Policies and Disclosures
Keystone College will allow a student to take courses at another institution to be transferred back to the College to fulfill a graduation requirement under certain conditions. The Financial Assistance & Planning Office will allow a student to have a Consortium Agreement between Keystone College as the home school and a visiting institution only if the student is in the last year of their program, the course is not going to be run within the academic year at the College, and the course is necessary for the graduation requirement.
The student must contact the Financial Assistance & Planning Office in order to see if the request qualifies under the stated guidelines. If the course is approved, the student must sign a Consortium Agreement, have the visiting institution sign the Agreement, and have the Agreement returned to the Financial Assistance & Planning Office.
Once the Consortium Agreement is signed, the Financial Assistance & Planning Office will include the number of credits and costs associated with the credits in the financial assistance package for that semester. It is the student’s responsibility to make all payment arrangements with the visiting school.
FERPA Policy Statement
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), also known as the Buckley Amendment, protects the privacy of a student’s educational records. All of the rights under FERPA belong to the student, once he or she has enrolled in a post-secondary institution.
Return of Title IV Funds Policy
Students who have withdrawn from all classes prior to completing more than 60% of an enrollment term will have their eligibility for aid recalculated based on the percent of the term completed. Students who withdraw before the 60% period in time will have a pro-rated amount of their federal Title IV aid returned to the aid program by the school and possibly by the student. Students who withdraw after the 60% period of time in the semester will not have a refund calculated. This policy meets federal requirements in which students earn financial aid based on the percent of the term completed (see 34 CFR, Section 668.22 of the Title IV Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended).
Keystone College financial aid office is responsible for calculating the percentage of earned aid for the semester and for returning the unearned aid portion to the federal aid programs. The financial aid office will perform this calculation within 45 days of the student’s withdrawal date**. This calculation is measured by dividing the number of days the student attended by the total number of days in the period or semester. The length of the period or semester is based on Keystone College’s published academic calendar, including weekends and excluding scheduled breaks of 5 days or more. The first day begins on the first day of classes and ends on the last day of final exams.
The amount of federal aid (other than work study) to be returned is equal to the total federal aid that was disbursed for the term multiplied by the percentage of the term not attended. Federal monies will be returned in the following order: Federal Direct Unsubsidized loan, Federal Direct Subsidized loan, Federal Perkins loan, Federal Direct Parent PLUS loan, Federal Pell grant, Federal SEOG grant, Federal TEACH Grant, Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant. If a Title IV refund amount is owed to the student, but the student has outstanding institutional charges, or if the student owes a repayment of a cash disbursement for non-institutional costs, the college will automatically apply the refund amount to those charges or repayment (after obtaining written permission from the student). Keystone College will also notify the student in writing if either situation has occurred.
If all the funds the student earned were not yet disbursed to the student’s account before the student withdrew, the student may be due a post-withdrawal disbursement. If the post-withdrawal disbursement includes grant funds, the Financial Aid office will automatically disburse the portion of these funds required to cover any outstanding tuition, fee, room and board charges at Keystone College. If no outstanding institutional charges exist, the grant disbursement will be sent to the student within 14 days of the post-withdrawal disbursement.
If the post-withdrawal disbursement includes loan funds (including a Federal Parent loan), the Financial Aid office will notify the student (or parent) and provide him or her with the option to accept all or a portion; or decline all of the loan funds. If the student (or parent) responds and gives permission, the Financial Aid office will disburse the loan funds to cover any outstanding tuition, fee, room and board charges at the University (or non-institutional charges with written permission). If the student responds and declines permission, the loan funds eligible to be disbursed as a post-withdrawal disbursement will still be offered to the student. If the student does not respond within 14 days from the date of being notified, the loan funds will be cancelled.
Students who are Title IV (federal aid) recipients will have the return of those funds and repayments calculated and distributed as prescribed by federal law and regulation. These distribution schedules are available to all prospective and currently enrolled students by contacting the business office or the office of financial aid.
*To officially withdraw, a student must contact their academic advisor and submit a drop slip to the registrar’s office.
**When it is determined that a student has stopped attending classes and has withdrawn (officially or unofficially), the Registrar office contact the instructors for that student to determine the last date of attendance (LDA) in each class. The latest date of attendance then is the withdrawal date used for both official and unofficial withdrawal.
