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Financial Aid Award Guide

This guide is designed to outline the financial aid programs available at BSU and to inform you of some general policies and guidelines that govern the various aid programs.

We encourage you to read this guide and become familiar with its content. We want you to be informed and become an advocate for yourself so that you will receive the maximum financial aid that is available to you.

If you need further assistance in the completion of applications or if you have questions or comments regarding the application process, your awards, or the service you receive, please feel free to contact either me or any one of the counselors. Best wishes for a successful year.

Eligibility Requirements

As a participant in federally funded programs, Bridgewater State University must adhere to certain federal guidelines and eligibility requirements. In order to be eligible to receive financial aid at BSU, you must: 

  • have "financial need" (this can only be determined by filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with the Department of Education) 
  • Be a U. S. citizen or eligible non-citizen 
  • Have a Social Security number 
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress* 
  • Sign a statement of educational purpose/certification statement on refunds and default and a statement of registration status (these certifications will be provided for your signature on the FAFSA) 
  • Possess either a high school diploma or a GED 
  • Be a matriculated student (in other words, a student accepted into a degree or eligible certificate program) at BSU; continuing education students in non-degree/certificate programs are not eligible 
  • Be enrolled at least half-time (6 credits) for each semester during which you want to receive aid. Undergraduate students who enroll in less than 6 credits may receive a Pell Grant in limited cases.
  • Register with the Selective Service if you are a male born after 1/1/60 and are at least 18 years old**

* Please see the Satisfactory Academic Progress section of this guide.
** Other restrictions/requirements may apply; contact the Selective Service in your local community for more information.

Application Procedures

To apply for financial aid you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form is available online at www.fafsa.gov. When filing the application, be sure that all information is complete and as accurate as possible. The federal processor must receive your FAFSA by March 1 to receive priority consideration for all types of financial aid. Students may apply after the priority date; however, aid will be awarded on a funds-available basis.

Title IV Code for Bridgewater State College

002183 (for use in Step 6 of the FAFSA to ensure that the student’s information is released to Bridgewater State University.)

Freshmen / Upperclassmen

Initially, all you must do to apply is file the FAFSA, listing Bridgewater State University as a college to receive information. However, you may be asked to verify certain information that you provided on the FAFSA. You may receive letters from the university requesting additional documentation to clarify information on the FAFSA. Be sure to respond immediately to these requests to ensure your eligibility for all aid available to you.

Graduate Students

If you are a graduate student receiving a graduate assistantship or any allowance for tuition, fees, room or board, you are legally obligated to report the allowance to the Financial Aid Office. Graduate students are eligible for student loans only.

Reapplication for Financial Aid

You must reapply for financial aid each year. The Department of Education no longer mails renewal applications to students, however, electronic renewal FAFSA forms are available on their website at www.fafsa.gov.  You are always welcome to complete a FAFSA form even if a renewal application is not available to you. Our deadline for priority consideration is the same each year - March 1.

Priority Deadline Date

To be considered for the maximum financial aid available, you should file your FAFSA or Renewal Application with the Federal Processing Center AFTER January 1 but before March 1. The FAFSA may show a June 30 deadline, however, June 30 is the final date of the award year for receipt of applications, not the priority deadline. All applications received by the Federal Processing Center after March 1 will be considered for financial aid awards on a funds available basis. The FAFSA must be filed EVERY YEAR.


2012-2013 Perkins Loan Borrowers

If you have been offered a Federal Perkins Loan for the 12/13 academic year, you must sign your Master Promissory Note by going to www.signmyloan.com before funds can be finalized. Students who borrowed a Perkins Loan last year will also need to go to this website to accept their loan.

At the time you go online to sign your promissory note and/or accept your loan; new borrowers will also complete Perkins Loan Entrance Counseling. You will need a UAS Personal Identification Number (PIN), which you can obtain at www.signmyloan.com to complete this process. Your PIN will be emailed to you within hours. 

You will be receiving emails from University Accounting Services (UAS) throughout the school year. UAS provides the services that Bridgewater State University uses for billing the Perkins Loan. It is very important that you regularly check your Bridgewater State University email account.

