Financial Aid Policies

FINANCIAL AID POLICIES

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Federal regulations require institutions to establish and apply reasonable standards of satisfactory academic progress (SAP) for the purpose of awarding financial assistance under the Title IV programs authorized by the Higher Education Act of 1965 as amended (34 CFR 668.34).

O’More complies with this requirement by monitoring each student’s overall combined cumulative grade point average (GPA), overall combined pass rate (percentage of credit hours passed divided by credit numbers attempted), and overall maximum time frame.

  • All classifications must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 to remain in good standing and eligible for financial aid.
  • A student must pass 75% of all work attempted at O’More and other institutions. All hours attempted, including hours which may have been dropped or for which the applicant did not receive a passing grade, are also included in this calculation. Grades of “A”, “B”, “C”, “D”, or and pass or “NG” for pass/fail options count as credit hours passed. All grades of “F”, whether in a graded or pass/fail course count as failing grades. Incompletes must be resolved by the end of the semester following, unless a stipulation is made requiring work to be completed sooner. All courses for credit will be counted as hours attempted including withdrawals, incompletes, and repeated coursework. The 75% pass rate is determined by dividing the cumulative overall combined number of credit hours the student has passed by the overall combined cumulative number of hours the student has attempted. Additionally, terms from which the applicant may have completely withdrawn are included in the calculation. There is no academic forgiveness of course hours attempted for federal purposes.
  • Students are allowed to receive federal financial aid for up to 150% of the number of hours required to complete degree requirements. At O’More, this limitation is also applied toward state and specified institutional scholarship programs. All repeated course grades will be included in the 75% and 150% totals. Because degrees at O’More typically require 123 hours to complete, 150% of the required hours will be 185 credit hours. The 185 hours include all transfer hours attempted and all O’More attempted credit hours.

Students must meet ALL requirements (completion rate, GPA, and time frame) in order to be eligible for Title IV Federal Aid. SAP will be evaluated at the end of each academic term/payment period. Although the student will receive notification from the Office of Financial Aid if they are not meeting program standards, the student is fully responsible for monitoring their own academic progress as it relates to financial aid eligibility.

Students not making SAP requirements will be placed on financial aid warning or probation following the first semester in which they fail to meet the SAP requirements. If the student is meeting the completion rate and GPA requirements at the end of the warning/probation semester, the student will be eligible for Title IV aid for the next payment period, with the exception of those students who are over maximum time frame. Students who fail to meet the SAP requirements at the end of the financial aid warning/probation payment period will be suspended from Title IV aid eligibility.

To regain Title IV aid eligibility, student must improve their completion rates and/or GPA by taking courses paid for without the benefit of Title IV aid. Students cannot take additional courses to improve maximum time frame. Title IV student aid can also be temporarily reinstated through the successful approval of an appeal.

 

Title IV Aid Appeals

Students may appeal the loss of Title IV federal aid eligibility by submitting a written appeal, once a semester. Students should cite mitigating factors that impacted their academic performance in the respective semester(s) of poor academic performance as well as the dates of these occurrences. The student should not address financial need or the impact of not receiving financial assistance in the written appeal. The need for academic assistance will not be considered in evaluating whether a student should be approved for continuation of Title IV eligibility. All decisions rendered through this appeals process are final.

The appeal must address why the student has failed to make SAP and what has changed in the student’s situation to enable him/her to demonstrate SAP at the next evaluation.

If an appeal is approved, the student is placed on financial aid probation status and Title IV aid is reinstated for the next payment period (with possible academic plan requirements specified). If the student is not meeting SAP or does not adequately follow the prescribed academic plan by the end of the next payment period, the student will lost Title IV aid again.

 

Academic Plans

To approve an appeal, the Office of Financial Aid must determine that the student should be able to make SAP during the next payment period and meet overall SAP requirements by the end of that payment period OR the Office of Financial Aid may develop an academic plan with the student that will ensure that the student is able to meet overall SAP requirements by a prescribed period of time.

