Through the use of federal and state funds as well as contributions from its many friends and alumni, UNCW Financial Aid assists students in obtaining funds from the source best suited to the individual’s need.
Three main types of financial assistance are available to qualified students: gift aid, consisting of grants and scholarships; long-term educational loans; and part-time employment. Students classified as non-degree auditors, special students, or visitors are not eligible for financial aid. Instead, they can consider private/non-federal loans. Audited courses are not eligible for Title IV aid, nor are courses that are repeated for the second time.
Because the primary aim of the financial aid programs is to provide assistance to students who, without aid, would be unable to continue their education, most of the funds are awarded on the basis of financial need. However, in its efforts to strive for excellence, the university offers assistance to some talented students based on merit rather than need.
The university participates in federal programs which provide funds on the basis of financial need as follows:
- Federal Pell Grant
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
- Federal Direct Parent Loan Program
- Federal Perkins Loan
- Federal Work-Study Program
- Federal Direct Loan Program
- Nursing Student Loan
Information pertaining to the application process, types of aid available, and academic requirements may be obtained from the UNCW Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid and at http://uncw.edu/finaid/
Academic Year Definition:
For the purpose of awarding federal financial aid, the definition of an academic year is 24 credits and 32 weeks of instructional time. The academic year consists of a fall semester and spring semester. Specific dates of the semester can be found on the academic calendar. The financial aid award year runs from July 1 through June 30. A summer session is considered a trailer for the purposes of awarding federal, state and institutional financial aid. Students must be enrolled at half-time status to receive direct student loans during the summer session. Fall and spring semesters may contain late start classes and mini-sessions of less than 16 weeks.
Scholarships and Awards
The goal of the Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid at UNCW is to provide students and their families with information on both internal and external scholarship opportunities. Scholarships are gifts of money that do not require repayment.
Scholarships usually recognize special achievements in academics, talent, and leadership. Some scholarships may also require that students demonstrate financial need. Financial need will be determined by submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Scholarships can come from a variety of sources. Scholarships may be awarded by the Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid , Admissions, Honors, and by each of the colleges on our campus. There are scholarships for incoming freshmen, transfer students, military families, as well as students currently enrolled at the university.
UNCW has many scholarships that have been made available through the generous donations of alumni and friends of the university. For more information about scholarships provided by UNCW donors, please visit the following link: http://www.uncw.edu/finaid/scholarships.html. Students may also find additional information about discipline specific scholarships by contacting the academic department of their intended major or by viewing college web pages.
The Federal Work-Study Program (FWS), which is federally funded, provides part-time jobs on the UNCW campus or off campus with community service organizations, for students who have demonstrated financial need. Students who submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) are automatically considered.
Entrance and Exit Interviews. Students who receive a Federal Subsidized Direct Student Loan, Federal Unsubsidized Direct Student Loan, or Perkins Loan must complete a loan entrance interview prior to receiving the first disbursement of a loan.
Students who received a Federal Subsidized or Unsubsidized Direct Student Loan or Perkins Loan must complete an exit interview prior to leaving UNCW. Exit interviews must be completed by students who withdraw or graduate.
Entrance and exit interviews may be completed at http://www.studentloans.gov.
It is important that students who borrow Perkins and Direct Student loans realize that the loans require repayment, usually within 10 years after leaving school. Loan calculators are available at the interview web site demonstrating estimated loan payments and approximate income required to make payment.
Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS). PLUS loans may be secured to assist in covering educational costs. Parents may borrow up to the cost of attendance minus all other financial assistance. In determining eligibility, the credit worthiness of the borrower is of primary importance. Families should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to initiate the application process. If the parent is denied due to credit the student is eligible for additional unsubsidized funds.
Federal Direct Student Loans provide students with long-term, low-interest loans. All borrowers are required to complete the standard financial aid process to establish their eligibility based on financial need. Repayment of Federal Direct Student Loans begin six months after a student ceases to be enrolled at least half-time. There are a variety of repayment plans. A portion of the loan may be cancelled upon completion of employment under certain terms and conditions. Students who complete the FAFSA are automatically considered.
Subsidized Direct Student Loans are based on need as determined through the financial aid application process. Interest on the subsidized loan begins at the time of repayment.
Unsubsidized Direct Student Loans expand the Direct Loan Program for students who do not demonstrate need, as determined by federal guidelines. Interest is charged on the unsubsidized loan from the time of disbursement. Dependent students may borrow up to $5,500 as freshmen (no more than $3,500 of which is subsidized), $6,500 as sophomores (no more than $4,500 of which is subsidized), and $7,500 as juniors or seniors (no more than $5,500 of which is subsidized). Independent students may borrow up to an additional unsubsidized loan in the amount of $4,000 as freshmen or sophomores, and $5,000 as junior or seniors.
