How to file a financial aid appeal

By Angela Le Quieu, Staff Reporter | Photo by Angela Le Quieu
For students who are on Financial Aid suspension, but who are close to graduation may have a few options to complete their degree program, which includes the Graduation Incentive Scholarship or an appeal to Financial Aid.

The Graduation Incentive Scholarship is available through the Academic Advisers Office and students who are within one semester of completing their degree and have no other financial aid or grants may qualify.

Students who are on financial aid suspension due to the satisfactory academic progress guidelines, which include reaching the maximum time frame, issues with their completion rate, or low grade point average, can fill out an appeal form explaining what extenuating circumstances have caused them issues through the Financial Aid office.

Student who fill out an appeal before the end of the spring term should know that the appeal will not go through until at least 10 days after the grades from this term have been posted, and it is recommended that students who are in the appeals process set up a payment plan through the Cashier’s Office in order to hold their registered classes.

If a financial aid appeal is not an option, students without any funding can seek a Graduation Incentive Scholarship which covers tuition and fees, but not books or other expenses.

In order to see if a student is qualified for the scholarship they must make an appointment with an Academic Adviser, who will be able to sign a student up for the scholarship, but money is limited, so the school cannot give the scholarship to everyone and acting fast is key to qualifying.

Senior Director for Financial Aid, Lee Carrillo said that colleges are not required by the Department of Education to provide an appeal opportunity, which handles the guidelines for satisfactory academic progress on which the financial suspensions are based.

“We choose to, because we want to give students an opportunity to succeed,” Carrillo said.

For more information on appeals call financial aid at 224-3090, or to inquire about the Graduation Incentive Scholarship call Academic Advisement at 224-4321.

8 steps students can take to make an appeal:
Step one: Pick up an Appeal Form and Financial Aid and Scholarship Services located in the Student Services Center on Main campus, Tom Wiley Hall on Montoya campus, or Student Services on Westside in WS II, room 106.

Step two: Students must have their FAFSA submitted for the current award year, be enrolled in an eligible major for the term, and enrolled by the first day of the term being appealed.

Step three: Fill out the information on the form.

Step four: Students need to complete the SAP Web Presentation which can be found at depts./fass/requirements/sappres.php. After going through the information, there is a short assessment that must be printed and attached to the Appeal Form. Each time a student makes an appeal they must complete this step.

Step five: Students need a typed letter that is a personal statement and it must also be attached to the Appeal Form.

Tips for step five: 1. Include college history and explanations for circumstances in which the student had issues. 2. Make sure to include resolutions to any extenuating conditions. 3. The people who review the appeals are looking for patterns, if there are multiple terms in which a student has had issues they must each be explained.

Step six: Gather supporting documents and attach those to the form, which can include statements from a physician, a death notice from a close relative, letters of support from a third party, or confirmation of circumstances.

Step seven: Visit the Academic Advisors Office and get a print out of a unofficial transcript, and also have a CAPP report run.

A signed copy with the students remaining credit hours must be attached to the form.

Step eight: The completed form with the entire attached document must be taken to the Financial Aid office.

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