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Maintaining Eligibility

In order to maintain your eligibility to receive financial aid, you must meet the following requirements:
  • You must be a degree-seeking student.
  • You must meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).
  • You must be enrolled at least half-time.
Scholarships & Financial Aid monitors your SAP at the end of every semester (law, medical, dental and pharmacy students are reviewed annually). If you do not meet the requirements for SAP, you have the right to appeal and provide information about extenuating circumstances that may have hindered your progress. Appeals are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Please note that SAP and minimum enrollment requirements for individual financial aid program eligibility may vary.

In addition to potentially affecting current semester financial aid, drops and withdrawals are considered unsuccessfully completed coursework when determining SAP and will impact completion rate. If you drop below the necessary completion rate you may lose eligibility for financial aid in future terms.

Federal financial aid regulations require us to confirm whether or not a student began attendance in all courses if they receive certain forms of financial aid: Federal Pell Grant, Federal TEACH Grant, and/or Iraq-Afghanistan Service Grant. Based on the information we receive, adjustments to financial aid awards may be necessary and will likely result in a balance due to the University.

Instructors will confirm which students began attendance/participated in their courses through the Howdy portal. Instructors may reference attendance records, graded assignments, quizzes, exams, or papers to confirm that the student began academic participation. If the instructor confirms beginning attendance in the class there will be no adjustment to financial aid awards. If we do not receive confirmation of beginning attendance in the course(s), we are required to adjust financial aid (for Pell, TEACH, IASG) based on the remaining hours enrolled.

In addition to potentially affecting current semester financial aid, drops and withdrawals are considered unsuccessfully completed coursework when determining Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) and will impact completion rate. If you drop below the necessary completion rate you may lose eligibility for financial aid in future terms. For more information on SAP, please review the SAP information above.
 


Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

There are three components to SAP. Failure to comply with any component may result in a loss of aid eligibility. The three components are as follows:
Minimum Grade Point Average (GPA)
  • Graduate Students: 3.0
Completion Rate (Deficit Hours)
While students are expected to enroll full-time to be eligible for financial aid, each student must successfully complete at least a minimum percentage of all credit hours attempted. This percentage includes all institutional and transfer credit hours, regardless of whether or not financial aid was received. Grades of W, D, F, I, U, Q, X, NG, and grade exclusions are not considered to be adequate grades for completion.
  • Graduate Students: 67%
Maximum Hours (Excessive Hours)
Students are expected to complete their degree pursuits within a maximum timeframe, including transfer hours earned as well as institutional attempted hours. Students may not receive financial assistance beyond the following:
  • Graduate Students: 150% of degree program requirements
Credit hours are cumulative; thus, students working towards obtaining more than one degree in the same category (e.g., double major) may reach this maximum timeframe before completing their course of study and may need to appeal eligibility.
After one semester of not meeting the SAP standards, students will be issued a warning and will be permitted to receive financial aid for the next semester. However, after the one semester of warning, students who fail to meet any one or a combination of the SAP components will be ineligible for financial assistance.

Students may appeal ineligibility by providing information on extenuating circumstances, indicating what has changed to allow successful academic progress. If an appeal is granted, students may be placed on financial aid probation and asked to follow an academic plan that will lead to meeting minimum SAP requirements in the near future. If students do not meet the terms of probation, eligibility for financial aid will cease and all remaining aid will be cancelled. Subsequent appeals of the same nature are not permitted. Once a student falls from his/her academic plan and loses eligibility, the only way to regain eligibility for financial aid is to meet the SAP requirements.
Students who fail to meet minimum SAP standards are not eligible to receive financial aid. Students will be notified of the reason(s) for the loss of eligibility through a letter sent to the permanent address on file with the University as well as via the Scholarships & Financial Aid Portal.

Students may appeal their ineligibility by providing information on extenuating circumstances, indicating what has changed to allow successful academic progress. However, the submission of an appeal is only a request and does not guarantee that scholarship or financial aid eligibility will be reinstated. The appeal must be submitted online through howdy.tamu.edu. Click the My Finances tab and enter the Scholarships & Financial Aid Portal. The student should provide evidence of the extenuating circumstances that occurred.

