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The Student Financial Aid department at Southwest Texas Junior College offers a variety of resources for students to fund their educational needs. The SFA department participates in both state and federal programs, which include grants, scholarships, loans, exemptions and student work programs. The next few pages detail a list of these programs and specific eligibility requirements. Please review them and contact the SFA department at 830-591-7368 if further information is required.

General Information

Student Eligibility

To receive aid from the federal student aid programs students must:

1. Fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
2. Meet all Department of Education eligibility requirements including but not limited to:

  • Have financial need;
  • Have a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) Certificate;
  • Register with the Selective Services, if required;
  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen; and
  • Have a valid Social Security Number.
3. Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a regular student working toward a degree or certificate in an eligible program.
4. Meet the standards of the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy (SAP).

Financial Need

When students apply for federal student aid, the information reported on the FAFSA is used in a formula established by the U.S. Department of Education. The formula determines the students’ Expected Family Contribution (EFC), this is an amount the students and their family are expected to contribute toward the students’ education.  The EFC number is utilized in an equation to determine students’ financial need.  

Cost of Attendance - Expected Family Contribution (EFC) = Financial Need

Dependency Status

When students complete the FAFSA application there are  thirteen questions to help determine if they are independent or dependent students.  If students are considered dependent, they will need to include both the students’ and their parents’ income information.  If students are considered independent, they will need to report only the students’ income information (and those of the students’ spouse, if married).

Students are classified as dependent or independent to assist in calculating the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).  The dependency questions can be found in section 2 of the FAFSA application, please consult the application for further details on each question. 

Students are asked to review the Dependency Override information in the Professional Judgment section of this catalog and talk to a financial aid advisor if they believe they have unusual circumstances that would make them independent.  Financial aid advisors will advise students on how to put together a case for review.



Applying- FAFSA and RENEWAL FAFSA

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) add
The FAFSA is made available each year by the U.S. Department of Education to determine student eligibility for financial aid. The form must be filled out completely and correctly for a student’s eligibility to be calculated correctly. Prior to beginning the application, specific documentation will need to be collected to assist in the application process.  These documents are listed on the application.  Each question on the application is followed with a brief description.  Read the instructions carefully when completing the FAFSA or the Renewal FAFSA.  Most mistakes are made because students do not follow instructions. Pay special attention to any questions on income, because most errors occur in this area.  Once completed, the student should retain a copy of the confirmation page and all documents used to complete the application.

Renewal FAFSA 

Students who applied for federal student aid in the past year should be eligible to file a Renewal FAFSA application. The renewal application may be completed online at www.fafsa.ed.gov.  Once a student logs in, the system will automatically detect if there was a prior application on record.  The online form will allow students to complete an application with prefilled information and require only a few additional questions to be answered. The financial aid application must be completed on a yearly basis. 

Ways To Submit a FAFSA Application to the U.S. Department of Education 

Paper Application

Applications submitted by mail will be processed in approximately four weeks. Students will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) by mail. At that time, the SAR will list the information provided on the application, and any questions that the U.S. Department of Education may have in response to the application. Each school listed on the application may also receive the student’s application information.  If it has been more than four weeks since the application was mailed in and the student has not received a response, they may go by the SWTJC Financial Aid Office to have an advisor check on the status of the student’s application. Students may also check on the status of their application by calling 1-800-433-3243. TTY users may call 1-800-730-8913. You can also check online at: www.fafsa.ed.gov

Online Application at www.fafsa.ed.gov

Financial Aid has personal computers located at each of the campus locations in Uvalde, Eagle Pass, Del Rio, Crystal City, Castroville and Hondo or students may login to their personal computer to apply online at www.fafsa.ed.gov.  If students apply through the WEB, their application will be processed 7 to 14 days faster than if they mailed in a paper FAFSA. The Department of Education will not accept any applications without either a signature page with original signatures from the student and a parent (if required), or a  FSA ID.  An FSA ID is comprised of a username and password and can be used to login to certain Federal Student Aid websites, such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The security of your FSA ID is important.  Your FSA ID can be used to:

  • Electronically sign Federal Student Aid documents;
  • Access your personal records, and
  • Make binding legal obligations.

If you are a parent and need to electronically sign your child’s FAFSA, you need your own FSA ID.  If you have more than one child attending college, you can use the same FSA ID to sign their applications.

