaks are excluded from the calculation. The amount of assistance the student earned is determined on a rate-of-progression basis.
Post-Withdrawal Disbursement - If, as of the date of the institution’s determination that the student withdrew the amount of Title IV aid that the student earned is more than the amount of Title IV aid disbursed to the student or on behalf of the student, the difference between these amounts is considered earned aid, and must therefore be applied to outstanding charges on the student’s account and/or directly disbursed to the student.
Return of Title IV Funds (R2T4) - When a recipient of Title IV aid withdraws from an institution during a payment period or period of enrollment in which the recipient began attendance, the school must calculate the amount of earned and unearned Title IV aid and compare this to the amount of aid disbursed at the date of determination, to determine how to proceed.
If it is determined that the amount of Title IV aid disbursed exceeds the amount of Title IV aid earned, a return of Title IV funds is due, and both the school and the student may have a responsibility for returning the unearned portion of the funds. The school must return the unearned portion of Title IV aid for which the school is responsible for and notify the student of the unearned portion of Title IV aid that the student is responsible for and therefore must return.
If it is determined that the amount of earned Title IV aid exceeds the amount of Title IV aid disbursed, the student may be eligible for the amount of aid not yet disbursed, in the form of a post-withdrawal disbursement. A post-withdrawal disbursement must be made within 180 days of the date the institution determined that the student withdrew. The amount of a post-withdrawal disbursement is determined by following the requirements for calculating earned Title IV aid and has no relationship to incurred educational costs. All Title IV federal student aid credit balances are disbursed directly to the student and refunded to the method selected in the student center. Refunds are generally processed within 3 business days but no later than 14 days of when credit balance occurred.
TITLE IV LOANS
For unearned funds calculated to be returned by the school:
It is policy, as part of the R2T4 process, to provide notification to the student indicating the loan type(s) and amount(s) calculated as needing to be returned and, thus, the date returned by the school. The school must return the lesser of the amount of Title IV funds not earned, or the amount of institutional charges that the student incurred for the payment period multiplied by the percent of funds not earned.
For unearned Title IV funds calculated to be returned by the student:
If there is a remaining balance of unearned Title IV aid which needs to be returned, after the school has returned its portion of unearned Title IV aid, the student (or the parent for plus loan) is responsible for returning this amount. While the student must return or repay any unearned Title IV loan amount in accordance with the terms of the loan, the student must repay any unearned Title IV grant funds as an overpayment of the grant. The student’s portion is calculated by subtracting the amount of unearned Title IV aid that the institution is required to return from the total amount of unearned Title IV aid required to be returned. If it is calculated that unearned loan(s) need to be returned by the student, the center will notify the lender or servicer of the student’s last date of attendance; the student will not need to repay the loan(s) immediately, but will repay the loans based on the terms of the promissory note. The lender or servicer will notify the student or parent, per the terms of the promissory note.
TITLE IV GRANTS
For unearned funds calculated to be returned by the school or student:
It is policy, as part of the R2T4 process, to provide notification to the student indicating the grant type(s) and amount(s) calculated as needing to be returned and, thus, the date returned by the school.
Return of Unearned Aid - If, as of the date of the institution’s determination that the student withdrew the amount of Title IV aid that the student earned is less than the amount of Title IV aid disbursed to the student or on behalf of the student, the difference between these amounts is considered unearned aid, and must therefore be returned to the Title IV program in a specified order, by either the school, the student, or both.
Unofficial Withdrawal (also known as an “administrative” withdrawal) - A student who did not begin the official withdrawal process or provide notification of his or her intent to withdraw; the date of the school’s determination that the student withdrew would be the date that the school becomes aware that the student ceased attendance. See “official withdrawal” definition above.
A student who does not notify the school that s/he is withdrawing but ceases attending, is administratively withdrawn by the school within 14 days of non attendance; this is otherwise known as an unofficial withdrawal. A student is administratively withdrawn from school when the student violates the school’s published attendance policy, which adheres to state licensing and accreditation requirements. Please see the school’s catalog for its current attendance policy.
Withdrawal Date (also known as the “last date of attendance”) - The date that the student begins the school’s withdrawal process or the date that the student provides official notification of intent to withdraw, whichever comes earlier. If the student does not provide any official notification of intent to withdraw, the withdrawal date will be determined by the school, and depend upon the student’s circumstances.
FEDERAL TITLE IV REFUND POLICY
If a recipient of Title IV grant or loan funds withdraws from a school after beginning attendance, the school must perform a Return of Title IV funds (R2T4) calculation to determine the amount of Title IV federal student aid funds earned by the student. If the calculation determines that the amount of Title IV aid disbursed to the student is greater than the amount the student earned, the unearned Title IV funds must be returned to the program. If it is determined that the amount of Title IV aid disbursed to the student is less than the amount the student earned (and for which the student is otherwise eligible for), the student may be eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement for the earned Title IV funds not yet disbursed to the student.
The R2T4 calculation is required if a student receiving Title IV federal student aid ceases attendance or completely withdraws from all courses without completing the semester (payment period).
The school must determine the amount of Title IV aid earned by the student, as of the withdrawal date. Once the earned portion is calculated, the unearned portion is calculated to determine if funds must be returned to the program or a post-withdrawal disbursement is necessary. Federal policy is followed to determine the amount of Title IV aid earned on a case by case basis. The R2T4 calculation is always required when a student fully withdrawals or ceases attendance prior to the scheduled end of the semester, the calculation may determine that the student earned 100% of Title IV funds and will not be required to return funds. A return of Title IV funds worksheet is calculated when a student ceases attendance in all courses within the scheduled semester (payment period), i.e. withdrawal.
WITHDRAWAL PROCEDURE OVERVIEW:
This policy serves as a guideline for the refund of Title IV and tuition procedure with the understanding that it does not cover every possible scenario. As a result, complex areas may arise where certain refund procedures may need to be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
Party(ies) Responsible for Policy Training
MCCCD District Office of Financial Aid Compliance and Operations / Office of General Council. District Director of Financial Aid Operations and Compliance. The policy owner is responsible to determine the method, means and frequency of training on this policy.
Requests for an exception to this policy should be addressed to the policy owner as outlined in the procedure for requesting a policy exception.
Policy Review/Update and Audit
This policy will be reviewed annually. Compliance with this policy is audited on a random basis by Internal Audit.
TECHNICAL CHANGE, May 2, 2023
AMENDED through the Administrative Regulation Process, May 24, 2022
TECHNICAL CHANGE by Legal Counsel, May 6, 2020
AMENDED through DIRECT APPROVAL by the Chancellor, May 5, 2020
AMENDED through the Administrative Regulation approval process, June 5, 2017
AMENDED through the Administrative Regulation approval process, May 29, 2012
AMENDED through the Administrative Regulation approval process, March 13, 2012
TECHNICAL REVISION approved by the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, June 22, 2011
AMENDED through the Administrative Regulation approval process, March 4, 2011
AMENDED through the Administrative Regulation approval process, August 18, 2008
AMENDED through the Administrative Regulation approval process, March 5, 2009