Verification Policy and Procedures

Any student may be selected for verification by the federal government or the Financial Aid Office. The verification process allows financial aid counselors to review the information reported on the FAFSA, checking for accuracy against documents provided by you.

If you are chosen for verification, you must submit a signed copy of your federal 1040 tax form as well as a completed Verification Worksheet (provided by the Financial Aid Office). If you are a dependent student, a signed copy of your parents’ federal 1040 tax form must also be submitted and your parents must complete the Verification Worksheet. If you are married, your spouse’s federal 1040 tax form must be submitted and your spouse must also complete the Verification Worksheet. All documents must be submitted to the Financial Aid Office.

If you are selected for verification, the documents required must be received before an actual financial aid award can be issued. Depending on the time of year, an estimated financial aid eligibility letter may be sent pending verification of your file. Any documents requested for verification must be submitted within the specified deadline or students considered “on-time” may lose their priority status and be awarded on a funds available basis instead.

Verification should be complete as soon after notification as possible, but must be complete prior to the last day a student is enrolled at least half-time, unless the student selected for verification is a Pell Grant recipient. For such students, the verification process must be completed no later than 60 days after the last day of at least half-time enrollment.

Dependency Status

Certain questions are asked of you in the FAFSA application process to determine your dependency status. Independent students are required to report information about themselves and their spouse (if married). Dependent students are required to report information about themselves and the parent(s) with whom they now live.

Refer to the FAFSA for details about these questions.

Dependency Override

In some instances you may not be able to answer “YES” to any of the dependency questions, but you may believe you are independent. At times a financial aid administrator can use professional judgment to override a dependency status. The Financial Aid Office has strict guidelines to override a dependency status. Please contact our office to speak with one of our counselors to determine if you are eligible for an override. You will be required to provide written documentation of your claim of independence.

Determining Eligibility

Bridgewater State University follows a nationally accepted philosophy in administering its financial aid programs. The basic principle of this philosophy is that the students and their families have the primary responsibility of meeting as much of the cost of attending college as is reasonably possible. Financial aid is a supplement to family resources if they are insufficient to meet college costs.

There are three components for determining financial aid: cost of attendance, family contribution and financial aid eligibility.

The cost of attendance is determined by the Financial Aid Office. Average expense budgets are used for students based on where they will be living during the academic year and their enrollment status.

The expected family contribution is determined from the information supplied on the FAFSA or Renewal Application. This amount is calculated using a nationally recognized process called “need analysis.” This process takes into account several components such as:

1. Family income (taxable and untaxable)
2. Number of family members
3. Number of family members attending college at least half-time
4. Family assets (not including the home)
5. Essential family living costs

Financial aid eligibility is determined by subtracting the expected family contribution from the cost of attendance.

minus (-)


equals =

Cost of Attendance
Family Contribution


Financial Aid Eligibility

Changes in Status

If you change your enrollment status during the Drop/Add period, then your financial aid may be adjusted accordingly. Changes in your housing status or a change in credit hours attempted can affect your assigned cost of attendance and therefore alter your financial aid award. It is in your best interest to notify the Financial Aid Office in writing of any change in status to ensure accurate financial aid packages. A student’s total financial aid (including veteran benefits) can never exceed the total cost of attendance

Financial Aid Awards

Once your financial aid eligibility is determined, a financial aid package is prepared. This package is usually a combination of grants, work and loan programs. The amount of financial aid awarded depends upon the availability of funds, the number of eligible applicants, the date your financial aid file is completed and your determined eligibility. Remember, files completed by March 1 will receive priority consideration, while files completed after that date are subject to available funding.

If you qualify for financial aid, a financial aid award letter will be mailed to you, apportioning the total aid awarded between the fall and spring semesters. If you are an incoming student (who has been accepted), have met the March 1 deadline, and have a complete file, you can expect to receive an award letter by mid-April. If you are a returning student and have met the March 1 deadline, you can expect to receive an award letter by mid-June. Students who apply late will receive notification of their awards once their files have been reviewed; these awards are subject to the availability of funding.

Upon receipt of your award letter, read it carefully, and follow all accompanying directions.

