Terms and Conditions of Awards
Your application for financial aid is similar to entering into a business contract. You have certain obligations and responsibilities to fulfill while you receive financial aid from the College. Please use this guide to protect your financial aid status and ensure your smooth passage through the financial aid process.
To Finalize Your Award
- If you are accepting all of the awards listed on your Award Letter, it is not necessary to return it to the Financial Aid Office.
- If you are declining any awards listed on your Award Letter, please check the appropriate boxes and return it to the Financial Aid Office within two weeks.
- Notify the Admissions Office in writing if you will not be attending Bucks. Do this as soon as possible, but definitely before the start of classes. This keeps your academic record and your financial account with the College clear.
Your Responsibilities in Accepting this Aid
- You must use all funds for educationally-related expenses.
- Attend classes on a regular basis, and promptly notify the College if you withdraw from a class or the College.
- You are not eligible to receive financial assistance (loans or grants) at more than one institution during a semester.
- Report all financial aid information used to determine your eligibility honestly and completely. Misrepresenting information on the financial aid application is a violation of law and is considered a criminal offense which could result in prosecution under the U.S. Criminal Code.
- Submit all documentation, verification, corrections and/or new information requested by the Financial Aid Office.
- Read and understand all forms that you are asked to sign. Read the terms and conditions of your awards. Retain copies for your records.
- Please make yourself aware of the different requirements needed if you have been awarded a PHEAA Grant, for more details, a Rights and Responsibilities Certification Document is available at www.pheaa.org.
- You are expected to read and understand the college policies regarding your financial aid. This information is published in the College catalog and on the Financial Aid website at www.bucks.edu/financialaid.
Terms and Conditions of Your Award: Enrollment Status
- Eligibility for financial aid awards is contingent upon your enrollment status throughout the semester.
- Students must be attending for credit in order to receive aid. Students auditing a course(s) will not be eligible to receive aid.
- Some programs require students to maintain full time status; while others program require that students maintain at least half time enrollment, and other less than half time enrollment.
- In most cases, award amounts are dependent upon enrollment status. Adjustments in enrollment status either between or during the semester will result in adjustments to the award amount or cancellation of awards and sometimes delay refund checks.
How Do I Maintain Eligibility?
To maintain eligibility for financial aid, you must make "satisfactory academic progress." Academic progress is checked at the end of each semester. The three basic components of the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy are: maintaining a certain grade point average (GPA), successfully completing sixty-seven percent (67%) of attempted credits each semester of enrollment at the College, and completing a course of study within a maximum time frame. The Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy is explained in detail, in the catalog and on the Financial Aid website at www.bucks.edu/financialaid/.
You must attend classes on a regular basis. The funds you receive from the financial aid programs must, by federal regulation, be used solely for educationally related expenses. If you are unable to attend class, you must contact your instructor. If you must withdraw from a class or the College, you must contact the Admissions Office. Failure to attend classes is not considered to be an official withdrawal from a class or the College. You must formally notify the Admissions Office of your intent to stop attending. If you stop attending classes and do not notify the Admissions Office, you will be required to repay any financial aid refunds you may have received to cover education expenses during the time you were not attending classes. A student will be considered an unofficial withdrawal if he/she receives financial aid and fails to earn a passing grade in at least one class in which he/she was enrolled. In this case, the Financial Aid Office will perform a Return to Title IV calculation and remove any unearned financial aid received by the student. If the removal of unearned financial aid results in an outstanding balance, the student will be unable to re-enroll until the outstanding balance has been paid. If you do not plan to attend during a semester for which you received a financial aid deferment, you must formally withdraw through the Admissions Office prior to the first day of classes. If this is not done, you will be responsible for paying that semester’s tuition and fees.
Withdrawal from the College
To ensure that all matters regarding your financial aid award, refunds and student loan obligations are taken care of prior to leaving the College, you must contact the Financial Aid Office. You will be billed for any refund overpayment received, and will be unable to re-enroll until any overpayment has been repaid. Students with Federal Perkins Loans and Federal Stafford Loans are required to complete an exit interview with the Financial Aid Office.
Payment of your Awards
The College pays financial aid scholarships, grants and student loans by direct credit to your student account on a semester basis. Your aid will be credited to your account as soon as possible after you have returned all required forms and classes have started. The payments typically begin after all drop and add activity is completed and the refund period has ended. Remember a change in enrollment will delay your refund.
How do I pay for books?