If your FSA ID is lost or stolen, you must:

  • Contact Federal Student Aid’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-433-3243;
  • Update your username and password by selecting Edit my FSA ID, or
  • Disable your FSA ID so no one can use it by selecting Edit my FSA ID and selecting Disable my FSA ID.

When Do I Apply?

 FAFSA Applications should be filed sometime after January 1st for 2016/2017.  Students should not apply prior to this date.  It is easier to complete the application when students and parents already have their federal income tax return forms completed, so students and their families are encouraged to file their taxes as early as possible. If applying by mail, completed applications should be sent in the envelope provided as it is already pre-addressed, and using it will ensure that applications reach the correct address.  See dates below for future dates.

 

When a Student is Attending College (School Year)

When a Student Can Submit a FAFSA

Which Year’s Income Information is Required

July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017

January 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017

2015

July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018

October 1, 2016 – June 30, 2018

2015

July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019

October 1, 2017 – June 30, 2019

2016

 

Application Submission Deadlines

Whether applying online or by mail, for the application to be processed, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) application processor must receive the student’s application by June 30, 2017 for the 2016-2017 school year and June 30, 2018 for the 2017-2018 school year. The SWTJC Financial Aid Office must receive the processed application information from the U.S. Department of Education by the last day of enrollment in the school year for which they are applying for awards.

What Happens After I Apply?

As soon as applications have been processed by the U.S. Department of Education and sent to SWTJC, the Financial Aid Office will set up a student account and evaluate the student’s application.  At this point, one of three things may occur.

1. The SWTJC Financial Aid Office will post students’ award online by utilizing the Web Advisor link from the Financial Aid tab at www.swtjc.edu. This occurs when a financial aid application is complete and there are no unresolved eligibility issues, or;

2. Students will be mailed a Missing Information Letter. This occurs when there are issues or questions that need to be resolved before the student’s eligibility may be determined.  Many applications submitted to SWTJC have issues or questions that must be resolved before eligibility can be determined. If through this process it is discovered that data provided on the FAFSA/Renewal FAFSA form was incorrect, a change may have to be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education which may result in a two to three week delay in the processing of awards, or;

3. The U.S. Department of Education determines for one of several possible reasons that students are not eligible for federal student grant aid. This does not mean that students are not eligible for loans, scholarships, state aid, or work study. If students are interested in any of these types of aid, they should inquire with the Financial Aid Office to determine whether or not students are eligible for one of these other sources of aid.

Applications Which are Questioned by the U.S. Department of Education 

The U.S. Department of Education performs several matches of the information that students provide on the FAFSA/Renewal FAFSA form with national databases, including:

  • The Selective Service Administration
  • The Department of Homeland Security
  • The Social Security Administration
  • The Department of Justice
  • The National Student Loan Data System
  • The Veterans Administration

If any of the information that is provided on the application is not consistent with the data that is on these databases, or if these agencies have any information that is relevant to students’ financial aid eligibility, the U.S. Department of Education will alert SWTJC and the issues/questions will have to be resolved before students’ eligibility can be confirmed.

Verification 

Selection of Students for Verification

The U.S. Department of Education randomly selects FAFSA applications for verification. Students who are selected for verification must submit the required documentation to the SWTJC Financial Aid Office as soon as possible.  The estimated processing time for verification documents is 15 days from the date of receipt.  This time frame may decrease or increase according to the amount of workflow in the department.  The student record will remain on hold, until the documentation or issue has been resolved. 

Acceptable Documentation

Below is a list of all acceptable documentation and forms used:

  • Verification Worksheets. These forms are available online, in person or may be mailed to your home address.
  •  Tax Return Transcript from IRS.
  • In cases where a conflict is perceived, the financial aid office may request additional proof of untaxed income and benefits beyond what is shown on tax returns and verification worksheets from the student. For Example:
  1. Untaxed Social Security Benefits – A statement from the Social Security Administration.
  2. Unemployment Benefits - A statement from the agency which provided the benefits.

 

 In addition to the above referenced documentation, signatures are required to verify that the submitted information is authentic on the following documents:

  • Verification Worksheets
  1. Dependent Students - Must be signed by the student and one parent.
  2. Independent Students - Must be signed by the student.
  • Federal Income Tax Return Forms.  Forms must be signed by the tax payer or the tax preparer.
  • Identity Statements

Verification Process

Once all verification documents have been received, the student record will be sent through the verification process.  During this procedure, the student financial aid advisor will review the student record based on the documentation received.  In certain instances, the student file may not match the submitted documentation. If this occurs, the student financial aid advisor will submit a change to the U.S. Department of Education, which is identified as a correction to the FAFSA application.  The correction will take a few days to process.  The change will be mailed to the student as well as SWTJC financial aid department.  If the student wishes, he or she may check with the Financial Aid Office and see how verification affected their EFC. Once verification is complete the student file will be considered for any grants, scholarships, loans and exemptions.  