It is your responsibility to notify the Financial Aid Office of all financial assistance for education received from other sources. If you have not previously reported this aid, you may do so on the back of your award letter before returning it to the Financial Aid Office.

All types of outside assistance must be taken into account in the financial aid package. Outside assistance received after the awards are made by the Financial Aid Office may cause the financial aid package to be adjusted if these funds are in excess of the financial aid eligibility. See the section in this guide on “Outside/Private Scholarships or Financial Assistance” for further information.

Financial Aid Appeals

If your family situation changes after you receive your financial aid award, you can appeal the decision. Grounds for an appeal may include, but are not limited to: loss of a job, a death in the family, divorce or separation in the family or unusually high medical bills.

To appeal a financial aid award, send a letter to the Financial Aid Office, describing the ground(s) for the appeal. Appeals are reviewed throughout the academic year and are all handled on an individual basis.

Payment of Financial Aid Awards

Bills are generated by and paid at the Student Accounts Office. If you have been awarded financial aid prior to the receipt of your college bill, anticipated aid will appear on your student account bill. If your financial aid does not appear on your Student Account Statement you can indicate anticipated aid on the back of your bill with the following exceptions:

1. Federal Work Study — cannot be applied to the bill because there is no guarantee that you will earn the entire award.

2. Federal Direct Loans — you must complete a Master Promissory Note (and Direct Loan Entrance Counseling if you are a first time Direct Loan borrower at BSU) before any loan award can be deducted from your bill.

3. Fees will be deducted from your loan. See the Direct Loan website for current fees.

Write the amount of all aid received on the back of your bill to reduce the amount you owe. If you have been awarded more aid than required to cover your bill, you will be refunded this amount by the Student Accounts Office, and it can be used to meet other educational expenses. Excess funds on your account are usually not available until after the drop/add period.

Students who are receiving enough aid to cover billed expenses, and who are expecting a refund of excess cash may request a book voucher from the Student Accounts Office at the beginning of each semester.

If you withdraw from the university during the semester, you may not be eligible for your entire financial aid award. (See "Refund Policy ” FAQ.)

Veteran's Benefits

Military and Veterans Services Office                                                         Veteran's Financial Aid Guide

Repeat Coursework

Federal regulations specify that students may not receive financial aid funding for more than one repetition of a previously passed course. Repeating a previously passed course two or more times may result in an adjustment to financial aid eligibility. This recalculation will occur regardless of whether or not a student received aid for the previous enrollments. Any adjustments will typically occur after the start of the semester during which the student is repeating the course. Therefore, students are responsible for monitoring their own enrollment in repeated coursework. A passing grade at BSU is defined as D- or higher, P (for pass/no pass course grading) or S/U (for satisfactory/unsatisfactory).

Students can receive financial aid:

• To repeat a course that has already been passed (D- or higher, P or S) only one additional time. Any repeated attempts after that will not be eligible for financial aid. This applies even if a student earns a failing grade (F, N or U) during the second attempt. 
• As many times as necessary to repeat a course in which the only previous grade earned has been a failing grade (F, N or U).
• If a passing grade has been earned for certain courses designated by the university as being repeatable for duplicate credit, such as some topics courses (i.e. performance studies or art studios), due to different subject content or level being studied in each term.

Refer to the examples below to view the impact of this repeated coursework regulation:

Example with ECED 541

 

 

 

Term

Eligible for funding?

Reason

Grade

Fall 2010

Yes

First Attempt

W

Spring 2011

Yes

Not passed before

F

Summer 2011

Yes

Not passed before

D

Fall 2011

Yes

First Repeat

D+

Spring 2012

No

Second Repeat

C

Example with ENGL 101

 

 

 

Term

Eligible for funding?

Reason

Grade

Summer 2010

Yes

First Attempt

F

Fall 2010

Yes

Not passed before

W

Spring 2011

Yes

Not passed before

D

Fall 2011

Yes

First Repeat

C-

Example with MGMT 424

 

 

 

Term

Eligible for funding?

Reason

Grade

Fall 2010

Yes

First Attempt

C-

Spring 2011

Yes

First Repeat

F

Fall 2011

No

Second Repeat

D-

Spring 2012

No

Third Repeat

C+

Example with Comp 430

 

 

 

Term

Eligible for funding?