Other Possible Changes in Financial Aid
When a student is withdrawn from all classes prior to completing more than 60% of their enrollment they may have other eligibility for financial aid recalculated. Their state and institutional financial aid may have to be adjusted. Please contact the financial aid office for further questions regarding state and institutional financial aid charges.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy
Satisfactory Academic Progress Requirements
Federal regulations require that educational institutions measure students’ progress toward a declared educational objective, both quantitatively and qualitatively. In accordance to these requirements, Keystone College has established the following standards to measure a student’s academic progress. These standards will be applied uniformly to all students when determining their eligibility for Federal and/or Keystone College funding regardless of whether the student previously received these funds. Should a student fail to meet any of these requirements they are deemed not eligible to receive Federal and/or Keystone College funding until the deficiency is made up by the student.
Satisfactory Academic Progress is defined as a measure of both qualitative and quantitative levels of a student’s grade performance. Students who have not met the requirements are not eligible for Federal and/or Keystone College funding until the credit deficiency is made up.
For the qualitative measurement a student must meet the following minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) requirements:
1.< 24 Credits Attempted: CGPA of 1.75 with a completion rate of 2/3 (66.667%)*
2.> 24 Credits Attempted: CGPA of 2.00 with a completion rate of 3/4 (75.000%)
*All transfer students will be treated as new students for the purpose of this policy except that students who transfer in more than 24 credits will be required to earn a CGPA of at least a 2.00 and a completion rate of 75.000%. Additionally, all first time students are held to the same criteria, there is no alternate criterion available to first time students who enroll in any terms other than fall.
For the quantitative measurement a student must demonstrate they are progressing towards completion of their program within a maximum time frame. In order to meet this, a student must complete no less than 2/3 or 3/4 of what they attempted – see points 1 & 2 above. This calculation is cumulative and is based on all credits attempted and earned. Credits transferred into Keystone College are considered as attempted and earned for this purpose.
Maximum Semesters of Aid Eligibility
For undergraduate programs of study, the maximum time frame allowed to receive aid cannot exceed 150% of the published length of the educational program. For example: for a Bachelor’s Degree that requires 120 credits for graduation, a student may attempt or enroll in 180 credits with the objective of earning the 120 needed to graduate. Students who are pursuing a double major or who change majors may be eligible for an extension of the time on an individual review basis.
Procedure for Checking Satisfactory Academic Progress
At the end of each semester, aid recipients are reviewed to determine if they have met the minimum credit requirements as well as earned the appropriate CGPA. If they have not, a letter is sent to each student informing them that they are on FINANCIAL AID WARNING and ARE eligible for continued Federal and/or Keystone College funding throughout their following constitutive term. If the student again does not make progresses they are NOT eligible for federal or keystone funding. Should progress not be met after a semester of warning the student may appeal for aid to the Director of Financial Assistance and Planning, if the appeal is approved the student will be presented with an academic plan. If they have satisfied the requirements of the academic plan, they are considered to be making progress and their progress is then checked per semester moving forward.
Students Applying for Re-admittance to Keystone College
Any student looking to readmitted to Keystone College will have their SAP checked. If at that time the student shows a deficiency in either requirement from previous semesters at Keystone College, they will be deemed ineligible for Federal and/or Keystone College funding until the progress is made up. If deemed ineligible for financial aid the student will be help to the SAP standards of the SAP policy.
Incomplete Work, and Withdrawals
Incomplete work in a course, resulting in an ‘I’ or “IP” on the grade report will be counted toward the academic progress calculation. In addition, withdrawing from a course or a number of courses may affect a student’s academic progress if the withdrawal causes a student to fall short of the minimum credits required for that term’s academic progress requirement. Since financial aid may have been previously awarded for the course(s) dropped, students may need to earn the credits at their own expense in order to make academic progress and remain eligible for financial aid assistance.
- Qualitative Standard: If a course is taken for a second time, the latest grade will be figured into the student’s CGPA.
- Quantitative Standard: In determining eligibility for financial aid, each attempt is included in calculating total hours attempted.
Re-Establishing Eligibility for Financial Aid
Credit Deficiency (quantitative):
Students may make up a credit deficiency by attending Keystone College summer sessions or other sessions without aid. Or, students may take credits at another accredited institution as long as they will be accepted toward the student’s degree objective.
Once a student has made up the credit deficiency, it is the student’s responsibility to notify the Financial Assistance & Planning Office and request to be reinstated.
