2019-2020 Catalog 
    
    Sep 17, 2019  
2019-2020 Catalog

Financial Aid



Office of Financial Aid

The Office of Financial Aid is located on the second floor of Branch Hall. Correspondence should be addressed to the Office of Financial Aid, ABAC 23, 2802 Moore Highway, Tifton, Georgia 31793.

Through a program of institutional, state and federal aid, Abraham Baldwin can assist a qualified student in obtaining a college education. Students with limited resources can be offered a package which will help further their education beyond the high school level. One purpose of the Financial Aid Program is to recognize students who appear to have outstanding potential (merit-based awards) and to provide assistance to students who, without such aid, would be unable to attend college (need-based awards). Thus, financial aid is awarded based on financial need and scholastic achievement. The college uses the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine financial need. The FAFSA is available online at http://www.fafsa.gov.

Male students receiving financial aid are required to comply with the Selective Service registration procedure. Students must certify that they are not in default on any Title IV educational loans, do not owe a repayment on any Title IV educational grants, and have not borrowed in excess of loan limits. Students must be working toward a degree to receive federal financial aid. The school defines an academic year as 24 credit hours and 30 weeks of instruction for financial aid purposes and a student must take 12 or more credit hours each semester in order to be considered as a full-time student. A summer session is considered a trailer for the purposes of awarding federal, state, and institutional financial aid.

Enrollment Schedule Enrollment Hours Payment Status
Full Time 12 or > 100%
Three Quarter Time 9 - 11 75%
Half Time 6 - 8 50%
Less Than Half Time 5 or < 25%

Applicants for financial aid are requested to have the results from the FAFSA and all other required documentation in the Office of Financial Aid by May 1st for returning students and July 1st for new students to ensure completed processing for fall term. Applications received after this date will be considered provided funds are available, in the order of the date of receipt. Students enrolled less than full-time will receive full consideration for financial aid. In planning for their college years, students should understand that all financial aid programs operate on a first-come, first-served basis. Students are encouraged to make application for financial aid (merit or need-based) at least 10 weeks in advance of the time they intend to enroll. Failure to apply on a timely basis may significantly reduce the amount of aid students receive.

Eligibility for receiving financial assistance at ABAC is determined by comparing the cost of attending college with the ability of the students (and parents or spouse) to satisfy these expenses. Cost of attendance is calculated for each of several groups of students at ABAC using criteria such as resident status and living accommodations. For each of these student groups, cost of attendance includes anticipated expenses such as room and board, books and supplies, personal expenses, and the ability of the students (and parents or spouse) to contribute to college expenses. The ability of the students (and parents or spouse) to contribute to college expenses (also called the Expected Family Contribution) is determined by the U.S. Department of Education using criteria established by that agency. Factors used in determining ability to pay include, but are not limited to, all appropriate assets and income (earned and unearned). The factors vary from year to year.

A FAFSA must be filed for each year that students wish to be considered for aid. Awards for each year are based upon proper completion and timely filing of the FAFSA; completion of the verification process, if warranted; the availability of federal, state and/or institutional funds; and eligibility for the individual programs for which students are applying and the applicants’ continued enrollment and ability to maintain satisfactory academic progress. The amount of assistance may increase or decrease from one year to the next depending upon educational costs, the financial circumstances of the family and the level of program funding.

A number of applications are randomly selected for verification purposes each year. When students’ applications are selected, they will be required to submit documentation as requested to verify specific information from their financial aid application. Failure to submit the appropriate documentation in a timely manner will prevent the award of federal financial aid.

Grants

Federal Pell Grant

This federal aid program is designed to assist undergraduate students who demonstrate they are unable to attend college without financial assistance. This form of financial assistance is a grant with no repayment required. Applicants must be enrolled at Abraham Baldwin in a degree program and be citizens or permanent United States residents. The amount of the grant is governed by financial need and the cost of attending ABAC for an academic year. The duration of the students’ eligibility for a Pell Grant is limited to the time students are enrolled in an undergraduate degree or certificate program of four years or less and are making satisfactory academic progress. Application is made by completing the FAFSA online.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)

Grants ranging from $100 to $4,000 per academic year are available through this federally funded program. These grants are awarded to students who have demonstrated financial need. Grants are renewable each year during undergraduate study, provided students show satisfactory academic progress and financial need. Funding for this program is limited, so not all students who are eligible will receive an SEOG award. Application is made by completing the FAFSA.

Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally (HOPE)

The HOPE Scholarship and Zell Miller Scholarship are funded by the Georgia Lottery for Education and are available to eligible Georgia high school graduates. Students may gain HOPE eligibility by having a 3.0 overall GPA at the 30th, 60th, or 90th attempted hour. Full time enrollment is not a requirement.

Students attending public colleges or universities receive a HOPE Award Amount based upon a per hour rate payable up to 15 hours at the institution they are attending. Grade point eligibility for entering freshmen is based on a minimum 3.0 HOPE GPA (as calculated by GSFC) and the student must also meet specific rigor course requirements; The Zell Miller Scholarship requires a minimum 3.7 Zell Miller grade point average (as calculated by GSFC) combined with a minimum score of 1200 on the math and reading portions of the SAT test or a minimum composite score of 26 on ACT as determined by the high school and reported to the Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC).  Alternately, a student is eligible for the Zell Miller Scholarship if they were the salutatorian or valedictorian at their high school.

ABAC students currently receiving HOPE or Zell Miller may renew the scholarship based on ABAC’s certification of their grade point eligibility on their course work attempted and the completion of their financial aid application. All HOPE Scholarship recipients must have a 3.0 GPA and Zell Miller must have a 3.3 GPA (however, they can continue with HOPE if they fall below 3.3 and have at least a 3.0) at the end of having attempted 30 hours, 60 hours, 90 hours, AND at the end of each spring semester, to continue their eligibility. If new students are enrolled in fewer than twelve (12) credit hours for each of their first three terms in a row, they are considered a three-term checkpoint and are checked at the end of the third term. After the three-term checkpoint is applied once to students, the end-of-spring checkpoints must be applied to the students regardless of the number of hours enrolled each term.

Students who have lost HOPE eligibility may regain it upon having attempted 30 hours, 60 hours and 90 hours, if their GPA has reached 3.0 and it can only be regained once. But HOPE eligibility cannot be gained or regained at the end-of-spring check point. HOPE Scholarship recipients will have a paid hours limit in addition to an attempted hours limit. The total cumulative credit hours for which students can receive payment from any combination of credit hours from the Accel (through Spring term 2011) program plus HOPE Grant hours plus HOPE Scholarship hours are 127 semester hours.

Students applying for HOPE must complete a FAFSA or the GSFAPPS (state application at www.GAfutures.org). Transfer students who previously received HOPE at other institutions will be evaluated based on their GPA on all previous course work attempted after high school graduation. HOPE recipients who wish to enroll as transient students at other HOPE eligible institutions are eligible to receive HOPE funds at the host institution.

Loans

Federal Direct Parents Loan to Undergraduate Students (PLUS)

Parents may borrow up to the cost of attendance minus any other financial aid per academic year on behalf of eligible dependent students. Applicants do not have to demonstrate financial need. Application is made by completing the FAFSA and Direct Parent Loan Application.

