2013-2014 Financial Aid Award Guide

Financial aid can be complex and difficult to navigate at times, so the following guide has been provided to assist you in interpreting and evaluating your financial aid award. Please read this guide carefully and review the checklist located at the end to be fully aware of your rights and responsibilities in regard to this financial aid offer.

Back to Top Enrollment Requirements

Your award may consist of a fall and spring award, fall only award, or spring only award. You must be enrolled for the specific term referenced on the award letter to receive the aid for that term. If you are not enrolled for a term, or you are not enrolled in the minimum hours required, payment of your aid may be delayed or not pay at all.  You must also be enrolled in a financial aid eligible degree program or qualifying certificate program to receive financial aid.

  • If your award letter reflects awards for the full academic year, awards will be based on estimated full time enrollment (twelve credit hours or more per semester) for any semesters you have yet to enroll in, and your academic status (freshman or sophomore) as of the date of this letter.  Being enrolled less than full-time for the fall or spring semester may result in awards being reduced. 
  • If your award letter reflects a fall semester award only, school records indicate that you will graduate or exceed the financial aid eligibility timeframe at the end of the fall semester. Please contact the Financial Aid and Student Employment Office regarding the spring semester award if your academic situation has changed since the date of this letter.  Fall only awards will still be based on estimated full time enrollment if you have yet to enroll in coursework for the fall semester.  Again, Awards may be adjusted after the start of the term to reflect your true enrollment status and eligibility.
  • If you are receiving this award letter for the first time in the spring semester, your award is based on your actual spring enrollment as of the date of this letter.  However, awards may still be adjusted after the start of the term to reflect your true enrollment status and eligibility.

Enrollment is verified each semester immediately following the Financial Aid Census Date and again prior to the disbursement of funds. The census date is the second Friday after the start of classes in the fall and spring semester and the first Friday after the start of classes in the summer semester. All enrollment and program changes must occur by the semester census date to ensure financial aid awards accurately reflect your eligibility. Financial aid awards will still be recalculated due to changes in enrollment after the census date, if the changes result from a class cancellation, dropping a late starting class within the refund period, or never attending a class. Refer to "Dropping Classes or Withdrawing" section below for more information.

Back to Top Satisfactory Academic Progress

In order to receive federal aid, the government requires students to make satisfactory academic progress (SAP) towards completing their degree or certificate program.  SAP is composed of 3 requirements:

  • Cumulative GPA: You MUST maintain a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA.
  • Cumulative Completion Rate: You MUST successfully complete at least 67% of all attempted credit hours at the end of each semester.
  • Maximum Timeframe: You MUST complete your program of study within 150% of the timeframe allotted for your particular program.

Satisfactory academic progress is reviewed for financial aid recipients at the end of each semester. Students determined NOT to be in good standing are notified of their status by email.

Back to Top Changes to Your Award

  • Your financial aid award is subject to being revised if your cost of attendance changes, federal or state funding changes, or your data changes through appeal. We are required to adjust or cancel your award as a result of any information we receive that affects your eligibility.

You are required to notify Student Financial Aid of any additional financial resources (loans, scholarships, grants, fellowships, employee educational benefits, vocational rehabilitation, etc.) that you will receive for 2013-2014 that are not listed with your award.  You must provide a letter from the donor to verify a private scholarship. These resources may also cause adjustments and/or a reduction to the financial aid award originally offered.

Back to Top Financial Aid Award Descriptions

  • Federal Pell Grant: This grant is awarded to undergraduate students who are working on their first bachelor's degree. Awarded amounts can vary per semester, depending on your calculated Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and your enrollment status (full-time, half-time, less than half-time) for each term. Awards are estimated until funds are confirmed from the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grant (FSEOG): An FSEOG award is for undergraduate students with exceptional financial need (those with the lowest EFC's). Priority is given to students who receive a Federal Pell Grant. FSEOG is awarded on a funds available basis. Students must be enrolled at least half-time to receive the grant. Awards are estimated until funds are confirmed from the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Federal Work Study:  If you are awarded Federal Work-Study (FWS), the amount on the letter indicates the maximum you may earn. It does not guarantee you a job or that you will be able to earn the stated maximum.  It is your responsibility to find employment on campus to utilize Federal Work Study funds.   
  • Federal Direct Stafford Loan: https://studentloans.gov.
  • State of IL MAP Grant (Est.):  By applying for financial aid and agreeing to share that information with the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) you have been considered for the State of Illinois (IL) Monetary Award Program (MAP) Grant.  If you were determined to meet the eligibility criteria for the MAP grant, an award is included on your award letter.  This award may be an estimate made by the financial aid office and, if so, is identified as a "State of IL MAP Grant (Est)."  MAP grants are limited based on the number of applicants and funding levels appropriated by the ILLINOIS General Assembly.  Please be aware that in light of state funding constraints, reductions to estimated or actual MAP grants are possible.

