Howard College/SWCD provides financial assistance to help make the benefits of higher education available to qualified students. Federal and state grants, scholarships, federal student loans, exemptions, waivers, and federal and state work-study programs are administered through the Financial Aid Office. All students applying for these types of aid should complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). FAFSA applications should be made well in advance of the date a student intends to register. The FAFSA priority deadline is March 15. In order for funds to be available before the semester begins, applications must be received by July 1 for the fall semester, October 1 for the spring semester, May 1 for the summer terms. This includes the FAFSA and any required paperwork to complete the financial aid file. Information received after the deadlines may not be processed in time for the last day to pay.
Please contact the financial aid office at your respective site to assist you in completing your financial aid application. Documents may be forwarded directly to any financial aid site representative.
Basic qualifications for a student to be considered for certain types of financial aid
- Be in financial need (financial need is the difference between what college costs and what your family can pay according to federal guidelines).
- Make satisfactory academic progress.
- Be a national or permanent resident of the U.S.
- Be pursuing a degree or certificate in an eligible program from Howard College/SWCD. Only course work REQUIRED by your chosen degree plan can be used to determine financial aid eligibility. NOTE: Transfer students will be required to submit a degree audit (plan) with ALL transfer hours completed to the financial aid office before eligibility can be determined.
- File the FAFSA. This application is available from high school counselors and principals, from the Financial Aid Office, or through FAFSA on the Internet (www.fafsa.ed.gov). Title IV Code Number for Howard College/SWCD is 003574.
- Contact the Financial Aid Office to insure that all copies of the Institutional Student Information Record for the Pell Grant are on file in the Financial Aid Office regardless of grant eligibility.
- Complete scholarship applications. Applications are available in the Financial Aid Office, or on the Howard College website. Deadlines for scholarships vary depending on the site.
- If the student has not attended a previous college, a student must submit an official high school transcript (with a graduation date) or high school equivalency certificate, or meet the Ability to Benefit alternative by enrolling is an eligible career pathway program and have completed at least 6 credit hours or 225 clock hours that are applicable towards a Title IV eligible postsecondary program. At any time, if the financial aid office has reason to believe that a student does not have a high school transcript, high school equivalency certificate, or meet the Ability to Benefit alternative, the student will be required to provide documentation before the financial aid file is completed.
- A student must submit all official college transcripts from all colleges that the student previously attended.
- A student must submit any other paperwork needed to complete the financial aid file.
NOTE: Students selected for verification by the Department of Education will also be required to submit an Institutional Verification Form (IVF) to the Financial Aid Office. These verification documents may be obtained from the Howard College Verification Portal or the Financial Aid Office. Depending on the verification file, additional documentation may be required to determine eligibility, such as a signed copy of the family’s (student and spouse for independent students; student and parents if dependent) most recent federal income tax return or a IRS Tax Return Transcript. A non-filing letter from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will be required for each parent of a dependent student who did not file a tax return, and for independent students if the spouse and/or student did not file a return. However, if the individual is unable to obtain non-filing letter from the IRS or other tax authorities and based upon the institution’s determination, it has no reason to question the student’s or family’s good-faith effort to obtain the required documentation the institution may accept a signed statement certifying that the individual attempted to obtain the non-filing letter from the IRS or other tax authorities and was unable to obtain the required documentation; and has not filed and is not required to file an income tax return.
Ability to Benefit Alternative
Effective December 2014, section 484(d) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 was amended to allow a student who does not have a high school diploma or recognized equivalent to be eligible for Title IV aid through an Ability to Benefit alternative. The student must be enrolled in an eligible career pathway program and have completed at least 6 credit hours or 225 clock hours that are applicable towards a Title IV eligible postsecondary program. The components of the eligible career pathway program and the first 6 credit hour or 225 clock hour requirement may not be paid for using Title IV aid and will not be incorporated into a student’s Title IV enrollment status and cost of attendance. Remedial or developmental courses are not eligible to fulfill the 6 credit hours or 225 clock hours requirement. The hours must be applicable towards a Title IV eligible postsecondary program.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards
Students who receive federal, state, and institutional financial assistance must meet certain requirements to maintain eligibility for aid. Each financial aid recipient shall be evaluated at the end of each semester. There are three standard elements in complying with satisfactory academic progress (SAP) set by federal regulations. If any or all are not met, the student will be on financial aid warning. Financial aid warning will allow the student one semester to achieve the satisfactory academic progress requirements, while still receiving financial aid. These requirements are described below.
- Successful Completion Requirements: Students must receive credit for a minimum total number of hours enrolled based on the following: full-time students enrolled in 12 credit hours or more must earn a minimum of 10 credit hours; three quarter time students enrolled in 9-11 credit hours must earn a minimum of 9 credit hours; half-time students enrolled in 6-8 credit hours must earn a minimum of 6 credit hours; and less than half-time students enrolled in 5 credit hours or less will be required to earn all hours attempted. Grades of “I”, “W”, “FX”, and “F” will not satisfy the course completion requirements.
- Grade Point Average Requirement: All students will be expected to acquire a 2.0 grade point average on all work completed each semester to remain in good academic standing.
