Financial Aid Policies
Code of Conduct for Hawaii Community College Financial Aid Employees
A Hawaii Community College financial aid employee is expected to always maintain exemplary standards of professional conduct in all aspects of carrying out his or her responsibilities, specifically including all dealings with any entities involved in any manner in student financial aid, regardless of whether such entities are involved in a government sponsored, subsidized, or regulated activity. In doing so, a financial aid employee should: refrain from taking any action for his or her personal benefit, refrain from taking any action he or she believes is contrary to law, regulation, or the best interests of the students and parents he or she serves; ensure that the information he or she provides is accurate, unbiased, and does not reflect any preference arising from actual or potential personal gain; be objective in making decisions and advising Hawaii Community College regarding relationships with any entity involved in any aspect of student financial aid; refrain from soliciting or accepting anything of other than nominal value from any entity (other than an institution of higher education or a governmental entity such as the U.S. Department of Education) involved in the making, holding, consolidating or processing of any student loans, including anything of value (including reimbursement of expenses) for serving on an advisory body or as part of a training activity of or sponsored by any such entity; and disclose to Hawaii Community College’s Vice Chanellor for Student Affairs any involvement with or interest in any entity involved in any aspect of student financial aid.
The following are specifically prohibited:
- Revenue sharing agreements with lenders.
- Engaging in any activity that creates a conflict of interest.
- Accepting gifts above a nominal value from lenders or guarantors.
- Accepting private loans conditioned on the use of a lender’s Title IV loans.
- Contracting arrangements with a lender that provides compensation to school staff (with certain exceptions).
- Assigning a lender to a borrower or refusing to certify a loan for a borrower’s choice of lender or guarantor.
- Accepting from lenders any staffing assistance for a call center or the financial aid office.
- Accepting compensation for service on an advisory board except that reasonable expenses associated with that service may be reimbursed by the lender or guarantor.
For the purposes of this policy, it is not considered a “gift” to the school for a lender or guarantor to provide the following:
- Standard materials, activities or programs on issues related to a loan, default aversion, default prevention or financial literacy (for example, brochures, workshops or training).
- Food, refreshments, training or informational material that is designed to improve the service of a lender, guarantor or servicer if the training contributes to the professional development of the school staff.
- Favorable terms, conditions and borrower benefits, as long as these are provided to all students at the school.
- Entrance and Exit counseling services, as long as the school controls the counseling and does not promote the products and services of the lender.
Philanthropic contributions not tied to loan volume.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy or SAP Policy
Federal regulations require that financial aid recipients maintain satisfactory academic progress toward the achievement of a degree or certificate. All attempted courses in any term at Hawaii Community College will be counted regardless of whether or not the student was receiving financial aid at the time the courses were attempted.
Students must maintain a minimum Hawaii Community College cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 and must successfully complete a minimum of 67.0% of all credits attempted without exceeding the normal completion time. Satisfactory Academic Progress will be monitored at the end of each spring term. Students whose academic program is less than one year (less than 24 credits) and students who does not earn any credits at the end of the fall term will be evaluated after each term of enrollment and may be place on a financial aid suspension. Credits and grades excluded under the Academic Renewal Policy will be included in the calculation of the Financial Aid GPA and Credit Completion Rate (CCR).
MAINTAIN CUMULATIVE GPA:
Students must maintain a minimum Hawaii Community College cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 in order to be eligible for financial aid.
- The only grades that meet satisfactory academic progress standards are A, B, C, and D. An F grade is not a passing grade and will be averaged into your grade point average, and it will be counted in credits attempted.
- The following will not be calculated into your grade point average, but will be counted in your financial aid time frame as credits attempted (N, NC, W, I/F).
- An I/F grade is calculated as no credit received until the grade is changed by the instructor and added to the student‚Äôs academic record by the Records Office. If the ‚ÄúI‚ÄĚ grade should change to an A, B, C or D, it is the student‚Äôs responsibility to notify the Financial Aid Office so their Financial Aid GPA may be recalculated.
- Non-credit courses are not eligible for federal financial aid and are not calculated in either the GPA or maximum time frame calculation.
Students must maintain a minimum CCR of 67% of all credits attempted at Hawaii Community College to finish a program within the established maximum time frame.
MAXIMUM TIME FRAME (CREDIT HOURS) FOR AID ELIGIBILITY:
Students must complete their educational objectives within a reasonable period of time. Financial Aid may fund up to 150% of the number of credit hours required for completion of the degree or certificate. Example: An Associate of Arts (AA) degree requires 60 credits. A student is eligible to receive federal Title IV funds for a total of 90 credits (60 credits X 150% = 90 credits). A student who completes the academic requirements for a program degree or certificate, but has not applied for graduation or posting of credentials to transcripts, is not eligible for further federal aid for that program.
- Students who change their major, without completing their degree or certificate, will have all credits previously attempted counted toward their new maximum time frame.
- Financial Aid will fund one degree or certificate at a time. Students who seek a second degree or certificate must submit a “Subsequent Degree form” and a new Timeframe will be calculated.
- A student can only be awarded aid for courses that are applicable towards their degree or certificate.
- ALL semesters of previous enrollment at Hawaii Community College, regardless of aid status, will be counted toward the maximum time frame.
- All transfer credits accepted by Hawaii Community College will be counted toward the maximum time frame for completion of the degree or certificate.
- Students may receive payment once for repeating a course if credit was earned. Credits for each attempt will be counted towards the maximum time frame and may affect CCR.
- A student is allowed 30 remedial credits that are not counted toward the time frame. Remedial credits are program specific (ENG 21 is a remedial course for the LBRT AA, but it is not a remedial course for AG AAS). ESL courses do not count against the 30 credits limit.
