Financial Aid Policies

Penalties for Drug Law Violations   |    Refund Policy   |    Tuition Exchange Policy   |    Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy   |    Lender Policy

Federal Student Financial Aid Penalties for Drug Law Violations

(A federal or state drug conviction* can disqualify students for FSA funds)

Convictions only count if they were for an offense that occurred during a period of enrollment for which a student was receiving Title IV aid – they do not count if the offense was not during such period. Also, a conviction that was reversed, set aside, or removed from the student’s record does not count, nor does one received when the student was a juvenile unless the student was tried as an adult.

The chart below illustrates the period of ineligibility for FSA funds, depending on whether the conviction was for sale or possession and whether the student had previous offenses.

*(A conviction for sale of drugs includes convictions for conspiring to sell drugs.)

Possession of illegal drugs Sale of illegal drugs
1st Offense 1 year from date of conviction 2 years from date of conviction
2nd Offense 2 years from date of conviction

Indefinite period

3rd Offense Indefinite period

Indefinite period

If the student was convicted of both possessing and selling illegal drugs, and the periods of ineligibility are different, the student will be ineligible for the longer period.

A student regains federal financial aid eligibility the day after the period of ineligibility ends or when the student successfully completes a qualified drug rehabilitation program or, effective beginning with the 2010-2011 award years, passes two unannounced drug tests given by such a program. Further drug convictions will make the student ineligible again.

Students denied eligibility for an indefinite period can regain eligibility after successfully completing a rehabilitation program (as described below), passing two unannounced drug tests from such a program, or if a conviction is reversed, set aside, or removed from the student’s record so that fewer than two convictions for sale or three convictions for possession remain on the record. In such cases, the nature and dates of the remaining convictions will determine when the student regains eligibility. It is the student’s responsibility to certify to the school that the rehabilitation program was successfully completed.

Standards for a qualified drug rehabilitation program must include at least two unannounced drug tests and must satisfy the following requirements:

  • Be qualified to receive funds directly or indirectly form a federal, state, or local government program.
  • Be qualified to receive payment directly or indirectly from a federally or state-licensed insurance company.
  • Be administered or recognized by a federal, state, or local government agency or court.
  • Be administered or recognized by a federally or state-licensed hospital, health clinic, or medical doctor.

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Financial Aid Refund Policy

Find out how failing or withdrawing from classes can affect your financial aid.

Students are encouraged to meet with the Office of Financial Aid before changing enrollment by dropping a class or starting the withdrawal process so that they can be informed of the financial impact of withdrawing from college. Students who wish to drop a class or begin the official withdrawal process during the first week of class may do so on MyTLU. After the first week of class, students must contact the Office of Registration and Records to obtain either a drop/add slip or a withdrawal form. A student is considered to have officially dropped a class or withdrawn from TLU once the student has obtained all the required signatures and has returned the completed form to the Office of Registration and Records.

Note: The withdrawal date is determined by the date the student signs the withdrawal form, indicating his or her intent to withdraw from TLU. Should the student decide not to withdraw at that point in the semester but later withdraws or fails all of his or her classes, the official withdrawal date reverts back to the date on the first form that was completed.

A student’s enrollment status will be determined based on enrollment on the census date each term. Once enrollment status has been determined, financial aid will be reviewed. If a student’s enrollment status is different than that at which he or she was awarded, his/her financial aid will be adjusted accordingly. For example: Institutional aid and state grants requiring full-time enrollment will be cancelled and Federal Pell Grants will be adjusted for the new enrollment status. Loans will be cancelled if the student is enrolled less than half-time (6 credit hours).

Note: A student awarded a Federal Pell Grant MUST begin attendance in all classes to be eligible for disbursement of the Pell Grant award.

If a student drops a class after the census date, institutional aid may be reduced – see Institutional Aid Policy – but federal and state grants will not be adjusted. However, Federal Stafford loans require enrollment to be recertified at the time of disbursement. As a result, students who drop below 6 credit hours (half-time) before the loan is disbursed will not be eligible for the loan disbursement.

