Financial Assistance Programs
American Sentinel University has financial aid professionals to assist students in obtaining financial assistance to pay for their educational expenses. Available resources include federal financial aid and student loans from private lenders. Federal assistance programs are administered by the U.S. Department of Education. Any U.S. citizen, national or person living permanently in the United States who is enrolled or accepted for enrollment may apply for such assistance. Every student considering application for financial aid should request a copy of the current Student Guide, published by the U.S. Department of Education. This important document may be obtained from American Sentinel’s Financial Aid Office and helps students understand eligibility requirements, the federal financial aid application process, deadlines and the various forms of aid available.
A student’s enrollment status (the number of credits registered for in a semester) will influence the amount of federal student aid a student will receive. To be eligible for federal student aid, students must enroll at least half time in consecutive semesters. Undergraduate students need a minimum of six credits per semester and graduate students at least three credit hours in order to be considered half time. Undergraduate students enrolled in only three credits per semester (less than half time) may be eligible for a Federal Pell Grant, however less-than-half-time status is ineligible for federal student loans and loan deferment.
Available Loans and Grants
Federal Pell Grant
The Federal Pell Grant, unlike a loan, does not have to be repaid. Pell Grants are usually awarded only to undergraduate students who have not earned bachelor’s or a professional degrees. Pell Grants are considered need based and are awarded based upon the student’s enrollment status as a full-time or part-time student. Applications are available from the university’s Financial Aid Office.
Federal Direct Student Loan Program
Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans
Stafford Loans are administered through the Financial Aid Office in cooperation with the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. Federal loans can be obtained at low fixed-interest rates. For Direct Subsidized Loans, the federal government pays the interest for the student while he or she is in school and during the deferment period. For Direct Unsubsidized Loans, the student is responsible for the interest accrued while in school, grace and deferment periods. You must be enrolled at least half time to be eligible for Direct Stafford Loans.
There is no mandated credit check for Stafford Loans, however, if a student has defaulted on a previous student loan, he or she may not be eligible for federal funding until the unpaid balance is satisfied. Repayment of federal loans ordinarily does not begin until six months after graduation or last day of attendance.
Federal Direct PLUS Loans for Parents
Parents of dependent students may be eligible to obtain a Direct PLUS Loans for Parents. The amount of the PLUS Loan cannot exceed the student’s cost of attendance less other student aid awarded. The terms and conditions applicable to Direct PLUS Loans require a credit check to determine that the applicant does not have an adverse credit history. The parent must repay the servicer of the loan beginning when the loan is fully disbursed. The first payment is due 60 days after the final disbursement. Payments include both principal and interest accumulated on the loan. Interest on Direct PLUS Loans for Parents is fixed at 7.9 percent.
Students who may be eligible for veterans’ benefits should contact their regional Veterans Administration Office or visit www.gibill.va.gov for more information. If a student qualifies for VA benefits, the Financial Aid Office at American Sentinel is required to certify benefits using the VA-Once system database, which has replaced the form 22-1999, in order for the student to receive the funds.
NOTE: To determine a veteran student’s eligibility for the above programs, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid must be completed.
A student’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) may be selected by the U.S. Department of Education for a process called “verification” to verify the information on the application. Students must provide truthful and accurate information. Students who are selected for verification will be contacted by American Sentinel’s Financial Aid Office and given a verification worksheet that includes specific requirements, deadlines and consequences of non-compliance. To complete verification and remain eligible for financial aid, the student must submit the verification worksheet as well as tax/income information as directed by the Financial Aid Office.
For more information regarding the policies and procedures of verification, please contact American Sentinel’s Financial Aid Office.
Return of Title IV Funds
If a student withdraws from American Sentinel University and the student received Title IV student financial assistance during the semester, the university must determine the amount of Title IV funds a student has earned at the time of withdrawal using the return of Title IV funds formula. The Title IV Student Financial Assistance program rules may require a return to the federal government all or a portion of the amounts disbursed during the semester. The amount of financial assistance earned by a student is based upon the amount of time the student attended the university and the courses attempted and completed during the semester. A pro rata schedule is used to determine the amount of Title IV assistance funding the student has earned at the time of withdrawal. After the 60 percent point in the semester, a student has earned 100 percent of the Title IV funds. (Sample return of Title IV calculations are available from the university’s Financial Aid Office upon request.)
The percentage of the semester completed is determined by dividing the number of calendar days completed in the semester (to include the day the student withdrew) by the total number of calendar days in the semester. Scheduled breaks of at least five consecutive days are excluded from the total number of calendar days (denominator) and the number of calendar days completed in that period (numerator).
Title IV funds must be returned in the following order:
- Direct Stafford Unsubsidized Loans
- Direct Stafford Subsidized Loans
- Direct PLUS Loans for Parents
If funds remain after repaying all loans, those remaining funds must be credited in the following order:
- Federal Pell Grants
- Academic Competitiveness Grant
- National SMART Grant
Return of Unearned Federal Student Aid Funds
The university must return the lesser of the following:
- The amount of federal student aid program funds that the student does not earn.
- The amount of institutional costs that the student incurred for the payment period (or period of enrollment multiplied by the percentage of funds that was not earned).
If there are additional federal student aid funds that must be returned, the student must return or repay as appropriate:
- Any federal student loan funds in accordance with the terms of the loan.
- Any remaining unearned federal student aid program grant funds (not to exceed 50 percent of the grant received).
For post-withdrawal disbursements, the institution is required to return the amount of Title IV funds for which it is responsible no later than 45 days after the Date of the Determination of the date of the student’s withdrawal.
If a student earned more aid than was disbursed to him/her, American Sentinel may owe the student a post-withdrawal disbursement, which must be paid as soon as possible but no later than:
- For loans: 180 days from the date the student withdrew.
- For grants: No later than 45 days from the date the student withdrew.
The university is required to notify the student in writing (within 30 days of the date it determined that the student withdrew) that he/she is eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement of Title IV loan funds.
If the student (or parent in the case of a PLUS Loan) is eligible to receive a post-withdrawal disbursement of loan funds, the borrower must first confirm in writing whether he/she accepts/declines all or some of the loan funds offered as a post-withdrawal disbursement. A post-withdrawal disbursement of federal grant funds does not require student acceptance or approval and the grant funds may be applied directly to the student’s account in order to satisfy tuition and fees, or directly to the student. The university will seek the student’s authorization to use a post-withdrawal disbursement for all other education-related charges in addition to tuition and fees.
Withdrawal During a Semester
Students who elect to withdraw from the university during a semester must do so by dropping or withdrawing from all of their courses. When this occurs the institution will review the official date of withdrawal and compare the total number of calendar days in a payment period or period of enrollment (denominator) and the number of calendar days completed in that period (numerator).
Once the calculation of the return of Title IV funds is completed, the amount (if any) of unearned funds are returned to the Department of Education. Students who have federal funds returned and owe money to American Sentinel are notified by email and a ‘balance hold’ is placed on the account.