Graduate Catalog 2019-2020 
    
    Aug 21, 2019  
Graduate Catalog 2019-2020

Financial Aid



www.westga.edu/finaid/

The primary purpose of financial aid programs is to provide assistance to those whose personal and family resources are not sufficient to pay for the total cost of their education. Federal and state governments, the University, foundations, companies, and individuals provide these funds for worthy students. The university community also believes that academic excellence should be rewarded, and, as a result, some scholarships are awarded each year based exclusively on merit.

All applicants interested in federal and state financial aid programs must submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and any required documentation regarding their own and their family’s financial resources. The exact composition of an aid package depends upon several factors. The extent of a student’s financial need, the availability of funds, the student’s academic record, and the date of application may affect the aid package. In order to receive financial aid at the University of West Georgia, students must be in good academic standing and they must be accepted for admission.

The principal programs available to the University of West Georgia students are outlined below. More detailed information can be found on the Financial Aid website: www.westga.edu/finaid. To obtain more information, telephone the office at 678-839-6421 or visit the website at www.westga.edu/finaid. Questions may be sent by email to finaid@westga.edu.

Financial assistance is not available to those admitted to the University of West Georgia as transient or non-degree post baccalaureate students.

Academic Requirements for Receiving Financial Aid

In order to qualify for financial aid, students must have a high school diploma or GED or have completed homeschooling at the secondary level.

Maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements are meant to ensure that students are able to complete their academic program in a timely manner through achieving minimum academic standards. In an age of increasing accountability for the use of federal, state, and institutional student aid funds, institutions of higher education and their students must demonstrate that financial aid funds are being used to assist students in efficiently completing their academic goals.

The University of West Georgia (UWG) has developed the following Satisfactory Academic Progress policy for Financial Aid recipients to encourage student success and accountability in the use of Financial Aid funds for educational purposes. While the University of West Georgia maintains an academic progress policy for the determination of a student’s continued academic eligibility for enrollment purposes, the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy for Financial Aid purposes may be more stringent in some components in order to maintain compliance with Federal Student Aid regulations (34 CFR 668.34).

  1. Consistency of Application of SAP Standards
    Unless otherwise noted, the SAP requirements as stated apply to all students regardless of the student’s receipt of financial aid funds, the student’s academic classification as an undergraduate or graduate student, or the student’s academic program. Exceptions (as noted below) will include but are not limited to the minimum GPA requirement and maximum time frame hours for graduate students.
  2. Frequency of SAP Evaluation
    The UWG Financial Aid Office will evaluate all students’ Satisfactory Academic Progress status at the conclusion of each term of enrollment. At UWG, the term of enrollment is the semester. Students enrolled in summer semester will be evaluated for SAP at the conclusion of the summer semester.
  3. Grade-Point Average (GPA) Requirement
    1. Undergraduate students will be evaluated each semester on the basis of cumulative GPA and the total number of hours attempted. Hours transferred will be included in determining the total hours attempted; however, the cumulative GPA will be computed only on the work completed at UWG (institutional GPA). The cumulative GPA required to maintain SAP for the total number of hours attempted is given below:
      • 0 - 30 attempted hours = 1.8 minimum institutional GPA
      • 31 - 60 attempted hours = 1.9 minimum institutional GPA
      • 61 attempted hours & above = 2.0 minimum institutional GPA
    2. Graduate students will be evaluated each semester on the basis of cumulative institutional GPA. The minimum cumulative GPA required to maintain SAP is 3.00.
    3. Impacts on GPA regardless of undergraduate or graduate level:
      • Transfer credits will not be included in the quality points or GPA hours. The GPA standard is based on UWG credits only.
      • The first 30 hours of Learning Support (remedial) credits will be excluded from the GPA calculation.
      • Incomplete courses taken at UWG will be excluded from the GPA calculation.
      • Grades of W will be excluded from the GPA calculation (not from the pace of progression requirement; see next section)
      • Grades of F or WF will count in the GPA calculation as 0 quality points.
      • For courses which are repeated at UWG, the last attempt will count in the GPA calculation.
      • These Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress standards do not consider an Academic Renewal GPA. All prior institutional grades are included in the SAP GPA.
  4. Pace of Progression
    All students will be evaluated each semester to determine that they are making satisfactory pace of progression through their academic program. A minimum 67% cumulative completion ratio will be required at each evaluation period. Pace of progression is defined as the ratio of the cumulative number of credit hours completed divided by the cumulative number of credit hours attempted:

