Financial Aid

Eligibility

The primary responsibility for financing a college education lies with the student and the family (if the student is deemed dependent). All students must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) annually to receive consideration for financial aid. The purpose of the FAFSA is to determine the financial need of a student and to confirm their eligibility to participate in student aid programs. The information provided on the FAFSA is calculated using a federal needs analysis formula approved by the United States Congress.

The results of the federal needs analysis are released to Rivier University and used by the Financial Aid Office to determine your award. A financial aid award will vary according to a student's need and the availability of funds. Financial aid is awarded for one academic year at a time; students must reapply annually to receive consideration in subsequent years.

Financial Need
A student's financial need is the cost of attendance minus the expected family contribution (EFC). Students may not receive financial aid in excess of their cost of attendance. The Financial Aid Office fully acknowledges it may not be able to meet a student's financial need due to limited resources. We are happy to help and provide assistance with alternative financing programs.

Verification
A student's file may be selected by the U.S. Department of Education or by the College for review in a process called verification. Students selected for verification will be asked to provide additional documents to the Financial Aid Office. These documents will be used to either confirm or correct information submitted by the student on the FAFSA. Since a student's financial aid eligibility is based on information provided on the FAFSA, any changes in that data may affect a student's financial aid award. For this reason, awards will not be finalized until verification has been completed.

Financial Aid Award Revisions
Revisions to a financial award are sometimes required. If the Financial Aid Office receives additional information pertaining to a student's financial aid application, adjustments to an award are often necessary. If a student's award is adjusted, he or she will receive a Revised Award Letter. Some typical reasons for award adjustments are:

1. Enrollment change (student is modifying their originally planned enrollment pattern; for instance a student drops or adds a class or classes). An enrollment change affects the student's cost of attendance, which often alters financial aid eligibility.

In these cases, the Financial Aid Office is required to reduce a student's financial aid award. Please note: all students must be enrolled at least half time to receive financial aid. Undergraduate half time enrollment is defined as a minimum of 6 credit hours per semester. Graduate half time enrollment is defined as a minimum of 5 credit hours per semester. The following chart outlines the number of credits needed to be considered less than half-time, half-time, three quarter time, or full-time status:

Academic Program    

Less than half-time    

Half-time    

Three quarter time

Full-time    

Undergraduate

Less than 6 credits

6 to 8 credits

9 to 11 credits

12 credits or more

Graduate   

Less than 5 credits

5 to 8 credits

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9 credits or more

Doctoral

Less than 4 credits

4 to 7 credits    

-------------------------

8 credits or more

2. Housing change (changing from campus resident to commuter).
This affects the student's cost of attendance and may reduce financial aid eligibility and a student's award.

3. New information is available. Updated information provided by the student may result in an EFC change.

4. Additional source of support. Also a factor is whether a student is receiving assistance from a source other than Rivier University. If a student receives private scholarship or grant money, it is their responsibility to notify the Financial Aid Office of this information.

Satisfactory Academic Progress
Financial aid recipients are required by both federal and institutional policy to be making Satisfactory Academic Progress. Students are expected to be working at a reasonable pace towards a degree or certificate and be maintaining at least the minimum grade point average required for graduation. The financial aid policy regarding Satisfactory Academic Progress is all students, full or part-time, are expected to maintain at least a 2.0 GPA. In addition, students must complete 67 percent of the courses they are attempting for any given semester.

Students may use a GPA calculator, such as Raise your GPA , to determine what they would need in order to obtain a certain GPA. Please keep in mind if a student enters the amount of credits they are currently taking with the cumulative GPA they would like to obtain, the calculator could produce a figure greater the 4.0. This would mean the cumulative GPA could not be obtained during that semester.

SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS POLICY EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2011 

Undergraduate Student – Satisfactory Academic Progress
All students are evaluated for satisfactory academic progress (SAP) at the end of each payment period (semester). 

Credit Hour Programs
Satisfactory academic progress is measured qualitatively, by review of the Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA); quantitatively, by review of the rate of progress – the percentage of credits earned vs. attempted; and overall against a maximum timeframe of 150% of the program length, measured in attempted credits. Full-time undergraduate students must complete their program within six years (see table below for minimum completion requirements). The academic credit for semesters is earned with a passing grade (D or better). Satisfactory progress is defined as a minimum of a 2.00 CGPA and a rate of progress of at least 67%. 

 First year – Must successfully complete a minimum of eighteen credits 

 Second year – Must successfully complete a minimum of thirty-nine credits 

 Third year – Must successfully complete a minimum of sixty credits 

 Fourth year – Must successfully complete a minimum of eighty-one credits 

 Fifth year – Must successfully complete a minimum of ninety-six credits 

 Sixth year – Must successfully complete a minimum of one hundred and twenty credits 

Part-time undergraduates must complete their program in a proportional amount of time. 

To successfully complete a program the student must achieve 100% of the program credits within 150% of the program length, as defined by attempted credits. 

Graduate / Doctoral Students – Satisfactory Academic Progress
All students are evaluated for satisfactory academic progress (SAP) at the end of each payment period (semester).

Credit Hour Programs
Satisfactory academic progress is measured qualitatively, by review of the Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA); quantitatively, by review of the rate of progress – the percentage of credits earned vs. attempted; and overall against a maximum timeframe of 150% of the program length, measured in attempted credits. The academic credit for semesters is earned with a passing grade (D or better). Satisfactory progress is defined as a minimum of a 3.00 CGPA and a rate of progress of at least 67%.

To successfully complete a program the student must achieve 100% of the program credits within 150% of the program length, as defined by attempted credits.

