Awards are made in compliance with federal, state, and institutional policies and are initially awarded based on the assumption of full time enrollment for each student. After the enrollment reporting is completed each semester (census period), and students’ initial class attendance is determined, awards may be adjusted and or cancelled based on the students’ final enrollment status. Students who will graduate a semester early in the academic year must also inform financial aid staff so that adjustments, such as proration of Direct Loans awarded, can be made. Funds will be disbursed after the period in which student enrollment is determined each semester.
Financial aid awards are determined and processed by financial aid staff after FAFSA information is complete and the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) has been determined by the federal government. The EFC is defined a measure of a family’s financial strength based on federal methodology that takes into account a family’s income and assets and certain protections of such. This is determined to be the amount a student’s family can contribute toward educational costs.
The Cost of Attendance (COA) or budget is a major factor in determining the amount of financial aid a student receives. The cost of attendance is determined by the school’s financial aid administrator and is the average cost for a full time student to attend school for an academic year -an average cost of tuition/fees, room and board, books and supplies, transportation, and miscellaneous expenses- (this should not be confused with direct costs charged to a student’s account for actual institutional charges). Federal awards that are based on a student’s need are called need based awards. Need is determined by subtracting the EFC from the Cost of Attendance. The result of this calculation is a student’s need.
It is the student’s responsibility to keep the financial aid office informed of all assistance he/she will receive while enrolled. Receipt of additional financial assistance such as scholarships, other grants and state aid grants may change eligibility for awards that have already been processed. Direct Loans, including Subsidized, Unsubsidized and PLUS, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG), Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE) awards (i.e., Academic Challenge, Go Grant, etc.) and institutional aid may be decreased or cancelled if the student receives additional assistance. Please ensure you inform financial aid staff of other awards.
Professional Judgement (PJ)
As established by law, a financial aid administrator may exercise professional judgement to account for circumstances that the administrator feels have not been adequately considered in information provided on the FAFSA. These circumstances will be considered upon request with documentation of the circumstances. Contact the Student Financial Services Office for guidance and appropriate forms.
Consideration will be given to:
- Special circumstances that may warrant an increase in a student’s Cost of Attendance (COA) components to account for extraordinary expenses a student might incur while attending the university, such as computer expense and day care expenses or changes in the student’s or student’s family’s financial circumstances including loss of income, loss of recurring taxed or untaxed income, loss of assets, or unusual medical expenses;
- Unusual circumstances that will be considered for changing a student’s dependency status from Depended to Independent.
A review of a student’s circumstances does not guarantee a positive outcome. The determination of the financial aid administrator is final and cannot be appealed to any other authority including the U. S. Department of Education.
Federal Work Study Program
What is Federal Work-Study? Why is it important?
The Federal Work Study Program provides students with various opportunities for employability in a professional environment while attending college. Participation in the Federal Work-Study program will allow the student to lessen the financial burden of expenses that may mount during the student’s college career. Also, by becoming a student employee, they will gain many transferable skills which will prove beneficial in the world’s workforce as they embark upon future careers after graduation.
How do students get hired?
Students, who are awarded work study funds, must first interview with employing departments and complete the hiring process before an assignment is confirmed. After receiving confirmation of employment, the student must accept their Federal Work-Study Award (via WebAdvisor), provide documents that establish their identity (i.e. Driver’s License, I.D., Passport, SS Card, etc.) and complete the necessary paperwork for Human Resources and the Office of Student Financial Services.
The Federal Work-Study Program also provides students with outreach experience in designated community service positions. At least seven-percent of work-study funding is allocated for positions that promote community service employment. Examples of our employment opportunities include after-school tutors (reading and math), library and office assistants, and mentors.