    Cumulative hours earned/Cumulative hours attempted >= 67%
    • Transfer credits accepted toward the student’s UWG academic program will count as both earned and attempted hours in the calculation of the pace of progression ratio.
    • The first 30 hours of Learning Support (remedial) credits will be excluded from the calculation of the pace of progression ratio.
    • Incomplete courses taken at UWG will not count as earned hours but will count as attempted hours in the calculation of the pace of progression ratio.
    • Withdrawn courses (grades of W or WF) taken at UWG will not count as earned hours but will count as attempted hours in the calculation of the pace of progression ratio.
    • Failed courses (grades of F) taken at UWG will not count as earned hours but will count as attempted hours in the calculation of the pace of progression ratio.
    • All repeated courses will count as attempted hours in the pace of progression ratio. Whether the repeated course counts as earned hours will depend on the status of the first attempt:

> First attempt not successfully completed, subsequent attempt successfully completed = one course counts as earned credits, both courses count as attempted credits.

> First attempt successfully completed, subsequent attempt also successfully completed = one course counts as earned credits, both courses count as attempted credits.

> First attempt not successfully completed, subsequent attempt not successfully completed = neither course counts as earned credits, both courses count as attempted credits.

  1. Maximum Time Frame
    A student must complete their degree requirements within a specified number of attempted hours (150% of the published degree length).
  • A student who is pursuing two majors or a major with minor(s) is still subject to the above Maximum Time Frame limitations.
  • An undergraduate student who is pursuing two undergraduate degrees (concurrently or separately) will be granted an extension to 240 attempted hours. No extension of maximum attempted hours is permitted for more than two undergraduate degrees.
  • A master’s degree student who is pursuing an additional master’s degree (concurrently or separately) will be granted an extension of 40 attempted hours above the first master’s degree requirement. No extension of maximum attempted hours is permitted for more than two master’s degrees.
  • Graduate students above the master’s degree will only be permitted to attempt 150% of their published program length.
  1. SAP Status
    • A student’s SAP status will be evaluated at the completion of each term of enrollment. At UWG, the term of enrollment is the semester. Students enrolled in summer semester will be evaluated for SAP at the conclusion of the summer semester. At each evaluation period, one of the following SAP statuses will be assigned:
    • Satisfactory - Student is meeting the GPA, Pace of Progression, and Maximum Time Frame requirements. Student is eligible to continue receiving federal, state, and institutional financial aid.
    • Warning - Student is not meeting either the GPA or Pace of Progression requirements (or both). Student is eligible to continue receiving federal, state, and institutional financial aid for one semester only. Continued eligibility beyond the warning semester will be contingent on the student bringing the deficient requirements to the required minimum standards.
    • FA Suspension - Student is not meeting either the GPA or Pace of Progression requirements (or both) after a Warning semester. Student is not eligible to continue receiving federal, state, and institutional financial aid until the deficient requirements return to the required minimum standards.
    • Maximum Time Frame Warning - Student is within 10 attempted hours of the allotted attempted hours for Maximum Time Frame for the student’s degree program. Student is eligible to continue receiving federal, state, and institutional financial aid until the completion of the semester during which allotted attempted hours is crossed.
    • Maximum Time Frame - Student has exceeded the number of attempted hours for the academic program. Student has exhausted all eligibility to continue receiving federal, state, and institutional financial aid.
    • FA Probation - Student placed on FA Suspension or Maximum Time Frame provided an SAP Appeal which was approved by UWG review procedures. Student must complete the requirements of an academic plan which will be monitored by the Financial Aid Office in conjunction with other academic support offices. Student is eligible to continue receiving federal, state, and institutional financial aid for one semester only in coordination with the details of the academic plan. The student’s continued eligibility beyond the probation semester will be determined at the conclusion of each semester in coordination with the details of the academic plan.
  2. Appeals
    A student who has been placed on FA Suspension or Maximum Time Frame may appeal the SAP status decision only in cases of extenuating circumstances. Examples of extenuating circumstances for which a student may file an SAP appeal may include a student’s injury or illness, serious illness or death of an immediate family member, or other special circumstances. Each SAP appeal will be reviewed individually and decisions are made on a case-by-case basis as outlined in the procedures given below.

    The SAP appeal process requires the submission of a written statement by the student outlining the extenuating circumstances which led to their academic difficulties, how the circumstances have now changed, and the student’s plan for improving the academic status. The written statement must be typewritten, signed by the student, and must specifically address the courses, grades, and terms of enrollment which are affecting the insufficient SAP standing. The appeal must be accompanied by supporting documentation from at least two individuals who can corroborate the student’s circumstances. If the documentation is provided by a professional (business, medical, counselor, clergy, etc.), the documentation must include the institution’s professional letterhead, the professional’s credentials, and must be signed. If a letter of support is provided by a personal reference (teacher, family friend, etc.), the documentation must be signed by that reference.  Appeals may be submitted via Banweb for current students.

