Office of Financial Aid
Gardiner Hall, 304-876-5470 or 800-344-5231
www.shepherd.edu/financialaid or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Office of Financial Aid is committed to helping students and their families finance their higher education. Every effort is made to provide financial aid to qualified students through grants, loans, employment, and scholarships. All funds are administered in compliance with federal, state, and institutional guidelines.
Students interested in applying for financial aid need to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form is the application for all major federal, as well as some state and institutional student aid programs, and must be received by the federal processing center by March 1 for priority consideration. Shepherd University’s federal school code (003822) must be included so that the results will be sent to the Office of Financial Aid.
It is recommended that the FAFSA is completed online at www.fafsa.gov. The online process ensures a higher rate of accuracy and quicker processing time. For students who filed a FAFSA for the previous year, a renewal application may be completed at the same website which can be even quicker.
For the summer session(s), a separate Shepherd Financial Aid Application also is required. The application is generally available at the beginning of March. Students must schedule their summer courses before the application can be processed.
Foreign-born students who are neither U.S. citizens nor U.S. permanent residents may be eligible for a variety of scholarships that include merit-based, Honors, athletic, and service (e.g., Multicultural Leadership Team). New students should work directly with the international admissions counselor for further information and application. Continuing students should meet directly with the awarding program (Honors, athletics, Multicultural Leadership Team) or with the Office of Financial Aid for general information and assistance.
You must apply for financial aid each year.
Types of Financial Aid
There are four types of financial aid: grants, loans, employment, and scholarships. Shepherd University administers a broad range of financial aid programs. For more detailed descriptions of the aid programs outlined below and many others, please refer to the Office of Financial Aid website at www.shepherd.edu/financialaid.
Federal and state grant programs are generally only available to undergraduates who have not received their first baccalaureate degree:
- Federal Pell Grant
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
- West Virginia Higher Education Grant (must be full time)
- West Virginia Higher Education Adult Part-time Student Grant (HEAPS)
- Other state grants, including but not limited to Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Contact your state’s higher education policy commission for details.
Shepherd University participates in the U.S. Department of Education’s William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan and the Federal Perkins Loan programs. Generally, students must be in at least six credit hours to be eligible for loan assistance, excluding summer. Loan limits vary based on grade level, financial need, and dependency status in the Direct Loan program. Perkins Loan funding is limited. Parents may also borrow on the student’s behalf through the Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS). This requires a separate application which can be completed at studentloans.gov.
Private loans are also available. A co-borrower is generally required. Shepherd University will work with any lender you choose appropriate to your needs.
Opportunities are provided through Federal College Work Study and institutional funds. Positions are offered in many areas across the campus and in the community. Work study funds are limited. A work study award is not available to assist with the invoice at the beginning of the term. Earnings are paid by check twice a month. To review a list of available positions, go to jobs.shepherd.edu/applicants/jsp/shared/frameset/Frameset.jsp?time=1447251859984.
Shepherd University, committed to promoting academic excellence, offers a variety of scholarships. Scholarships have been established through the Shepherd University Foundation to recognize academic achievement, special talents, and abilities, as well as community service. The Office of Financial Aid collaborates with the Office of Admissions, Athletics Program, Honors Program, Department of Music, and all academic departments to award scholarships. Admissions applications are automatically reviewed by the Office of Admissions for new students. Continuing students should contact their academic department or program of interest for specific scholarship applications or deadlines.
State scholarships are processed through the Office of Financial Aid; however, they are awarded by the state’s Higher Education Policy Commission. For example, West Virginia administers the PROMISE Scholarship, Underwood Smith Scholarship, and Engineering, Science, and Technology Scholarship.
Students can also search for private scholarships. These scholarships are funded through businesses, civic organizations, churches, etc. These checks should be made co-payable to the student and institution and forwarded to the Office of Financial Aid for processing.
Renewal Criteria: Some scholarships are renewable. Each scholarship program has different renewal criteria, such as semester or cumulative grade point averages, required number of credit hours earned, major, etc.
Other Sources of Financial Aid
Students, depending on their unique situations, may contact outside agencies for other sources of financial aid, for example, Vocational Rehabilitation, Veterans Benefits, National Guard, Workers’ Compensation, Corporation for National and Community Service (AmeriCorps), etc.
Any funding received by an outside source must be reported to the Office of Financial Aid. This type of financial assistance has an impact on eligibility of other aid programs.
Each financial aid recipient must assist the university in establishing documentation that the student actually attended each class for which they enrolled. If the university is unable to establish such attendance for each class, some or all financial aid may be cancelled.
Under a consortium agreement, students may receive financial aid to take courses at another school provided those credits count toward their degree. Students taking classes at another school must complete the Transfer Approval Form with the Office of the Registrar. It is then the student’s responsibility to provide a copy of the approved form to the Office of Financial Aid and complete the Consortium Agreement. This agreement will then be forwarded to the financial aid office of the host school for completion.
