Federal regulations require colleges to consider all educational financial assistance to be calculated in determining student eligibility. Financial assistance includes grants, loans, scholarships, waivers, fellowships/assistantships, work study, specific Veteran educational benefits, and similar programs used to cover postsecondary educational expenses. When a student receives more aid than his/her financial need or our cost of attendance, the result may be an overaward.
Overawards must be resolved and may result in funds being returned to an aid program and a student owing the university money.
When the total of all aid received by the student exceeds the student’s cost of attendance budget, awards in the package will be adjusted (cancelled or reduced) in order to eliminate the overaward. Loans will be reduced before any reduction is made to any other awards.
Federal/State Regulatory Overaward Requirements
Federal and state need-based aid regulations stipulate that a student receiving federal or state need-based awards cannot receive assistance (from any source) in excess of his/her financial need as determined by the analysis of the information submitted on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
How do overawards occur?
Overawards are usually the result of the student receiving aid that the Financial Aid Office was not aware of when it completed the student’s financial aid package and/or processed a loan application for the student. It is the student’s responsibility to provide written documentation indicating additional resources to the Financial Aid Office. This should be done as soon as the student becomes aware that he or she will receive the aid. We must account for all sources of aid, even if they are not processed directly through our office.
Mid-semester or mid-year changes or updates to your Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) can result in new aggregate loan limits being reported to the Financial Aid office. This may result in an adjustment in your financial aid eligibility.
If you attended another school and we are notified that there has been a change in your Federal Direct Stafford loan(s) or Federal Pell Grant amounts, your award will be reviewed and may be revised.
Regardless of the reason for the overaward, we are bound by Federal regulation to correct the overaward. Exceptions cannot be made for anyone.
Correcting an Overaward
Here are the steps that the Financial Aid Office will take to correct an overaward.
- We will determine whether or not the student has increased financial need that was not anticipated at the time of the award and/or loan application.
- If no increased need is demonstrated, and/or the student’s total aid still exceeds his or her need, we will cancel or reduce funds in the following order:
- Work-study funds if the student has not been placed yet.
- Undisbursed loans and/or return loan funds to the lender if the disbursement has already been made.
- If the student has no loans or the student’s aid still exceeds the student’s need after all loans have been cancelled, we will reduce institutional grant and/or scholarship aid.