Student Financial Services           

How to Apply for Financial Aid

In order to receive financial aid, a graduate student must be matriculated and registered for at least 6 credits per semester. S/he must complete the Federal Application for Financial Aid Form (FAFSA) online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. If your Student Aid Report is selected for verification, you must also complete a verification Worksheet and Tax Return Transcript. WCSU graduate students are eligible to apply for the Connecticut State University Grant Program, the Federal Family Educational Loan Program and the Federal Workstudy Program. Please contact the Office of Student Financial Services concerning application deadlines for these programs. 

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Students receiving financial assistance under the federally supported *Title IV Programs/Veteran’s Benefits must comply with the following set of standards to be eligible for such assistance. Academic Progress is measured on an academic-year basis. Measurement is conducted at the close of the spring semester. An academic year extends from the beginning of the fall semester to the end of the spring semester.

A.  Quality of academic performance:

Students must be matriculated and must maintain that quality of academic performance required to remain a matriculated graduate student at the university. A student is subject to dismissal from the graduate program at Western if his/her cumulative GPA is:

  • Less than 3.0 with up to 18 completed semester hours

            or

  • Less than 3.0 with 24 completed semester hours if in the MBA program

Students who are on academic probation, unless otherwise ineligible, will be eligible to receive financial aid if they meet the “speed of completion” standard of the Academic Progress Policy outlined below.

B.  Speed of completion of the graduate degree:

  1. For full-time graduate students: Satisfactory Academic Progress is defined as the successful completion of a minimum of 18 credit hours of academic work per academic year and 9 credit hours of academic work for those enrolling in one semester. Failed courses, audited courses, withdrawals, incompletes, repetitions and courses transferred from another institution prior to attendance at Western will not be counted toward the number of required credits.

    Full-time graduate students may not receive financial assistance for more than four semesters of full-time attendance or until the student is certified for program completion by the university, whichever comes first. Matriculated M.B.A. students may not receive financial assistance for  more than six semesters of full-time attendance or until the student is certified for program completion, whichever comes first.   

  2. For part-time graduate students:Satisfactory Academic Progress is defined as the successful completion of the number of credits with which the student begins a semester. Failed courses, audited courses, withdrawals, incompletes, repetitions, and courses transferred from another institution prior to attendance at Western will not be counted toward the number of required credits.

    Part-time graduate students will not be eligible for assistance for more than eight semesters of part-time attendance or until the student is certified for graduation by the university, whichever comes first.

    Matriculated M.B.A. students may not receive financial assistance for  more than 12 semesters of part-time attendance or until the student is certified for program completion, whichever comes first.

C. Alternatives for Completion of Academic Progress

  1. Graduate students who do not attain the above levels of Satisfactory Academic Progress may complete the needed hours in winter Intersession and Summer Sessions. The student needs to submit in writing to the Financial Aid Office that they have completed their credits.
  2. Upon presentation of evidence of medical emergencies, graduate students who have been denied financial assistance under this policy may appeal to the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeals Committee.

* Title IV Programs are:          

Federal College Work Study Program
Federal Family Educational Loan Program

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Sections:

What is SAP?

How is SAP Determined?

  • Qualitative
  • Quantitative
  • Maximum Timeframe

When is SAP Calculated?

IF calculations determine the student is not meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress…

…THEN the student may opt to undergo the Appeal Process

Appeal Outcomes and Academic Plan

Regaining Eligibility

Financial Aid Programs Affected by Satisfactory Academic Progress

What is Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)?

Students receiving financial assistance under the federally supported Title IV Programs must comply with the following set of standards to be eligible for such assistance.  Such standards are referred to as Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), and are measured on a per-term basis. SAP is an assessment of your cumulative academic record at Western Connecticut State University. This policy is separate and apart from other academic policies at the university.

There are three components measured and weighed in determining SAP to ensure successful completion of a degree within a timeframe consistent with federal regulations. 

Students applying for financial aid must maintain status as a matriculated graduate or undergraduate.  Matriculated students will be evaluated for Satisfactory Academic Progress based upon qualitative and quantitative standards, as well as a Maximum Timeframe standard.

Students who enroll in the Fresh Start program will only have the credits retained and new GPA as calculated by Fresh Start, included in the determination of their SAP status for the re-entry term.

