Graduate Catalog 2015-2016 [Archived Catalog]

Financial Aid Information and Policies

Robert Ritz, B.S., M.Ed., Ph.D.
Vice President for Financial Aid and State Relations


The Financial Aid Office administers the financial aid programs for the University and provides financial assistance to students who have a financial need and would otherwise be unable to attend Liberty University. Primarily the student is responsible for the cost of higher education. A student who needs financial assistance is expected to contribute by working or borrowing a reasonable portion of the funds needed for educational expenses.

Financial aid is available to eligible students to help meet education-related expenses. The types of financial aid available include grants, loans, scholarships, and employment. Grants and scholarships are “gift aid” and need not be repaid. Loans must be repaid to the lender over an extended period, typically after the student leaves school. Employment offered as a type of financial aid is paid at a pre-determined rate for work actually performed.

All applicants for financial aid are required to:

  1. Apply for admission to the University;
  2. Be degree candidates. Student auditors, dually enrolled high school students and special non-degree students are not eligible for federal financial aid; and
  3. Complete, electronically sign, and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with the United States Department of Education by the priority deadline date of March 1 each year in which financial aid is desired.  Students are urged to apply early for optimum financial aid benefits. Complete the FAFSA on the web at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov. The school code for Liberty University must be entered on the FAFSA for the institution to receive a Student Aid Report. The school code for Liberty University is 010392. Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when completing the FAFSA, when eligible.
    For new students entering in the Spring semester, the priority deadline date to file the FAFSA is by October 1.
  4. Complete verification when required.

Once the completed FAFSA is received by the United States Department of Education, information provided by the student on the FAFSA is used to produce a Student Aid Report (SAR). The SAR calculates the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which is used to determine the student’s financial need.

The student’s financial need is the difference between the Cost of Attendance and the EFC. The Cost of Attendance may include the educational expenses of:

  1. Tuition;
  2. Room and board (for students living on and off campus);
  3. Required fees;
  4. Books and supplies;
  5. Transportation; and
  6. Miscellaneous expenses.

The amounts for these six educational expenses are the student’s estimated Cost of Attendance at Liberty University, and they become the student’s budget for financial aid purposes. Only the actual tuition, fees, and room and board (for resident students living in campus housing) are provided on the student’s University bill.

Financial aid recipients are selected on the basis of demonstrated financial need (as stated earlier) and academic achievement. Each financial aid recipient is provided an Award Notification Letter, which is the University’s official offer of estimated financial aid. Students do not need to respond to the Award Notification Letter unless they are:

  1. Requesting a decreased loan amount;
  2. Declining the loans or other aid offered; or
  3. Receiving additional financial aid.

Students who want to reduce or decline federal loans that are automatically awarded to eligible students can complete a Federal Direct Student Loan Change Form in ASIST.  In order for a Liberty University student to continue to receive Institutional Or Federal Financial Aid, The Student Must Maintain Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress. Liberty University’s policy for determining satisfactory academic progress is stated below.

For more information on financial aid, visit the Financial Aid Office, located in the Student Services Center at Green Hall or find us on the Internet web site at http://www.liberty.edu/financialaid.


Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

The Financial Aid Office of Liberty University administers student financial aid programs from federal, state, and institutional, sources.  The U.S. Department of Education requires schools to evaluate progress for all students, even those who did not receive financial aid in prior terms at Liberty University.

Students must meet Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements to receive federal Title IV and institutional aid. The Virginia Commonwealth programs are administered under the guidelines from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV).

This policy describes the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements and is in addition to and operates separately from the Academic Satisfactory Progress requirements for each academic program. 


Evaluating Satisfactory Academic Progress

The standards against which all students are measured include Qualitative, Quantitative, Maximum Time Frame, and “All Unearned Credits” standards.  The academic record of all students is reviewed when final grading is completed for each term. The review is cumulative and includes all courses taken at the student’s current academic level. After the evaluation, letters will be sent to all students who have insufficient academic progress and are being placed on Financial Aid Warning or Suspension.

Qualitative Standard
Cumulative GPA is composed of all coursework at the current academic level and is calculated by the Registrar’s Office. Students must meet the minimum cumulative GPA as determined by their classification and program.

Student Classification Required Minimum Cumulative
GPA for Program
All Diploma and Certificate Programs, M.A. (Worship Studies, Marketplace Chaplaincy Ministries*, Christian Leadership Studies*, Discipleship Ministries*, Evangelism and Church Planting*, Intercultural Studies*) M.A.R.  M.A.C.M.,M.A.T.S., M.R.E., M.Div. (Standard and Chaplaincy, J.D. 2.00

M.A. (Executive Leadership, Human Services, Human Services Counseling, Pastoral Counseling), M.A.T., M.Ed., M.A.M.L.