Each student’s academic plan will be personalized and may include, but is not limited to the following requirements:

  • Complete a certain minimum number of credit hours in the semester
  • Complete a certain minimum percentage of credit hours in the semester, i.e. 80% or 100%
  • Complete all credit hours with a minimum grade for all credit hours in the semester, i.e. a grade of B or better in all credit hours.
  • Complete all credit hours with a minimum Grade Point Average in the semester, i.e., 2.500 or 3.000 for the semester, without respect to a minimum grade in all courses.
  • Be restricted to registering for no more than a certain maximum number of credit hours for the semester, i.e., 9 hours or 12 hours.

It is not necessary for the student to file a written appeal each semester if the student is meeting the terms and conditions of the established academic plan.

If at any time during the academic plan the Office of Financial Aid determines that the student will be unable to meet the criteria established in the academic plan, the Title IV aid eligibility is suspended again at that point, regardless of the date established on the original academic plan.

 

Return of Title IV Funds

Students who have not completed 60% of the term in which federal aid was disbursed will be required to return all or part of the financial aid disbursed in the term. This applies to both official and unofficial withdrawals.

For students receiving Title IV funds who withdraw officially or unofficially from all classes, refund calculations will be based on the amount of Title IV aid earned, based on the amount of time the student has been in attendance. The withdrawal date used in the Return of Title IV calculation of a student’s federal financial aid is the actual date indicated on the withdrawal form. If a student stops attending classes without completing an official withdrawal form, the withdrawal date is the date that the school determines the student was last active – either by class attendance or work completion.

The amount of financial aid earned is a proportional calculation through 60% of the payment period. This calculation is not related to the student’s institutional charges. The amount of Title IV funds the student has not earned is calculated by subtracting the amount of Title IV funds the student earned from the total Title IV funding disbursed or was disbursable. Unearned Title IV funds must be returned to the applicable Title IV program.

Students are notified by post that, as a result of withdrawal and pursuant to the R2T4 calculation adjustments have been made to their aid package which may create a balance on the student account. Students must make arrangements with the Bursar/Business Office for repayment of the debt if returned funds create an account balance.

The amount of tuition and fees assessed will be based on the institutional refund policy.

 

Private Loan Disclosures

Private loans should be considered as a last resort when financing your college education. We strongly encourage you to borrow from the Federal Student Loan program before considering Private or Alternative Loans, as generally you will receive a better interest rate and repayment terms.

Private Loans are made by banks and other financial institutions and are subject to their terms. Eligibility for these loans requires a credit check and students are often required to have a co-signer to qualify.

O’More College of Design does not endorse or recommend any specific or private loan product. In determining which private loan is best for your needs, we recommend you research and compare loan interest rates, fees, repayment options, and eligibility requirements.

Private Loan Application Process 

  1. Many Private loan lenders provide an online application. After you carefully compare the different lenders’ loan information, you may want to verify the following information with the lender. a. Does the lender process Private Loans with O’More College of Design? b. What will my interest rate be? c. Are there any fees that are deducted from the loan before I receive my loan funds? d. Am I required to start repaying the loan while I am in school? e. How many hours must I be enrolled to receive the loan?
  2. After you apply, the lender will send you three separate disclosures during the Private Loan process. You must sign and return these disclosures to the lender in a timely manner. You will be required to complete a Self-Certification Form.
  3. After you are pre-approved for the Private Loan and have returned any required paperwork to the lender, the lender will send a certification request either by paper form or electronically to the O’More Office of Financial Aid. O’More certifies maximum loan eligibility up to the Cost of Attendance minus other financial aid and resources.
  4. If you have submitted all required paperwork and the Office of Financial Aid has completed the certification request, the lender should be ready to disburse your loan funds to O’More depending on your loan period. If you have a fall/spring loan period, then half of the loan will be disbursed equally between the fall and spring semesters.

Because it can take up to 4 – 6 weeks for a Private Loan to be processed, we recommend you apply at least 7 weeks before the loan funds are required.

To view a list of our most commonly used private lenders and/or apply for an Alternative Loan, click here.

