The Federal Student Aid Process
Financial Aid Office
1. Federal Student Aid Eligibility
To be eligible for Federal Student Aid, students must:
- Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
- Be a regular student, enrolled in a Title IV eligible, degree or certificate program of study
- Not be currently enrolled in a secondary school
- Provide proof of a high school diploma or the recognized equivalent (such as a GED). Validating documents can be an official high school transcript or diploma, verification of state GED, or DD214 indicating high school completion or receipt of GED.
- Be a U.S. citizen or national, or an eligible non-citizen (verification of eligible non-citizen status may be required)
- Have a valid Social Security Number
- Not be in default on a Federal Student loan or owe an overpayment on a Federal Student Aid Grant or Loan and may not have borrowed in excess of the annual or aggregate loan limits for the Federal Student Loan Program. Check www.nslds.ed.gov if uncertain.
- If the student is male, he must be registered with Selective Service as required. Visit sss.gov if uncertain.
- Maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP) once approved for funding
- Certify that federal student aid will only be used for educational purposes
- Demonstrate financial need
2. Applying for Federal Student Aid
In order to determine a student’s eligibility for Title IV funding, the student must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Financial Aid Office strongly recommends completing the FAFSA at least two (2) weeks prior to the first day of classes. Continuing students should complete the new FAFSA annually, by May 1, prior to the new award year starting July 1.
Near the end of the FAFSA application, students will be asked to enter the school code, of the particular school(s) for which the student would like the FAFSA results to be sent. ABTU’s school code is: 041187
Click the following link to complete the FAFSA https://fafsa.ed.gov/
Note: In the interest of producing college graduates without the burden of federal student loan debt, ABTU has voluntarily exited the Direct Lending federal student loan program. Thus, a student’s eligibility to use Title IV funds at ABTU is limited to federal Pell Grants.
3. Criteria for determining and packaging a student’s award
Upon completion of the FAFSA, the Department of Education will send the student a “Student Aid Report”, to the email address entered on the FAFSA. Once the student’s eligibility for Title IV funds (Pell Grants) has been determined, the amount of the Pell Grants which will be sent to the school for tuition and fees, can then be calculated. Students must be enrolled as a full time student in order to receive 100% of the Pell Grant funds for which they are eligible. Students enrolled as a one-half time student will only be eligible to utilize one-half of their total Pell funds available. Students must also continue to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in order to be eligible for Federal Financial Aid disbursements.
American Business & Technology University packages all financial aid for students based on the guidelines in the Federal Student Aid Handbook.
Federal Student Aid Handbook: https://ifap.ed.gov/ifap/byAwardYear.jsp?type=fsahandbook&awardyear=2017-2018
4. Pell Award Formula
In order to be considered a full time student, the student must be enrolled in a minimum of 6 credit hours (two courses) per term/payment period. There are four terms/payment periods (eight- courses) in an academic year. Pell Grant payments will be paid in installments over the course of the academic year. The payment period schedule determines when and the amounts of Pell that will be disbursed.
An initial calculation of the student’s eligibility for the Pell Grant is made after the school receives the student’s ISIR (Institutional Student Information Record) and an official EFC. An official EFC is used to calculate the student’s Pell Grant amount based on the Pell Grant schedule that is distributed by the Department of Education before the beginning of each academic year. The funds for each payment period will not be disbursed until the student has completed half of the weeks of instructional time of the academic year they are enrolled in.
If a student transfers from another school to ABTU, ABTU will first determine the percentage of eligibility remaining to the student before any Pell Grant payments will be made. ABTU can only pay that portion of the Pell Grant that the student is eligible for as long as the student is in attendance at ABTU. The grant must be adjusted to ensure the student is not over-awarded for the award year.
5. Payment Period Definition
ABTU has four payment periods or academic terms per academic year (48 weeks). Each payment period is 12 weeks in length, followed by a 1 week break. Full-time students are expected to enroll in 2 courses per payment period, totaling 8 courses per year. A student can enroll in any of the eight course starts per calendar year. All of ABTU’s courses award three semester credit hours. Due to the flexibility of the programs offered at ABTU, students are able to enroll in classes for any six-week term. While students are encouraged to continue through their program as quickly as possible in order to achieve their educational and professional goals, the reality is that students are able to enroll for classes as their schedule permits. The academic schedule provides a structured framework based on a traditional academic calendar. Payment Period 1 represents a Winter Quarter, Payment Period 2 represents a Spring Quarter, Payment Period 3 represents a Summer Quarter, and Payment Period 4 represents a Fall Quarter. Please note that the Payment Periods are identified for a calendar year, whereas the FAFSA year begins in July, which would represent Payment Period 3. These represent a processing framework for ABTU and have minimal impact on the individual student or their aid eligibility.
6. Federal Student Aid Disbursement
ABTU will request funds once per payment period, or four (4) times per year. The following schedule demonstrates when ABTU anticipates funds will be requested from the federal government. In order for ABTU to request funds a student must be meeting SAP, be current with course work, and be in good standing with all ABTU policies. Once the student is confirmed to be meeting these requirements, disbursements will be made to the student account immediately after receiving the funds from the Department of Education. In the event the disbursement results in a credit balance on the student account, a disbursement will be made to the student within fourteen (14) days of receipt of the funds from the government.
ABTU monitors students’ attendance and grades on a course-by-course basis; this allows ABTU to determine at-risk students before the end of a payment period (point of SAP measurement). Determining students who are at risk early on will allow ABTU to deploy academic efforts to retain the students before they reach the end of the payment period.