2.50

M.Div. (Accelerated and Academic/Pre-Ph.D.)M.A. (Christian Apologetics, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Communication Studies*, Communications, Counseling, English, Ethnomusicology, History, Marriage and Family Therapy, Music and Worship, Music Education, Professional Counseling 48 and 60 credit hour tracks, Strategic Communication), M.A.G.A.*, M.A.G.S., M.A.P.S., M.A.P.P., M.B.A., M.F.A., M.P.H., M.S.H.I., M.S.I.S., M.S.I.T., M.S. (Accounting, Criminal Justice, Cyber Security, Exercise Science, Healthcare Administration, Marketing, Sport Management), M.S.N., Th.M., Ed.S., Ed.D., D.Min., D.N.P., Ph.D.

3.00

D.B.A.

3.25

*Degree program is not available for new and re-applying students.

Additional academic progress criteria may exist for certain financial aid programs.  For example, some private scholarships and Commonwealth of Virginia programs require a higher cumulative grade point average than those listed above.  Once a transfer student has grades for a payment period at Liberty University for coursework taken toward the eligible program, Liberty University will use the cumulative GPA calculated from those grades only.

Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine grading for OMS I-IV medical students is based on a scale of 0 to 100.  LUCOM requires a grade of 70 or above for passing all courses, any grade below 70 is failing.  Students in the D.O. program must maintain at least a 70 out of 100 points overall to meet the minimum Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress requirement.

Quantitative Standard
In order to meet the quantitative standard students must complete 67% of attempted coursework at the current level.  Withdrawals, incompletes, repeated courses, failure grades, and transfer hours will count as attempted coursework.  Please note: completion rates are not rounded up to meet progress.  If a student has a completion rate of 66.666%, they are not meeting the minimum 67% federal requirement.

Maximum Time Frame
A student may not exceed a maximum number of attempted hours in any program even if aid was not received during that term or prior terms.  Once the student reaches the maximum timeframe allowed the student will be ineligible to receive financial aid.

Academic Program Maximum Number
of Attempted Hours

Master’s Degree (Except M.Div.)

Education Specialist Ed.S., Ed.D., Ph.D., D.B.A.
90
M.Div., J.D., D.N.P. 135
Certificate Programs
(9 to 12 credit hours in length)
13
Certificate Programs
(15 to 19 credit hours in length)
22
D.O. 505

All Unearned Credits
Students attempting at least half-time level credits who earn no credits for the term will be placed on financial aid suspension and will not be permitted to receive financial aid in their next term.

Grades that do not count as earned toward completion of the academic program:  Because some grades are NOT counted as earned credits toward the completion of a degree program, they are not counted as successfully completed credits toward the minimum financial aid satisfactory academic progress standards. Examples include, but are not limited to: AU, BU, CR, CU, F, FN, FW, I, IP, M, N, NP, U, W, WF, WP, WU, X, Z.

Break in Enrollment
When a student has a break in enrollment and is readmitted, the SAP status for prior terms will apply. For example, if a student is placed on financial aid suspension at the end of the Spring term, does not return in the Fall term, and is readmitted the next Spring term, the student will continue in a financial aid suspension status for that term.

Federally Defined Leaves of Absence (FLOA)
Liberty University does not grant federally defined Leaves of Absence for Financial Aid purposes.  Instead of utilizing a federally defined Leave of Absence, the University assists students by:

  • Making tutoring available
  • Allowing students to work with faculty to finish incomplete coursework
  • Allowing an official appeal of the Financial Aid Refund calculation based on unusual circumstances
  • Allowing students to “stop-out” for one or more semesters
  • Allowing students to drop courses with a “W” rather than an “F” during specific time-frames
  • Allowing students to submit a Special Considerations Form (even during the period of enrollment) to reconsider the calculation of need-based financial aid eligibility
  • Allowing students to appeal a determination of insufficient satisfactory academic progress under the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy requirements.

The “Federally Defined Leave of Absence” policy listed above is for student financial aid purposes only and does not address University policy for employees (i.e. FMLA regulations).

Terms/Parts-of-Term/Summer Sessions
A traditional semester is referred to as a standard term (e.g. Fall, Spring, and Summer).  Standard terms, as defined by Liberty University, are comprised of a combination of smaller “sub-terms” (e.g. sub-term B, sub-term C, etc.).  Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements are calculated based on the combined sub-terms as defined by Liberty University.  Intercession credits from classes occurring during approximately the final two weeks of December and/or the first two weeks of January will be added to the Spring Term.  Any other intensive courses will fall within a standard term (and be attributed to only that specific standard term).  Summer sub-terms, for the purpose of credit hour load and measurement of progress, are combined together into the Summer term.  The Summer term is considered a “trailer” at Liberty University.  This means that aid processed for the Summer term will be based on the FAFSA from the prior year. 

Delay or Changes with Future Aid
In some cases, the grades are submitted on dates close to or during the subsequent term. This will delay the SAP review process and may affect aid in subsequent terms for some students.  Students who are affected will see their financial aid satisfactory academic progress as “Waiting” status in ASIST until grades are submitted and SAP is reviewed.   