You may be able to charge your books if you have financial aid awards in excess of the amount needed to pay your tuition and fees. If you are able to receive a Bookstore voucher, a notice will appear on your Financial Aid Self Service account underneath My Bookstore Available Funds. If this code appears on your account and you are currently enrolled, you can go to the Bookstore and purchase your textbooks. Remember that a photo id is required and you have a designated time frame to use your voucher (Typically the first 2 weeks of the regular semester.). Vouchers expire as the payment process begins for the full traditional semester.
Financial Aid Refund Checks
If the amounts of your scholarship, grant, and student loan awards are more than the amount you owe to the College (on a semester basis), the College will refund the difference directly to you within 14 days after your financial aid is credited to your student account.
Enrollment Status Changes
If you do not enroll for the number of credits you indicated on your application for Financial Aid, or change your status during the Drop/Add Period or the Course Withdrawal Period, your financial aid award(s) may be revised. You will be notified of any changes to your award(s) with a revised Financial Aid Award Letter.
If the College becomes aware of an error in any of the information used to determine your eligibility for financial aid, you will be required to make corrections and have your application re-evaluated. If the corrected information results in the cancellation or reduction of awards, you will be required to repay any funds you may have received on the basis of the incorrect information.
Student Loan Defaulters
Students who are in default status on previous student loans are NOT eligible to receive financial aid through Bucks County Community College. In applying for and accepting financial aid awards, students must sign a statement certifying that they are not in default status on a student loan. If, at any time, the College becomes aware that a student is in default status on a student loan, eligibility for financial aid is cancelled, and any aid received must be returned to the College.
Students who need help in resolving issues or payment problems with any federal loans: Direct Loans, Federal Family Education Loans, Guaranteed Student Loans, Perkins loans, PLUS loans, or SLS loans, may contact the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman at the toll free number 1-877-557-2575 or 202-377-3800.
Students who borrow money to attend college are required to complete entrance and exit counseling. Entrance counseling is required for all students before they receive their first loan disbursement. Students at BUCKS are required to complete entrance counseling before the loan is certified. Exit counseling is required of loan recipients when you leave or stop attending at least half time. This is required so that you understand your rights and responsibilities as a borrower. You will receive information about repayment options, loan discharge, cancellation, forgiveness opportunities, consolidations processes, deferments and your outstanding loan balance. More information is available for all loan counseling or at Federal Student Aid.
Mail or Returned Mail
All students will be notified by postal mail of their financial aid status/eligibility. If mail is returned to our office due to an incomplete, incorrect, or an expired forwarding order we will do the following: If we confirm that the verified permanent address on file at the college is no longer valid we will try to contact you by email. This email will be sent to your Bucks County Community College student email account to notify you that your mail has been returned. It is the student’s responsibility to rectify any and all address discrepancies. It is the student’s responsibility to have a correct address and phone number on file at the college. It is the students' responsibility to notify the Financial Aid Office of their correct address.
Procedures for a Change in Circumstances
What happens if my financial situation changes for the worse?
You may request reconsideration of your financial aid award at any time during the year. You must submit your request in writing to the Financial Aid Office, and include a detailed explanation of how your situation has changed since the time you completed the aid forms. This can be completed online. If funds are available, the College may be able to offer you additional assistance, or help you locate aid to allow you to continue to attend the College.
What about next year?
You must re-apply for financial aid each academic year. Students can file a FAFSA on the Web at www.fafsa.ed.gov. The FAFSA should be completed as soon after January 1 as possible.
I'm planning to transfer
If you will be transferring between the fall and spring semesters, you will need to provide the transfer institution with specific information that is contained on your Federal Student Aid Report. In addition, you may have to complete additional Financial Aid Application forms required by the college to which you plan to transfer. Contact the Financial Aid Office for assistance. If you will be transferring next year, be sure to request information about financial aid programs from that college at the same time that you submit an application for admission. Many colleges and universities have application deadlines, and your chances of receiving financial aid will be enhanced by an early application.
Check for additional private and institutional scholarships in the College's Library and on the college website at www.bucks.edu/admissions/scholarships. Students can always access the free scholarship search at www.fastweb.com or other free scholarship search engines.
About Bucks County Community College
The College is a public, two-year college that provides a wide range of educational opportunities. It is accredited by the Middle Atlantic States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. Applicants interested in further details, specific programs, or course offerings, visit www.bucks.edu or call 215-968-8100.