Federal Direct Loans

Students may qualify for a “subsidized” Federal Direct Loan which is based on financial need. The federal government will pay the interest on the subsidized loan while students are in college. Any first-time borrower or borrowers who have paid off their loan prior to July 1, 2013 and are borrowing again can receive Subsidized loans only within 150% of the length of their program of study. Students may qualify for an “unsubsidized” Federal Direct Loan, regardless of need. Interest will accrue on unsubsidized loans during the in-school and repayment periods. Dependent undergraduate students can borrow up to $5,500 as a freshman; up to $6,500 as a sophomore; and $7500 as a junior or senior in a bachelor’s degree program. Independent undergraduate students and students whose parents are unable to obtain the PLUS Loan can borrow up to $9,500 as a freshman (at least $6,000 of this amount must be unsubsidized); up to $10,500 as a sophomore (at least $6,000 of this amount must be unsubsidized); and up to $12,500 as a junior or senior in a bachelor’s degree program (at least $7,000 of this amount must be unsubsidized). Applicants will complete the FAFSA to determine eligibility. Direct Loans for first-time borrowers carry a variable interest rate, capped at 8.25%. An origination fee of varying amounts may be deducted from the students’ loan proceeds. Repayment is not required as long as students are enrolled, at least, half-time. Students will have a six-month grace period after they cease to be enrolled before repayment must begin. The total outstanding loans that dependent undergraduate students may have cannot exceed $31,000. Independent undergraduate students may borrow up to a total of $57,500.

These annual loan limit amounts are the maximum yearly amounts students can borrow in both subsidized and unsubsidized loans. Students can have one type of loan or a combination of both. Students cannot borrow more than their cost of attendance minus any other financial aid received. Also, students must be enrolled at least half-time in a qualifying program of study and must complete online Entrance Counseling and a Master Promissory Note.

Work Opportunities

Federal Work-Study Program (FWS)

Students who qualify (by completing the FAFSA) may work on campus or at an approved off-campus location to help earn money to satisfy educational expenses. To qualify for FWS, students must be permanent residents or citizens of the United States, registered at ABAC, show financial need, and make satisfactory academic progress. FWS is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

Regular Work Program

A few jobs are also available to students under the regular program of work. The College provides information concerning these opportunities. Please check the Human Resources web site for jobs available for FWS and regular positions at https://www.abac.edu/human-resources/#Employment-Opportunities.

Foundation Scholarships

Each scholarship offered via the ABAC Foundation, Inc. will be awarded based on pre-determined criteria mutually agreed upon by the College, the Foundation, and the Donor that recognize the donor’s affiliation with the institution while supporting the needs of ABAC and its students. These criteria include, but are not limited to, prior academic achievement and exceptional leadership. Economic need is not a criterion for the selection of recipients except where specifically stated. Scholarships are generally awarded for a two-semester period, with half of each award payable each semester unless specifically otherwise allowed by scholarship criteria. In the case of scholarships that carry awards for more than one semester, recipients must maintain a minimum grade point average (GPA) established by the College throughout the period of the award and must not drop below a full load during the semester unless otherwise allowed by scholarship criteria. Transfer to another institution will result in the termination of a scholarship. Withdrawal will result in termination unless withdrawal was for circumstances beyond the student’s control. Unused portions of a scholarship resulting from withdrawal during a semester, failure to maintain the prescribed GPA, or suspension will revert to the scholarship fund. Reinstatement of the scholarship after withdrawal must be initiated by students where permitted by the fund agreement; however, a request for reinstatement of a forfeited scholarship award does not guarantee reinstatement. Any deviation from this standard requires written approval from the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Foundation’s Chief Operating Officer. Scholarships are awarded based upon availability of funds, as determined by the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Foundation, Inc. All scholarships may not be available for award during a given academic year. Detailed information for ABAC Foundation Scholarships and the application process may be obtained from the Office of Enrollment Management or online at https://www.abac.edu/funding/abac-scholarships/.

External Scholarships

The ABAC web site provides links to several financial aid related web sites. These web sites can be used by ABAC students for assistance in locating outside scholarship sources. For further information on this service, contact the Office of Financial Aid. This listing of outside sources of financial aid is provided as a service to ABAC students. Students are encouraged to actively research and seek out other possible sources of financial aid and/or scholarships.

Students’ Rights and Responsibilities

Students receiving financial aid have rights and responsibilities. Student applicants must, without exception, report any of the following changes to the Office of Financial Aid: (a) withdrawal from school, (b) transfer to another school, (c) any change in enrollment status, (d) name changes, (e) address change or parents’ address change, and (f) joining military service.