Conflicting Information

For the purposes of verification, conflicting information is any information that is reviewed during the verification process which does not match the information that the student and parent provided initially. The financial aid advisor who is reviewing the information will make the determination that conflicting information exists. The applicant can reconcile conflicting or inaccurate information with the Financial Aid Office (FAO) by submitting documents showing correct information. For example if conflicting information is related to the calculated adjusted gross income on the income tax return, the FAO will request that the student review all W-2’s to recalculate the adjusted gross income.  If the recalculation warrants a change on the income tax return, the student or parent may need to contact the IRS to resolve this issue.  When such conflicts are identified, the student’s record will remain on hold, and no funds will be approved until the conflict is resolved.

Professional Judgment

Although the process of determining a student’s eligibility for Federal Student Aid is basically the same for all applicants, there is some flexibility. All requests for professional judgment are reviewed by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee. All requests must be documented. Below are three separate sets of circumstances where professional judgment may be exercised.

Dependency Overrides

 Appeals may be made by students to change their status from dependent to independent. Please note, per U.S. Department of Education regulations, none of the conditions listed below, individually or in combination, qualify as unusual circumstances or merit a dependency override:

  1. Parents refuse to contribute to the student’s education,
  2. Parents are unwilling to provide information on the FAFSA application or for verification,
  3. Parents do not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes,
  4. Student is able to demonstrate total self-sufficiency.

Professional Judgment/ Cost of Attendance Appeals

A student’s cost of attendance determines the total amount of most types of aid that a student may receive. In some cases, SWTJC may adjust the student’s cost of attendance to take into account additional costs which are not included in the normal need calculation. These circumstances could include a family’s unusual medical expenses and additional costs related to school attendance for students with disabilities. These requests should be submitted to the Financial Aid Office in writing, with appropriate documentation attached. The Financial Aid Appeals committee will review cost of attendance professional judgment requests. All decisions made by the committee are final.

Professional Judgment/ Income Adjustment

An adjustment to the income amounts reported on the student’s FAFSA application may be made if the student, student’s spouse, or either of the student’s parents (parental information is relevant to dependent students only) have been recently unemployed, or have experienced a significant decrease in income. If conditions such as these apply to a student or a student’s family, they must contact the financial aid office. The Financial Aid Advisor will advise students on how to document their situation and forward the information to the Financial Aid Appeals Committee. The committee will review all professional judgment requests from students. All decisions made by the committee are final.

Frequently Requested Addresses, Telephone Numbers and Websites

Students may visit with a financial aid representative in person or via telephone at any SWTJC campus locations.  The website address for Southwest Texas Junior College iswww.swtjc.edu.  A variety of information is located online in regards to the application process, and direct links to the FAFSA application.  If students need answers right away to questions about Federal Student Aid, they may contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.(Eastern Time), Monday through Friday: 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) 1-800-730-8913 TDD (for hearing impaired) The Federal Student Aid Information Center can:

  • Answer questions about completing the FAFSA.
  • Tell students whether a school participates in the federal student aid programs and that school’s student loan default rate.
  • Explain federal student aid eligibility requirements.
  • Explain the process of determining financial need and awarding aid.
  • Send federal student aid publications to students.
  • Find out if students’ federal student financial aid application has been processed.
  • Send students a copy of their Student Aid Report (SAR).
  • Change students’ address.
  • Send student’s application information to a specific school.

If students have reason to suspect any fraud, waste, or abuse involving federal student aid funds, they may call 1­­-800-MIS-USED (1-800-647-8733), a toll-free number, which is the hotline to the U.S. Department of Education’s Inspector General’s Office.

Federal Pell Grants

What is a Federal Pell Grant?

Federal Pell Grant funds are not required to be repaid like loans. Pell Grants are awarded only to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor’s or professional degree. (A professional degree would include a degree in a field such as pharmacy or dentistry). All Pell Grant awards issued by Southwest Texas Junior College reflect an award for a student that is registered for at least 12 credit hours. The Financial Aid Office adjusts the amount of Pell Grant that the student receives if the number of credit hours is below 12 credit hours.  The Pell Grant will automatically be adjusted through census date.   

