Howard College/SWCID provides financial assistance to help make the benefits of higher education available to qualified students. Federal and state grants, scholarships, federal student loans, and federal and state work-study programs are administered through the Financial Aid Office. Applications should be made well in advance of the date a student intends to register. In order for funds to be available before the semester begins, applications must be received by April 1 for the fall semester and October 1 for the spring semester. This includes the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Information received after the deadlines may not be processed in time for registration.
NOTE TO STUDENTS ATTENDING HOWARD COLLEGE EXTENDED CAMPUSES:
Please contact the campus representative to assist you in completing your financial aid application. Documents may be forwarded directly to your campus representative.
Basic qualifications for a student to be considered for certain types of financial aid
- Must have a High School Diploma or GED.
- 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/SWCID. 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.
To apply for all types of need-based financial assistance, a student must:
- File the 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). Title IV Code Number for Howard College/SWCID is 003574.
- Contact the Financial Aid Office to insure that all copies of the Student Aid Report/I.S.I.R. for the Pell Grant are on file in the Financial Aid Office regardless of grant eligibility.
- Complete a scholarship application. An application is available in the Financial Aid Office, or on the Howard College website. Deadline for scholarship consideration is April 1.
- Forward a copy of your high school transcript including date of graduation, or a copy of your GED passing scores. A copy of the transcript or GED must be provided to the Financial Aid Office in addition to any other Howard College/SWCID office that may require a copy.
NOTE: Students selected for verification by the Department of Education will also be required to submit: 1) a signed copy of the family's (student and spouse for independent students; student and parents if dependent) most recent federal income tax return transcript, 2) an Institutional Verification Form (IVF), and 3) a signature page, to the Financial Aid Office. These documents may be obtained from the Howard College website or the Financial Aid Office.
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", 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/SWCID 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 advisor 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.
A course previously completed with a grade of "D" or above cannot be used when determining financial aid eligibility, enrollment status, or satisfactory progress. EXCEPTION: An exception can only be made if the repeat is required by the program of study as documented by the faculty advisor/counselor. Only one repeat is allowed under this circumstance.
Conversely, Howard College may not pay a student for retaking previously passed courses if the student is required to retake those courses because they failed a different course. For example, a student enrolls in four classes in the fall semester and passed three of them and fails one. The school requires the student to retake the three classes because they failed the one class. The student retakes all four classes in the spring semester. The failed class would be counted towards the student's enrollment status (and could have Title IV aid awarded for it), but the three classes previously passed in the fall would not be counted towards the student's enrollment status and would not be eligible for aid.
Students enrolled in the same course three or more times will not receive financial aid funding for that specific course.
NOTE: Students who are required to take developmental/preparatory course work are limited to 30 semester hours of financial aid eligibility for these classes.
4. CHANGING MAJORS
Students receiving financial aid will be limited to one major change per academic year. A maximum of 3 changes will be accepted for the duration of your enrollment at Howard College / SWCID. Request for a major change will need to be submitted with all required signatures before the first class day of the semester. Progression within a program will not be considered a major change and therefore will not count against the student's limitation of degree changes. For example, LVN to RN degree or certificate program to degree program in the same major area. Students with multiple major changes prior to implementation of policy will be reviewed on an individual basis. Exceptions to this policy may be made by an appeals process at the discretion of Director of Financial Aid, Executive Vice President, Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs, and your assigned Academic Advisor.
Financial Aid Warning and Suspension
Students not meeting conditions above 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 above 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 awards will be made. Students must enroll and successfully complete at least 6 credit hours to achieve satisfactory academic progress. If a student chooses to enroll in more than 6 credit hours, they must successfully complete ALL attempted hours. Grades of an "I", "W", 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 Director/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 Director/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", 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. Students must also appeal to change their 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.
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 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/SWCID. In certain cases, the student may owe both Howard College/SWCID 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) 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.
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 Perkins 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.
Timeframe 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 cancelled check shows that the bank endorsed that check no more than 60 days after the date the school determined that the student withdrew.
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/SWCID 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/SWCID 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. 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. Student eligibility and amount of grant is determined by the income level of the student and his/her parents.
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 $200 to $600 per academic year.
TEXAS (Toward Excellence, Access, & Success) Grant Programs
The purpose of this program is to provide grant money to enable well-prepared eligible students to attend public and private nonprofit institutions of higher education in Texas. The programs are administered through the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Awards are made through the financial aid office; all students who have completed a financial aid file will be reviewed for eligibility. Returning or transfer TEXAS Grant recipients must complete a financial aid file to continue to receive the award. The TEXAS Grant program offers three opportunities for a student to qualify for the program. All three programs require that a student be a Texas resident, have financial need, applied for financial aid or assistance, maintains satisfactory academic progress, and has not been convicted of a felony or crime involving a controlled substance.
For students graduating with a recommended or advanced high school diploma: To be eligible for the TEXAS Grant program, a student must have graduated from a public or accredited private high school in Texas, no earlier than Fall 1998 (note: must enter program within 16 months of graduation from high school), completed the recommended or advanced high school curriculum or its equivalent, and enrolls at least 3/4 time in an undergraduate degree or certificate program.
Satisfactory academic progress for a student's first year on this program is determined by the school's satisfactory academic progress standards; in subsequent years, a student must have a minimum of a 2.5 cumulative grade point average and have completed 75 percent of the hours attempted in the prior academic year. A student who maintains eligibility will continue to receive the award up to 150 credit hours, six years, or upon completion of a bachelor's degree, whichever comes first.
For students receiving an Associate's Degree in May 2001 or later: A student who receives an Associate's Degree in May 2001 or later and enrolls towards a higher degree can qualify for the TEXAS Grant program. A student in this program must enroll at least 3/4 time in a higher level undergraduate degree program and must enroll within 12 months of completion of the associate degree. 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 up to 90 credit hours, four years, or upon completion of a bachelor's degree, whichever comes first.
Texas Educational Opportunity Grant Program (TEOG)
This program is for students that do not qualify under the TEXAS Grant program and are attending a public community college, technical college, or public Texas institution. 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 family's Expected Family Contribution (EFC) must be no more than $2,000. 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.
Through the generosity of many individuals, businesses, foundations, communities, and service organizations, Howard College/SWCID annually awards more than $700,000 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 / SWCID. The complete list of scholarships and selection criteria can be found on the Howard College website at www.howardcollege.edu.
Valedictorian/Salutatorian Scholarship – Big Spring, San Angelo, SWCID
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 / SWCID 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 15 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.
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.
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.
Federal Direct Parent Plus Loan
The Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) is available for parents of dependent undergraduate students.
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/SWCID 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.
On-line Job Board and On-campus Employment Opportunities - Big Spring
Howard College is in partnership with College Central Network in the implementation of its Career Services Central career office management/job board system.
This system allows the Howard College Career Center to link community employers with current students as well as alumni when seeking to fill job openings in the regional area. Through this easy, automated system, employers can register as an employer, while students (as well as alumni) can register as job seekers. As jobs are posted on the online system, an automatic email is sent to every Howard College student currently enrolled letting them know that a job opening is available in the community. Information is provided for the student to register as a job seeker through the same system and apply for openings with the capability of attaching resumes.
Employers from all over the nation are able to use the On-Line Job Board at Howard College to reach any potential recruits from our list of alumni and/or upcoming graduates. The link to the College Central Online system is http://www.collegecentral.com/howardcollege/
Training opportunities are available through the W.I.A. (Workforce Investment 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 VA Benefits Coordinator.
The Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) 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 Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) 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/SWCID or the four-year institution awarding the Baccalaureate Degree.