Types of Financial Aid

Once eligibility has been established, the student will receive a Financial Aid Award Letter explaining the “Financial Aid Package”, which is comprised of all the funds the student will receive. The student should sign and return the Financial Aid Award Letter within fourteen (14) days in order to assure that the funds offered will be applied to the student’s account. The student may receive assistance from one or more programs, depending upon his or her need and the availability of funds.  Available programs include:

Grants

Grants are gifts of aid to students, which normally would not have to be repaid. However, if a student completely withdraws from classes before the 60 percent point of the semester, the student will owe a partial repayment to the Federal government for any Title IV funds received (Federal PELL Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)),* and Federal Stafford Loans. Other available grants include Connecticut Aid for Public College Students Grant and MxCC Grant. 
*For more detailed information, please see Return of Title IV Funds Policy in this catalog or contact the Financial Aid Office.

Federal Pell Grant 
This grant is the foundation of all federal aid programs. It is money provided to help undergraduate students pay for their education beyond high school. The amount of money the student can receive through this program will depend upon the program funding for the year, the information the student provides on the application, and whether the student is enrolled full–time or part–time. The student must be enrolled for at least three credit hours in a program of six months length or longer. A student is eligible for the Pell Grant until a first bachelor’s degree is earned.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
This is a federal grant for undergraduate students who have completed high school and have a financial need.

Connecticut Aid for Public College Students (CAP)     
This grant is for Connecticut residents who demonstrate financial need.  Annual awards may not exceed the recipient’s unmet financial need.

CTCC Grant–Institutional
This grant is for Connecticut residents who demonstrate unmet need.

Loans

All loans issued or certified by the College must be repaid.  Terms and interest rates vary significantly among the different programs.  MxCC  participates in the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP), most notably the Stafford (Subsidized and Unsubsidized) Loan Program.  

In accordance with federal regulations, a Student Financial Aid Ombudsman has been appointed. The ombudsman will work with student loan borrowers to informally resolve loan disputes and problems from an impartial and independent viewpoint. The ombudsman helps borrowers having problems with direct loans, subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford Loans and consolidation loans. If your student loan complaint is justified, the ombudsman will work with you and the office, agency, or company involved in the problem to seek a reasonable and fair solution.

On your behalf, he/she will contact offices within the U.S. Department of Education, private lenders, banks, and loan guaranty or servicing agencies. The ombudsman’s office recommends solutions, but does not have the authority to reverse decisions. To contact them, call (877)557-2575, visit their Web site at www.ombudsman.ed.gov, or write to:
Office of the Ombudsman, FSA
Student Financial Assistance
U.S. Department of Education
Union Center Plaza-3, Room 411/MS-5144
830 First St, NE
Washington, DC 20202-5144

Work–Study

Students may be awarded a Work-Study award as part of their financial aid package.  The Federal and CAP Work programs provide funds for students to be employed while enrolled, at least half-time per semester, in an eligible program of study.  Students may gain part-time work experience through employment opportunities at the Middletown campus or Meriden Center, or through the Community Service Program (off-campus).

Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for Student Financial Aid Recipients

A student receiving Federal Title IV financial aid or other financial aid directly administered or certified by the college must maintain satisfactory academic progress towards the completion of a certificate or degree program of study.  Satisfactory academic progress for financial aid recipients is measured by both quantitative and qualitative standards and is an assessment of a student’s cumulative academic record at the college.

A student must complete successfully two-thirds (66.66 percent) of the credits (earned credits/attempted credits) s/he attempts and maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.00 to be making satisfactory academic progress and be eligible to receive financial aid.  The student’s cumulative academic history will be evaluated prior to each term’s financial aid disbursement.  This policy will be used to evaluate full-time and part-time students.  A veteran may not be certified for benefits up to 150 percent of his/her program.  A veteran may only be certified for those courses necessary for completion of the designated program of studies.  In order to avoid confusion, we approve for Veterans Benefits, the Probation, Dismissal and Attendance polices.

