Financial Assistance

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
The FAFSA establishes eligibility for all federal/state grants, loans, and work programs.  Students demonstrating financial need may qualify for a variety of different programs, including grants, loans, and the work-study program.  In addition, other aid may be available to students who meet eligibility that is not based on financial need.  Students receiving aid must maintain satisfactory academic progress standards as described in the section on Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.

The USAO Office of Financial Aid will determine eligibility for all programs based on the Federal Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR), which the Financial Aid Office receives electronically after the FAFSA has been processed.  Students selected for verification must complete that process before federal aid can be determined.

The FAFSA is available on the web at www.fafsa.gov.  The USAO Federal Title IV Code number is 003167.  

Financial Aid Package
A financial aid package is the aid eligible to be awarded to a student and may include one or more of the following:  Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity (FSEOG) Grant, Federal Direct Loans, Federal Perkins Loan, Federal College Work-Study Program, USAO scholarships and grants, and state grants such as the Oklahoma Tuition Aid Grant (OTAG) and Oklahoma’s Promise (OHLAP).

Every effort is made to secure funds for students with financial need.  In compliance with Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal laws and regulations, USAO does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, disability, or status as a veteran in any of its policies or procedures.  USAO complies with current federal and state policies.

Federal and State Assistance Programs
The following are among the wide variety of financial assistance programs available.  More detailed information is available in the Financial Aid Office.  Further information on Federal Programs is also available at www.studentaid.ed.gov and State Program information at www.okhighered.org.

Federal Pell Grants are designed to provide federal financial assistance to those who need it in order to attend post-high school educational institutions. Pell grants are intended to be the "floor" of a financial package and may be combined with other forms of aid in order to help meet the costs of education. The amount of the grant is determined on the basis of individual and family financial resources.

To be eligible for this aid, a student must be enrolled in an undergraduate course of study, may not previously have received a bachelor's degree, and have an established financial need. The student must also be a U.S. citizen, reside in the United States for other than temporary purposes, or be a permanent resident of the Trust Territories.

Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (SEOGs) are designed for students of exceptional financial need who, without the grant, would be unable to continue their education. A student must be enrolled at least half-time (6 hours) in an undergraduate program to qualify.  These funds are limited.

Oklahoma Tuition Aid Grant (OTAG) is also available to Oklahoma residents who meet the eligibility requirements.  Students need to complete the FAFSA in early spring to be considered for the next academic year.  The OTAG priority deadlines are listed on the FAFSA.  OTAG funds are part of the Federal Leap Grant and are funded by the federal government, the state and where applicable, other contributing partners.

Oklahoma’s Promise (OHLAP) is a unique Oklahoma program.  Students must have signed up in the eighth, ninth, or tenth grade and fulfill the requirements of the program to be eligible.  Funding is based on the amount of tuition each term.  A complete listing of requirements and conditions is available at  www.okhighered.org/ohlap.

William D. Ford Direct Loan Program provides funding for regular students enrolled in an eligible program of study at least half-time. 

• The Direct Loan is the federal government's major form of self-help aid.   There are two types of Direct Loan. A subsidized loan is awarded on basis of financial need; an unsubsidized loan is not based on financial need. 

The Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) is available to parents of dependent students.

Federal Perkins Student Loan Program provides loans to students meeting the eligibility requirements as established by the FAFSA. The National Defense Educational Act requires that each borrower be at least a half-time (6 hours) student. Limited loan funds are available to students at all levels.

Federal Work-Study Program is funded with federal and institutional funds for students who qualify for assistance. To participate in this program, a student must be enrolled in a minimum of six credit hours and remain in good standing. However, priority is given to full-time students.  A student may participate in the Federal Work-Study Program in addition to receiving other forms of aid.

Institutional Scholarships are competitive and have early spring deadlines or priority dates which are published on the USAO website.  Scholarship applications received after a priority date will be considered if funds are available.  Applicants must be approved for admission to USAO and have completed the USAO financial aid and scholarship applications, included in the online USAO Admissions Application, to be considered for any scholarship award.  Specific criteria and application requirements are listed on the website and are available from the Financial Aid Office.  Continuing students will want to apply for continuing student scholarships beginning in February of each year and can obtain the application on the USAO website or from the Financial Aid Office.

fast track scholarships are unique, renewable tuition waivers that can help students afford to attend during the summer terms and fast-track their degree completion.  The scholarship is available to any Oklahoma resident who is a graduate of an Oklahoma high school and enters USAO as a beginning first-year student and who attends the first and second terms consecutively as a full-time student (earning a minimum of 12 hours each term).  Students must be enrolled in a minimum of12 hours in independent study and/or the regular summer term to qualify. The scholarship pays tuition for up to 14 credit hours. The scholarship is available for a total of three consecutive years if the student makes satisfactory academic progress and continues completion of full-time enrollment each term.