Financial Aid Programs Affected by Satisfactory Academic Progress

SAP is required for all Title IV funds, state, university, and some alternative loan programs including, but not exclusive to the following:

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
  • Federal College Work-Study
  • Federal Perkins Loan Program
  • Federal Direct Loan Program
    • Subsidized Student Loans
    • Unsubsidized Student Loans
    • Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)
    • Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan
    • Alternative/Private Loan Programs

-Contact individual lenders to find effects of SAP on borrowing

  • CT Governor’s Scholarship
  • CT GEAR UP Scholarship/ Gear Up II Scholarship
  • Connecticut State University Grant
  • State scholarship and grant programs

 How is SAP Determined?

Qualitative Measure

Grade Point Average (GPA) is the standard used to qualitatively measure Satisfactory Academic Progress.  Students must meet and maintain the cumulative GPAs listed below:

Credits Earned

Minimum Cumulative GPA Required

Undergraduate: 0-29 credits

1.7

Undergraduate: 30+ credits

2.0

Graduate

3.0

Quantitative Measure

Pace:  Matriculated undergraduate and graduate students must successfully complete two thirds (67%) of all cumulative credits attempted.  For a summary of how attempted credits are classified for SAP purposes, see the table below:

Counted as attempted Credits

Not counted as attempted Credits

Courses with grades A-F earned

Remedial Courses

Withdrawals- W, WF, WFP

Audited Courses

Repeated Courses

Courses never attended

Incompletes- INC, NG

Dropped Courses

Transferred Credits

Non-transferred credits

Pass/Fail Courses- P, FP

Exams (i.e. CLEP)

Courses taken as a non-matriculated student

 

Fresh Start Courses with grades > C-

 

Courses assigned RM/RP

 

No Grade (NG)

 

 

For clarification on abbreviations, view WCSU’s  grading system.

Below is an example demonstrating how Pace is calculated for SAP purposes:

Previous Transfer Credits

Attempted Fall 2013

Attempted Spring 2014

Total

30

12

15

57

The student has attempted a total of 57 credits across both semesters, and including transfer credits.  In order to find out how many credits the student must have completed in order to meet the Pace standard, multiply:

The student must complete and pass 38.19 credits to be in compliance with the Pace requirement of SAP.

Maximum Timeframe 

Undergraduate and graduate students may receive financial aid for attempted credits in their program of study that do not exceed 150% of the published credits needed to complete said program.

  • Example:  if a Bachelor’s degree takes a minimum of 120 credits to complete, multiply as follows to find 150%:

Therefore, a student in a Bachelor’s degree program may attempt up to 180 credits before s/he is considered noncompliant with the Maximum Timeframe standard.

This 150% credit rule is also applicable to students who have changed majors, or who seek a dual or second degree.

When is SAP calculated?

All financial aid recipients will be reviewed for Satisfactory Academic Progress at the end of each payment period, and once grades are posted.  Courses taken during the Winter and Spring Break intersessions will be included in the SAP calculations at the end of the Spring semester payment period. 

The Student Financial Services Office will review each file in accordance with the qualitative, quantitative, and Maximum Timeframe measures described.

If all SAP standards are met, the student will be assigned a status of “SAPOK”, and will retain financial aid eligibility for the next term.

IF calculations determine the student is not meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress…

If a student fails to meet one or more of the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards, an SAP Warning notification corresponding to the unmet standard(s) will be sent to the student via WestConn email.  At any time, students may also check their SAP status on their Westconnduit account

When a SAP Warning is administered, the student will still be eligible to receive financial aid for the immediate following term, known as the SAP Warning term.  If, at the end of the SAP Warning term the student is meeting the previously unmet standard(s), then the SAP Warning status is lifted, and the student will maintain financial aid eligibility for the following term.

Students who fail to meet the SAP standard during the SAP Warning term will be ineligible for financial aid in the subsequent term or until such time as they again meet the requirements of SAP.

It is possible for a student to be placed on multiple consecutive SAP Warning terms if the SAP Warnings are issued for failing to meet two different standards.

  • Example: A student does not meet the Pace requirement for Fall semester, and is given a Pace Warning for Spring semester.  At the end of Spring semester she is meeting the Pace requirement, but is not meeting the GPA requirement. The student will then receive a GPA Warning for the following Fall semester, and will still be eligible for financial aid.

Students who do not meet the Speed/Maximum Timeframe standard of SAP will not be granted a Warning term.  These students will automatically lose financial aid eligibility, but may file an appeal to have their aid reinstated.