Federal Perkins Loans provide students with long-term, low-interest loans for educational expenses. Under this program students may borrow up to $4,000 per year and a total of $20,000 for undergraduate study. Repayment begins nine months after graduation or withdrawal from school, and the borrower may take up to 10 years to repay the loan. The interest rate is five percent and begins accruing nine months after graduation or withdrawal from school. All or part of the loan may be canceled for service in certain professions. Applicants must complete the regular financial aid process. To be eligible for a Federal Perkins Loan, a student must be enrolled in a degree or certification program and must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen. Unlike the Federal Direct Student Loan Program, Federal Perkins Loan funds are limited and are usually awarded to early filers with the greatest need. Students who complete the FASFA are automatically considered. Recent legislation will be ending the Perkins Program after 2017/18.
Non-Federal Loans are often referred to as alternative loans because they represent an alternative to the federal loan programs. The Direct Student Loans and PLUS Loan generally provide more favorable terms and conditions than non-federal loans. For that reason, we strongly recommend students and their families first apply for federal loans using the FAFSA before considering non-federal loans. Non-federal loans may be helpful to students who need to borrow more than allowed under the federal loan programs and those students who are ineligible for federal loans. A very small percentage of students are ineligible for federal loans. The most common reason for this ineligibility is failure to meet UNCW’s Satisfactory Academic Progress policy.
The Nursing Education Scholarship/Loan Program provides assistance to prospective North Carolina nurses. The recipient must be able to demonstrate need through the regular financial aid process. The program provides loans, which are canceled if the recipient practices full time in North Carolina after graduation. Applicants should contact the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority for specific information.
The William L. Anderson Barlow and Mellie Hill Barlow Fund provides interest-free loans to eligible candidates when repaid within 10 years after graduation or last enrollment in a degree program. For questions about eligibility, please contact a financial aid counselor.
Veterans Educational Benefits
The Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid (OSFA) provides certification for educational benefits to veterans and/or their eligible dependents, enrolled at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. The Veterans Services coordinator is concerned with the recruitment and retention of veterans at the university and ensuring they successfully complete their educational program. The OSFA assists students receiving educational benefits under Chapter 35 (Dependents), Chapter 32 (VEAP), Chapter 1606/1607 (reservists from all branches of the services, and Chapter 30 (individuals who served on active duty), Chapter 33 (Post 9-11), and transfer of Benefits (T.O.E.). Veterans who feel they have an entitlement should check with their local VA Office, the Regional Office in Atlanta (1-888-GIBill1) or the VA certifying official at their local educational institution. The veterans’ coordinator does not determine a student’s eligibility, but can assist a student with the process. You may also obtain information at www.gibill.va.gov.
Two exceptions to the above are:
- A veteran who has a 20 percent or greater disability due to service connected cause(s) may be eligible for benefits under Chapter 31. Check with the Veterans Affairs Regional Office (1-800-827-1000).
- Veterans who served on active duty prior to December 31, 1976 and with unbroken service between July 1, 1985 and June 30, 1988 may be eligible for a combination of benefits: the Vietnam era GI Bill and the Montgomery GI Bill (Chapter 34 and 30).
A goal of the OSFA is to assist students eligible for veterans’ benefits with counseling regarding their coursework and benefits while they work to successfully complete their desired educational objective within the guidelines of the North Carolina State Approving Agency. The monitoring of attendance, successful completion of courses and the pursuit of appropriate curricula are required. Services to veterans and dependents include referrals to peer and professional counseling, employment, community outreach services, tutorial services and special programs for educationally disadvantaged veterans.
All students receiving VA educational benefits are required to complete their class schedules each semester and to ensure prompt and timely correspondence between UNCW and the Veterans Administration. Veterans/dependents should make an appointment with the Veterans Services coordinator if they need personal counseling regarding their financial aid/VA benefits. Changes in the veteran’s course of study must be cleared with the Veterans Services coordinator to ensure continuation of benefits. For further information about veteran benefits and eligibility requirements, students should contact the Veterans Services coordinator at (910) 962-3177, Fax (910) 962-3851 or e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for Financial Aid Eligibility
The Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid (Undergraduate Students)
Federal Regulations require UNCW to establish Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in the following three areas: cumulative GPA (qualitative), hours earned (quantitative), maximum time limit.
The Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid (OSFA) is responsible for establishing SAP standards and monitoring students’ progress at UNCW.
Financial aid recipients must maintain satisfactory progress in all three areas whether or not aid was received in the past. This requirement applies to all financial aid applicants and assesses all students equally, regardless of enrollment hour status (full-time, part-time, etc.). It is the student’s responsibility to stay informed of UNCW’s SAP standards and to monitor their own progress. Graduate students can review the SAP policy on our website.
Financial Aid Programs Affected by This Policy: Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans, Federal PLUS Loans and Federal Work-Study. This also includes North Carolina’s State Scholarship and Grant Programs and UNCW’s scholarship and grant programs.
Frequency of Evaluation: Financial aid satisfactory academic progress is monitored at the conclusion of each semester. If a student is academically suspended between monitoring periods, the student’s eligibility for financial aid is suspended and must be reassessed by OSFA at the time the student is readmitted to UNCW.
SAP Warning. Students who do not meet SAP for the first time are given an automatic warning and do not need to appeal. Academic progress is checked at the end of each semester. If the student meets academic progress at the end of the following semester no action needs to be taken. If the student is not making academic progress at the end of the following semester, they are ineligible for financial aid. The student may appeal submitting documentation explaining the reason for their failure to meet academic progress. If the appeal is approved, the student may be required to submit an academic plan and sign a contract. In the event the appeal is not approved, the student is responsible for institutional charges.
Reinstatement of Eligibility: Eligibility may be regained only by remedying all deficiencies (except the maximum time limit). In rare cases, exceptions are granted through a formal appeal (See Reinstatement of Financial Aid Eligibility and Appeals sections).
- Qualitative Measure Defined (Cumulative GPA)
The qualitative measure can be summarized as a student’s cumulative grade point average (GPA) measured at the end of each semester. Financial aid is suspended if the qualitative measurement is not met. The minimum GPA required may be found within the Minimum Cumulative GPA Required for Financial Aid chart that follows.
MINIMUM CUMULATIVE GPA REQUIRED FOR FINANCIAL AID
Cumulative GPA hours received at UNCW only
Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA)
All grades received at UNCW only. NOTE: Transfer grades cannot be used to meet this measure
- Quantitative Measure Defined: (Hours Earned Compared to Hours Attempted)
- To earn hours at UNCW, one must receive a grade of A, B, C, or D (including “+” or “-“). All other grades, including F, I, W, WE, WF, WP, Z or AU do not earn hours.
- Classes from which a student withdraws after the drop/add period count as attempted but not earned hours. Therefore, withdrawing from classes after the drop/add period negatively affects students’ ability to satisfy the hours earned standard. (Also see Policy on Return of Title IV Funds)
- Financial aid recipients should report grade changes to the OSFA in order to reassess financial aid eligibility.
- When students repeat a course, the total attempted hours increase with each repeat, but the student may only earn hours for each successfully completed course once. Therefore, repeating courses may negatively affect students’ ability to meet the SAP standard and complete 67 percent of attempted hours. (Also see Repeating Courses using Financial Aid).
- Audited hours (AU) do not count toward graduation and students may not receive financial aid for audited courses.
- Accepted transfer credit counts as both attempted and earned hours, BUT are only used to calculate maximum timeframe to complete the student’s program/degree.
The quantitative measure for all students can be summarized as the total number of credit hours successfully completed divided by the total number of credit hours actually attempted. This includes grades of A, B, C, D, F, I, IP, W, WE, WF, NR, Z and P.
Students must complete 67 percent of all attempted hours.
It is recommended students attempt to earn at least 31 hours per academic year in order to graduate in four years.
For financial aid purposes, the following definitions and conditions apply:
- Maximum Time Limit
A student is expected to complete a degree/certificate program within a prescribed time frame. There are maximum total accumulated attempted credit hour time frame restrictions to receiving financial aid. Financial aid is suspended if the maximum time frame for the student’s program is exceeded.
The longer a student stays in school, the more likely the chances of not meeting the satisfactory academic progress policy because of maximum time limit.
To remain eligible for federal financial aid, undergraduate students must complete their degree requirements within 150 percent of the published length of their academic program. At UNCW, this means that students in programs requiring 124 hours for graduation are eligible for financial aid during the first 186 attempted hours as an undergraduate. All attempted hours are counted, including transfer hours, whether or not financial aid was received, or the course work was successfully completed. This also applies to students admitted under the five-year rule since their attempted hours include hours attempted during prior enrollment. Students who are attempting a double major are still required to complete one of the degrees within 186 hours. State of North Carolina and UNCW institutional aid is no longer available when the student has attempted 140 hours and the state surcharge is imposed.
