Right to Know

Policies/Consumer’s Right to Know

How Federal Student Financial Aid Eligibility is Determined

The process of determining a student’s eligibility for financial aid is called need analysis. Data you provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is used to determine the Expected Family contribution (EFC). A standard formula established by the United States Congress and called federal methodology is used to calculate the EFC. The EFC number is used to determine Pell Grant eligibility. It is also used in a formula to determine your financial need.

                                                            Budget (Cost of Attendance)
                                                          -Expected Family Contribution
                                                          -Other Outside Resources


Budget (Cost of Attendance)

The budget or cost of attendance is an estimate of the student’s education expenses for the period of enrollment (usually one Academic Year; Fall and Spring semesters. It consists of tuition, fees, average cost for room and board (actual cost if the student lives on campus), books and supplies, transportation, and personal expenses.

Distribution of Awards

FSEOG and FWS are need based federal funds. These funds are very limited in the amount. The College will award these funds based upon availability, to students who demonstrate “need” as determined by Federal Regulations. FWSP and FSEOG recipients must also be eligible for Federal Pell Grant. Students are encouraged to complete the process as soon as possible each year prior to the time these funds are depleted. Federal Pell Grant and William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Programs are not subject to limitations in the availability that exist for FSEOG and FWS funds.

Over Award

Federal and state financial aid recipients may not receive funds in excess of their financial need or budget/cost of attendance. This may occur when a student receives aid such as scholarships or grants from other sources or agencies. When an over award occurs, the student’s award will be adjusted accordingly.

Current Definition of Independent Student

Currently an undergraduate student is considered independent for Title IV purposes if student:

  • Is at least 24 years of age on or before December 31st of the award year, or
  • A graduate or professional student
  • Is married, or
  • Has children or dependents other than a spouse for whom the student provides more than half support, or
  • Is in Legal Guardianship (Must provide a copy of the Court Document)
  • Is a veteran of the U.S. Armed Force, or
  • NOTE: If the student’s parents are deceased or mentally or physically incapacitated. (If both parents are dead, the student is an orphan and thus is an independent student. If the parents die after the student has applied, the student must update his or her dependency status.

Dependency Override
If you claim to be independent and have unusual circumstances that would make you independent, even though none of the above criteria applies to you, you must provide proper documentation requested by the Director of Financial Aid. The decision is based on the Director of Financial Aid’s judgment and is final.

Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress

Federal regulations require an institution to evaluate the academic progress of students receiving federal financial aid. Effective July 1, 1994, federal regulations required institutions to strengthen their policies. These regulations include a qualitative measure of the student’s progress (GPA), quantitative measure (completion ratio) and time frame.

The regulations mandate that institutions of higher education apply “standards of academic progress” for students receiving financial aid from Title IV federal programs. Schools must apply a reasonable standard of academic progress. This standard assesses academic progress for all transfer credits from other institutions regardless of whether aid is received.

All students applying for and/or receiving Title IV Financial Aid at Rust College must be progressing satisfactorily towards completion of their degree.

Qualitative Measure (GPA)

Freshmen must have at least a 1.50 Grade Point Average (GPA) at the end of the first year.

Hours Attempted
0-29 ----1.50
30-59 ----1.85
60-75 ----2.00
76 and above—2.00

Students with an academic standing of suspension do not meet the Qualitative Standards and are therefore ineligible to receive financial aid.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy
Students Receiving Financial Aid

Federal regulations, HEA Sec. 484(c), 668.16, 668.34, require all schools participating in the Title IV Federal Financial Aid Programs to have a satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy that conforms to the requirements detailed below.

  • Your SAP status is based on your entire academic record at all schools attended (includes all transferable hours), regardless of whether you receive financial aid.
  • SAP is calculated each semester after grades have been posted to your academic history by the Registrar’s Office.
  • Transfer credit hours accepted will count as hours attempted and completed. These hours will be used in the formula to calculate the PACE rate for transfer students.
  • A student may appeal his or her SAP Non Satisfactory Progress, Pace (quantitative) and Grade Point Average (qualitative) Requirements.
  • Pace (quantitative) Requirements-The Pace (quantitative) requirement has two parts:
    • A maximum time frame,
    • A required completion ratio


Quantitative Measure (Completion Ratio)

A student must receive passing grades in a minimum of 67% of all attempted credit hours. Grades of F, W, I, do not count as passing.

