The fundamental purpose of the financial aid program at Benedictine University is to make it possible for every qualified student to obtain a college education regardless of financial means. The process of financing an education is a partnership. Although the student and his/her family have primary responsibility for meeting college costs, Benedictine University, as well as the federal government, have a variety of financial aid programs available to students who need financial assistance.
All students applying for financial aid are asked to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Students must reapply for financial aid each award year. The FAFSA should be completed as soon as possible after October 1.
After completing the financial aid application process, a student will receive a financial aid offer letter. The offer letter will include the type(s) of financial aid assistance and amount(s) the student is eligible to receive.
Financial Aid & VA Enrollment Statuses
To receive financial aid, graduate students must be enrolled, at least half-time, as a degree-seeking student in an eligible program. For federal financial aid purposes, a full-time student is one who has enrolled in a minimum of 6 credit hours per semester. To achieve half-time status, a student must be enrolled in at least 3 credit hours per semester. Students enrolled in a program delivered under the quarter calendar must enroll in at least 8 credit hours per quarter to be considered full-time and 4 credit hours per quarter to meet the half-time enrollment requirement. Graduate cohort students are considered full-time for financial aid eligibility purposes when continuously enrolled in the established curriculum program schedule.
The above standards are applicable to students using federal student aid. Those who are utilizing benefits offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs have different criteria to determine their aid eligibility under the various VA programs offered.
Benedictine offers graduate courses in 8-week sessions, 10-week quarters, and 15-week semesters. All VA enrollments are based on a student’s enrollment status per payment period. Because 8-week session courses can be taken by both quarter hour and semester hour students, it is worth noting that the enrollment status requirements are different depending on which type of program (semester vs. quarter) the student is enrolled under. Overlapping course start dates may also result in differing enrollment statuses than those below.
Enrollment Definitions for Students Utilizing VA Benefits
|Type of Course
|Semester Program: 8-week session
|3+ credit hours
|Semester Program: 15-week semester
|6+ credit hours
|3 credit hours
|Quarter Program: 8-week session
|4+ credit hours
|Quarter Program: 10-week quarter
|8+ credit hours
|4 credit hours
Types of Financial Aid
Scholarships are considered to be gift assistance. Gift assistance does not have to be repaid.
Loans are considered to be a form of self-help assistance. Loan programs provide funds for educational purposes and are paid back with interest.
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan
Source: Federal Direct Loan Program
Eligibility: U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen, registered as a degree-seeking student in an eligible program
Graduate students are eligible to borrow up to a maximum of $20,500 in Federal Direct Unsubsidized loans per academic year.
Direct Unsubsidized loans are not based on financial need. Students may borrow the cost of education minus all other financial aid, up to the annual maximum. The interest rate on the Unsubsidized Direct loan is fixed and begins to accrue from the date the loan is initially disbursed. The interest may be paid while enrolled, or it can accrue and become part of the principal owed. Repayment on the Federal Direct Unsubsidized loan begins upon graduation or when the student ceases to be enrolled at least half-time.
Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan
Source: Federal Direct Loan Program
Eligibility: U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen, registered as a degree-seeking student in an eligible program, credit-worthy borrower/endorser.
Graduate and professional students are eligible to borrow funds from the Federal Direct PLUS loan program. Students may borrow the cost of education minus all other financial aid. The interest rate on the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan is fixed and begins to accrue from the date the loan is initially disbursed. The interest may be paid while enrolled, or it can accrue and become part of the principal owed. The first payment on a Federal Direct PLUS loan is due within 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed; however, payments may be postponed while the student is enrolled at least half-time. Students should borrow their full Federal Direct Unsubsidized loan before borrowing from the Federal Direct PLUS loan program.
Part-time jobs on campus are available to students through the University and Federal Work-Study program. Students working on campus receive a bi-weekly paycheck.
Federal Work Study (FWS)
Source: Federal Government through Benedictine University
Amount: Hourly wages up to 20 hours per week
Eligibility: U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen, demonstration of need as determined by complete financial aid offer
Source: Benedictine University
Amount: Hourly wages up to 20 hours per week
Eligibility: Registered student, not tied to federal aid
Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for Financial Aid Recipients
Federal regulations require that Benedictine University establish standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for students receiving federal financial aid funds. Minimum standards of academic progress are established to encourage students to successfully complete coursework for which financial aid is received and to make progress toward a degree.
