Financial Aid Policies

While the financial responsibility for a college education rests primarily with the student and parents, Bethel College is committed to helping students find the financial resources to assist in paying their college bill.

All students seeking assistance must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine qualification for federal or state assistance programs. This form is available at www.fafsa.gov or from Bethel’s office of student financial services and most high school guidance offices.

Each year, Bethel College awards to needy students more than $9,000,000 of institutional funds in the form of scholarships and grants.

Financial need - Financial need is the term used by the office of student financial services to determine a student’s eligibility for state, federal and institutional financial aid programs. Financial need is calculated by subtracting the family contribution from direct educational costs.

The family contribution is determined by the information that is provided on the FAFSA. The direct educational cost is determined by the office of student financial services which includes the college costs for tuition, room, board, and mandatory fees.

Maximum award policy - In no case will the combination of scholarship and grant assistance (institutional, federal and state programs) exceed full-time (12-17 credit hours) direct tuition costs.  If the total of scholarships and grants exceeds direct tuition costs, Bethel funding will be reduced to bring the total back to the direct tuition costs. 

Verification - Based on criteria established by the federal government, students who receive federal or state financial aid may be selected for verification. This process is designed to check the accuracy of the financial information the family provided when applying for financial aid. A copy of the student’s and parent’s income tax form, as well as a verification worksheet is required to complete the process. Additional information may also be required. In order to be considered for all financial aid, requested information must be submitted within 30 days of the college’s written request. In no instance will verification information be processed beyond the student’s enrollment period.

Outside/Private scholarships - Any financial assistance that is received from sources other than federal, state or college must be reported to the office of financial aid. This includes private scholarships, veterans’ benefits, vocational rehabilitation benefits and fee reduction remission benefits. Adjustments may be made to your institutional financial assistance awards if the additional grant and scholarship assistance causes you to receive more financial assistance than direct tuition costs. (See Maximum Award Policy).

Appeals - Any questions or appeals concerning financial aid policy must be made in writing to the college Financial Aid Committee and submitted to the office of financial aid.

Final semester policy - Students who are in their final semester of enrollment prior to graduation and are enrolled less than full time (12 hours) may be eligible to receive institutional scholarships at a pro-rated amount. In general, the equivalent percentage of discount created by institutional awards toward full-time tuition is applied toward part-time tuition charges.

Scholarship Guidelines

  1. No formal scholarship application is required for new students to Bethel College, as the awards are determined from high school transcripts and SAT/ACT scores submitted with the application for admission. The highest composite score submitted prior to enrollment will be used.
  2. Prior to enrollment at Bethel College, if a scholarship is upgraded on the basis of an improved GPA or SAT/ACT scores, the lesser scholarship is dropped.
  3. Transfer student awards are determined by prior academic performance at an accredited college or university.  Official transcripts from every institution previously attended should be sent directly from that institution to the Bethel College admission office.
  4. Only one academic scholarship/award may be received by a student in a given year.  Renewal of the scholarship is determined by the student’s cumulative GPA at the end of each academic year.  If satisfactory academic progress for continued enrollment is not being met awards are lost at that time, not at the end of the academic year.  Summer term credits and grades will be applicable in calculating scholarship eligibility.
  5. Awards are applied to direct tuition costs for full-time undergraduate students only.  In no case will the combination of scholarship and grant assistance (institutional, federal and state programs) exceed full-time (12-17 credit hours) tuition costs.  If the total of scholarships and grants exceed tuition costs, Bethel funding will be reduced to bring the total back to the direct tuition costs.  Scholarships and grants are applied to the school bill first.  Bethel funds may never generate a credit balance on a student’s account and may not be used for off-campus living expenses or textbooks.
  6. These awards may be used for a maximum of eight semesters of continuous full-time enrollment.  A student is no longer eligible for Bethel funding if they drop below full-time enrollment.
  7. To continue receiving funding, students must maintain satisfactory academic progress to avoid being placed on financial aid suspension.  Appeals for the loss of funding may be made to Bethel’s office of financial aid.

