Jul 26, 2011
From staff reports
In an effort to keep students and parents updated on financial aid processing developments, the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships recently provided information to them about several financial aid developments.
Financial Aid placed information on their website and the Bursar's website regarding the posting of Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) award offers, alternative (private) loans, Ohio College Opportunity Grants (OCOG), and the availability of emergency short-term loans for summer students who may have experienced delays in receiving financial aid.
While more than $270 million has already been awarded in financial aid in over 70,000 financial aid program awards, there have been delays in the PLUS and alternative loan programs related to the migration to a new student information system. OCOG awards have not been dispersed as the Ohio Board of Regents only recently approved funding for the program.
Financial Aid also reminded students and parents that new federal requirements regarding satisfactory academic progress (SAP) have been implemented. Students who did not meet SAP requirements were recently notified about their status.
PLUS and alternative loans
Vice Provost for Enrollment Management Craig Cornell indicated that processing delays have affected about 2,000 awards connected to the PLUS and alternative loan programs. Staff in Financial Aid anticipate having PLUS loans posted prior to Aug. 1 and alternative loan information should be available before July 28. If these deadlines are not met, students will receive emails from Financial Aid documenting that their loan applications have been received.
"We are aware that delays in posting these awards can cause concern for students and their families," Cornell said. "We wanted to get the word out that the Financial Aid Office is receiving PLUS and alternative loan applications daily, that any application received is being tracked, and that the Financial Aid staff is working to post award offers as quickly as possible."
Cornell also noted that no late fees would be levied during this processing period. "If we are not able to post a PLUS or alternative loan before the billing cycle begins on August 1, Financial Aid will provide documentation to the Bursar’s Office that will permit the waiving of late fees for the affected students."
Short-term loans for summer students
Summer aid processing and disbursement is well underway, but Cornell indicated that if a student is experiencing a delay in his or her summer financial aid, that emergency short-term loans are available to assist with immediate financial needs.
"We can help summer students stay on track academically and financially through a short-term loan. Students should not hesitate to contact the Financial Aid Office and ask for assistance," said Cornell.
Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG)
Last week, the Ohio Board of Regents approved funding for the Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG) for the 2011-12 academic year and sent those schedules to schools. This program is for Ohio residents who are enrolled in degree programs at Ohio public university main campuses. Students must have an expected family contribution (EFC) of $2,190 or less and a maximum household income of $75,000. Full-time students will be considered for an annual award of $672 ($224 per quarter). Funds are not yet visible in students’ accounts, but will be posted shortly.
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
All Title IV institutions are required to follow the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) regulations that were significantly altered on July 1, 2011. To receive financial aid, students must make satisfactory academic progress as defined by the U.S. Department of Education and implemented by Ohio University.
Cornell indicated that the new standards are less flexible than those used in the past were.
"Unfortunately, the new federal SAP requirements will make it more challenging for students who experience academic difficulties to maintain their financial aid," he said.
Information about impending SAP changes was provided to students and to parents during the past academic year. A summary of the new regulations can be found here.
Students should check their My OHIO Portal for updated financial aid information. Any questions related to these or other financial aid topics should be directed to the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships at 740-593-4141 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.