- Time Frame Requirement: All students attending Howard College/SWCD and receiving federal or state financial aid funds will have a time frame in which to complete their degree requirements. This time frame is the equivalent of 150 percent of the published length of the individual program
Please see chart below for limitations on each degree:
|| Hours to complete requirements
|| Maximum covered by financial aid
| Associate of Arts
| Associate of Science
| Associate of Applied Science
| Certificate Level I
| Certificate Level II
Clock Hour Programs: Students will be expected to complete a minimum of 50% of the clock hours required to complete the program by the end of the mid-point of the 150% time frame.
Students reaching the maximum number of hours attempted for their degree will not be eligible for federal or state financial aid. These students will be placed on immediate suspension based on the time frame limitation. This time frame will include any semester that the student was enrolled even if the student did not receive financial aid. It will also include any transfer work that is applied to the student’s program of study and posted to their transcript. Periods of enrollment may be converted to semesters for non-consecutive enrollment.
Students that have earned 30 credits or more will be REQUIRED to submit an updated degree audit (plan) to the Financial Aid Office. Additionally, this degree plan should be reviewed by the academic adviser and the student each semester to ensure that the student is remaining on track to complete the approved degree plan. Students taking courses outside of their degree plan will not receive financial aid for those courses.
According to CFR 668.2 (b), the regulatory definition for full-time student (for undergraduates) has been revised to allow a student to retake any previously passed course (one time only per previously passed course). A course completed with a grade of “D” or above is considered passed, regardless of any school or program policy requiring a higher qualitative grade to have been considered to have passed the course. The retaken class may be counted toward a student’s enrollment status, and the student may be awarded Title IV aid. Only one repeat is allowed under this circumstance.
A course previously completed with a grade of “D” or above cannot be used for the third time when determining financial aid eligibility, enrollment status, or satisfactory progress after the student passed the class once, then repaid for retaking it a second time. If the program requires students to retake all of the coursework for a term in which a student fails a course, only the first retake of any previously passed course is eligible for Title IV aid.
A student may be repeatedly paid for repeatedly failing the same course (normal SAP policy still applies). If a student withdraws before completing the course that they are being paid Title IV funds for retaking, then that is not counted as their one allowed retake for that course. However, if a student passed a class once and then is repaid for retaking it and fals the second time, that failure counts as their paid retake and the student may not be paid for retaking the class a third time.
NOTE: Students who are required to take developmental/preparatory course work are limited to 30 semester hours of Federal financial aid eligibility for these classes.English as a second language (ESL) courses do not count against the 30 semester hour limitation on remedial coursework.
Financial Aid Warning and Suspension
Students not meeting satisfactory academic progress standards may be placed on financial aid warning. Financial aid warning will allow the student one semester to achieve the satisfactory academic progress requirements, while still receiving financial aid.
Students who do not meet the satisfactory academic progress requirements during the next semester of attendance following their financial aid warning will be placed on financial aid suspension. This suspension will be enforced the next semester of enrollment and no federal or state aid will be awarded. Students enrolled in 12 credit hours or more must earn a minimum of 10 credit hours; students enrolled in 9-11 credit hours must earn a minimum of 9 credit hours; students enrolled in 6-8 credit hours a minimum of 6 credit hours, and students enrolled in 5 credit hours or less will be required to earn all hours attempted. Grades of an “I”, “W”, “FX”, and “F” will not satisfy the course completion requirements. After the student has achieved satisfactory academic progress, the student will be placed on financial aid warning for the next semester of attendance.
When a student loses financial aid eligibility because they failed to make satisfactory academic progress, they may appeal that result on the basis of: an injury or illness, the death of a relative, or other special circumstance. If a student feels that one of these exceptions applies to them, he/she should submit a suspension appeal form to their financial aid office. The appeal must explain why they failed to make satisfactory progress and what has changed in their situation that will allow them to make satisfactory academic progress during the next semester. The District Associate Director of Financial Aid will review all pertinent information regarding the situation and may grant a suspension appeal. If the student is dissatisfied with the decision of the District Associate Director of Financial Aid, the case may be referred to the Financial Aid Committee for a decision. Final decision will then be left to the Financial Aid Committee.
If an appeal is granted, the student will be placed on financial aid probation. Financial aid probation will allow the student one semester to achieve the satisfactory academic progress requirements, while still receiving financial aid. In order to achieve satisfactory academic progress, students enrolled in 12 credit hours or more must earn a minimum of 10 credit hours; students enrolled in 9-11 credit hours must earn a minimum of 9 credit hours; students enrolled in 6-8 credit hours a minimum of 6 credit hours; and students enrolled in 5 credit hours or less will be required to earn all hours attempted. Grades of “I”, “W”, “FX”, and “F” will not satisfy the course completion requirements. If a student fails to achieve satisfactory academic progress during that semester, they will be placed back on financial aid suspension. Students who wish to submit a subsequent appeal must complete a suspension appeal form, as well as an academic plan. They must explain their circumstance and plan toward achieving satisfactory academic progress. The subsequent appeal will be referred to a financial aid committee for consideration.
