Recent Changes to Federal Aid Programs
As a result of recent legislative changes, you should be aware of a number of new requirements for federal student aid programs. Most of these changes are effective with the 2012-13 academic year. These changes could impact your financial aid for the upcoming academic year and in the future.
Federal Pell Grant
- Eligibility Changes: Once you have received a Pell Grant for 12 semesters or the equivalent, you will no longer be eligible for additional Pell Grants. If you have exceeded the 12-semester maximum, you will lose eligibility for additional Pell Grants beginning in the 12-13 academic year. Equivalency is calculated by adding together the percentage of your Pell eligibility that you received each year to determine whether the total amount exceeds 600%. To review your current Pell Grant eligibility, logon to the National Student Loan Data System (www.nslds.ed.gov). Here you can view your Pell Grant History and Lifetime Eligibility Used.
- EFC Changes: Students with an EFC (Expected Family Contribution) of 4996 or higher will not be eligible for a Pell Grant for the 2012-13 academic year.
Direct Loan Changes
- Graduate students will no longer be eligible for Federal Direct Subsidized Loans for loan periods beginning on or after July 1, 2012. Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan eligibility does not change.
- The U.S. Department of Education can no longer offer borrowers repayment incentives for loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2012. This means more fees will be taken out of your loan before you receive funds. Origination fees for Federal Direct Stafford loans will increase to 1%. Origination fees for Federal PLUS loans will increase to 4%.
- Interest Rate Increase: The interest rate on subsidized loans made to undergraduate students will increase to 6.8% if the first disbursement is on or after July 1, 2012. The rate will remain at 6.8% on unsubsidized loans and on loans for graduate students. Note: In the President’s FY2013 budget request, the Administration has proposed maintaining the interest rate on subsidized loans for undergraduate students at the current rate of 3.4% for the 12-13 school year; however, at this time the interest rate will increase.
- After you leave school: The interest subsidy offered during the six-month grace period on subsidized loans is eliminated for new loans made between July 1, 2012 and July 1, 2014. Loan repayment still begins six months after you are no longer enrolled at least half-time, but interest that accrues during those six months will no longer be subsidized by the federal government. The student will be responsible for the interest that accrues during the grace period.
Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
- Fewer Families with Auto Zero EFC: The income threshold for calculating the Auto Zero EFC will decrease from $31,000 to $23,000. This will result in fewer families automatically qualifying for a zero EFC.
- IRS Tax Transcript: If you are selected for verification of your FAFSA, we can no longer accept signed copies of federal tax returns. You must use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to populate the financial information on your FAFSA or request an IRS Tax Transcript and submit it to our office with your other verification documents.
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
- Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) will be reviewed at the end of every semester (rather than once per academic year). You must be meeting SAP standards or you will lose aid eligibility.