S-5 Student Financial Assistance

 

Additional Information about Financial Aid may be found at my.maricopa.edu 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 https://fafsa.ed.gov/. 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

  1. 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 in my.maricopa.edu. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 in my.maricopa.edu. 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.

  1. Definitions and Terminology Pertaining to this Policy
    1. Summer: Enrollment in the summer semester includes all courses scheduled within the summer enrollment period with all coursework counted in the SAP evaluation.
    2. Non-Standard Session / Clock Hour: Sessions that do not follow the traditional start and end dates for the semester.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Extenuating Circumstance: A one-time (not on-going) circumstance that is beyond the reasonable control of the student.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Failure to meet any of the minimum standards outlined below will result in a student’s loss of HEA, Title IV Federal Student Aid.

Evaluation Period

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
    1. Grade Point Average Qualitative Measurement: Students must maintain a 2.0 cumulative Grade Point Average in order to meet SAP GPA requirements.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
  3. Courses included in SAP evaluation:
    1. All attempted coursework, regardless of enrollment status
    2. Courses funded through a Consortium Agreement
    3. All attempted remedial credits, including English as a Second Language (ESL) courses.
    4. Repeated course work
    5. All transferred coursework
    6. Grades attempted, but not completed (F, I, N, W, Y, Z)
  4. Course work included in the Maximum Time Frame evaluation:
    1. All of those included in the Pace of Progression evaluation
    2. Any Bachelor’s degree (or higher) earned will be considered to have exhausted maximum timeframe eligibility
    3. All coursework forgiven through the Academic Renewal Process
  5. Course work not included in SAP evaluation:
    1. Audited courses
    2. Non-credit courses
    3. Credit by examination
    4. Credit for prior learning option (as outlined in the college general catalog)

Notification

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.

SAP Appeal

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:

  1.  what caused the student’s work to fall below acceptable standards--specific explanations must be provided, including any supporting documentation,
  2. each incomplete/failed course,
  3. how the extenuating circumstance has been resolved, and 
  4. 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:

  1. the nature of the extenuating circumstances (if the stated circumstance qualifies as such),
  2. the quality of the documentation provided, and
  3. 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.

Regaining 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

The law specifies how your school must determine the amount of Title IV program assistance that you earn if you withdraw from school. The Title IV programs that are covered by this law are: Federal Pell Grants, National SMART grants, TEACH Grants, Stafford Loans, PLUS Loans, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOGs), and Federal Perkins Loans.

When you withdraw during your payment period or period of enrollment (you may contact the Financial Aid office to define these for you and tell you which one applies) the amount of Title IV program assistance that you have earned up to that point is determined by a specific formula. If you received (or your school or parent received on your behalf) less assistance than the amount that you earned, you may be able to receive those additional funds. If you received more assistance than you earned, the excess funds must be returned by the school and/or you.

The amount of assistance that you have earned is determined on a pro-rata basis. For example, if you completed 30% of your payment period or period of enrollment, you earn 30% of the assistance you were originally scheduled to receive. Once you have completed more than 60% of the payment period or period of enrollment, you earn all the assistance that you were scheduled to receive for that period.

If you did not receive all of the funds that you earned, you may be due a post-withdrawal disbursement. If your post-withdrawal disbursement includes loan funds, your school must get your permission before it can disburse them. You may choose to decline some or all of the loan funds so that you don’t incur additional debt. Your school may automatically use all or a portion of your post-withdrawal disbursement of grant funds for tuition, fees, and room and board charges (as contracted with the school). The school needs your permission to use the post-withdrawal grant disbursement for all other school charges. If you do not give your permission, you will be offered the funds. However, it may be in your best interest to allow the school to keep the funds to reduce your debt at the school.

There are some Title IV funds that you were scheduled to receive that cannot be disbursed to you once you withdraw because of other eligibility requirements. For example, if you are a first-time, first-year undergraduate student and you have not completed the first 30 days of your program before you withdraw, you will not receive any FFEL or Direct loan funds that you would have received had you remained enrolled past the 30th day.

If you receive (or your school or parent receives on your behalf) excess Title IV program funds that must be returned, your school must return a portion of the excess equal to the lesser of:

  1. your institutional charges multiplied by the unearned percentage of your funds, OR
  2. the entire amount of excess funds. The school must return this amount even if it didn’t keep this amount of your Title IV program funds.

If your school is not required to return all of the excess funds, you must return the remaining amount. Any loan funds that you must return, you (or your parent for a PLUS Loan) repay in accordance with the terms of the promissory note. That is, you make scheduled payments to the holder of the loan over a period of time. Any amount of unearned grant funds that you must return is called an overpayment. The maximum amount of a grant overpayment that you must repay is half of the grant funds you received or were scheduled to receive. You must make arrangements with your school or the Department of Education to return the unearned grant funds.

The requirements for Title IV program funds when you withdraw are separate from any refund policy that your school may have. Therefore, you may still owe funds to the school to cover unpaid institutional charges. Your school may also charge you for any Title IV program funds that the school was required to return. You can view the tuition refund policy and requirements and procedures for withdrawing from school at 2.2 Admissions/Registration/Enrollment

 

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