Exemptions and Waiver Requirements
Effective Fall 2014, the Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 1210, which mandates that some State of Texas Exemption and Waiver Programs are affected by a student’s financial aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). Students may view a complete list of exemption and waiver eligibility requirements on the College for all Texans website, www.collegeforalltexans.com. Students who are not making financial aid Satisfactory Academic Progress may not be eligible to receive certain exemptions or waivers. A financial aid suspension appeal form may be submitted to the District Associate Director of Financial Aid, who will review all pertinent information and will make a decision regarding the exemption or waiver. The appeal process for tuition or exemption waivers follows the same procedures as any other financial aid appeal.
Public community colleges, public technical institutes, or public state colleges shall not submit for formula funding any hours for remedial and development courses and/or interventions for which a student has exceeded 18 semester credit hours of remedial and developmental courses. Up to 9 additional semester credit hours of ESOL courses and/or interventions is allowed, bringing the maximum allowable to 27 semester credit hours. If a student has exceeded the limit, any additional remedial and developmental courses will be not funded by state exemptions or waivers.
In order for students to be eligible for financial aid, they must be attending all classes. Financial aid may be removed for classes the student is not attending. If a student is turned in for non-attendance, the financial aid office must receive a non-attendance form or an email from the instructor. The form must be completed by each instructor that the student was reported for non-attendance. The form must be turned into financial aid in the current semester. The instructor must indicate that the student is in attendance, submtting actively, and can successfully complete the course. Upon receiving the form, financial aid may reinstate the funds. The self-certification by the student alone is not sufficient for aid reimbursement. The attendance activity must be received directly from the instructor who reported the student for non-attendance. Attendance activity for students enrolled in Distance Learning courses are documented in Blackboard system. The Blackboard system activity records logins, course assignment activity, date of last login, and the amount of time the student spends on the online course. If a student never attends/logs in, stops attending/logging in, not actively submitting assignments or exams, or is not following the instructor’s attendance policy, the instructor will turn in the student for non-attendance.
Unusual Enrollment History Policy
Beginning in 2013-2014, some Free Applications for Federal Student Aid (FAFSAs) will be flagged for “unusual enrollment history” (UEH) by the U.S. Department of Education as a result of the student having received federal Pell Grants and/or federal Direct Loans at multiple institutions in recent years. Flags “2” and “3” require that the current institution review the student’s enrollment history to determine aid eligibility.
The institution must review the student’s enrollment and financial aid records during the previous four award year review period. For example, 2015-2016 FAFSA, UEH Flag evaluation includes the 2011-2012, 2012-2013, 2013-2014, and 2014-2015 award years.
To resolve the unusual enrollment history, students with UEH flag 3 and some students with UEH flag 2 who did not earn academic credit will be required to submit the Unusual Enrollment History Form along with their Official Academic Transcripts from all colleges and universities attended during the review period. The Financial Aid Office will review this form and all supporting documentation to determine if the student is eligible for federal student aid at Howard College.
If it was determined that the student did not earn academic credit, they may appeal by submitting an acceptable explanation describing why they were unable to successfully complete the credits, as well as corresponding documentation. This appeal will be reviewed by the financial aid office and the student will notified of the decision. Much like the exercise of professional judgment, the financial aid administrator determines whether the circumstances of the failure of the student to receive academic credit, as evidenced by the student’s academic records and other documentation, support the continuation of title IV eligibility. Also, these institutional determinations are final and not appealable to the Department of Education.
Denial of Continued Eligibility
If a student did not earn academic credit at one or more of the relevant institutions and does not provide, to the financial aid administrator an acceptable explanation and documentation for each of those failures, the institution must deny the student any additional Title IV, HEA program assistance.
Regaining Aid Eligibility
If the institution denies a student Title IV, the student may regain eligibility. Since the basis for the denial is the student’s academic performance, the successful completion of academic credit by making financial aid Satisfactory Academic Progress would form the basis for the student’s subsequent request for renewal of title IV eligibility. This will also include meeting the requirements of an academic plan that the institution established with the student.
If the student meets the institution’s standards to regain eligibility, that eligibility would be effective under the same provisions that apply when a student gains or regains eligibility under other student eligibility requirements. Eligibility begins with the payment period in which the student met the eligibility requirements (following the payment period of ineligibility).
Professional Judgement Decisions
The Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1992, delegated school’s financial aid administrators to make professional judgment decisions when there are special or unusual family or student circumstances that may call for adjustments in determining a student’s eligibility for financial aid. The law allows financial aid administrators to make individual adjustments to override a student’s dependency status(from dependent to independent) and to adjust the data elements used to calculate the student’s expected family contribution. Circumstances requiring professional judgment will be analyzed each year on a case-by-case basis and will be documented.
The District Associate Director of Financial Aid or the District Dean for Financial Aid has the final authority in making professional judgment decisions. There is no appeal. By law, neither the school’s president nor the U.S. Department of Education can override the financial aid administrator’s decision. (Higher Education Act of 1965, Sections 479A and 480(d) (7).
