Financial Aid Eligibility

Many factors besides personal or household income could affect your eligibility for financial assistance. In general, they include your course load, academic standing, citizenship, possible drug law violations, and withdrawing from a term. These factors are explained below.

If you are a current student at Ship and want the latest information on your financial aid package, you should log into your myShip portal.

With the exception of the Federal Pell Grant, you must be enrolled in at least 6 credits of classes (half-time status) to receive Federal student aid. If you drop below half-time status before Federal aid disburses, the Financial Aid Office will cancel any pending Federal aid. Additionally, if you drop below half-time status OR withdraw from school, you will be expected to begin repaying any existing loans.

In order to be eligible for Federal financial aid, you must be:

  • A U.S. citizen or national (by birth or naturalization)
    • Persons (except for the children of foreign diplomatic staff) born in the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and in most cases, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands - as are most persons born abroad to parents (or a parent) who are citizens - are considered U.S. citizens
    • Natives of American Samoa and Swains Island are not U.S. citizens but are nationals and therefore may receive federal student aid funds
  • A U.S. permanent resident
  • A citizen of the Freely Associated States: the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republics of Palau and the Marshall Islands
  • An eligible noncitizen

Or

You must have an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94 Form) from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or other documentation to prove you are an eligible noncitizen. The classes of noncitizens are as follows:

  • Refugee: You have Form I-94 or I-94A annotated with a stamp showing admission under Section 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) or you have an old Refugee Travel Document (Form I-571) or the new U.S. Travel Document mentioned above annotated with “Refugee Travel Document Form I-571 (Rev. 9-2-03)”
  • Victim of Human Trafficking
  • Asylees: You have an I-94 or I-94A with a stamp showing admission under Section 208 of the INA
  • Conditional Entrant (valid only if issued before April 1, 1980): You have a stamp indicating you were admitted to the U.S. as a conditional entrant (DHS stopped using this category after 3/31/80)
  • Parolee: You have a stamp indicating you have been paroled into the U.S. for at least one year, with a date that has not expired
  • Cuban-Haitian Entrant: You have a stamp on the face of the I-94 indicating you have been classified as a “Cuban-Haitian Entrant (Status Pending).” This classification is valid even if the expiration date has passed

If requested, acceptable documentation to verify your citizenship includes any one the following:

  • A copy of your birth certificate showing you were born in the United States
  • A copy of a valid Form FS-240 (Consular Report of Birth Abroad)
  • A copy of a valid Form FS-545 (Certificate of Birth Issued by a Foreign Service Post)
  • A copy of a valid Form DS-1350 (Certificate of Report of Birth)
  • A copy of a valid Form N-560 or N-561 (Certificate of Citizenship)
  • A copy of a valid Form N-550 or N-570 (Certificate of Naturalization)
  • A copy of a valid INS Form I-551 (Permanent or Resident Alien Card)
  • A copy of your valid U.S. passport, which may be current or expired and indicates your U.S. citizenship

NOTE: The only document that may be expired is the passport. All other forms must be valid and current.

 

If you have been convicted of an offense under any federal or state law involving the possession or sale of a controlled substance during a period of enrollment in which you received financial aid, you are not eligible to receive any federal or institutional grant, loan, or work assistance during the period beginning on the date of such conviction and ending after the interval specified in the following table.

Possession of a Controlled Substance Ineligibility Period
First Offense 1 year
Second Offense 2 years
Third Offense Indefinite
Sale of a Controlled Substance Ineligibility Period
First Offense 2 years
Second Offense Indefinite

If your eligibility has been suspended based on a conviction for possession or sale of a controlled substance, you may resume eligibility before the end of the ineligibility period if you:

  • Satisfactorily complete a drug rehabilitation program that complies with the criteria prescribed in federal regulations and includes two unannounced drug tests; or
  • Successfully pass two unannounced drug tests conducted by a drug rehabilitation program that complies with the criteria prescribed in the federal regulations; or
  • Have your conviction reversed, set aside, or otherwise rendered nugatory  

Courses in Program of Study for Financial Aid

Your enrollment does affect your eligibility for federal financial aid!

Federal Regulations require you to be degree seeking to receive financial aid, but the courses you take must also be required for your program. Essentially, only the coursework that counts toward your degree program will be used in determining your enrollment status for aid purposes.