Financial Aid Programs Included Under this Policy
All federal and state financial aid programs are subject to this policy.
Students Subject to this Policy
All students currently receiving federal and/or state financial aid funds are subject to this policy. Benedictine University students who have not previously received financial aid are required to meet the cumulative GPA requirement of this policy prior to receipt of financial aid.
Satisfactory Academic Progress includes three criteria:
- Academic standing based on the student’s cumulative GPA;
- The student’s cumulative progression toward successful degree completion; and,
- Degree completion within a maximum timeframe of 150 percent of the published length, in credit hours, of a program.
In order to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress, students must:
- Remain in satisfactory academic standing or on academic probation. The minimum cumulative GPA required to achieve satisfactory academic standing for a graduate student is 3.00,
- Maintain a completion rate of coursework equal to at least 2/3 of the total number of credit hours attempted. This quantitative requirement ensures the student is steadily progressing toward their degree by completing at least two-thirds of all attempted credit hours. For example, a student who has attempted a cumulative total of 12 credit hours must complete at least 8 credit hours to meet the completion rate requirement (12 hours x .67 = 8 credit hours); and
- Complete their degree requirements before attempting 150 percent of the credit hours required for their chosen program of study. For example, a student enrolled in a master’s program that requires a total of 64 credit hours would have a maximum limit of 96 credit hours.
Once a student has reached the maximum credit hours, the student is no longer eligible to receive federal or state financial assistance. All terms of enrollment are reviewed as well as all attempted transferred credits, regardless of whether aid was received.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Review Process
Satisfactory Academic Progress for traditional graduate students is reviewed on an annual basis, typically at the end of the spring term. Satisfactory Academic Progress for online graduate students is reviewed twice annually at the end of the fall and spring sessions. Satisfactory Academic Progress for learning team graduate students is reviewed at the end of each payment period. Students failing to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress will be notified in writing of their loss of financial aid eligibility.
Cancellation of financial aid because of a student’s failure to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) may be appealed if extenuating circumstances (illness, family problems, death of a family member, etc.) led to academic difficulties. The appeal must include information explaining why the student failed to meet SAP; what has changed in the student’s situation that would allow the student to meet SAP at the next evaluation; and a realistic educational plan that outlines how the student will meet the SAP criteria. A meeting with an academic advisor to assess the viability of the educational plan to meet the degree requirements is recommended. The student’s appeal must be in writing and submitted to the Office of Financial Aid.
An appeal may be approved only if:
- The student will be able to meet SAP standards after the subsequent payment period, and,
- The student submits an academic plan that, if followed, will ensure that the student is able to meet SAP standards by a specific point in time.
The deadline to submit an appeal to reinstate financial aid must be received at least 14 days prior to the anticipated term of enrollment.
If a student’s SAP appeal is approved, he/she can continue to receive Title IV aid for one additional payment period. SAP will be monitored at the end of the probationary period.
A student may regain eligibility for financial aid once the student has met the minimum requirements of SAP. It is the student’s responsibility to contact the Office of Financial Aid to request a review of his/her SAP for reinstatement of assistance.
Completion of Courses
Hours completed are based on grades of "A," "B," "C," and "P" (pass). Hours with a "D," "F" (failure), "W" (withdrawal), "I" (incomplete), "IP" (in progress) and "X" (deferred) are counted in the number of credit hours attempted, but not in the number of credit hours completed. Note: It is the student’s responsibility to notify the Office of Financial Aid when an incomplete grade has been satisfactorily completed. Class repeats, transfer credit hours, and developmental course credit hours are counted in the total number of credit hours attempted/completed.
Financial Aid Leave of Absence Policy
An Academic leave of absence (LOA) is a process that allows students to interrupt their academic program for a limited period of time without requiring them to reapply for admission to the University. During the period of the leave, the student is considered to be on active status with the University awaiting their return to study. A Financial Aid leave of absence (LOA), for Return of Title IV funds purposes, is a “temporary interruption in a student’s program of study”. The University’s academic leave of absence and financial aid leave of absence are independent processes from each other.
Length of Approved Leave
The Office of Financial Aid may grant a qualifying student a financial aid leave of absence of up to 180 days in any 12-month period during which the student is considered on active status and no Title IV Return of Funds calculation is required. Time in excess of 180 days will not be approved.