The law allows financial aid administrators to make individual adjustments to the data elements used to calculate the student’s expected family contribution. Circumstances that may warrant a professional judgment special circumstance approval include the following:
- Significant loss of income/loss of employment
- Loss of untaxed income/benefits (e.g. disability, child support, or other benefits)
- Excessive medical expenses (not covered by insurance)
- Death of the household member who was providing financial support
- Other special circumstances not listed
Circumstances that may will not warrant a professional judgment special circumstance approval include the following:
- Medical expenses not covered by insurance
- Standard living expenses(utilities, housing, or car payments)
- Vacation or other personal debts.
Students that believe their circumstances may qualify for a professional judgment will need to complete the following steps. All special circumstances are evaluated each year on a case-by-case basis and must be documented.
- Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) prior to submitting the Special Circumstance form. A valid FAFSA must be filed according to the instructions provided by the Department of Education. Special circumstances will be considered only after the school has received the FAFSA. If the student has been selected for verification, the student must complete all verification paperwork.
- Students need to download and complete all sections of the Special Circumstance form.
- Students must provide documentation that supports the request for a professional judgement due to special circumstances as listed on the Special Circumstance form. Students should make every effort to obtain all the listed documentation, missing documentation may cause the request to be rejected. Additionally, the need may arise for students to submit documentation not listed on the request form.
- Once the documentation has been received by the college, the Financial Aid administrator will review all documentation and decide. The decision is final and not subject to appeal. Students will be notified in writing of the decision.
A student may have unusual circumstances that justify a dependency override that will allow the financial aid administrator to change the student’s status from dependent to independent. All dependency overrides are made on a case-by-case basis along with supporting documentation. The student may consult with the financial aid administrator to discuss circumstances and will be required to submit a dependency override form and references. Once the documentation has been submitted, the financial aid administrator will review the paperwork and a notification of the decision will be sent to the student.
Extenuating circumstances will not warrant a professional judgment dependency override approval include the following:
- a parent’s unwillingness to provide financial support for student’s education
- parent’s unwillingness to provide FAFSA information or required financial aid documentation
- parents not claiming the student as a dependent for income tax purposes
- parents live separately from student or in a foreign country
- student demonstrating total self-sufficiency.
Extenuating circumstances will warrant a professional judgment dependency override approval include the following:
- Death of the student’s parent
- Incarceration of the student’s parent
Students that believe their circumstances may qualify for a dependency override will need to complete the following steps. All dependency overrides are evaluated each year on a case-by-case basis and must be documented.
- Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) prior to submitting the Dependency Override form. A valid FAFSA must be filed according to the instructions provided by the Department of Education. Dependency Overrides will be considered only after the school has received a valid Student Aid Record (SAR). If the student has been selected for verification, the student must complete all verification paperwork.
- Students need to download and complete all sections of the dependency override form along with at least three reference forms documented by counselors, teachers, ministers, doctor, etc. who personally knows the family circumstances. Only one reference may be from a relative.
- Students must provide documentation that supports the request for a professional judgement due to the circumstances as listed on the dependency override form. Students should make every effort to obtain all the listed documentation, missing documentation may cause the request to be rejected. Additionally, the need may arise for students to submit documentation not listed on the request form.
- Once the documentation has been received by the college, the Financial Aid administrator will review all documentation and decide. The decision is final and not subject to appeal. Students will be notified in writing of the decision.
Any adjustments made to the FAFSA, as a result of a request for a professional judgment decision, may delay or change the financial aid package.
Return of Title IV Funds
Under federal law, students must maintain regular attendance, and successfully complete their courses, in order to be eligible for Title IV aid (Pell, SEOG, and Federal Student Loans). Subsequently, a student who withdraws from their courses, ceases to attend, or receives all F’s or FX’s for their courses, may not have earned the funds in which they received. In such instances, the student may be required to repay those funds to Howard College/SWCD. In certain cases, the student may owe both Howard College/SWCD and the Department of Education. Students owing either the government or the college will be ineligible for any further aid until those funds are repaid.
A school is required to determine the earned and unearned portions of Title IV aid (Pell, SEOG, and Federal Student Loans) as of the date the student ceased attendance or withdrew from their courses. This amount is based on the amount of time the student spent in attendance, or in the case of a clock-hour program, was scheduled to be in attendance. Up through the 60% point in each payment period or period of enrollment, a prorated schedule is used to determine the amount of Title IV funds the student has earned at the time of withdrawal. After the 60% point in the payment period or period of enrollment, a student has earned 100% of the Title IV funds he or she was scheduled to receive during the period. However, a school must still determine whether the student is eligible for a Post-withdrawal disbursement. A Post-withdrawal disbursement must be made within 180 days of the date the institution determines that the student withdrew. The amount of a Post-withdrawal disbursement is determined by following the requirements for calculating earned Title IV Aid, and has no relationship to incurred educational costs.
If a student begins the official withdrawal process or provides official notification to the school of his or her intent to withdraw, the date of the institution’s determination that the student withdrew would be the date the student began the official withdrawal process, or the date of the student’s notification, whichever is earlier. If a student did not begin the official withdrawal process or provide notification of his or her intent to withdraw, the date of the institution’s determination that the student withdrew would be the date that the school becomes aware that the student ceased attendance.