Presidential Leadership Scholarships are four-year scholarships given to Oklahoma high school seniors having a GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale and a composite ACT score of 24 or higher.  Membership in three school organizations plus civic involvement, a minimum of two letters of recommendation and an essay are also required.  A personal interview is conducted for finalists. It is a very selective process and a limited number of scholarships are awarded.  Recipients must maintain contract requirements (GPA, attendance, leadership positions, participation, etc.) for renewal each year.  This scholarship has a definite deadline each year for submission of all required paperwork.

Regional University Baccalaureate Scholarships are available for a limited number of Oklahoma high school graduates who have a national ACT composite score of 30 or higher. The scholarship provides financial support for tuition, fees, room and meals for up to eight fall/spring trimesters. For further information and specific requirements, contact the Financial Aid Office.

Other Academic Scholarships include:  Drover Academic Scholarship, University Scholarship, Green & Gold Scholarship, Transfer Student Scholarship, Out-of-State Scholarships and International Student Scholarships.

Talent Scholarships are available for students in the areas of music, art, and drama. The student must demonstrate his or her talent at an audition or interview in addition to meeting academic requirements.

Athletic Scholarships are awarded through the athletic department.  The student should contact the coach regarding their interest to participate in the athletic program.

Named Endowed Scholarships are available to new and continuing students with high achievements.  For example, the "Francis Davis Scholarship" was created in honor of a former faculty member in fine arts.  Such funds, held as an endowment in the USAO Foundation or the USAO Alumni Association, produce income for scholarships annually.

USAO Alumni Scholarships are established by alumni and friends to honor the college and provide assistance to USAO students.  Students wishing to apply for USAO Alumni Association Scholarships must provide the necessary materials by the deadline stated on the scholarship application form.  The application is available from the Office of Alumni Development or on the website at /alumni.

USAO Concurrent Student Scholarship is a tuition waiver for high school seniors who are admitted under the Concurrent Admissions Policy requirements.  The scholarship waives tuition for up to 6 hours each term. 

Private-Sector Scholarships and Grants are available to eligible students through their high school, community organizations, Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services, the Oklahoma National Guard and many other sources.  Free scholarship searches are available on the internet.  The Office of Financial Aid encourages students to seek and apply for private-sector grants and scholarships to supplement their funding.

Student Responsibility
Students are responsible for knowing and understanding the criteria for Financial Aid eligibility, including their enrollment status, Satisfactory Academic Progress status, the refund policy, loan history, etc. We strongly encourage students to carefully read all correspondence received and save copies of all documents (i.e., tax returns, FAFSAs, loan paperwork, etc.) in a safe and easily accessible location. We also encourage students to ask the Financial Aid Office directly if they have any questions regarding financial aid.

Class Attendance Policy for Financial Aid Eligibility
Class attendance is essential for students who receive financial aid. If the student doesn’t begin attendance in all of his or her classes, resulting in a change in the student’s enrollment status, the Financial Aid Office must calculate, or recalculate, the student’s award based on the lower enrollment status.  A student is considered to have begun attendance in all of his or her classes if the student attends at least one day of class for each course in which that student’s enrollment status was determined for Federal Pell Grant eligibility.  A student is considered not to have begun attendance in any class in which the school is unable to document that attendance, so faculty will be monitoring attendance for approximately the first two weeks of each class.  It is the student’s responsibility to attend class, make contact with the professor regarding arranged courses, or make arrangements with the professor if there are extenuating circumstances that prohibit attendance, within the first two weeks of each term to establish proof of attendance. 

Financial Aid Satisfactory Progress Policy
Students must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress toward a degree as stipulated in the chart below to receive financial aid at USAO from the following programs: Federal Pell Grant, Federal SEOG, Federal Work Study, Oklahoma Tuition Aid Grant (OTAG), Federal Direct Student Loans (subsidized and unsubsidized), Federal PLUS Loans and Perkins Loans. Satisfactory Progress is measured by Pace (amount of hours earned/amount of hours attempted), and GPA (quality of work), and maximum hours allowed to complete a degree.  Beginning in fall 2012 all students who receive Oklahoma’s Promise (OHLAP) must also meet these standards.