Students who graduate from Texas A&M University but do not meet Scholarships & Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress minimums will be denied aid eligibility for additional coursework taken at the same degree level, but may visit with a Scholarships & Financial Aid advisor to determine continuing eligibility. Academic progress for students beginning a new degree level (i.e. undergraduate to graduate, or graduate to professional) will be evaluated based on coursework/performance at the new level.


All financial aid offers are based on full-time enrollment. However, most of the financial aid programs we offer require students to be registered at least half-time. Students considering reducing the number of semester credit hours enrolled should contact our department to determine the effect on scholarship and financial aid eligibility. A reduction in hours may result in an adjustment to the aid offered and may also affect a student’s compliance with the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy. Visit Award Proration for more details.

Coursework taken during the Wintermester part of term will be considered in Spring enrollment and coursework taken during the Maymester part of term will be considered in Summer enrollment. Both the Wintermester and Maymester will be evaluated with the Spring and Summer financial aid census dates, accordingly. Please keep in mind that enrollment status for financial aid purposes may or may not match enrollment status as defined by the Registrar.

Students registered in cooperative education (co-op) and internship programs are typically considered enrolled in a full-time status by the Office of the Registrar. However, for financial aid purposes, co-op students are not eligible for all aid. Co-op students are eligible to receive student loans. Co-op students are not eligible for work nor State/institutional grant programs. Students enrolled in internships are eligible for aid awards based on the actual number of hours enrolled only.

Note: Veterinary Medicine students enrolled in graduate coursework during the summer will follow the Graduate enrollment requirements.
For Federal, State and Institutional Aid (including scholarships), the following will apply
Scroll Table Left and Right
  Fall Spring Summer
Graduate Full-time: 9
Three-quarter: 7
Half-time: 5
Full-time: 9
Three-quarter: 7
Half-time: 5
Full-time: 6
Three-quarter: 5
Half-time: 3
Federal regulations require colleges to consider all educational financial assistance to be calculated in determining student eligibility. Financial assistance includes but is not limited to grants, loans, scholarships, waivers, fellowships/assistantships, work study, specific Veteran educational benefits, and similar programs used to cover postsecondary educational expenses. When a student receives more aid than his/her financial need, enrollment eligibility, or cost of attendance permits, the result may be an overaward. Overawards must be resolved and may result in funds being returned to an aid program and a student owing the University money.

Scholarships & Financial Aid typically adjusts overawards for students who are over need and for those students who exceed their cost of attendance prior to aid being disbursed. However, if a student receives additional resources after all awarded aid is disbursed, we will adjust aid as necessary in order for a student to remain best eligible for each aid program awarded. If an overaward adjustment made by Scholarships & Financial Aid results in a student account balance of $500 or more, Scholarships & Financial Aid (in conjunction with Student Business Services) will place a hold on the student’s account that will prevent course registration and transcript release. Upon receipt of payment in full, the aforementioned hold will automatically expire.
How does this affect my financial aid?
Scholarships & Financial Aid initially awards all students assuming full-time enrollment. Students’ records are then reviewed each semester to determine if they are enrolled less than full-time. Adjustments are then made to the financial aid awards of students enrolled less than full-time. This review and adjustment occurs each semester, prior to the financial aid disbursement date and then again at census date (the official 12th class day of the semester).

Award and Program Enrollment Requirements
According to federal regulations, students convicted for a drug offense that occurred during a period of enrollment while they were receiving Title IV Federal Financial Aid, may lose eligibility for Federal Aid.

Federal Aid includes:
  • Federal Pell and SEOG Grants
  • Federal Work Study
  • Federal Perkins Loan
  • Federal Stafford Loan
  • Federal Plus Loan
  • Graduate Plus Loan

If a student answers ‘Yes’ to the question on the FAFSA, regarding conviction for possession or sale of illegal drugs they will be sent a worksheet by the federal processing center in order to determine if the conviction affects eligibility for aid. Should the financial aid office be notified that a student has been convicted of sale or possession of illegal drugs, the financial assistance will be suspended immediately. If a conviction was reversed, set aside, or removed from the student’s record it does not count. Convictions occurring during periods of non-enrollment do not count. In addition, any conviction received as a juvenile does not count, unless they were tried as an adult.

