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Understanding Your Award Letter

UNDERSTANDING YOUR FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE AWARD

• AWARD NOTICE – Read your Award Notice and enclosures very carefully. Most types of awards will have a Code Number in the right-most column. Refer to the Award Codes legend listed below for further information and instructions regarding the award.

• ENROLLMENT REQUIREMENTS – Awards are calculated with the assumption that students will be in at least 12 hours if enrolled as undergraduates or 3 hours if enrolled as graduates. If you will be enrolled in less than these hours and have not previously reported this to our office, please do so immediately so the proper adjustments can be made. This will avoid unnecessary delays when registering for classes.  If you withdraw from or cease to attend any class for any reason during a semester, you should notify the FAO prior to withdrawing or ceasing to attend. You could be required to repay all or a portion of the assistance used.

• CONTRACT COURSES –  Student taking Francis Marion University coursework through an outside institution should consult with the outside institution for prices and the schedule of payment.  Payments must be made before classes start.  Financial assistance will be awarded once the student is considered “enrolled” in at least 6 credit hours (undergraduate) or 3 credit hours (graduate).  Typically, the student will have to pay the outside institution out of pocket and then be reimbursed (based on eligibility) at a future date.  The enrollment process could take several weeks.

• REPORTING OUTSIDE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE – You must report to the FAO any money you receive (e.g, outside scholarships, etc.) toward your educational expenses that is not offered to you by the University. It is to your advantage to let us know about such money as soon as possible. You may have to repay University administered funds or have your award reduced if we receive late information concerning outside sources of assistance.

• FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR BOOKS – After University charges have been paid, excess credit from financial assistance may be used to purchase textbooks. If you have excess credit, you may use proceeds from your Change Check for books or choose to make a deposit into your FMU ID Card account for use at the Patriot Bookstore. Check the Fall/Spring Schedules to determine when Change Checks are available.

• SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS REQUIRED – In order to receive financial assistance, you must meet the University’s Satisfactory Academic Progress standards.  These standards are printed in the University Catalog and are available online by selecting “Financial Assistance” under Quick Links at www.fmarion.edu.

• TAXABILITY OF SCHOLARSHIPS – If you receive scholarships during the calendar year that exceed the cost of General University Fees, books, supplies, and equipment, the amount that exceeds these costs must be reported on income tax forms as taxable income.

• AUTHORIZATION TO CREDIT ACCOUNT – Students who have on file an authorization to apply any Title IV financial assistance toward the payment of General University Fees, housing, meal plans, and any other charges billed by the University have the right to rescind such authorization without penalty.

• ALL RIGHTS RESERVED – The FAO reserves the right, on behalf of the University, to review and cancel your award at any time because of changes in your financial status, academic status, academic program, or funding changes.

• VOTER REGISTRATION – Exercise your right to vote! Download a South Carolina voter registration form: http://www.state.sc.us/scsec/vr.html


AWARD CODES (refer to Award Notice)

CODE 01 -- SCHOLARSHIP

 These awards may be from the University or outside sources. Generally, full-time enrollment is required  to receive a scholarship. Unless otherwise stated in your initial award letter, scholarships are non-renewable.  IMPORTANT:  Students must turn in a scholarship application each year in order to be considered for non-renewable scholarships.

4- YEAR RENEWABLE SCHOLARSHIPS:  If you were awarded a 4-year scholarship as a freshman, you signed a 'Terms & Conditions' form stating that there were limits to the total amount of scholarships, grants, etc that you can receive in addition to your scholarship.  Please refer to the 'Terms & Conditions' form that you signed or contact the Office of Financial Assistance at 843-661-1190 to obtain the amount limit.

CODE 02 -- ATHLETIC FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

You will receive credit for your Athletic Financial Assistance on your account each semester as indicated on your Award Notice.  A review of the conditions to which you agreed when you signed your Athletic Financial  Assistance Agreement - to qualify for Athletic Financial Assistance, you must:
* Fulfill the admission requirements of Francis Marion University
* Meet and maintain the eligibility requirements for athletics participation and financial assistance established by the National Collegiate Athletics Association, the Peach Belt Athletic Conference, and Francis Marion University.

