Award Letter Guide


Financial Aid Award Letter Guide

The Financial Aid Office provides the following information to assist you in understanding your financial aid award.
 

Award Letter

The Award Letter identifies the federal student aid available to you based on program eligibility requirements, including grants and loans for the academic award year.  Private or outside scholarships are estimated and contingent upon actual receipt of funds from the appropriate agencies.  The Award Letter also includes instructions for accepting, declining or reducing aid.  Please read your Award Letter carefully.
 
 
 
Your award is based on the assumption that you will be enrolled full time each semester. Full time requires 12 hours for Undergraduate students and 9 hours for Graduate students.
Enrollment is verified each semester prior to disbursement of all funds, and at the end of the add/drop period. If you are enrolled less than full-time, your Pell award will be prorated and other awards may have to be adjusted. You must be enrolled at least half-time to receive loan disbursements. Half-time is 6 hours for Undergraduates and 4 hours for Graduates.
 
Awards are Subject to Change
 
A financial aid award may be reduced or canceled. The most common reasons for an award adjustment include changes in enrollment, residency status or housing arrangements and over awards due to the receipt of aid from other sources. An award may also be adjusted due to changes or inaccuracies in the information on which the award was based.  We reserve the right to adjust or cancel your award as a result of any information we receive that affects your eligibility.
 
Additional Financial Resources
You are required to notify the Financial Aid Office of any additional financial resources – loans, scholarships, grants, tuition waivers, veterans’ benefits, vocational rehabilitation, etc. – you receive which are not listed on your award notification. These resources may cause adjustments and/or a reduction of the financial aid originally offered.
 
Financial Aid Budgets
The Estimated Cost of Attendance budget on your award notification includes your approximate school costs as well as a standard allowance for other educational related expenses.  A Cost of Attendance budget is not intended to represent a student’s actual room, board, transportation or other personal expenses.  The allowable portion for educational related expenses is the same for all students to ensure that all are treated equally and fairly in the processing and awarding of federal and state financial aid.
 
The following budgets represent average costs for a 9-month period which encompasses the Fall & Spring semesters.

 

2013-14 Full-Time Undergraduate Budgets Living With Parents Living in Dorms Living Off Campus*
Tuition/Fees $5,242 $5,242 $5,242
Books/Supplies $1,200 $1,200 $1,200
Room/Board $1,500 $5,990 $7,182
Transportation $3,254 $   510 $3,254
Misc/Personal Expenses/Loan Fees $   970 $1,130 $1,130
Total Undergraduate Resident Budget $12,166 $14,072 $18,008
Non-Resident Tuition and Fees $7,402 $7,402 $7,402
Total Non-Resident Undergraduate Budget $19,568 $21,474 $25,410

 

2013-14 Three Quarter-Time Undergraduate Budgets Living With Parents Living in Dorms Living Off Campus*
Tuition/Fees $3,872 $3,872 $3,872
Books/Supplies $900 $900 $900
Room/Board $1,500 $5,990 $7,182
Transportation $3,254 $   510 $3,254
Misc/Personal Expenses/Loan Fees $   970 $1,130 $1,130
Total Undergraduate Resident Budget $10,476 $12,382 $16,318
Non-Resident Tuition and Fees $5,428 $5,428 $5,428
Total Non-Resident Undergraduate Budget $15,904 $17,810 $21,746
 

 

2013-14 Half-Time Undergraduate Budgets Living With Parents Living in Dorms Living Off Campus*
Tuition/Fees $2,846 $2,846 $2,846
Books/Supplies $600 $600 $600
Room/Board $1,500 $5,990 $7,182
Transportation $3,254 $   510 $3,254
Misc/Personal Expenses/Loan Fees $   970 $1,130 $1,130
Total Undergraduate Resident Budget $9,210 $11,116 $15,052
Non-Resident Tuition and Fees $3,948 $3,948 $3,948
Total Non-Resident Undergraduate Budget $13,158 $15,064 $19,000

 

 
2013-14 Less-Than-Half-Time Undergraduate Budgets Living With Parents Living in Dorms Living Off Campus*
Tuition/Fees $1,136 $1,136 $1,136
Books/Supplies $300 $   300    $300
Transportation $3,254 $   510 $3,254
Total Undergraduate Resident Budget $4,630 $1,886 $4,630
Non-Resident Tuition and Fees $1,480 $1,480 $1,480
Total Non-Resident Undergraduate Budget $6,110 $3,366 $6,110
 

 

