Financial Aid

In the Financial Aid Office, we help you navigate the complicated world of financial aid and funding the overall cost of attending college. We assist our students with applying for federal, state, institutional, and private resources. Our office is always staffed and accessible to students and parents. We believe in an open-door policy where you and your parents can walk in at any time and have their questions answered and concerns addressed.

The first step to qualifying for financial aid is to fill out your FAFSA online using the college code 003116.

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In response to COVID-19, updates have been made to our SAP policy to help alleviate potential impacts to future aid eligibility. Please review these updates under the Grade notations counted in attempted for completion rate sections below. 

Policy Overview: 
Students receiving Title IV Federal Student Aid are required to be making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) toward their degree completion.  The SAP regulations, defined in HEA 668.34, require Rio Grande to review on a regular schedule each student’s progress using three measures: qualitative, quantitative, and pace (maximum timeframe). Failure to meet the requirements for the University of Rio Grande Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy in coordination with Federal Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Guidelines, may result in the loss of financial aid. 

New SAP regulations, effective July 1, 2011, dictate SAP statuses that schools must use based on how frequently SAP is reviewed.  The new regulations also addressed the treatment of credit hours that count toward students’ degrees but earned prior to attending the school.  These regulatory changes necessitated changes in Rio Grande’s Satisfactory Academic Progress policy. Beginning with Fall 2015, Rio Grande made a policy change to review a student’s SAP requirements at the end of each term. Students will be permitted a warning term and receive written communication from the financial aid office outlining an explanation and terms of the student’s warning status.    

The Office of Student Financial Aid also uses the same SAP standards for certain institutional aid and for some State of Ohio Programs. 

The Office of Student Financial Aid reviews SAP for all students who have records in the financial aid module of Student Information System (SIS).  This includes students who may not be receiving any aid affected by SAP eligibility.  This is done to ensure that SAP eligibility is considered in the event a student was to become otherwise eligible for such aid in the future.

Students monitored under policy: Undergraduate, Graduate

Aid programs subject to policy: Federal Title IV aid and State of Ohio Grant.  Institutional need-based scholarships and grants recipients must meet the requirements stated on the scholarship stipulations.  If no stipulations are stated then this policy is in effect.

Review schedule
•    Rio Grande reviews SAP at the end of each term for completion rate and GPA for all students.
•    Pace of completion (Maximum timeframe) is reviewed each term for all students. 
•    Students who regain conditional eligibility due to appeal will be given strict standards and monitored each term on the student’s academic progress. 

SAP Measurements
The Qualitative [(all credit hours attempted/credit hours earned (completed successfully)] and the Quantitative (Cumulative GPA) measures are shown in the table below:

         

Grade notations counted in attempted for completion rate:  

  • Successful completion means a student has received an A, B, C, D, P, or S.  
  • Grades of F, I, NF, U, NG, and W are not considered successfully completed courses.
  • Courses not included in the calculation of completion rate for SAP are courses which the student takes as an audit (Spring 2020 exceptions listed below).
  • Transfer credits appearing on a student’s transcript are counted as attempted hours to determine completion rate.

** Hours attempted includes *all hours pursued, earned, dropped, and failed. All of these hours are counted as attempted even if the student did not receive aid.

Spring 2020 Only: Courses dropped after March 5, 2020, as a result of Covid-19 will not count as attempted or completed. These grades are designated on the transcript as “IC”. 

Spring 2020 Only: Courses with a grade of “I” (Incomplete) as a result of Covid-19 related circumstances will not count as attempted or completed.

Pace of Completion (Maximum timeframe) measure: the maximum timeframe for all students is defined as 150% hours attempted of the published program length. 

  • Undergraduate students are measured based on all attempted credits (defined by the same grade notations as listed under the quantitative measure) and cannot exceed 150% of the number of credits required for each student’s primary major. 
  • The maximum timeframe for graduate students is based on the degree level a student is pursuing.  
  •  Students pursuing master’s degrees are allotted a maximum of 60 attempted credit hours to complete a master’s degree.