Withdrawals and Incompletes
Courses from which a student withdraws or receives a grade of incomplete will not be considered as satisfactorily completed. The courses, which will be considered courses attempted but not completed, may negatively affect eligibility for the next term and will factor into the measurement for the maximum time frame.

Repeated Courses
Repeated courses are considered in the maximum time frame requirement. The course/s will be considered as attempted each time the course is taken.  Repeating the same course during the same term is not allowed as this would inflate the student’s enrollment level requiring the elimination of related financial aid.  Additionally, a course that is repeated during the same term would cause an incorrect calculation of the completion rate (Quantitative Standard) listed above.

In most cases, enrollment in a course that is repeated more than once cannot be counted toward enrollment for future financial aid eligibility. The Repeated Coursework Policy can be read in full at www.liberty.edu/fapolicies.

Transfer Courses
Transfer courses are not considered in determining eligibility under the qualitative measure but are considered in the quantitative and maximum time frame measurements.  Transfer students are awarded as first-year students without regard to grade or warning status at the prior post-secondary institution. The Financial Aid SAP requirements would then be used to measure the transfer student’s continued status. Transfer credits must be evaluated and a grade-level established, and any Unusual Enrollment Holds (UEH) designations must be cleared before any educational loans are processed.

Consortium Agreements
The number of credits earned under an approved consortium agreement is integrated into the student’s record upon completion of the course. Note: Courses must first be approved for transfer by the Liberty University Registrar’s Office. The Consortium Agreement is also subject to approval by both the home and host institution’s authorized financial aid staff.  Failure to complete the course/s could negatively reflect in the SAP evaluation.  Financial Aid staff from the home school will request information from the host school during the enrolled term to confirm continued enrollment and (at the end of the term) satisfactory academic progress.  Failure to complete the course/s or completing a course/s in a manner that does not comply with University’s transfer standards will result in financial aid suspension and future requests for a consortium agreement will not be considered.  If a Financial Aid SAP appeal is approved, unearned hours under the consortium agreement will not be calculated when future progress reviews occur.

Remedial/Developmental Course work:
Financial aid is not available for non-credit remedial courses. Remedial/Developmental courses carrying regular college credit are considered in determining the qualitative, quantitative and maximum time frame requirements for SAP.  These courses are counted in enrollment for financial aid eligibility since they meet the following federally defined requirements:

  1. They are not a prerequisite that would hinder admission into an eligible degree program at Liberty University.
  2. They are less than one year in length.
  3. They offer instruction above the 5th Grade Elementary level.
  4. They are not used to satisfy high school graduation requirements.

ESL Courses
Financial aid, including Dependent Grant in Aid (DGIA) and Continuing Education (CE) benefits, is not available for students enrolled in the ESL/ELI program. ESL courses taken as part of an undergraduate program are non credit courses.  ESL/ELI courses are not included in the calculation of satisfactory academic progress.

Special Student Status
Special Students are not eligible for federal and state aid.  Some Special Students qualify for certain institutional aid programs.  For this reason, the Quantitative Standard Rule, Maximum Timeframe Rule and All Unearned Credits Rule of the Financial Aid Satisfactory Progress Policy apply to Special Students.  The minimum cumulative grade point average requirement for Special Students is 2.00 for Graduate, Doctoral and Law programs.

Change in Major / Additional Degrees
When a student changes their major or seeks an additional degree, the student may appeal to the Financial Aid Office to have courses attempted and earned that do not count toward the student’s new major or degree excluded from the Maximum Time Frame calculation of a student’s SAP standing.

Changed Grades
If a grade is changed, the student is required to notify the Financial Aid Office immediately. The Financial Aid Office will then initiate a review of the effect of the grade change on academic progress within 30 days of notification. A grade change late in or after the term in question, or failure to notify the Financial Aid Office may result in the loss of financial aid eligibility because regulations may limit the time within which aid may be re-awarded or disbursed.

The Liberty School of Law adheres to a schedule which allows for grades to be submitted after the end of the term.  Because of this, Liberty School of Law students evaluated after grade submissions may have their aid eligibility recalculated – and may need to adjust their payment arrangements through Financial Check-In later than non-law students.

Academic Amnesty Program
Federal regulations require that the student’s complete academic history be included in the evaluation of Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress.  Therefore, the Academic Amnesty Program at Liberty University cannot alter the academic history reviewed for Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress.

Cumulative grade point averages used for the measurement of Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress is based on all attempted courses at the current academic level and may not be replaced by other calculations such as courses within a specific degree or major.

Failure to Make Satisfactory Academic Progress
Students who fail to meet the qualitative and/or quantitative standards at the end of a term (based upon the student’s enrollment) will be placed on financial aid “warning” status and will remain eligible for financial aid while on a warning status.  Students on financial aid warning status must meet the qualitative and quantitative requirements by the next term’s measurement of progress. 