Regaining Eligibility

Apart from successfully appealing, or enrolling in an academic plan, students who are disqualified due to low GPA or low credit hour completion will regain financial eligibility once they achieve the required GPA or credit completion as long as they have not completed more than 150% of their program requirements.  Undergraduate students who are disqualified due to exceeding the 150% of the required units for their program will regain eligibility after they become a Master’s or Doctoral student after their Bachelor’s degree is posted.

…THEN the student may opt to undergo the Appeal Process

If, after one SAP Warning term, the student does not meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress criteria, s/he may submit an appeal for reinstatement of financial aid eligibility.  Appeals may be based on death of a relative, injury or illness of the student, or other special circumstances.  SAP appeals must be written using the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal form, and submitted with supporting documentation and a written explanation of what has changed that will allow the student to complete SAP during the next academic term.  This form should be submitted to the SAP Appeal Committee, C/O Undergraduate Admissions Office, Old Main 201.

If the appeal is approved by the committee, the student’s aid eligibility will be reinstated.  Should an appeal be denied, financial aid will be cancelled for the next term.

Appeal Outcomes and Academic Plan

If a student appeals successfully, financial aid eligibility will be reinstated for the following term.  By the end of term, the student must be meeting the previously unmet SAP standard in order for financial aid to continue to be reinstated for future terms. Students who fail to meet the standard will be ineligible for financial aid in the subsequent term or until such time as they again meet the requirements of SAP.

Some appeal approvals may be based upon a student’s enrollment/completion of an Academic Plan as developed by the SAP Appeal Committee.  The Academic Plan will outline specific academic conditions that must be met in order to maintain financial aid eligibility.

What is a Return of Title IV Funds (R2T4)?

Federal regulations require Title IV financial aid funds to be awarded under the assumption that a student will attend the institution for the entire period in which federal assistance was awarded. When a student withdraws from all courses for any reason, including medical withdrawals, he/she may no longer be eligible for the full amount of Title IV funds that he/she was originally scheduled to receive. The return of funds is based upon the premise that students earn their financial aid in proportion to the amount of time in which they are enrolled. A pro-rated schedule is used to determine the amount of federal student aid funds he/she will have earned at the time of the withdrawal. Thus, 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 seventh 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.

When is a Return of Title IV Funds required?

If a student’s enrollment status changes for an entire term; (i.e. official withdrawals and administrative withdrawals), the school must recalculate the student’s awards to determine the amount of aid he/she will have earned based on the date of withdrawal.

If a student does not begin attendance in all of his/her classes, the school must recalculate the student’s awards based on the lower enrollment status.  For instance, a student registers for a full-time course load (15 credits) but only begins attendance in three classes (9 credits); in this case the student’s awards must be recalculated based on the lower enrollment status (9 credits).

Timeline for a Return of Title IV Funds

Student Financial Services must determine the amount of aid that was earned and how much was unearned; the unearned aid is returned to the U.S. Department of Education by WCSU on your behalf.  WCSU is required to recalculate Title IV Funds within 30 days from the date of withdrawal.  In the event that funds need to be returned, WCSU is required to return funds within 45 days from the date of withdrawal.

The amount of unearned aid will be returned to the U.S. Department of Education.  Due to the fact that the institutional refund policy is different than the Financial Aid Return of Title IV Funds policy, any return of funds may result in a balance due to WCSU.  This is posted as a charge to your WCSU student account and must be repaid immediately.

Post-Withdrawal Disbursement

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

When is a Return of Title IV Funds Not Required?

If you withdraw from one or more courses during a semester but remain enrolled in classes, a Return of Title IV Funds is not required.  Withdrawing from one or more courses can however affect your Satisfactory Academic Progress and in turn your financial aid eligibility for future semesters.  Please see our Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.

Graduate Assistantships

Several graduate assistantships are available to matriculated graduate students. Application forms can be secured in the Office of the Division of Graduate Studies, Old Main 206.

Student Employment

Student employment is an integral part of university life for many students. Student labor benefits the university in almost every academic and administrative department on campus. Student employment may be related to a student’s major and/or interests and work schedules can be designed around a student’s academic schedule.      

Western employs approximately 800 students during the academic year. The types of jobs available are as diverse as the students themselves. A complete list of job descriptions is available in the Office of Student Financial Services.      

Students are paid bi-weekly, and the hourly rate is contingent on the difficulty of position and the experience of the student. The first paycheck is delayed for two weeks, as required by the state.      