    SAP appeals will be reviewed by a UWG committee comprising FA staff and other faculty/staff representatives. A student who wishes to appeal the decision of the SAP Appeals Committee may submit a request for a review by the 2nd Appeal Committee. The decision of the of the 2nd Appeal Committee is final.

    If a student’s SAP appeal is granted by either the SAP Appeals Committee or the Director of Financial Aid, the student will gain eligibility for continued federal, state, or institutional Financial Aid eligibility for one semester only. The student and a representative from the Financial Aid Office will work cooperatively with the student’s academic advisor and/or the Center for Academic Success to put together an academic success plan that will be monitored throughout the semester to be sure the student is making proper academic progress. In cases where it is mathematically impossible to bring the GPA or Pace of Progression ratio to required standards within one semester, the academic plan may be developed across multiple semesters, but it will be evaluated at the conclusion of each semester to be certain that the requirements at each checkpoint are being properly achieved by the student.

    If a student’s SAP appeal is denied by either of the SAP Appeals Committees, the student will not be eligible for federal, state, or institutional financial aid until the student returns the GPA and Pace of Progression ratio to required standards.
  3. Notification of SAP Status
    At each SAP evaluation period, the student’s SAP status will be recorded in BanWeb. Students who are placed on FA Probation, FA Suspension, or Maximum Time Frame will be notified via email to their UWG email account as well as via a postal letter mailed to the permanent address as recorded in BanWeb. Students who are placed on FA Warning will be notified via email to their UWG email account. All notifications will occur within 3 weeks of the conclusion of the semester against which SAP is evaluated.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

The University of West Georgia requires that a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) be submitted by each student who applies for federal or state financial assistance each academic year. This form is evaluated by a central processing center using federal guidelines. The University uses this information as one of the main factors in the determination of a financial aid package for the individual student. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid may be submitted on-line at www.fafsa.gov.

Federal Government Programs

All federal programs are subject to change including cancellation and reduction of funds.

Federal Perkins Loan

The Perkins Loan program will expire on June 30, 2018.  No Perkins loan disbursements can be made by institutions after that date.  Students with existing Perkins loans are still required to repay the funds. 

For information concerning repayment, contact the Bursar’s office, 678-839-4737.

Federal Work Study Program

This is a federal program through the University of West Georgia offering employment opportunities for students demonstrating financial need. The types of jobs available include clerical, technical, and manual labor as well as positions in the library and laboratories, and community services.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan

Any eligible student, regardless of need, may borrow from the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan Program. The annual loan limits are listed below and include any funds borrowed through the guaranteed program. Repayment of the loan is deferred as long as the student is enrolled at least half-time; however, interest on the loan continues to accrue while the student is enrolled in school. The interest can also be deferred, but would be compounded to the principal of the loan.

Listed below are the maximum amounts a student may borrow each academic year of college:

  Provisional/Certification Students $7,500
  Graduate Students $20,500

An independent student may borrow the following amounts from the unsubsidized loan in addition to the Federal Direct Stafford Loan limits:

  Provisional/Certification Students up to $5,000 a year

* Not to exceed UWG costs of attendance for the academic year.

Veterans and Dependent Benefits

GI Bill benefits are available to qualified veterans and family members of deceased or VA determined 100% disabled veterans. For information contact the Muskogee, OK Regional Veterans Administration Office, P.O. Box 8888, Muskogee, OK, 74402-8888, or telephone 1-888-827-1000. More information is also available by accessing the website www.gibill.va.gov.

Additional information may be found under Military-Connected Students on the Center for Adult Learners and Veterans website, https://www.westga.edu/calv/.

Veterans Certification

The School Certification Official (SCO), located in the Center for Adult Learners and Veterans (CALV), completes all GI Bill enrollment certifications for students participating in any of the Veterans Affairs educational assistance programs. As early as possible, preferably after being accepted by the university and at least one month before entering the university, any student planning on enrolling under one of these programs should contact the SCO in CALV to initiate enrollment certification procedures. Students requesting enrollment certification for the first time should already be in possession of a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) from the VA. Each VA educational assistance program has its own set of rules/guidelines and students should be prepared to sustain initial university costs since benefits will not begin until several weeks after certification.

Veterans and family members planning to study using GI Bill benefits at the University of West Georgia should apply for admission as any other student. Eligibility for Veterans benefits has no direct relationship to the institution. All financial transactions are directly between the student and Veterans Affairs. The institution serves only as a source of certification and information to Veterans Affairs.

Students receiving Veterans benefits must adhere strictly to a planned program of study as indicated on the schools as well as all VA forms. Program changes must be reported promptly to the university’s SCO in CALV.

Students receiving VA educational benefits are also required to report to the university’s SCO any changes in course load; or interruptions in attendance in order to minimize personal liability resulting from overpayment of benefits. Veterans Affairs regulations indicate that students receiving benefits are expected to attend classes regularly.

Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits

Vocational Rehabilitation (Voc Rehab) benefits are provided to promote the employment possibilities for disabled individuals. Applicants may be eligible to receive grants covering tuition, fees, books, and supplies. For further information, contact the Atlanta Regional Voc Rehab Office at 1700 Clairmont Road, Decatur, GA  30033. The Center for Adult Learners and Veterans will work with Voc Rehab and the Bursar’s Office to assist eligible students.

Refund Policy

Refunds of fees and charges for COMPLETE withdrawal from the university will be based on a pro rata percentage determined by dividing the number of calendar days in the semester that the student completed by the total number of calendar days in the semester. Students who withdraw after 60% of the semester has been completed are not entitled to a refund of charges. Refund schedules and a copy of the Board of Regents policy may be obtained from the Bursar’s office, the Enrollment Services Center (ESC), or the Financial Aid Office.

For any questions regarding this policy, contact the Bursar’s office in Aycock Hall or call 678-839-4737.

In order to meet Federal Regulations, all refunds will be credited back to Federal Title IV Programs, State Programs, and Private and Institutional Programs in the following order:

Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan
Federal Perkins Loan
Direct Plus Loan
Federal Pell Grant
Federal SEOG
Other Title IV assistance
State Programs
Private/Institutional Programs
University of West Georgia Programs
Student

Scholarships

The University of West Georgia offers outstanding students a wide variety of academic and performing arts scholarships. Most scholarships are awarded solely on merit and performance.

Some academic scholarships are available to students regardless of their major and others are for students majoring in particular fields. Still others are designed to encourage students from a specific county or minority group to attend West Georgia.

Performing arts scholarships are awarded to students in the fields of music, art, drama, and debate. Recipients are selected on a competitive basis by individual departments.

For more information on the scholarships offered through the Department of Financial Aid at the University of West Georgia, see the General Scholarship information below, and download the application on-line at www.westga.edu/finaid between January 1st and March 1st each year.

Private Scholarships

Scholarships may be available from private sources such as organizations, church groups, employers, and businesses. The UWG Financial Aid website lists several with information on qualifications, how to apply and deadlines. A limited number of search engines are also included.

Athletic Scholarships

University of West Georgia provides a number of athletic scholarships in several men’s and women’s sports in accordance with National Collegiate Athletic Association - Division II rules. Scholarship recipients are selected by the coaches of the various athletic teams.

Graduate Assistantships

The University of West Georgia provides a number of graduate assistantships and Teaching Assistantships. These assistantships offer valuable professional development opportunities in various programs and departments within the university for our degree-seeking students through supervised work experiences. Assistantships support the research, teaching, and service responsibilities of the University and help students pay for their graduate training. Therefore, graduate assistants must maintain satisfactory academic progress and performance and successfully complete the assigned research, teaching, or other responsibilities.

To be eligible for an assistantship, students must meet the following criteria. Students admitted provisionally to a program are not eligible for an assistantship.

  • Earned a Bachelor’s degree.
  • Have applied for and been accepted to a graduate degree program of study at UWG.
  • Be enrolled as a full-time student in a graduate program of study.
  • Have maintained a 3.0 GPA in previous and current graduate course work.
  • Meet the requirements to be eligible for employment in the US.
  • International students may have to meet a higher standard for full-time employment than what an individual program requires. For instance: Computer Science may consider 6 credit hours for full-time, but an international student must be enrolled in 9 hours in order to remain in the country.
  • The work that will be performed by the student must be performed in state.

Students who are provisionally admitted, enrolled part-time, or not in good academic standing may not be hired as graduate assistants.

Graduate Assistants are required to have health insurance. If they do not have insurance, they will be required to purchase and enroll in the United Healthcare Mandatory Graduate Insurance Policy. This policy is automatically added to all assistants’ accounts when they are hired. If a student is covered by a policy held by a spouse or parent, s/he may apply for a waiver for the United Healthcare policy. For more information, students should visit the Graduate Assistantship website (www.westga.edu/graposting) or contact the Graduate Financial Aid Counselor in the Office of Financial Aid at 678 839 6421.

Almost all of the assistantships are managed directly by the various departments and programs. Please contact the department directly for information.

Emergency Short-Term Loans

Short-term loan funds are available to assist currently enrolled students who need temporary financial assistance. The maximum amount a student may borrow depends upon the availability of funds but may not exceed $450 per semester. In general, loan funds are available within five to eight days. These loans must be repaid before the end of the semester. A minimal interest rate and/or service fee is charged. Previous borrowers may be denied an emergency short term loan if they have been delinquent on past loan repayments. Application is made through Banweb. Please contact the Graduate School for more information.