Example:  Fall-           Student attempts 12 hours
                 Spring-          Student attempts 12 hours
                                         =24 attempted hours x 67%=16

The student must successfully pass a total of 16 hours in order to meet the Quantitative Measure of Satisfactorily Academic Progress.

Maximum Time Frame- To determine the Maximum Time Frame, multiply the total hours required for the degree by 150%. As an example, if the program required 124 hrs x 150%, a student will be able to attempt a maximum of 186 hours before his or her financial aid eligibility is exhausted. This includes credits attempted at any school prior to and while enrolled at Rust College.

Completion Ratio- You must earn at least 67% of all attempted credit hours.

Below is a description of the qualitative and quantitative requirements of Rust College Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards.

Qualitative Measure (GPA)
                                                                                          Cumulative GPA Required         
Hours Attempted                                                       (including transfer credits accepted)      

            0-29                                                                                         1.50
            30-59                                                                                       1.85
60-75                                                                                        2.00
76 and above                                                                           2.00

Financial Aid Warning

Students who fail to maintain the above standards at the end of the evaluation period (semester) will be placed on Financial Aid Warning and eligible for Title IV assistance for the subsequent payment period.

Financial Aid Suspension

Students who fail to complete the required hours and maintain the required GPA for the year will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension. In other words, the student will be considered as not maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress and will be ineligible for Title IV assistance.

Students placed on Financial Aid Suspension may submit an appeal for reinstatement of aid due to mitigating circumstances that prevented them from maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). Reinstatement of an Academic Suspension to attend Rust College does not automatically reinstate financial aid.

Financial Aid Probation

Students will be placed on Financial Aid Probation for one semester after a successful appeal. At the end of the probationary period, the student MUST be making SAP.

Grades-All Rust Credit hours attempted are included in the Satisfactory Academic Progress calculation. Grades of  “F”. “I”, “W” (Withdrawn), are not counted as hours completed; however, they are counted as hours attempted. Also, all repeat hours are counted as attempted hours. Passed hours may only be repeated ONCE for Title IV assistance.

Appeal Procedures

Students may file an appeal with the Office of Financial Aid if  you feel extenuating circumstances prevented you from meeting the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards prior to the next enrollment period. If allowed to continue on financial aid, you may be given terms that you must meet such as taking a reduced loan, must not drop courses, sign up for services at C.O.P.E. Center and must earn at least the minimum required G.P.A. for the semester.

Appeals must state clearly all circumstances and give documentation why the student failed to meet the satisfactory academic progress standard. Evidence should also be given showing that you are likely to be successful at Rust College regardless of previous academic history.

The Financial Aid Appeals committee reviews all appeals. The Financial Aid Office will notify students in writing of the decision of the Committee within ten days after the appeal is received.

Still have question? Contact:                  Rust College Office of Financial Aid
Holly Springs, MS 38635
(662) 252-8000 ext. 4062



Refund and Repayment Policy

In accordance with college policy and federal regulations governing Title IV financial aid programs, the office of Financial Aid will determine whether total or partial refund/repayment of financial aid funds may be due when a student withdraws from the college or when there is a change in the student’s financial aid eligibility.

Under the return of title IV funds (return) regulations, a school is required to determine the earned and unearned portions of Title IV aid as of the date the student ceased attendance based on the amount of time the student spent in attendance or was scheduled to be in attendance. Up through the 60% point in each payment period or period of enrollment, a pro-rata schedule is used to determine the amount of title IV funds the student has earned at the time of withdrawal. After the 60% point 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.
Pro-rata Refund=         Total number of days completed
Total number of days in the semester
Students are not eligible for refunds after 60% of the semester has passed.