All attempted credits resulting in either an academic grade or administrative transcript notation will be included in the quantitative calculation.  Transfer credits will be counted as attempted and earned credits in the calculation for determining satisfactory academic progress.

Probation Period
Any student who fails to meet the minimum satisfactory academic progress standard will be placed on Financial Aid Probation once.  The probationary period will be the student’s next semester of enrollment at the college.  The College will communicate the Probation status to the student and inform the student that s/he must meet the academic progress standard by the end of the Probation Period in order to maintain eligibility to participate in the financial aid program at the College.

Termination
Any student who fails to meet the minimum satisfactory academic progress standard at the end of the Probationary Period will be dismissed from the financial aid program at the College.  The college will communicate the Termination status to the student and inform the student of the Reinstatement and Appeal Process available to the student.

Maximum Credit Hours
A student may receive student financial aid for any attempted credits in his/her program of study that do not exceed 150 percent of the published length of the student’s educational program at the college.  For example, a student enrolled in a 60-credit degree program may receive financial aid for a maximum of 90 attempted credit hours.  Similarly, a student enrolled in a 30-credit certificate program may receive financial aid for a maximum of 45 attempted credit hours.  Any attempted credits at the College must be included in the calculation.  This 150 percent maximum credit hours rule is applicable to students who change majors or who pursue a double major.

Reinstatement Policy
A student’s financial aid eligibility will be automatically reinstated at such time as the student meets the minimum satisfactory academic progress requirements.  Reinstatement to the financial aid program may also occur upon a successful appeal by the student.

Appeal Process
A student may request reinstatement to the financial aid program by submitting a written appeal to the Associate Dean of Learning and Student Development.  The letter should cite the extenuating circumstance to be considered in the re-evaluation.    

MxCC No SAP Appeal Process: Upon the student becoming No SAP (not meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress according to Financial Aid regulations), the Office of Financial Aid Services will communicate the No SAP status to the student allowing the student to appeal the decision.
 
The student will be asked to provide a letter detailing what caused them to fail to meet the satisfactory progress standards that can include the following:

  • Family difficulties, such as divorce or illness
  • Difficulty balancing work, school and family obligations
  • Financial difficulties

Please note that in some instances proper documentation may be required to consider the appeal.  In addition, the student will be asked to include in the appeal letter a special plan for academic recovery.        
 
The Associate Dean of Learning and Student Development will review all written appeals and determine if the student is eligible for financial aid upon reviewing the appeal.  The turn around time is at the discretion of the Office of Financial Aid Services.

Once the appeal has been evaluated and a decision has been reached, the appeal process is completed and the Office of Financial Aid Services will communicate the SAP appeal status to the student.  The SAP appeal decision is final and can’t be disputed any further with the Office of Financial Aid Services. All students are encouraged to contact the Office of Financial Aid if they have any questions at 860-343-5741.

Withdrawal from Classes

Students who plan to withdraw from any classes must complete the appropriate Withdrawal Form and report to the Financial Aid Office.  Withdrawals from classes may have a negative impact on the student’s financial aid eligibility.  Please refer to the section on “Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid Recipients.”

Withdrawal from College

In compliance with [the Higher Education Act of 1992] 34 CFR 668.22 (b) and (c) of the United States Department of Education Title IV regulations, the Board of Regents of Community Colleges authorizes a pro-rated refund for students.

Return of Title IV Program Funds for Withdrawn Students

The law now requires that, when you withdraw during a payment period or period of enrollment, the amount of SFA Program assistance that you have “earned” up to that point is determined by a specific formula.  If you received (or your school received on your behalf) less assistance than the amount that you earned, you will be able to receive those additional funds.  If you received more assistance than you earned, the excess funds must be returned.