FAILURE TO MEET FINANCIAL AID SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS:
Students who do not meet the cumulative 2.0 GPA, the minimum 67% completion and/or the completion of a degree or certificate within a maximum time frame will be suspended. Financial aid suspension means that the student is ineligible to receive Federal Financial Aid until the satisfactory academic progress requirements are met. During the period of financial aid suspension, students may (unless placed on Academic Dismissal) attend Hawaii Community College without financial aid. It will be the student‚Äôs responsibility to secure other financial resources during this period.
To regain financial aid eligibility, the student must earn sufficient grades and/or complete the necessary credits to meet the 2.0 GPA and/or the 67% completion rate and/or making PACE.
Students may appeal in writing for reinstatement of financial aid eligibility if they have experienced mitigating circumstances that prevented them from meeting the minimum standards (accident, illness, death of immediate family member, etc.). Students must submit a signed SAP Appeal form (http://hawaii.hawaii.edu/financialaid/Documents/SAP Appeal Form.pdf) explaining the mitigating circumstances and provide documentation to substantiate your statement and an outline of what steps you have taken to ensure academic progress to the Financial Aid Office. The student will be informed by letter if the appeal is conditionally approved or denied. If an appeal is granted, the student will receive an Academic Plan outlining the conditions of the appeal which must be met to continue to receive financial aid.
Return of Title IV Funds Policy (For Federal Aid Received)
Your aid will be revised and/or YOU MAY BE REQUIRED TO REPAY ALL OR A PORTION of the aid you received (read the information on the Return of Title IV funds) if you withdraw from some or all of your courses, OR stop attending classes, or enroll for less than half-time status.¬† You must notify the Financial Aid Office immediately if these changes occur.¬† Your academic progress will be assessed based on the credit completion requirements of your original enrollment at the Financial Aid Enrollment Freeze date.
The Higher Education Amendment of 1998 requires schools to implement The Return of Title IV Refund Funds policy when a Title IV funds recipient withdraws from school.¬† A Title IV recipient is defined as a student who has received Title IV funds (excluding Federal Work Study funds but including Federal Direct PLUS Loan funds) OR has met the conditions that entitle the student to a late disbursement.
The Amendment makes clear that Title IV funds are awarded to students with the assumption that he/she will attend school for the entire enrollment/payment period.¬† If a student receiving the above-mentioned assistance completely withdraws from school or ceases to attend classes, the Financial Aid Office is required to calculate the amount of funds the student earned prior to their withdrawal and calculate the amount that was unearned and must be returned to reimburse the appropriate Title IV programs.¬† After the 60% point, the student is deemed to have earned 100% of the Title IV funds.¬†¬†¬† If a student who began attendance and has not officially withdrawn fails to earn a passing grade in at least one course offered over an entire period, the institution must assume, for federal Title IV purposes, that the student has “unofficially withdrawn”, unless the institution can document that the student completed the period.¬† If a student never starts attending any class(es), revisions will be made prior to processing Returns to Title IV calculation.¬† Hawaii Community College will not recalculate any Return to Title IV calculation once completed.
The withdrawal date is used to determine the point in time that the student withdrew or ceased to attend so that the percentage of the enrollment/payment period completed can be determined.¬† A student’s withdrawal date will vary depending on the type of withdrawal.¬† If a student officially withdraws, the date the institution would use would be the day the student started the withdrawal process or notifies their intent to withdraw whichever is earlier.¬† However, the school may choose to use an earlier last date of attendance at an academically related activity as the student’s withdrawal date.¬† If a student does not notify the institution that he/she has withdrawn, the date that the student withdrew would be the date the institution became aware that the student ceased to attend classes.¬† The percentage of Title IV aid earned is equal to the percentage of the enrollment/payment period the student completed.
In cases where funds must be returned, the school will reimburse the Title IV programs via the tuition revenue account.¬† As a result, any tuition refunds due to the student will be returned to reimburse the Title IV programs.¬† Funds will be returned to the appropriate programs in the following order: Federal Direct Unsubsidized loans, Federal Direct Subsidized loans, Federal Direct PLUS loans, Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), and other Title IV grant funds.¬† Students will then be billed for any unpaid institutional charges that result from the return of funds to the Title IV programs.¬† In addition, the student may be required to directly repay a portion of the Title IV that was received.¬† Any repayment outstanding or unpaid will be referred to the U.S. Department of Education for collection and legal disposition.¬† Furthermore, a financial obligation will be placed on the student’s by the institution, which will prohibit the student from registering in the future semesters, receiving academic transcripts, or receiving any additional federal aid funds.¬†
In some cases, a student may be eligible to receive a “post-withdrawal” disbursement after the student completely withdraws from school when the amount of aid earned is less than the amount of aid disbursed.¬† In such cases, the Financial Aid Office will notify the student of the “post-withdrawal” disbursement via an award notification email or letter.
PROCEDURES FOR OFFICIALLY WITHDRAWING FROM SCHOOL
- Students who are completely withdrawing from school must obtain a complete withdrawal form from the Records Office.¬† This form requires the student to provide a last date of attendance for their classes.¬† Students who do not officially withdraw from school may receive “F” grades for all courses.
- Students who are completely withdrawing from school must present the complete withdrawal form to the Financial Aid Office for signature.¬† The Official Withdrawal Process begins when the student submits the withdrawal form to the Financial Aid Office for signature.¬† The Financial Aid Office will begin the Return of Title IV process to determine if the student must repay any fund(s) to the financial aid account(s).¬† All refunds and repayment amounts will be rounded to the nearest cent.
- Finally, students who are completely withdrawing from school must return the complete withdrawal form, with all required signatures, to the Records Office.¬† It is only at this point that the student will be officially withdrawn from all classes.