Policies & Procedures
Important Points to Remember
Aid recipients must be U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or have refugee status in the U.S. Students classified as non-degree seeking by the ECU Office of Admissions are not eligible for financial aid.
Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy (SAP)
Federal regulations require that all recipients of federal financial must maintain satisfactory academic progress toward a degree. This policy must be as stringent as our policy for non-recipients of federal student aid, therefore, this policy is applied to all students. Students applying for assistance through the following programs: Federal Pell Grant, Federal SEOG, Federal Work Study, Oklahoma Tuition Aid Grant (OTAG), Oklahoma’s Promise (OHLAP), Perkins Loan, Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan, Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, Direct Parent PLUS Loan, and Direct Graduate PLUS Loan must meet THREE requirements to maintain their financial aid eligibility at ECU:
- GPA (quality of work)
- Pace (amount of hours earned/amount of hours attempted)
- Maximum hours (allowed to complete a degree)
These three requirements are summarized in the following chart. Failure to meet ALL of these minimum academic standards will result in the loss of financial aid eligibility. Students are expected to know, based on this Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy, when they may be placed on financial aid warning, probation, or suspension. Satisfactory academic progress is reviewed at the end of each academic semester once grades have been posted.
Total Hours Attempted from All Institutions
1 - 30
31 - up
Minimum Cumulative GPA
Each student must meet a minimum cumulative grade point average to remain eligible for federal student aid. Zero level courses and repeat courses will not count in the calculation of the GPA.
Minimum % of Total Hours Successfully Completed (Pace)
Students must successfully complete and pass 67% of all
courses they attempt. (See Grades) All transfer, zero level, and repeat hours
are included in this calculation.
Maximum Total Hours Attempted Allowed for Earning a Degree Students must complete their degree program within an allotted time frame to remain eligible for financial aid. The chart indicates the time frame in which a degree must be acquired. Be aware that hour limits are cumulative; therefore, all hours from all institutions attended will be included, even if a student did not receive federal student aid. The Financial Aid Office recommends that students who have attempted 150 hours toward their first Bachelor’s degree contact the Admissions & Records Office to complete a degree check to ensure they are taking the courses necessary to complete their degrees. (See Grades) Once students reach their maximum time frame for their specific program, they are no longer eligible for federal student aid, except by appeal. (Students must be accepted into a graduate program to receive aid for graduate hours.)
186 – Bachelor Degree
Repeated Coursework – Title IV funds may only pay for one repeat of a previously passed course. More than one repeated course will not be calculated in your enrollment status pertaining to eligibility for Title IV funds.
Withdrawals/Drops/Fails – If a student withdraws during any semester, the student will automatically be placed on Financial Aid Suspension. If a student drops a class while on probation and/or Academic Plan, they may be automatically placed on Financial Aid Suspension. This will be dependent on the requirements of their probation and/or Academic Plan. Students on suspension are not eligible for federal financial aid until the student regains compliance. If a student receives all “F” grades for a semester, dependent on your last date of attendance, they may be required to return a portion of their financial aid for the semester.
General Requirements – Students receiving financial aid through East Central University must be admitted to the University, must be degree-seeking, must be enrolled in ECU courses that will count toward that degree and must be in good standing (eligible to re-enroll). In addition, students must have a high school diploma, GED or home school diploma. NOTE: Students who have a teaching certificate may not be funded for a second teaching certificate. Students may not receive funding after completing two Bachelor degree programs and/or two Master degree programs at East Central University. For financial aid, full-time for an undergraduate student is 12 credit hours per semester, full-time for a graduate student is 9 credit hours per semester. Students enrolled in less than full-time (6 to 11 hours for undergraduates and 4 to 8 hours for graduates) are eligible for aid at a pro-rated amount. The Federal Pell Grant is the only type of funding available to undergraduate students enrolled less than half-time. Graduate students are NOT eligible for federal student aid with less than half-time enrollment.
TRANSFER and Returning STUDENTS
- Transfer students must be admitted by the University, submit all prior “Official” transcripts and have hours put online by the registrar before eligibility can be determined. All transfer hours accepted count toward the total hours attempted.
- Transfer students who have completed one prior semester will be eligible for a Warning term if not meeting cumulative requirements.
- Transfer and returning students who do not meet the conditions explained above are entered on financial aid suspension.
- Students who left ECU with an approved appeal and return after non-attendance are considered to be on financial aid probation when they return.
- Students who leave ECU in good academic standing and return after a period of non-attendance and have not attended another institution are considered to be in good academic standing when they return.
S.A.P. (Satisfactory Academic Progress) EVALUATION
- S.A.P. is calculated each semester or when aid is first awarded for the year. All attempted and transfer hours are counted during this evaluation.
- FINANCIAL AID WARNING will be given to students who in the previous term did not meet the requirements above. This is a warning status and students can receive financial aid during their next semester of attendance. Note: A warning is not given to students regarding maximum time frame, it is the student’s responsibility to know how many hours they have attempted and where they stand.
- FINANCIAL AID SUSPENSION will be required for any students who do not meet the requirements shown above at the end of their warning semester. This status also applies to students who do not meet the requirements above and do not appeal. Students cannot receive funds from the aid programs listed above while not making S.A.P.
