Financial Aid Policies
While the financial responsibility for a college education rests primarily with the student and parents, Bethel College is committed to helping students find the financial resources to assist in paying their college bill.
All students seeking assistance must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine qualification for federal or state assistance programs. This form is available at www.fafsa.gov or from Bethel’s office of student financial services and most high school guidance offices.
Each year, Bethel College awards to needy students more than $9,000,000 of institutional funds in the form of scholarships and grants.
Financial Need - Financial need is the term used by the office of student financial services to determine a student’s eligibility for state, federal and institutional financial aid programs. Financial need is calculated by subtracting the family contribution from direct educational costs.
The family contribution is determined by the information that is provided on the FAFSA. The direct educational cost is determined by the office of student financial services which includes the college costs for tuition, room, board, and mandatory fees.
Maximum Award Policy - In no case will the combination of scholarship and grant assistance (institutional, federal and state programs) exceed full-time (12-17 credit hours) direct tuition costs. If the total of scholarships and grants exceeds direct tuition costs, Bethel funding will be reduced to bring the total back to the direct tuition costs.
Verification - Based on criteria established by the federal government, students who receive federal or state financial aid may be selected for verification. This process is designed to check the accuracy of the financial information the family provided when applying for financial aid. A copy of the student’s and parent’s income tax form, as well as a verification worksheet is required to complete the process. Additional information may also be required. In order to be considered for all financial aid, requested information must be submitted within 30 days of the college’s written request. In no instance will verification information be processed beyond the student’s enrollment period.
Outside/Private Scholarships - Any financial assistance that is received from sources other than federal, state or college must be reported to the office of financial aid. This includes private scholarships, veterans’ benefits, vocational rehabilitation benefits and fee reduction remission benefits. Adjustments may be made to your institutional financial assistance awards if the additional grant and scholarship assistance causes you to receive more financial assistance than direct tuition costs. (See Maximum Award Policy).
Appeals - Any questions or appeals concerning financial aid policy must be made in writing to the college Financial Aid Committee and submitted to the office of financial aid.
Final Semester Policy - Students who are in their final semester of enrollment prior to graduation and are enrolled less than full time (12 hours) may be eligible to receive institutional scholarships at a pro-rated amount. In general, the equivalent percentage of discount created by institutional awards toward full-time tuition is applied toward part-time tuition charges.
- No formal scholarship application is required for new students to Bethel College, as the awards are determined from high school transcripts and SAT/ACT scores submitted with the application for admission. The highest composite score submitted prior to enrollment will be used.
- Prior to enrollment at Bethel College, if a scholarship is upgraded on the basis of an improved GPA or SAT/ACT scores, the lesser scholarship is dropped.
- Transfer student awards are determined by prior academic performance at an accredited college or university. Official transcripts from every institution previously attended should be sent directly from that institution to the Bethel College admission office.
- Only one academic scholarship/award may be received by a student in a given year. Renewal of the scholarship is determined by the student’s cumulative GPA at the end of each academic year. If satisfactory academic progress for continued enrollment is not being met awards are lost at that time, not at the end of the academic year. Summer term credits and grades will be applicable in calculating scholarship eligibility.
- Awards are applied to direct tuition costs for full-time undergraduate students only. In no case will the combination of scholarship and grant assistance (institutional, federal and state programs) exceed full-time (12-17 credit hours) tuition costs. If the total of scholarships and grants exceed tuition costs, Bethel funding will be reduced to bring the total back to the direct tuition costs. Scholarships and grants are applied to the school bill first. Bethel funds may never generate a credit balance on a student’s account and may not be used for off-campus living expenses or textbooks.
- These awards may be used for a maximum of eight semesters of continuous full-time enrollment. A student is no longer eligible for Bethel funding if they drop below full-time enrollment.
- To continue receiving funding, students must maintain satisfactory academic progress to avoid being placed on financial aid suspension. Appeals for the loss of funding may be made to Bethel’s office of financial aid.
Students Rights and Responsibilities
A student has the right to know
- What financial aid is available, including information on all Federal and State programs.
- The deadlines for submitting applications for each of the financial aid programs available.
- The cost of attending the programs and the school's refund policy.
- The criteria used by the institution to select the financial aid recipients.
- How the school determines your financial need. This process includes how costs for tuition and fees, books, and living expenses are considered in your budget.
- What resources (such as employer reimbursement, other financial aid, etc.) are considered in the calculation of your need.
- How much of your financial need, as determined by the institution, has been met.
- An explanation of the various programs in your student aid package. If you believe you have been treated unfairly, you may request reconsideration of the award which was made to you.
- What portion of the financial aid you received must be repaid, and what portion is grant aid. If the aid is a loan, you have the right to know what the interest rate is, the total amount that must be repaid, the payback procedures, the length of time you have to repay the loan and when the repayment is to begin.
A Student’s Responsibilities
- Review all information about the school's program before you enroll.