Students are responsible for obtaining, completing, and filing the proper financial aid application, statements, forms, etc., each year on a timely basis. Students have the right to seek and receive full information and counseling from the Office of Financial Aid in regard to any financial aid matter. If the family’s financial circumstances have changed due to death, divorce, marriage, disability, long-term unemployment or low income, students’ eligibility may change. Students must take the initiative in notifying the Office of Financial Aid of these changes.

Correct information must be provided on all financial aid forms. False reporting of information on financial aid application and/or forms is a violation of law and may be considered a criminal offense which could result in indictment under the U.S. Criminal Code.

Students applying for financial aid must return all additional documentation, verification, corrections, and/or new information requested by either the Office of Financial Aid or the agency to which the financial aid application or confidential statement was submitted.

Students are responsible for reading and understanding all forms requiring signature and for obtaining copies of them. Students must accept responsibility for all agreements signed. Students are also responsible for understanding the College’s refund policies and procedures.

Refund Policy

Students who withdraw from college may be entitled to a refund depending on the date of withdrawal. Any refund to which students receiving financial aid may be entitled will be first applied against accounts in the following priority:

  • Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans
  • Subsidized Federal Direct Loans
  • Federal PLUS Loans
  • Federal Pell Grants
  • Federal SEOG
  • Other Title IV financial aid programs
  • Other federal, state, private or institutional sources of aid
  • Student

Satisfactory Academic Progress

The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended by Congress, mandated institutions of higher education to establish minimum standards of “satisfactory progress” for students receiving financial aid. The College makes these standards applicable to all institutionally awarded federal and state funds to include Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Grants, Federal Work-Study, HOPE Scholarships, Federal Direct Student Loans, and Federal Direct Parent Loans (PLUS) to Undergraduate Students, for the purpose of maintaining a consistent policy for all students receiving assistance.

Effective with the beginning of the Spring Term 2011, the following standards will apply to all students receiving any type of financial aid outlined above. Satisfactory academic progress must be maintained by satisfying three requirements: the GPA Rule, 67% Successful Completion Rule, and the 150% Maximum Time Frame Rule.

  • First Semester and Transfer Recipients
    To receive federal financial assistance for the first time at ABAC, each eligible person will have met the admission requirements of the College.
  • Continuing Recipients
    Students will be expected to achieve certain minimum levels of progress toward the successful academic completion of course requirements for a degree or certificate. Progress is measured both quantitatively and qualitatively. At ABAC, standards for maintaining such progress are as follows.
  • GPA Rule
    To maintain eligibility for financial aid, students must maintain a minimum OVERALL GPA (OGPA) of 2.0. The OGPA will be checked at the end of each term for satisfactory academic progress. The OGPA includes grades of A, B, C, D, F, and WF. WF (withdrew with a failing grade) counts as an F. All grades for repeated coursework will count in the GPA calculation. All courses that are transferred in from another institution will also count. Students do not earn quality points for incomplete grades until the grade is resolved. Learning Support, repeated, and transfer courses are included in the calculation of the GPA.
  • 67% Successful Completion Rule
    Students must successfully complete a minimum of 67% of the cumulative credit hours attempted. Satisfactory completion is defined as a letter grade of A, B, C, D, S or IP. Unsatisfactory completion is defined as a letter grade of F, I, U, W, or WF. Learning Support, repeated, and transfer courses are included in the calculation of completions.
  • 150% Maximum Timeframe
    Federal regulations limit receipt of federal financial aid to no more than 150% of the course work required for any particular degree or certificate. Learning Support credits, transfer credits, and repeated credits will all be included in the hourly limitation.
Program Requirement Maximum Attempted Credits
30 45
60 90
120 180

College Level Examination Program (CLEP) Tests

If credit is earned via a CLEP test, the results are recorded by course, course number, and semester hours earned. Successful CLEP tests are credited toward graduation. Successfully completed tests will be counted in the maximum timeframe to complete a program but not in the GPA or successful completion calculation. A grade of K is awarded for successful CLEP tests in which students earn the minimum score.