USAO has also adopted this standard to govern its institutional based aid, which includes (but is not limited to): tuition waivers, room and food waivers, academic, athletic, incentive, foundation and talent scholarships.  Students may still remain eligible for external resources such as Vocational Rehabilitation, Bureau of Indian Affairs, ASCOG, etc.

 

Total Hours Attempted from All Institutions

 

Minimum retention GPA

2.00

Minimum retention GPA for teacher certification programs

2.50

Minimum % of total hours successfully completed (Pace)

57%

Maximum total hours attempted allowed for earning a degree

Max of 186 hours for a Bachelor of Arts or Science

Maximum 202 hours for a Bachelor of Fine Arts          

150%

 

 

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Evaluation

  1. SAP is calculated for all USAO students at the end of each fall, spring and summer term.  Transfer or returning students are evaluated when all previous transcripts are submitted.
  2. FINANCIAL AID WARNING will be given to students who in the previous term did not meet the requirements above. These students are eligible to receive aid for one semester.
  3. FINANCIAL AID SUSPENSION will be required for any students on Warning who do not meet the requirements shown above. This status also applies to students who do not meet the requirements above and do not appeal. Students cannot receive funds from the aid programs listed above while not making SAP (See Appeals). Students may reestablish aid eligibility by meeting the requirements above. Aid will be reinstated in the following term.
  4. FINANCIAL AID PROBATION. This is available to students who have successfully appealed their SAP status after being on suspension. If an appeal is granted, students remain eligible for one semester. Students cannot receive consecutive terms of probation, so if SAP is not met, the student must appeal again to be considered for the possibility of being placed on an academic plan.
  5. Rules are applied uniformly to all students whether or not aid has been received previously.
  6. Eligibility is reestablished after the student improves their scholastic record to meet the minimum standards. In cases of suspension due to exhaustion, aid eligibility cannot be reinstated by student performance if denied by the committee.
  7. Academic notice, probation, and suspension are completely separate from the Financial Aid SAP policies.  The academic policy is available in the catalog.

Transfer and Returning Students

  1. Transfer students must submit all prior transcripts before eligibility can be determined. All transfer hours accepted count toward the total hours attempted. 
  2. Transfer and returning students who do not meet the conditions explained above are entered on financial aid warning or suspension.
  3. Students who leave USAO with an approved appeal and return after non-attendance and have not attended another institution, are considered to be on financial aid probation when they return.
  4. Students who leave USAO in good academic standing and return after a period of non attendance and have not attended another institution are considered to be in good academic standing when they return.

Grades

  1. For financial aid purposes, all grades of A, B, C, D, RP, P, F, W, WP, WF, AW, I, N and NP are hours attempted.
  2. Only grades of A, B, C, D, RP and P are counted as hours successfully completed. CLEP and advanced placement classes count as hours attempted and completed. Audit classes are not eligible for financial aid and are not counted as hours attempted or completed.
  3. All classes attempted at all institutions are used in SAP calculations.
  4. Remedial classes count as hours attempted and completed but do not affect GPA.

Repeated Courses
The federal regulations indicate that financial aid may be paid for repeated coursework previously taken in the program but may not include more than one repetition of a previously passed course.  This means courses for which you have passed with a grade of D or better can only be repeated once in your enrollment status to count for Federal Financial Aid eligibility determination.  After the second time the course is taken and a passing grade is earned, the credit hours for the repeated courses will be excluded from your financial aid enrollment only.

Appeals

  1. Financial Aid Suspension may be appealed if there are extenuating circumstances affecting student performance. Extenuating circumstances include (but are not limited to) illness, severe injury, or death in the family. 
  2. The appeal forms are available in the Financial Aid Office, Troutt Hall 112 and are also included in the notification of financial aid suspension.
  3. Incomplete appeals are not considered. 
  4. Appeals must consist of a signed, typed personal explanation of extenuating circumstances affecting student performance and information on the improvement of these circumstances, a complete current mailing address, a degree plan completed with the assistance of and signature of the student’s advisor, and compete unofficial transcript(s).
  5. Appeals will be reviewed by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee.  Decisions will be mailed to the student following the committee meeting.
  6. Students must meet all conditions of appeal approval in order to continue receiving aid until they meet minimum requirements.  The conditions may include enrollment changes such as a reduction in hours or a change in courses.
  7. All decisions of the appeals committee are final.
  8. Students who have regained eligibility after attending on financial aid suspension cannot receive aid retroactively for a term already ended.