- Complete all application forms accurately and in a timely manner and send to correct address.
- Pay special attention to, and accurately complete, your application for student aid. Errors can result in delays of receipt of your financial aid. Intentional reporting of false information on application forms for federal financial aid is a violation of law and is considered a criminal offense subject to penalties under the U.S. Criminal Code.
- Return all additional information, verification, corrections and/or new information requested by the Bethel College Financial Aid Office, your state financial aid authority or the agency to which you submitted your FAFSA.
- Read and understand all the forms that you are asked to sign and keep copies of them.
- Accept responsibility for all agreements you sign.
- If you have a loan, notify the lender of changes in your name, address or school status.
- Know and comply with the deadlines for application or reapplication for aid.
- Know and comply with Bethel College’s refund policy procedure.
- Know and comply with Bethel College’s Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.
Return of Title lV Financial Aid
The law specifies how Bethel College must determine the amount of Title IV program assistance that a student earned if he withdraws from school. The Title IV programs that are covered by this law, and that are available at Bethel College, are: Federal Pell Grants, Federal SEOG, Academic Competitiveness Grants, Stafford Loans and PLUS Loans.
A student withdrawing from Bethel College during the semester must see the Student Development Office and complete a Withdrawal Form. When a student withdraws from Bethel College, the withdrawal date used to determine the refund is the date the student began the College's withdrawal process, although the College reserves the right to use the last date of attendance at an academically related activity. Academically related activities include attending class, or attending an examination.
When a student withdraws during his payment period (semester), the amount of Title IV program assistance he has earned up to that point is determined by a specific formula. If he received (or Bethel College or his parent received on his behalf) less assistance than the amount he earned, he may be able to receive those additional funds. If the student received more assistance than he earned, the excess funds must be returned by the school and/or the student.
The student must be fully eligible to receive federal funds prior to his withdrawal in order for Title IV aid to be considered as aid that could have been disbursed and, consequently, included in the Return to Title IV calculation. The criteria for eligibility are:
- The Student Aid Report (or ISIR) must have been processed with an official EFC by the date of withdrawal,
- The student must have been making Satisfactory Academic Progress,
- For any Stafford or PLUS Loan, the loan must have been certified by the date of withdrawal,
- For an Academic Competitiveness Grant, the student must have been enrolled full time.
The amount of assistance that a student has earned is determined on a pro-rata basis. For example, if he completed 30% of his payment period, the student earns 30% of the assistance he was originally scheduled to receive. Once he has completed more than 60% of the payment period or period of enrollment, he earns all the assistance that he was scheduled to receive for that period.
If the student did not receive all of the funds that he earned, he may be due a post-withdrawal disbursement. If his post-withdrawal disbursement includes loan funds, Bethel College must get his permission before it can disburse them within 30 days of the date of determination. A student may choose to decline some or all of the loan funds so that he doesn't incur additional debt. Bethel College may automatically use all or a portion of a student's post-withdrawal disbursement of Title IV funds for tuition, and room and board charges (as contracted with the College). The College needs the student's permission to use the post-withdrawal Title IV disbursement for all other school charges. If the student does not give his permission, he will be offered the funds directly; however, it may be in the student's best interest to allow the school to keep the funds to reduce his debt at the school.
A post-withdrawal disbursement to the student's account to pay charges must be disbursed as soon as possible but no later than 45 days after the date the school determined is the withdrawal date. A post-withdrawal disbursement made directly to the student must be disbursed as soon as possible, but no later than 45 days for grants and 45 days for loan funds.
There are some Title IV funds that a student may have been scheduled to receive that cannot be disbursed to him once he withdraws because of other eligibility requirements. For example, a student may have been scheduled to receive a Stafford Student Loan but if he has not signed a promissory note, the funds cannot be disbursed to him after he withdraws.
If a student receives (or Bethel College or his parent receive on his behalf) excess Title IV program funds that must be returned, Bethel College must return a portion of the excess equal to the lesser of:
- the student's institutional charges multiplied by the unearned percentage of his funds, or
- the entire amount of excess funds.
The College must return this amount even if it didn't keep this amount of the student's Title IV program funds. The College must return the unearned aid for which it is responsible by repaying funds to the following sources, in this order, up to the total net amount disbursed from each source:
- Unsubsidized Stafford Student Loan
- Subsidized Stafford Student Loan
- Parent PLUS Loan
- Pell Grant
- Academic Competitivenes Grant
These unearned Title IV funds must be returned no later than 30 days after the date the school determined the student withdrew.
If Bethel College is not required to return all of the excess funds, the student must return the remaining amount. Any loan funds that the student must return, he (or his parent for a PLUS Loan) repays in accordance with the terms of the promissory note. That is, he makes scheduled payments to the holder of the loan over a period of time.