NCAA regulations restrict the total amount of financial assistance a student-athlete can receive. If you receive a federal grant, scholarships, or other financial assistance (including earnings from a job during a term), you must notify the FAO. Those funds may replace a portion of your athletics grant to meet NCAA and conference regulations. Your financial assistance will not be increased, reduced or cancelled during the period of its award on the basis of your athletic ability, performance or contribution to your team’s success, an injury or illness that prevents you from participating in athletics, or for any other athletics reason.

You are aware that the amount of this assistance may be immediately reduced or cancelled during the term of this award if:
* You become ineligible for intercollegiate competition (e.g., carrying less than 12 credit hours).
* You give false information on your application, letter of intent or financial assistance agreement.
* You engage in serious misconduct that brings disciplinary action from the University.
* You voluntarily withdraw from the sport for personal reasons before the first competition. If you voluntarily withdraw for personal reasons after the first competition, this assistance cannot be reduced or cancelled until the end of the semester.

You are also aware that this assistance MUST be reduced or cancelled if:
* You sign a professional sports contract for this sport.
* You accept money for playing in an athletics contest that causes you to exceed the cost of a full grant.
* You agree to be represented by an agent and accept money that causes you to exceed the cost of a full grant.
* You receive other assistance that causes you to exceed your individual limit.

Your total financial assistance and job-related earnings (except during school vacations) may not exceed the limits set by NCAA and the Peach Belt Athletic Conference.

CODE 03 --  FEDERAL PERKINS LOAN

This is a need-based loan available to a limited number of students. Interest of 5% begins to accrue at repayment, which is 9 months after
a student ceases to be enrolled at least half-time. Monthly payments vary according to the amount borrowed and must be repaid within 10 years.   

You must attend a pre-loan counseling session and complete a Promissory Note with the Accounting Office. In order to arrange repayment provisions and ensure full understanding of the terms of your loan, the Federal Perkins Loan program also requires that you have an exit interview before you graduate or withdraw from classes. This interview should be scheduled with the Accounting Office prior to graduation or withdrawing.

You will receive credit for your Federal Perkins Loan on your account each semester as indicated on your Award Notice. If you wish to borrow LESS from the Federal Perkins Loan than is being offered to you on your Award Notice, please contact the Office of Financial Assistance. 

STUDENTS WHO DO NOT WISH TO BORROW A FEDERAL PERKINS LOAN

Contact the Office of Financial Assistance at 843-661-1190.

CODE 04 --  FEDERAL SUPPLEMENTAL EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY GRANT (FSEOG)

These are limited funds available to students seeking their first undergraduate degree who are enrolled at least half-time. FSEOG grants generally do not have to be repaid if you remain enrolled for the period of time for which you are receiving grant funds. Need analysis is used to award these grants to the neediest students. You will receive credit for your FSEOG grant on your account each semester as
indicated on your Award Notice.  

CODE 05 --  SOUTH CAROLINA NEED-BASED GRANT

These are limited funds available to full-time students seeking their first undergraduate degree. If you have a certification
form on file for the current academic year, you will receive credit for your S.C. Need-Based Grant on your account each semester indicated on your Award Notice. If you are awarded a SCNBG, a certification form is available on your Swampfox Financial Aid account. Full-time students must maintain a 2.0 cumulative grade point average and earn a minimum of 24 credit hours over the course of the Fall and Spring semesters to be considered for renewal of their SCNBG. THE NEED-BASED GRANT IS DEPENDENT UPON ACTION BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY AND AMOUNTS ARE CONTINGENT UPON THE AVAILABILITY OF FUNDS TO BE APPROPRIATED FOR THE PROGRAM.

