Financial Aid

Financial Aid
The White Earth Tribal College (WETCC) Financial Aid Office is located in the Student Services Office at 107 East Jefferson Street, Mahnomen. The Financial Aid Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For questions concerning financial aid


Student Rights and Responsibilities for Financial Aid
Right to ask:
What financial aid programs are available to me?
How does WETCC determine each type and amount of assistance I can receive?
Will WETCC reconsider my aid package if a mistake is made or if my enrollment or financial circumstances change?
What are the procedures and deadlines for applying for aid?
How does WETCC determine satisfactory academic progress?

Responsible for:
Accurately completing and submitting the appropriate application forms by the published deadline dates (errors can delay or prevent your receiving aid).
Using financial aid funds for educational purposes (books, off-campus housing, etc.) only.
Submitting requested materials, corrections, or new information on a timely basis.
Informing the Financial Aid Office at WETCC of any grants, scholarships, or loans received from outside organ-izations.
Informing the Financial Aid Office at WETCC of any information that has changed since you applied for aid (address, attendance status, or changes in income).
Understanding the satisfactory academic progress requirements for maintaining financial aid eligibility.
Being aware of the federal and state academic progress requirements for continuous financial aid eligibility.

Definition of Academic Year
An academic year at WETCC for credit-hour programs is composed of a minimum of thirty weeks of instruction in which a full-time student enrolls for at least 24 credit hours. These standards are used in determining eligibility for federal student aid and for loan pro-ration.

Cost of Attendance (COA)
The cost of attendance at White Earth Tribal and Community College refers to the average costs a full-time student can expect to have while enrolled over a nine-month period normally consisting of a Fall and Spring semester. COA is comprised of several components. It is based on
enrollment status and whether a dependent student is living at home or off campus, or is an independent student. Estimated financial aid budgets for a full-time student are computed for an academic year based on an average of 24 credits in an academic year.

Components included in the total budget are tuition, fees, books, transportation costs, childcare expenses, room and board, and miscellaneous expenses. Additional components may be included in the total budget depending on each individual students circumstances. If a student has circumstances that may require an adjustment of the cost of attendance, a statement regarding the circumstances must be written and submitted to the aid administrator to be considered by the Financial Aid Office.

The estimated average cost of attendance for a full-time (12 credits or more per semester) independent student for the full academic year is as follows:
Tuition and Fees: $ 3,285
Room and Board: $ 4,500
Books and Supplies: $ 850
Transportation $ 3,750
Miscellaneous $ 1,725 less than half-time students are not eligible for this award

SUBTOTAL $14,110
Child Care (if needed) $ 1,800 actual child care costs may be used If over this estimate

TOTAL $15,910

Applying for Financial Aid
WETCC's school code: 039214.

Federal and State Financial Aid
The most important step to being considered for financial aid is completing and submitting a free application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application is used to determine the amount of aid a student may receive. To fill out and submit the FAFSA, go to their website at www.fafsa.ed.gov/. The application can be completed online, which is the quickest and most preferred method. When applying on-line, a student will be asked for a school code. WETCCs code is: 039214. Once the FAFSA is submitted, the student will receive a confirmation page which will estimate the amount of eligibility for Federal Pell for an academic year along with additional information. A Student Aid Report (SAR) is subsequently sent to the student. If any changes need to be made, they can be done online using the individuals Pin, or can be made by contacting the Financial Aid Office in person. If funds are available, students may receive financial assistance. Therefore, it is important to complete and submit a FAFSA as soon as
possible. Note that the deadline for state financial aid may differ from federal financial aid. Be sure to find out all the deadlines to ensure quicker approval.

Additional documentation including, but not limited to, signed tax returns, W-2s and the Institutional Verification Worksheet may be requested during the review process. Students should also complete the Institutional Financial Aid Application, American Indian College Fund Application, and a MN State Residency Verification Form. A preferred dead-line for completed paperwork is 30 days before the start of the semester.

Students who are enrolled members of the White Earth Band of Chippewa should also complete an application to the White Earth Scholarship Program. Students who are enrolled members of any other tribe should complete an application for funding from their respective tribe. All students who have 1/4 blood quantum should complete an application for funding from the Minnesota Indian Scholarship Program. These forms are available in the Financial Aid Packet available in the Financial Aid Office.

Students must meet eligibility criteria for each of the programs. Private scholarships and outside agencies such as Department of Rehabilitation Services, Veterans Services, and Bureau of Indian Affairs establish their own individual guidelines for student eligibility.

