Benedictine University’s Office of Financial Aid administers a variety of federal, state, and institutional programs of student financial assistance. Each of these programs carries specific student eligibility requirements. In general, students must be formally admitted as degree-seeking and enrolled at least half-time (6 semester credit hours).
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 and state governments 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 award letter. The award letter will include the financial program(s) that the student is eligible to receive and the award amount(s) offered by each program.
Types of Financial Aid
Grants are considered to be gift assistance. Gift assistance does not have to be repaid.
State of Illinois (IL) Monetary Award Program (MAP) Grant
Source: Illinois Student Assistance Commission
Eligibility: U.S. citizens or eligible noncitizens, residents of Illinois, demonstration of need as determined by the applicant’s FAFSA Estimated Family Contribution (EFC)
Federal Pell Grant
Source: Federal Government
Eligibility: U.S. citizens or eligible noncitizens, demonstration of need as determined by the applicant’s FAFSA Estimated Family Contribution (EFC))
Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
Source: Federal Government
Eligibility: U.S. citizens or eligible noncitizens, demonstration of need as determined by the applicant’s FAFSA Estimated Family Contribution (EFC)
Information on federal and state programs may be subject to change at any time due to changes in legislation.
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 Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans
Source: Federal Direct Loan Program
Eligibility: U.S. citizens or eligible noncitizens, registered for at least six semester credit hours, demonstration of need (Cost of Attendance minus EFC) is required for the Direct Subsidized Loan
The interest rate for the Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans is established each year and the rate is fixed for the life of the loan. The U.S. Department of Education pays the interest on a Direct Subsidized Loan while a student is in school at least half-time, for the first six months after a student leaves school (referred to as a grace period), and during a period of deferment (a postponement of loan payments). A student is responsible for paying the interest on a Direct Unsubsidized Loan during all periods.
Federal Direct Parent Loan Program (PLUS)
Source: Federal Direct Loan Program
Eligibility: Dependent student registered at least half-time, credit-worthy parent borrower/endorser.
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. citizens or eligible noncitizens, 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 comply with the following requirements:
- Remain in satisfactory academic standing or be on academic probation. The minimum cumulative GPA required to achieve satisfactory academic standing for all undergraduate students is 2.000.
- 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 2/3 = 8 credit hours).
- 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 traditional undergraduate bachelor’s degree program that requires a total of 120 semester credit hours would have a maximum limit of 180 semester 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 all students, except accelerated program students, is reviewed on an annual basis, typically at the end of the spring term. Satisfactory Academic Progress for accelerated program students is reviewed at the end of each payment period. Satisfactory Academic Progress for online undergraduate students is reviewed twice, at the end of the fall and spring sessions. Students failing to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress will be notified in writing of their loss of financial aid eligibility.
Appeal Procedure – 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, student success coordinator, or program coordinator 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 Satisfactory Academic Progress 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.
Probation: If the student’s SAP appeal is approved, he/she may continue to receive Title IV aid for one additional payment period. SAP will be monitored at the end of the probationary period.
Reinstatement: 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,” “D,” and “P” (pass). Hours with an “F” (failure), “W” (withdrawal), “I” (incomplete), and “IP” (in progress) are counted in the number of hours attempted, but not in the number of 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 credits, and developmental course 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 students request 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 web page under the Consumer Information tab: https://ben.edu/financial-aid/.
Traditional Student Requirements
Traditional students should work with their 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
Nontraditional students requesting a financial aid leave of absence must complete and sign an official Financial Aid Leave of Absence request 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 retroactively 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 awarded to a student under the assumption that the student will attend school for the entire period for which assistance is awarded. 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 recalculate and review the student’s eligibility for the 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 outside of Federal Work Study are subject to this policy. This includes: Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans, Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan, Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), and the Iraq Afghanistan Service Grant.
Consequences of Withdrawing from Courses
Withdrawing from courses may affect a student’s financial aid award 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 awarded 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 and recalculation is called a “Return of Title IV Aid” (R2T4) Calculation.
Return of Title IV Aid Calculation
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 determined. If the amount disbursed to the student is greater than the amount the student earned, unearned funds must be returned.
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 in a payment period 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 payment period.
- Institutional charges including 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 Subsidized Loan
- Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan
- Federal Pell Grant
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
- Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
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 Offered 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).
|Program||Payment Period||60% Completion|
|Traditional Undergraduate Semester||15 weeks||9 weeks|
|Online Undergraduate Semester Session||8 weeks||5 weeks|
|Cohort Undergraduate Semester||15 weeks||9 weeks|
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 notification includes oral 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 or state 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: Undergraduate students should be aware that Federal Pell Grant, Federal Direct Subsidized Loan, and the Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP) have lifetime 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 or the Financial Aid Counselor at (602) 888-5512 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.
- Housing – If you are living in a university residence hall, your housing could be affected by withdrawal. Contact Residence Life Coordinator, Julie Cowgill, to discuss:
- The implications for your housing obligation if you withdraw or drop below full-time.
- Any cancellation requirements or financial responsibility you may have for your housing contract if you withdraw.
- Academic Advising
- You should discuss your anticipated withdrawal and your return plans with your academic advisor, graduation counselor or program director.
- If you will be out of school for one year or more, discuss re-admission procedures.