Treatment of Special Coursework

  • Transfer Credits: Transfer credits appearing on the URG transcript are counted for completion rate and maximum timeframe.
  • Remedial Coursework: undergraduate students can take up to 30 hours of remedial coursework, and these hours are considered in the calculation based on the SAP grade notations previously listed
  • English As A Second Language (ESL) Courses: students taking these courses as part of a declared major will have them included in their SAP calculations based on the SAP grade notations previously listed
  • Consortium Agreements: coursework taken at other institutions via consortium agreements are assigned “Academic Affairs” courses, will be assigned grades, and will be counted for completion rate and max timeframe 
  • “I” GRADES: An “I” (incomplete) will be considered an “F” until a letter grade is assigned in its place. It is the student’s responsibility to notify the Financial Aid Office of the grade change. (Spring 2020 exceptions listed above)
  • SEEKING ADDITIONAL DEGREE PROGRAMS- Title IV federal financial aid is generally awarded to undergraduate students for the completion of one degree. Students who are seeking an additional degree may do so at the student’s own expense. However, if the student has just-cause that validates his/her decision to seek an additional degree, the student may appeal to the Financial Aid Office to request federal aid for an additional degree/certificate. Students may only appeal once to receive aid for an additional degree/certificate program.
  • REPEATED COURSES-Repeated courses which were previously failed are counted in hours pursued and, if successfully completed, hours earned.

SAP Statuses:

  • Eligible: meeting all requirements for SAP
  • Suspension: assigned to students who fail to meet the required GPA and/or completion rate at the time of their annual SAP review.  Students on suspension are not eligible to receive Title IV aid.
  • Probation: assigned to students who regain financial aid eligibility due to an appeal and who can reasonably be expected to meet SAP standards by the end of the subsequent payment period. Probation is also assigned to students who regain eligibility due to an appeal. These students will be provided a GPA and completion rate goal that will let them know what is required of them to be making progress at the next review.
  • Warning: Students who do not meet the Completion Rate or Minimum GPA required will be on one semester warning period. If the Completion Rate and/or GPA is still below the SAP requirements after the warning period, then the student’s financial aid will be suspended.   
  • Nearing Max Timeframe: status assigned to students who are within 30 credits of reaching their maximum timeframe.
  • Maximum Timeframe Suspension: assigned to students who meet or exceed their maximum attempted hours.  Students on suspension for a maximum timeframe are not eligible to receive SAP affected aid.  

Warning and Probationary Status 

  • Probationary and warning students will be advised to enroll in a Focus on Success LA10303 course, which is designed for “at-risk” students to help develop a strategy towards becoming a successful college student.

Regaining Eligibility

  • Students who are suspended due to GPA or completion rate remain ineligible for SAP affected aid until both their GPA and completion rate are at or above the minimum levels.  Ineligible students continue to be monitored annually, and will be returned to “Eligible” if they are meeting all standards at the time of a review. 
  • Students who self-correct during a term that SAP is not reviewed can be returned to “Eligible” only if they self-report.  
  • Students can also have their aid reinstated upon an approval of a SAP appeal. 

Types of SAP Appeals 

  • SAP Appeal for Additional Maximum Time Frame Hours Only – to be used by students who have reached their maximum timeframe ONLY due to changing majors, having multiple majors, having a large number of transfer hours or having a previous bachelor’s degree.
  • Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal – to be used by students who are not meeting the minimum GPA and/or completion rate set forth by Rio Grande, and as a result have lost their financial aid eligibility. 

Appeal Requirements

  • SAP appeal for Maximum Time Frame
    • A letter of appeal must address (a) why the student has been unable to complete your program within the maximum number of credit hours allowed AND (b) the student’s current program of study and career goal(s). 
    • Complete the table provided with the appeal form that shows the courses the student has left to take and when the student plans to take the required courses for the degree.
    • Students who plan to appeal must be ACCEPTED into a program of study or taking classes that ARE REQUIRED FOR THE DECLARED DEGREE. 
  • •    Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal 
    • A letter of appeal must address and provide documentation of the extenuating circumstance leading to the failure to meet the required standards.  
      •     Only appeals that document the following reasons will be considered
        • 1.    Personal illness or injury 
        • 2.    Death of an immediate family member
        • 3.    Other extreme situation that is out of the students control
    • Appeals will NOT be approved more than Twice. 
    • Special consideration will be given to students who have been away from Rio Grande longer than three academic years. 
    •  Appeals stating the cause of suspension is related to lack of transportation or one term of self-pay are no longer considered a valid reason to appeal.    
    • Appeal deadlines will be set before the beginning of each semester by the Financial Aid Office and posted on the Financial Aid Office Website Calendar. 
    •  An appeal form is required to be completed and submitted along with the letter of appeal to the Director of Financial Aid.
    •  A SAP committee comprised of staff from other departments related to student services, will review all SAP appeals and make recommendations on the approval or denial of a student’s SAP appeal. 