Federal assistance such as Federal Pell Grants requires a student to:
~ Demonstrate financial need
~ Have a high school diploma or equivalency
~ Be enrolled as a regular student in a degree program
~ Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
~ Maintain satisfactory academic progress
~ Provide a valid social security number
~ Register with Selective Service Administration, if a male over 18
~ Not have a drug offense conviction while receiving Federal Aid
~ Be in good standing on previously received financial aid (not in default or overpayment)
~ Enroll each term in courses eligible for financial aid

Aid applications should be completed and submitted as early as possible after January 1 to assure fullest consideration for the next financial aid award year July 1-June 30th. Students must apply each year.

Verification
The federal processor selects some student financial aid applications (FAFSA applications) for verification. Students selected are required to submit a copy of student and/or spouse and parent federal tax return information (usually the prior year tax return), a verification worksheet and
documentation of untaxed income. Other documentation may be required, as needed. The Financial Aid Office will send notification to students of all required documentation.

Processing of a student financial aid file and awarding will take place once all required documentation is received. The deadline for verification is set at 14 calendar days from the date of the verification request sent from the Financial Aid Office. If all financial aid forms are not completed and submitted by the stated deadline, the financial aid may be delayed. Title IV (Pell Grant, FSEOG, Fed Workstudy aid awards and disbursements cannot be made until verification has been completed. Failure to submit appropriate documentation will result in forfeiture of financial aid eligibility.

If the Financial Aid Officer finds in the financial aid review conflicting information in household size, reported income, or any other information the student or a third party has provided, the student may be selected for verification. A student may be selected even if they are not selected by the Dept. of Education. Conflicting information must be resolved prior to disbursement, if possible. If conflicting information is found after disbursement has already been made, the Title IV award may be recalculated once the conflicting information has been cleared up. This may require changes to the student's FAFSA or financial aid file Information.

Professional Judgement (PJ)
According to the Higher Education Act (HEA) the Department of Education provides the authority for the financial aid administrator to exercise discretion in a number of areas when a student has special or unusual circumstances that may affect the financial aid calculation.
Professional judgement is made on a case-by-case basis. Any requests for professional judgement must be requested in writing to the Financial Aid Office.

Even though students list the previous year's income information on the FAFSA application, the Department of Education regulations require the Financial Aid Office to evaluate a student's ability to pay in their current economic situation. For this reason, the most common example of an instance where PJ may be used includes changes in income such as current unemployment or current year's income being significantly less than the reporting year.

Professional judgement cannot be used to change a dependent student to independent--unless there are extreme circumstances. WETCC's decision is final at the Financial Aid Office level and cannot be appealed.




Aid Awards and Renewals
The academic period for awarding is one financial aid year (July 1st - June 30th) including Fall, Spring and Summer semesters. Students will normally be awarded for Fall and Spring semesters with any remaining eligibility awarded for Summer semester.
Initially, awards will be based on the estimated enrollment selected on the FAFSA and will be adjusted according to the registered number of credits on the last day of registration and recalculated at the close of the Last Day to Drop (the census date) for each semester. Financial aid will be adjusted for dropped classes and withdrawals, as well as late-starting classes up to the census date.

Institutional award letter
All students receiving financial aid awards are notified with an institutional award letter. The letter contains the following information:
~ Students cost of attendance
~ Total expected family contribution
~ Students unmet financial need
~ Name of award program
~ Amount of award for each semester
~ Total amount of award the academic year
~ Annual Federal Pell Grant entitlement figures for full-time, 34 time, 12 time and less than 12 time enrollment
~ Decline column

Financial aid need is calculated as follows:
~ Estimated Annual Cost of Attendance minus Total Expected Family Contribution = Financial Need

A students total award package may not exceed the individual students financial need.
The student should review award letters carefully. If the student wants to decline an award, the decline box next to the appropriate award (s) should be checked and returned to the Financial Aid Office.

To accept the award as listed on the award letter, it is not required to return the award letter. If the office does not receive notice to reduce or cancel awards, it is assumed that the student accepts all awards.


Enrollment Levels for Financial Aid Purposes
Full-time 12 or more credit hours (15 credit hours for MN State Grant)
34 time 9-11 credit hours
12 time 6-8 credit hours
Less than 12 time Less than 6 credit hours

Disbursement of Financial Aid
Financial aid program disbursements are applied to tuition, fees and book charges on students accounts before overages are given to students. The student must sign a certification statement located on the Institutional Aid Application that allows WETCC to apply Federal Title IV funds and other funds to tuition fee and book charges.