Academic Plan

  1. The appeals committee may recommend an academic plan for some students.
  2. The academic plan must bring the student up to academic progress by a certain point in time. Students who have academic plans will be evaluated each term to see that the academic plan is being met.
  3. Students who do not meet the requirements of the academic plan are placed on suspension.
  4. Students who are placed on suspension after not meeting the requirements of the plan may reestablish SAP by meeting the requirements above. Aid will be reinstated after the term when SAP is established.

Student Responsibility
Students are held responsible for their SAP eligibility criteria and their status at the end of each semester. If questions arise, contact the Financial Aid Office. NOTE: SAP hours attempted may differ from those on academic transcripts due to withdrawals and remedial courses, which must be included in evaluating SAP.  Also, the cumulative GPA on a grade report may differ from the student’s retention/graduation GPA.

Refund Policy for Financial Aid Recipients Who Withdraw
Any student receiving federal financial assistance who completely withdraws from all classes at USAO will be subject to the Return of Title IV Funds refund policy required by federal regulation.

This policy applies to students receiving assistance through the Pell Grant, Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant, Perkins Loan, Subsidized Direct Loan, Unsubsidized Direct Loan, and Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) Programs.

This policy assumes a student earns his or her financial aid based on the period of time the student remains enrolled through the semester. Upon withdrawal, the Financial Aid Office will determine the date of the student’s withdrawal and will calculate the amount of financial assistance the student earned while enrolled in classes according the following formula: number of days enrolled divided by total number of days in the semester.

If the amount of federal aid disbursed exceeds the amount of federal aid earned as of the date of withdrawal, either the university, the student, or both are required to return some portion of the federal aid received. Late disbursements for which the student is eligible are required to be included.

Students who remain enrolled beyond the 60% of the semester are considered to have earned 100% of the financial aid received. Students who are enrolled for less than 60% of the semester will likely be responsible for repaying a portion of the financial aid received.

The Financial Aid Office will calculate the amount of any refund due according to the Return of Title IV Funds Formula outlined in federal regulation. Any refund amount calculated from this formula will be returned to the appropriate federal financial aid programs. If the University returns funds to the Title IV aid programs, it could result in the student owing USAO charges that were originally paid at the time of disbursement.  Calculated refunds amounts are returned to the federal financial aid programs in the following order: Unsubsidized Direct Loan, Subsidized Direct Loan, Perkins Loan, PLUS Loan, Federal Pell Grant, SEOG Grant, other federal financial aid programs.

Under this policy, the date of withdrawal is the date the student began the institution’s withdrawal process (as described in the USAO catalog) or “officially” notified the institution of intent to withdraw.  If a student leaves USAO without notifying the institution, the withdrawal date will be designated as the midpoint of the semester or the last date of attendance at a documented academically related activity. For students who fail to return from an approved leave of absence, the withdrawal date will be designated as the date the leave of absence began.

Students who do not receive ANY “earned” grades are considered to be unofficial withdrawals that stopped attending ALL of the courses prior to the end of the term.  When professors report grades at the end of the semester they are required to report whether the student stopped attending or never attended and must indicate the last date of attendance.  Once grades are posted, the Financial Aid Office identifies all Title IV students who received NO passing grades and processes them under the unofficial withdrawal policy. 

Attendance is the key.  If enrollment is maintained in at least one class with attendance beyond the 60 percent date during the term, this policy will not affect the student.  All withdrawals will impact satisfactory academic progress.  Please refer to the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.

Financial Aid Office
The Financial Aid Office is in Troutt Hall, Room 112.  The typical office hours are 8 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.  The staff is available to discuss student needs and make suggestions for improved aid opportunities.   All financial aid questions need to be addressed directly to the financial aid office so the student will receive answers relative to their personal circumstances and in accordance with current policies and compliance regulations.

Federal Phone Numbers and Web Sites

To file a FAFSA                             www.fafsa.gov
To apply for a Pin Number             www.pin.ed.gov
General info about FAFSA             1-800-433-3243
Hearing impaired/TDD                  1-800-730-8913
Suspect fraud or waste?                1-800-647-8733
Online help                                  www.studentaid.ed.gov