Policies and Code of Conduct

 

Code of Conduct

National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators 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.
  • 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.

Financial Aid Policies

We’ve provided some of the basic financial aid policies below. For more information, please refer to the complete booklet (PDF).

1.0 Applying for Financial Aid

1.1 Application Priority Dates
For purposes of awarding campus-based aid, the college has established a priority deadline date of May 1 for the completion of the FAFSA. All students who meet this deadline are then “packaged” in accordance with the Financial Aid Office procedures.

1.2 Late Applications
Applications completed after May 1 are considered for campus-based aid if funds are still available.

1.3 Required Applications
To apply for the Federal Pell Grant, the North Carolina State Contract Grant, Federal Stafford Loan, Federal Plus Loan, and the campus-based programs (FSEOG, Federal Perkins Loan, and Federal Work-Study), students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) either on-line or using a paper application. This application determines the student’s financial status and eligibility for need-based aid through grants and work. The application is processed by the federal government, which then releases the information to Barton for consideration for all programs available.

Students who wish to apply for a Federal Stafford Student Loan or a Federal PLUS loan may contact the Financial Aid Office for an application. The Federal Stafford Student Loan Program and Federal Plus Loan Program utilizes a Master Promissory Note (MPN). Once the student or parent files an MPN and a loan is disbursed, the MPN is good for up to ten years. This means that in most cases additional MPN’s need not be filed while the student completes his or her enrollment at the college.

For the Federal Plus loan program, a parent must contact Barton to request a new loan amount each year.

1.3.1 Terms for Repayment of Loans
Students who borrow through the Federal Stafford Loan Program receive information regarding repayment upon graduation or withdrawal. For students borrowing through the Federal Perkins Loan Program, repayment terms and conditions are specified on the promissory note the student receives when the loan funds are disbursed.

1.4 Additional Information Required
In some cases, additional information may be required to clarify items reported on the financial aid applications. Typically, this is required if the application has been selected for verification, if there is some reason to question the accuracy of the information, or if there are consistencies in the application information. No funds are released until the additional information is provided.

The federal processor selects applications for verification in accordance with federally established guidelines. Some are selected because of data inconsistency, while others are selected at random. The college will sometimes request information if it appears that there is some inconsistency in what has been provided. Barton is required by federal regulation to ensure that there is no conflicting data in the student’s record and is required to verify certain data elements. Upon receipt of the appropriate documentation (e.g. tax returns), the Financial Aid Office will verify the information submitted and submit changes to the federal processor as appropriate.

1.5 Need Analysis
Need Analysis System Approved for Institutional Use For every student who files the FAFSA, Barton receives need analysis data in the form of an Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR). Once the Financial Aid Office receives ISIRs, they are reviewed for accuracy, completeness, and consistency. Sometimes there is missing or questionable data, and the student and family may have to submit additional information to clarify data. Students who fail to respond to a request for additional information are not considered for federal aid.

Since the Federal Stafford Loan program is also need based, the review of ISIRs is an ongoing process, even though campus funds may be depleted. The family contribution figure derived from the need analysis process is a key factor in determining eligibility for subsidized Federal Stafford Student Loan funds.

1.6 Selection for Verification
Once the Financial Aid Office has received all requested information or required documentation, it will review the information and incorporate it into the student’s need analysis record. This action quite often results in changes in the student’s eligibility for aid. All changes are documented with the date, the nature of the change, and the initials of the person making the change.

Care is taken to ensure that changes such as family income or unmet need are made throughout the office’s records since these could significantly impact eligibility for aid and other records.

1.7 Extenuating Circumstances
The Financial Aid Office will give special consideration to students who encounter financial difficulty due to the death, disability, or unemployment of a major wage earner; divorce or separation; or similar circumstance. This consideration may take the form of a reduced expected family contribution, a waiver of some of the guidelines for awarding aid, or an increase in aid beyond what the student would normally receive. Naturally, any such action will only be done at request of the student and will depend upon the Financial Aid Office’s verification of student eligibility and the availability of funds. Typically, information detailing the student’s financial situation, including current year income or an explanation of unusual expenses, will be provided in a Special Circumstances Form.

1.7.1 Replacement of the Expected Family Contribution Students who do not have financial need can still qualify for unsubsidized Federal Stafford Student Loans and Federal PLUS Loans. Students may also apply for Alternative Loans. Federal regulations allow the Financial Aid Office to substitute these loan funds for the expected family contribution.

2.0 Awarding Financial Aid

2.1 General Eligibility Requirements for Students
To be eligible for aid, students must be enrolled in a degree or certificate program. The college has determined that students must have a high school diploma or a GED to be admitted as “regular” students in degree or certificate programs. Therefore, students without a high school diploma or GED are admitted as non-degree seeking students and are therefore ineligible to receive any forms of financial aid.

In addition, federal regulations state that students are ineligible for federal aid if they owe a refund of a federal grant or have defaulted on a prior student loan. Further, males age 18-26 must be registered with Selective Service. Finally, students with prior drug convictions are, in some circumstances, ineligible for aid.

Students must be enrolled at least half time to qualify for the NC State Contractual Grant, Federal Stafford Student Loan, and Federal PLUS Loan Programs. Students enrolled less than half time can be eligible for the Federal Pell Grant. The required enrollment status for various scholarships or agency funding varies.

2.2 Procedure for Awarding Financial Aid
Federal regulations require schools to develop written guidelines for awarding campus-based funds and then consistently implement those guidelines. Because funding levels and institutional and student needs change each year, no fixed procedure can be developed. Rather, a basis philosophy must guide the procedure, which changes from year to year.

