Financial Aid Reductions
Reductions to offered aid are never easy. While the Student Financial Aid Office attempts to limit aid reductions, particularly after the term has started, some situations require a re-evaluation of aid eligibility. Changes are then required to maintain compliance with federal aid regulations.
Students will most likely see a change in their aid eligibility when any of the following situations occur:
- a new aid source is awarded or Student Financial Aid is informed of aid later in the process,
- a change of full-time to part-time, co-op rotation, or residency occurs,
- FAFSA information is changed, or
- aggregate or annual loan use is updated.
Cost of Attendance & Aid Limits
Each student, when applying for financial aid, is given a cost of attendance budget. This financial aid budget is defined by various costs you will assume when going to college. Tuition is the most obvious. But the financial aid budget also includes many non-tuition costs.
The Student Financial Aid Office creates your cost of attendance budget to account for your expenses of being a student. Average amounts are used for many amounts, and what you actually spend may be more or less than the amount set by Student Financial Aid.
Any student who receives federal aid assistance or non-federal educational loans is held to the Student Financial Aid Office-determined cost of attendance budget for the given year. The cost of attendance acts as the maximum amount of financial aid you are eligible to receive.
Students are more likely to have an aid package up to their full cost of attendance if you have multiple or large scholarship offers or take out a Federal Parent PLUS Loan or Federal Graduate PLUS Loan. When your aid package is up to the full cost of attendance budget, you are likely to have your aid adjusted with new aid received or a change in your enrollment.
Receipt of Additional/New Aid
All types of aid received (even when they are processed later in the academic year) must remain within the cost or financial aid budget if you are receiving federal aid. It is therefore important that you notify the Student Financial Aid Office of any scholarship, assistance, or loan funding that does not appear as part of an aid package. By doing so early, students reduce the risk of having aid adjusted mid-year, post-disbursement, or after refunds have been received.
Undergraduate students receiving multiple or large scholarship offers from UC should also be aware that, in rare cases, their scholarship awards may be limited. Work closely with awarding offices to understand your scholarship package and terms of individual awards.
As well, graduate students should understand the manner in which their awards are funded in order to better anticipate the effect on aid.
Enrollment or Classification Changes
Because tuition is the first element used when creating your financial aid cost of attendance budget, any change in your anticipated enrollment can change your overall costs. Therefore, changes from full-time to part-time, in your co-op rotation, or to your residency status can reduce your budget and aid eligibility.
Changes to FAFSA
Eligibility for aid is determined primarily through the FAFSA. Sometimes FAFSA information is changed, and that changes aid eligibility.
If you make changes to your FAFSA after you have been awarded aid, always alert Enrollment Services. UC will eventually get the new FAFSA data for review. But we also want to help you predict if the changes made will result in aid changes.
There are also times when UC staff may correct your FAFSA data, particularly through verification. When your FAFSA is updated by UC, we usually make adjustments to aid upon receipt of the new FAFSA data.
Updated Loan Information
The FAFSA results (your student aid report) also contain your annual and aggregate loan borrowing history. Sometimes this information is updated by other schools with UC notified of the change. Such changes can then limit your current loan eligibility at UC.
Summer loans most often play into your loan eligibility when transferring to UC and can be reported later. Some schools process aid with the summer loan as the beginning of the academic year. Other schools, like UC, use the summer as the end of the year. If you take out loans in summer and then come to UC, how your previous school processed the loans can impact the remaining amount of loan eligibility for that year at UC.
Reported changes in your yearly (annual) or total (aggregate) loan borrowing can therefore limit your eligibility to borrow loans for the current year.
Overawards & Aid Reductions
The Student Financial Aid Office packages students to their full eligibility as determined at the time of aid offering. Unfortunately, eligibility can change even after the year or term has begun and even after refunds have been issued.
Your financial aid award must be compliant with federal regulations, and UC Student Financial Aid is obligated to make appropriate changes whenever they occur. While we hope that such changes occur prior to award disbursement, that is not always possible.
Students who have more aid than the cost of attendance budget or have changes in their eligibility are said to be overawarded, and reductions are required.
Though every effort is made to maintain compliance with federal aid, state funding, and institutional scholarship policies prior to award disbursement, the speed of processes to deliver aid to all students quickly can result in some required adjustments made following payment to your student bill or a refund made.
We understand that it can be difficult to have your aid adjusted after a bill is paid or a refund issued. UC may not be able to replace the funding, but we will help you understand why it had to change and how to lessen it happening in the future.
If you have an aid reduction that you do not understand, please reach out to Enrollment Services at email@example.com or 513-556-1000. Staff will be happy to review your case to give you a greater understanding to why an adjustment to your aid was required.