Students not meeting the requirements at the next term’s measurement of progress will be placed on financial aid suspension and considered ineligible for future financial aid until the deficiencies are resolved.

Re-establishing Eligibility
Students may re-establish eligibility for financial aid by taking appropriate action to meet the minimum academic standards. If the student cannot meet the academic standards, re-establishing eligibility usually requires the submission of a Satisfactory Academic Progress Form with supporting documentation. Readmission to Liberty University after Academic suspension or approval of an Academic suspension appeal does not automatically reinstate financial aid eligibility after a Financial Aid suspension.

Exemption of Certain Institutional Funds
Some specific institutionally funded sources of financial aid are excluded from the minimum requirements under the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.  These funds include:

  • The Liberty University Online Program Alumni Scholarship
  • The Founder’s Memorial Scholarship Programs (including associated funds formerly known as “Jerry Falwell Ministries - JFM” or “Jerry Falwell Scholarship - JFS”).
  • Discounts that are not listed as an aid fund, but as a resource.
  • Liberty University employees who are not enrolled in a degree program –and- not receiving any other type of financial aid covered under this policy, are exempt from the 150% rule requirement.

Please Note: The Dependent Grant in Aid (DGIA) program does require the student to be enrolled in a degree program and therefore DGIA recipients are subject to the 150% rule and other requirements within this policy.

  • The Liberty University VTAG Institutional Fund
  • The WWMC Radio Scholarship Fund
  • The Liberty University Online Promotional Fresh Start Award
  • The Liberty University Endurance Program
  • The Liberty University Online Promotional Book Dollar Award

Appeals
A student who is placed on financial aid suspension may appeal this decision. To appeal the financial aid suspension, a student must submit to the Financial Aid Office Appeals Committee a signed and dated Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form and any supporting documentation as described on the appeal form.  If documentation is requested, it is typically provided from an objective third-party.

Examples of objective 3rd party officials that often can provide acceptable documentation

Doctor, lawyer, pastor, religious leader, social worker, teacher, guidance counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist, judge, parole officer, court officials, law enforcement, employer, funeral director, human resources director, military clerk, nurse, physician’s assistant, medical secretary, medical technician*

*Family members of the student, friends, and Liberty University employees are not considered an acceptable third party.

Examples of typically acceptable official documentation

Signed letter on letterhead from official 3rd party individual, medical bill, medical chart, x-ray, discharge paperwork, pay stub, death certificate, obituary, funeral program, newspaper article, certificate of separation, divorce decree, insurance statement, moving documents, lease agreement, legal documents, military orders, summons, arrest warrant, police report, court documents**

**Official documentation is required to be dated and, as applicable, include a date of service or date related to the reason for the appeal.  If a letter is being submitted, it must include a wet signature (electronic, stamped, and photocopied signatures will not be accepted).  A character reference not addressing the appeal circumstances is not considered acceptable documentation.

After the committee reviews the submitted appeal, the student will be notified of the decision in writing. All financial aid awards remain cancelled until the student follows these appeal procedures and receives a written notification of reinstatement.  If a reinstatement is approved, the reinstatement will last from the date of the appeal approval until the next term measurement event.  Reinstatement of aid eligibility is not retroactive and will only affect current or future enrollment periods.  In the cases of those students receiving financial aid in the form of subsidized employment, the student’s worksite supervisor/s will be notified of the reinstatement.

Students on financial aid warning status are not required to submit a letter of appeal since their financial aid eligibility will continue during the warning status.

Students who submit an appeal to the Financial Aid Office very late in a term or after the term has ended may lose financial aid eligibility because regulations may limit the time within which aid may be re-awarded and/or disbursed.

During the period of an approved appeal, students must satisfactorily fulfill the requirements in the Financial Aid academic plan.  This academic plan requires every student to have a cumulative completion rate of 75% and a GPA requirement reflecting a quarter point (.25) average above for that regular program for the term of the approved appeal. This plan supports the progression towards resolving overall Satisfactory Academic Progress deficiencies.  If the student fails to meet this standard, they will be placed back on suspension and will lose financial aid eligibility.

Student Should Monitor Progress
Students are responsible to review their grades (when midterm and end-of-term grades are available) and compare their progress to the standards set forth in the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Policy to ensure that they are aware of their standing.  As they review their academic information, students are encouraged to proactively seek assistance like pursuing academic advising, arranging tutoring, or regularly discussing their academic work with their instructor/s.

Please Note:  Since a financial aid suspension that is caused from one term’s grades could immediately affect the next term’s aid, even after the student begins attendance of that term, all students are encouraged to monitor their own progress very closely.    


Consumer Information Statements

Liberty University, as permitted by federal regulation [34 CFR 668.41], electronically disseminates consumer information including:  The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act information.  Upon request, the institution will provide a free paper copy.   Anyone signing or processing financial aid forms or seeking information or assistance at Liberty University must read, understand, and comply with the requirements disclosed which are available 24 hours a day at:http://www.liberty.edu/financeadmin/financialaid/index.cfm?PID=21792.