The period of ineligibility is dependent upon the type of conviction (sale or possession) and if there were previous offenses. The information below demonstrates the periods of ineligibility:

Possession of Illegal Drugs

1st offense- 1 year from date of conviction
2nd offense- 2 years from date of conviction
3+ offenses- Indefinte Period

Sale of Illegal Drugs

1st offense- 2 years from date of conviction
2nd offense- Indefinite period

If the student was convicted of both selling and possessing illegal drugs, they will be ineligible for the longer period.

Regaining Eligibility

The student may regain eligibility:

  • The day after the period of ineligibility ends,
  • When they successfully complete a qualified drug rehabilitation program, or
  • If the student passes two unannounced drug tests given by a qualified rehabilitation program they may regain eligibility.
Students denied eligibility for an indefinite period can regain it after:
  • Successfully completing a rehabilitation program as described below,
  • Passing two unannounced drug tests from such a program, or
  • If a conviction is reversed, set aside, or removed from the student’s record so that fewer than two convictions for sale or three convictions for possession remain on the record. In such cases, the nature and dates of the remaining convictions will determine when the student regains eligibility.
Qualified Drug Rehabilitation Program
A qualified drug rehabilitation program must include at least two unannounced drug tests and must satisfy at least one of the following requirements:
  • Be qualified to receive funds directly or indirectly from a federal, state, or local government
  • Be qualified to receive payment directly or indirectly from a federally or state-licensed insurance company
  • Be administered or recognized by a federal, state, or local government agency or court
  • Be administered or recognized by a federal or state-licensed hospital, health clinic, or medical doctor.
Additional drug convictions will make the student ineligible for federal aid again. It is the student’s responsibility to certify to the school that they have successfully completed the rehabilitation program. In addition to the eligibility requirements listed above, students who are awarded the Toward EXcellence Access and Success (TEXAS) Grant must certify annually, prior to the disbursement of funds, that they have not been convicted of a felony or crime involving a controlled substance.
The federal government mandates that students who withdraw from all classes may only keep the financial aid they have “earned” up to the time of withdrawal. Title IV funds that were disbursed in excess of the earned amount must be returned by the University and/or the student to the federal government. This situation could result in the student owing aid funds to the University, government or both.

To determine the amount of aid the student has earned up to the time of withdrawal, Scholarships & Financial Aid will divide the number of calendar days the student attended classes by the total number of calendar days in the semester (less any scheduled breaks of 5 days or more). The resulting percentage is then multiplied by the total federal funds that were disbursed (either to the student’s university account or to the student directly by check or direct deposit) for the semester. This calculation determines the amount of aid earned by the student which he or she may keep (e.g., if the student attended 25% of the term, the student will have earned 25% of the aid disbursed). The unearned amount – total aid disbursed less the earned amount – must be returned to the federal government by the University or the student. Scholarships & Financial Aid will notify and provide instructions to students who are required to return funds to the government.
Allocating Returned Title IV (Federal) Aid
Funds that are returned to the federal government are used to reduce the outstanding balances in individual federal programs.

Financial aid returned (by the University and/or you or your parents) must be allocated in the following order:
  1. Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans
  2. Subsidized Federal Direct Loans
  3. Federal Perkins Loans
  4. Federal Graduate Plus (Student) Loans
  5. Federal Parent (PLUS) Loans
  6. Federal Pell Grant
  7. Federal SEOG
  8. TEACH Grant
  9. Other federal loan or grant assistance
  10. Other state or institutional financial aid programs
If your circumstances require that you withdraw from all classes, you are strongly encouraged to contact Scholarships & Financial Aid and your academic advisor before doing so. At that time, the consequences of withdrawing from all classes can be explained and clearly illustrated. Scholarships & Financial Aid’s financial aid counselors can provide refund examples and further explain this policy to you.

You should also be aware that as a recipient of financial assistance, you must comply with the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy, outlined above. By withdrawing, you may not be eligible for financial assistance from Texas A&M University in the future, because you did not complete a specified number of credit hours for which aid was disbursed.

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