Students participating in consortium agreements are required to provide a transcript of grades from the host institution to the Office of the Registrar at the end of each consortium semester. Failure to provide the transcript will result in the suspension of aid for any subsequent semester. In addition, grades received from the host institution will be included in determining satisfactory academic progress.
Students interested in study abroad must be approved by the Study Abroad Office at Shepherd University. See the section Study Abroad for details. Most financial aid programs can apply toward study abroad expenses; however, it may depend on the agency or institution through which you plan to study. For example, a PROMISE Scholarship or West Virginia Higher Education Grant can only be used if studying through a program in which tuition and fees are assessed by a West Virginia institution. Students must complete the Consortium Agreement process outlined above. If anticipated expenses are more than the cost of attendance at Shepherd, students must also submit a budget along with supporting documentation.
Disbursement dates for the release of financial aid are determined in accordance with federal regulations and the Shepherd academic year; therefore, special disbursement dates cannot be arranged.
Definition of Academic Year for Financial Aid Purposes
The definition of academic year for financial aid purposes for undergraduate students is as follows:
Students earning 29 credit hours or less shall be classified as first year.
Students earning 30-59 credit hours shall be classified as second year.
Students earning 60-89 credit hours shall be classified as third year.
Students earning 90-128 credit hours shall be classified as fourth year.
Students earning more than 128 credit hours shall be classified as fifth year.
This definition will be used when awarding aid programs that are based on grade level or year in school.
Repeating courses may have an impact on financial aid eligibility. Courses repeated more than once after already earning a passing grade cannot be included in enrollment for financial aid purposes unless the course content is different.
Financial Aid Refund and Repayment Policy
The Office of Financial Aid is required by federal statute to recalculate federal financial aid eligibility for students who withdraw, drop out, are dismissed, or take a leave of absence prior to completing 60 percent of a payment period or term. The federal Title IV financial aid programs must be recalculated in these situations.
If a student leaves the institution prior to completing 60 percent of a payment period or term, the Office of Financial Aid recalculates eligibility for Title IV funds. Recalculation is based on the percentage of earned aid using the following Federal Return of Title IV Funds formula:
- Percentage of payment period or term completed = the number of days completed up to the withdrawal date divided by the total days in the payment period or term. (Any break of five days or more is not counted as part of the days in the term.) This percentage is also the percentage of earned aid.
Funds are returned to the appropriate federal program based on the percentage of unearned aid using the following formula:
- Aid to be returned = (100 percent of the aid that could be disbursed minus the percentage of earned aid) multiplied by the total amount of aid that could have been disbursed during the payment period or term.
If a student earned less aid than was disbursed, the institution would be required to return a portion of the funds and the student would be required to return a portion of the funds. Keep in mind that when Title IV funds are returned, the student borrower may owe a debit balance to the institution.
If a student earned more aid than was disbursed to him/her, the institution would owe the student a post-withdrawal disbursement which must be paid within 120 days of the student’s withdrawal.
The institution must return the amount of Title IV funds for which it is responsible no later than 30 days after the date of the determination of the date of the student’s withdrawal.
Refunds are allocated in the following order:
- Federal Unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loans
- Federal Subsidized Direct Stafford Loans
- Federal Perkins Loans
- Federal Direct Parent (PLUS) Loans
- Federal Pell Grants for which a return of funds is required
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG) for which a return of funds is required
- Federal TEACH Grant
- Other Title IV assistance
- Other state assistance
- Other institutional assistance
- Other private assistance
- The student
Please keep in mind this repayment policy is in addition to the institution’s refund policy. A student who withdraws from school could owe federal financial aid as well as repayment back to the West Virginia Higher Education Grant Program, PROMISE Scholarship Program, Shepherd University, etc.
If a student who began attendance does not officially withdraw and fails to earn a grade in at least one course, he/she is considered to have unofficially withdrawn for financial aid purposes. A recalculation of federal Title IV financial aid eligibility is required. The recalculation will be based on 50 percent of the period unless documentation supports a last date of attendance to the contrary. Generally, the student will owe a return of funds. A grade of F is considered earned failure. An IF is considered failure due to irregular withdrawal. See the section Grading System for details on grades.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy
Students must be making measurable academic progress toward completion of an eligible degree to receive financial aid–federal, state, or institutional. Federal regulations require an evaluation of both qualitative and quantitative academic progress, as well as maximum time frame to completion of degree objective not exceeding 150 percent. All semesters of enrollment will be included in the measurement of satisfactory academic progress, including semesters in which the student did not receive financial aid. Additionally, transfer work on the Shepherd University academic record is also included.
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards are the same for all categories of students, including those students registered with Disability Services. Students registered with Disability Services should take advantage of suggested accommodations in order to meet SAP standards. Failure to register with Disability Services will not exempt a student from the ramifications of the SAP Policy.
The measurement of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is made at the end of each spring semester. There will not be a WARNING semester. If, at the conclusion of the spring semester, a student does not meet any one of the SAP measurements, financial aid eligibility is suspended immediately; however, he/she has the right to initiate an appeal.