The amount of assistance that you have earned is determined on a pro rata basis.  That is, if you completed 30 percent of the payment period or period of enrollment, you earn 30 percent of the assistance you were originally scheduled to receive.  Once you have completed more than 60 percent of the payment period or period of enrollment, you earn all of your assistance.
(Source: The Student Guide, Financial Aid, from the U.S. Department of Education 2001-2002)

Return of Title IV Funds Policy for Official Withdrawals

(Effective October 7, 2000)
Students who received, or are eligible to receive, federal Title IV financial aid funds, and officially withdraw from all classes, prior to the 60 percent point in the semester, are subject to a pro-rated calculation to determine the amount of earned and unearned Title IV aid they are eligible to receive. Any unearned portion of Title IV aid must be returned to the Title IV program(s).  This is the responsibility of the student. If the student owes a refund to any federal aid program, the student is not eligible to receive Title IV funds, and possibly other forms of financial aid, until this is resolved.  The Title IV programs include Pell and SEOG grants and Perkins Loans.

The formula is as follows:
The percentage of Title IV aid earned equals the number of days in attendance, divided by the number of days in the semester, times the amount of Title IV aid received.  The unearned Title IV aid is calculated by deducting the amount of Title IV aid earned from the total amount of Title IV aid received. Any student allowances are deducted from this amount to determine the amounts to be returned to the Title IV programs, per federal regulations.
 
In addition to owing a refund to one or more of the Title IV programs, the student may owe an outstanding debt to the College. This is the student’s financial responsibility. The student will be notified in writing, according to federal regulations, of the amount of earned and unearned Title IV aid and the amount of outstanding debt to the College. The student is responsible for contacting the institution to make satisfactory repayment arrangements to Title IV programs and the institution. All funds will be returned to the appropriate Title IV funds according to federal regulations.

Students who withdraw from classes beyond the 60 percent point in the semester will have earned 100 percent of the Title IV financial aid and will not owe a refund to any financial aid programs.

Return of Funds Policy for Unofficial Withdrawals for Title IV Student Aid Recipients

  • Students who withdraw from all classes and do not earn any credits for the semester will be considered unofficial withdrawals.
  • If the institution cannot determine the student’s last day of attendance, the student will be considered to have attended 50 percent of the semester.
  • The student’s financial aid may be applied to the student’s account for the semester, but the student may be determined ineligible for future financial aid assistance, due to unsatisfactory academic progress.
  • It is the student’s responsibility to pay any outstanding debt owed to the institution, if financial aid is not applied.
  • All funds will be returned to the appropriate Title IV funds according to federal regulations.
  • Please contact the Office of Financial Aid Services for more information if you intend to withdraw, or have withdrawn, from your classes.

Other

The Dean of Students is authorized to modify the tuition refund policy for specific students on a case-by-case basis under the following extenuating or extraordinary circumstances:

  • Severe illness documented by a doctor’s certificate
  • Erroneous advisement by the College
  • Military transfer

Exceptions, which are not normally considered, include:

  • Change in job
  • Mild illness
  • Poor decision
  • Student’s change of mind

Student Responsibility

  • Pay special attention to your FAFSA application. Complete it accurately and submit it on time to the proper office. Errors can prevent or delay the receipt of financial aid.
  • Provide all required documentation, verification, corrections and/or new information requested by either the Financial Aid Office or the agency to which you submitted your application.
  • Read and understand all forms that you are asked to sign, and retain a file copy.
  • Accept responsibility for signed promissory note and all other agreements that you sign.
  • If you have a loan, you are responsible for repayment.  Notify the lender/institution of changes in your name, address or school status.
  • If you withdraw from classes, follow the proper institutional procedures, notify Financial Aid Services and repay any refunds due to federal financial aid programs.
  • Perform, in a satisfactory manner, the work that is agreed upon when accepting a college work–study job.
  • Know and comply with the deadlines for application or re-application for aid.
  • If financial aid funds are not applied due to an incomplete application, or if financial aid funds do not pay the student’s entire costs for attending MxCC, the financial responsibility for debts owed to the institution is the student’s responsibility.