CODE 06 -- FEDERAL WORK-STUDY (FWS)

FEDERAL WORK-STUDY AWARDS MAY NOT BE USED TO PAY FEES, HOUSING, OR ANY OTHER UNIVERSITY CHARGES!!!!
Federal Work-Study is a program designed to expand part-time employment opportunities for students, particularly those from low-income families, who are in need of earnings in order to pursue a course of study. The awards are not grants but maximum amounts you may earn while working for Francis Marion University. Your FWS award may not be used as credit or to pay for any obligation to the University.
The number of FWS jobs is limited. To be hired as a FWS student employee, you should:

1. Look at job descriptions posted on the bulletin board outside of the Office of Career Development (University Center Room 210) or going online at http://www.fmarion.edu/students/career/article209279c3945572.htm. Each job description will have basic information about the position and the name of a contact person. There are a large number of positions available at the beginning of the fall semester. The bulletin board and website are updated with new job postings throughout the school year.
2. Contact the appropriate person for each position in which you are interested.
3. When you are hired, come to the Financial Assistance Office to complete forms for authorization to work. If you have never worked on campus before, you must bring two things with you:
           a. your original Social Security Card or birth certificate           b. your FMU Card or driver’s license
It is important to note that your FWS award represents a maximum amount of money you may earn if you find a FWS job. There is no guarantee that you will earn the full amount of the award. When searching for a FWS position, ask the potential employer how much of your FWS you will be able to earn by working in that position.

CODE 07 -- FEDERAL PELL GRANT 

These grants are available to students seeking their first undergraduate degree. Eligibility is determined by the results of your FAFSA. Federal Pell Grants generally do not have to be repaid if you remain enrolled for the period of time for which you are receiving grant funds. You will receive credit for your Federal Pell Grant on your account each semester as indicated on your Award Notice. Less than full-time enrollment in either semester will result in your Federal Pell Grant amount being reduced.  Amounts of Pell are dependent upon federal funding and, therefore, are subject to change.

You are eligible to receive a Pell Grant for up to 12 semesters or the equivalent.  If you have exceeded the 12-semester maximum, you will lose eligibility for additional Pell Grants beginning in 2012-13 school year.  If it is determined after your file is awarded that you have reached the maximum number of semesters for Pell Grant eligibility, your Pell Grant will be reduced to zero and you will be responsible for any balance due to FMU.

CODE 08 --  ESTIMATED FEDERAL STAFFORD LOAN 

The FAO has determined that you are eligible for a Federal Stafford Loan. If you are a first-time borrower, you must sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) by selecting the Direct Loan App & Info link and complete Loan Entrance Counseling.  

Federal Stafford Loans are available to degree-seeking students who are enrolled at least half-time. The interest rate is fixed at 6.8%. Repayment begins 6 months after a student ceases to be enrolled at least half-time. Monthly payments vary according to the amount borrowed but cannot be less than $50.

Recipients of subsidized Federal Stafford Loan funds must demonstrate need according to Federal guidelines. For any subsidized Federal Stafford Loan funds a student receives, the Federal Government pays the interest while the student is enrolled at least half-time or during approved deferments.  Graduate students are not eligible for subsidized Federal Stafford Loans.

Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan funds are available to students who do not or only partially qualify for subsidized funds. With unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans, the student is responsible for paying the interest. Though principal payments are deferred, interest begins to accrue immediately and is payable while the student borrower is in school. The student borrower may elect to defer interest payments as well and have the interest added back to the principal (capitalized).

Federal Stafford Loans that cover the entire regular 9-month academic year will be sent in 2 disbursements: one at the beginning of each semester after enrollment is confirmed. Each disbursement will reflect your approved loan amount less lender fees.

STUDENTS WHO DO NOT WISH TO BORROW A FEDERAL STAFFORD LOAN

Contact the Office of Financial Assistance at 843-661-1190.