Students Rights and Responsibilities

A student has the right to know

  • What financial aid is available, including information on all Federal and State programs.
  • The deadlines for submitting applications for each of the financial aid programs available.
  • The cost of attending the programs and the school's refund policy.
  • The criteria used by the institution to select the financial aid recipients.
  • How the school determines your financial need. This process includes how costs for tuition and fees, books, and living expenses are considered in your budget.
  • What resources (such as employer reimbursement, other financial aid, etc.) are considered in the calculation of your need.
  • How much of your financial need, as determined by the institution, has been met.
  • An explanation of the various programs in your student aid package. If you believe you have been treated unfairly, you may request reconsideration of the award which was made to you.
  • What portion of the financial aid you received must be repaid, and what portion is grant aid. If the aid is a loan, you have the right to know what the interest rate is, the total amount that must be repaid, the payback procedures, the length of time you have to repay the loan and when the repayment is to begin.

A student’s responsibilities

  • Review all information about the school's program before you enroll.
  • Complete all application forms accurately and in a timely manner and send to correct address.
  • Pay special attention to, and accurately complete, your application for student aid. Errors can result in delays of receipt of your financial aid. Intentional reporting of false information on application forms for federal financial aid is a violation of law and is considered a criminal offense subject to penalties under the U.S. Criminal Code.
  • Return all additional information, verification, corrections and/or new information requested by the Bethel College Financial Aid Office, your state financial aid authority or the agency to which you submitted your FAFSA.
  • Read and understand all the forms that you are asked to sign and keep copies of them.
  • Accept responsibility for all agreements you sign.
  • If you have a loan, notify the lender of changes in your name, address or school status.
  • Know and comply with the deadlines for application or reapplication for aid.
  • Know and comply with Bethel College’s refund policy procedure.
  • Know and comply with Bethel College’s Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.

Return of Title IV Aid Policy and Procedures

Title IV funds are awarded to a student under the assumption that the student will attend school for the entire period for which the assistance is awarded. When a student withdraws from Bethel, the student may no longer be eligible for the full amount of Title IV funds that the student was originally scheduled to receive.

The financial aid office is required to calculate federal financial aid eligibility for students who withdraw, drop out, are dismissed, or take a leave of absence prior to completing a payment period or term. The federal Title IV financial aid programs must be recalculated when the student has not completed more than 60% of a payment period.

If the student leaves the college prior to completing 60% of a payment period or term, the financial aid office recalculates eligibility for Title IV funds. Recalculation is based on the percentage of earned aid using the following Return of Title IV Funds formula:

Percentage of payment period or term completed = number of days completed up to the withdrawal date divided by the total days in the payment period or term. (Any break of five days or more is not counted as part of the days in the term). This percentage is also the percentage of aid earned.

Funds are returned to the appropriate federal program based on the percentage of unearned aid using the following formula:

Aid to be returned = (100% of the aid that could be disbursed minus the percentage of earned aid) multiplied by the total amount of aid that could have been disbursed during the payment period or term.

Bethel College must 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.

Official Withdrawals

For a withdrawal to be considered an official withdrawal, a student must complete a withdrawal form or provide notification to the college of an intent to withdraw. A student is considered withdrawn as of the date he/she begins the withdrawal process or the date the student provides notification of the intent to withdraw, whichever is earlier.

If a student does not provide notification of withdrawal either because of circumstances beyond the student’s control or other instances, he/she is considered to have unofficially withdrawn. In these cases, the student’s withdrawal date is the midpoint (50%) of the payment period (or period of enrollment) if the last date of attendance cannot be determined. If the last date of attendance can be determined, it will be used instead.

If a student earned less aid than was disbursed, Bethel would be required to return a portion of the funds and the student would be required to return a portion of the funds. Keep in mind that when Title IV funds are returned, the student may owe a debit balance to the college.