Below are definitions that will help you understand the financial aid refund policy:

  • Census Date: The 12th class day of a fall or spring term and the third day of the term for May and summer sessions.
  • Drop: Student completes official paperwork to cancel enrollment in a class.
  • Drop Fail: Professor completes paperwork to cancel enrollment in a class for a student due to the student no longer attending the class.
  • EFC: Expected Family Contribution
  • Official Withdrawal: The student officially notifies the Office of Registration and Records that s/he is cancelling enrollment in all of the classes for which s/he has registered for in a given semester.
  • Unofficial Withdrawal: The student stops attending classes, receives all F’s in his/her courses, is Drop Failed from all of his/her classes or a combination of the above.
  • Withdrawal Date: The date the student officially began the withdrawal process in the Office of Registration and Records OR in the case of an unofficial withdrawal, the last date of attendance or the 50% point of the semester, whichever is later.

Institutional Aid Policy

When a student withdraws from the university or drops a class before the end of the institutional refund period, adjustments are made to the financial aid that was awarded to the student. Adjustments in financial aid are done in coordination with the university’s institutional charges refund policy. Scholarships and other institutional aid may be rescinded.

Institutional aid granted by TLU is adjusted by the Office of Financial Aid according to the percentage refund schedule set by the Office of Registration and Records for adjusting institutional charges. In no case will a student receive institutional funds in cash.

For example, a student that has $8,000 in institutional financial aid who withdraws during the 25 percent institutional refund period, will have their tuition reduced by 25 percent AND their institutional aid reduced by 25 percent. 

Federal Aid Policy

Federal financial aid is reviewed two times a semester – once at census date and once grades are posted at the end of the term or when the student officially withdraws. 

Review at Census Date: A student’s enrollment status will be determined based on the student’s enrollment on the census date each term. Once the student’s enrollment status has been determined, his/her financial aid will be reviewed. Aid will be revised if the enrollment status that the aid was awarded based upon is different than the enrollment status at census date. 

For example, a student who was awarded Pell Grant based on full-time enrollment status (12 hours or more) and who is enrolled for three-quarter time (9-11 hours) at census will be eligible for 75 percent of the Pell Grant awarded.

The Office of Financial Aid attempts to contact all enrolled students before the census date when the aid awarded is based on a higher enrollment status than the student is enrolled for to determine the student’s intentions and let the student know how the aid is affected.

Review at End of Term: Student grades are reviewed at the end of each term. Students who fail to successfully complete at least one class (completed with a grade of D or higher) will have a Federal Return of Title IV Funds calculation completed and may be required to repay some or all of their financial aid. 

The Office of Financial Aid is required to complete this calculation within 30 days of the date grades are made official and is required to return funds (if needed) within 45 days.

Also, a student who fails all of his/her classes because s/he stopped attending classes will be considered to have only attended class until the mid-point of the term unless proof of class attendance beyond the 50 percent point is provided by either the professor or the student. The burden of proof rests with the student.

Official Withdrawal: The Office of Financial Aid is required to complete a Return of Title IV Funds calculation on all students who officially withdraw within 30 days of being notified of the student’s intent to withdraw. 

A student who withdraws from all classes prior to the 60 percent point of the term and who receives Title IV federal financial aid may owe a refund of some or all of the federal aid received. 

Federal financial aid is “earned” on a proportional basis for each day of the term that the student has completed. If a student completes 30 percent of the term, then he/she has earned 30 percent of the federal financial aid. If the financial aid has been credited to the student’s account and has paid institutional charges only, 70 percent of the aid must be returned to the federal financial aid programs.

Federal funds are returned to the programs in the following order:

  1. Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan
  2. Subsidized Federal Stafford Loan
  3. Federal Perkins Loan
  4. Federal PLUS Loan
  5. Federal Pell Grant
  6. Federal Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG)
  7. National SMART Grant
  8. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
  9. Federal TEACH Grant

If a credit on the student’s account was created by a federal grant that was paid to the student, the student will be required to repay 50 percent of any unearned grant amount. If the credit balance was created by a loan disbursement, the student will be required to repay the lender the amount of the loan as per the terms of the signed promissory note.

Example 1: Joe was awarded federal grants totaling $3,000 and received Federal Stafford funds of $2,500. Joe was registered full time, lived in Seguin Hall and had 15 meal/week meal plan. His total institutional charges are $15,215.

If Joe withdraws at the 30% point in the term, he will have earned $1,650 of the $5,500 awarded. 70% of the $5,500 or $3,850 must be returned to the federal programs. TLU will return the $2,500 Federal Stafford Loan to the lender and $1,350 of the federal grants. Because Joe withdrew during week 5 of the term, he does not get a refund of tuition, room or board.

Assuming Joe had a zero balance on his student account at the time of withdrawal, he will be required to pay TLU $3,850.