If approved, the leave of absence period will be calculated from the student’s last date of attendance. The count will be based on the number of days between the last date of attendance (LDA) and the re-entry date. The initial LDA is used when determining the start date for the 12-month period referred to above.
Request for Multiple Leaves of Absence
The Office of Financial Aid may grant multiple leaves at different times as long as all of the leaves added together do not exceed 180 days in a 12-month period. If a student requests a leave of absence that exceeds 180 days in a 12-month period, the Office of Financial Aid will contact and advise the student that the request is denied and the student will need to officially withdraw from the program.
Completion of Coursework Upon Return
Title IV regulations indicate that upon the student’s return from a leave of absence, the student can begin a new course of study. Therefore, Benedictine University extends to all students the ability to begin a new course of study within their academic plan.
LOA Returns Prior to the Scheduled End Date
Students, upon notification to their academic advisor, may return early from an approved leave of absence prior to the LOA end date as long as they are able to begin a new course within their program. The LOA will be shortened according to the student’s return date and the 180-day limitation will be credited accordingly.
Failure to Return
If a student does not return from an approved leave of absence on the expected return date, the student will be considered as withdrawn from the University and a Return of Title IV Funds calculation will be processed. For more information, please see the section titled Return of Title IV funds on our Financial Aid FAQ webpage: https://ben.edu/financial-aid/faq/.
Traditional Student Requirements
Traditional students should work with their academic advisor in order to lessen any academic ramifications. The University Withdrawal/Leave of Absence form will be completed through the advisor and must indicate the date the student plans to return to the University. Even though the academic department may approve a leave for longer than 180 days, federal regulations dictate that financial aid recipients must return within 180 days, or they will be considered withdrawn.
Non-traditional Student Requirements
Non-traditional students requesting a financial aid leave of absence must complete and sign an official Financial Aid Leave of Absence form and submit it to the Office of Financial Aid to be processed no later than the student’s last day of attendance in the course immediately preceding the leave.
If unforeseen emergency circumstances prevent a student from providing a request for a leave of absence on or before the last date of class attendance as outlined above, the academic advisor can request and submit the student’s request to the Financial Aid Appeals Committee for approval. Unforeseen circumstances may include medical and family emergencies, unexpected business travel and natural disasters. If approved, the student will be granted a leave of absence retroactive to the student’s last date of attendance, the student will be notified by the Office of Financial Aid and the student’s academic record will be adjusted accordingly.
Return of Title IV Funds Policy
Federal Title IV funds are offered to a student under the assumption that the student will attend school for the entire period for which assistance has been offered. If a student who received Title IV funds withdraws, either officially or unofficially, on or before completing the payment period, the Office of Financial Aid is required to review and recalculate the student’s eligibility for financial aid.
Students Subject to this Policy
All students currently receiving federal funds are subject to this policy.
Financial Aid Programs Included Under this Policy
All Title IV Federal financial aid programs are subject to this policy. This includes: the Federal Direct Unsubsidized and Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loans.
Consequences of Withdrawing From Courses
Withdrawing from courses may affect a student’s financial aid eligibility and academic standing. Prior to withdrawing from courses, students are advised to speak with their financial aid counselor and academic advisor, student success coordinator, or program coordinator to discuss all possible implications of withdrawing from a course(s).
Financial Consequences of Withdrawing
Financial aid is offered to assist with educational expenses for the length of an entire payment period. If a Title IV recipient withdraws prior to completing 60 percent of the payment period, the Office of Financial Aid must determine how much of the federal funding was “earned” up to the time of withdrawal. This review is called a “Return of Title IV Aid” (R2T4) Calculation.
Return of Title IV Funds Policy
If a recipient of Title IV funds withdraws from the University or will be out of attendance for over 45 calendar days, the amount of Title IV assistance earned by the student must be re-calculated by the financial aid counselor. If the amount disbursed to the student is greater than the amount the student earned, unearned funds must be returned to the Federal Direct Loan program.
Conversely, if the amount earned is greater, the student may be eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement. The Office of Financial Aid will notify the student in writing, of their eligibility for a post-withdrawal disbursement if a student is deemed eligible.
The percentage of financial aid the student is eligible for is determined by the following:
- The number of days attended divided by the number of days in the payment period. Institutional breaks of five or more consecutive days, excluding a leave of absence (LOA), are excluded from the length of the payment period.
- Institutional charges include tuition, fees, and school contracted room and board charges.
