General Policies and Practices
The Office of Student Financial Planning makes every effort to communicate effectively to our students the policies and practices used by our office in the process of administering financial assistance. Most of the policies regarding federal and state assistance are statutory in nature. Other policies and practices have been developed by our office to ensure efficiency, accuracy, and understanding of the financial aid process. Students and parents will want to familiarize themselves with the policies and practices outlined in this section.
- New applicants for financial assistance must submit the Union University Application for Scholarships and Financial Assistance for the appropriate year in order to be considered for any type aid.
Applicants for federal and/or state assistance must also file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the appropriate year.
Applicants for Scholars of Excellence, Union TBC Award, Engineering Scholarship, Church and Convention Ministry Scholarship, TN Scholars and Minority Scholarship must submit separate applications for these scholarships.
Applicants for on-campus employment must complete a separate online application for employment.
- Returning students wishing to reapply for federal and/or state funds must file the FAFSA or Renewal FAFSA. It is the student's responsibility to complete this application by the deadline.
- All students are required to notify Student Financial Planning of any other scholarships, loans, or other assistance received from sources outside the university.
- Returning students' financial need will be evaluated each year and appropriate increase or decrease in the amount of assistance offered will be made.
- Applicants for Federal Stafford, PLUS and/or GradPLUS Loans are required to maintain half-time enrollment status in their program of study. Students must be enrolled full-time to receive any institutional assistance.
- Applicants will be notified of their award package via an Award Letter. The award letter will only need to be returned to the Office of Student Financial Planning if the applicant is reducing or declining any award.
- Federal Stafford Loans are awarded each academic year from a serial Master Promissory Note. Notification of the amount is made to the student via an Award Letter. Students must complete a Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling on studentloans.gov to begin the loan certification process. The award letter will need to be returned if reducing or declining the Stafford loan amount(s).
- Federal Stafford Loan, Federal PLUS, GradPLUS, and Alternative Loan amounts shown on the Award Letter reflect the gross amount of the loan. The net amount of disbursements may be up to 3% less, due to fees deducted by the lender.
- Most awards are divided evenly between fall and spring semesters. The Award Letter indicates how each award will be divided between terms.
- Most scholarships from outside sources will show on the award letter simply as "Outside Scholarship" and will be divided equally between fall and spring semesters unless otherwise indicated by the donor.
- Award for Workship/Work-Study is the amount a student may expect to earn during the academic year contingent upon actual placement in a job assignment and actual hours worked. Recipients must report to Student Financial Planning upon arrival on campus for job assignment and clearance.
- Disbursement of awards for a term (excluding Federal Work-Study and Institutional Workship) is made by crediting the student's account.
- Students on Federal Work-Study will receive a direct deposit for hours worked. Students on Institutional Workship will have the amount earned each month credited to their student account, unless the amount earned exceeds any balance owed on the student account. Students will receive a direct deposit for the amount earned which exceeds the amount owed.
- Federal Perkins Loan funds will not be disbursed until the recipient has signed a Promissory Note and completed Perkins Entrance Counseling. Union TBC Award, Engineering Scholarship, CCMS Scholarship and TN Scholars funds will not be disbursed until the recipient's approved application is on file in the Office of Student Financial Planning.
- The lender will notify the loan borrower of the estimated disbursement dates for Stafford and PLUS loans. Funds received electronically by Union University will be posted to the student account within three business days.
- If the student account of a recipient of federal or state aid shows a credit balance, a direct deposit will be issued by the Office of Business Services within 14 days of the credit balance occurring.
- Original award amounts for non-tuition based institutional funds, federal and state grants assume the federal/state standard for full-time enrollment (12 credit hours per semester). Students enrolled in fewer than 12 hours per semester may have these award amounts adjusted as required by federal and state regulations and university policy. Students enrolled in less than 12 credit hours in their final semester prior to graduation will receive a pro-rated award amount.
- Original award amounts for tuition-based award packages assume enrollment of 12-16 credit hours per semester. A student taking more than 16 hours will have his/her award package pro-rated according to actual hours enrolled and terms of the particular scholarship.
- Financial assistance will be adjusted should a student withdraw from all classes, according to the Refund Policy of Union University published in the current catalog and federal law which may apply. Examples of the calculation of the refund and/or return of financial assistance are available in the Office of Student Financial Planning.
- A student's aid may be adjusted per federal regulations should the aid exceed the student's need as determined by the FAFSA. Institutional aid may be adjusted if the sum of all scholarships exceeds the direct institutional costs.
- If the verification process for federal/state aid causes a change in the student's eligibility, awards will be adjusted accordingly.
- Some scholarships require the student to maintain a minimum GPA in order to retain the scholarship.
Such requirements can be viewed at www.uu.edu/financialaid/awards.cfm. Federal and state aid requires that the student maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress according the policies established by the Office of Student Financial Planning. Failure to meet GPA requirements will cause the student to lose that assistance.
- Scholars of Excellence Scholarships may be applied towards regular hours for fall, winter, spring, or summer terms for the first 128 hours taken at Union University. Missionary Dependent Awards will receive 6 total hours free tuition per year in Winter or Summer. Academic Scholarship and CCMS are awarded for a maximum of eight regular semesters. Transfer/Academic Leadership Scholarship is awarded for a maximum of 4 regular semesters.