All students, regardless if expelled, suspended, drop-out, or withdrawal will be governed by this refund policy.

The Rust College refund policy is to return the student’s portion of the financial aid refund to the programs in the following order:

  1. Federal Direct Unsub Loan
  2. Federal Direct Sub Loan
  3. Federal Direct Parent Plus Loan
  4. Federal PELL Grant
  5. Federal SEOG Grant
  6. Other title IV programs
  7. Institutional Aid
  8. State Aid
  9. Student

Room and Board Charges are refunded on a pro-rata basis, using the number of remaining weeks divided by the 16-week term.

The data used to calculate the fund is determined as follows:

  1. In case of student who officially withdraws, the date on the withdrawal will be


  1. In case of a student who un-officially withdraws, the drop-out date, which is

The last recorded date of class attendance as documented by the institution. The Registrar’s Office in conjunction with the Financial Aid Office is responsible for determining and documenting the last day of attendance.

  1. In case of a student who is expelled or suspended, we will use the date of the

Expulsion or suspension received from the Dean of Students.


College Refund Policy

If a non-federal aid student withdraws, the institution will calculate the refund according to the College Refund Policy. The tuition, room and board and other related fees are refunded according to the following schedule:

If failure to enroll or withdrawal occurs:

            Before the first day of class                               100%

           First day of class through two weeks                 90%
after the semester starts

           Two weeks through four weeks of the               50%

            Four weeks through the eight weeks of            25%
the semester

            Eight weeks through the end of the                    0

The Rust College refund policy is to return the student financial aid portion of the refund to the programs in the following order:

  1. State Aid
  2. Institutional Aid
  3. Other Private Scholarship
  4. The student


Reinstatement of Financial Aid will be based on the strength of the appeal statement, supporting documentation, and the academic record. Filing an appeal does not guarantee Financial Aid reinstatement.

Mitigating Circumstances

Mitigating Circumstances are unforeseen, special or unusual/traumatic conditions which caused undue hardship. These circumstances may include serious illness or injury of self, death or serious illness of an immediate family member.

Academic Circumstances that Affect Your Status

  • Changes in major, double major or minors-May cause you to reach your maximum attempted hours, and loose your eligibility before earning a degree.
  • Incomplete grades, missing grades, failing grades, course withdrawals-all reduce your completion ratio, because they are counted as attempted, but not earned credits.
  • Repeated courses-count as attempted credit hours each time you register for them. They also count against the allowed maximum attempted hours. This can also reduce your completion ratio because repeated credits count as earned credits.
  • Remedial Courses-These courses count as attempted and/or earned credits
  • Summer Term Courses-all hours attempted and completed in the summer terms are treated as any other semester hours in determining SAP status.
  • Audit Courses-Students are not eligible to receive financial aid for audit courses, and they are not included in hours attempted or earned for SAP determination.
  • Late posted grades or grade changes-will require that you submit a written statement from the Registrar’s Office.
  • Dismissal and Return-Students who are suspended academically or choose not to attend because of SAP Failure will not be automatically eligible for financial aid upon their return. Student must meet both qualitative and quantitative standards of SAP. Absence does not restore eligibility for Financial Aid.

Repeat Course Policy for Financial Aid

Effective July 1, 2011, due to changes in federal regulations, the Financial Aid Office is required to monitor and adjust a student’s enrollment level for Title IV Federal aid if or when the repeat course work for credit that they have already earned. Students can retake courses and receive federal aid if they had previously failed a course, but can only receive financial aid twice for a course that has been previously passed. A passing grade is defined as “C” or better on competency level for work accepted in a major area of study, ASP Writing, ASP Math, ASP Reading,
ENGL 134 and ENGL 136. For all other coursed, a passing grade is defined as a “D” or better.

The policy allows a student to receive Title IV financial aid under the following situations:

  • To repeat any failed course until a passing grade is received.
  • To repeat one time any course in which you previously received a passing grade.
Please note: Regardless of the outcome, courses are not eligible to be covered by financial aid after a 2nd attempt has been made for a course that has at anytime earned a passing grade.