Example 2: Joe was awarded federal grants totaling $3,000 and received Federal Stafford funds of $2,500. Joe was registered full time, lived in Seguin Hall and had 15 meal/week meal plan. His total institutional charges are $15,215.

Joe withdrew at the 50% point of the term. Only 50% of the $5,500 or $2,750 is considered earned. TLU would return the $2,500 Federal Stafford loan to the lender and $250 of the federal grants. Assuming Joe had a zero balance on his student account at the time of withdrawal, he will be required to repay to TLU $2,750.

Although financial aid must be returned to the federal programs as prescribed by federal regulations, the TLU Institutional Charges Refund Policy does not refund institutional charges at the same percentages. Students will be required to pay TLU for any balances owing after the institutional charges refunds and financial aid refunds have been calculated.

If part of the balance owed to TLU is the repayment of a federal grant, TLU has 30 days to notify the student of the balance owed. The student has 45 days to either repay the funds or make satisfactory payment arrangements with the Business Office. Students who fail to repay the funds within 45 days may be reported to the credit bureau.

Late disbursements/Post-withdrawal Disbursements: If all aid for the term has not disbursed at the time the student withdraws, the Return of Title IV Funds calculation will determine if a student is eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement of the aid. Post-withdrawal disbursements of grant funds will be made automatically to the students account as long as all required documentation has been submitted to the TLU Office of Financial Aid. A student who needs to complete the verification process has 120 days after the last day of enrollment (or mid-September for those enrolled in summer school) to complete verification to receive federal aid.

Generally a student ceases to be eligible for aid once he has finished the term and is no longer enrolled. However, he may submit verification documentation and receive a late disbursement after that time if the U.S. Department of Education processed a SAR or ISIR with an official EFC while he was still enrolled. Per federal regulations, if there was a change in the EFC due to verification completed after enrollment has ceased, any Pell grant awarded would be the higher of the EFC at the end of the term or the EFC after verification. i.e. The Pell Grant awarded would be the lesser of the two awards.

State Grant Aid Policy

When a student withdraws from all classes or drops a class, tuition will be refunded according to the university’s institutional charges refund policy. The Tuition Equalization Grant (TEG) is tuition restricted. If a student withdraws or drops a class after census date, TEG will only be adjusted if TEG plus institutional grants and scholarships are greater than tuition.

Revised May 19, 2010

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Tuition Exchange Policy

TLU participates in both the Tuition Exchange, Inc. and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) tuition exchange programs. Dependent children of full-time employees at participating institutions may qualify for either of these programs.

To be eligible for either of these exchange programs, the student must be admitted as a full-time, degree seeking student at TLU. A list of schools participating in the Tuition Exchange, Inc. program can be found at www.tuitionexchange.org. Visit the Office of Financial Aid to review a list of participating ELCA schools.

Tuition Exchange, Inc.

Employees at participating institutions must complete a Tuition Exchange application each academic year at the institution at which they are employed. Since all applications should be processed through both TLU and the employing institution and submitted to Tuition Exchange, Inc by April 1st each year for the next award year, it is recommended that the application be completed and submitted to the TLU Office of Financial Aid by March 1. Applications received on or after April 1st will not be processed.

Tuition Exchange is highly competitive and space is limited. We recommend that the student applies for both admission and tuition exchange as early as possible.

TLU must keep a balance between those students imported to TLU and those exported to other institutions each year through this program. As a result of this requirement, the number of students accepted into this program each academic year may change. Priority will be given first to continuing students previously accepted into this program with new applications being processed on a first-come, first-served basis. TLU reserves the right to go to an application further down on the priority list should the student not be accepted to TLU by March 15.

Eligibility: Students are required to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each academic year for which they wish to participate in this program. Students are also encouraged to apply for other non-institutional grants and scholarships. Support from these sources may be added to the tuition benefit according to institutional policy at the institution the student will attend.

Dependent children of faculty and staff are eligible, subject to the following qualifications:

  • Participants must meet the definitions of dependency at both the parent’s employing institution and TLU.
  • TLU is not obligated to provide tuition for more than the actual amount of tuition. TLU does not award tuition exchange scholarship for room and board.

Limits: Participants may utilize the program for tuition only for a maximum of eight full-time semesters at the undergraduate level. Summer school may be included in the program but will be counted as one full-time semester regardless of whether the student attends summer session full-time. The student is responsible for all fees, books, room, board and any other expenses required to attend college.