Student Rights and Responsibilities

STUDENT RIGHTS
Every student has the right to know:

  • The financial aid that is available (including information on all federal, state, and institutional financial aid programs);
  • The deadlines for submitting applications for each of the financial aid programs;
  • The cost of attendance, and the policies regarding refunds to students who drop out of school;
  • The criteria used to select financial aid recipients;
  • How financial need is determined (including the consideration of costs for tuition, room and board, fees, books and supplies, transportation, and miscellaneous expenses);
  • The resources (such as parental contribution, assets, other financial aid, etc.) that are considered in the calculation of need;
  • The details regarding various programs in the financial aid award package (the student may request reconsideration of the award which was offered should he/she believe he/she was treated unfairly);
  • The portion of the financial aid received which must be repaid, and the portion which is grant aid;
  • The interest rate, total amount to be repaid, when repayments must begin, and the length of time allowed to repay loan funds;
  • Terms and conditions of any employment that is a part of the financial aid package;
  • How the University distributes financial aid among students;
  • How and when financial aid is disbursed;
  • The University’s refund policy and order of financial aid refund distribution;
  • How the school determines whether a student is making satisfactory progress, the consequences of not meeting those standards, and how to reestablish satisfactory academic progress;
  • The academic programs offered by the University;
  • The office designated for providing financial aid information and for administering financial aid programs or general institutional issues;
  • University retention and completion rates;
  • Information regarding accreditation and licensing organizations;
  • Special facilities and services available to disabled students;
  • About University facilities;
  • University faculty and other instructional personnel;
  • About campus security from an annual campus security report also upon request from the University’s Police Department;
  • Actions taken by the University for any violation (and to prevent violation) of the provision of the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988;
  • Data for the general student body, and data related to the awarding of athletically related student aid;
  • Information made available under the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act;
  • Program participation agreement (PPA) requirements; and
  • Students’ rights and responsibilities as financial aid recipients.

STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES
It is the student’s responsibility to:

  • Complete all applications for student financial aid carefully and accurately, and to submit these applications to the appropriate agency or office prior to the deadline. Errors may delay the receipt of financial aid. Intentional misreporting of information on the application for aid forms is a violation of law and is considered a criminal offense subject to penalties under the U.S. Criminal code;
  • Return and submit all additional documentation, verification, corrections, and/or information requested by the Financial Aid Office or other agency in a timely manner;
  • Read, understand, and keep copies of all forms that are submitted;
  • Accept responsibility for all agreements signed;
  • Keep the Financial Aid Office and the lender informed of any changes in address, name, marital status, financial situation, or any change in enrollment or student status;
  • Report to the Financial Aid Office any additional assistance from non-University sources such as scholarships, loans, fellowships, and educational benefits;
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress;
  • Read Liberty University email and ASIST messages for communication from the Financial Aid Office;
  • Complete Exit Counseling upon graduation, withdrawing, when a break in enrollment occurs, and when dropping below half time;
  • Re-apply for financial aid each academic year;
  • Complete the online loan application and entrance counseling when receiving a Federal Student Loan for the first time at Liberty University.

If the student borrower disputes the terms of the loan in writing and the institution does not resolve the dispute, the student may contact the Student Loan Ombudsman’s Office. The United States Department of Education’s Ombudsman Office can propose solutions that may help you and other parties come to a final agreement. Before you call, make sure you have good records of people you have talked to and what they have said. Remember, too, that an ombudsman cannot reverse a decision or take sides.  You may reach the Ombudsman at: 1-877-557-2575 or www.ombudsman.ed.gov.


Federal Title IV Student Aid Programs

ELIGIBILITY FOR FEDERAL AID
To receive federal aid, a student must:

  • Be a United States Citizen or eligible non-citizen;
  • Demonstrate financial need (except for certain loans);
  • Have a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) certificate;
  • Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a regular student working toward a degree or certificate in an eligible program;
  • Certify that you are not in default on a federal student loan and do not owe money on a federal student grant;
  • Have a valid Social Security Number;
  • Register with the Selective Service if required. You can use the paper or electronic FAFSASM to register, you can register at www.sss.gov, or you can call 1-847-688-6888. (TTY users can call 1-847-688-2567.);
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress once in school;
  • Certify that you will use federal student aid only for educational purposes.

FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS
Federal Student Loans are low interest loans available to students who are enrolled at least halftime. Students who do not have sufficient demonstrated need may be eligible for unsubsidized funds in which the student pays the interest. The student has the option to capitalize the interest (add it to the principal) while in school. Repayment begins six (6) months after students graduate, withdraw, break enrollment, or drop below half-time status.