CODE 09 -- FEDERAL PLUS (PARENT) LOAN

The PLUS loan application has been transmitted to the Department of Education. Please respond promptly if the lender requests additional information.  The parent borrower will receive a disclosure notice upon approval or a letter upon denial of the application. 

First time PLUS borrowers need to complete a PLUS Notification & Release form.

This loan is available to parents of dependent students who are enrolled at least half-time in an eligible program. The interest rate is fixed for 2013-14 at 6.41%. Repayment usually begins within 60 days of the first disbursement. Monthly payments vary according to the loan amount but cannot be less than $50.

Federal PLUS Loans that cover the entire regular 9-month academic year will be sent in 2 disbursements: one at the beginning of each semester after enrollment is confirmed. Federal PLUS Loans for one semester are sent in one disbursement. Each disbursement will reflect your approved loan amount less lender fees.

CODE 10 -- SOUTH CAROLINA TEACHERS LOAN (SCTL)

Your application has been sent to the South Carolina Student Loan Corporation. Please respond promptly if the
Loan Corporation requests additional information. You will receive a disclosure notice upon approval or a letter upon denial of the application.

With South Carolina Teachers Loans (SCTL), portions of the loan are cancelled in return for teaching in critical geographic or subject areas in South Carolina as determined by the State Board of Education. Refer to www.scstudentloan.org for eligibility, renewal, and cancellation policies.

SCTLs that cover the entire regular 9-month academic year will be sent in 2 disbursements: one at the beginning of each semester after enrollment is confirmed. SCTLs for one semester are sent in one disbursement.

STUDENT LOAN ENTRANCE COUNSELING IS REQUIRED of all recipients of SC Teacher Loans. If you have previously had student loan entrance counseling, you need not do so again. If you have not met this requirement, you must do so prior to receiving credit for your student loan. You may meet the Loan Entrance Counseling requirement by going Loan Entrance Counseling.  

CODE 11 -- FEDERAL STAFFORD LOAN 

Your loan application has been sent to the Department of Education for processing. Please respond promptly if your lender requests additional information. You will receive a disclosure notice upon approval. Federal Stafford Loans that cover the entire regular 9-month academic year will be sent in 2 disbursements: one at the beginning of each semester after enrollment is confirmed. Federal Stafford Loans for one semester are sent in two disbursements. Each disbursement will reflect your approved loan amount less lender fees.

A student loan entrance interview is required of all recipients of Federal Stafford Loans. If you have previously had a student loan entrance counseling, you need not do so again. If you have not met this requirement, you must do so prior to receiving credit for your student loan. You may meet the Loan Entrance Counseling requirement by You may meet the Loan Entrance Counseling requirement by going Loan Entrance Counseling.  

CODE 12 -- LEGISLATIVE INCENTIVES FOR FUTURE EXCELLENCE (LIFE) SCHOLARSHIP

The purpose of the LIFE Scholarship is to increase access to higher education, improve the employability of South Carolina students so as to attract business to the State, provide incentives for students to be better prepared for college, and to encourage students to graduate from college on time. THE LIFE SCHOLARSHIP IS DEPENDENT UPON THE AVAILABILITY OF FUNDS TO BE APPROPRIATED BY THE SOUTH CAROLINA LEGISLATURE. Award is contingent upon student meeting eligibility requirements when final high school transcript
and/or college grades are received by FMU.

Requirements for all students:
• Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
• Be a legal resident of South Carolina at the time of high school graduation and college enrollment
• Graduated from a SC high school, approved home-school program, or preparatory high school
• Attend an eligible SC college or university as a full-time student
• Must not be a Palmetto Fellow
• Have not been convicted of any felonies or 2 or more alcohol/drug related convictions
• Must not be in default, owe a refund, or a repayment on Federal or State financial aid

AND for first time entering freshmen: Have at least 2 of the following 3:
• Score at least 1100 on the SAT (math & verbal only) or 24 on the ACT by June of the senior year in high school
• Rank in the top 30% of the graduating class
• Have at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA on the Uniform Grading Scale

To Renew LIFE:
• After the initial year, have at least a 3.0 LIFE GPA and 30 earned hours
• After the second year, have at least a 3.0 LIFE GPA and 60 earned hours
• After the third year, have at least a 3.0 LIFE GPA and 90 earned hours
IMPORTANT: Your LIFE GPA and earned hours can be viewed by going to View LIFE GPA & Hours.