How do I qualify?

To determine if students are eligible, the U.S. Department of Education uses a standard formula, to evaluate the information reported when they apply. The formula produces an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) number. Student Aid Report (SAR) contains this number and will tell students if they are eligible. There are many school monitored requirements that can student eligibility for Federal Pell Grant funds, including but not limited to:

  • Student enrollment status, the number of credit hours they are registered for and in which instructors confirm students attend class at least once.
  • Continued student enrollment within a semester, if students withdraw or are withdrawn from school they may be required to repay funds that have already been awarded to them.
  • Student grades, if students do not earn at least one passing grade in a semester they may be required to repay funds that have already been awarded to them.
  • The number of developmental courses students have attempted, SWTJC may only fund 30 credit hours (10 classes) of developmental work over a student’s educational career. If a student is otherwise eligible for Pell Grant funds and attempts their 11th or greater developmental course, that course cannot be counted in the students’ enrollment status which determines the amount of his or her Pell Grant award. These adjustments are made after the census day of each semester before final refunds are released.

Attendance

The U.S. Department of Education requires schools be able to document that students are actually in attendance to finalize their Federal Pell Grant eligibility. “If a student doesn’t begin attendance in all of his or her classes, the school must recalculate the student’s award based on the lower enrollment status. A student is considered to have begun attendance in all of his or her classes if the student attends at least one day of class for each course in which that student’s enrollment status was determined for Federal Pell Grant eligibility.” Southwest Texas Junior College documents attendance for Federal Pell Grant purposes by way of collecting rosters from all instructors after census date. The instructors use the rosters to indicate whether a student has attended or not. Students must attend each class that they are enrolled in at least once between the first day of school and the census day of each term to be counted as being in attendance in that class for Federal Pell Grant eligibility purposes. In cases where students do not attend class at least once, Federal Pell Grant eligibility will be adjusted based on the enrollment status for the number of credits that they are actually attending. If this adjustment results in a student not having sufficient grant funds to pay for any charges or advances that they have incurred or received, that student will be responsible to pay Southwest Texas Junior College for the difference between their adjusted eligibility and the original amount of the cost of their tuition and fees as well as any advances that the student received.

How will I be paid?

SWTJC will credit Pell Grant funds to the student’s school account to pay for tuition, fees and other school related costs which appear on the student’s account (institutional charges). If there are any funds remaining, the student may use these funds at the Southwest Texas Junior College Bookstore to purchase books and supplies.  Any excess funds may be disbursed, after completing eligibility verification.  During this time the Financial Aid Office will confirm students’ attendance and enrollment status.  For more information in regards to the methods of receiving financial aid refunds, please review the Refund Policy under the Finance section of the Southwest Texas Junior College Catalog. 

Can I receive a Federal Pell Grant if I am enrolled less than half-time?

Yes, if students are otherwise eligible. Students will not receive as much as if they were enrolled full time, but SWTJC will disburse student Pell Grant funds in accordance with the student’s enrollment status.

Direct Loan Program 

Southwest Texas Junior College began participation in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program July 1, 2010.  Students and parents who previously received loans through the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program now borrow through the Direct Loan Program.  The Direct Loan Program offers the same types of loans as the FFEL Program and Direct Loans generally have the same terms and conditions as FFEL Program loans, but instead of a bank lending the money, the U.S. Department of Education (the Department) lends the money directly to students and parents through the student’s school.  There are also some differences in the names of the loans.  The FFEL Program’s Federal Stafford Loans (Subsidized and unsubsidized) are called Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans in the Direct Loan Program.  Federal PLUS Loans are called Direct PLUS Loans.

For additional information about Direct Loans, visit www.direct.ed.gov/student.html or contact the Student Financial Aid Office at (830) 591-7368.

Financial Aid Literacy 

SWTJC Financial Aid Department makes a Loan Literacy Workshop available to students interested in pursuing a student loan to help fund their education.  The workshop provides them with an overview of student loans and the student loan process so they can make an informed decision on loans and loan amounts.

Direct Subsidized Loan

Federal Direct Subsidized Loans are available to students who meet certain financial-need criteria and are enrolled in at least 6 semester hours.  If you qualify for this type of loan, the federal government will pay the interest on the loan while you are in school, during a six-month grace period after you leave school or fall below half-time enrollment, and during period when you are authorized to defer your loan payments.