Eligibility for a MAP grant is tracked by the equivalent number of semester credit hours of MAP benefits paid on your behalf.  This is called MAP Paid Credit Hours.  Payment for each term is being made according to the equivalent number of credit hours eligible for MAP payment, with a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 15 MAP Paid Credit Hours.

There is a limit on the number of MAP Paid Credit Hours that can be paid while you are classified by your school as a freshman and sophomore.  This limit is the equivalent of 75 MAP Paid Credit Hours.  If this maximum is reached, you must attain junior status for your MAP grant eligibility to resume.  The maximum number of MAP Paid Credit Hours that can be received is capped at 135.

If a State of IL MAP Grant (Est) is not included in your award letter, you are not eligible for the grant at SWIC.

Find more detailed information about Illinois Student Assistance Commission and the eligibility requirements for MAP at http://isac.org.

Other Resources:  If you are the recipient of additional financial aid assistance in the form of scholarships, veteran benefits, or other third party assistance, it may be identified on your award letter as "Other Resources." You are not required to "accept" them.

Back to Top Dropping Classes or Withdrawing

Please Note: Students are advised to obtain an accounting of their refund liability from the Financial Aid and Student Employment Office before dropping or withdrawing from any classes.

We understand that it may be necessary for you to drop or withdraw from a class due to unforeseen circumstances. Students should understand that any class withdrawals or drops at any time during the semester can affect their financial aid. Even if you are enrolled in a late starting class and it is cancelled or you withdraw prior to it starting, you may be liable to repay a portion of your financial aid. 

If you completely withdraw from the college during a semester, you may have to repay the aid that you received. Using a federal formula, we determine if the aid you received exceeds reasonable allowances for the educational and living expenses you incurred. If you received more than was necessary for the time that you were enrolled, the excess funds must be returned to your aid program(s). If your withdrawal is back-dated to the beginning of the semester, all aid will be returned to the appropriate program(s), and you will receive a bill from the Business Office.

The refund distribution policy prescribed by federal regulation requires us to remove financial aid funds in the following order:*

  1. Unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford loans
  2. Subsidized Federal Direct Stafford loans
  3. Federal Direct PLUS loans
  4. Federal Pell grant
  5. FSEOG
  6. Other Title IV aid programs
  7. Other federal sources of aid
  8. Other state, private or institutional aid
  9. The student

*Federal programs in which the institution does not participate are not included in the distribution list.

Back to Top Loan Exit Counseling

If you graduate or drop below half-time enrollment at the end of the Fall 2013 semester or the Spring 2014 semester, you must complete the Loan Exit Counseling requirement within 30 days of your change in enrollment. You can complete this requirement at https://studentloans.gov.

Back to Top Charging Books Against Your Financial Aid

A valid SWIC student ID is required. Books may be charged beginning 1week prior to the start of the semester for fall/spring semesters and will remain open for two weeks following the start of the semester. In summer, books may be charged beginning 1 week prior to the start and will remain open for 1 week following the start of the semester.

Students may be able to charge books at the college bookstore if all of the following apply:

  1. Have applicable financial aid funds in an amount greater than tuition and fees.
  2. Selected I Agree to the "Apply Financial Aid Charges" option on your eSTORM account under "View Financial Aid."

Back to Top Federal Refund Policy for Financial Aid Recipients

Please Note: This refund policy differs from the SWIC institutional refund policy found in the college catalog.

The refund policy for financial aid recipients applies to tuition, fees, and financial aid bookstore charges (if you have granted the release on your eSTORM account). The first disbursement for each semester cannot occur earlier than the 6th week in fall and spring semesters. Your disbursement may occur later if all disbursement requirements have not been met. Scholarship, student loan, and grant refunds are all generally available after the 6th week in fall and spring semesters. Student loan refunds for one semester only loans will be evenly split into two refunds, which should be available in the 6th and 11th weeks.