Reason

Grade

Fall 2010

Yes

Not passed before

F

Spring 2011

Yes

Not passed before

F

Fall 2011

Yes

Not passed before

C

Spring 2012

Yes

First Repeat

C+

Fall 2012

No

Second Repeat

B

Outside/Private Scholarships or Financial Assistance

If you are a student who receives any type of outside/private scholarships or financial assistance you should communicate the dollar amount of the award to the Financial Aid Office and the Student Accounts Office. You may do so by submitting a copy of the notification letter to both offices. Types of assistance that must be reported include but are not limited to: private scholarships, tuition waivers, Americorps, veterans benefits and Massachusetts Rehabilitation Assistance. Depending on the amount and type of funding, other financial aid awards may be adjusted.

If your financial aid package must be adjusted due to receipt of outside assistance, the policy followed at Bridgewater State University is to reduce your financial aid in the following order: Direct Loans; other self-help, i.e., Perkins Loan, Massachusetts No Interest Loan, and Federal Work Study; and Grants.

It is your responsibility to make certain that funds for outside/private scholarships are received from the private source and credited to your account.

Financial Aid Programs at Bridgewater State University

Bridgewater State University participates in a wide variety of federal, state, institutional, and private financial aid programs. These programs can be grouped into three categories: grant, work and loan. The following is a description of these programs.

For financial aid purposes, the term "undergraduate" refers to students who are pursuing their first undergraduate degree. Enrollment levels are as follows: full time: 12 or more credits; three quarter time: 9 to 11 credits, half time: 6 to 8 credits; less than half time: 1 to 5 credits.

See related FAQs: Grants and Waivers, Work Programs and Loan Programs in this guide.

Grants and Waivers

Bridgewater State University participates in a wide variety of federal, state, institutional, and private financial aid programs. These programs can be grouped into three categories: grant, work and loan. The following is a description of the grant programs. More +

Work Programs

Bridgewater State University participates in a wide variety of federal, state, institutional, and private financial aid programs. These programs can be grouped into three categories: grant, work and loan. The following is a description of the work programs.

For financial aid purposes, the term “undergraduate” in the following paragraphs refers to students who are pursuing their first undergraduate degree. Enrollment levels are as follows: full time: 12 or more credits; three quarter time: 9 to 11 credits, half time: 6 to 8 credits; less than half time: 1 to 5 credits.

Federal Work Study
  • a federal program awarded by the Financial Aid Office at BSU
  • eligibility is based directly on demonstrated financial need
  • available to undergraduate students enrolled at least half-time; priority given to full time students
  • provides financially eligible students an opportunity to work part-time on campus
  • pay rates vary, refer to Student Employment Web page for updated information
  • students work according to their class schedule, typically 10–12 hours per week
  • payment is biweekly through a paycheck
Community Service Federal Work Study
  • awarded to undergraduate students in the same manner as Federal Work Study, however here the award is used for an off-campus position at a non-profit, community service agency
  • eligibility is based directly on demonstrated financial need area of study
  • the Office of Student Employment, located in Boyden Hall, has a list of positions available in the community.
Non-Federal Work Study Employment — (Jobs on Campus)
  • Institutional employment is open to all students who are currently enrolled as BSU students, regardless of financial eligibility. The positions are on-campus and vary from clerical to maintenance, and also vary in duration and pay rate. Positions may be available throughout the school year into the summer months and during semester breaks depending on departmental needs and the availability of funding.
Job Location and Development (JLD) Program — (Jobs in the Community)
  • available to all students regardless of financial need
  • provides students with the opportunity to work in the local area
  • designed to help students gain experience in their field of study and to earn additional income for educational expenses
  • job listings are posted year-round in the student employment office
  • pay rates vary depending on experience and/or job requirements

For questions regarding all forms of student employment please contact the Office of Student Employment, located in Boyden Hall, at (508) 531-1232.