Students who cease attendance, do not withdraw, and receive all falling grades (F’s or FX’s) for a semester will be considered “unofficially withdrawn”.; These students will be subject to a review of their attendance records. If it is determined that a student ceased attendance before the 60% point in the semester, the student will be required to return those unearned funds.
Grant Overpayments for Return of Title IV Funds
The applicable regulations limit the amount of grant funds a student must repay to one-half of the grant funds the student received or could have received during the applicable period. Students who owe overpayments as a result of a Return of Title IV initially will retain their eligibility for the Title IV funds for a maximum of 45 days from the earlier of the date the school sends the student notice of the overpayment, or the date the school was required to notify the student of the overpayment.
Within 30 days of determining that a student who withdrew must repay all or part of a Title IV grant, the school notifies the student that the student must repay the overpayment or make satisfactory arrangements to repay it. The Financial aid department has procedures in place to ensure the school immediately refers for collection (to the Default Resolution Group) any student who violates the terms of the repayment agreement. If the student fails to take one of the positive actions during the 45-day period, the school will report the student’s overpayment to NSLDS and refer the student to the Default Resolution Group for collection. The Financial aid department will send final overpayment notification letter to the student notifying the student that the overpayment has been reported to the Default Resolution Group for collection.
Order of Return of Title IV Funds
A school must return Title IV funds to the programs from which the student received aid during the payment period or period of enrollment as applicable, in the following order, up to the net amount disbursed from each source:
- Unsubsidized Direct Stafford loans (other than PLUS loans)
- Subsidized Direct Stafford loans
- Federal PLUS loans
- Direct PLUS loans
- Federal Pell Grants for which a return is required
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) for which a return of funds is required
- Federal TEACH Grants for which a return is required
- Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant for which a return is required.
Time Frame for the Return of Title IV Funds
A school must return unearned funds for which it is responsible as soon as possible, but no later than 45 days from the determination of a student’s withdrawal. A school will be considered to have returned funds timely if the school does one of the following as soon as possible, but no later than 45 days after the date it determines that the student withdrew:
- deposits or transfers the funds into the school’s federal funds bank account, and then awards and disburses the funds to another eligible student;
- returns the funds to the Department of Education electronically using the “Refund” function in G5; or
- issues a check to the Department of Education.
A school is considered to have issued a check timely if the school’s records show that the check was issued within 45 days of the date the school determined that the student withdrew and the date on the canceled check shows that the bank endorsed that check no more than 60 days after the date the school determined that the student withdrew.
Timeframe for Returning Unclaimed Title IV Funds
The school must return to the Department of Education any Title IV funds that it attempts to disburse directly to a student that are not received by the student. If the business office attempts to disburse an Electronic Fund transfer (EFT) to a student’s financial account and is rejected, or a check to a student is not cashed or is returned, a school may make additional attempts to disburse the funds. In cases where the school is unable to make another attempt, the school will be required to cease all attempts to disburse the funds and return them to the Department of Education.
NSLDS Transfer Student Monitoring
Effective July 1, 2001 (34 CF 668.19), the transfer monitoring process of the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) requires the monitoring of all mid-year transfer students (students who transfer from one school to another during the same award year) for factors that could affect eligibility for Title IV federal student aid. Institutions are required to inform NSLDS through transfer monitoring of all students transferring into the institution applying for Title IV aid.
NSLDS monitors changes in the financial aid history of those students and “alerts” the school by email of any relevant changes from the date the latest Institutional Student Information Record (IS IR) for the student was generated and sent to the school. The school must then review the change to determine if it affects the student’s eligibility. NSLDS will not alert a school if there are no relevant changes to the student’s financial aid history. If a school makes a disbursement to an eligible student but later receives an alert from NSLDS, the school must access and review the student’s financial aid history to determine whether an action needs to be taken with regard to that disbursement or any subsequent disbursements. It is the student’s responsibility to understand that if they have previously attended other colleges they may have a financial aid history that affects their eligibility for funds.
Because NSLDS is expected to run the transfer monitoring process once a week, after a school informs NSLDS about a mid-year transfer student it must wait seven days before it can make a disbursement. However, the school does not have to wait seven days if it obtains the student’s financial aid history directly by accessing the NSLDS website. The financial aid office obtains the student financial aid history directly for every student that sends Howard College / SWCD an ISIR report before the financial aid office completes the file for awarding.
Financial aid awards are based on full time enrollment (12 credit hours simultaneously) for each full semester of the academic year. It is the student’s responsibility to understand that enrolling in flex or mini courses may affect the enrollment status. Financial aid will not be applied until the flex or mini course has started, regardless of when the tuition and fees are due for the flex or mini class.