To Gain Eligibility for LIFE After the Initial Year:
• Meet the Requirements For All Students AND the To Renew LIFE criteria

CODE 13 -- SOUTH CAROLINA HOPE SCHOLARSHIP 

The purpose of the SC HOPE Scholarship program is to provide funding to students who graduate from high school with
a 3.0 cumulative GPA, but are not eligible to receive the LIFE or Palmetto Fellows Scholarships. HOPE is available for the initial year of enrollment only. HOPE is not renewable. A student must meet the LIFE renewal requirements (refer to Code 12) after the initial year of enrollment to continue receiving a state funded scholarship. THE HOPE SCHOLARSHIP IS DEPENDENT UPON THE ANNUAL PROCEEDS GENERATED BY THE LOTTERY. Award is contingent upon student meeting eligibility requirements when final high school transcript is received by FMU.

Eligibility requirements:
• Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
• Be a legal resident of South Carolina at the time of high school graduation and college enrollment
• Graduated from a SC high school, an approved home-school program, or a preparatory high school
• Attend an eligible SC college or university as a full-time student
• Must not be a Palmetto Fellow or LIFE scholarship recipient
• Have not been convicted of any felonies or 2 or more alcohol/drug related convictions
• Must not be in default, owe a refund, or a repayment on Federal or State financial aid
• Have at least a 3.0 cumulative high school GPA on the Uniform Grading Scale

CODE 14 -- PALMETTO FELLOWS SCHOLARSHIP

The purpose of the Palmetto Fellows Scholarship Program is to recognize the most academically talented high school
seniors in South Carolina and encourage them to attend eligible colleges or universities in the State. Palmetto Fellows scholarship recipients are selected by the Commission on Higher Education. THE PALMETTO FELLOWS SCHOLARSHIP IS DEPENDENT UPON THE AVAILABILITY OF FUNDS TO BE APPROPRIATED BY THE SOUTH CAROLINA LEGISLATURE.

To Renew Palmetto Fellows:
• Have earned 30 hours each academic year (Fall, Spring, and Summer)
• Have at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA

CODE 15 -- ENHANCEMENT SCHOLARSHIP

The Enhancement scholarship is based upon availability of funds to be appropriated for the program. 

Eligibility requirements:

  • Must be a LIFE or Palmetto Fellows Scholarship recipient.
  • Must be in the second, third, or fourth year of full-time enrollment (based on initial date of college enrollment after high school)
  • Must be enrolled as a full-time, degree-seeking student in a declared major that is approved by the Commission on Higher Education.  Eligible programs can be found at www.che.sc.gov.  **If you are unsure whether or not your declared major is one that is approved by CHE, please contact our Office of Financial Assistance.
  • Must be making significant progress towards completion of the declared major.
  • Must have earned credit for at least 14 hours of instruction in CHE approved mathematics and life and physical science courses by the end of the first year of college (based on initial date of college enrollment after high school)
  • Currently, any FMU math, computer science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, or Physical Science course will count toward the 14 hour requirement.  **This is subject to change at any time based on directives from CHE.

Current interpretation of the new legislation precludes students from ever becoming eligible for the Enhancement scholarship if the 14 hour requirement is not met by the end of the freshman year.  AP credits and dual enrollment courses (college credit courses taken while still in high school) can satisfy the 14 hour rule.

The Enhancement scholarship amount is up to $2500 per year.  The Enhancement scholarship is awarded in addition to the LIFE or Palmetto Fellows scholarship. 

The Enhancement scholarship is based upon availability of funds to be appropriated for the program. 

 

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