Loan Programs

For financial aid purposes, the term "undergraduate” in the following paragraphs refers to students who are pursuing their first undergraduate degree. Enrollment levels are as follows: full time: 12 or more credits; three quarter time: 9 to 11 credits, half time: 6 to 8 credits; less than half time: 1 to 5 credits.

Massachusetts No Interest Loan
  • Long-term, no interest (zero percent) loan awarded through the Massachusetts Office of Student Financial Assistance to financially eligible Massachusetts residents
  • Awards range from $1000 to $4000
  • Available to undergraduate students enrolled full-time
  • Student must sign promissory note by BSU's deadline, prior to the last day of the semester, or prior to the last day of enrollment, whichever comes first.
Federal Perkins Loan
  • Long-term, low-interest (5%) federal loan awarded by the Financial Aid Office
  • Eligibility is based directly on demonstrated financial need (awards range from $100 to $4000)
  • Available to eligible undergraduate students enrolled at least half-time; priority given to full time students
  • Refer to the Perkins Loan Promissory Note for information concerning repayment
  • Student must complete a master promissory note (online or by paper) by BSU's deadline, prior to the last day of the semester or prior to the last day of enrollment, whichever comes first
Federal Ford Direct Subsidized Loan
  • Long-term federal loan available through the university
  • Available to undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need and eligibility
  • Student pays an origination fee
  • Fixed interest rate, set each year on July 1. Refer to Direct Loan Web Site for current interest rate
  • Loan limits based on grade level: $3500, freshmen; $4500, sophomores; $5500,  juniors and seniors. 
  • Student must complete a Direct Loan master promissory note and Direct Loan Entrance Counseling by BSU's deadline, prior to the last day of the semester, or prior to your last day of enrollment (whichever comes first) in order to receive this loan
  • For additional information contact the Financial Aid Office or visit the Direct Loan web site
Federal Ford Direct Unsubsidized Loan
  • Program allows all students, regardless of income, to obtain a student loan after  having applied for financial aid
  • Student pays the interest during in-school & deferment periods or has it capitalized
  • Student pays an origination fee
  • Fixed interest rate, set each year on July 1. Refer to Direct Loan Web Site for current interest rate
  • Loan limits are based on grade level and are the same as the Subsidized loan, however, dependent undergraduates may borrow up to an additional $2000. Independent undergraduates may borrow up to an additional $6000 for freshmen and sophomores, and up to $7000 for juniors and seniors.  Graduate students may borrow up to a total of $20,500.
  • Students who are dependent and whose parents were denied a Federal Ford Direct PLUS Loan may borrow
    • up to $4,000* for each of the freshman and sophomore years
    • up to $5,000* for each of the junior and senior years
  • Student must complete a Direct Loan master promissory note and Direct Loan Entrance Counseling by BSU's deadline, prior to the last day of the semester, or prior to your last day of enrollment (whichever comes first) in order to receive this loan
  • For additional information contact the Financial Aid Office or visit the Direct Loan web site
Loan Aggregate Limits
  • Dependent students may borrow up to a $31,000 maximum as an undergraduate (not more than $23,000 subsidized)
  • Independent students may borrow up to a $57,500 maximum as undergraduates (not more than $23,000 subsidized)
  • Graduate students may borrow up to a $138,500 maximum (not more than $65,500 subsidized)
Federal Ford Direct Parent PLUS Loan
  • Available through the university to parents of undergraduate dependent students
  • Students are required to file the FAFSA*
  • Loan not based on financial need, but rather on the credit worthiness of the applicant
  • Loan limit is the cost of education minus any other aid and/or resources received
  • Borrower pays origination fee at the time of disbursement.
  • Funds received from the federal government typically in two disbursements
  • Repayment begins within 60 days of disbursement unless a deferment is requested by the parent borrower
  • Fixed interest rate, set every July 1. Refer to Direct Loan Web Site for current interest rate
  • Apply only after having exhausted all other student financial aid programs
  • To apply, applicant must submit a Direct PLUS Loan application to the Financial Aid Office (available in the Financial Aid Office or on our Web site)
  • If approved, a Plus loan Master Promissory Note must be completed by the BSU deadline, prior to the last day of the semester, or prior to the last day of the student's enrollment, whichever comes first
  • The parent borrower must decide if any refund from the PLUS Loan is to be returned to the student or the parent and indicate so on the application