Cumulative Grade Point Average Deficiency (qualitative):
Students may make up a CGPA deficiency by attending summer sessions or other sessions without aid. In order for a CGPA deficiency to be made up, classes must be taken at Keystone College. Classes taken at other accredited institutions have bearing only on credit deficiencies and will not affect the CGPA deficiencies. Only credits transfer in – not the grade(s) earned. Once a student has reached the required CGPA, it is the student’s responsibility to notify the Financial Assistance & Planning Office and request to be reinstated.
In both situations the Financial Assistance & Planning Office will verify that the deficiency has been made up and award aid if appropriate. If the Financial Assistance & Planning Office’s findings are inconsistent with the student’s, the student will be contacted and the results explained.
Any student who has failed to meet the academic progress policy requirements due to extenuating circumstances may appeal the termination of their financial aid. Appeals must be made in writing to the Director of Financial Assistance and Planning. The appeal must include the following:
- Why the student failed to make academic progress.
- What has changed that will allow the student to make progress.
- Any/All supporting documentation MUST be submitted WITH the letter of appeal.
All appeals must be submitted no more than 14 days before the start of the next semester. Appeals may be granted upon one of two conditions:
- The Director of Financial Assistance and Planning has determined the student will be able to make up their progress by the next evaluation period.
- The Director of Financial Assistance and Planning (in conjunction with the Registrar) has developed an academic plan that will ensure progress is met within a specified time frame and the student agrees to the conditions of the plan.
All such appeals will be reviewed on an individual basis and will take into consideration special circumstances and improved academic performance. A student may only be on Financial Aid WARNING for one semester unless there is an academic plan in place which specifies a later time frame. By federal regulations the Director of Financial Assistance and Planning may not place a student on Financial Aid WARNING for consecutive semesters without an academic plan.
Students may appeal for financial aid only ONE time. If a student can show documented proof of cause an appeal may be made amended; a letter of appeal and supporting evidence will be necessary for an appeal amendment. Academic plans will be reviewed by the Director of Financial Assistance and Planning on the third (3rd) Monday of every month or 14 days prior to the start of the semester. Any appeal made after the 14th day prior to the start of the term will be declined (with exception ONLY given to amendments). Students will be notified via email of the decision no less than 7 days after a decision is made.
Withdrawals, Refunds, and Credits Policy
Withdrawing from, or dropping a course, may adversely affect a student’s financial aid eligibility. All students should speak with a member of the Financial Assistance & Planning Office prior to withdrawing from, or dropping a course.
A student seeking to withdraw from the College during a semester must schedule an appointment with the Student Success Advocate to complete an exit interview and begin the withdrawal process. Merely notifying an instructor or academic advisor is not sufficient. Once a withdrawal is authorized by the Dean, tuition refunds will be made as outlined below.
No withdrawal from a course or from the College can occur after the “last date to withdraw from a course for the term” that is notated on the College's academic calendar.
A student in the Weekender program seeking to withdraw from Keystone College during a trimester must submit written notice of withdrawal to the Director of Weekender and Adult Student Education or the Site Coordinator. Merely notifying an instructor or academic advisor is not sufficient. Tuition refunds will be calculated according to a percent of payment period completed when a withdrawal is authorized.
A student who leaves the College due to dismissal for disciplinary reasons is not entitled to any refund. No credits on any charges will be made to students who have been suspended or expelled from the residence hall and/or the College. Room charges are not refunded at any time and credits of board are prorated as of the end of the calendar week of withdrawal.
If a student withdraws before the first day of classes for the payment period, Keystone College will refund 100% of all tuition, lab fee(s), activities fee, health fee, technology fee, and room and board charges. Keystone College will return all Title IV awarded monies, in full, to the appropriate program accounts.
When a student withdraws on or after the first day of classes, Keystone College will refund the difference between any amount paid toward tuition and board charges (which includes financial aid payments) and the amount of charges retained on the student’s account for the period of the student’s attendance. The charges retained on the student’s account are in accordance with the return of Title IV Refunds Policy, as directed by federal regulations.
Students who withdraw on or before the 60% point of time in the period of enrollment, for which the student has been charged, is only eligible to receive the amount of Title IV Federal Aid earned during their actual enrollment. Keystone College must, per federal regulations, calculate a refund of Title IV Federal Aid to be returned under the federal refund calculation. Refunds of tuition and board if applicable for students as a result of an official withdrawal will be made according to the appropriate tuition refund schedule. These schedules are listed further in this section.
The room charge is not refundable due to a withdrawal; however board is prorated as of the end of the calendar week of withdrawal. Institutional fees are not refunded. An Unofficial Withdrawal will result in a 50% of payment completed refund calculation.