FEDERAL GRADUATE PLUS LOAN
A federal loan program, the Federal Graduate PLUS Loan is a low interest, federally backed student loan, guaranteed by the U.S. Government. The Federal Grad PLUS Loan is a credit based loan, unlike the Federal Direct Student Loans.  Additionally, the Grad PLUS can cover educational expenses up to the cost of attendance, less other financial aid.

A Federal Graduate PLUS Loan allows graduate students to borrow the total cost of graduate education including tuition, room and board, supplies, fees, and travel, less any other aid.

  • These student loans are non-need based. PLUS Loans are based on borrower credit history.
  • The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is required.
  • Graduate PLUS Loans require no collateral (like other types of loans – including home equity).
  • Interest may be tax deductible.
  • Grad PLUS loans can be deferred while enrolled at least half-time.

FEDERAL TEACH GRANT SUMMARY
The Federal TEACH grant program is the first federal grant program that requires a service agreement and has the potential of converting to a loan.  The Federal TEACH Grant makes up to $4,000/year available for full-time students on both the undergraduate and graduate levels.  Amounts are prorated for lower enrollment levels.  The maximum aggregate amount an undergraduate student can receive is $16,000.  The maximum a graduate student can receive is $8,000.  These funds can only be used for the student’s first bachelors or first graduate degree.  This program is not available for students in doctoral programs.

Service Agreement
In exchange for receiving a Federal TEACH Grant, students must agree to serve as a full-time teacher in a high-need field in a public or private elementary or secondary school that serves low-income students (see below for more information on high-need fields and schools serving low-income students). As a recipient of a Federal TEACH Grant, the student must teach for at least four academic years within eight calendar years of completing the program of study for which the student received a Federal TEACH Grant.

Important: If the student fails to complete this service obligation, the United States Department of Education will convert all Federal TEACH Grants funds that the student received to a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan. The student must then repay this loan to the United States Department of Education. You will be charged interest from the date the grant(s) disbursed.

Student Eligibility Requirements

  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), although you do not have to demonstrate financial need.
  • Be a United States citizen or eligible non-citizen.
  • Be enrolled in an eligible program
  • Be enrolled as an undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, or graduate student in a postsecondary educational institution that has chosen to participate in the Federal TEACH Grant Program.
  • Be enrolled in coursework that is necessary to begin a career in teaching or plan to complete such coursework. Meet certain academic achievement requirements (generally, scoring above the 75th percentile on a college admissions test or maintaining a cumulative GPA of at least 3.25).
  • Sign a Federal TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve
  • High Needs Fields: Bilingual Education and English Language Acquisition, Foreign Language, Mathematics, Reading Specialist, Science, Special Education

Eligible Degree Programs at Liberty University
For a list of eligible degrees, please visit this link: http://www.liberty.edu/index.cfm?PID=18416.

FEDERAL WORK STUDY (FWS)
The Federal Work Study program provides employment opportunities for students who have a demonstrated financial need based on the FAFSA.. Students are paid on an hourly basis; pay will be at least the current federal minimum wage. The total amount of aid a student receives from both federal and non-federal sources cannot exceed financial need. The $4,000 Federal Work Study cannot be applied toward initial Financial Check-In.


Virginia Student Aid Programs

TUITION ASSISTANCE GRANT PROGRAM (VTAG)
Established in 1972, the Tuition Assistance Grant Program (VTAG) is designed to assist Virginia residents who attend accredited private, non-profit colleges and universities in Virginia for other than religious training or theological education. The VTAG is authorized in Chapter 4.1 Section 23-38.11 through 18 of the Code of Virginia as the Tuition Assistance Grant Act.

Applications must be submitted to the Financial Aid Office before the published annual deadline in order to be considered for the maximum award amount.

Full-time students enrolled in an approved program of study, who have been Virginia domiciliary residents for at least 12 consecutive months by the beginning of the fall term for the current academic year, may be eligible for an award. A student who is in Virginia solely to attend college is not considered to be a domiciled resident. Applicants must also be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States. The Tuition Assistance Grant award may be received for no more than eight (8) semesters for undergraduate and six (6) semesters for graduate students.

Students pursuing a degree in religious training or theological education may not receive VTAG. Students pursuing the Worship and Music Studies, Intercultural Studies, or the Pastoral Leadership and Biblical Exposition majors are not eligible for VTAG. 

Beginning in 2009-10, eligible graduate programs are limited to those in a health-related professional program. At Liberty University, the Masters of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.) program, the Master of Public Health (M.P.H.), Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Nursing Practice, and Family Nurse Practitioner (D.N.P.) program with cognates in Nutrition or Health Promotion are eligible for VTAG.

The General Scholarship Rule (GSR)
A student’s combined federal grants, state grants, and Liberty aid are not permitted exceed the combined cost of actual tuition and Tier 2 room and board charges ($8,500 per year for 2015-16).  The total of federal grants, state, grants, and Liberty aid cannot exceed the cost of actual tuition for students who are not charged for housing.  The GSR for commuter students only includes the cost of tuition.  If the combined aid exceeds the total cost of tuition and room and board as specified, Liberty aid will be reduced to resolve the excess aid.  The Federal Pell Grant is not included as a factor in the GSR for resident students.

