ImportantImportant News for 14-15 Aid Applicants & Recipients

“Freeze” Date

Effective Fall 2014, each semester will have a “freeze date” for purposes of determining each student’s enrollment level for financial aid eligibility award amounts. On this “freeze date” we will record each student’s unit load (number of units enrolled) as of that date, which will determine the student’s eligibility for financial aid awards for the semester. Any classes that are added or dropped after this “freeze date” will not impact (either increase or decrease) the student’s financial aid unit load for the semester. However, students who withdraw from all classes or receive a grade of F, W, or NP, in all classes, will still be subject to an eligibility calculation that may result in financial aid funds having to be repaid to Southwestern College and/or the Department of Education.

The “freeze dates” for 2014-15 are:
Fall  -  Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Spring - Friday, March 6, 2015.

If you are eligible for a Pell Grant or a Cal Grant, the grant amount your will receive is based on enrolled units and is prorated, depending the percentage of full-time enrollment you have on the “freeze date”.  Your financial aid eligibility for the term will be based on your unit load, as recorded on March 6th.

12+ units              Full time or 100% eligibility
9-11.5 units         Three-quarter time or 75% eligibility
6- 8.5 units          Half time or 50% eligibility
Below 6 units     Less than half-time or 25% eligibility

  • If you are enrolling in a short term course beginning the week of March 23rd, you MUST add it through WebAdvisor no later than March 6th  to have the units included in your financial aid unit load for Spring 2015.
  • Classes added after this date will not be included in your financial aid unit load for financial aid purposes for the term.
  • Classes dropped after this date will not be deducted from your financial aid unit load for financial aid purposes for the term, unless you drop all your classes.
  • Students who completely withdraw from classes or receive grades of F, W or NP in all classes will still be subject to an eligibility calculation that may result in financial aid funds having to be repaid to Southwestern College and/or the Department of Education. Please click here for our Withdrawal and Return to Title IV (R2T4) policy.
  • This “freeze date” is ONLY for financial aid purposes – it does not affect any other eligibility, such as Veterans’ benefits or EOPS.
  • BOG Fee Waiver eligibility is NOT affected by the “freeze date”.
  • Audited and wait-listed courses do not count as enrolled units for financial aid purposes.
  • Adds or drops AFTER the “freeze date” will not change funding for the current semester but may impact satisfactory academic progress status.
  • Please double check your enrollment status in WebAdvisor prior to the “freeze date” to ensure that you are properly registered in the correct classes.

Below are some examples of possible enrollment scenarios and the impact of the “freeze date” on your financial aid unit load.

  1. If you were enrolled in 12 units on January 21st and dropped a 3-unit class on February 23rd, and never added any more classes, you would be at 9 units, which is considered three-quarter time.
  2. If you were enrolled in 9 units on January 21st and add a 3-unit class on March 2nd, you would be at 12 units, which is considered full time.
  3. If you were enrolled in 6 units on January 21st and add two 3-unit classes on March 23rd, you will still only be at 6 units for financial aid purposes, since your additional units were added after the freeze date of March 6th.
  4. If you were enrolled in 12 units on January 21st and drop a 3-unit class on April 4th, you will still be at 12 units for financial aid purposes, since you dropped units after the freeze date of March 6th.

Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID to Replace PIN in April 2015

In April, the PINs that students and parents have used to sign in to complete the FAFSA, Master Promissory Note and other financial aid forms. This change is supposed to officially take place on April 26, 2015.

If you sign in to any FSA site (including
StudentAid.gov, FAFSA on the Web, StudentLoans.gov, NSLDS student access, etc.) after that date, then you will be redirected to a new FSA ID page. On this page, you will be directed to pick a username and password for sign in purposes, but just like with the PIN, you will have to wait 1-3 days for the Social Security Administration to verify for identity. (Currently, you are allowed a "conditional PIN" for the 1-3 days in order to complete the verification process.)

Students who already have a PIN will be given an option to link their PIN to their new FSA ID. This will allow them to use their new FSA ID with full functionality without having to wait the 1-3 days on a conditional basis. Also, this will be much quicker of a process since completing application of a new FSA ID is estimated to take about seven minutes.

In mid-April, there will be a new page on
StudentAid.gov with more information about the transition, so check back with us then.

Board of Governors' Fee Waiver (BOGFW) Restrictions

Beginning the Fall 2016 semester, students will become ineligible for BOGFWs if placed on academic or progress probation for two consecutive primary terms (fall and/or spring). Students will have the ability to appeal the loss of BOGFW due to extenuating circumstances – please check back for more information on this important change.

2014-15 Changes to Financial Aid Regulations & Processes

  • Maximum Pell Grant award increased from $5,645 to $5,730
  • Maximum Pell Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) increased from 5081 to 5157
  • Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) - legally married, same-sex couples, parents or students, must report their marital status as married if they are legally married. Also, if student's parents are not married to each other and live together, questions about both of them must be answered on the FAFSA. If parents are divorced or separated and live together, questions about both of them must be answered on the FAFSA.
  • Due to sequestration, loan fees will increase on new loans disbursed on December 1st or later.
  • If selected for verification, the Department of Education will assign students to a specific verification group. V6 is a new group that has been added to verify household number. V2 has been eliminated.
  • Middle Income Scholarship will begin for students attending CSUs and UCs in fall 2014.  


Previous Changes of Importance to Students

150% Loan Limit

Effective July 1. 2013, students will lose the subsidy of existing loans if they do not complete their program of study within 150% of the published length of the program. For more information, please click here.

Effective July 2012, the federal government reduced the life-time eligibility for the federal PELL Grant to a maximum of 12 full-time semesters. Example: After you receive a PELL Grant for six years of full-time study, 12 or more units each semester, you will no longer be allowed to receive the PELL Grant. If you attend less than 12 units, your PELL Grant eligibility will be prorated. Students can click here to check their current Pell LEU (Lifetime Eligibility Use) percentage on the National Student Loan Database.

High School Completion and Ability to Benefit (ATB)

To be eligible for financial aid, students are required to have a High School Diploma, General Education Diploma, (GED) or equivalency. Students who do not have a high school diploma or a recognized equivalent (e.g.,GED), and who first enroll in a program of study on or after July 1, 2012, will not be eligible to receive Title IV student aid. Students will qualify for Title IV student aid under one of the ability-to-benefit (ATB) alternatives if the student completed those ATB alternatives and was enrolled in a Title IV eligible program prior to July 1, 2012. Those alternatives include the student passing an independently administered, approved ATB test or successfully completing at least six credit hours of postsecondary education. Students that possess a Foreign High School Diploma will be required to have the grade transcripts evaluated by an accredited agency in order to determine if the diploma is equivalent to a U.S. High School Diploma.

California Dream Act (CADA)

Legislative bills AB130 and AB131 allow verified AB540 students to apply for and receive State of California financial aid. Students with valid social security numbers (SSN) should complete the FAFSA application and those who do not have valid SSNs or have a temporary SSN through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) should complete the California Dream Act application (CADA). The CADA application will generate an application for both CalGrants and BOG Fee Waivers. For more information on the CADA, please click here.

HigherOne and Disbursement of FA Funds

Southwestern College has partnered with Higher One®, a financial services company, to enable students to choose how they receive their financial aid funds – direct deposit, HigherOne debit card or paper check. Please click here for more information and FAQs on HIgherOne and services available to students.

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Last updated: 8/23/2015 4:55:32 PM