The date used to calculate the refund is the Official Withdrawal date as determined by Keystone College. Backdating withdrawal dates is not permissible.
No reduction is granted after the last day to drop/add classes to a student who withdraws from one or more courses, but remains registered in others. No adjustment is made from full-time to part-time status after the drop/add deadline.
The Title IV portion of the refund will be distributed to the Title IV programs, up to the full amount received from each program, for the enrollment period in question. Title IV funds are returned to the appropriate accounts in the following order:
- Federal Unsubsidized Loans
- Federal Subsidized Loans
- Federal Perkins Loans
- Federal Parent Plus Loans
- Federal Pell Grants
- Federal SEOG
- Other Title IV Programs
Written examples of the applications of these refund policies are available, upon request, from the Financial Assistance & Planning Office.
Code of Conduct & Statement of Ethical Principles
All staff of the Office of Financial Assistance and Planning at Keystone College adheres to the Code of Conduct and Statement of Ethical Principles of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) of which Keystone College is a participating member.
NASFAA Code of Conduct for Institutional Financial Aid Professionals
An institutional financial aid professional is expected to always maintain exemplary standards of professional conduct in all aspects of carrying out his or her responsibilities, specifically including all dealings with any entities involved in any manner in student financial aid, regardless of whether such entities are involved in a government sponsored, subsidized, or regulated activity. In doing so, a financial aid professional should:
- Refrain from taking any action for his or her personal benefit;
- Refrain from taking any action he or she believes is contrary to law, regulation, or the best interests of the students and parents he or she serves;
- Ensure that the information he or she provides is accurate, unbiased, and does not reflect any preference arising from actual or potential personal gain;
- Be objective in making decisions and advising his or her institution regarding relationships with any entity involved in any aspect of student financial aid;
- Refrain from soliciting or accepting anything of other than nominal value from any entity (other than an institution of higher education or a governmental entity such as the U.S. Department of Education) involved in the making, holding, consolidating or processing of any student loans, including anything of value (including reimbursement of expenses) for serving on an advisory body or as part of a training activity of or sponsored by any such entity; and
- Disclose to his or her institution, in such manner as his or her institution may prescribe, any involvement with or interest in any entity involved in any aspect of student financial aid.
NASFAA Statement of Ethical Principles for Institutions and Financial Aid Professionals
NASFAA members are required to adhere to the following Statement of Ethical Principles as a condition of membership.
The primary goal of the financial aid professional is to help students achieve their educational potential by providing appropriate financial resources. Our members are required to exemplify the highest level of ethical behavior in helping students and families find the best ways to pay for college and demonstrate the highest level of professionalism. We take great pride in our essential task of helping our students and families determine the best ways to meet their educational expenses.
The Financial Aid Professional shall:
- Be committed to removing financial barriers for those who wish to pursue postsecondary learning.
- Make every effort to assist students with financial need.
- Be aware of the issues affecting students and advocate their interests at the institutional, state, and federal levels.
- Support efforts to encourage students, as early as the elementary grades, to aspire to and plan for education beyond high school.
- Educate students and families through quality consumer information.
- Respect the dignity and protect the privacy of students, and ensure the confidentiality of student records and personal circumstances.
- Ensure equity by applying all need analysis formulas consistently across the institution’s full population of student financial aid applicants.
- Provide services that do not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, disability, age, or economic status.
- Recognize the need for professional development and continuing education opportunities.
- Promote the free expression of ideas and opinions, and foster respect for diverse viewpoints within the profession.
- Commit to the highest level of ethical behavior and refrain from conflict of interest or the perception thereof.
- Maintain the highest level of professionalism, reflecting a commitment to the goals of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.
Financial Aid Terms and Conditions
The use of financial aid at Keystone College obligates you to the following:
- Keystone College awards financial aid to recipients on a non-discriminatory, equal opportunity basis.
- The FAFSA is required for all federal, Pennsylvania State grant, scholarship and Keystone College need-based aid programs. Eligibility for need-based programs is determined using the information supplied on the FAFSA and, if selected, through the verification process. In addition, award amounts are also influenced by your choice of enrollment and housing.
- Financial Aid packages are developed after first determining the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Financial need (your financial aid eligibility) is calculated by subtracting the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from the Student Cost of Attendance budget. Educational costs include all expenses a student may incur and consist of tuition, fees, living expenses, books and supplies, transportation, and personal expenses.