- FINANCIAL AID PROBATION. This is available to students who have successfully appealed their S.A.P status after being on suspension. If an appeal is granted students remain eligible for one semester or on continued probation based on their academic plan for success.
- Rules are applied uniformly to all students whether or not aid has been received previously.
- Eligibility is reestablished after the student improves their scholastic record to meet the minimum standards.
A student with extenuating circumstances may appeal a financial aid suspension by submitting a completed Financial Aid Appeals form to the Financial Aid Office. Appeals forms are available online or in the Financial Aid Office. Appeals must explain in detail why the student failed to meet the minimum academic standards, what extenuating circumstances caused the failure, and how the situation has since improved. Examples of extenuating circumstances included illness, medical issues with immediate family members, or a death in the family. Personal or financial issues with family, friends, or roommates are not considered extenuating circumstances. A student’s appeal should include:
- The reason(s) why the student failed to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress.
- Supporting documentation that may be pertinent to the student’s appeal.
- A statement supporting how the student’s situation has improved.
- A statement from the student’s advisor to verify evaluation and advisement.
- An appeal of maximum time frame must include the student’s degree audit and written plan for degree completion. The student must have a 2.50 cumulative GPA and be able to complete their degree requirements in no more than three semesters.
Appeals will be accepted through the posted deadline date of the semester in which you are requesting reinstatement. First time appeals are reviewed by the student’s Financial Aid Counselor. Second or subsequent appeals are reviewed by the Financial Aid Director. The results of the appeal will be sent by email/mail to the student. Students choosing to challenge the decision of the Financial Aid Office may request in writing that their appeal be submitted to the Financial Aid Appeals Committee. Decisions of the Appeals Committee are final.
If denied, the student is responsible for paying for their own educational costs until the student improves his/her scholastic record to meet the minimum standards. Students who were denied due to maximum time frame are responsible for paying for their own educational costs for the remainder of their degree program.
If approved, the student will either be:
Placed on probation for one semester only, or
Placed on a continued probation based on an academic plan.
The student’s approval email/letter will explain all requirements that must be met during his/her probationary period to continue to receive financial aid. The student must sign the probation/academic plan agreement and return it to the Financial Aid Office, if applicable.
- An approved appeal may recommend an academic plan for some students.
- The academic plan must bring the student up to academic progress by a certain point in time. Students who have academic plans will be evaluated each term to see that the academic plan is being met.
- Students who do not meet the requirements of the academic plan are placed on suspension.
- Students who are placed on suspension after not meeting the requirements of the plan may reestablish SAP by meeting the requirements above. Aid will be reinstated after the term when SAP is established.
- For financial aid purposes, all grades of A, B, C, D, P, F, W, WP, WF, AW, and I are considered hours attempted.
- Only grades of A, B, C, D, and P are counted as hours successfully completed. CLEP classes count as hours attempted and completed. They have no grades assigned.
- Audit classes are not eligible for financial aid and are not counted as Hours Attempted.
- All classes attempted at all institutions are used in S.A.P. calculations even if financial aid was not received.
- Remedial classes count as hours attempted and completed but do not affect GPA.
Students are held responsible for reading and understanding the Satisfactory Academic Progress eligibility requirements and knowing their status at the end of each semester. NOTE: The hours attempted shown on your grade record do not include withdrawals/drops. To properly monitor your SAP progress, manually count all credit hours earned and divided by the hours attempted on your academic record. If questions arise, contact the Financial Aid Office at (580) 559-5243.
When a student Reservist/National Guard member is called to active duty, they will be exempt from this policy for the semester they withdraw. When they return, they will be considered to be making Satisfactory Academic Progress.
*Please note: Financial Aid warning, suspension, and probation are separate from academic probation and suspension.
Students seeking financial aid must meet the standards of the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for Financial Aid.
Included in the standards are a quantitative standard for credit hours completed each term (as compared to hours attempted), a minimum cumulative grade-point average, and a maximum length of eligibility based on attempted credit hours. Attempted credit hours include all hours attempted throughout your entire college career.
The academic year, beginning with the fall semester, consists of 32 weeks of instructional time for the fall and spring semesters. Two week intersession courses are offered after each semester. The academic year concludes with an eight week summer term.
The ECU Bursar's Office will use your first available funds to pay for educational expenses (tuition, fees, housing, and books) owed to the university.
If you are awarded a Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), and/or a Federal Direct Loan in an amount in excess of our tuition and fees, you are eligible to charge your books at the ECU Bookstore up to $600 depending on your eligibility. Note: All students are required to complete the Authorization to Charge form in order to charge books. The signed authorization will remain in effect until you, the student, rescinds the authorization. If you are allowed to charge at the bookstore, the amount will be for books and course required supplies only.
You may be awarded at any time during the semester. The normal process takes two - three weeks after all necessary information has been received by the ECU Financial Aid Office. Any questions you might have regarding your awards must be addressed by our front counter staff or your individual financial aid counselor. If you are unsure of your counselor's name, the front counter staff will be happy to tell you.
