Student Services

Financial Aid Policies & Procedures

Financial Aid Policies

It is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with the policies listed below:

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy

Federal regulations require that all students receiving Title IV federal financial aid (Pell Grants, FSEOG, ACG, Federal Work-Study and Stafford Loans) demonstrate that they are moving through their academic program at a reasonable rate or are “making progress” toward their degree or certificate. In addition, FSAG (a state/institutional administered program) follows the same requirements.

Please familiarize yourself with the SAP policy in effect and monitor your status each semester through SCFconnect.  SAP is calculated each semester after grades post to the academic transcripts.

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Repayment/Return of Title IV Funds Policy

This policy applies to any federal aid recipient who withdraws from all courses prior to completing more than 60% of the enrollment period (i.e., fall, spring or summer semester) for which they received federal Title IV funds. The term “Title IV funds” refers to the following federal financial aid programs offered at the College:  Federal Pell Grants, Federal Direct Stafford Loans - Subsidized and Unsubsidized, Federal PLUS loans and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG).

The Return of Title IV Funds policy mandates that students who officially or unofficially withdraw from all classes may only keep the financial aid they have “earned” up to the time of withdrawal. State and institutional programs require similar treatment. Financial aid funds that were disbursed in excess of the amount “earned” must be repaid. 

If a disbursement has already been made to you, it is the Student's responsibility to repay all funds due. The amount of federal aid that you must repay is determined via the Federal Formula for Return of Title IV funds (Section 484B of the Higher Education Act). This law also specifies the order in which funds are to be returned to the financial aid programs from which they were awarded.  Funds are returned in the following order: Unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loans, Subsidized Direct Stafford Loans, PLUS Loans, Pell Grant, Academic Competitiveness Grant and FSEOG. The difference between the amount of aid disbursed and the amount of aid earned will be used to calculate how much you must repay.

Unofficial Withdrawals and Unsuccessful Completion of All Courses

If you stop attending all classes during a semester and do not go through the College's withdrawal process, you are treated as an "unofficial withdrawal."  If you unofficially withdraw, or your academic transcript reflects unsuccessful completion of all courses, SCF will calculate your aid based on a last date of attendance.  The last date of attendance is determined by documentation of an academic–related activity, including notification from the faculty.  If there is no last date of attendance recorded, SCF will recalculate based on 50% of the term.

At the end of each semester, the College identifies all students who did not pass at least one class. Information from instructors and departments will be used to document your last date of attendance. Using that information, you will be reviewed under the Return of Title IV Funds calculation. This date will also be reported to NSLDS and your enrollment status will be updated.

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Verification Policy

Financial aid applications selected for "Verification" by the US Department of Education (DOE). Are required is a process to confirm the accuracy of the information supplied by the applicant and/or parent(s) on the Free Application for Federal Student aid (FAFSA). State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) must also resolve discrepancies on students’ financial aid applications.

If your file is selected for the verification process, or if there are discrepancies on your application information, certain information must be proven. This includes household size and number in college, taxable and non-taxable income, asset information, etc. If your FAFSA is selected for verification at any point in the process, you will be required to complete and provide a Verification Worksheet and, at a minimum, your signed federal tax returns (for those required to file) to the Financial Aid Service Office before aid can be processed or disbursed. We will notify you of your outstanding requirements on SCFconnect.

Follow the instructions on the Verification Worksheet very carefully, as failure to submit all required documents will cause processing delays. Make sure your SCF student Id number is on all copies of all documents you submit to the Financial Aid Services Office.

If you are a dependent student you will also be required to submit a signed copy of your parent(s) federal tax returns.

If you are an independent student and you are married, you will also be required to submit a copy of your spouses signed federal tax returns if you filed separately.

The Financial Aid Services Office has the right to request additional information in order to complete the verification process. The required verification forms may be downloaded from the Financial Aid Forms section of this Web site and through SCFconnect. Only submit the verification worksheet if requested.

If your tax information, or information provided on the verification worksheet, differs from the information you provided on your FAFSA application, a correction will be sent to the Central Processor. The Processor will send a corrected SAR to you and corrected information to the College. The correction may result in a change to your award(s). If so, the award(s) will be adjusted accordingly. Stafford Loans cannot be processed, nor can any grant funds be disbursed, until the verification requirements are satisfied and the process is complete.

If the amount or type of aid changes, you will receive a revised notification via SCFconnect.

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Professional Judgment Policy

Financial aid administrators have, under the law (section 479A of the Higher Education Act), the ability to make adjustments on the basis of adequate documentation, and on a case-by-case basis, to address circumstances not reflected in a student’s original Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Professional judgment will be exercised upon presentation of proper documentation in the cases listed below, a student's Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will be recomputed using the new information. The circumstances in which professional judgment may be used are:

  • divorce or separation of student or parent;
  • death of parent or student's spouse;
  • permanent disability of a wage earner;
  • permanent retirement of a wage earner;
  • change in employment status (i.e., new job pays materially less);
  • unemployment of a wage earner; or
  • permanent loss of untaxed income or benefits

Professional judgment will not be exercised for any reason other than those listed above without the approval of the Director and/or Coordinator of Financial Aid Services.

If you believe you meet one of the circumstances above applies to you, and you are not already eligible to receive the full Pell Grant award for the aid year in question, please contact the Financial Aid Services Office on the Bradenton or Venice campuses.

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Fraud Policy

There are situations where students and/or parents willfully falsify or misrepresent information for the purpose of obtaining financial aid that a student is not eligible for. As administrators of Title IV programs and funds, the College is obligated to ensure processes are in place to protect against fraud by applicants or staff.  The Financial Aid Services Office is required to have a policy of referral when confronted with actual or suspected cases of fraud and abuse [34 CFR 668.53(a)(5), 668.14(g)].

Policy for Fraud

Individuals who willfully submit fraudulent information and/or documentation to obtain financial aid funds will be investigated to the fullest extent possible. All cases of fraud and abuse will be reported to the proper authorities.

Procedures for Fraud

If a financial aid officer suspects or determines intentional misrepresentation of facts, false statements, or alteration of documents which resulted or could result in the awarding or disbursement of funds for which the student is not eligible, the information shall be reported to the Director of Financial Aid Services for further review and possible disciplinary action. If the Director determines or suspects fraud, all information will be forwarded to the Vice President of Educational and Student Services, the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Education, and/or the local law enforcement agency. Note: The regulations require only that the College refer the suspected case for investigation, not that we reach a firm conclusion about the propriety of the conduct.

The Financial Aid Services Office must identify and resolve discrepancies in the information received from different sources with respect to a student's application for Title IV aid. These items include, but are not limited to:

  • Student aid applications
  • Need analysis documents (e.g., Institutional Student Information Records (ISIRs) and Student Aid Reports (SARs))
  • Federal income tax returns
  • Documents and information related to a student's citizenship
  • School credentials (e.g., high school diploma)
  • Documentation of the student's Social Security Number (SSN)
  • Compliance with the Selective Service registration requirement and other factors related to students' eligibility for Title IV funds

 

Some forms of financial aid fraud include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Forged signatures on an application, verification documentation or master promissory notes
  • Falsified documents - including reporting members that are not part of your household
  • False statements of income
  • False statements of citizenship
  • Use of fictitious names, addresses, SSNs
  • False claims of independent status

Cases of fraud will be reported to the Office of Inspector General (OIG):

Inspector General's Hotline: 1-800-MIS-USED
http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oig/hotline.html

Office of Inspector General
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-1510

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