- Students must meet the requirements of Union's Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid Eligibility in order to receive Federal/State Grants and Loans. Qualitative requirement: Achieve 1.5 GPA upon completion of the first 24 credit hours; maintain 2.0 after completing 48 credit hours. Quantitative requirement: Successfully complete a minimum of 67% of credit hours attempted (cumulative). Maximum Time Frame: Complete degree program within 150% of the published length of the program. If a student loses eligibility for federal funds due to failure to meet these standards, appeal may be made through the Office of Student Financial Planning.
- Upon graduation or withdrawal from the university, recipients of a Federal TEACH Grant, Federal Perkins Loan or Federal Stafford Loan are required to complete exit counseling at www.mappingyourfuture.org.
- Any commitment of federal funds (Pell Grant, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant or Perkins Loan) or state funds (TSAA and TELS) is tentative and contingent upon subsequent congressional and/or state appropriation and actual receipt of the funds by Union University.
- The Office of Student Financial Planning reserves the right on behalf of the University to review, modify, and/or cancel an award at any time because of changes in financial, enrollment, or academic status; changes of academic program; or because of the recipient's failure to observe reasonable standards of citizenship.
Effective Fall 2012
Verification is the process of confirming the accuracy of data reported on a student's Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
This is accomplished by comparing that data with documents such as federal tax return transcripts, W-2 forms,
verification forms, and other documentation which the student and/or parent may be required to submit to the Office of Student Financial Planning.
- Applications may be selected for verification by the Central Processing System (CPS) of the Department of Education. The school is required to verify specific data items on every application which is selected by CPS. Verifiable data may differ from one student to another. Also, the school may choose to verify data items in addition to the ones required by regulation.
- Union University may institutionally select applications for verification if it appears that data is incorrect, omitted, or conflicting. The school may decide which data to verify on applications it selects. If there is any conflicting information, the school is required by regulation to resolve such conflicts.
- A student is notified on the Electronic Student Aid Report (SAR) when his or her application is selected for verification by CPS. Schools are notified on the Electronic Institutional Student Information Report (ISIR).
- Most financial information on the FAFSA submitted through use of the IRS Retrieval Tool is considered to be verified as long as no changes are made to that information. The Office of Student Financial Planning may request documentation of other data items.
- Documents needed for verification which are not already on file will be requested from the student via "Reminder Letters" from the Office of Student Financial Planning.
- A series of at least five reminder letters will continue to be sent on a schedule of every 2-3 weeks until all documents needed are received. Reminder letters will be sent by email to the students.
- All documentation submitted must bear the appropriate signatures.
- Documentation of number in household and number in college must be correct as of the day of verification, even if it has changed since the FAFSA was filed.
- A dependent student who has married since the FAFSA was filed should contact the Office of Student Financial Planning for guidance on how verification regulations apply to his/her situation.
- A student's file will become inactive and the student will not be awarded any federal aid if the student fails to furnish all documents which have been requested for verification within a reasonable period of time. A "reasonable period of time" is considered to be no longer than three weeks after their fifth reminder has been sent. Student will become ineligible to receive federal aid if the verification deadline is not met.
- Verification deadline is the last day to submit all documentation/information required for verification. Union's verification deadline is 25 days after becoming ineligible for Title IV Aid for any of the following reasons:
- For Federal Direct Subsidized Loans, student ceased to be enrolled at least ½ time
- Student failed to make Satisfactory Academic Progress
- Period of enrollment has ended
- Student dropped classes constituting a withdrawal
- Student administratively withdrawn
- Verification deadline for Federal Pell Grant and TEACH Grant is 120 days after student becomes ineligible or Federal Verification Deadline (Usually last working day of September), whichever comes first.
- Any corrections to a student's FAFSA information will be reported electronically by the University to CPS for processing. When electronic corrections are made, the school will receive a corrected Institutional Student Information Report (ISIR) within one week. CPS will notify the student of such corrections electronically.
- A student whose application was selected for verification who finds errors, omissions, or discrepancies in data may enter corrections online at www.fafsa.gov. However it is not necessary to do so since data must still be verified by the Office of Student Financial Planning.
- A student or parent who has any question or disagreement regarding data which was changed should contact the Office of Student Financial Planning for a review of the changes.
ADJUSTMENTS FOR SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES
- Students who feel their FAFSA information does not accurately reflect their financial situation due to certain special and unusual circumstances may request to have their FAFSA information reviewed for possible adjustment (professional judgement).
- Students/Parents must complete a Special Circumstances Form, meet personally or by phone with the Director of Student Financial Planning, and provide all documentation requested.
- A student's FAFSA information must be verified and corrected before consideration for special circumstances adjustment can be given.
- Decision of the Director of Student Financial Planning is final.
- Federal aid will be awarded to a student whose application is selected for verification on a tentative basis. Once verification is completed and a corrected ISIR, if needed, has been received by the school, the student's award(s) will be changed to the corrected amount(s). A revised award letter will be mailed to the student within one week of receiving the corrected ISIR.
- No student may receive more federal aid than his/her verified FAFSA indicates.
- If during the verification process, it is discovered that a student has been awarded and the student's account credited with more than the amount for which he or she is eligible under the Federal Pell Grant, FSEOG, or Federal Perkins Loan Program, the student is considered to have received an overpayment. In such a case, the Office of Student Financial Planning will attempt to reduce or eliminate the overpayment by adjusting subsequent disbursements.
- If it is not possible to adjust subsequent disbursements, the student will be notified of the overpayment situation, and will be requested to make arrangements to repay the overpayment amount. If the student refuses to make satisfactory repayment arrangements, the debt may be referred to the Department of Education. If this should happen, the student will not be eligible to receive any Title IV Aid at any school until the overpayment is resolved.