If you have not met the priority deadline of July 1 to complete your Financial Aid file, please be prepared to buy your own books and make arrangements with the ECU Bursar's Office to pay all tuition and fee charges. A payment plan option is available and further details may be obtained at the ECU Bursar's Office.
If you receive financial aid from any other source such as Veteran's Benefits, Oklahoma's Promise, Tribal funds, Tuition Waivers, or private scholarships, you must notify the ECU Financial Aid Office of these awards. In accordance with federal regulations, your financial aid awards may be adjusted due to these outside sources.
Your Financial Aid portal, located on your MyECU account, may list several types of aid. All grants (PELL, SEOG, OTAG) do not require your acceptance to post to your student account. You may accept all, part, or none of the Federal Direct Loans and/or College Work Study awarded on your account. However, you must accept or reject these awards online before a loan can be processed for disbursement. Returning students will not be mailed award letters. Returning students will need to log-in to their MyECU and accept/reject the awards online. You may also view any missing documents the Financial Aid Office may be requesting. You must complete Loan Entrance Counseling and a Master Promissory Note (MPN) before your loans can be processed with the U.S. Department of Education.
If your enrollment status changes after you have received your financial award notification, your financial aid awards will be adjusted to reflect your new enrollment status.
Most financial aid programs are based on a nine-month academic year. Therefore, if you receive two full semesters of aid (fall and spring) you may not be eligible for grants or loans during the summer term. If you desire to receive financial aid for the summer term, you must complete the ECU Financial Aid Summer Application form after your enrollment.
Credit Balance Refunds
The Office of the Bursar uses the Higher One Refund Card to refund credit balances on student accounts. A credit balance may come from payment of grants, scholarships or loans credited to a student's account, from overpayment of charges, or from adjustments for tuition, fees, or housing. Financial aid funds disbursed to a student's account are first credited to the student's educationally related charges of tuition, fees, room, board and books or other charges as authorized by the student. Once education expenses are paid in full and if a credit balance remains, the credit balance is refundable to the student.
Withdraw - Return of Title IV Funds
Any student receiving federal financial assistance who completely withdraws from all classes or fail to receive a passing grade in all courses during a period of enrollment at ECU will be subject to the Return of Title IV Funds refund policy required by federal regulation. This includes students who are enrolled in courses that do not span an entire semester (2 week, 4 week, 5 week, 8 week, etc.) are considered to be enrolled in modules. Students who complete a module and are enrolled in courses that extend the entire length of the term may owe a Return of Title IV Funds refund if they withdraw or fail all remaining courses after completing the module.
This policy only applies to students receiving assistance through the Pell Grant, Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant, Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan, Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, and Direct Parent Loans.
This policy assumes a student earns his or her financial aid based on the period of time the student remains enrolled through the semester. Upon withdrawal, the ECU Records Office will notify the Financial Aid Office. The withdrawal form determines the date of the student's withdrawal on record in the ECU Records Office. The Financial Aid Office will calculate the amount of financial assistance the student earned while enrolled in classes according to the following formula: number of days enrolled divided by the total number of days in the semester.
If the amount of federal aid disbursed exceeds the amount of federal aid earned as of the date of the withdrawal, the University, the student, or both are required to return some portion of the federal aid received. Late disbursements for which the student is eligible are required to be included.
Students who remain enrolled beyond 60 percent of the semester are considered to have earned 100 percent of the financial aid received. Students who are enrolled for less than 60 percent of the semester will likely be responsible for repaying a portion of the financial aid received.
The ECU Financial Aid Office will calculate the amount of any refund due according to the Return of Title IV Funds Formula outlined in federal regulations. Any refund amount calculated from this formula will be returned to the appropriate federal financial aid programs. Refunds for financial aid recipients are never given directly to the student. Calculated refund amounts are returned to the federal financial aid programs in the following order: Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, Subsidized Stafford Loan, PLUS Loan, Federal Pell Grant, SEOG Grant, other federal financial aid programs. The student will be notified by email/mail and will have 14 days to respond.
Under this policy, the date of withdrawal is the date the student began the withdrawal process by contacting the ECU Records Office either in person or online to complete a Notice of Withdrawal form. A student that drops out without notifying the institution or receives all "F" grades will be considered as having withdrawn at the mid-point of the semester or the last date of attendance if reported by the instructors. The calculation for withdrawal at the mid-point of a semester is 50 percent as the unearned percentage to determine the amount of federal funds that must be returned by the institution and the student. Leaves of absence are not permitted.
The refund policy was established by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education for all students except Title IV recipients.
Changes in schedules and complete withdrawals from the institution during the first ten days of classes during the fall and spring semesters or during the first five days of a summer term will result in full charges for courses added and full credit for courses dropped. No refunds will be made after the add/drop period for that session, except as stipulated for Title IV recipients.
Refunds are based upon the day the classes are dropped or the student withdrawal is filed with the Records Office, not on the date the student stopped attending classes.
For the purpose of the Return of Title IV Policy, a Title IV recipient is a student who received or could have received funds from the following programs: PELL Grant, SEOG Grant, Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan, Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, and Direct Parent Plus Loan.