Approved Appeals

  • Students who successfully appeal their suspension due to GPA or completion rate will be monitored and required to meet the standards outlined in the SAP approval letter by the next review. These students will be provided, with specific term requirements for completion rate and GPA to give them an understanding of how they must do minimally each term to be within standards by the next SAP review. Students are required to complete EVERY course successfully with a “C” or better.  
  • Students who successfully appeal their suspension due to GPA or completion rate and can reasonably be expected to meet SAP standards by the end of the subsequent payment period are placed on probation for one term.
  • Students who successfully appeal their suspension due to maximum timeframe will be given additional hours to complete their program and will be assigned “Eligible” status. Only those courses required for program completion will be covered by financial aid.


Updated May 2020


 

How Withdrawing Affects Financial Aid
Students receiving Federal Student Aid are expected to complete courses during the semester or pay period for which the funds are awarded. When students discontinue attendance either officially or unofficially the student may no longer be eligible for the full amount of Title IV funds awarded during the term or pay period.  Instead, a school is required to determine the earned and unearned portions of Title IV aid as of the date the student-ceased attendance. A pro-rated schedule is used to determine the amount of Title IV funds the student has earned based on attendance at the time of withdrawal. 
The return of funds to the federal government is required of the unearned portion of Federal Student Aid. If the student has earned 60% of their Federal Student Aid in the payment period or period of enrollment, a student has earned 100% of the Title IV funds he or she was scheduled to receive during the period. For a student who withdraws after the 60% point-in time, there are no unearned funds to be returned.  
An example would be a student who withdraws in the fourth week of a 16-week term, would have earned 25% of their Federal Student Aid. In addition, 75% of the unearned funds would be returned to the federal government. 
Since financial aid is earned based on attendance, students who never begin attendance will have their aid cancelled.
How the Withdrawal Date is Determined 
The Return of Title IV fund process begins when the student officially or unofficially withdrawals from all courses. The date of withdrawal is determined by the date the student began the official withdrawal process, including the date the student notified URG they wish to withdrawal. If a student ceases attendance without notifying URG, this is considered an unofficial withdraw and the withdrawal date will be the midpoint of the semester or the last date of academic activity as documented by the instructor. 
The Difference Between Earned and Unearned 
URG is not required to take attendance by an outside entity.  Therefore, the FAO evaluates the grades earned by the student at the end of the academic period to determine if a student has unofficially withdrawn.  In order to return Title IV funds in a reasonable period of time, the FAO will determine the withdrawal date for a student who withdrew without providing notification within 30 calendar days of the end of the payment period. 
 If a student earns a passing grade in one or more of his or her classes, the student is considered to have completed the course and completed the payment period.  Grades considered as passing include: A, B, C, D, and S. A grade of I (Incomplete) indicates the instructor considered the student as still attending and working on the subject matter.  A grade of F or U indicates the instructor considered the student as attending but failing to grasp the subject matter.  A Return of Title IV Funds is not required. 
 A student is considered to have unofficially withdrawn if the student began attendance, did not officially withdraw, and earns all NF grades for the payment period.  Return of Title IV funds is required for students showing a status of 100% unofficial withdrawal (all courses attempted have NF grades). 
URG has developed a final grading system to determine whether a student who failed to earn a passing grade in his or her classes completed the period.  The official grading policy provides instructors with the ability to differentiate between those students who complete the course but failed to achieve the course objectives and those students who did not complete the course by stopping attendance.   A grade of “F” (failing) indicates the student attended the class but failed to achieve the course objectives.    If a student receives all “F’s”, the FAO considers the student to have earned the “F” and to be attending classes throughout the term.  Therefore, no calculation of Return of Title IV funds is processed. A grade of “I” (Incomplete) indicates the student attended the class.  However, the student is being allowed additional time to complete coursework.  The instructor changes the temporary “I” grade to an official grade when work is complete. If a student receives all “I’s”, the FAO considers the student to have attended throughout the term. Therefore, no calculation of Return of Title IV funds is processed. A grade of “NF” (student stopped attending) indicates the student did not officially withdraw from the course, but failed to participate in course activities through the end of the period.   
 If a student receives all “NF” grades for a term, the student will be considered an “unofficial” withdrawal.  After grades are posted, the student will be notified that they are being considered as an “unofficial” withdrawal.
 Students will be notified if they owe a repayment due to an unofficial withdrawal within 30 days of the date the determination of the withdrawal is made.  Students will be billed for the amount that they owe to the Title IV programs, as well as any amount due to the university, as a result of Title IV funds that were returned that would have been used to cover university charges. 
The amount of Title IV aid earned is determined by multiplying the total Title IV aid (other than FWS) for which the student qualified by the percentage of time during the term that a student was enrolled.  If less aid was disbursed than was earned, the student may submit a request to receive a late disbursement for the difference. If more aid was disbursed than was earned, the amount of Title IV aid that must be returned (i.e. not earned) is determined by subtracting the earned amount from the amount actually disbursed.   
Earned = Number of Days Completed / Total Days in Payment Period 
Unearned Percent = 100% - Earned Percent
The repayment calculation is performed utilizing the federal government’s repayment worksheet see link below for access to the federal worksheet:
https://ifap.ed.gov/aidworksheets/attachments/2010IASGCreditHourFinal.pdf

