Important Financial Aid Updates

Pell Grant Eligibility for 2019-2020

The maximum Pell Grant award for the 2019-2020 award year is $6,195, and the corresponding maximum Pell Grant eligible expected family contribution (EFC) is 5576.

File Your FAFSA From Your Phone

For the first time, students and their parents can download a mobile app to fill out the FAFSA. This means students can work on the FAFSA from anywhere. They can start it on their phone and finish it online if they’d like. The app, called myStudentAid, also allows students to manage their FSA ID and view their loan information. Newly designed web pages on the site will fit screens of any size and shape, including those on desktop, laptop, and mobile devices.

Error Notifications

Those applying for aid for 2019-20 will notice the FAFSA form will provide feedback and notifications. Here’s one example: Student thinks they’ve completed the form, but they missed an important question. An error notification pops up for incomplete or missing form fields before moving to the next question. Before, students and/or parents were notified of any errors at the end of the page.

Newly Admitted Transfer Student Eligibility

Newly admitted transfer students who did not meet SAP requirements including earning a cumulative GPA of 2.0 and/or not completing 67% of the credit hours attempted at their prior schools will be placed on the financial aid Warning Status for their first semester at HCU. Upon completion of the first semester, students with an unsatisfactory SAP status are placed on the financial aid Suspension Status and are no longer eligible for federal student aid at HCU. Students will remain ineligible for federal student aid until their academic record is once again in compliance with the SAP policy. Students who are ineligible for federal student aid may continue to attend HCU at their own expense and being liable for all educational costs.

Student Loans

As you consider whether to use student loans to pay for college, please carefully consider the terms and repayment for each type of loan.

The Federal Student Aid Repayment Estimator is an excellent resource. The table below provides interest rates and origination fees for Direct Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2018 and before July 1, 2019. Origination fees are a percentage of the loan amount that is deducted from each loan disbursement.

Loan TypeBorrower TypeInterest RateOrigination Fee
Direct SubsidizedUndergraduate5.05%1.066%
Direct UnsubsidizedUndergraduate5.05%1.066%
Direct PLUSParent of Student7.60%4.248%

New Federal Aid Tool Assist Student Borrowers Entering Repayment

The Office of Federal Student Aid has launched a new one-stop web page, to help borrowers navigate student loan repayment options and select their best option in five steps or less. The initiative is part of the federal government’s push to enroll as many student borrowers as possible in income-driven repayment plans for their student loans.

Visiting the repayment site, users will find a tool that steps them through several questions, leading them to options best suited to each individual situation. According to information issued by the White House and the U.S. Dept. of Education, students can find the best loan repayment option in 60 seconds or less using the tool. Visit studentloans.gov/repay to try it out.

The tool builds on steps announced in December 2015 to expand Pay As You Earn (PAYE) loan repayment plans that help make it easier for borrowers struggling to pay student loan debt. Under PAYE plans, borrowers needing help handling their debt will not pay more than 10 percent of income toward student loan payments and some monthly payments may be reduced to zero. President Obama has said he hopes to enroll two million more people in Pay As You Earn by Spring 2017.

Don’t Pay for Loan Debt Relief Services

Have student loans? You’ve probably seen social media ads, received emails, or even opened a piece of mail from companies promising to reduce your monthly loan payments or cancel your loans.

Here’s the catch. These companies are doing something you can do yourself, but they’ll charge you a fee. The U.S. Department of Education provides FREE assistance to help you:

  • Lower or cap your monthly loan payment;
  • Consolidate your federal loans;
  • See if you qualify for loan forgiveness;
  • Get advice on getting out of default.

Help get the word out, and help protect your friends and family from student loan scams. Watch and share this video, and visit studentloans.gov to learn more.

Withdrawal Date for Financial Aid Calculation

For Title IV financial aid purposes, the withdrawal date is always the last date of an academically related activity as determined by attendance activity records. This date is used for all students who withdraw, including those who officially notify the school, those
who cease to attend class without providing official notification to the school and if the faculty member administratively withdraws a student from school. See the Return of Title IV Funds policy on the HCU website for more information.

Documenting Attendance in Distance Learning Courses

In a distance learning context, documenting that a student has logged into an online class is not enough, by itself, to demonstrate academic attendance. HCU must demonstrate that a student participated in class or was otherwise engaged in an academically related activity, such as contributing to an online discussion or initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a course-related question. See the Return of Title IV Funds policy on the HCU website for more information.

Withdrawing from Class Can Affect Financial Aid

Thinking about withdrawing from that Fall Term class? Be aware that doing so can affect your financial aid. Also, if you attend at least half-time but less than full-time you might not be eligible for the full amount of financial aid you were originally offered. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid before making changes to your schedule.

FAFSA Submitted Without Parent Information

In situations where your parents refuse to provide their information on the FAFSA and refuse to provide you with any financial support, there is an exception that allows a student to submit the FAFSA without parental information and apply for an
Unsubsidized Stafford Loan only at the discretion of a financial aid administrator. (Please note that the Unsubsidized Loan is the ONLY federal aid available to the student under this exception). Contact the Office of Financial Aid for more information.

Note that the above changes or new items are not all-inclusive and are meant to provide a summary of updated or changed Federal Department of Education Regulations. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid regarding specific questions or concerns.

Repeat Course Policy for Financial Aid Purposes

Changes in federal regulations (34 CFR Section 668.2) now require the Office of Financial Aid to monitor and adjust a student’s enrollment level for Title IV aid if, or when, they repeat course work for credit that they have already earned. Students can retake courses and receive federal aid if they had previously failed a course, but can only receive financial aid one more time for a course that has been previously passed. A passing grade is defined as D- or better.

The policy allows a student to receive financial aid under the following situations:
• To repeat any failed course until a passing grade is received.
• To repeat one time any course in which you previously received a passing grade.

Dropping/Adding classes

New, stricter rules require students to attend and complete their enrolled hours, or pay their financial aid back, even if they still owe tuition. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid at mthompson@hcu.edu BEFORE you add or drop classes. Both may
significantly affect your financial aid award.