Federal Pell Grant
The purpose of the Federal Pell Grant Program is to provide eligible students with a “floor” of financial aid to help defray some of the costs of post-secondary education. Student eligibility is based on financial need determined on the basis of a formula, developed by the Department of Education and reviewed by Congress annually, which is applied uniformly to all applicants. Howard College/SWCD participates in the Federal Pell Electronic Data Exchange (EDE) system. This allows the college to correct information on the Pell Grant Student Aid Report electronically for those students who list Howard College/SWCD as their college choice. Duration of Pell Grant eligibility is 12 semesters or its equivalent. The calculation of a student’s eligibility will include all years the student received Federal Pell Grant funding. The amount of Federal Pell Grant funds a student may receive over the lifetime is limited by federal law to be 600%. The maximum amount of Pell Grant funding a student can receive each year is equal to 150%. To apply for summer financial aid, a student must complete a summer aid application by May 1. A student may now receive federal Pell Grant funds up to 150% of the student’s Pell Scheduled Award for an award year. The additional funds are only available if the student is enrolled at least half-time in the payment period(s) for which the student receives additional Pell Grant funds in excess of 100% of the student’s Pell Grant Scheduled Award. Pell Grants are restricted to students who have not received a bachelor’s degree. Students must complete a financial aid file to receive the award. Students cannot receive a Pell Grant from two different institutions for the same term.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
A limited number of Supplementary Grants are available to students with exceptional need each year. Priority awarding is given to those students who meet the FAFSA priority deadline, March 15. Student eligibility and amount of grant is determined by the income level of the student and his/her parents. Supplementary Grants are restricted to students who have not received a bachelor’s degree. The grant funds are limited and range from $300 to $600 per academic year. Students must complete a financial aid file and have financial need to receive the award.
Texas Public Educational Grant (TPEG)
These grant funds are available from a combination of Federal, State, and College sources to assist deserving students who have additional financial need. These grant funds are limited and generally range from $300 to $600 per academic year. Students must complete a financial aid file, be enrolled in 6 hours or more, be a Texas resident, and have financial need to receive the award.
Texas Educational Opportunity Grant Program (TEOG)
This program is for students who are attending a public community college, technical college, or public Texas institution. The program is administered through the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB). The THECB determines each academic year the maximum award amounts for the program. A student must be enrolled at least half-time in the first 30 hours towards an Associate Degree or certificate program at a public two-year institution of higher education. The institution will give highest priority in awarding grants to students who demonstrate the greatest financial need. The priority family’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC) for 2020-2021 is $6,047. The student must be a Texas resident, have applied for financial aid or assistance, have financial need, and be registered with selective service, or be exempt. The academic standards are completion of at least 75 percent of the hours taken in the prior year and a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.5. A student who maintains eligibility will continue to receive the award for up to 75 credit hours, four years, or upon completion of an Associate Degree, whichever comes first. The Texas Educational Opportunity Grant (TEOG) requires that the student not have been convicted of a felony or crime involving a controlled substance. Institutions are required to collect a statement from each TEOG recipient prior to the disbursement of funds confirming eligibility in regards to the controlled substance restrictions of the program.
Through the generosity of many individuals, businesses, foundations, communities, and service organizations, Howard College/SWCD annually awards more than $1,000,000 in academic scholarships to recognize and provide assistance for deserving students. Deadlines to apply for these scholarships may differ. It is the student’s responsibility to obtain, complete, and submit applications by the appropriate deadline. Basic eligibility for most scholarships requires that a student have potential to achieve a proven desire to succeed. Most scholarships require full-time attendance at Howard College / SWCD. The complete list of scholarships and selection criteria can be found on the Howard College website at www.howardcollege.edu/come-to-hc/financial-aid-scholarships/scholarships.html.
Valedictorian/Salutatorian Scholarship – Big Spring, San Angelo, SWCD
The HCJCD Board of Trustees offers full tuition scholarships to each student certified to be Valedictorian of a graduating class of an accredited high school in Texas. This scholarship must be claimed for the fall semester following spring graduation from high school. In order to be eligible for the Valedictorian scholarship, the applicant’s name must be on file with the Texas Education Agency, Austin, Texas. Scholarships in the amount of $600 per year are offered to each student certified to be Salutatorian of a graduating class at an accredited high school in Texas.
Organizational Leadership Scholarships
Diplomats and Student Government Association
Available to students that demonstrate leadership qualities with academic excellence and community involvement. Students must complete the Howard College / SWCD general scholarship application. Interviews will be conducted by campus officials.
Available to students that excel in the areas of Art, Choir, Dance, Livestock Judging, Music, and Theater. Students must complete the general scholarship application and submit the application to the appropriate department/area of interest.
Available for men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, softball, rodeo, athletic training, and cheerleading. Most athletic scholarships are governed by conference regulations and are awarded by coaches based upon athletic ability and academic criteria. Students need to contact the individual coaches for tryout information.
Work Study Programs
Students who have additional financial need may qualify to work up to 19 hours per week at on-campus and off-campus jobs. Every effort is made to place students in jobs related to their field of study. Students may contact their financial aid office for work study opportunities. Students not eligible for the work study program may apply for other work opportunities in the Human Resources Office.
