Financial Aid

Policies

General Policy Notice:

Alma College reserves the right to change its scholarship and aid policies at any time. Written or verbal representations by anyone contradictory to the policies stated here and in the Alma College academic catalog are not binding.

Review Alma College’s student handbook and academic catalog as it is your responsibility to be familiar with situations that may affect your financial aid.

As part of the Alma Commitment for on-time graduation, students may qualify for up to a term of free tuition if, through no fault of their own, they are unable to graduate on time, based on the degree and major they are pursuing. Depending upon the major selected, the college’s commitment to on-time graduation may apply to either a 4-year or a 4.5-year academic program.

The first students eligible under the Alma College Graduation Commitment are those who entered as first-time students in the fall of 2013.

Please review the full Graduation Commitment Policy for details. If you feel you meet the requirements listed in the full policy, complete the Alma Graduation Commitment Application.

Submit completed forms to the Financial Aid Office at: finaid@alma.edu or;

Alma College Financial Aid Office
614 W. Superior St.
Alma, MI 48801

Financial aid is calculated on the total cost of attending Alma College, including the cost of room and board. When room and board are removed from the college’s charge to a student, Alma College financial aid is also reduced. 

APPLICATION OF REDUCTION

  • The Merit award is reduced by the amount determined for the academic year in which you are living off campus.
  • The reduction will take place after an approved off campus housing application is on file with the office of student affairs.
  • Students living off campus will be reduced at the same amount even if they decide to purchase a meal plan.  There are less expensive commuter plans available.  Please see the Campus Dining web page for information about other meal plan options.
  • If the student is originally awarded a full merit award and the Financial Aid Office later learns the student is not living on campus the reduction will be applied at the time our office becomes awareIMPORTANT: This could happen after the original bill was generated and possibly after the billing due date.

EXEMPTION FROM REDUCTION

  • A student who has graduated with a bachelor’s degree but is now seeking a 2nd bachelor’s degree and are receiving an Alma College scholarship or grant for attendance in the program.
  • The term a student is completing student teaching - verified by the Education Department.

REDUCTION AMOUNTS

Living off campus will reduce your financial aid package by a set amount that is determined each academic year. The reduction for the 2018-19 academic year will be $5,499($2,749 for only one fall or winter semester). Federal and State financial aid are not affected. 

Removing your meal plan (board) from your bill will result in a reduction of $2,200 for the 2018-2019 academic year ($1,100 for only one fall or winter semester). Federal and State financial aid are not affected. (student is living on campus)

APPEALING TO HAVE REDUCTION WAIVED

Appeals for the Off-Campus Aid Reduction will be based on the criteria listed below.  Appeals will be heard by a committee if the appeal meets the listed criteria.  All criteria must have the appropriate documentation to be considered.

  • Medical emergencies
  • Misrepresentation or error in applying the policy.

Appeals must be submitted to the Financial Aid Office by August 1st for those attending fall and winter terms.  Those attending only winter term must have them submitted by January 1st.  All decisions on appeals are final.  

APPEAL FORM 2018 - 2019

How Financial Need/Aid is Calculated
Financial need is calculated by subtracting the Expected Family Contribution, taken from the results of your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), from the cost of education.

Independent and Married Students
Independent students, by definition, are expected to be self-supporting. Therefore, they (and their spouses, if married) are expected to contribute to the cost of education through summer savings and earnings during the year.

Students 23 years of age or less applying as independents must submit additional documentation to verify independent status claims.

Disbursement of College Aid and Billing Procedures
With the exception of funds received through campus employment, all aid will be applied directly to the student’s account, split equally between fall and winter semesters. Itemized bills will be available approximately three weeks prior to the beginning of each term. Please refer to the Alma College academic catalog for a detailed explanation of payment of tuition and fees and deferred payment plans.

Other Important Notes:

  • If you are moving off campus, discontinuing your meal plan, or withdrawing from Alma College, it is your responsibility to understand the impact to your financial aid. Be sure to review the withdraw policy.

  • Students receiving a full tuition scholarship, grant or award from Alma College or an outside provider are not eligible to receive standard Alma College merit, competitive, or additional scholarships, grants or awards. These are replaced by the full tuition award being received. This includes but is not limited to the Yellow Ribbon Program, ROTC, and Alma College’s Distinguished Scholar Award (up to full tuition). Non-College financial aid will be adjusted in accordance with the rules and regulations applicable to those programs.
  • All Alma Aid is for a maximum of four years (eight total semesters).
  • Students may be denied Federal Title IV aid due to conviction for possession and/or sale of illegal drugs. More Information.
  • The Tax Reform Act of 1986 requires that scholarships and fellowships exceeding the amount of tuition, fees and books will be subject to tax reporting for degree candidates. Detailed information may be obtained from the IRS.

  • Certain approved internships where coursework is incorporated may allow students to take federal and state financial aid. Federal and/or state aid is available for only one term of overseas/off-campus course work. Further information about overseas and off-campus programs can be found in the Alma College academic catalog.