Any unearned funds that need to be returned to the Federal Government are completed in the following order:
- Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan
- Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan
If the recalculation determines the student did not earn all of the funds that were disbursed during the payment period, the excess aid received must be returned to the federal government within 45 days of the date of the student’s withdrawal.
Title IV funds that must be returned to the government as a result of the R2T4 calculation may create a balance due to the University.
A student may have their financial aid reinstated or re-awarded after a Title IV calculation has been processed once the student returns to the University.
Number of Weeks a Student Must Complete to Earn 100% of the Financial Aid for Each Payment Period
The following chart represents the approximate number of weeks for each program type students need to complete to retain all aid that was disbursed for the payment period (minimum of 60 percent of the payment period).
|Traditional Graduate Semester
|Traditional Graduate Quarter
|Online Graduate Semester Session
|Online Graduate Quarter Session
|Cohort Graduate Semester
|Cohort Graduate Quarter
Determination of Withdrawal Date
A withdrawal is considered to be an “official” withdrawal when the student completes an official withdrawal through MyBenU, their academic advisor, student success coordinator, or program coordinator or verbally notifies the Office of Financial Aid. Acceptable official notification includes notification to the designated contacts listed above.
A withdrawal is considered to be an “unofficial” withdrawal when the student stops attending classes and does not withdraw from those classes or notify the University. In these circumstances, the withdrawal date is based on the student’s last academic activity (i.e., took an exam, submitted a term paper, etc.). If the date is unknown, the withdrawal date will be the midpoint or 50 percent of the payment period.
If the student could not notify the University of their intent to withdraw because of extenuating circumstances (illness, accident, grievous personal loss or other circumstances beyond student’s control), the withdrawal date used will be based on documentation related to the event once the Office of Financial Aid is notified.
If a student does not return from an approved leave of absence (LOA) or does not indicate a date of return less than 180 days on the LOA form, the withdrawal date will be the student’s last day of attendance prior to the beginning of the LOA and a Return of Title IV funds will be calculated.
Students with all Failing Grades
Most academic programs at Benedictine do not require monitoring of student attendance. For Title IV recipients, Federal regulations state if a student fails to earn a passing grade in at least one course within the payment period, the institution must assume that the student has unofficially withdrawn unless there is documentation that the student completed the period.
Withdrawing from courses while attending Benedictine may have implications beyond the academic realm. It is important to take these other areas into consideration prior to withdrawing. Please refer to the checklist below to assist you in determining these other areas.
- Financial Aid – Call the Office of Financial Aid (630) 829-6100 or meet with a financial aid counselor to discuss the following:
- Your eligibility for federal financial aid: If you are considering withdrawing from courses, be sure to discuss the federal Title IV refund policy and its implications for your current financial aid payment period with your financial aid advisor.
- Your current and future eligibility for financial aid: Students should be aware that Federal Direct Loans have aggregate limits.
- Enrollment changes from full-time to part-time status: Changes in enrollment can affect the amount of your financial aid eligibility and may affect your eligibility for any enrollment-dependent benefits – such as prior loan deferment or certain types of insurance coverage.
- Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) regulations: Federal regulations require that students make steady progress toward a degree to remain eligible for financial aid. You may review the financial aid SAP Policy in the Forms section of our financial aid webpage.
- Student loan deferment: If you have borrowed federal student loans your withdrawal will have implications which may include your grace period beginning to start or even the repayment on prior loans. Please contact your federal loan servicer for information to determine how withdrawal will affect your loan repayment. You may view your loan information on the National Student Loan Data System.
- Increased educational expense: Remember that your educational costs will increase when you withdraw and may result in increased time to complete your degree. The expense of unearned coursework increased educational debt and the potential loss of long-term student aid eligibility are a few examples of how your financial aid and expenses may be impacted by a withdrawal. Work with your financial aid counselor and academic advisor to minimize this cost.
- Business Office – Call a Business Office representative at (630) 829-6503 to discuss any of the following:
- Any outstanding balance you may have.
- The implications of withdrawing if you participate in a payment plan.
Please note outstanding balances must be repaid prior to any future registration and/or release of transcripts.
- Academic Advising – Contact the your advisor to discuss any of the following:
- Your anticipated withdrawal and your return plans with your academic advisor, student success coordinator, or program director.
- If you will be out of school for one year or more, discuss re-admission procedures.