There are limits to the amount of financial aid students can receive. Federal regulations require colleges to consider all educational financial assistance to be calculated in determining student eligibility. Financial assistance includes grants, loans, scholarships, waivers, fellowships / assistantships, work study, and similar programs used to cover educational expenses. When a student receives more aid than their financial need, cost of attendance, or eligibility allows, they are considered to have received an overaward. Per federal regulations, the student’s financial aid awards must be adjusted (returned, reduced, or cancelled) to correct the overaward.
Overawards may occur if:
- the school awards aid either to a student who is ineligible for a specific program or to a student who is ineligible for any FSA program assistance.
- the student is receiving a Pell or Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant at multiple schools for the same period.
Regardless of the reason for overaward, the Financial Aid Office is bound by federal regulations to correct the overaward. Resolving the overaward could result in a debt owed to the University if the overawarded financial aid funds have already disbursed to the student’s account.
The Financial Aid Office must attempt to resolve the overaward by either returning disbursed funds or reducing/canceling future aid disbursements within the same aid year. Student loans will be reduced/cancelled before scholarships and grants, when possible. The Financial Aid Office will take the following actions to correct an overaward:
- Determine whether or not the student has increased financial need that was not anticipated at the time of the award and/or loan application.
- If no increased need is demonstrated, and/or the student’s total aid still exceeds his or her need, the Financial Aid Office will cancel any undisbursed loans and/or return loan funds to the lender if the disbursement has already been made.
- If the student has no loans or the student’s aid still exceeds the student’s need after all loans have been cancelled, institutional grant and/or scholarship aid will be reduced.
If financial aid that has been disbursed must be returned to resolve an overaward, the student is responsible for paying the resulting balance due to the University. Students should contact the Bursar’s Office to make satisfactory payment arrangements to prevent an account hold that may restrict registration, transcript requests, etc.