2013-14 Full-Time Graduate Budgets Living With Parents Living in Dorms Living Off Campus*
Tuition/Fees $3,856 $3,856 $3,856
Books/Supplies $   720 $   720 $   720
Room/Board $1,500 $5,990 $7,182
Transportation $3,254 $   510 $3,254
Misc/Personal Expenses/Loan Fees $   970 $1,130 $1,130
Total Graduate Resident Budget $10,300 $12,206 $16,142
Non-Resident Tuition and Fees $5,316 $5,316 $5,316
Total Non-Resident Graduate Budget $15,616 $17,522 $21,458

 

2013-14 Three Quarter-Time Graduate Budgets Living With Parents Living in Dorms Living Off Campus*
Tuition/Fees $2,608 $2,608 $2,608
Books/Supplies $   480 $   480 $   480
Room/Board $1,500 $5,990 $7,182
Transportation $3,254 $   510 $3,254
Misc/Personal Expenses/Loan Fees $   970 $1,130 $1,130
Total Graduate Resident Budget $8,812 $10,718 $14,654
Non-Resident Tuition and Fees $3,544 $3,544 $3,544
Total Non-Resident Graduate Budget $12,356 $14,262 $18,198

 

2013-14 Half-Time Graduate Budgets Living With Parents Living in Dorms Living Off Campus*
Tuition/Fees $1,774 $1,774 $1,774
Books/Supplies $   240 $   240 $   240
Room/Board $1,500 $5,990 $7,182
Transportation $3,254 $   510 $3,254
Misc/Personal Expenses/Loan Fees $   970 $1,130 $1,130
Total Graduate Resident Budget $7,738 $9,644 $13,580
Non-Resident Tuition and Fees $2,364 $2,364 $2,364
Total Non-Resident Graduate Budget $10,102 $12,008 $15,944

 

*Students living in the Family/Adult Housing are considered to be living "off-campus" for the purpose of assigning financial aid cost-of-attendance budgets.

For students living in the dorms, room and board charges are based on the average cost of a semi-private room, Knight Hall and Tigers Common (4 bed); and a 20-meal plan.
 
Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is NOT the amount of money that you will pay.
The information that you report on the FAFSA is used to calculate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).  The formula used to determine your EFC is established by law and is used to measure your family's financial strength based on many factors: family income, assets, parent's age, and number of children in the household.  Your EFC is only a number in the equation used to determine your financial need.  The EFC has no correlation to actual tuition, so this is NOT the amount of money the family is expected to pay.
When awarding federal student aid, the EFC is subtracted from the cost of attendance.  The remainder is the amount of need-based federal student aid you may receive.  If we cannot meet your total financial need or you feel you will not be in a position to provide your EFC, you may borrow a non-need based loan to help cover the remaining cost of attendance.  Need-based and non-need based federal student aid combined cannot exceed your cost of attendance.
 
Is there a maximum amount of aid that I can receive?
You are required to report all aid that you receive to the Financial Aid Office.  This includes all private scholarships, veteran's benefits, and Tribal funds.  Your total aid cannot exceed your Cost of Attendance.  If this occurs, the Financial Aid Office is required to reduce or cancel awards made to you from federal, state, or institutional funds.
The determination of your eligibility for federal student aid is based on the FAFSA and general information provided by you; e.g. enrollment, housing status, state residency.  If any of these factors change, it could affect your federal student aid by increasing, reducing, or cancelling the amount.  A review takes place at the time the Financial Aid Office becomes aware of the change.
 

My athletic scholarship is not listed on my award letter.  Should I be concerned?

Since it is administered by another office, an athletic scholarship may not be listed on the award letter.  The important thing is that you have written documentation of your award.  If you do not, please contact the Athletic Department for assistance.

I've been offered Federal Work Study.  What is it?

Federal Work Study (CWS on your award letter) is an employment program that allows students to hold part time jobs and earn funds to pay educational costs.  A student's financial need helps determine eligibility for FWS.  FWS students may work up to twenty (20) hours per week.  Jobs are on campus and include work in labs, offices, the library, the wellness center, and other areas.  Students obtain valuable job experience, as well as a monthly paycheck for hours worked.  Students can search available jobs at the Human Resources Office and various offices on campus.  Note:  Because receipt of FWS funds is contingent upon the student obtaining and maintaining employment, CWS awards will not be deducted from semester bills.  In addition, late outside scholarships and monetary awards may affect your CWS amount.

I was not offered Work Study.  Can I still work on campus?