Why does it matter if the courses are required for my degree?

The purpose of this federal policy is to ensure that students remain on track towards graduation and only receive the aid for which they are eligible.

What types of Aid are affected by this?

Federal Aid (Some examples: Pell Grant, Teach Grant, Direct Loans, Work Study and FSEOG) may only be paid for eligible courses that count toward your program of study. 

State Aid (Some examples: PHEAA State Grant, Ready to Success Scholarship (RTSS), and the Education Assistance Program (EAP) may only be paid for eligible courses that count toward the program of study.

Most Institutional Aid (Some examples: Board of Governors (BOG) Scholarship, Raider Success (RSS) Scholarship, and Athletic Grant in Aid Scholarships) require full-time enrollment and only eligible courses that count toward your program of study will be used to determine your enrollment status.  

Alternative Loans are not subject to the same regulatory restrictions. 

How is enrollment status determined?

At Shippensburg University, the following measure is used for enrollment status:

  • Undergraduates: 12 or more hours is full-time, 9-11 hours is three-quarter-time, 6-8 hours is half-time, and 5 or less hours is less-than-half-time.
      • Undergraduates taking a graduate level course to meet undergraduate requirements, work with your advisor to submit an exception form to the Registrar’s Office to allow the course to count for undergraduate credit.  Since federal financial aid is disbursed 10 days before the start of the semester, we recommend submitting the exception form early.
      • Undergraduates taking a graduate level course for graduate credit, that course will not count toward your enrollment status and may have an impact on your financial aid.
  • Graduates: 9 or more hours is full-time, there is no three-quarter-time enrollment for graduate students, 6-8 hours is half-time, and 5 or less hours is less-than-half-time.

What and when will the process be run to identify courses not in the program of study?

The degree audit tool will be used to determine if a course is part of the program of study.  The Registrar’s Office will run a process to identify students who have a course not in their program of study and notify them after semester registration has closed, but before schedule adjustment.  In order to provide students with information that is as up to date as possible, the processes will be run once daily from the start of schedule adjustment through the completion of the drop/add period.  After the drop/add period, no further financial aid enrollment adjustments will be made.  It is important that all changes affecting courses that count be made before the end of the drop/add period.  You may log in to your degree audit to review any courses that may be listed under the Course(s) Not Counted Towards Your Program of Study block.

How will I know if the courses count?

To see if your classes are eligible, check degree audit. This is a great tool for you to review your program audit to see required courses and courses remaining to complete your program!

What can I do if my classes do not count and who should I contact?

Start early and be familiar with your degree audit, so you can make enrollment adjustments. You can also use the “What If” feature to check other degrees you may be considering. If you are planning to change your enrollment or program of study, we encourage you to contact your advisor for assistance.

What do I need to do to ensure my correct aid amount disburses?

Since we disburse your federal financial aid 10 days before the start of the semester, we recommend you enroll in courses that are required for your degree program of study and declare your major or minor early.  

What about students who are going to change majors?

Only the current semester major will be used when evaluating the courses. Courses counting only toward future majors will not count toward the program of study.

What if I make a change to my schedule after my aid has been disbursed and I receive my refund?

The Financial Aid Office may need to re-evaluate your financial aid award depending on when the schedule change occurs. We would encourage you to contact our office prior to making any schedule changes after a semester begins. Schedule changes could affect the amount awarded or disbursed, causing you to owe a balance.

Eligibility Examples:

  • If you are eligible for the Pell Grant and are enrolled in 12 credit hours, but only 9 are required for your program, you will receive federal aid for only those 9 eligible hours.
  • If you are enrolled in 6 credit hours, but only 3 are required for your program, you will not be eligible for the student loan. Students must be enrolled in a minimum of 6 eligible hours for Federal Direct loans.

Am I still able to take courses not required for my degree?

Yes, you can take a course that is not required. Just know that the course will not count toward your financial aid enrollment status.

How will this affect Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)?

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is based on total hours taken and not federal aid eligible hours taken.  All hours will continue to count towards this as noted at Financial Aid Eligiblity.

I have questions specific to my financial aid, who should I contact?

You should direct questions specific for financial aid to the Financial Aid Office. We are located in Old Main, Room 101. You may stop by during our office hours (8:00 to 4:30 Monday through Friday). You may also contact us by phone at 717-477-1131 or by email at finaid@ship.edu

You may also visit our website at www.ship.edu/Financial_Aid for additional information regarding Course Program of Study and Financial Aid. 