When students fail to earn a passing grade in any class: If a student receives all Fs at the end of a semester, the college will determine whether those students with failing grades have unofficially withdrawn. If a student who began attendance and has not officially withdrawn fails to earn a passing grade in at least one course offered over an entire period, the institution must assume, for Title IV purposes, that the student has unofficially withdrawn unless the institution can document that the student completed the period (or more than 60% of the period) based on the last date of a student’s documented academic activity.

Post-withdrawal disbursements: If a does not receive all the funds he/she has earned, the student may be due a post-withdrawal disbursement. If the post-withdrawal disbursement includes loan funds, the school must get the student’s permission before it can disburse them. The student may choose to decline some or all of the loan funds so that additional debt is not incurred. The school may automatically use all or a portion of your post-withdrawal disbursement of grant funds for tuition, fees, and room and board charges (as contracted with the school). The school needs a student’s permission to use the post-withdrawal grant disbursement for all other school charges. If the student does not give permission, you will be offered the funds.

However, it may be in the student’s best interest to allow the school to keep the funds to reduce your debt at the school. Bethel will send notification as soon as possible, but no later than 30 calendar days after the date that the school determines the student withdrew. Bethel must disburse any Title IV grant funds a student is due as part of a post-withdrawal disbursement within 45 days of the date the school determined the student withdrew. The school must disburse any loan funds the student accepts as soon as possible but no later than 180 days after the date the school determined the student withdrew.

Overpayments (overawards): An overpayment, or overaward, occurs when the student receives more aid than he/she was eligible to receive. An overpayment can occur when a student withdraws.

Regulations limit the amount of grant funds a student must repay to one-half of the grant funds the student received or could have received during the applicable period. Within 30 days of determining that a student who withdrew must repay all or part of a Title IV grant, Bethel will notify the student that he/she must repay the overpayment or make satisfactory arrangements to repay it. A student’s eligibility for additional Title IV funds may end if the student fails to take action in one of the following ways:

  • The student may repay the overpayment in full to Bethel.
  • The student may sign a repayment agreement with the Department of Education.

The student should contact Bethel to discuss his/her options.

Unearned Title IV financial aid will be returned to the appropriate programs in the order listed below. The Title IV portion of a refund is repaid to various programs from which the funds were awarded. The repayment is allocated, using the following fixed priority:

  1. Direct Unsubsidized Direct Loan
  2. Direct Subsidized Direct Loan
  3. Perkins Loan
  4. Direct PLUS Loan
  5. Pell Grant
  6. FSEOG

If the Title IV portion of the refund is large enough, the entire amount of an award received is first returned to the highest priority program from which an award was made. The full amounts are similarly returned.

For students selected for verification: Unless a student subject to verification has provided all required verification documents in time for the school to meet Return deadlines, the school includes as Aid Disbursed or Aid That Could Have Been Disbursed in the Return calculation only those Title IV funds not subject to verification.

If the student who failed to provide all required verification documents in time for the school to meet the Return deadline later provides those documents prior to the application verification deadline, the school must perform a new Return calculation on all of the aid the student qualified for based on the completed verification documents and make appropriate adjustments.

When a student fails to return from a leave of absence (LOA): If a student does not return to Bethel at the expiration of an approved LOA (or a student takes an unapproved LOA), the student’s withdrawal date is the date the student began the LOA.

Because a student who is granted an approved LOA remains in an in-school status for Title IV loan repayment purposes, the school must report to the loan holder the student’s change in enrollment status as of the withdrawal date.