Evaluation Periods and Communication

The Office of Financial Aid will evaluate satisfactory academic progress at the end of each term. All credit hours are measured whether the student received financial aid or not to pay for those credits. Students will not receive credit hours earned for courses that are audits. Withdrawals and Incompletes are counted as attempted courses and these grades will negatively affect a student’s satisfactory academic progress.

All communications regarding satisfactory academic progress will be sent by mail and email after all grades have been posted and the evaluations complete. The status is also posted in the Financial Aid Status section of students’ Banner accounts. In addition, letters are sent via the US Postal Service when students have utilized their appeal process.

Appeal Process

Students with mitigating circumstances may appeal financial aid ineligibility in writing. All students must complete the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal form and submit all the documentation requested on the form. Failure to supply all the requested documentation by the appeal deadline will result in a continued suspension until the next appeal deadline for a future semester. All appeals should be forwarded to the Office of Financial Aid by the published deadline.

Mitigating circumstances are defined as unanticipated and unavoidable events or situations beyond students’ control that prevent them from successfully meeting the standards of academic progress.

If an appeal is granted, students are expected to adhere to all the stipulations set forth in the reinstatement letter as well as any academic plans that are required for the students to regain compliance with the standards as outlined above. Students who regain eligibility and subsequently fail to maintain progress or fail to abide by the stipulations for reinstatement are no longer eligible for appeal.

If the appeal is denied, the students will need to enroll using their own resources until they are in compliance with the measures of academic progress for financial aid.

Levels of Appeal

Financial Aid Office: Students may submit a written appeal, including any appropriate third-party documentation of the circumstances. Students are encouraged to present at least one letter of support from their academic advisor or a faculty member familiar with their situation. A financial aid counselor will notify students in writing of a decision within two weeks of submission of all requested documents. The financial aid counselor reviewing the file reserves the right to advise students as to their course load and the possible need for counseling and/or academic advisement. The Financial Aid Office will hear only one appeal per student per circumstance.

Director of Financial Aid: Students who have had their initial appeal denied by a counselor may request a meeting with the Director of Financial Aid to present additional information that may not have been included in the initial appeal. The Director will inform such students in person and/or in writing of the appeal decision. The Director will read only one appeal per student per circumstance.

Student Financial Aid Appeals Committee: Students who have been denied by both a counselor and the Director of Financial Aid are eligible to appeal to the Student Financial Aid Appeals Committee if they can reasonably show that one of the following has occurred:

  • The student has not received due process.
  • The student is the object of discrimination.
  • The student has not been treated in an equitable manner.
  • The decision of the Financial Aid Counselor or Director of Financial Aid was arbitrary and capricious.

Students seeking to appeal to the Student Financial Aid Appeals Committee should do so in writing. The written appeal should contain an explanation of why an additional appeal should be heard, based on the criteria above. The written appeal should be submitted to the Financial Aid Office at least two weeks before the beginning of the semester for which the student is seeking to be reinstated. The Committee meets to review appeals once at the beginning of each semester and will notify students in writing of their appeal decision. The decision of the Student Financial Aid Appeals Committee will be final.

Financial Aid Warning Status

The Financial Aid Warning status is used for students who are not meeting (1) the overall GPA or (2) the 67% completion requirement for the first time. Students who are placed on financial aid warning are not required to appeal. Financial aid warning is an automatic grace period that allows students one term to satisfy the standards of academic progress.

Financial Aid Suspension Status

Students who are not making satisfactory progress at the end of the warning semester are placed on Financial Aid Suspension and will not be eligible for financial aid until all components of the Standards of Academic Progress Policy are met. Students may appeal if they have special circumstances.

Financial Aid Probation Status

All students who have been reinstated to financial aid eligibility through appeal are reinstated on a provisional basis. Students who are reinstated on provisional/probationary status and are expected to satisfy the standards of academic progress after one term of attendance will not require an academic plan. Students who are reinstated on provisional/probationary status and are not expected to satisfy the standards of academic progress after one term of attendance will require an academic plan. Provisional/probationary students, for purposes of financial aid, will continue to be eligible for financial aid if the students adhere to the reinstatement stipulations and academic plan as outlined in the agreement.