Federal Work-Study (FWS) funds may be awarded to students who have need, and the school is generally free to award these funds as it sees fit. On the other hand, FSEOG funds must first be awarded to students with the lowest expected family contributions AND who are eligible to receive Federal Pell Grant funds.

2.3 Disbursing Financial Aid
Students will receive information about financial aid credits to their tuition in the letter notifying them of their awards.

3.0 Revision of Financial Aid Awards

3.1 Initiated by the Financial Aid Office

3.1.1 Change in Student Resources or Family Contribution
When the Financial Aid Office becomes aware of a change in a student’s resources or family contribution, campus-based aid awards are reviewed to determine if the student is still eligible for any awards received. The change could be due to a correction to original information provided or to additional information being made available to the Financial Aid Office.

3.1.2 Change in Availability of Funds
Should the amount of available funding change after awards have been made, all students may experience revisions in their awards. Since the Financial Aid Office receives its allocation letters for the campus-based programs in the spring and then makes awards, it is unlikely that funding would be reduced. It is more common for funding levels to increase slightly, in which case the Financial Aid Office either grants higher awards or makes award offers to a greater number of students.

3.1.3 Financial Aid Office Error in Award
Should the Financial Aid Office make an error in awarding campus-based funds to a student, the error will be corrected in accordance with federal regulations. If the student no longer meets the packaging guidelines but is still eligible for the aid according to federal regulations, every effort will be made to allow the student to keep the award. However, if federal guidelines are not met, the award must be canceled. Federal Work-Study monies must be paid if the student has already worked, but FSEOG awards can be canceled and, if necessary, repaid by the student.

3.2 Initiated by Request from Student
Award revisions requested by the student will be honored to the extent possible. Students are not obligated to accept any type of financial aid, and may refuse a grant or a Federal Work-Study award. The funds are then offered to other needy students. If students request an increase in their awards, their files will be reviewed with the packaging guidelines in mind. If the student has remaining need, and if funds are available, the award may be increased. Although this does not happen often with FSEOG awards or NC State Contractual Grant Awards, it is fairly common with Federal Work-Study awards. Most FSEOG and NC State Contractual Grant awards are utilized by students, but many times Federal Work-Study awards are rejected or the student never begins working, freeing up monies that can be made available to students who have need and want additional work.

4.0 Barton College Scholarship Program

Barton’s Scholarship Program is funded through both institutional and endowed funds. The program consists of nine components. Eight of those components–Trustee Scholars, Presidential Scholars, High Honors, Incentive Award, Transfer High Honors, Transfer Honors, Transfer Incentive awards, and need-based awards — are substantially funded with college dollars. Therefore, the college generally chooses award recipients without an official application process. The ninth component — annual and endowed awards — may require an application process.

Whenever possible, scholarship recipients are selected prior to the start of the fall semester. All scholarships are credited to student accounts, with the primary goal of offsetting tuition and fees. If all charges are covered, refunds are issued as appropriate.

5.0 Work-Study Employment

5.1 Barton College Work Study (Non-Federal Work-Study)
Barton may employ students in non-Federal Work-Study positions. These students are part-time college employees and are paid out of the employing office’s or department’s budget. The Financial Aid Office has no involvement in the hiring or supervision of these students. The Financial Aid Office does, however, require all student workers to complete an application for the State Work Student Program.

5.2 Non-Federal Work-Study Employment
Students must report their prior year earnings on their FAFSA application. Therefore, students employed during the school year in non-FWS jobs, either on campus or off, will not have their current year earnings treated as a resource. Students will simply be required to report those earnings on their FAFSA forms for the following year.

6.0 Institutional Policy on Refunds of Tuition and Fees

A student who voluntarily withdraws from school or reduces his or her course load in a semester receives refunds according to the following schedule. Unless otherwise required by federal regulations, all refunds are based on the 15-week enrollment period. Note: A withdrawal must be made on the appropriate form obtained from the Office of Student Success or the Office of the Registrar.

6.1 Tuition Refund Upon Withdrawal

  • Withdrawal during the first class day: 100% refund.
  • Withdrawal beginning the second class day or during the first 10% of the semester: 90% refund minus an administration fee of $100.
  • Withdrawal following the first 10% of the semester through the first 25% of the period: 50% refund.
  • Withdrawal following the first 25% of the semester through the first 50% of the period: 25% refund.

6.2 Return of Title IV Funds Upon Student Withdrawal
If a student has received federal Title IV funds and withdraws, the institution will calculate the percentage of funds that must be returned to the Title IV programs. After reviewing the student’s account, the Financial Aid Office determines the amount of Title IV aid credited to the student’s account. Calculations will then determine the amount of Title IV funds to be returned. After performing these calculations and completing the appropriate paperwork, the Financial Aid Office notifies the Business Office of any adjustments to federal aid. The student is then notified in writing of any adjustments and, if applicable, is notified of all federal aid returned. Funds must be returned in the order specified on the Termination Adjustment Form maintained in the student’s file.

6.3 Student Responsibilities
Students are responsible for following the College’s formal drop and withdrawal procedures if they are to receive a refund. Students are also responsible for repaying any financial aid for which they are no longer eligible and any tuition and fees due as a result of their withdrawal and subsequent adjustments to their awards. These responsibilities are explained to students when they seek the Financial Aid Office signature on the withdrawal paperwork, and they are made aware of any financial problems that may arise from their withdrawal. Further, when a requested schedule change may impact financial aid eligibility, the Registrar’s staff will send the student to the Financial Aid Office to determine if there is any impact on eligibility.