SAP Status Review
At the SAP checkpoint, a student who is not meeting the SAP requirements for the first time will be placed on a “Financial Aid Warning.” Students on “Financial Aid Warning” who do not meet SAP requirements for the subsequent semester will lose financial aid eligibility. To regain aid eligibility after this point, the student must appeal in accordance with the policy described below. Students whose appeals are granted will be placed on “Financial Aid Probation” for the next semester. If students do not meet SAP after the “Financial Aid Probation” period, all federal eligibility will be lost. 

Appeal Process
A student who loses aid eligibility due to failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress may appeal this status. To do so, the student must submit a "Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal" form and a "Satisfactory Academic Progress Plan Student Contract" within fourteen (14) calendar days of receiving the notice of financial aid termination. This appeal should be addressed to the Director of Financial Aid in Adrienne Hall. The appeal must be accompanied by documentation of the situation, events or circumstances that prevented the student from attaining satisfactory academic progress or otherwise explains the student’s deficient performance. Generally, only extraordinary circumstances are considered, such as the severe illness of the student or an immediate family member. The student will be sent the Director’s written decision within ten (10) days of the school’s receipt of the appeal. The decision of the Director of her designee will be final. 

If the appeal is granted, a student previously receiving financial aid will regain financial aid eligibility on an Academic Plan status. The student must regain SAP status by the time projected in the Academic Plan, but no later than the maximum timeframe of the program.  

The student’s appeal must address the following: 

  1.  The basis for the appeal – a description of the special circumstance AND 
  2.  The reason why the student failed to meet the SAP standard(s) AND 
  3.  What has changed in the student’s situation so that he or she will now be able to meet with SAP standards. 

Appeals will be granted on a case by case basis. 

Academic Plans
A student whose appeal is granted will be required to meet the terms of the Academic Plan as outlined in the notice granting the appeal. Generally, the Academic Plan will require students to meet or exceed the attendance requirements, pass all courses with a “C” or better and may include additional required elements, such as tutoring. At the end of each semester, the student’s progress will be reviewed based on the Academic Plan. A student who fails to maintain the terms of the academic plan will be terminated from financial aid eligibility. 

Miscellaneous
Grades of I (Incomplete), F (Failing) and W (Withdrawn) are not considered to be completed credits, but do count as attempted credits. I (Incomplete) grades are temporary and if not satisfactorily resolved by the deadline set between the Registrar’s Office and the professor become F (Failing) grades. Transfer credits are included as both credits earned and credits attempted. P (Passing) grades and W (Withdrawn) count as credits earned and attempted, but have no value for CGPA. Course repetitions count as attempted credits, but students can earn credit only once. When a course is repeated, the later grade will replace the first grade in calculating the CGPA.

Renewal of Awards
Need-based financial aid awards are not automatically renewed. The student is responsible for and must reapply for financial aid each year. Financial aid eligibility is re-evaluated annually based on the following variables:

1. Financial Circumstances: Changes in a family's financial situation may affect aid eligibility. All need-based awards will be re-evaluated to allow for either increases or decreases in a student's calculated financial aid eligibility.

2. Cost of Attendance: Any annual increases in either tuition or room/board charges will be factored into a student's aid eligibility.

3. Grade level/Self-help funding increases: Annual award limits for the Federal Stafford Loan, set by the federal government, are intended to increase with a student's grade level. Increases to a student's Stafford Loan award may affect eligibility for other need-based aid, such as a Rivier University Grant. For this reason, a student's financial aid award may reflect a change in the loan-to-grant ratio.

Renewal of merit based scholarships is subject to the published renewal guidelines specific to each fund. Students who receive merit based aid only are not required to reapply for their scholarships. Re-evaluation, and renewal for qualified students is automatic. Full-time undergraduate students are eligible to be considered for financial aid for up to eight semesters.

Students pursuing a fifth year of study should consult with the Financial Aid Office regarding aid eligibility. Less than full-time undergraduates will have the maximum number of semesters of eligibility determined proportionate to their enrollment status.

Refund Policy
There are two distinct types of refund policies. One is Rivier University's institutional refund policy. The second is the federal Return to Title IV refund policy. Please visit http://www.rivier.edu/about.aspx?menu=119&id=1045 to review Rivier's institutional policy. Below is the federal refund policy:

Rivier follows the requirements mandated by the Department of Education for the treatment of Title IV funds when a student withdraws. These requirements were added to the law by the Higher Education Amendments of 1998 (Public Law 105 – 244) and are found in section 484B of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, and in the implementing final regulations published on November 1, 1999 (64 FR 59016). A repayment to the federal aid programs (Perkins Loan and Direct Loan programs) may be required when cash has been disbursed to a student from financial aid funds in excess of the amount of aid the student earned during the term. The amount of Title IV aid earned is determined by multiplying the total Title IV aid (excluding Federal College Work-Study funds) for which the student qualified by the percentage of time during the term that the student was enrolled. If less aid was disbursed than was earned, the amount of Title IV aid that must be returned is determined by subtracting the earned amount from the amount actually disbursed. The responsibility for returning unearned aid is allocated between the university and the student according to the portion of disbursed aid that could have been used to cover university charges and the portion that could have been disbursed directly to the student once university charges were covered. Rivier University will distribute the unearned aid back to the Title IV programs as specified by law. The student will be responsible for any balance on his or her account, which results from these adjustments. 

Students who choose to withdraw from the University must complete an official Withdrawal Form. This form must be signed and returned to the Registrar's office. 

Check with your home state to see if you qualify for state grants - http://www.collegescholarships.org/grants/state.htm 

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