  • Probation for any reason, academic or disciplinary, shall be considered justifiable cause for the withdrawal of scholarships and/or need-based awards.
(Effective 9/2/2014)

Federal regulations require that students make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) towards the completion of their degree and further for the student to sustain good academic standing. Students who fall behind in their coursework, or fail to achieve minimum standards for grade point average and completion of classes, risk losing their eligibility for federal and state financial aid, and external scholarships/grants/loans.

SAP is assessed both qualitatively (by cumulative grade point average) and quantitatively (by earned credit hours). Progress is assessed at the end of each semester to determine a student’s financial aid eligibility for future enrollment periods. Students not meeting these SAP standards are notified by the Office of Financial Aid (both by mail using their self-reported permanent address and through their Alma College email account) that they have become ineligible for future financial aid eligibility and the process for appeal. 

1.    Qualitative Measure

Maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of (undergraduate students):

Semester 1

Semester 2

Semester 3

Semester 4+

1.4

1.6

1.8

2.0

 

2.    Quantitative Measure

Progress toward degree completion is measured by two components: (1) maximum time frame and (2) completion percentage. Both are necessary components to ensuring that the student is making progress toward degree completion and both standards must be met to be making satisfactory academic progress. Both standards and guidelines are provided below:

a.       Maximum Time Frame

 

Undergraduate Students

 

Full-time and Part-time

 

Students must complete their program within 150% of the program length.

 

Program length = 136 credits x 150% maximum time frame = 204 attempted credits.

 

Students who exceed 204 attempted credits will be deemed not making satisfactory academic progress and will lose their eligibility for financial aid.  Students may appeal this decision.

NOTE:  All college level attempted hours are included in the Maximum Time Frame calculation to determine Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) including: (a) MTH099, ACP100, ENG100; (b) Repeated, incomplete, and transfer credit hours; (c) Withdrawn credit hours; and (d) Credit hours attempted for which the student did not receive financial aid.

b.      Pace

Pace is measured by the following scale:

Pace = Cumulative number of hours (credit hours) that you have successfully completed
               Cumulative number of hours (credit hours) that you have attempted

Maintain minimum percentage of earned credit hours for all attempted credit hours (undergraduate students):

Percentage Rate

67%

Financial Aid Warning

The first time a student does not meet SAP standards they will be placed on Financial Aid Warning for the next semester. This means they are one term away from losing their financial aid eligibility but are still eligible for financial aid for the subsequent semester.  Failure to meet SAP standards in the semester in which the student is on Financial Aid Warning will result in Financial Aid Denied.

Financial Aid Denied

If after a semester on Financial Aid Warning and the student still does not meet SAP standards, they are immediately placed on Financial Aid Denied status. The student will not receive federal or institutional financial aid but may appeal this status by completing the appeal form and submitting necessary documents. SAP Appeal Form.

Financial Aid Probation

If the student has successfully appealed a Financial Aid Denied status, they will be placed on Financial Aid Probation for one term. This means the student can then receive financial aid for the next semester.  If the student does meet the SAP standards at the end of the Probation term, their SAP Status will reset back to meets SAP. If they do not meet the SAP standards at the end of the Probation term, they will be placed back into Denied status.

Academic Plan

Students on Financial Aid Warning and Financial Aid Probation will be expected to obtain a 2.0 grade point average for the following semester and take a minimum of 12 credit hours without withdrawing from any courses by the end of that semester OR if necessary, be placed on an individualized academic plan that ensures SAP is met and that the student gets back on track toward graduation. Failure to meet the academic plan standards and/or SAP standards the student will be placed back into Financial Aid Denied status.

Important Note:  Financial Aid policies are not directly related to policies for academic admission. Reinstatement to the College after academic suspension or dismissal does not ensure that a student’s financial aid will also be reinstated.

This policy is separate from the Registrar’s Academic Progress Policy. See pages 6-7 of the current academic catalog for details.

View our full policy for complete details.

In the event you withdraw officially or unofficially (see Return of Funds Policy for definitions), we will determine the amount of Alma Aid and Federal Aid (Title IV Aid) you have earned up to that point in the term. See the chart below to determine how much your Alma Aid will be reduced:

Withdraw Chart Timeline

 Winter 2019 Withdraw Chart

 

Title IV Aid

The requirements for federal Title IV aid when you withdraw are separate from Alma College’s institutional refund policy. Therefore, you may still owe funds to Alma College to cover unpaid institutional charges. Alma College may also charge you for any Title IV aid that we were required to return. Also view the Return of Funds Policy here.

Alma College’s institutional Student Account Refund Signature Page is available on the Financial Services Office page.

Contact Us

If you are considering withdrawing from Alma College, please contact the Financial Aid Office as soon as possible. Additionally, Rhonda Linn (Assistant Director of the Center for Student Opportunity for Academic Support and Disability Services) can assist you with the process.

