Apr 13, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
    
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Financial Aid



The Financial Aid Office serves prospective students, current students, and their parents with financial aid questions and needs. The primary goal of the Financial Aid Office is to provide appropriate financial resources in the form of scholarships, grants, loans, and student employment to enable students to achieve their educational potential while ensuring compliance with the various sources of financial aid. The University strives to meet the “financial need” of as many students from as many resources as possible.

Financial Aid Application

The major funding sources are from the federal and state governments. For consideration for financial assistance students are urged to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) prior to May 1 each year via the federal website studentaid.gov. Please indicate PennWest’s Title IV code (003316) for Global Online and California Campus, Clarion Campus code (003318), and Edinboro Campus code (003321) on the FAFSA form.

Academic Year

PennWest’s academic year is comprised of a fall and spring semester, during which a full-time undergraduate student is expected to complete at least 18 credits. The period of time school is in session consists of 30 weeks of instruction.

Financial Aid Programs

Grants & Scholarships are what financial aid refers to as gift aid. Gift Aid is money the student receives that does not need to be repaid or earned. Grants are based upon financial need, while scholarships based upon characteristics such as scholastic achievement, athletic ability, or geographic location.

Federal TEACH Grant

Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) grants are based on the program of study and cumulative grade point average (3.25 is required) rather than financial need. The Federal TEACH grant is only for the following PennWest programs: BSED Early Childhood/Special Education, BSED Middle Level Math, BSED Middle Level Science, BSED Secondary Education Biology, BSED Secondary Education Chemistry, BSED Secondary Education General Science, BSED Secondary Education Mathematics, BSED Special Education PK-12, MEd Reading Specialist, or MEd Special Education. Students also must obtain College of Education Teacher Education Admission in order to qualify.  ELEMENTARY EDUCATION MAJORS WITHOUT SPECIAL EDUCATION ARE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR THE TEACH GRANT. STUDENTS PURSUING TEACHER CERTIFICATION ARE ALSO NOT ELIGIBLE.  Interested students should complete a TEACH Grant Preliminary Application. Once approved for the grant, students must complete an annual Agreement To Serve document in which they agree to teach for at least four academic years within the first eight calendar years of completing their TEACH-eligible degree. Note: TEACH recipients who fail to complete this service obligation will have their TEACH grants converted to interest-bearing Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans. Interest will be assessed retroactive to the date the first TEACH grant disbursed to their account.

Loans

Federal Stafford Loans

The Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan program is available based on the amount needed to meet the student’s cost of attendance budget (COA) and their academic level. The student may opt to pay the interest while enrolled in school or have the interest capitalized (added to the principal). Unsubsidized Stafford loan eligibility is limited by the total aid received from all sources and their COA budget. Students must complete entrance counseling which explains their rights and responsibilities and a master promissory note before loans are disbursed. Stafford loans may have origination and/or rebate fees deducted from the loan amount. Interest rates are established yearly by the federal government.

Graduate students enrolled in a Master’s program have a maximum annual Stafford amount of $20,500, which includes Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer enrollment for an academic year.

Graduate students enrolled in the Teacher Certification program and not receiving a master’s degree are subject to undergraduate loan limits of $5,500 Subsidized Stafford and $7,000 Unsubsidized Stafford. Graduate students enrolled in all undergraduate coursework for any given term are also subject to undergraduate loan limits.

Federal Graduate PLUS Loan

Graduate and Professional students may borrow up to the cost of attendance less all other financial aid and available resources. Students must be admitted to an eligible degree program, maintain satisfactory academic progress as defined below, and enroll at least half time for the award term/s.

Pennwest University Graduate Student Scholarships

PennWest University’s endowed, annual, and athletic scholarships provide support to more than 600 students yearly. Scholarships are available to new incoming students as well as currently enrolled students. 

Most of PennWest’s scholarships are funded by private support through the California, Clarion and Edinboro Foundations and are overseen by the Financial Aid Office, within the Strategic Enrollment Management division.  Students may access the scholarship application through the MyPennWest Portal, with individual log-in credential for their PennWest account.  Financial aid will automatically consider them for any scholarships for which they are qualified.  PennWest will annually notify students when the application is available and the submission deadline.   