Order of Return to Federal Aid Programs
The amount of Federal Aid that a student must repay is determined via the Federal Formula for Return of Title IV funds (Section 484B of the Higher Education Act). This law also specifies the order in which funds are to be returned to the financial aid programs from which they were awarded, starting with loan programs within 45 days in the following order.  

  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan
  • Federal Direct Subsidized Loan
  • Federal Perkins Loan
  • Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)
  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
  • Federal TEACH Grant
     

Student Responsibility of Repayment 
The responsibility for returning unearned Title IV aid is shared between the university and the student.   It is allocated according to the portion of disbursed aid that could have been used to cover university charges, and the portion that could have been disbursed directly to the student once those charges were covered.  URG will distribute the unearned aid back to the Title IV programs, as specified by law.    If a student totally withdraws or stops attending all classes before completing more than 60% of the term, a portion of the total federal aid received, excluding Federal Work-Study earnings, may need to be repaid immediately.

Post-Withdrawal Disbursement
If a student earns more financial aid at the time of their withdraw, than the amount already disbursed to the student account, this is called a post-withdraw disbursement. If a student is eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement, they have 14 days from the date of the notice to request the disbursement. Post Withdrawal disbursements may take 4-6 weeks to process. 
Post- Withdrawal Disbursement of Federal Grant Funds
URG will automatically credit the student’s account with the Pell Grant and FSEOG late disbursement for current institutional charges. Excess funds will be disbursed within 45 days of the date the institution determined the student withdrew. 

Post-Withdrawal Disbursement of Federal Direct Loan Funds
When a student’s Federal Student Aid includes Federal Direct Student Loans with a post-withdrawal disbursement, URG must obtain written permission from the student or parent (PLUS) before it can be disbursed. The borrower will be notified within 30 days of the time the student withdrew of the opportunity to accept all or part of the post-withdrawal disbursement. The borrower will have 14 days from the date of the notification to respond. The loan(s) will be applied to the student’s semester charges on the student’s account and may pay up to the allowable charges. Any overage the disbursement causes will be paid directly to the student or parent through a mailed check. 

Spring 2020 COVID-19 updates 
Section 3508 of the CARES Act directs the Secretary to waive the statutory requirement for institutions to return Title IV funds as the result of student withdrawals related to a qualifying emergency. For any student who begins attendance in a payment period or period of enrollment that begins on or includes March 13, 2020, and subsequently withdraws from the period as a result of COVID-19-related circumstances, an institution is not required to return Title IV funds.

Unofficial Withdraws
Students who received grades of all IC’s are determined as a COVID-19 related withdraw as stated above in the grading policy. These students never initiated an official withdraw but did not complete the term as indicated by the instructor based on the change of instruction due to COVID-19. We have determined the date of unofficial withdraw as the day prior to Spring Break (March 6th) as the last date of attendance. These students ceased attendance once the method of instruction went remote related to COVID-19. The date the school determined the unofficial withdraw was May 4th, which is the date the instructor indicated the student was an “IC” or COVID-19 withdraw. As a result of the COVID implications on the student’s education because of the change in instruction we did not return Title IV funds on these students per the Updated Guidance of Interruptions of Student Related to Coronavirus published on May 15, 2020.

Official Withdraws
For R2T4 purposes, institutions should treat days that classes were suspended as days included in a “scheduled break.” If you extend your scheduled break and the additional days added to the days in the original scheduled break equal five days or more, you will need to exclude the additional days from R2T4 calculations performed after the change has been made. Similarly, if an institution suspends classes for at least five consecutive days, those days must also be excluded from the R2T4 calculation for students who withdraw after the change has been made. IFAP FAQs
The University of Rio Grande extended its scheduled break of March 6th – March 14th to include the following 3 weeks. The updated scheduled break was from March 6th – April 5th. As classes resumed on April 6th, the instruction for all face-to-face courses were offered in an alternative mode of learning. All official withdraws that took place before the break was not recalculated with the updated scheduled break. However, all official withdraws that happened during and after March 6th were calculated with the updated scheduled break.