To apply for work-study, a student must:
- File a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application is available from high school counselors and principals, from the Financial Aid Office, or through FAFSA on the Internet (www.fafsa.ed.gov). School Code Number for Howard College is 003574.
- Enrolled in at least half-time (6 hours) in an eligible degree or certificate program at Howard College.
- Contact the Financial Aid Office to insure that all copies of the Informational Student Information Record for the Pell Grant are on file in the Financial Aid Office regardless of grant eligibility.
- Complete the student employee application paperwork and submit to financial aid.
- Make satisfactory academic progress.
The following loan programs provide assistance to students who have additional financial need to cover the cost of attending college. The FAFSA must be completed to determine eligibility for the Federal Direct Student Loan. Students must complete the loan request by submitting a loan award acceptance form for the appropriate aid year to the Financial Aid Office. The form is available on the Howard College website, or from the Financial Aid Office. To apply for summer loans, a student must complete a summer loan application by May 1. The student will need to complete, for Howard College, the entrance counseling and the informed borrower tool confirmation for the appropriate aid year and the master promissory note at studentaid.gov. The Master Promissory note, which is available on the student loans website, studentaid.gov is a legally binding contract between the borrower of a Direct Loan, and the lender - the U.S. Department of Education. It contains the terms and conditions of the loan and explains how and when it should be repaid. Before the student receives the loan funds, they must sign a promissory note electronically. Only one loan request will be processed per semester. The student must be simultaneously enrolled in at least 6 hours in order to receive the loan. Flex or mini courses may affect the loan eligibility. It is the student’s responsibility to complete exit counseling when dropping below 6 hours or when the student graduates.
Federal Direct Student Loan – Subsidized and Unsubsidized
These are low-interest loans available through the Federal Government. Students who demonstrate need may borrow through the subsidized loan program, where the Federal Government will pay the interest on the student’s loan while he or she is enrolled at least half-time. Those who do not qualify for the subsidized loan (in whole or part) may be considered for the unsubsidized loan; however, the student must pay interest that accrues on the loan during the entire period of the loan.
In addition to the aggregate loan limit, which limits loan eligibility based on the amount of funds received over a student’s academic lifetime, there is also a loan eligibility limitation based on the passage of time. First-time borrowers (those who have no principal or interest balance on any Direct or FFEL Loan on the date they receive a Direct Loan on or after July 1, 2013) may not receive Direct Subsidized Loans for a period that exceeds 150% of the published length of the academic program in which they are currently enrolled (including all past subsidized loans the student has received. For example, a first-time borrower in a 2-year program would have 3 years of Direct Subsidized Loan eligibility, and a borrower in a one-year program would have 1.5 years of Direct Subsidized Loan eligibility.
Federal Direct Parent Plus Loan
The Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) is available for parents of dependent undergraduate students. For Parent Plus Loans, a loan acceptance form, entrance counseling, the informed borrower tool confirmation, and Master Promissory Note is required. Entrance counseling, the informed borrower tool confirmation, and Master Promissory Note has to be submitted at studentaid.gov listing Howard College. The entrance counseling, informed borrower confirmation, and loan acceptance form must be submitted for the appropriate aid year. The form is available on the Howard College website, or from the Financial Aid Office. The loan acceptance form is available on the Howard College website, or from the Financial Aid Office. Entrance counseling, the informed borrower tool confirmation, and the master promissory note are available on the studentaid.gov website. The parent must not be in default on federal student aid loans. A credit acceptance is required before Plus loans are approved.
Howard College does not have any preferred lender relationships. No lender may be authorized to use the name, emblem, mascot, logo or other institutional identifier of Howard College for any marketing of private education loans. Howard College does not retain a preferred lender list for private student loans, nor does it keep any other lists of lenders. We encourage students to pursue federal and state financial aid as their primary source of funding before seeking out private student loans.
Private Education Loan Disclosures (Including Self-Certification Form) Private Education Loan Self-Certification in PDF Format, 196 KB, 2 Pages
Upon request from the prospective student loan borrower, the financial aid office personnel will provide in written or electronic format the self-certification form for private education loans.
If the prospective student loan borrower meets all processing requirements, upon credit approval from the prospective private credit lender, the financial aid office personnel responsible for processing the private credit loan will disclose and disseminate the “Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification” form to the borrower for their consideration.
Code of Conduct for Private Education Loans
Howard College participates in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, which includes Direct Subsidized and Direct Unsubsidized student loans. In some cases, private student loans are needed to supplement the cost of education. Howard College encourages students to exhaust all other methods of financing their education before applying for private loans. To comply with the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA), Howard College adopts the following Student Loan Code of Conduct. It serves as the formal guiding principles in ensuring the integrity of the student aid process and ethical conduct by employees concerning student loan practices.
Howard College will not enter into any type of revenue-sharing arrangement with any lender, guarantor or servicer. Howard College does not provide students a preferred lender list from which to select a lender for a private student loan. All loans are processed without regard to lender or mode of transmission. Howard College will neither recommend a private loan lender nor accept material benefits including revenue or profit sharing to the institution, an officer or an employee of the institution or agent.