The purpose of the academic plan is to ensure the students comply with the standards of academic progress policy within a specified timeframe and are enrolling in required courses to complete graduation requirement.

Unusual Enrollment History

Beginning with the 2013-14 award year, the U.S. Department of Education added the Unusual Enrollment History (UEH) Flag to the Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR). The purpose of the UEH Flag is to identify instances of potential fraud and abuse of the Federal Pell Grant Program.

Although some students have legitimate reasons for unusual enrollment histories, other students may enroll in post-secondary schools long enough to receive credit balance payments, leave the institutions, and repeat the process at other schools.

Students with an unusual enrollment history, based on the school’s criteria, will have one of the following UEH flags and C codes on their ISIR:

UEH Flag Value C Code Comment Code Flag Description School Action to Resolve Flag
N No None Enrollment pattern not unusual No school action required.
2 Yes 359 Possible enrollment pattern problem School must review enrollment/academic and financial aid records for past four years.
3 Yes 360 Questionable enrollment pattern School must review enrollment/academic and financial aid records for past four award years.

Determining Title IV Aid Eligibility

ABAC has established policies and procedures to determine whether the documentation obtained supports the student’s explanation and demonstrates that the student did not enroll for the purpose of receiving a Title IV credit balance payment. ABAC must document the decision in the student’s file.

Eligibility Approved

If the documentation supports an assertion that the student did not enroll in multiple schools/programs solely to obtain the credit balance payment, the student is eligible for additional Title IV funds. ABAC must document its determination in the student’s file and process the student’s Title IV aid accordingly.

Eligibility Denied

The student loses eligibility for all Title IV aid if both of the following are true: (1) The student did not earn academic credit at one or more of the prior schools; (2) After reviewing a student’s submitted UEH Appeal Form, ABAC determines that the documentation fails to disprove that the student enrolled in multiple programs solely to obtain the credit balance payment.

ABAC must document its determination in the student’s file and provide the student with an opportunity to question and appeal the decision. The Office of Financial Aid will also provide students with information about regaining eligibility.

Reinstatement of Eligibility

All students who have lost eligibility for all Title IV aid and would like to appeal for reinstatement must complete a UEH Appeal Form. If granted, students must adhere strictly to all conditions of their reinstatement.

Note: The school’s policies require that the student complete academic credit as at least a part of the basis for a UEH appeal and potential reinstatement of Title IV aid.

When students regain eligibility under these provisions, eligibility for Pell Grant and campus-based aid begins in the payment period during which the students regained that eligibility. For Direct Loans, eligibility begins with the period of enrollment during which the students regained eligibility.

Availability of Funds

The Office of Financial Aid awards aid on a first-come, first-served basis. Students who have their financial aid awards cancelled for failure to satisfy the standards of academic progress should be aware that receipt of originally awarded funds following reinstatement depends upon whether those funds have been awarded to other students and are available.

Hope Scholarship Provisions

To maintain eligibility for the HOPE Scholarship, degree-seeking HOPE scholars have the following additional GPA requirements, as set forth by the State of Georgia: Such students will be required to demonstrate a minimum overall GPA of 3.00 and degree seeking Zell scholars are required to demonstrate a minimum overall GPA of 3.30 when they have attempted 30, 60, and 90 hours and at the end of the spring term.

Nursing Students

Nursing students should be aware that additional requirements must be met for entry into the program and the successful completion of the program. Students must consult with their advisor to ensure they are on track for successful completion of the program.

Note: All nursing students who transfer credit to ABAC must also be in compliance with the GPA Rule, 67% Successful Completion Rate, and 150% Maximum Timeframe at the time of admission.

Learning Support Credits

Learning Support credits will be added to the number of credit hours needed for degree completion and evaluated as stated above.

English as a Second Language (ESL)

English as a Second Language courses are not required for degree completion and, therefore, do not increase the maximum timeframe for program completion.