Direct Unsubsidized Loan 

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to students enrolled in at least 6 semester hours, regardless of their financial need.  You are responsible for the interest that accumulates on an unsubsidized loan while you attend school, during the grace period and during any periods when you are authorized to defer your loan payments.  You have the option to pay the interest during these periods or postpone payment.  If you postpone payment, the interest will be added to your principle balance.  This addition of interest to your principle balance is known as capitalization.

Direct Loan Annual Loan Limits

Federal law specifies annual loan limits on Direct Loans based on your year in college and your dependency status.

If you are a dependent undergraduate student, you can borrow up to the following amounts each year for loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2008:

  • $5,500 if you are a first-year student enrolled in a program of study that is at least a full academic year (up to $3,500 may be borrowed in subsidized loans).
  • $6,500 if you are a second-year student enrolled in a program of study that is at least a full academic year (up to $4,500 may be borrowed in subsidized loans).

If you are an independent undergraduate student or a dependent student whose parents are unable to obtain a Federal PLUS loan, you may be able to borrow up to the following amounts each year:

  • $9,500 if you are a first-year student enrolled in a program of study that is at least a full academic year (up to $3,500 may be borrowed in subsidized loans).
  • $10,500 if you are a second-year student enrolled in a program of study that is at least a full academic year (up to $4,500 may be borrowed in subsidized loans).

Direct Parent Loans (PLUS)

PLUS loans are available to credit-worthy parents of undergraduate students enrolled in at least 6 core semester hours.  PLUS loans are available without regard to financial need.  PLUS interest is fixed at 6.31% and parents may borrow the cost of education minus any aid the child is receiving in their own name.

Campus-Based Programs

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants

What is a Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant?

A Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) is for undergraduates with exceptional financial need - that is, students with the lowest Expected Family Contribution (EFC) - and gives priority to students who receive Federal Pell Grants. FSEOG grant funds do not have to be repaid.

What is the difference between the FSEOG and Federal Pell Grant?

The U.S. Department of Education guarantees that each participating school will receive enough money to pay the Federal Pell Grants of its eligible students. There is no guarantee every eligible student will be able to receive a FSEOG; students at SWTJC are paid based on the availability of funds, first applied, first complete basis.  If a student does not accept or enroll in classes, the SEOG award may be reallocated to other eligible recipients. 

How much money can I get?

The common SEOG award for SWTJC is usually set at $800.00 per semester.  A student must enroll in a minimum of 6 credit hours to qualify for an SEOG award.  Awards issued through the SEOG program are automatically adjusted according to enrollment status.  Awards are prorated.

How will I be paid?

SWTJC will credit the SEOG Grant funds to the student’s school account to pay for tuition, fees and other school related costs which appear on the student’s account (institutional charges). Please reference the “How will I be paid?” section in the Pell Grant section for more information about the timing and method of payments.

Federal Work-Study

What is Federal Work-Study?

The Federal Work-Study Program provides jobs for students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. The program encourages community service work and work related to their course of study.  Students interested in working on or off campus should contact the Financial Aid Office at 830-591-7368 or reference our website atwww.swtjc.edu.

How much will I make?

Student Federal Work-Study salary will be at least the current federal minimum wage, but it may be higher, depending on the type of work performed and the skills required. A student’s total Federal Work-Study award depends on when they applied, and their level of need.

How will I be paid?

Undergraduate students will be paid by the hour. No commission or fee may be paid to a work-study student.  Students employed through the federal work-study program will be paid directly once a month.  

Are Federal Work-Study jobs on campus or off campus?

Students may be assigned to work at any of the SWTJC campus locations.

Can I work as many hours as I want?

No. The amount students earn cannot exceed their total Federal Work-Study award. When assigning work hours, the financial aid office will closely monitor funds availability, eligibility requirements, class schedule and students’ academic progress.

State Aid Programs

Texas Educational Opportunity Grant Program TEOG (formerly TEXAS Grant II)***

The purpose of the TEOG Grant Program is to provide grant aid to financially needy students enrolled in Texas public two-year colleges. The continuation of the TEOG Grant Program is subject to the approval of the Texas state legislature, and funding levels are determined yearly.

Who can apply?