Any amount of unearned grant funds that a student must return is called an overpayment. The maximum amount of a grant overpayment that a student must repay is half of the grant funds he received or was scheduled to receive. The student must make arrangements with the College or the Department of Education to return the unearned grant funds. Within 30 days of the date the College determined the student withdrew, the College is required to notify the student of his obligation to repay grant funds. The student is required to repay the grant funds within 45 days of the earlier of: (1) the date the College sends the student notice of the overpayment, or (2) the date the school was required to notify the student of the overpayment (in the event of a late notification).
The requirements for the return of Title IV program funds when a student withdraws are separate from any refund policy that the College has. Therefore, a student may still owe funds to the College to cover unpaid institutional charges. The College may also charge a student for any Title IV program funds that the College was required to return. A copy of the College's refund policy is published in the Student Handbook and can also be obtained from the College's Financial Aid Office. If a student wishes to withdraw, he should speak with the Dean and complete a Notification of Withdrawal form.
For more information about Title IV program funds contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FEDAID (1-800-433-3243). Student Aid information is also available on the web at www.studentaid.ed.gov.
Satisfactory Academic Progress
Students receiving financial aid must maintain good academic standing with the college in order to qualify for continued financial awards. To maintain eligibility for Federal Title IV and/or other college-administered financial aid assistance the following conditions must be met:
Quantitative Progress Standards
- A student enrolled full time (12 hours per semester) must earn at least 24 credit hours per 12-month period. A student enrolled three-quarter time (9-11.5 hours per semester) must earn at least 18 hours per 12-month period. A student enrolled half time (6-8.5 hours per semester) must earn at least 12 credit hours per 12-month period. Credit hours completed during summer enrollment are counted toward fulfillment of the above requirements.
- Example: A full-time student completes 23 of 24 hours during the fall and spring terms. The student enrolls in and passes 3 hours during the summer term. These 3 hours are counted toward the preceding fall and spring term.
- A student who changes status within the 12-month period will have his/her status averaged (e.g., in the fall semester the student is full time, then in the spring semester the student enrolls for half-time hours. The student would be considered a three-quarter time student for the year and would need to have completed the appropriate number of hours for that status).
Cumulative Progress Standards
- The normal time to complete a bachelor’s degree is 8 to 10 semesters of full-time enrollment. A student is allowed a maximum of 12 semesters of full-time study and may receive financial aid up to this maximum. Students enrolled in fewer than 12 hours per semester, but at least 6 hours per semester, are expected to complete their degree requirements in proportion to the full-time requirements. Students in an academic program with a program length of 120-140 hours who have attempted 180 credit hours toward a degree will be ineligible for student financial aid.
- Graduate students in a program length of 30 credit hours have 5 years to complete their degree and a maximum of 45 attempted credit hours. Graduate programs of longer than 30 credit hours have a maximum of 7 years to complete and maximum attempted credit hours not to exceed 150% of the program length. Students who are enrolled in a second degree program which is equal to or lower than a degree already earned, will have officially accepted credit hours which are specifically applied toward the student's current certificate or degree program counted in the maximum number of allowable credit hours for financial aid eligibility. Note: A student will not be considered to have reached the credit hour maximum until the semester following the one in which the student reaches or exceeds the maximum semester hours attempted.
Qualitative Progress Standards
The student must maintain satisfactory academic grades. The following scale is used to determine satisfactory progress for all students:
|2.0 or above||2.0 to 1.20||Below 1.20|
Failure to meet the above criteria will place the student on academic probation for one semester. The student may receive financial aid while on probation, but not for more than two such semesters during the normal 8 to 10 semester college career. The admission on probation status is not considered as part of the two-semester probation rule.
- Students who enroll in a course and are given an incomplete grade must complete the course requirements no later than the time grades are due the following semester. If the course is not completed, it is counted as hours attempted but not passed, and the criteria in paragraph one is applied.
- Classes that a student enrolls in and withdraws from, receiving an authorized grade of W, are not counted as hours attempted. However, a semester of financial aid eligibility will have been used.
- When an “F” is received for a course, that course may be repeated. Courses that are repeated will count in the calculation of hours attempted and completed hours earned if the student receives a passing grade. Only repeated courses taken at Bethel will affect the grade point average (GPA) and will include the new grade on the transcript. Thus, if a course is repeated at another institution only the actual credit(s) earned will transfer.
- A maximum of 5 noncredit remedial courses will be considered as successful completions unless enrollment in additional courses is approved by the vice president of academic services.
REVIEW and APPEALS
- Academic progress is reviewed at the end of the fall and spring semesters. An appeal process is available to students who wish to have a review of their circumstances and/or request an exception to any of the above conditions. The request must be in writing, addressed to the Financial Aid Committee, stating the reasons that justify the request. The Financial Aid Committee will review the request and will respond through the Director of Financial Aid.
- Students who are granted waiver of the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy are allowed one additional semester to re-establish their eligibility. If at the end of the semester the student has not met the standards they are allowed to resubmit an appeal as stated above. Waivers will be granted based upon the student’s ability to show progress from the beginning of the first waiver period. A student is limited to two appeals of the policy.