For more information about Title IV program funds contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FEDAID (1-800-433-3243). Student Aid information is also available on the web at www.studentaid.ed.gov.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Students receiving financial aid must maintain good academic standing with the college in order to qualify for continued financial aid awards. This policy applies to all undergraduate students enrolled in all programs. To maintain eligibility for Federal Title IV and/or other college-administered financial aid assistance, the following conditions must be met (students must meet both the quantitative and qualitative progress standards):

Qualitative Progress Standards

The student must maintain satisfactory academic grades, which is a 2.0 cumulative grade point average. Failure to earn satisfactory academic grades may place the student on academic probation. Being placed on academic probation will result in a SAP Warning. The student may receive financial aid for one semester while on SAP Warning. If, after a semester on SAP Warning, the student does not make SAP, he or she will lose any Title IV eligibility and must submit a SAP Appeal. With an approved appeal, the student will be placed on SAP Probation and can receive Title IV aid, but not for more than two such semesters during the normal 8 to 10 semester college career. 

Quantitative Progress Standards

Students must earn at least 67% of credits attempted. Students must complete their program within 150% of the published program length. (For example, a student enrolled in a 120 credit hour, four-year program has six years of full-time enrollment in which to complete the degree program.) A student enrolled in a program with a program length of 120-140 hours may not attempt more than 180 credit hours. A student enrolled full-time (12 hours per semester) must earn at least 24 credit hours per 12 month period. A student enrolled three-quarter time (9-11.5 hours per semester) must earn at least 18 hours per 12-month period. A student enrolled half-time (6-8.5 credits per semester) must earn at least 12 credit hours per 12-month period. Credit hours completed during summer enrollment are counted toward fulfillment of the above requirements.

A student who changes status within the 12-month period will have his/her status average (e.g., in the fall semester the student is full-time, then in the spring semester the student enrolls for half-time hours. The student would be considered a three-quarter time student for the year and would need to have completed the appropriate number of hours for that status).

The normal time to complete a bachelor’s degree is 8 to 10 semesters of full-time enrollment. A student is allowed a maximum of 12 semesters of full-time study and may receive financial aid up to this maximum. Students enrolled in fewer than 12 hours per semester, but at least 6 hours per semester, are expected to complete their degree requirements in proportion to the full-time requirements. Students in an academic program with a program length of 120-140 hours who have attempted 180 credit hours toward a degree will be ineligible for student financial aid.

Graduate students

Graduate students in a program length of 30 credit hours have 5 years to complete their degree and a maximum of 45 attempted credit hours. Graduate programs of longer than 30 credit hours have a maximum of 7 years to complete and maximum attempted credit hours not to exceed 150% of the program length. Students who are enrolled in a second degree program which is equal to or lower than a degree already earned, will have officially accepted credit hours which are specifically applied toward the student’s current certificate or degree program counted in the maximum number of the allowable credit hours for financial aid eligibility. Note: A student will not be considered to have reached the credit hour maximum until the semester following the one in which the student reaches or exceeds the maximum semester hours attempted.

Periods of Enrollment

The periods included in the review include all terms in which the student was enrolled, even those during which the student did not receive Title IV aid.

Credits

As the purpose of the SAP policy is to determine whether or not a student is progressing in order to complete his or her degree program within the maximum time frame, only those credits applicable to the degree program in which the student is enrolled is considered in the SAP review. Any credits taken at the school, or transfer credits accepted which are not applicable to the degree program are not considered in the SAP process.

Repeated courses: When an “F” is received for a course, that course may be repeated. Courses that are repeated will count in the calculation of hours attempted and completed hours earned if the student receives a passing grade. Only repeated courses taken at Bethel College will affect the grade point average (GPA) and will include the new grade on the transcript. If a course is repeated at another institution, only the actual credit(s) earned will transfer. A maximum of 5 noncredit remedial courses will be considered as successful completions unless enrollment in additional courses is approved by the vice-president of academic services.

Incompletes: Students who enroll in a course and are given an incomplete grade must complete the course requirements no later than the time grades are due the following semester. If the course is not completed, it is counted as hours attempted but not passed (attempted & unearned).

Withdrawals: Classes that a student enrolls in and withdraws from, receiving an authorized grade of “W,” are not counted as hours attempted. After the last date to withdraw has passed, the student may not withdraw from classes regardless of when they last attended. The student will receive the grade earned.