 

Direct Loan Application Process

  1. For Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans, the initial application requirement is met when the student submits the complete Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Student borrowers must also complete a Direct Loan Master Promissory Note and complete Entrance Counseling.
  2. For Direct PLUS Loans, the student must submit the complete Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The parent must submit a Federal Ford Direct PLUS Loan Request Form to the Financial Aid Office, available from the Financial Aid Office or on our website. The parent must also complete a Direct Plus Loan Master Promissory Note.
  3. The Financial Aid Office certifies the loan and forwards the information to the direct loan servicer. 
  4. The direct loan servicer evaluates the application (credit check, etc., for Plus) for approval.
  5. If the loan is not approved, the direct loan servicer will notify the borrower by mail. In the case of a Parent PLUS loan denial the parent may be given the option of reapplying with an “endorser,” which works much like a co-applicant. If the loan is approved, the direct loan servicer sends a Notice of Loan Approval to the student, indicating the loan amount(s) approved and the dates on which it (they) will be disbursed.
  6. Once the funds are received by Bridgewater State University, the Office of Student Accounts notifies the borrower of the arrival of the funds.
  7. First-time borrowers for Federal Ford Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans must complete Direct Loan entrance counseling prior to receiving funds. Loan entrance counseling may be completed online at www.studentloans.gov or by making an appointment with a financial aid counselor.
  8. Loan funds are applied first to the student's account if there is a balance. If there is no balance, the student receives the whole loan amount for that semester, minus any fees. If a portion of the loan was applied to the student's account, the remainder will be refunded to the student. For Direct PLUS Loans, any funds in excess of the balance due on the bill will be refunded to the parent, unless the parent authorizes the release of these funds to the student on the Federal Ford Direct PLUS Loan Request Form.
  9. In order to postpone repayment, students must be matriculated and enrolled at least half time. Students should contact the loan servicer(s) to determine eligibility for a deferment and to obtain deferment forms. The Registrar's Office at Bridgewater State University will certify all qualifying student loan deferments.
  10. Upon withdrawing from the college, falling below half-time enrollment status, or graduating, the student must complete loan exit counseling. Loan exit counseling may be completed on line at: www.studentloans.gov or you can make an appointment with a financial aid counselor.
  11. Borrowers are required to notify the college and the lender and/or servicer of any changes in:
    • name
    • telephone number
    • next of kin
    • withdrawal from college
    • transfer to another college
    • obtain/change driver's license
    • address
    • social security number
    • graduation date
    • enrollment (less than half time)

Exchange/Study Abroad Programs

Students participating in an exchange program or a study abroad program may be eligible for financial aid. The types of aid available will depend upon the kind of program in which the student participates. There are generally three different types of programs:

Exchange Program

The exchange program is a program of foreign study in which the foreign institution and Bridgewater State University enter into a formal association, agreeing upon a reciprocal exchange of students.

Students are eligible for most financial aid for which they would otherwise have been eligible if studying at BSU, except for Federal Work Study.

Students are billed by the BSU student accounts office for tuition and fees, and may apply their financial aid received to their bill.

Students may use financial aid funds received in excess of the amount due on the bill for Room and board at their host schools.

National Student Exchange Program

The National Student Exchange Program involves attending another college or university in the United States with which BSU has an agreement. There are different billing/payment options available for students to choose from. Financial aid is based upon which payment plan the student is using. Please contact the Financial Aid Office for more information.

Study Abroad Program

The study abroad program is a program of foreign study that occurs at a foreign institution where the program director has signed a consortium agreement.

  • Students may be eligible for most financial aid which they would otherwise have been eligible for if studying at BSU, excluding Federal Work Study and tuition waivers.
  • Students must make prior arrangements with their academic department to have all courses taken at the foreign institution accepted for credit at BSU.
  • Students are billed by the foreign institution and financial aid received from BSU may be used towards their bill.
  • Students may use financial aid funds received in excess of the amount due on the bill for other educational expenses.