The full semester of a Pell grant award is scheduled to be distributed, by check, on or near 14 days of the Last Day to Drop each semester. Other grants and scholarships will be distributed throughout the semester as they are received from outside sources after applied to students accounts, but not before the Last Day to Drop.

For applications received after the semester begins, disbursements will be made upon file completion, verification, if required, and eligibility of the student for disbursement. Eligibility for each program varies. Credit balances will be issued to students within four days of the disbursement by the Business Office and will be mailed to all students using the ad-dress on file with the Financial Aid Office. It is the students responsibility to ensure that the address on file is always current.

Dropping Classes
Students are responsible for formally dropping classes they do not wish to attend. Add/Drop forms can be found at Waadookoodaading and must be submitted before the Last Day to Drop as published in the academic calendar. Failure to drop a class by the Last Day to Drop will result in charges to the student account. Please see the complete Add/Drop Policy in the Admissions and Registration section.

Instructor Withdrawal Policy
An instructor may withdraw students with excessive absences from a course under the following conditions:
1. Course attendance records are regularly and consistently documented in CAMS.
2. The instructors attendance and withdrawal policy is clearly stated in the course syllabus
3. An Academic Performance Report, and subsequent academic re-direction measures are documented to have been attempted, prior to the instructor withdrawal
4. The Instructor Withdrawal Form provides evidence that the student has no possibility of passing the course
5. The Instructor Withdrawal Form must be submitted to the Registrar by the Last Day to Withdraw published in the Academic Calendar

Complete Withdrawal
Students who completely withdraw from a semester and receive Federal and/or State financial aid may have to repay some or all of the aid received (see Return of Title IV funds). Withdrawals may also affect availability of future financial aid (see Satisfactory Academic Progress). Contact your advisor and the Financial Aid Office before withdrawing to determine the effects of the withdrawal. Please see the complete Withdrawal Policy in the Admissions and Registration section.

Student Withdrawal Policy
A student may officially withdraw from one or more courses by the Last Day to Withdraw, published in the academic calendar for that semester. Doing so will:
1. prevent lowering a students GPA; and
2. prevent a lowered GPA from affecting Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). However, it will not prevent the ratio of attempted/earned credits from negatively affecting SAP.
In order to officially withdraw; a student should complete a withdrawal form, have it signed by their assigned advisor and submit the complete form to the Registrar. In extreme circumstances, a student may contact WETCC Registrar in alternate ways including, phone calls (with proper security information,) e-mails, informal letters and verbal communication, informing of their intent to withdraw from a course. The Registrar will complete the withdrawal form. A student does not officially withdraw simply by absenting her/himself. The student will remain responsible for any financial liability they have incurred, less applicable refunds, and for any academic consequences due to this withdrawal.

All courses from which a student has officially withdrawn will reflect a grade of W on her or his academic transcript. Courses from which a student has not officially withdrawn will reflect a grade of F.

Administrative Drop/Withdrawal
WETCC reserves the right to administratively drop or withdraw a student from enrolled courses in order to limit the academic consequences for the student and the financial liability of the student and institution. This policy is applied on a case-by-case basis.


Administrative Drop:
~ Occurs prior to the Add/Drop date.
~ Occurs when a student does not begin attendance in all registered classes.
Administrative Withdrawal:
~ Occurs after the Add/Drop date.
~ Occurs when a student misses four consecutive classes in all registered classes.
The student remains responsible for any financial liability, less applicable refunds, she or he has incurred and for any academic consequences due to the administrative withdrawal.

Federal Return of Title IV Funds
Students receiving Title IV funding (Federal Pell Grant) who officially withdraw, or are administratively withdrawn from all classes are required to have earned aid evaluated through the federal formula established in the federal financial aid reauthorization. Unearned aid is returned to the Federal financial aid programs.

For students who officially withdraw:
~The amount of federal funds returned to the federal programs will be determined based on the date WETCC received notification of the intent to withdraw, or the date the official withdrawal form is received in WETCC's Student Services department.
~ All official withdrawal notifications will be date-stamped in WETCC's Student Services.
For students who are administratively withdrawn for non-attendance with no notification:
~ The amount of federal funds returned to the federal programs will be determined using the date the student met the fourth consecutive absence in each class registered.
All federal funds are earned fully after the 60% point of the semester has passed.