TLU reserves the right to make admissions decisions in accordance with regular policies. Continuing enrollment is also subject to TLU policies for good conduct and academic standing.

Renewal: Renewal of this award is contingent upon the student maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress at TLU and the student’s remaining eligibility in the program. Students should meet all application deadlines set by TLU.

Eligible employees must maintain full-time employment at the employing institution for the student to continue receiving this benefit at TLU.

ELCA

Employees at participating institutions must complete an ELCA Tuition Exchange application each academic year their dependent children participate in this program. These applications must be completed and sent to the parents’ institution’s financial aid office no later than April 15th and their financial aid office must submit the application to TLU’s Office of Financial Aid no later than May 1st. Applications received after May 1st will not be processed.

TLU is limited to four students per year through this program. Priority will be given first to continuing students previously accepted into this program with new applications being processed on a first-come, first-served basis. TLU reserves the right to go to an application further down on the priority list should the student not be accepted to TLU by May 1st.

Eligibility: Students are required to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each academic year for which they wish to participate in this program. Students are also encouraged to apply for other non-institutional grants and scholarships. Support from these sources will be added to the tuition benefit according to institutional policy at the institution the student will attend.

Dependent children of faculty and staff from participating institutions are eligible, subject to the following qualifications:

  1. Participants must meet the definitions of dependency at both the parents’ employee institution and TLU.
  2. Participants are not entitled to receive any benefits from TLU which they would not be entitled to receive from their parents’ employing institutions. For example, if the student is eligible for 75% tuition remission at the parent’s employing institution; he/she is only eligible for 75% of tuition at TLU.
  3. TLU is not obligated to provide any benefit under this program which it does not provide to its own employees in a comparable classification.
  4. Dependent children of retired employees are eligible according to the limits of #2 and #3 above.

Eligible employees wanting their dependent children to participate in this program must contact the ELCA tuition exchange liaison at their employing institution to complete an ELCA Tuition Exchange application.

Limits: Participants may utilize the program for tuition only for a maximum of four full-time academic years at the undergraduate level. Summer school may be included in the program. The student is responsible for all fees, books, room, board and any other expenses required to attend TLU.

TLU reserves the right to make admissions decisions in accordance with regular policies. Continuing enrollment is also subject to TLU policies regarding good conduct and academic standing. Should employment cease, TLU reserves the right to recalculate the financial aid package and/or discontinue the benefit.

Renewal: Renewal of this award is contingent upon the student maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress at TLU. Students should meet all application deadlines set by the importing institution.

Eligible employees must maintain full-time employment at their employing institution for the student to continue receiving this benefit.

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Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

Learn the minimum requirements for renewal of financial aid.

Texas Lutheran University Office of Financial Aid

Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards

Effective July 1, 2011

Federal regulations require that all student financial aid recipients make satisfactory academic progress toward achieving a certificate or degree. Progress is measured by the student’s cumulative grade point average and credit hours earned in relation to those attempted and the length of the academic program. That standard applies to ALL terms regardless of whether or not the student received financial aid.

NOTE: This policy should be read in conjunction with the university’s policy on Academic Good Standing and Academic Probation/Suspension.

Satisfactory Academic Progress will be measured at the end of each semester for all students. May term, Summer A and Summer B combine to create one summer semester for financial aid.

I. Progress Standards

Completion Rate:

Students must, at a minimum, satisfactorily complete 75 percent of all credit hours attempted in each semester. Satisfactory grades consist of A, B, C and D. Unsatisfactory grades are F, DF, W, I or any other grade that does not result in credits completed. All credit hours attempted as of the census day for each term will be included in credit hours attempted regardless of whether the class was successfully completed. Repeated courses count each time the course is attempted. A three hour course taken three times would count as nine credit hours attempted. Students are expected to complete their degrees within eight (8) semesters when attending college full-time. Financial aid eligibility is suspended once a student has attempted 125 percent of the credit hours required to complete degree.

Cumulative GPA:

Students must also meet the academic standards of TLU as outlined in the TLU Student Handbook and shown below.

Cumulative Credit hours Completed Minimum Cumulative Grade
Point Average (GPA)
0-26 credit hours 1.8
27+ credit hours 2.0

  

Withdrawals (W grades) which are recorded on the student’s permanent academic transcript will be included as credit hours attempted and will have an adverse effect on the student’s eligibility to meet the completion rate requirements for financial aid.