Liberty University Continuing Education and Dependent Grant in Aid educational benefits are not eligible for use in the online Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program, COM Doctor of Osteopathy, School of Law Juris Doctor, undergraduate or graduate certificate programs, or the online Graduate of Theology (ThG) program.

Appeal and Complaint Policies

Policies and processes for residential and online students who wish to file a complaint or appeal their financial aid awards are published online at http://www.liberty.edu/index.cfm?PID=19260.

INSTITUTIONAL SCHOLARSHIP APPEAL PROCESS
A student may appeal the decision to cancel eligibility for a scholarship by sending a detailed, signed letter stating any mitigating circumstances to be considered.  The Financial Aid Scholarship Appeals Committee reviews the submitted appeal and supporting documentation.  Within 30 days, the students will be notified of the decision in writing.

Appeals may be submitted to:

Financial Aid Scholarship Appeals Committee
Liberty University Financial Aid Office
1971 University Blvd.
Lynchburg, VA  24515
Fax: (434) 582-2053

FINANCIAL AID SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS APPEAL PROCESS
A student who is placed on Financial Aid Suspension may appeal this decision by submitting a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal Form with objective third party supporting documentation to be reviewed by the SAP Appeal Committee. The appeal statement should explain why the student did not meet the SAP requirements with a plan of action on how to maintain satisfactory academic progress in future terms.  Additionally, the objective third party documentation cannot come from family members of the student, friends, or Liberty University employees. The Committee consists of the Assistant Director of Financial Aid for Advising, one Financial Aid Advisor and one Compliance Analyst.

After the Financial Aid SAP Appeals Committee reviews the submitted appeal, the student will be notified of the decision in writing. All financial aid awards remain cancelled until the student follows these appeal procedures and receives a written notification of reinstatement. If a reinstatement is approved, the reinstatement will last from the date of the appeal approval until the next annual measurement event (SAP evaluations are completed at the close of fall, spring, and summer terms). In cases where a student receives financial aid in the form of subsidized employment, the student's worksite supervisor(s) will be notified of the reinstatement. 

Financial aid eligibility will continue for students on financial aid warning status, so they are not required to submit a letter.

Students who submit an appeal to the Financial Aid Office very late in a term or after the term has ended may lose financial aid eligibility because regulations may limit the time when aid may be re-awarded and/or disbursed.

Appeals may be submitted to:

Financial Aid SAP Appeal Committee
Liberty University Financial Aid Office
1971 University Blvd.
Lynchburg, VA  24515
Fax: (434) 582-2053
Email: financialaid@liberty.edu


FINANCIAL AID GENERAL APPEAL FOR ASSISTANCE
The Resident and Liberty University Online Student Advocate Offices assist students who have gone through all the customary operating procedures but have not been able to resolve particular challenges related to financial aid.  The primary function of these offices is to answer students' questions and resolve problems. 

For Liberty University Online students, appeals and General Complaint forms may be submitted to:

Online Advocate Office
Liberty University
1971 University Blvd.
Lynchburg, VA  24515
Fax: (800) 628-7977
Direct link: www.liberty.edu/beacon

For Resident students, appeals may be submitted to:

Resident Advocate Office
Liberty University
1971 University Blvd
Lynchburg, VA  24515
(434) 582-7200
studentadvocate@liberty.edu
www.liberty.edu/SAO


VIRGINIA STATE GRANT APPEAL PROCESS
A formal appeal concerning the decision to deny approval for state grant eligibility may be filed by contacting the State Grants Coordinator in the Liberty University Financial Aid Office.  If the appeal is denied, the State Grants Coordinator will notify the student within 30 days. 

State Grant Appeals to the State Grants Coordinator may be submitted to:

State Grants Coordinator, Appeal
Liberty University Financial Aid Office
1971 University Blvd.
Lynchburg, VA  24515
Fax: (434) 582-2053

If the student disputes the decision made by the State Grants Coordinator, the student may appeal t the State Council of Higher Education (SCHEV).  The student must submit a copy of the appeal and supporting documentation. 