All other current federal, state, and BSU regulations and policies governing financial aid are in effect for these programs. For example, changes in enrollment status (number of credits or grade level, etc.) will affect a student’s financial aid. Likewise, all financial deadlines will apply to students studying through an exchange or study abroad program.

Any student who participates in any of the exchange or study abroad programs should provide “power of attorney” to a person who, in the student’s absence, will attend to the student’s financial concerns and to other college related matters in a timely and appropriate manner. The Office of Student Accounts should be provided with an original “power of attorney” form. Copies of the document should be provided to the Financial Aid Office and the International and Exchange Programs Office. The person granted the “power of attorney” must have the document in hand, as well as a personal form of picture identification, when conducting business on behalf of the student.

It is highly recommended that students considering an Exchange or Study Abroad Program make an appointment with a financial aid counselor.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is a federal policy that measures two components:  Quantitative and Qualitative progress.

The quantitative portion requires students attending an institution that awards federal financial aid be making progress toward the completion of their degree within a reasonable period of time. All attempted credits count toward the calculation, and withdrawals, failures, and incomplete grades will all negatively impact a student's progress. Both the state of Massachusetts and Bridgewater State University's institutional financial aid programs adhere to the same standards. Since standards are applied to all students, one does not necessarily have to be a financial aid applicant to fall under the auspices of this regulation.

The maximum time frame for completing an undergraduate degree is 150% of the published length of the program. For programs that are 120 credits, a student would be allowed to attempt no more than 180 credits before completing the requirements for their degree. Generally, for full time students, this is equal to six years. Students who have not completed their degree within this parameter would be deemed ineligible for financial aid.

Transfer credits will affect the maximum timeframe in which a student must earn their degree. For example, a student who transfers 60 credits toward an undergraduate degree would presumably have to earn 60 more credits to complete their BSU degree. Using the federal 150% rule, the student would be allowed to attempt 120 more credits before losing financial aid eligibility. The same calculation applies to students pursuing a second degree.

Since a student has 150% of the published length of a program to complete their degree, one must complete at least 75% of all credits attempted to maintain compliance with the satisfactory progress standards. Courses that do not carry credit, but are successfully completed, are not considered punitive under the calculation. Repeating a course to obtain a higher grade may negatively impact compliance and eligibility. The credits will be counted as attempted, but not as earned since they have been previously earned. New regulations prohibit receiving financial aid for the repeating of a previously passed course more than once. Students who received credit for a course, and repeat the course to earn a higher grade can have that repeated course counted in the enrollment level for financial aid purposes only one additional time.. (See details in Repeat Coursework Policy). Progress is measured over time, and the entire academic record is reviewed at the end of each academic semester. Students who do not meet the University's standards are notified of the loss of financial aid eligibility prior to the start of the next semester. When a student is notified of their ineligibility, they are also given the opportunity to appeal, in writing, based on mitigating circumstances. Summer classes are included as attempted and/or completed credits in the following academic year (unless a special condition is imposed by the Satisfactory Progress Committee).

To remain in compliance with the satisfactory academic progress policy, a minimum completion rate of 75 percent is required. Simply stated, a student must complete at least 75 percent of all attempted credits when the review takes place at the end of each semester. To determine the number of credits required to maintain satisfactory progress, multiply the total number of attempted credits by 75 percent.

The following chart provides an example:

Student Example

Total of Attempted Credits

Required to Complete 
(75 percent)

#1

30

23

#2

20

15

#3

65

49

#4

9

7

All appeals are reviewed by the Satisfactory Progress Committee, whose representatives are from Academic Affairs, Academic Achievement Center, and the Financial Aid Office. Decisions by the committee are final. A student whose appeal is approved will have their financial aid eligibility reinstated on a probationary basis. These students must be especially diligent in completing all attempted credits until compliance with the policy is reestablished.

When an appeal is reviewed and approved by the Committee, in most cases, the student will be required to adhere to a contract that is designed to assist the student in regaining compliance with the policy over time. Contracts are generally in place for one academic year, unless otherwise stated.  If the student meets all the conditions stated in the contract, they will retain their eligibility for financial aid while they are working toward compliance.  Students who do not meet the imposed conditions will not be eligible for financial aid in the next semester.