Conditions Which Accompany Financial Aid

In order to continue receiving financial aid following initial enrollment at PennWest University, students must meet certain conditions each year. One such condition requires students to enroll at least part-time (four and a half credits) for every aid program.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy for Financial Aid Recipients

PennWest University has developed standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in accordance with federal regulations. This Policy measures quantity (number of credits completed), quality (cumulative quality point average), and maximum time frames for completion and measures progress incrementally. SAP will be reviewed after each payment period, (fall, spring, and summer).

For financial aid purposes, a student is considered to be making satisfactory academic progress if he/she maintains a minimum 3.00 QPA and completes at least 67% of hours attempted.

Graduate students who have attempted 46 credits and/or 6 semesters with or without the benefit of financial assistance are no longer eligible for financial aid. Programs requiring more than 60 credit hours will be reviewed individually for maximum time frames.

The number of semesters is based on full-time enrollment of 9 credits or more as full time. An adjustment is made for less than full-time enrollment based on financial aid academic status as follows: 6.75 - 8 credits = ¾ time enrollment or 75% of a semester enrollment; 4.5-6 graduate credits = ½ time enrollment or 50% of a semester enrollment.

Effect of incompletes, withdrawals, failures, and repeats. All incompletes, withdrawals, failures, and repeats are included as attempts when determining SAP for financial aid.

Effect of changing major/double major. A change of academic major or the pursuit of a double major does not automatically extend eligibility for financial aid.

Effect of summer school enrollment/cooperative education/consortium agreement/study abroad. Students who enroll in summer school will be charged with 0.5 to 1.0 semester of attendance, depending on enrollment. Credit hours attempted will be used to determine SAP. Students enrolled in cooperative education will be treated as a regular semester student. If a student is enrolled via a consortium agreement/study abroad, a transcript will be obtained from the visiting school and the credit hours will be included as attempts along with the credit hours earned.

Effect of credits by examination, military credits, life experience credit. Transfer credits that have been accepted, will be used as attempts and completes and included when determining SAP.

Academic credits received via examination, military, or life experiences are counted as attempts and as earned credits.

Failure to meet SAP requirements - Probation/Suspension. Any student who fails to meet SAP requirements will be placed on financial aid warning for one semester if they have not received a warning or probation period in a prior semester. If at the end of the warning period, the student does not meet the requirements for SAP, the student will be placed on financial aid suspension and will not be eligible for aid. Students who submit an appeal and academic plan that has been approved are placed on financial aid probation and regain eligibility for financial aid. Failure to follow the academic plan as approved will result in immediate suspension of financial aid without the opportunity to appeal until the student has met the minimum requirements for federal financial aid as a graduate student. Students who are on Financial Aid Warning or Probation must attend a mandatory SAP meeting. Academic and/or personal counseling services are encouraged and can provide the student with additional support to alleviate obstacles that hinder satisfactory academic progress. Students on probation are further encouraged to consult with a financial aid counselor prior to withdrawing from any classes or if midterm grades are not satisfactory.

Reinstatement of Aid. Aid is reinstated based on a successful appeal or meeting the minimum requirements for satisfactory academic progress for financial aid recipients. Periods of non-enrollment or enrollment at other schools does not reinstate the student’s aid eligibility for PennWest University.

Appeals. Students who wish to appeal the suspension of financial aid eligibility based on mitigating circumstances (e.g. severe illness, death of close family member, severe injury, other factors relevant to student success) may do so by submitting a letter of appeal and supporting documentation to the financial aid office within the first 2 weeks of the semester which is affected by the SAP status for which the appeal applies. All appeals for reinstatement of aid must include:

A completed appeal form which identifies the reason for unsatisfactory progress and what has changed in order to better facilitate academic success.

Once this material is received, the Financial Aid Office will review and approve or deny the appeal. If approved, the student will need to meet with their advisor, department chair or dean to complete an academic plan. The plan must be signed by the student as well as the academic advisor and must be received by the Financial Aid Office no later than the 8th week of classes.   

The Financial Aid Office will notify the student of the decision to reinstate or deny federal aid.  If the appeal is approved, the student must adhere to the signed academic plan.  If the conditions of the academic plan are not satisfied, the student is placed on financial aid suspension, and aid will be denied in all subsequent terms until the student can regain aid eligibility by reaching the required 67% pace of completion and 3.0 cumulative GPA. 

The committee will not review incomplete and/or partial appeals. All documentation is retained by the Financial Aid Office for audit purposes.