- The types of aid awarded will vary with the individual student’s need and may consist of a combination of grant, loan, and scholarship assistance and traditional Financial aid awards are for an academic year, with equal payments for the fall and spring terms. All forms of need-based aid must be reapplied for annually. Renewal of awards will be based on continued eligibility.
- All students must maintain satisfactory academic progress in order to remain eligible for financial aid. Aid may be cancelled due to lack of progress or maximum semesters of aid. Please review the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.
- A student will lose Financial Aid Title IV eligibility if a student is convicted of a state or federal offense involving the possession or sale of an illegal drug that occurred while the student was enrolled in school and receiving Title IV aid.
- If you receive an outside scholarship, your awards may be adjusted. It is your responsibility to provide scholarship information to the Financial Aid Office and adjustments may be made to the student’s award package to ensure all awards fit within the cost of attendance budget.
- Financial Aid recipients who plan to withdraw or who change their enrollment status must notify the Financial Aid Office. Your financial aid package will be reviewed and adjustments may be required.
- Direct Loan and PLUS Loan recipients must be enrolled on at least a half-time basis (6 credits per semester for under graduate).
- If you are awarded Work Study funds, it is not a guarantee of funds and funds will not be placed on your student business services account. It is the student’s responsibility to work the required number of hours in order to earn the money. A student is paid bi-weekly for the number of hours worked that time period.
- The Office of Financial Aid reserves the right to request verification of any data submitted by the applicant, the applicant’s parent(s), or the applicant’s spouse/partner. If the data is found to be incorrect, the data may be corrected and the award revised. If the applicant is determined ineligible for financial aid, the applicant’s award can be withdrawn. The applicant will then be responsible for payment of all expenses incurred at Keystone College.
- The college holds in strict confidence all family financial information and considers any financial aid package to be a confidential matter between the college and the student and the College abides by all laws with respect to The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
- Financial aid recipients must be matriculated and pursuing courses leading to a degree.
- Financial aid awards are processed on the basis enrollment and residency. Any changes in enrollment status, such as number of credits, withdrawal, graduation, or completed requirements for bachelor’s degree, may result in reevaluation of the award(s). The student may then become responsible for a balance should one be created due to change in status.
- Merit scholarships awarded by the office of admissions upon acceptance to Keystone College are renewed on an annual basis providing the GPA requirements for the respective scholarship is met. Failure to meet the GPA requirements will result in a 25% reduction of the scholarship and the naming convention of the reduced award may change.
- The institution, state, and federal government is absolved of any and all responsibility for funding in the event that a grant and/or a loan or any other financial assistance is based upon fraudulent, inaccurate or misleading information.
To be eligible for Title IV financial aid academic programs must lead to an associate, bachelors, graduate, or a professional degree, or prepare students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation.
Penalties for Drug Law Violations
Students convicted of a federal or state offense of selling or possessing illegal drugs may not be eligible for federal student aid. If the Office of Financial Assistance and Planning is notified that a student has been convicted of possession or sale of illegal drugs during the academic year, all federal student aid will be suspended immediately.
Convictions only matter if they were for an offense which occurred during a period of enrollment that the student was receiving federal student aid. Additionally, a conviction that was reversed, set aside, or removed from the student’s record does not count.
The chart below indicates the period of ineligibility for federal student aid, dependent on whether the conviction was for sale or possession and whether the student had previous offenses. A conviction for sale of drugs is inclusive of convictions for conspiring to sell drugs.
Possession of illegal drugs and period of ineligibility for federal student aid:
- 1st Offense – 1 year from date of conviction
- 2nd Offense – 2 years from date of conviction
- 3+ Offenses – Indefinite Period
Sale of illegal drugs and period of ineligibility for federal student aid:
- 1st Offense – 2 years from date of conviction
- 2nd Offense – Indefinite Period
- 3+ Offenses – Indefinite Period
Students regain eligibility the day after the period of ineligibility ends or when they successfully complete a qualified drug rehabilitation program.
Further drug convictions will make them ineligible again. Students denied eligibility for an indefinite period can regain aid only after successfully completing a rehabilitation program or if a conviction is reversed, set aside, or removed from the student’s record so that fewer than two convictions for sale or three convictions for possession remain on the record. In such instances, the nature and dates of the remaining convictions will determine when the student regains eligible.
It is the student’s responsibility to certify to the Office of Financial Assistance and Planning the date of conviction and that a drug rehabilitation program has been completed.