There are two major funding sources for the student labor force at Western Connecticut State University: the Federal College Work Study Program and institutional payroll.      

The Federal College Work Study Program is a federally funded program based on financial need. Because the program is financially need-based, work experience is not the qualifying factor. In order to work under the Federal College Work Study Program, a student must meet the conditions listed under the Pell Grant section.      

Western’s institutional payroll is not based on a student’s financial need. Students are employed based on the needs of each department, availability of funds, and the student’s experience in specific areas.      

All federal and state funds are subject to federal and state regulations as mandated. 

Veterans

The VA Coordinator assists veterans and National Guard Soldiers in certifying educational benefits. Our office is located in Old Main 206 on the Midtown campus. The office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Any student who would like information about benefits earned through the armed services should report to Veterans Affairs.

The Connecticut Department of Higher Education has approved WCSU’s educational programs for the training of veterans. Veterans may take advantage of their benefits under chapters 30, 32, 35 and 106.

Additionally, wives, widows and children of veterans seeking approval for educational benefits should apply to Veterans Affairs. 

To explore available benefit programs, please go to: www.gibill.va.gov/GI_Bill_Info/benefits.htm. 

Types of Tuition Waivers Available for Veterans

A tuition waiver relieves the benefactors from the responsibility for payment of tuition. The tuition waiver does not apply to other costs and fees, such as student activity fees, insurance fees, and laboratory fees. There are two main categories of tuition waivers:

National Guard Tuition Waivers

National Guard Soldiers, who have received a certificate of eligibility from the adjutant general, have been admitted to the university as full-time students, and who have registered for classes, can submit the certificate to the VA Coordinator, Old Main 206, for a waiver of tuition.

Connecticut State Veterans Tuition Waiver

If you served on active duty during a time of war or conflict, and are admitted as an IN-STATE resident, you may be eligible for a Veterans Tuition Waiver.      

Public Act 78-175 and Public Act 74-266 authorized the Board of Regents of the Connecticut State University System to waive the payment of tuition for veterans, or a dependent child * of a person classified as a prisoner of war or missing in action. The board also declares that qualified summer and part-time students (registered for less than 12 credits) are entitled to a waiver of 50 percent of tuition cost.

* Dependent children: Must be a dependent child of a person whom the armed forces declared to be missing in action or to have been a prisoner of war while serving in the armed forces after January 1, 1960. 

To be eligible for this tuition waiver at Western Connecticut State University, a veteran must:

  • Be honorably discharged or released under honorable conditions from active service in the U.S. Armed Forces (U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard). National Guard members, activated under Title 10 of the United States Code, are also included.
  • Have served at least 90 days active duty in time of war (see Periods of Service) except if separated from service earlier because of a federal Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) rated service connected disability; or the war, campaign or operation lasted less than 90 days and service was for the duration.
  • Be accepted for admission at Western Connecticut State University.
  • Reside in Connecticut at time of acceptance.

Periods of Service

Only those who served in the following manner may qualify:

  • Active duty for at least 90 days during:
    World War II –– December 7, 1941 to December 31, 1946
    Korean Conflict –– June 27, 1950 to January 31, 1955
    Vietnam Era –– February 28, 1961 to July 1, 1975
    Persian Gulf War –– August 2, 1990 until an ending date prescribed by presidential proclamation or by law (no end date at this time).

    All military war service subsequent to August 2, 1990 is covered, including but not limited to, Enduring Freedom, Noble Eagle, Iraqi Freedom, Somalia and Bosnia.
     

  • Engaged in combat or in a combat-support role in:
    Lebanon – July 1, 1958 to November 1, 1958 or September 29, 1982 to March 30, 1984
    Operation Earnest Will – February 1, 1987 to July 23, 1987 (escort of Kuwaiti oil tankers flying U.S. Flag in the Persian Gulf)
    Panama – December 20, 1989 to January 31, 1990

Reservists must be mobilized in time of war for other than training purposes.

Documents Required for Veterans’ Educational Benefits

  1. WCSU Veteran’s Registration Form;
  2. Criteria depends on the benefit for which you’re applying:
    1. Montgomery G.I. Bill (Chapter 30) candidates: Form DD-214.
    2. Montgomery G.I. Bill (Chapter 106) candidates: Form DD-22384.
    3. Post 9/11 (Chapter 33) candidates: Form DD-214.

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