Eligibility can be regained in two ways: a student who is deemed ineligible may find an alternative funding source, continue to take classes, and regain eligibility on their own over time, or a student may instead decide to appeal to the Satisfactory Progress Committee. Students who submit their appeal by the deadline that is communicated in their letter will retain their on-time status if their FAFSA was received by the published preferred deadline of March 1 and all other required documents, if any, are submitted to the financial aid office in a timely manner. Appeals received after the deadline, if approved, will be awarded on a funds-available basis regardless of the FAFSA receipt date. Appeals will be reviewed throughout the academic year.  An appeal must be submitted at least two weeks prior to the end of a semester for which the student is out of compliance.  An appeal submitted after the close of the semester, will be considered for the next semester only. Taking a semester off or paying for classes without financial assistance does not, in and of itself, re-establish financial aid eligibility.

The qualitative component of the policy deals with progress as it relates to the student's Grade Point Average (GPA). Satisfactory academic progress standards adhere to the University?s policy for academic standards. (See chart below). Students who are academically separated from the University are not eligible for financial aid funds, unless they successfully appeal to the appropriate Academic Dean and are subsequently reinstated. If such a student has met the quantitative component of the SAP policy, no further appeal is required, and financial aid can be reinstated. However, if the quantitative standard has not been met, the student must present an additional appeal to the satisfactory progress committee.

Academic Standards:

Credit Hours
Attempted

Probation
GPA

Academic
Warning

Separation Below
This GPA

0-16

Below 2.0

2.0-2.19

1.00

17-31

Below 2.0

2.0-2.19

1.50

32-46

Below 2.0

2.0-2.19

1.65

47-61

Below 2.0

2.0-2.19

1.75

62-89

Below 2.0

2.0-2.19

1.85

Repeat Coursework Policy:
Federal regulations specify that students may not receive financial aid funding for more than one repetition of a previously passed course. Repeating a previously passed course two or more times may result in an adjustment to financial aid eligibility. This recalculation will occur regardless of whether or not a student received aid for the previous enrollments. Any adjustments will typically occur after the start of the semester during which the student is repeating the course. Therefore, students are responsible for monitoring their own enrollment in repeated coursework. A passing grade at BSU is defined as D- or higher, P (for pass/no pass course grading) or S/U (for satisfactory/unsatisfactory).

Students can receive financial aid:

  • To repeat a course that has already been passed (D- or higher, P or S) only one additional time. Any repeated attempts after that will not be eligible for financial aid. This applies even if a student earns a failing grade (F, N or U) during the second attempt.
  • As many times as necessary to repeat a course in which the only previous grade earned has been a failing grade (F, N or U).
  • If a passing grade has been earned for certain courses designated by the university as being repeatable for duplicate credit, such as some topics courses (i.e. performance studies or art studios), due to different subject content or level being studied in each term.
  • See examples of the impact of the repeated coursework regulation on this page under "Repeat Coursework" section.

Helpful Hints

  1. Organize a file for all of your financial aid information and keep copies of all information you mail.
     
  2. Be aware of all priority deadline dates.
     
  3. Respond promptly to all correspondence from the Financial Aid Office and the Student Accounts Office. Failure to respond can result in the loss of aid, cancellation of class schedules and loss of campus residency.
     
  4. Print your name and Banner ID on all information sent to the Financial Aid Office. In the case of divorced or remarried parents (using a new name) be sure to prominently print the student's name and Banner ID on all documents.
     
  5. If your family has special circumstances, inform the Financial Aid Office in writing.
     
  6. Promptly notify the Registrar's Office of any change of name, address or telephone number. All financial aid correspondence will be mailed to the student's current address on record in the Registrar's Office (all financial aid correspondence will be mailed to the student's local address during the fall and spring semesters).
     
  7. Be your own advocate! Be aware of all aspects of your financial aid application and awards. Ask questions. You have every right to ask your financial aid counselor questions regarding your awards if you do not understand them. Do not make this your parents' responsibility. Not knowing about financial aid may delay resolution of serious financial issues and may result in the loss of aid. It is not only your right to know, it is your responsibility to know.