Working With Financial Aid
How many hours must a student be enrolled?
A student must be enrolled at least half-time (6 hours for undergraduates) in order to receive financial aid. However, students should be aware that many institutional scholarships and grants require full-time (12-16 hours) enrollment.
Does dropping classes affect financial aid?
Student financial aid awards are based on a specific number of hours, which is stated on the award notice. If a student is enrolled for more or less than these hours, the award may change, especially if the student has scholarships that require specific enrollment levels. If a student drops below required enrollment levels at any time during the semester, scholarships are removed from the award and the dollar amount is charged to the student’s tuition account. If a student loses a scholarship, the student owes the college the amount of that scholarship.
If at any time a student changes his/her enrollment so that it is different from what the aid was based on, the financial aid award may be modified. Any tuition refund the student receives may be returned to the agency that provided financial assistance to the student, including banks, Westminster College, and the federal government. Students should check with the Financial Aid Office if they need more detailed information.
Do enrollment changes affect future eligibility?
Possibly, yes. Students who are receiving financial aid need to successfully complete 70% of the classes they enrolled for and maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00 in order to continue their eligibility for financial aid in the future (Satisfactory Progress requirement). Withdrawing, failing, or getting a no-credit for classes decreases the percentage of completed classes and can negatively affect a student’s eligibility for future financial assistance. Students should be aware that they need to enroll for classes that they can complete successfully.
How should students deal with a Stafford Loan?
The financial aid award should indicate the maximum loan eligibility for the academic year. Students should apply for the amount they need for the whole academic year. Students will get half of that amount each fall and spring semester (fall, spring). Students must keep in mind that the loan amount they get will be reduced by 3% for the federal loan origination fee. In order to receive a student loan at Westminster College, students will need to complete an Entrance Counseling Session before they will receive the loan application to submit. The Entrance Counseling Session can be completed HERE by following the online instructions.
Once a student completes Stafford Loan Entrance Counseling, an e-mail will be sent to the Financial Aid Office confirming the completion of this requirement. Westminster receives funds through Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT). The loan funds will credit directly to the student’s tuition account.
Can students get help with purchasing textbooks?
Westminster has an Emergency Loan Program to assist with book purchases. Students may apply for an Emergency Loan before school starts, but funds are not available until the Friday of the first week of the semester, and students must be enrolled during the current semester to obtain one. The maximum amount a student can borrow is $300, and it must be repaid within 90 days. To get an Emergency Loan for books, students must make a list of the books they need, with the prices, and take it to the Financial Aid Office.
How can students obtain a work-study job?
Work-study is part of a need-based financial aid award. Jobs are posted outside the Financial Aid Office or can be viewed online HERE by following the links. If work-study is on a student’s financial aid award, the student is eligible to apply for those jobs. Check with the work-study coordinator in the Financial Aid Office for more information about eligibility. A work-study job fair is held during first-year student orientation. Students sign up for an interview and are generally hired by the third week of school.
Students should be aware that if they have a work-study position and are placed on academic probation, they may be asked to discontinue working in the program until they are returned to good standing.
What about next year’s financial aid?
Students need to apply for need-based financial aid each year. Students can begin the process any time after January. They should watch for renewal applications in December or January, or pick up a new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) from the Financial Aid Office.
If students have any questions about financial aid or about continuing grants and scholarships, they should contact the Financial Aid Office in Bamberger Hall, or call 832-2500.