Federal Loan Eligibility Policies - Divine Mercy University

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Federal Loan Eligibility Policies

A student must be enrolled at least half-time to receive aid from the Stafford and Grad Plus loan programs.

For the fall and spring semesters, to be considered full-time for purposes of obtaining federal loans, a master’s student must be enrolled in a minimum of nine credit hours per semester, and a doctoral student must be: a) enrolled in a minimum of nine credit hours per semester; b) enrolled in a minimum of six credit hours per semester, three hours of which include enrollment in a practicum/externship) c) actively working on a dissertation (i.e., enrolled for dissertation credit hours); or d) engaged in a pre-doctoral internship. To be considered half-time, a student must take a minimum of six credit hours.

For the period of summer enrollment, to be considered full-time for financial aid a student must take a minimum of four credits or one dissertation credit. To be considered half-time for financial aid, a student must take less than four credits and a minimum of two credits.

Students enrolled at least half-time during the summer are eligible to receive funds to cover their tuition and living expenses. The funds for living expenses during the summer are calculated in the following way:

Living expenses for a 12 month period- Living expenses for the fall and spring semesters = Aid available for summer living expenses

If at any time during the summer a student drops a class, calculations must be performed to see what funds must be returned. If a student remains enrolled at least half-time during the summer session, only the funds in the amount of the dropped credits must be returned. If a student drops below half-time, he/she loses eligibility for summer funding, and all loan funds must be returned. If a student withdraws from the Institute during the period of summer enrollment, the Title IV refund policy must be put into effect to determine the amount of aid the student earned; any unearned aid must be returned. An example is provided at the end of this section. Please note that for both dropping a class and withdrawals, the IPS Refund Policy will also be put into effect; due to the condensed timeframe for summer classes, the policy for summer classes is slightly different. (See IPS Summer Refund Policy in the Academic Catalog).

Satisfactory Academic Process

All students must meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements to receive federally sponsored financial aid at the Institute. SAP for financial aid recipients is a policy distinct from the Institute’s Academic Standing policy.

The Institute’s SAP includes both qualitative and quantitative components in compliance with federal regulations, and is assessed at the end of each period of enrollment. Students must maintain a cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher and must earn at least 50 percent of their attempted credit hours each semester.

They must also complete the coursework for their specific program of study within the maximum time frame designated in the academic catalog degree requirements sections. Students who do not comply with these standards become ineligible for federal financial aid.

SAP is evaluated at the end of each period of enrollment. If a student is found not to meet SAP requirements after this evaluation, they will receive a letter from the Financial Aid Office informing them that they have been placed on financial aid warning. A student with this status may receive financial aid for the next enrollment period, but must meet SAP requirements by the end of that period.

If the student fails to meet SAP the second time, after the financial aid warning period, they will lose their financial aid for the next period of enrollment. If there are extenuating circumstances involved, students who fall below the SAP requirements for the second time may submit a written appeal to the Financial Aid Office within 30 days of their ineligibility notification.

The appeal letter should include the reason why the student failed to make SAP and what has changed that will allow the student to make SAP at the next evaluation. Reasons for appeal may include such extenuating circumstances as prolonged illness, hospitalization, death of an immediate family member, etc.

The Financial Aid Office will review the appeal and notify the student in writing of the outcome of their appeal. If the appeal is granted, the student is considered on financial aid probation, and their aid may be continued for one period of enrollment. If the student has not met the SAP requirements by the end of the probation period, he/she is no longer eligible for federally-sponsored financial aid.

Restoration of federally-sponsored financial aid becomes possible when the student achieves SAP requirements, based on official end-of-semester grade reports.

Withdrawal and Incompletes

Withdrawal from courses and/or Incompletes will not be considered satisfactorily completed.  Each of these types of courses will be considered courses attempted but not completed.

Students who receive financial aid and who carry a grade of Incomplete into a following semester risk loss of financial aid for that semester.  Carrying an Incomplete grade reduces the student’s overall (GPA) and lowers his/her credit hours attempted-to-completed ratio, either or both of which factors can create a failure to meet the requirements for SAP.

Repeated Courses

Repeated courses are eligible for financial aid and count towards Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).

Transfer Courses

Transfer courses, both those a student completed prior to admission to IPS and those accepted while a student is enrolled at IPS, are not factored in when calculating a student’s IPS financial aid eligibility. Both types of transfer courses may count towards SAP as credit hours attempted and completed if the student has completed the transfer of credit process (outlined in the Academic Catalog’s Criteria for Transfer of Credit section).

Financial Aid Academic Year

The academic year consists of fall, spring and summer semesters.


FAFSA’s are marked during processing as needing to be verified, reviewed for information that is potentially erroneous. The Financial Aid office will notify each student who has been selected for verification, and the student will have 10 days from the time they receive notification to bring in supporting documents that attest to the accuracy of the information on their FAFSA. Once verification is completed, the FAFSA will be corrected, and the student’s eligibility to receive need-based aid will be assessed.

Return of Title IV Funds

Federal law and regulations require that IPS calculate a refund of tuition and fees for any student who withdraws from the Institute’s programs.

In addition, the Institute must calculate a return of Title IV funds for any student receiving financial aid used for the student’s tuition and fees for the period. The calculation is based on the percentage of the enrollment period completed and the amount of the Title IV aid disbursed. The return of Title IV funds calculation is separate from the Institute’s tuition refund policy. The Institute utilizes worksheets provided by the United States Department of Education (ED) to calculate the return of Title IV funds. The following paragraphs describe the procedure and basis for the calculations.

The Institute calculates the return of Title IV funds based upon the official withdrawal information as determined by the Office of the Registrar. Using ED worksheets, the Institute divides the number of days completed by the number of days in the enrollment period to identify the percentage of time the student has completed in the enrollment period. If 60 percent or more of the semester has been completed, there is no return of the Title IV funds for the period.

When a return of funds to ED becomes necessary, the Institute multiplies the amount of funds disbursed to the student in Title IV funds by the percentage of time the student has completed. Then, the Institute subtracts the total amount of aid earned from the amount of aid disbursed. The Institute calculates its share of money to return by subtracting the amount the school must return from the total amount due. If the amount due to ED from the Institute is greater than the tuition and fees owed to the Institute, the school returns the greater amount. If the calculation shows a return of less than the refund calculation, the school returns the difference to the student.

In addition to the possibility of returning Title IV funds not earned during an enrollment period, students are required to repay loans obtained through the lender, based on the terms and conditions detailed in their promissory note(s). The student and the Institute are both required to return appropriate amounts to ED. A student’s failure to return funds they are not eligible to receive will result in the student being ineligible for further financial aid. In addition, the Institute and ED are required under federal regulations to seek legal action against the student to collect any funds the student is not entitled to retain.

The order in which ED will receive returned funds is as follows: unsubsidized Stafford loan funds first, then subsidized Stafford loan funds. The Institute will return unearned Title IV funds to ED by electronic transfer or draft to the Institute’s federal account within 30 days of determining that a student has withdrawn from the Institute.

Refund Information for Title IV Recipients

Students receiving Title IV federal financial aid who withdraw are subject to the Higher Education Act of 1965 as changed by the 1998 Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. This act requires calculation to determine the amount, if any, of the Title IV funds to be returned to the Title IV program(s). Please note that this policy is distinct from the Institute’s refund policy, described earlier.

The first step in the calculation determines the amount of financial aid the student earned based upon the dates of enrollment. The second step in the calculation determines the amount of unearned federal financial aid. Unearned Title IV federal financial aid must be returned to the appropriate Title IV program.