Reporting Additional Financial Aid Resources & Overawards
Students are required by federal regulations to report all sources of financial aid assistance to the Financial Aid Office. All resources of aid must be included in the students financial aid award package to ensure an over award has not occurred. Failure to report additional sources of financial assistance may result in a student repayment of part or all aid received for the payment period for the academic year.
A reduction of awards, to remain in compliance with individual program requirements and to avoid over awards may occur when:
~ An outside source of funding has been received, after initial packaging. (ie. scholarships, grants, stipends, voc. rehab, etc.)
~ A student loses eligibility for a specific program.
~ A student changes enrollment levels before the census date (Add/Drop).
(ex. changes from 3/4 time to 1/2 time)

Aid for Attendance at Two Institutions Simultaneously
Students attending two institutions simultaneously may only receive federal financial aid at one
institution for the same payment period. Generally, the school granting the degree is the school providing the financial assistance. A consortium agreement will need to be signed by the student as well as the Financial Aid Departments of both institutions in order to get full financial aid assistance for the total amount of credits.

Confidentiality of Student Files
All paperwork submitted to the Financial Aid Office is held in strict confidence under the guidelines of the Privacy Act. Required personal documentation must be maintained in the student files according to current federal regulations. Stu-dents should retain a copy of all documents for their own records. If the student requests a copy of documentation from their file to be sent to any outside agency, a signed request by the student is required for disclosure of student information. A signed request by the parent is required for disclosure of parent information. For more information please refer to FERPA regulations in the academic portion of the WETCC catalog.

Summer Financial Aid
Summer financial aid is normally considered a part of the prior academic year and a complete financial aid application for that year must be on file. According to changes in the Department of Education regulations regarding Pell, students in the summer of 2010 were awarded according to the financial aid year which resulted in the Highest Pell Grant award. Summer 2011 students were awarded according to which year they had remaining eligibility.
Students may be eligible for a full Pell and State financial aid award for the summer term. Full-time enrollment for summer remains at 12 credit hours (15 for the Minnesota grant). 2011 summer session is a cross-over term. Cross-over sessions begin before June 30th and end sometime after July 1st.

Types of Financial Aid
A chart on the next page shows types of financial aid available to students:
Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
Standards of academic progress are established to require students to progress satisfactorily, and timely, toward the completion of their degree, diploma, or certificate. Additionally, federal and state regulations require that recipients of federal and/or state financial aid make satisfactory academic progress towards a degree, diploma, or certificate to remain eligible for aid. In compliance with federal regulations, the college has established and will apply the following standard of academic progress to all students. The qualitative and quantitative standards of this policy are cumulative and include all periods of enrollment, whether or not a student received financial aid. The Financial Aid Office is responsible for monitoring the satisfactory academic progress (SAP) for financial aid recipients. SAP will be evaluated for all students at the end of each semester. Any non-standard session courses shall be evaluated during the semester in which the grade is transcripted.

Students are responsible for their academic progress and for seeking assistance when experiencing academic difficulty. Students are encouraged to work closely with any of the following: assigned advisor, Outreach/Retention Coordinator, Instructional Coordinator, Academic Dean, and Dean of Student Services to ensure academic progress and when assistance is needed.

Qualitative Measure
~All students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0.
~Evaluated at the end of each semester.
~Transfer credits are not included in the GPA calculation whether they count towards the program or not.

Quantitative Measure
~Each semester all students are required to successfully complete a minimum of 67% of cumulative attempted credits.
~This is evaluated at the end of each semester.
~Transfer credits are included in this calculation if they are accepted towards completion of the student's program.


Maximum Time Frame
1. Students whose cumulative attempted credits exceed 150% of the credits hours required to complete their intended degree are not eligible for financial aid.
~For example: a 70 credit hour program X 150% maximum timeframe= 105 credits.
2. However, an appeal may be applied for which must consist of an education plan which outlines how the student will retain eligibility after reaching the maximum timeframe and outlines how WETCC will extend a students maximum timeframe and must include specific dates and terms.
3. The maximum time frame will be evaluated at the end of each semester.
4. Up to 15 remedial and developmental credits shall be excluded from maximum time frame calculation.
5. Maximum time frame for students with a program change, enrolled in consecutive programs, or with previous degrees may be based on specific curricular requirements. Student's program course acceptance is determined by the faculty advisor and Academic Dean. WETCC limits the number of times a student may change programs of study to three times in their WETCC academic career.

Failure to Meet Financial Aid SAP
Financial Aid Warning
If a student has failed to meet either the qualitative (grade point average) or quantitative (time limit) requirements at the end of the semester, the student will be placed on financial aid warning for one semester. They will remain eligible to register and eligible for financial aid during this period. Financial Aid Warnings can be used multiple times, but not for consecutive terms. If there is a semester of non-attendance, then the warning period begins the semester they return to school.