Intervals

SAP is checked at the end of each term, or payment period. If a late notification of grade change is received for the previous term, SAP must be rechecked using the new information.

Treatment of Grades

Grade

Qualitative Treatment

Quantitative Treatment

A, B, C, D

Calculated

Attempted & Earned

F

Calculated

Attempted & Unearned

Incomplete

Not Calculated

Attempted & Unearned

Pass (P)

Not Calculated

Attempted & Earned

No Pass (NP)

Not Calculated

Attempted & Unearned

Withdrawal (W)

Not Calculated

Not Attempted & Unearned

Repeat A, B, C, D

Calculated

Attempted & Earned

Repeat F

Calculated (but not original grade)

Attempted & Unearned

Transfer Credits

Not Calculated

Attempted & Earned

Remedial Courses

Not Calculated

Not Attempted & Unearned

SAP Appeal

A student who fails to make SAP is automatically placed on SAP Financial Aid Warning (SAP Warning) for the following term. If the student fails to make SAP at the conclusion of the Warning term, the student loses Title IV eligibility. In order to regain eligibility the student must submit an SAP Appeal and it must be approved/granted by the financial aid committee. Prior to submitting the appeal the student should have met with his or her academic advisor to determine whether or not the student can meet the SAP requirements within one term or if an academic plan covering multiple terms needs to be created.

A student is limited to two appeals of the SAP policy.  Appeals must be presented in writing, addressed to the Financial Aid Committee, stating the reasons that justify the request.  Reasons that will be considered include:

  • Severe illness, medical condition, or injury
  • Death of a family member
  • Traumatic life-altering event such as fire, tornado, etc.
  • Other circumstance (Must clearly state circumstance and provide supporting documentation)

If it is determined that the student cannot meet SAP requirements within one term, the student must also submit an Academic Plan to accompany his/her appeal letter. The Financial Aid Committee will review the request and will respond through the Director of Financial Aid within 2 weeks of receipt of the appeal.  Students are notified via letter of the Committee’s decision.

A student whose appeal is granted is placed on SAP Probation for one term. If at the end of the Probation term SAP is met, either because the student meets the regular SAP standards or because the student has met the criteria outlined in the Academic Plan, the status is SAP Met. If the student fails to meet SAP, either because there was no Academic Plan and the student did not meet regular SAP standards or because the student did not meet the criteria in the Academic Plan, the student’s SAP status is SAP Unmet and the student loses Title IV eligibility.

A student whose appeal is not granted will not be eligible for Title IV aid for the semester indicated on the appeal request.  The financial aid office will notify the student of the adverse determination in writing and instruct the student to contact the student account office to discuss the status of his or her student account.

Any student who is not eligible for Title IV aid, based on SAP, can regain Title IV eligibility by meeting all necessary SAP requirements at the end of a semester.  If a student meets both the qualitative and quantitative standards during a semester of ineligibility, Title IV eligibility will be restored for the next semester of enrollment.  If a student reenrolls at Bethel College after a status of SAP Unmet, he or she has the option to submit a SAP appeal, if the limit of two appeals has not been reached.  If granted, the student can regain Title IV eligibility for the applicable semester.  If the appeal is not granted or an appeal cannot be submitted, the student must meet SAP requirements before Title IV eligibility can be reinstated.  

Students who have unsatisfactory grades at midterm may be at risk for academic probation.  In an effort to assist these students in maintaining SAP, the financial aid office will send an email regarding their grades and the potential impact academic probation will have on their ability to receive future financial aid.

SAP Status

  Status

  Description

  Duration

Title IV eligibility?

Notification

SAP Met

Qualitative and quantitative  measure met

Applicable as long as  standards are met

Yes

None

SAP Warning

Qualitative and/or quantitative measure not met

One term

Yes

Letter

SAP Probation

Appeal submitted and after review, approved.

One term

Yes

Letter

SAP Unmet

Qualitative and/or quantitative measure not met

Applicable as long as  standards are not met

No

Letter