 

Institutional Refunds

Refund Policy Prior to Matriculation 

  1. Refunds are 100% for courses canceled by the institution.
  2. Changes in courses involving the adding and dropping of equal numbers of credit hours for the same term at the same time require no refund or assessment of additional institutional maintenance fees.
  3. A 100% refund will be provided upon requires if an applicant cancels her/his enrollment in writing prior to the beginning of semester classes.
  4. A 100% refund will be provided upon request to applicants not accepted for admission.
  5. A 100% refund will be provided upon request to applicants who withdraw within 3 business days after signing the enrollment agreement and making and initial payment. After the 3-day cancellation right, but prior to the start of classes, applicants are entitled upon request to all monies paid, less the $50 application fee.
  6. Students who have not visited the campus prior to enrollment will have the opportunity to withdraw without penalty within 3 days following either attendance at a regularly scheduled orientation or following a tour and inspection of the campus facilities.

The termination date for refund computation purposes is the date that written notification is given by the student. The college requires that a student wishing to withdraw from O’More College complete a “Withdrawal from College” form, available in the Registrar’s Office, upon his/her decision to leave the college. Failure to complete this process will result in a final grade of “F” in each course the student was registered for, rather than a “W”, showing the official withdrawal.

 

Refund Policy After Matriculation 

  • Refund calculation for first-time (first semester) students: Refunds are calculated by dividing the number of week remaining in the semester by 15 to determine the percentage of semester left (rounded down to the nearest 10%). If the number of weeks remaining in the semester is less than six, there is no refund due to the student. The percentage of the semester left is multiplied by the total tuition charged for the semester. This number is the amount refunded to the student, assuming the balance had been paid in full.
  • Refund calculation for all other students:
    • Withdrawal during the first week of the semester: The student will receive a 90% refund of total tuition charged.
    • Withdrawal during the second, third, fourth, or fifth week of the semester: The student will receive a 55% refund of total tuition charged.
    • Withdrawal after the fifth week of the semester: No refund is due to the student. The total tuition charged for the semester is due to the college.

All monies due the student shall be refunded upon request within 60 days from the cancellation.

 

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), with which O’More College of Design complies, was enacted to protect the privacy of education records, to establish the right of students to inspect and review their education records, and to provide guidelines for correction of inaccurate or misleading statements.

The Office of Financial Aid assures the confidentiality of student educational records in accordance with this act. Student information is not shared with non-essential personnel. No student records or information about students will be released to any person other than the student without the student’s specific consent, excluding existing conditions under FERPA. A student may sign an agreement consenting to release information to a parent or guardian.

 

Request for Review of Unusual Circumstances

If a student and/or parent financial situation has changed significantly since the tax year for which returns are being reviewed, students may send a letter to the Office of Financial Aid requesting special review of their file. The Financial Aid Coordinator will follow up with the student and will likely request documentation of the change in circumstances, plus any institutional forms that would assist in documenting the situation. Triggers for appeals may include, but are not limited to, involuntary loss of employment by student, spouse, or parent, change of income, increase in out-of-pocket expenses, or other similar instances.

Students who are selected for verification must complete the verification process before a request for special consideration will be reviewed.

In some instances, the Office of Financial Aid will consider requests for dependency overrides for students who would otherwise be required to provide parent information. None of these conditions qualify as unusual circumstances meriting a dependency override:

  • Parent refusal to contribute to student’s education
  • Parents are unwilling to provide information on the FAFSA or for verification
  • Parents do not claim the student as a dependent for tax purposes
  • Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency

Disbursement of Funds

Student aid will be disbursed on or after our “census date” – or the date when we calculate our final attendance numbers. This is generally after the 14th day of classes.

 

Unusual Enrollment History

The U.S. Department of Education has regulations to prevent fraud and abuse in the Federal Pell Grant program by identifying students with unusual enrollment histories. If a student received the Federal Pell Grant at multiple institutions during the last 3 academic years, the FAFSA may be flagged for unusual enrollment history (UEH). This must be resolved before a student can receive federal financial aid.

The Student Aid Report (SAR) will reflect any unusual enrollment history and the Office of Financial aid will be required to review enrollment history to determine whether or not the student is enrolling only long enough to receive refunds of federal student aid. If the student received the Federal Pell Grant and credit hours (passing grades: A – D) were not earned at each institution during these award years, the student may be determined ineligible for federal student aid.