Prepare and register early to ensure your courses will be eligible for financial aid!

If you already received a passing grade of "D" or better in a course, you may only repeat the course one more time for it to be considered part of your enrollment for that particular semester. If you are enrolled in a semester taking a course that was previously taken two times (and passed at least once), that course will not be counted towards enrollment for financial aid purposes that semester, and aid may be adjusted accordingly.

In order to continue receiving financial aid, you must make satisfactory academic progress (SAP). SAP is defined as sufficiently moving toward successful completion of degree requirements. Your SAP status will be reviewed at the end of fall term, the end of spring term, and after the final summer session. If you were enrolled on or after the first day of the term, you will have your SAP calculated at the end of the term.

Federal policies require that SAP be measured three ways:

  • Cumulative GPA
  • Percentage of Credits Earned (Pace)
  • Maximum Time Frame

Financial aid recipients must maintain SAP in all three areas whether or not aid was received in the past.

If you need assistance calculating your GPA, or projecting what term GPA you will need to earn to improve your overall GPA please use the GPA calculators available via your MyShip portal under 'Degree Audit'.  Instructions for using the GPA calculators can be found online at: https://www.ship.edu/registrar/announcements/gpa_calculator_tab2/

PHEAA has different state grant progress requirements, and SAP requirements differ between undergraduate and graduate students. If you have questions about your financial aid eligibility or need information on how to appeal the loss of your aid, you should review the complete SAP Policy.

Withdrawing from or dropping courses may affect your ability to meet federal and state satisfactory academic progress (SAP) requirements (see above). Withdrawing from all your courses may affect your financial aid award. Review the information on Withdrawing From A Term. Contact the Financial Aid Office at 717-477-1131 or finaid@ship.edu to find out more.

Federal regulations require that if you withdraw from all your classes, a calculation must be performed (called Return to Title IV or R2T4) to determine how much of your aid must be returned to the government, and how much may be retained to pay for the charges you have incurred up to the point of your withdrawal.

NOTE: If you have been awarded federal aid, but withdraw before the first day of classes, 100% of any funds you received are returned to the federal government.

The Title IV programs that are covered by this law are:

  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan
  • Federal Direct Subsidized Loan
  • Federal Perkins Loan
  • Federal PLUS Loan
  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal SEOG
  • Federal Teach Grant
  • Federal Iraq Afghanistan Service Grant

If a R2T4 calculation is done, aid is returned to the government in that order.

When you withdraw during the semester, the amount of Title IV financial aid that you have “earned” up to that point is determined by a specific formula. The amount of federal aid you earned is determined on a pro rata basis. For example, if you completed 30% of the semester, you earned 30% of the financial aid you were originally awarded for the term. Once you have completed more than 60% of the semester, you have earned all the financial aid (100%) that you were scheduled to receive for that term, and no aid has to be returned to the government.

The R2T4 policies govern only the amount of Federal Aid that must be returned in the case of a withdrawal. The amount of your actual charges (tuition, fees, etc.) is governed by separate rules. More information on what you will be charged in case of a withdrawal from all classes can be found on the Student Accounts web page at: www.ship.edu/Student_Accounts/Refund_Schedule/.

PA State Grants and Withdrawing from a Term

If received, the Pennsylvania State Grant award (PHEAA) will be adjusted based on Shippensburg University's policy of refund/reduction in tuition charges for a full University withdrawal or leave of absence for the term. For example, if you are withdrawing during the third week of the term at a 40% tuition charge you will only be eligible to keep 40% of your PA State Grant award for the term; if your State Grant award was $1,780 for the term you will only be eligible to keep $712 (1780 x .4) toward your charges for the term. The balance of your award for the term will be credited back to the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA).

You should be aware that withdrawing from all courses during a term could have an effect on your Satisfactory Academic Progress. You should also be made aware that a return of funds to the federal government might create a balance due on your student account. You should check with the Student Accounts Office once your R2T4 has been processed and aid has been adjusted. You will receive a letter in the mail at your home address once your aid has been adjusted after your withdrawal. If you are considering withdrawing from all your classes you may want to make an appointment with a Financial Aid Counselor to discuss your situation prior to your withdrawal.