Incomplete grades – Courses that are assigned an incomplete grade are included in the cumulative credit hours attempted. These cannot be used as credit hours earned until a successful grade is assigned.

Repeated Courses – Repeated courses enable the student to achieve a higher cumulative GPA. However, repeating courses adversely affects the student’s ability to meet the completion rate requirements as a repeated course is counted toward credit hours attempted each time the course is taken. Students may retake courses for which they have previously received a grade of F as many times as it takes to successfully complete the class. However, once a student receives a grade of D or higher, financial aid can only pay for one retake of the class.

Transfer Hours – Only credits officially accepted in transfer and specifically applied toward a student’s certificate or degree will be counted toward the maximum credit hours allowed. If the student is required to take hours above the maximum number allowable as a result of transfer from another institution, the student may submit a written appeal to the Office of Financial Aid requesting an extension.

Second Degree Students – Only officially accepted credits which are specifically applied toward the student’s current certificate or degree program will be included in the maximum number allowed.

Part-time Students – Cumulative GPA requirements are the same as for full-time students. The number of semesters required to complete the program will depend on hours registered. Students must successfully complete the majority of credit hours attempted each semester. However, no student will receive financial aid once 125% of the required credit hours to complete the program have been attempted.

II. Financial Aid Warning

Students will be sent a warning letter if they fail to meet either the completion rate or minimum cumulative GPA standard as outlined. Students will be placed on warning for one semester during which they must come into compliance with the standard. (See Financial Aid Disqualification for exceptions to this rule.) Students not meeting the Standard at the end of the warning semester will be disqualified from receiving financial aid and placed on Financial Aid Suspension.

III. Financial Aid Suspension

Students who fail to meet the standards at the end of their warning semester will be ineligible for financial aid beginning with the next semester of attendance.

A student will be automatically ineligible for financial aid regardless of whether the student has previously been placed on financial aid warning beginning with the next semester of attendance when the student receives grades of “F” in all courses attempted in any semester. In evaluating satisfactory progress, a grade of “I” will be considered an “F.”

Students who pre-register for a subsequent semester before grades are evaluated and who use financial aid to defer tuition and fees may owe a financial aid repayment if they do not maintain satisfactory academic progress and have been disqualified from financial aid once grades are posted and reviewed.

A student who is disqualified from financial aid more than one time for failure to meet these standards must meet with a financial aid counselor to discuss plans for re-establishing financial aid eligibility. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, a student in this category should expect to enroll for at least 12 semester credits without financial aid at TLU and successfully pass all courses with a minimum of a 2.00 GPA to be reconsidered for financial aid.

Disqualification from financial aid does not prevent a student from enrolling without financial aid if he or she is otherwise eligible to continue their enrollment. However, the student should be aware that the college’s policies for academic eligibility and financial aid eligibility closely mirror one another, since both are measures of satisfactory academic progress intended to encourage behavior which leads to academic success.

IV. Appeals

A student who fails to meet these standards and has lost eligibility for financial aid may appeal this decision. Appeals must be in writing and must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documents. In the appeal, the student must explain why s/he was not making progress and what has changed so that they will begin making progress. Appeals should be submitted to the Office of Financial Aid at least three (3) weeks before the beginning of the student’s next semester of enrollment.

Reasons that may be acceptable for the appeal are: (1) serious illness or accident on the part of the student; (2) death, accident or serious illness in the immediate family; (3) change in academic program; (4) other extenuating circumstances. The reasonableness of the student’s ability for improvement to meet the appropriate standards for the certificate or degree program in which the student is enrolled will be taken into consideration.

Appeals will be reviewed by the Financial Aid Committee in conjunction with the Director of Financial Aid andwill be approved, denied or approved for a probationary period of one semester unless an academic plan is in place.

If an appeal is granted, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Probation and must earn a minimum 2.0 semester GPA and successfully complete a minimum of 75 percent of the credit hours for which the student has registered to continue to be eligible for financial aid.

V. Regaining Eligibility

Students who failed to meet these Standards and who choose to enroll without the benefit of financial aid may request a review of their academic record after any semester in which they are enrolled without the receipt of financial aid. If the standards are met, eligibility is regained for subsequent terms of enrollment.

Students should consult with a financial aid counselor to determine what must be done to regain eligibility.

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Lender Policy

Read TLU's policy on lender selection.

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