Yes, other employment opportunities are available.  Any student, regardless of need, is eligible for Regular Student Employment.  Regular Employment students may work up to twenty (20) hours per week.  Jobs are on campus and include work in labs, offices, the library, the wellness center, and other areas.  Students obtain valuable job experience, as well as a monthly paycheck for hours worked.  Students can search for jobs at the Human Resources Office or various offices on campus.

 Student Loans

At the time of disbursement, you must be enrolled and attending at least half-time to receive a Direct or Direct PLUS loan. If your enrollment has dropped to less than half-time before the disbursement of loan proceeds, the funds will be returned to the Department of Education and any future disbursements will be canceled.  You will still be responsible for all university charges that have not been paid.

Remember, Direct Loans must be repaid.  Repayment begins 6 months after the student graduates, withdraws, or drops below half-time status.  Your financial need determines whether the loan is subsidized (the government pays the interest while the student is in school) or unsubsidized (the student is responsible for the interest while attending school).  The federal government sets the interest rates. The rate for subsidized Direct Loans varies each year.  For the 2013-2014 academic year, the rate for Subsidized Stafford Loans is 3.86%.  The unsubsidized Stafford loan rate is set at a fixed 5.41%.  The government also regulates how much a student may borrow each year.

Are there requirements to maintain eligibility for future financial aid?
Financial aid awards are not automatically renewed.  The student must complete a new FAFSA for each award year.  Apply as soon after January 1st as possible for the next school year at https://fafsa.ed.gov/

 

Students must make satisfactory academic progress toward a degree to receive federal student aid at ECU.  To meet the minimum standards of the ECU Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy, students must meet all three of the following criteria:

 

1. GPA – In the first 30 attempted hours, the student must achieve at least a 1.7 Cumulative GPA as calculated by the Registrar.  For 31 or more hours, the student must have at least a 2.0 Cumulative GPA.

 

 2. Hours – Students must successfully complete 67% of all hours attempted.  This includes courses attempted at any college or university even if financial aid was not received.

 

 3. Maximum Time Frame – Degrees must be completed within 150% of the hours required for the student’s degree program.  For example, the standard 124 hour degree program must be completed in less than 186 hours.

The Financial Aid Office will evaluate satisfactory academic progress at the end of each semester. 

If a student fails to meet the requirements of the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy, the student will be placed on financial aid for the next semester of enrollment.  Students who fail to meet the minimum requirements during the warning period or who reach the maximum timeframe will have their financial aid suspended. 

Students on financial aid suspension must complete and submit the ECU Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form to the Financial Aid Office along with a written statement explaining mitigating circumstances that impacted their academic performance with supporting documentation.   To review the complete Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy, visit the ECU financial aid website (www.ecok.edu/administration/student-development/financial-aid/documents/ECU%20Financial%20Aid%20Satisfactory%20Academic%20Progress%20Policy.pdf).

Please note:  Approval of an appeal by the Registrar for academic suspension does not satisfy the need to appeal financial aid suspension.

 

 Disbursing Financial Aid
Financial Aid funds are generally credited to your account in September for the Fall semester and February for the Spring semester, provided you have submitted all required documents and your file has been processed.  Tuition and all other allowable charges will be deducted from your financial aid (including Direct Loans).  Refunds are issued by the Bursar’s Office thorugh Higher One after the drop/add period for the term.  Following the initial disbursement each semester funds are disbursed twice weekly as they are received.

If you are receiving OTAG or OHLAP funds, the funds will be sent to ECU several weeks after the start of each semester and the funds will be credited to your account and a refund issued to you if your account is paid in full.

Withdrawing
Financial aid recipients who withdraw or cease attending all of their classes prior to 60% of the term being completed are subject to the federal rules for the Return of Title IV Funds for any federal aid not earned.  The percentage of unearned aid is equal to the number of calendar days remaining in the term divided by the total number of calendar days in the term.  The repayment amount is considered unearned aid that a student was not eligible to receive due to not completing the term, necessitating the repayment of funds.  The University may have an obligation to return funds to an aid program that was previously applied to the student’s account.  The student may have an obligation to repay funds that were paid directly to him/her.  If the University returns funds that were applied to the student’s account, a balance due the University by the student will result.  Federal aid may not cover all unpaid institutional charges due to the University upon withdrawal.  Failure to repay will prevent future registration at the University. 

Special Circumstances
Financial aid is based on the previous year's income.  For example, aid awarded for the 2013-14 academic year is based on family income from the calendar year 2012.  If a family experiences a significant reduction of income during the academic year, the student may ask their financial aid counselor to review their financial aid eligibility.  The federal government allows the school to use professional judgement to make changes to the FAFSA information with proper supporting documentation.