Financial Aid Termination
At the end of the financial aid warning semester, the student's SAP will be calculated again. If the student still falls below the requirements; they will be placed on financial aid termination for one semester. The student will then be no longer eligible to register or receive financial aid for that semester, but are eligible to file an appeal, which, if approved would place a student on Financial Aid Probation. The appeal must be in writing on the approved form, and must include an academic plan which outlines the conditions of continued eligibility for financial aid.

Appeal Process
Appeals must be made on the designation Financial Aid SAP Form and requires documentation of the extenuating circumstance explained in the appeal summary. The student must show why
they failed to make SAP and also show what has changed that will allow the student to make SAP at the next evaluation.
If an appeal is approved for the 150% requirement, and if it is not mathematically possible for a student to achieve the percentage required, they may file an approved academic plan and aid does not need to immediately end, as in previous years.
If a financial aid appeal is approved the student will then be placed on financial aid probation. If the student does not meet SAP guidelines while on financial aid probation the student will be place on financial aid termination and will no longer be eligible to receive financial aid. A decision on written appeals, with adequate documentation, must be made within 14 business days from the receipt of the appeal.
A student reinstated to eligibility under an academic plan and making progress under the plan Is considered to be eligible for Title IV aid.
WETCC will notify the student of the results of the SAP review that impacts the student's eligibility for Title IV aid. The notification must explain the steps to file an appeal, and must be a written notification, but may be via school email or letter to their current address.
Summer term of 2011 will utilize the previous (10-11) award year SAP policy. The above regulations are effective for all terms that begin after July 1, 2011.

Reestablishing Eligibility for Financial Aid after Financial Aid Termination or Probation
Students who have been placed on financial aid termination may only retain or regain eligibility through the appeal process or when they meet the SAP policy (qualitative and quantitative). Paying for classes out of pocket or sitting out a period of time in and of itself is not sufficient to re-establish a students financial aid eligibility.
If on financial aid probation, WETCC may disburse Title IV funds for one payment period. By the next payment period, the student is expected to be making SAP, or be successfully following an academic plan designed to ensure the student will be able to meet SAP by a specific point in time.
A student on financial aid termination may be eligible for financial aid funding again when they meet the qualifications after one semester, with an academic plan in place, an approved academic appeal and an approved Financial Aid appeal.
Students who for a second time, have been placed on financial aid termination and filed an appeal but was denied, results in a termination that lasts for one academic year. The student then must go through the same appeals process including having an approved academic plan. The third academic suspension and financial aid termination shall be permanent.
The Financial Aid Committee will be the final decision in Financial Aid Appeals.



Notification
Students who fail to meet Student Academic Progress will be notified by letter when they are placed on financial aid warning, probation, or financial aid termination.

Treatment of Grades
~Credits attempted: the number of credit hours for which a student is officially enrolled at the end of the free drop/add period each semester. Credits with grades of I, P, and W all count as credits attempted.
~Credits earned: grades designated as A, B, C, D, P Credits with grades of F, I, and W do not count as credits earned.
~GPA calculation: includes grades of A, B, C, D, F.
~Percentage completion: is calculated by dividing the number of earned credits by the number of attempted credits (cumulative).

Exceptions:
Pass/No Pass: Courses graded Pass (P) or No Pass (NP) are not included in either of the SAP calculations.

Pass/Fail: For certain elective credits that are allowed Pass/Fail status as stated in the academic policies; The grade P has no grade points; but credits apply. The grade F, in these elective courses graded Pass/Fail, has the same effect on GPA as an F in letter-graded courses. It has no grade points, and does not count towards credits earned.

Repeated courses
Students who repeat a course will not receive financial assistance for the repeated course, unless the student received an F in that particular course. Each enrollment is included in calculating the percentage of successfully completed credits at the end of the semester, and the total number of attempted credits is used to determine length of eligibility. Repeating a course will result in the removal of the previous grade. When a course is repeated more than once, only one previous grade can be removed from the GPA calculation. A course may be repeated up to three times while receiving financial aid.

Transfer credits
Transfer credit hours accepted and applied toward a students program or degree count toward the calculation of the quantitative requirements (maximum time frame) but not in calculating the qualitative requirements (cumulative GPA).

Consumer Information
Consumer information required by the Department of Education will be made available on a
yearly basis by October 1st and given to all staff, faculty, and current and prospective students in a letter form with information on where to access the information on our WETCC website: http://www.wetcc.org. This includes: completion or graduation rates, crime log information, institutional information including academic programs, drug and alcohol program information