Samford University

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Policies

There are many policies by which the awarding and disbursement of financial aid are governed. The Office of Financial Aid strives to abide by those policies in every transaction made for each student receiving aid at the University. Below are several policies with which you should familiarize yourself.
Satisfactory Academic Progress

The ability to receive any financial aid at Samford begins with each student making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). Every student is measured against the SAP policy every May for the upcoming summer terms and the subsequent new year. Students who do not meet the minimum SAP requirements are notified by Samford email of their unsatisfactory status and the steps necessary to appeal the decision to remove aid eligibility.

There are three standards that must be met each May in order to qualify for student aid.

    • First, a student cannot have attempted more than 150% of the hours necessary to earn their degree. (ex. 128 hours are needed for most undergraduate degrees. A student who has attempted 192 hours or more has failed SAP.) 
    • Second, a student must maintain a minimum cumulative Samford grade point average (GPA). For undergraduate, law, pharmacy, and divinity students the standard is a 2.0 cumulative GPA. For all other graduate students the standard is a 3.0 cumulative GPA. It is the University’s policy to not round up GPAs. (ex. A 1.99 GPA is not rounded up to a 2.0) Please note that Samford scholarship requirements are calculated on cumulative Samford GPAs and SAP is calculated on overall cumulative GPAs. This difference allows students to earn credits at other colleges to help get them into position for meeting SAP standards. The same cannot be said for Samford scholarships. 
    • Third, a student must earn 75% of the credits/hours attempted during the previous fall semester, jan term, and spring semester combined. For example, if a student earns 12 of 16 credits in the fall semester, 2 of 2 in jan term, and 11 of 14 in the spring semester, she will have earned a total of 25 credits out of 32 attempted credits. This is a 78.1% completion rate. This student would be making SAP. If that same student only earned 23 of the possible 32 credits, she would have a completion rate of 71.9% and would not be making SAP.

Students who are notified of their inability to meet the SAP standards will be offered the opportunity to appeal the decision. A successful appeal will be based on whether or not a student's performance was affected by personal injury or illness and/or death of an immediate family member or relative. Immediate family member is defined as mother, father, sibling, spouse, child, and grandparent. Also, a successful appeal will outline what has changed in the student's situation that will allow for him or her to be successful, academically, in subsequent academic terms.

The SAP appeal form is available on the Forms page of this website. The deadline for submitting an appeal for fall is August 8. The Jan term/spring deadline is January 5. The summer deadline is June 5. Please submit the form and all necessary documentation to the Office of Financial Aid by these deadlines. Students who have their appeal approved will be notified in writing and the notification may include an academic plan intended to assist the student bringing him or her back into good standing in regards to SAP.

Grade Point Averages
As discussed in the SAP section, the Office of Financial Aid does not round grade point averages when determining eligibility for certain types of aid. Receipt of any aid requires that a student have at least a 2.0 cumulative Samford GPA. Some pieces of aid require a higher standard such as a 2.5, 3.0 or even a 3.3. Please review your award messages in your student web portal for specifics concerning your aid.
Financial Policies (Bursar's Office)
Although we work very closely together in awarding and disbursing aid, the Bursar’s Office is separate from the Office of Financial Aid. The Bursar website has a listing of University Financial Policies. Any concerns or questions about paying your bill or receiving refunds should be directed to the Bursar’s Office.
Communication
All official communication will take place through one mode of communication – your Samford email address. While we will send some things to you through regular mail, we will always make sure a copy of everything we send goes through your Samford email as well. Please check your Samford email often for updates, requests, and announcements concerning your financial aid at Samford.
Loan Cancellations and/or Reductions

Loans will be cancelled at the request of the borrower up to the point of disbursement. Once a Stafford, Parent PLUS, or Grad PLUS loan has been disbursed, it is the responsibility of the borrower to work with the loan servicer to cancel the loan. For those wishing to cancel a loan prior to disbursement, our loan cancellation form may be found on the Forms page of our website.

Loans may be reduced before or after disbursement. Once a loan has disbursed, the borrower has up to fourteen (14) days to ask for a reduction. The loan reduction form may be found on the Forms page of our website.

Glossary of Terms
The financial aid process can be confusing and many of the terms used in this arena are not very familiar. For your convenience we have provided links to two different glossaries for financial aid. The Project on Student Debt and Finaid.org provide exhaustive listings of financial aid terms. Please refer to these sites for plenty of other information relative to financial aid.
Student Loan Code of Conduct
TBD
Treatment of Title IV Aid in a Withdrawal

Federal financial aid funds are awarded with the expectation that students will complete the entire period of enrollment. Students "earn" a percentage of the funds that are disbursed to them with each day of class attendance. When a student who has received Title IV aid from the US Department of Education withdraws from the University during a semester or term, the University must determine the amount of Title IV aid the student may retain. 

To calculate the amount that is to be returned (if necessary), the University must establish when the student last attended class. That information/date is typically provided by the student on the Withdrawal Form submitted to the Office of Student Records. The Office of Financial Aid will then utilize materials provided by the US Department of Education to determine if any Title IV aid should be returned. When that date is not indicated on the form or if the student leaves the University without submitting a Withdrawal Form (an unofficial withdrawal), then the University will determine what date to use for the last day of attendance.

If any administrative office is made aware of a student who has unofficially withdrawn, the Office of Student Records will work with the student's faculty to determine the last date of attendance or the last date of an academically related activity for the student and use whichever is later. This could include: class attendance, turning in an assignment, activity in Moodle or any other class management software. If a last day of attendance or last date of an academically related activity cannot be determined, the mid-point of the term will be used. Furthermore, at the end of each term, the Office of Financial Aid will review all students who have attempted as least one credit hour for the term and failed to earn any credits for the term. The Office of Student Records will then contact the student's faculty to determine the last date of an academically related activity. This determination or any other listed above whereby the University is establishing a last day of attendance or last date of academically related activity, will take place within 30 days.

Once a last day of attendance or last date of an academically related activity is determined, the Office of Financial Aid will utilize materials provided by the US Department of Education to determine if any Title IV aid should be returned.  In an instance whereby aid must be returned, non-need based student loans are returned first, followed by need based loans, PLUS loans, and then federal grants, including Pell and SEOG. The return of funds will take place within 45 days of determining the last day of attendance or last date of an academically related activity as described above.

When or if any Title IV funds are returned, the student may be left owing a balance to the University due to the University paying back the federal government on his or her behalf. The student must pay in full the resulting balance before proceeding towards further enrollment at the University.

Verification
Verification is the process of confirming the accuracy of data on your FAFSA. It can be a complicated process. As a result, we have provided this extensive Policies and Procedures document to help answer any questions you may have. Furthermore, you may always contact your financial aid advisor or access your student portal to gain further clarification. 
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