 Individuals who:

  • Are Texas residents;
  • Complete and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • Show financial need;
  • If applying for a first-time award, have a family contribution of no more than $2,000;
  • If male register for Selective Service;
  • Are enrolled at least 1/2 time (6 semester credit hours), in the first 30 hours in an associate's degree or certificate program at a public two-year college in Texas;
  • Have not been granted an associate's or bachelor's degree;
  • Have not been convicted of a felony or a crime involving a controlled substance.* An individual convicted of a crime involving a controlled substance can compete for an award in this program two years after he/she has fulfilled his/her obligation to society.

*** Program funds are subject to change and are based on state funding.

Texas Public Educational Grant (TPEG)

  • For residents, nonresidents or foreign students.
  • For undergraduates or graduates.
  • For students attending public colleges in Texas.
  • Maximum award based on individual student financial need.
  • Students are awarded based on the availability of funds.

State Aid for Foreign Students

Texas Education Code 54.07 and 54.052(j) Students who qualify as residents under Texas Education Code 54.07 and 54.052(j) may be eligible to receive Texas State Aid. For details on the requirements, please consult the Resident Status for Students sections of this catalog. Students who feel that they should be considered residents under this policy should begin the process at the SWTJC Office of Admissions and Records.

Non-Resident Texas Public Education Grant Funds

There is a very limited amount of the Non- Resident Texas Public Education Grant (TPEG) funds, which are generated from the funds that non-resident students pay for tuition at SWTJC. These funds are set aside every year to make Non-Resident TPEG awards to non-resident students. These funds are awarded each semester based on the information that applicants provide on the Non-Resident TPEG request forms. The forms contain detailed information on how to apply, including application deadlines. The forms can be requested at the Student Financial Aid Office.

Texas College Work-Study Program***

  • For students attending public or non-profit independent colleges in Texas.
  • For Texas residents.
  • For undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at least half time.
  • The number of hours of part-time work is based on the student’s financial need.
  • Maximum award is based on a student’s need.

***Program funds are subject to change and are based on state funding.

 

TUITION AND/OR FEE EXEMPTIONS***

 

        Exemptions are a type of financial assistance allowing some Texas residents to attend a public college or university in Texas without paying tuition, or in some cases, tuition and fees.

 

        Please refer to www.collegeforalltexans.com for a complete list of exemption programs available to Texas residents http://www.collegeforalltexans.com/apps/financialaid/tofa.cfm?Kind=E

 

***Program funds are subject to change and are based on state funding.

Other Assistance Programs

Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS)

The Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) offers payment of tuition and other services to students who have certain physical handicaps. The Vocational Rehabilitation Division must approve the vocational objectives selected by the student before funds are awarded. Interested applicants should contact the nearest office of the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services.

Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

Federal regulations mandate that a student receiving Financial Assistance under Title IV programs must maintain satisfactory academic progress in his/her course of study regardless of whether or not financial aid is awarded each semester. Southwest Texas Junior College’s Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy is applied consistently to all Financial Aid recipients within identifiable categories of students (such as full-time or part-time).

Students pursuing a Certificate or an Associate degree are responsible for understanding and adhering to the financial aid satisfactory academic progress policy.

Mandated by Federal and State Regulations, Satisfactory Academic Progress is measured with the following standards:

  • Qualitative (Cumulative Grade Point Average),
  • Quantitative (Maximum Time Frame for completion)
  • Quantitative Percentage (Attempted hrs/ Earned hrs measured by semester)

Qualitative Standard

Students will be expected to maintain the minimum academic standards as outlined in the Academic Progress Standards Section of the Southwest Texas Junior College Catalog.  SWTJC uses a 4-point scale for grade point average (GPA). Students are required to have a 2.0 cumulative grade point average after each semester.

Quantitative Standard

The quantitative standard is used to accurately measure a student’s progress in a program. There are two components of the quantitative standard:

  1. 67% Completion Rate: Students must complete 67% of the overall course load that they register for each semester. The chart below shows credit hour totals and the number of credits that must be completed to meet this requirement.  Developmental remedial course work will be counted in the 67 percent calculation after each semester.

Maximum Time Frame

Students receiving financial aid funds will be expected to complete their SWTJC educational course of study within a reasonable time frame.  The maximum time frame is 150% of the published length of the academic program or certificate (to include all transfer credit hours).  Please note that whether attempted hours were earned or not has no bearing on the MTF portion of the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.

Note:  Any developmental course work beyond 30 credit hours attempted will be counted in Maximum Time Frame calculations.