State Grant Appeals to the State Council of Higher Education (SCHEV) may be submitted to:

State Council of Higher Education for Virginia
Office of Student Financial Aid
2011-12 TAGP Appeals Committee
James Monroe Building
101 N 14th St.
Richmond, VA  23219

The state office will then request any additional information that is need.  The office will also contact the school and request any documentation the school may have received and an explanation of the denial.  They will ask for the school to fax the following:

  1. Copy of the VTAG application
  2. Date student's application was received
  3. Date the student started school
  4. Date the student moved to Virginia
  5. Dates of enrollment and number of attempted hours for each semester
  6. Copy of denial letter
  7. Any other documentation that pertains to decision

The student may also submit a second appeal if they are denied by the first SCHEV Council at the state level.  The state may also ask student for copy of:

  1. Letter explaining case for approval
  2. Driver’s license, car registration, voter registration
  3. Letter from employer, missionary agency, social workers, school officials, etc.
  4. Copy of Virginia resident income taxes for parents, spouse, or student
  5. Copy of federal taxes
  6. Legal guardian documents
  7. Ward of court documents
  8. Custody documents
  9. Copy of DD-214, LES, or Home of Record
  10. Any other supporting documentation

FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN APPEAL PROCESS
Students who dispute how a federal student loan was processed or a decision regarding eligibility may contact the Federal Student Aid (FSA) Ombudsman. The FSA Ombudsman resolves disputes from a neutral, independent viewpoint. The Federal Student Aid (FSA) Ombudsman will informally conduct impartial fact-finding about student complaints. The Ombudsman will recommend solutions, but does not have the authority to reverse decisions. The Ombudsman will also work to bring about changes that will help prevent future problems for other student loan borrowers. This free service is provided by the United States Department of Education. 

The Ombudsman will research the problem and determine whether the student has been treated fairly. If the student loan complaint is justified, the Ombudsman will work with the student and the office, agency, or company involved in the problem. On the student’s behalf, the Ombudsman will contact other offices within the United States Department of Education, his or her private lender, his or her loan guaranty agency, and the servicing agency or firm collecting the loan. 

If the student’s complaint is not justified, the Ombudsman will take the time to explain how the United States Department of Education reached this conclusion.  The Ombudsman may be contacted as follows:

U.S. Department of Education
FSA Ombudsman
830 First St., NE, Mail Stop 5144
Washington, DC  20202-5144
Phone: (877) 557-2575
Fax: (202) 275-0549
Direct link: https://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/disputes/prepare/contact-ombudsman


APPEAL PROCESS TO THE OFFICE OF THE INSPECTOR GENERAL
Anyone suspecting fraud, waste or abuse involving United States Department of Education funds or programs should contact the Inspector General's Hotline by:

  1. Emailing oig.hotline@ed.gov
  2. Calling the OIG Hotline - (800) MIS-USED. The Hotline's operating hours are Monday, Wednesday and Friday 9-11 a.m., ET; Tuesday and Thursday, 1-3 p.m., ET - closed holidays.
  3. Completing and submit a Complaint Form

        To ensure complete anonymity, download a hardcopy of the special Complaint Form at http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oig/oighotline.doc , complete, and mail to:

Inspector General's Hotline
Office of Inspector General
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20202-1500

Your report may be made anonymously or in confidence. To report suspected fraud, waste or abuse involving other Inspector General agencies, click this link for a directory: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oig/hotline.html.


ATHLETIC SCHOLARSHIP APPEAL
If a student-athlete wishes to appeal a scholarship decision and remain enrolled at Liberty, he or she has the right to a hearing by a body outside of athletics in accordance with NCAA Bylaw 15.3.2.4.  Upon written notification of the intent to remove the scholarship, the student-athlete must request a hearing in writing to the Athletics Financial Aid Liaison within 14 calendar days of receiving the notification.

Liberty University
Financial Aid Office
Athletics Financial Aid Liaison – Appeal
1971 University Blvd.
Lynchburg, VA 24515

If a hearing is requested, the Athletics Financial Aid Liaison will organize a hearing at the earliest availability of the appellate committee.  The committee shall consist of the following: Senior Vice President for Student Affairs, University Registrar, Faculty Athletics’ Representative, Vice President for Financial Aid, and Assistant Director of Financial Aid – Student Services.  If a committee member is unavailable to attend, a replacement will be selected by the Faculty Athletics Representative.


CONTINUING EDUCATION (CE) APPEAL
Employees who are not eligible to receive a portion of their CE benefits (due to simultaneous coursework crossing the enrollment beginning or ending dates of a sub-term or due to the desire to take additional coursework that exceeds the 18 credit hour maximum per academic year requirement) may appeal the denial of their eligibility. The employee must submit an explanation of mitigating circumstances and additional pertinent documentation. Additionally, to appeal the denial of CE benefits due to simultaneous enrollment, the employee must submit the CE Application Form with an explanation of mitigating circumstances and additional pertinent documentation to:

Liberty University
Office of Human Resources
1971 University Blvd.
Lynchburg, VA 24515


STATE CONSUMER COMPLAINT CONTACT INFORMATION

In accordance with requirements issued by the U.S. Department of Education, Liberty University is “providing its students or prospective students with contact information for filing complaints with its accreditor and with its state approval or licensing entity and any other relevant State official or agency that would appropriately handle a student’s complaint.”  This information is now part of the standard Consumer Information and annual disclosure procedure of Liberty University.  It is subject to revision. [34 CFR 668.43(a)(12)(iv)(b), p.66954, vol. 75, no. 209, 10/29/10]



Highlighted text indicates a change from the official version of the catalog.