Please do not hesitate to contact our office with any questions or concerns.

The Alma College Financial Aid Office encourages all financial aid recipients to read this policy carefully. Any student thinking about withdrawing from all classes in one term should contact our office to determine how withdrawing will affect their financial aid for that term and what the impact will be for future eligibility. Withdrawing can affect students academically as well as financially.

DEFINITION OF R2T4

According to Section 484B of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (as amended) students who withdraw or are withdrawn from all classes in a term may be required to return all or part of their Title IV aid* received for that term. These policies apply only to students who completely terminate their enrollment or stop attending classes before completing more than 60 percent of the enrollment period (term). This policy does not apply to students who withdraw from individual courses, unless all courses are eventually dropped.

  • The return of funds is based upon the concept that students earn their financial aid in proportion to the amount of time in which they are enrolled. 

    • A student who withdraws in the second week of classes has earned less of his/her financial aid than a student who withdraws in the sixth week.
    • Once 60% of the semester is completed a student is considered to have earned all of his/her financial aid and will not be required to return any funds.
  • Title IV aid is awarded to a student under the assumption that he/she will attend school for the entire period for which the assistance is awarded.
  • When a student withdraws from all of his/her courses, for any reason including but not limited to medical withdrawals, he/she may no longer be eligible for the full amount of Title IV funds that he/she were originally scheduled to receive.

 *Title IV Aid Includes:

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal SEOG (Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant)
  • Direct Subsidized Loan
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loan
  • Parent PLUS Loan
  • Federal Perkins Loan
  • TEACH Grant

IMPORTANT NOTE:  The Return of Title IV Funds regulation does not dictate the institutional refund policy. The calculation of Title IV funds earned by the student has NO relationship to the student’s incurred institutional charges. 

(Institutional policy can be found at http://www.alma.edu/live/files/600-2014-15-academic-catalog under “Academic Policies” section, this policy is only applied to institutional grants, scholarships, awards, and charges)

WITHDRAWAL AND RETURN PROCESS

1.  Determining the withdrawal date:

A student’s withdrawal date is used to calculate the amount of financial aid to be returned. The withdrawal date is defined as the earlier of 1) the date the student began the withdrawal process or officially notified the institution of the intent to withdraw or 2) the student’s last date of documented attendance at an academically related activity.

Official Withdrawal - The withdrawal date used in the return calculation of a student’s federal financial aid is the actual date indicated on the withdrawal form. If this date is in question the financial aid office will then reach out to faculty to verify last class activity/attendance. 

Unofficial Withdrawal - If a student stops attending, and fails to officially withdraw from classes, the student is considered to be unofficially withdrawn.

  • To determine unofficial withdrawals we obtain a report from the registrar’s office at term end which identifies students who have no passing grades. We determine the last date of attendance by contacting faculty to see if they can provide the last date of attendance or academic activity for their class. This will be the date used. If a last date of attendance can’t be determined, the school will use the midpoint of the term as the withdrawal date. 

  • If there is no proof of attendance beyond the 60% point of the term, the student is considered unofficially withdrawn and a refund calculation is performed.

Section 484B (c) of the HEA makes it clear that the determination of a student’s withdrawal date is the responsibility of the institution. Therefore, the institution, not the student, must document a student’s attendance at an academically related activity. A student’s certification of attendance that is not supported by documentation by the institution would not be acceptable documentation for the student’s last date of attendance at an academically related activity.” (section 668.22 (c) in the Discussion, Federal Register 34 CFR Part 668, 6682, and 685, Student Assistance General Provisions and FFELP and Direct Loan Program, Final Rule)

2.  Refunds on all institutional charges, including tuition and fees, will be calculated using the refund policy published in the Alma College Catalog and will be calculated and determined by the Student Financial Services Office.

 3.  Title IV aid earned is prorated up to and including the 60% point in the semester.  After that point in time Title IV aid is considered 100% earned.

  • EXCEPTION:  If the course or courses are not for the full length of the semester (ex. 1st 7 weeks class in fall term), see the section regarding Module Courses)

4.  It is Alma College’s responsibility to return to the appropriate Title IV fund(s).  If the student did not earn 100% of their Title IV aid, the returned amount will be billed to their student account.

Please review the full R2T4 policy and understand how a complete withdrawal affects eligibility for Title IV aid.

  1. You have the right to reject or accept any college award. Students should review their award letter and indicate acceptance or rejection of their federal loan awards through their student portal. Students may also contact the Financial Aid Office if they wish to reject any other type of award. Acceptance of grants/scholarships is automatic.
  2. You have the responsibility to report to the Financial Aid Office the type and amount of any aid you have received from any source other than your parents.
  3. Financial Aid awards are based on projected receipt of funds and may be subject to change or adjustment.
  4. Because Alma College is required to follow federal, state and institutional regulations in the awarding of financial aid, any errors made in determining eligibility for the amount of aid will be corrected.

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