Below is a detailed timeline of the back office process for drawing down funds, applying funds, and processing disbursements to students.
- Student is asked to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at ed.gov
- When the FAFSA is received, a Financial Aid Officer confirms that the student is planning to attend.
- The Financial Aid Officer verifies the student’s last day of attendance, SAP status, and that the student has maintained eligibility.
- When funds are to be disbursed ABTU posts awarded funds (payments) to the student’s ledger card using the COD disbursement date. The payments are itemized with respect to Pell and/or any other funds received. These are itemized into specific lines on the student’s ledger. This task is done within three (3) days of the COD disbursement date.
- Once funds are received, ABTU transfers the funds from the Pell account to the respective disbursement accounts (Pell) within three (3) days. The student’s ledger cards are then verified against the deposit for accuracy.
- The Financial Aid Officer and the Accounting Office review and reconcile the funds that were received.
- If a student withdraws and refunds are due, refunds are processed in the form of checks or EFT to eligible students. Checks are mailed via USPS.
Determining Student’s Credit Balance
The Accounting Office is provided a deposit summary for each eligible student. Each student’s ledger card is reviewed to verify all applicable charges for tuition, books, and fees due to the school. ABTU then verifies that the funds received are for the payment period in which it was requested.
Payments due to the school are then applied to the student’s ledger card. The Pell Grant funds are applied first, followed by other funding sources when applicable. Once payments are applied to the specific payment period, ABTU determines credit balances if any. This credit balance is reported on the student’s ledger card.
When the amount of a credit balance is determined, the Accounting Office meets with the Financial Aid Department to identify any necessary refunds. Each funding submission details to which payment period the payment should apply, the total cost of the payment period, and determines to which courses the payments are to be applied.
The Financial Aid Officer verifies the student has remained eligible before a disbursement is made. This is done by confirming SAP and Last Day of Attendance (LDA) in the Student Information System. The Accounting Office then updates QuickBooks with the payment information.
ABTU mails checks and utilizes direct deposit to send credit balances to students. For all payments, the Accounting Office reconciles the accounts to verify that the payments have cleared.
Contact for Questions:
Brooke Muff, Financial Aid Officer
Phone: (816) 279-7000, ext. 1701
Toll Free: 1-800-908-9329, ext. 1701
7. Return of Title IV Funds
Federal regulations specify how American Business & Technology University must determine the amount of Title IV program assistance that a student has earned at the point in time he or she officially withdraws, stops attending, or is dismissed.
When a student withdraws, stops attending, or is dismissed, the amount of Pell Grants that the student has earned is calculated on a prorated basis, based on the portion of the given payment period that the student remained active. The student’s last date of academic activity (LDA) will be utilized to determine the earned and unearned portions of Pell Grants. Once the calculation is made, the appropriate amount of Pell Grant funds are applied to the student’s account, and the remainder is returned to the Department of Education. Once a student has successfully completed 60 percent or more of the payment period, he or she has earned all the scheduled Pell Grants for that payment period, and funds will not be returned to the Department of Education. If the student withdraws and did not receive all of the assistance that was earned, a post withdrawal disbursement may be due to the student.
If a new student has not progressed academically by the midterm of his/her first course (end of the third week of a typical 6 week course), ABTU has the right to cancel the student’s enrollment. Any pre-paid tuition will be refunded in accordance with the school’s refund policy. Title IV students will have their Pell grants recalculated if there is no documented evidence that the student began attendance in a class, and a Return of Title IV funds calculation will be performed. A potential post withdrawal disbursement may be due to the student.
ABTU is an online school that takes attendance. Therefore, students that do not log in and perform an academic activity within the first week (seven days) of a course or 14 consecutive days at any time during a course are ordinarily dismissed, short of documented extenuating circumstances. The date of the student’s last academic activity (LDA) is the date that is used to determine the amount of Federal funds that have been earned.
A student requesting a Leave of Absence must do so using the Leave of Absence form. A withdrawal is not the same as a Leave of Absence for institutional purposes. For reporting purposes on Enrollment Reporting to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), students at ABTU are not eligible for a Leave of Absence and must be reported as having withdrawn from the institution. Please see the Leave of Absence and/or withdrawal policies
If a student is due a post-withdrawal disbursement of a Pell grant, the school must credit the student’s account with the post-withdrawal disbursement for current charges within 180 days, and must process a post-withdrawal disbursement to the student no later than 45 days after the school’s date of determination that the student withdrew.
A post-withdrawal disbursement is different than a credit balance. If a student is not due a post-withdrawal disbursement, but has a positive balance with ABTU, the funds will be disbursed within 14 days of the college completing the Return to Title IV Calculation (R2T4)
In the event a student is over awarded, the Pell Grant for the over-awarded class will be sent back before the R2T4 is performed.
If a student has received unearned Title IV program funds, the student must return the remaining amount.
8. Federal Student Aid Transfer
Students may not be eligible for partial or full amounts of Federal Student Aid (Pell Grants) if they have received or applied for Federal Student Aid at other postsecondary colleges. In order to receive financial aid funds at ABTU, a student must first withdraw from his or her previous college and then reapply for funding at ABTU.
Transfer students may also have complications with payment periods that overlap between the two colleges which may result in their financial aid package not covering the tuition bill. To resolve such issues, the student must provide information from the other college or must wait to enroll until the overlapping loan issue is resolved.
A student with previous colleges or universities on record may be required to provide transcripts or a letter of explanation as to why a transcript is not available to ABTU. Failure to do so may result in cancelation of a student’s application. ABTU will evaluate each student on a case-by-case basis if a transcript is not available to determine if enrollment will be allowed