Reinstatement of Financial Aid Eligibility
Financial aid eligibility may be regained by eliminating all satisfactory academic progress deficiencies (at the student’s expense) until the requirements of this policy are met, or by appealing their satisfactory academic progress status. The sections following describe the areas a student is required to remedy in order to regain financial aid eligibility. Students who do not enroll for a semester, or pay for school at their own expense, do not automatically qualify to receive financial aid in a subsequent semester. The terms and conditions of the Satisfactory Academic Policy must be met.
- Cumulative GPA’s can only be brought up by class attendance at UNCW or UNCW off-campus programs where UNCW credit is earned.
- Hours Earned deficiencies may be made up by successfully completing coursework at UNCW or at another institution. However, students who are enrolling elsewhere must complete the Transient Study Form and have the coursework approved by UNCW prior to enrolling in the other institution. After transient study coursework has been successfully completed, students must provide an academic transcript to the UNCW Registrar’s Office.
Once students are in compliance with all three standards, they must notify the OSFA in writing to request an evaluation of eligibility. This process cannot be completed until all grades and hours are posted to the student’s official record at UNCW. No financial aid award is calculated until after the review process is complete. Evaluation cannot occur until after changes are due for the upcoming term; therefore, an award letter or deferment of charges may not be available for the semester the student regains eligibility. The student should make other arrangements to pay for tuition, fees, room, board, and all other expenses.
- Maximum Time Frame: Once the time limit has been exceeded, aid eligibility ends, even if the student is in compliance with the other two standards. An appeal including degree audit and documentation of all outstanding required classes is needed to pursue an extension to the Maximum Time requirement.
Federal regulations allow for certain cases in which the school may waive the standards. Appeals for the waiver may be considered if a student’s failure to comply with one or more areas of Satisfactory Academic Progress is due to events beyond the student’s control, such as a student’s extended illness, serious illness or death in the immediate family or other significant life experience that impacted the student’s emotional and/or physical health, and if such mitigating circumstances can be appropriately documented for the specific term(s) in which the deficiency occurred. Eligibility may be regained by appeal. Contact the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid to obtain a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal Form. SAP appeals are considered on a case-by-case basis.
Appeals Procedure. Appeals (professional judgment) are the only mechanism available to correct unresolved SAP deficiencies. All appeals shall be documented using the current form.
Some appeals may be approved for a probationary term. If this is the case, the student is required to sign an academic plan contract that specifies conditions necessary to be eligible for the following term. These conditions may include:
- Minimum GPA requirement;
- A minimum number of hours to be taken; and/or
- Corrective measures to enhance a student’s success.
The academic plan contract states the consequences of failure to meet those requirements.
SAP Appeals Committee. Student appeals for reinstatement of financial aid eligibility are reviewed by an appeals committee. The student does not meet with the appeals committee. All correspondence with the student is conducted by mail. The appeals committee is the final authority in determining whether financial aid is extended or denied a student. The committee communicates its decision to the student by mail and e-mail. The committee’s decision can be appealed to the Director of Scholarships and Financial Aid.
Summer School Financial Aid
Summer term is considered a trailer for financial aid purposes. Students are able to use any remaining financial aid eligibility from the current academic year to assist with summer expenses based on enrollment in the summer term. A summer financial aid application is available on the Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid (OSFA) web site in early March each year. Students are encouraged to file the FAFSA to determine the most beneficial award for summer term.
Policy on Return of Title IV Funds
Federal financial aid funds are awarded with the expectation that students will complete the entire period of enrollment. Students “earn” a percentage of the funds they are disbursed with each day of class attendance. When a student who has received federal financial aid funds (Title IV Funds) leaves school before the end of the semester or period of enrollment, federal law requires UNCW to calculate the percentage and amount of “unearned” financial aid funds that must be returned to the federal government. Once a student has completed more than 60% of the enrollment period, students are considered to have earned all funding received. This calculation may have the effect of requiring the student to repay funds that have already been disbursed to the student. Students are encouraged to meet with their financial aid counselor prior to making the decision to withdraw from school.
North Carolina state grant funds are also provided to assist students with the cost of attendance based on the assumption that the student will attend college for the entire term for which the funds are awarded. When a student withdraws before the end of the term, an institution must determine how much, if any, state grant funds must be returned. The amount an institution must return depends on when the student withdraws.
For more on this process, including adjustments for institutional aid, please visit the following link: http://www.uncw.edu/finaid/includes/Return_of_FinancialAid.html