 

Title IV Fraud

In reviewing reports, appeals, or in other secondary review of files, discrepancies may arise. Discrepancies in student application materials (income, citizenship, name, SSN, signatures) must be investigated and resolved. To do so, the Office of Financial Aid will contact the student to request additional information and documentation. If, in the Financial Aid Coordinator’s judgment, there has been intentional misrepresentation, false statements, or alteration of documents which have resulted or could result in the awarding or disbursement of funds for which the student is not eligible, the case shall be referred to the Senior Cabinet for possible disciplinary action. If a decision is made to potentially deny or cancel financial aid, the student will be contacted to make a last good-faith effort to clarify any item in question.

Students who willfully submit fraudulent information will be investigated to the furthest extent possible. All cases of fraud or abuse will be reported to the proper authorities. After investigating the situation, if the Office of Financial Aid believes there is a fraudulent situation, they will refer all information to the Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General. The student may also be subject to any disciplinary actions deemed appropriate by the department, college, or student judicial body.

 

Authorizations and Holding Excess Title IV Funds

Federal law requires that O’More be notified of a student’s wishes regarding the handling of their federal assistance. Legislation guidelines allow for Title IV aid be automatically credited only toward tuition and fees, plus on-campus housing and contracted campus dining charges. The guidelines additionally allow students to authorize the college to credit Title IV funds toward other student account charges, including discretionary charges. Students and parents (if applicable) may authorize O’More to retain excess Title IV funds in their student accounts, in which case such funds will be applied toward future charges/expenses. Title IV funds received for one academic year cannot be used for the prior academic year’s charges unless the prior year’s balance is less than $200.

The law requires that any excess PLUS Loan funds be returned to the parent. Therefore, if PLUS Loan funds create a credit balance, the credit balance would have to be given to the parent. However, the parent may authorize your school (in writing) to transfer the proceeds of a PLUS Loan to a student directly to the student for whom the loan is made.

 

Constitution Day

The late Senator Robert C. Byrd, a former West Virginia Democrat and Congress’ unofficial Constitutional scholar, believed that American primary, secondary and post-secondary students lack significant knowledge regarding the United States Constitution. In December 2004, Senator Byrd proposed an amendment that was passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate in an attempt to increase students’ knowledge about the Constitution.

The legislation requires that all educational institutions receiving federal funds implement educational programs relating to the U.S. Constitution on September 17 of each year. This date was chosen due to the fact that on September 17, 1787 the delegates to the Constitutional Convention met for the last time to sign the United States Constitution and present it to the American public.

 

Notice of Federal Student Financial Aid Penalties for Drug Law Violations

If a student has a federal or state drug conviction during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving federal aid, the student is disqualified from receiving federal aid funding. Students self-report this information on the FAFSA. However, in situations of conflicting information, the school is required to confirm this information.

The student regains eligibility based on the timeline below. (Please note – if the student is convicted both for possession and sale, the longer period applies.)

  • 1st offense: 1 year from the date of conviction; 2 years from date of conviction
  • 2nd offense: 2 years from date of conviction; indefinite period
  • 3+ offenses: indefinite period.

Students regain eligibility one day after the period of ineligibility ends or after successfully completing a qualified drug rehabilitation program or passing two unannounced drug tests given by such a program. It is the student’s responsibility to provide this documentation. Qualified drug rehabilitation programs must include at least 2 unannounced drug tests and satisfy at least one of the following:

  • Be qualified to receive funds directly or indirectly from a federal, state, or local government program
  • Be qualified to receive payment directly or indirectly from a federally or state-licensed insurance company
  • Be administered or recognized by a federal, state, or local government agency or court
  • Be administered or recognized by a federally or state-licensed hospital, health clinic, or medical doctor

Students identified as ineligible due to a drug conviction (either through the FAFSA information or through confirmation of conflicting information) will be notified in writing of the loss of eligibility, as well as additional information regarding when and how to regain eligibility.