Employees of the Howard College Financial Aid Office are prohibited from soliciting or accepting any gift from a lender, guarantor or servicer of education loans. This includes a gift of services, transportation, lodging or meals, whether provided in kind, by purchase of a ticket, payment in advance or reimbursement after the expense has been incurred.
Employees of the Howard College Financial Aid Office shall not accept from any lender or its affiliate any fee, payment or other financial benefit as compensation for any consulting arrangement or other contract to provide services to a lender or on behalf of a lender relating to education loans.
Howard College will not assign a borrower’s private student loan to a particular lender. All decisions will be made by the borrower in his/her independent review of borrower benefits and lender services. Howard College will not refuse to certify, or delay certification of, any loan based on the borrower’s selection of a particular lender or guarantee agency.
Howard College will not request or accept from any lender, guarantor or servicer of student loans any assistance with call center staffing or financial aid office staffing.
At this time, no Howard College employee or agent serves on the advisory board, commission or group established by a lender or guarantor. If, in the future, a member of Howard College agrees to serve on such a board or like group, the employee, agent or officer will not accept anything of value from the lender, guarantor or group, except that the employee may be reimbursed for reasonable expenses incurred by the employee for serving on the advisory board, commission or group.
Violations of this code will be handled in accordance with Howard College policies and procedures, which may include disciplinary actions up to and including termination of employment by the institution.
There are limits on how much a student can borrow. The annual borrowing limits for a subsidized Federal Direct Student Loan are $3,500 for freshman student, $4,500 for sophomore students.
Freshman and sophomore dependent students qualify for up to an additional $2,000 (unsubsidized). Independent students may be eligible to borrow up to $6,000 through the unsubsidized Direct Loan Program. The Howard College/SWCD aggregate limit is $23,000. This includes loans received at other institutions. Howard College will not certify a loan for a student or parent if a history of delinquent or defaulted loans exists.
For loan purposes, students whose major is a certificate or “pre” (Pre-Nursing, Pre-Dental Hygiene, etc.) degree, are considered freshman and are only eligible for freshman loan amounts. Students who have completed 30 or more hours towards their current degree plan are considered sophomores and are eligible for sophomore loan amounts.
NOTE: First year undergraduate borrowers are subject to a 30 day delay disbursement of loan funds. Disbursements will be released 30 calendar days after the student’s program of study begins. (34 CFR 685.303 (b) (4) Federal Student Aid Handbook). Students will be responsible for payment of tuition and fees by the last day to pay. Installment plans are offered through the Howard College Business Office.
Other Financial Aid Sources
The aid sources listed below are other types of assistance which may be available for certain students. The Financial Aid Office maintains close coordination with these and other agencies/organizations.
Training opportunities are available through the W.I.O.A. (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act) Program for eligible students. Contact the local Texas Workforce Commission for application information.
Educational benefits for veterans and/or veteran dependents are available to eligible students through the Office of the Director of Student Services, located on the San Angelo site.
Exemptions and Waivers
Exemptions and waivers are types of financial assistance allowing some Texas residents to attend a public college or university in Texas without paying tuition or, in some cases, tuition and fees. Students may view a complete list of exemption and waiver eligibility requirements on the College for all Texans website, www.collegeforalltexans.com.
The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) as well as Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), offer a variety of services and assistance to Texas college students for whom physical disabilities constitute a handicap to employment. Applications for these services should be made directly to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) or Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) office. Authorization for vocational rehabilitation support must be on file in the Howard College Financial Aid Office, as well as the Business Office before registration.
The purpose of this program is to provide tuition rebates that will provide a financial incentive for students to prepare for university studies while completing their high school work, avail themselves of academic counseling, make early career decisions, and complete their baccalaureate studies with as few courses outside of their degree plan as possible. Minimizing the number of courses taken by students will result in financial savings to students, parents, and the state.
To be eligible for rebates under this program, students must meet all of the following conditions:
- Enrolled for the first time in an institution of higher education in the fall 1997 semester or later,
- Request a rebate for work related to a first Baccalaureate Degree received from a Texas public university,
- Be a resident of Texas, attempt all course work at a Texas public institution of higher education, and have been entitled to pay resident tuition at all times while pursuing the degree, and,
- Must have attempted no more than three hours in excess of the minimum number of semester credit hours required to complete the degree under the catalog in which the student graduated. Hours attempted include transfer, credits, course credit earned exclusively by examination, courses that are dropped after the official census date, for-credit preparatory courses, optional internship and cooperative education courses, and repeated courses. Courses dropped for reasons that are determined by the institution beyond the control of the student shall not be counted.
The amount of the tuition to be rebated to a student under this program is $1,000, unless the total amount of undergraduate tuition paid by the student to the institution awarding the degree was less than $1,000, in which the amount of tuition to be rebated is an amount equal to the amount of undergraduate tuition paid by the student to the institution. Students must apply for rebates prior to receiving their Baccalaureate Degree on forms provided by the institution and must keep the institution apprised of their addresses for at least 60 days after their graduation date.
For more information about tuition rebates, contact the Registrar at Howard College/SWCD or the four-year institution awarding the Baccalaureate Degree.