Example:  SWTJC Associate’s Degree = 62 Hours X 150% = 93 hours.  93 hours is the maximum that can be attempted for this program and receive financial aid.

Transfer Students 

Transfer students entering SWTJC must be enrolled in a program of study which leads to a degree or certificate at SWTJC.  All previous grade transcripts must be submitted to the SWTJC Office of Admissions and evaluated before financial aid may be awarded.  All transfer credits evaluated will be counted towards the maximum timeframe (150% of published program) at Southwest Texas Junior College.

How are my grades evaluated under the Standards of Academic Progress?

  • The students cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) must be a 2.0 or higher to satisfy the requirements of the Qualitative Standards of the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress.
  • Grades of A, B, C, D, and P earned are considered attempted and earned credit hours.
  • Grades of F, W, Q, I, EW, NR, CIP, or Z will not be considered as credit hours earned for the 67 percent rule and Maximum Time Frame rule, but will be considered as hours attempted for the semester.
  • Students who withdraw from the college must still maintain satisfactory academic progress regarding the 67 percent rule and Maximum Time Frame rule.

Appeal Process

Students who do not meet the standards of Southwest Texas Junior College financial aid satisfactory academic progress policy because of unusual circumstances (illness, death in the family, accidents, etc.) have the right to appeal.  During the appeal process the student must be prepared to pay his/her own expenses, such as tuition, fees, books, supplies, etc.  Please follow the procedure below to appeal a financial aid suspension. 

  • A Financial Aid Appeal form must be obtained and submitted to any SWTJC campus locations.
  • Documentation supporting the extenuating circumstances must be provided to the committee with the appeal form for the committee to review.
  • Appeals will either be approved or disapproved by the Financial Aid Committee.  All decisions made by the committee will be considered final. The committee meets at least once a month and reviews all appeals in the order of the date that they are received. 
  • It is the student’s responsibility to follow up with the Financial Aid Office two weeks after submitting a complete appeal form with all of the required documentation to determine the status of the appeal.

Additional Information

Complete withdrawals and the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

A complete withdrawal from any program of study will have a negative impact on a student’s financial aid academic progress.  If a student withdraws from school during the semester, his or her grades for the semester will be all W’s.  These grades are not passing; therefore the student did not meet the 67% completion rate requirement and will be placed either on financial aid probation or suspension. 

Notification of status under the FAO Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

Students placed on FA Probation or FA Suspension will be notified via the SWTJC portal of their status after grades are submitted by instructors.   

The Effect of Dropping a Course

Students who reduce their course load by dropping a course after the semester has begun risk non-compliance under the 67 percent completion rate requirements.

Transfer Hours and Maximum Time Frame

Transfer hours which have an SWTJC equivalent are counted in the Maximum Time Frame calculation. 

The Effect of Financial Aid Suspension on Financial Aid Awards

Title IV Aid consists of grants and work study; therefore, all grants and work study awards will be canceled if the student is on Financial Aid Suspension.

Consortium Agreements and the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

When Southwest Texas Junior College has a consortium agreement with a participating institution, the student must meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy of the institution that is awarding aid.

Federal Return of Title IV Funds Policy

Withdrawals

When a student who is a Title IV recipient withdraws, there are two policies related to finance that the student should be familiar with. The first is SWTJC’s Tuition Refund Policy, which is located in the Finances section of this catalog. The second policy is the U.S. Department of Education’s Return of Title IV Funds policy, which is described below.  These two processes are managed by different offices and have different requirements and deadlines and can be a little confusing. If you have questions after reviewing the Financial Information section of this catalog and the Return of Title IV Funds information please contact the office that is responsible for administering the process that you have questions about. The Financial Aid Office may be reached at 830-591-7368, and the Business’s Office may be reached at 830-591-7365.

Policy Summary

There are four types of Title IV funds that are affected by the return of Title IV funds policy at SWTJC.  They are the Federal Pell Grant, Federal SEOG Grant, and the Federal Loan Program.  The Higher Education Amendments of 1998, Public Law 105-244 (the Amendments of 1998) substantially changed the way funds paid toward a student’s education are handled when a recipient of Title IV funds withdraws from school.  If a Title IV recipient withdraws from school after beginning attendance, the amount of aid earned by the student must be determined. If the amount disbursed to the student is greater than the amount the student earned, unearned funds must be returned. If the amount disbursed to the student is less than the amount the student earned, and for which the student is otherwise eligible, he or she is eligible to receive a post withdrawal disbursement of the earned aid that was not received.