It is important to note that students may meet the minimum academic standards with the Office of the Registrar to enroll, but not meet the SAP standards for financial aid eligibility; likewise, students may meet the SAP standards to be eligible for financial aid, but not meet the minimum academic standards to enroll.
The following policy is effective with the beginning of the fall 2011 semester:
Students must meet a qualitative standard of academic progress measured through cumulative grade point average.
Undergraduate students must maintain BOTH a minimum 2.0 Shepherd University GPA AND a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA (including coursework attempted at other institutions).
Students whose GPA falls below these standards do not meet the qualitative measurement and are ineligible for financial aid effective immediately; however, he/she has the right to initiate an appeal.
Students must meet a quantitative standard of academic progress measured by a percentage completion rate. Undergraduate students must successfully complete 70 percent of all attempted credit hours.
Attempted hours for courses with a grade of failure (F), incomplete (I), incomplete/failure (IF), withdrawal (W), or repeat (R) are counted as hours attempted and combined with all passing grades in determining progress.
Students who do not meet the quantitative measurement are ineligible for financial aid effective immediately; however, he/she has the right to initiate an appeal.
Maximum Time Frame
Students must obtain degree objective within 150 percent of the time frame for degree completion.
Attempted Credit Hours
Bachelor’s degree, requiring 128 credit hours: 192
Bachelor’s degree, requiring 120 credit hours: 180
Changing majors does not begin a new maximum time frame calculation. All credits attempted regardless of major are included in the maximum time frame.
Students pursuing a second bachelor’s degree must obtain the second degree within 60 attempted credit hours. The attempted hours limitation for a second degree is measured from the point at which the student earned the initial degree.
Students who exceed the maximum time frame are ineligible for financial aid effective immediately; however, he/she has the right to initiate an appeal.
Students readmitted on academic probation or suspension are not eligible for financial aid unless they meet the SAP policy. Students who are readmitted on a contract do not automatically have their financial aid eligibility reinstated.
Students granted academic forgiveness are not automatically eligible for financial aid unless they meet the SAP policy; however, the student has the right to initiate an appeal.
Probation (for financial aid purposes)
“Probation” is the status assigned to a student who fails to meet SAP standards and who has appealed and had eligibility for financial aid reinstated for no more than one semester. At the conclusion of the semester of “probation,” the student must have achieved compliance with the SAP policy or have strictly adhered to his/her academic plan in order to continue eligibility. The status assigned to a student who continues eligibility based on meeting the academic plan will be “Academic Progress.” A probationary student who neither achieves SAP compliance nor adherence to the academic plan devised in the earlier appeal does have a right to initiate a new appeal.
Unusual circumstances may occur which impact a student’s ability to be successful during an enrollment period. Examples of such unusual circumstances would be death of an immediate family member or legal guardian, personal injury or illness of the student, or other documented circumstances. Documentation such as death certificate/notice, physician’s statement, etc., or other comparable documentation of unusual circumstances, will be required.
A student, who wishes to appeal his/her SAP status based on documented unusual circumstances, must adhere to the following appeal process:
Complete the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal Form-Level 1 located in the Office of Financial Aid or on the Shepherd University Office of Financial Aid website at www.shepherd.edu/financialaid and submit, along with supporting documentation, the Student Statement Form and the Academic Plan for Progress, to the Office of Financial Aid no later than one week after the first day of class of the semester in which the student seeks financial aid. Incomplete submissions may be denied on that basis.
The appeal will be reviewed by the Office of Financial Aid. A request for clarification or additional documentation may be made. The appeal will be considered incomplete until any requested documentation is provided. The student will be notified as to the decision of the Office of Financial Aid. If the appeal is granted, the student will have eligibility reinstated for a single probationary semester. If at the end of the one semester of probation, the student is not fully meeting SAP standards, additional semesters of eligibility may be extended provided the student strictly adheres to the Academic Plan for Progress which will be referred to as “Academic Progress.”
If the appeal is denied by the Office of Financial Aid, or the student does not meet the SAP policy following the one semester of probation and did not follow the Academic Plan for Progress, the student may initiate a new appeal to be reviewed by the Scholarship and Financial Aid Committee.
Complete Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal Form-Level 2 located in the Office of Financial Aid or on the Shepherd University Office of Financial Aid website at www.shepherd.edu/financialaid and submit, along with any additional supporting documentation including the Student Statement Form, to the director of financial aid who will convene the committee. This committee is appointed by the president of Shepherd University each year and is comprised of faculty and staff.
The committee will be provided with all documentation previously submitted with the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal Form-Level 1. The decision of the committee is final.
The student will be notified as to the decision of the committee. Should the committee deny the appeal, the student is not eligible for any further financial aid from Shepherd University until such time that the student becomes compliant with the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy or initiates a new, successful appeal. Neither paying for classes nor sitting out a semester will automatically reinstate a student’s financial aid eligibility.