Financial Aid Refund Checks

Financial Aid student refund checks for grant aid and student loan checks are scheduled for disbursement early in the semester for which the student received Financial Aid.  The student must be currently attending classes, and the student’s financial aid file must be complete, with all necessary documentation, prior to the release of refund checks.

Scholarships

The MxCC Foundation annually awards scholarships to eligible students at its Scholarship Reception, which is usually held in early May.   To be considered, students must apply.  Winners are selected by the foundation’s Scholarship Committee.  

Scholarship applications are posted on the foundation’s website (www.mxccfoundation.org); available at the Foundation Office and at the Office of the Associate Dean of Learning and Student Development; and distributed at prominent locations throughout campus, normally at the beginning of each spring semester.   The application form lists criteria and required materials that must accompany a completed application.  A strict deadline for receipt of applications is noted on the application form.

Please see the Foundation Scholarship Application for specific details and a complete list of available scholarships.  

Financial aid awards will not be reduced for students who receive private or MxCC Foundation scholarships unless the combined amount of financial aid and student resources exceeds a student’s financial need, as determined by the federal needs-analysis determination.

Resources:   

www.fastweb.com
www.studentaid.ed.gov
www.collegeboard.com     (scholarship search)     
www.wiredscholar.com

American Opportunity Tax Credit

  • The American Opportunity Tax Credit is a partially refundable federal income tax credit established as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
  • The provisions for this credit are specific to tax years 2009 and 2010 and may be claimed for the first 4 years of post-secondary education. It is an expansion of the Hope Scholarship credit. It allows taxpayers to claim 100 percent of qualified tuition, fees and course materials that they have paid during the taxable year, not to exceed $2,000, plus 25 percent of the next $2,000 in qualified tuition, fees and course materials. The total credit cannot exceed $2500.
  • The act also provides a benefit to lower-income families by making the credit up to 40% refundable. A family which does not earn enough to pay income taxes will receive $1,000. A family which would otherwise owe federal income taxes, for example, $2,000 in income tax, should qualify for the full $2,500–effectively eliminating its $2,000 tax bill and being eligible to receive $500 back as part of the refundable credit.
  • Married couples filing jointly who have an adjusted gross income of up to $160,000 ($80,000 for single parents) can claim the full credit for 2009 and 2010. Above that income level, the credit gradually phases out, with those earning up to $180,000 ($90,000 for singles) eligible to claim a partial credit.

Lifetime Learning Credit

College juniors, seniors, graduate students, adults returning to college, and students enrolled less than half–time (less than six credits) are eligible for the lifetime learning tax credit. The credit, available on a per–taxpayer (family) basis, is worth 20 percent of the first $5,000 of tuition and fees through the year 2002, and 20 percent of the first $10,000 in tuition and fees thereafter. Eligibility is phased out at the same income level as the HOPE Scholarship. (Single filers over $50,000 and joint filers over $100,000 are ineligible.) Grants, scholarships, or other tax–free assistance will reduce the amount of tuition and fees covered by the Lifetime Learning Credit. This credit is available for net tuition and fees (less grant aid) for post–secondary enrollment after June 30, 1998.

Connecticut Talent Assistance Cooperative (CONNTAC)

CONNTAC is a cooperative effort of 34 institutions in the state of Connecticut that seeks promising students from disadvantaged circumstances who have never attended a college. Colleges will usually waive the program enrollment fee for students referred by CONNTAC. CONNTAC assists individuals who qualify to find the institution of higher education which best suits their needs and potential.  Connecticut high school students can obtain further information about CONNTAC from their high school counselors or the college’s Director of Admissions, 860-343-5719. For additional information, call either the CONNTAC Central Office at 203-634-7669 or the Middletown Office at 860-343-5800, ext. 6999.