When a student stops attending or quits attending courses

As per the Department of Education, students who do not earn at least one passing grade per semester are considered to have withdrawn from school.  At Southwest Texas Junior College, if an instructors reports a student as not attending, stopped attending, irregular attendance or quit attending, student may fall into one of these categories of not completing courses. 

For Example: if a student attempts three courses, withdraws from one course with a “W” and earns “Q’s” for the other two courses, the SFA office would determine that this student did not complete their courses.  The SFA office would be required to recalculate their eligibility and remove some of the financial aid funds that were disbursed on their student account.  In most cases, students will end up owing both Southwest Texas Junior College and the U.S. Department of Education hundreds of dollars.

For students in this situation, the only relief available is related to the date when they stopped coming to school.  If the student participated in a verifiable, academically-related activity past the 60 percent point of the semester (check with the Financial Aid Office for dates) and proof of this can be collected, then the Financial Aid Office does not have to perform the calculation.  The Department of Education has defined acceptable academically-related activities as class attendance, examinations or quizzes, tutorials, computer-assisted instruction, academic advising or counseling, academic conferences, completing an academic assignment, paper, or project, or attending a school-assigned study group.  Students may not provide documentation of these activities, it must come from either an instructor or in the case of academic advising, the Admissions Office.

Process for students who withdraw themselves

For students who go through the process of officially withdrawing themselves from school, a simple calculation is used to determine the amount of Title IV funds a student has earned as of the date he or she withdraws. The percentage of the period completed is determined by dividing the number of calendar days completed in the semester as of the day the student withdrew, by the total number of calendar days in the semester. The total number of calendar days in a semester includes all days within the term, except for institutionally scheduled breaks of five or more consecutive days. The day the student withdrew is counted as a completed day. This percentage is multiplied by the amount of Title IV Federal Student Aid that was disbursed to the student for the semester. The result is the amount of aid that the student earned. Once the student reaches the 60 percent point in a semester, they have earned 100 percent of their Federal aid and no adjustment is required.

The process for students who are withdrawn or dropped by SWTJC

The Return of Title IV funds process is different for students who do not follow the process to officially withdraw and are withdrawn or dropped by the school.  The following scenarios will warrant an enforced withdrawal and in most cases require a return of funds:

If a student does not attend class within the first three weeks of class, instructors will report this attendance and the admissions office will automatically withdraw the student.

If the student stops attending classes within the eight week of class, instructors will report this attendance and the admissions office may withdraw the student from classes.

The withdrawal date for students who have withdrawn after beginning attendance is the date that the student was withdrawn up to the 60 percent point of the semester. The percentage of aid earned by the student is determined by the withdrawal date up to the 60 percent point of the semester.  If the student is withdrawn on or after the 60 percent point of the semester, the percentage used to calculate the amount of aid that the student has earned will always be 60 percent.

Return of Title IV Funds calculation resulting in money owed to Southwest Texas Junior College

If students withdraw or are enforced withdrawn from all of their classes after the 12th class day of a regular semester, SWTJC will not adjust the cost of tuition and fee.  When a return of Title IV funds calculation is performed and aid that was used by the student to pay for tuition, fees, or other institutional charges is returned, the student is responsible to repay those funds to SWTJC.  If the student does not pay SWTJC within 45 days, SWTJC will turn the student's account over to an outside collection agency.  Students may call Collections Unlimited directly at 1-800-723-2331, or email them at collections.unlimited@pdq.net .  The debt must be repaid before the student will be allowed to register for a future semester.

Return of Title IV Funds calculation resulting in money owed to the U.S. Department of Education

Students who receive Title IV funds in excess of the costs of tuition and fees, accept the excess funds, and then withdraw or are withdrawn, may be responsible to repay some of those funds. This is a debt that is separate from any amount that a student may owe SWTJC as a result of their withdrawal from the semester. When a student owes money to the Department of Education, he or she has 45 days from the date SWTJC notifies them of the debt to pay the Department of Education.  Students who want to repay the Department of Education through SWTJC should contact the Student Financial Aid Office.  If the student does not pay SWTJC within 45 days, SWTJC will turn the student's account over to the Department of Education for collections.  Students who have been turned over for collections may call ED Collections at 1-800-621- 3115, email them at dcshelp@pearson.com, or write them at U.S. Department of Education Student Financial Assistance Programs P.O. Box 4222 Iowa City, IA 52245.