12.6 STUDENT DEBT
The institution provides information and guidance to help student borrowers understand how to manage their debt and repay their loans.
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The university’s Office of Student Financial Aid supports student success by providing students information on applying for aid; understanding the types of aid and eligibility; explaining the Satisfactory Academic Progress; financial literacy; and loan information, including loan repayment and Loan Management. The staff works closely with the Enrollment Management team and other key stakeholders to recruit and retain students at N.C. A&T. Access to financial aid information is a critical component of recruitment and retention.
The Office of Student Financial Aid makes information available to all students (Undergraduate and Graduate) on its website. The unit serves students who reside on or off-campus or enroll only in online courses. The office keeps it’s website updated with the most current information for students, parents and other users, with a comprehensive list of links on its website.
The Office of Student Financial Aid provides information to assist students from the beginning of their enrollment and throughout their matriculation. Examples include:
a. Aggie Nights Recruitment Events. The staff in the Office of Student Financial Aid attends these events to provide valuable information regarding applying for financial aid; the types of aid available; the cost of attendance and the next steps in the financial aid process.
b. FAFSA Day. This is a state-wide annual initiative sponsored by the College Foundation of North Carolina to assist students and parents with the completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). N.C. A&T’s Office of Student Financial Aid is one of the host sites for this initiative. There were approximately forty (40) parents and students who participated in the 2018 FAFSA Day on the campus. The parents and students were able to successfully complete and file their 2019-2020 FAFSA, with the assistance of the staff.
The institution is aware that applying for financial aid early may determine whether a student receives sufficient financial aid to enroll at the university. Various methods are utilized in advising students and parents to complete the FAFSA as early as possible. Email blasts are sent to both prospective and continuing students; to the parents of dependent prospective and continuing students; flyers are strategically located throughout the university; social media is used to share information; the Office of Undergraduate Admissions assists with alerting prospective students; holiday emails and reminders are sent to parents and students as well as periodic reminder emails throughout the semester. The goal is to ensure that all students are fully aware.
Satisfactory Academic Progress
Each year the Office of Student Financial Aid must evaluate students’ academic performance to ensure that they remain eligible to receive financial aid. Students (undergraduate and Graduate) must meet the following requirements:
· Maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 for undergraduate students and a 3.0 for graduate students.
· Complete 67 percent of total attempted hours.
· Not exceed 180 hours of their degree program.
Students who fail to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress must complete a budgeting module before an appeal is approved as it is very important for students not meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress to understand the consequences of not performing well at the university. Having to repeat failed courses lead to loan borrowing increases.
The Office of Student Financial Aid also provides exit counseling to graduating students who have borrowed from federal programs. Distance learning students are encouraged to complete their exit counseling session on-line and are provided with the office’s telephone number and email address in case they have questions.
N.C. A&T’s Office of Student Financial Aid makes available to students the annual Cost of Attendance information. Students are encouraged to view their Cost of Attendance in the student portal (Aggie Access Online). In addition, the estimated cost of attendance is located on the Financial Aid website for prospective and continuing students. The cost of attendance includes direct and in-direct cost.
· Direct costs are those expenses paid directly to the university such as tuition, fees and room and board (if residing on campus).
· Indirect cost includes books and supplies, personal, transportation and room and board (if residing off campus).
The Office of Student Financial Aid works with other student support services to conduct an annual workshop, “Stop before You Drop” for students with less than a 2.0 cumulative grade point average. The Office of Student Financial Aid also provides students with the Satisfactory Academic Progress guidelines as well as how to determine their academic standing.
The Office of Student Financial Aid also provides Exit Counseling Session Workshops to prospective graduating students who have borrowed from federal programs. Distance Learning students are encouraged to complete their Exits Counseling Session on-line and are provided with the office’s telephone number and email address to share any questions they may have regarding the process. Federal loan borrowers are required to complete an Exit Counseling session on-line or in-person. A list of workshops conducted during the fall 2018 semester is attached (Exit Counseling Session Flyers). A report is maintained of students attending the workshops (Exit Workshop Attendance 2018).
All freshmen are required to take a one-credit Freshman Seminar Course. In that course students are also required to complete financial literacy modules. The objective is to teach effective financial planning, properly managing debt, accurately calculating interest, and understanding the time value of money which are characteristics of being financially literate.
Using an online program called iGRAD, students complete three modules: Lesson 1: Federal Loan Basics (10 graded parts); Lesson 2: Smart Borrowing in Action (11 graded parts); and Lesson 3: Anticipating Repayment (8 graded parts). The iGRAD screenshots (1 and 2) show what students see when they have completed a module.
The information shared shows that the university provides information and guidance to help its student borrowers understand how to manage their debt and repay their loans.
2. Types of Aid
3. Satisfactory Academic Progress
7. Office of Student Financial Aid website
9. Office of Financial Aid website
12. Exit Counseling Session Flyer
13. Exit Workshop Attendance 2018
14. iGrad Module Screenshots (1 and 2)