Policies Governing Student Financial Aid
Aid is granted subject to the following conditions:
- To receive financial aid from the federal financial aid programs, a student must be enrolled, in most cases at least half time (6 credit hours), as a regular student and must be working toward a degree or certificate.
- Tennessee Student Assistance Awards (state grants) are made by the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation in Nashville. As we are notified which students will receive the grant, UT Martin awards will be revised to include the grant. Revisions made to include a state grant may sometimes reduce or cancel aid previously awarded. WARNING--state grant recipients who complete requirements for a bachelor's degree must NOT accept further Tennessee Student Assistant Award payments.
- The Financial Aid and Scholarships Office reserves the right on behalf of the University to review and cancel an award at any time because of changes in financial, marital, or academic status, changes of academic programs, or misuse of federal or institutional program funds. BE SURE TO NOTIFY THE FINANCIAL AID AND SCHOLARSHIPS OFFICE IN ADVANCE IF YOU ANTICIPATE ANY OF THE ABOVE CHANGES SO THAT WE MAY ADVISE YOU OF THE STATUS OF YOUR AWARD.
- Federal guidelines state that federal aid may be subject to aid received from sources outside the University. You are asked to report any scholarship, loan, grant, or other aid which you will receive from any source not included on this award letter. Failure to do so could result in termination of the financial assistance offered by the University.
- For a student to be eligible for Title IV aid the student must be maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), and be maintaining Office of Admissions requirements.
- Students receiving financial aid who find it necessary to withdraw from the University for any reason must notify the Office of Academic Records prior to withdrawal. Such students may be asked to repay any appropriate amount of the student aid which they have received.
- New recipients of the Federal Perkins Loan are required to sign a promissory note at registration.
- If awarded Federal Work Study (FWS), to activate your OFFER, YOU WILL BE REQUIRED to set up an INTERVIEW with the department of your choosing. Employment opportunities will be posted on the Financial Aid website. Upon a successful job interview, to be placed on payroll, you must bring with you to the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office, your driver's license, your student ID, and Social Security Card or birth certificate. Also, all payroll checks will be automatically deposited to your checking or savings account. Please bring a blank, voided check with you.
- Financial Aid is awarded on an academic year (August - July) basis and is subject to change each year.
- The University reserves the right to release to the United State Department of Education, state agencies, scholarship donors, and scholarship selection committees any information requested pertinent to this application (i.e. Enrollment status, address, grade point average, and financial need). However, the University believes the application for the receipt of financial assistance is a confidential matter, information will be released only to the officials of the above mentioned offices and committees unless it receives proper authorization for such release.
- Financial Aid is contingent on adequate federal appropriations for the student aid programs and receipt by the University of those funds. The University reserves the right to reduce award(s) if anticipated funding is not received.
- WARNING — FEDERAL PELL Grant recipients who complete requirements for a bachelor's degree must NOT accept further FEDERAL PELL Grant payments.
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy
All institutions that participate in Title IV programs, which include all Federal and State Financial Aid (Loans, grants, Tennessee Lottery/Hope Scholarship, Work Study), must develop, implement, and publish a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy. (668.34(a)(2), 6689.34(b), 668.42(c)) Failure to meet the following requirements for SAP in coordination with Federal SAP Guidelines may result in the loss of financial aid. These standards are for financial aid purposes only and do not replace or override the academic policies of the University of Tennessee at Martin.
SAP for federal and state financial aid programs is based on three measures: cumulative grade-point average, course completion rate based on hours earned compared to hours attempted, and a maximum timeframe for degree completion. Your SAP status is based on your entire academic record at all schools attended, regardless of whether you received financial aid.
UT Martin will check each student’s SAP after every semester, after grades have posted whether they receive financial aid or not. Students will be placed in a good standing, warning, or suspended status. Students who are suspended due to failure to meet the SAP standards must have an appeal approved before they will receive financial aid. Students may be placed on warning/suspended for not meeting any or all of the following standards:
- Course Completion Rate (CCR) – Students must earn (pass) a cumulative 67% of all hours attempted to remain eligible for Financial Aid. Grades of A, B, C, D, & P count as attempted and earned credit hours. Grades of F, I, W, WP, & WF count as attempted but not earned credit hours. For example, a student with 100 cumulative attempted hours must have earned a passing grade in at least 67 of those attempted hours. We do not round up.
- Minimum Cumulative GPA – Undergraduate students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 to be making satisfactory academic progress for financial aid.
- Maximum Time Frame – The maximum time limit for a student to receive financial aid is 150% of the published program length. Most undergraduate degree programs at UTM require 120 credit hours to complete. All grades, A, B, C, D, F, I, P, W, WP, & WF count as attempted hours.
- *Graduate programs; the maximum time frame is determined as 150% of the required hours for the degree as published in the Graduate Catalog.
Please be aware that a student may only submit a total of TWO appeals at UT Martin, before having an in-person meeting.
Transfer students’ course completion rate, minimum GPA, and maximum time frame requirements will be evaluated for satisfactory academic progress based on the transfer credits and grades accepted by UT Martin at the time of acceptance.
Hours for which an incomplete grade is received will count toward attempted but not earned hours in the calculation of the course completion rate. The final grade for the incomplete hours will be calculated into the GPA when the course is graded. It is the student’s responsibility to notify the Financial Aid Office when the course is graded.
Types of Financial Aid Progress Status
- Warning – Financial aid warning can be granted after a student does not meet SAP standards after one semester. If a student has not met SAP standards for one semester, the student will be placed on a warning semester. The Warning status lasts for one semester, during which the student may continue to receive Title IV Aid. The Warning status gives the student one more semester to reach minimum SAP standards. (See above.)
- Probation – Financial aid probation can be granted only after the student has appealed and eligibility for Title IV aid is reinstated based on that appeal. Student can only be placed on probation for one semester. If a student has a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal approved they will be placed on a Probation Period if it is possible to bring their Course Completion Rate and GPA up to SAP standards after the next semester.
- Academic Plan – – If a student has a SAP Appeal approved, and it is NOT possible for them to maintain the required Course Completion Rate and GPA after one semester of enrollment; they will be placed on an Academic Plan. An academic plan is tailored to the individualized needs of the student based on the circumstances of their appeal. All students placed on an academic plan may need to maintain a SEMESTER Course Completion Rate of 80% and a 2.0 GPA for undergrad students and Course Completion Rate of 80% and a 3.0 GPA for graduate level students. If a student on an Academic Plan fails to meet the semester goals of their plan, they will be suspended from their financial aid for the upcoming and subsequent terms until they have met the minimum SAP standards or have an appeal approved based on new extenuating circumstances.
- Graduation Plan – If a student’s appeal is approved for Maximum Timeframe, the student will be placed on a Graduation Plan. This Graduation Plan should consist of the classes and number of hours left to graduate as well as the signature of the student’s advisor. The Graduation Plan will be reviewed at the end of each term. If a student’s appeal for Maximum Time Frame, or exceeding 150%, is approved, they will ONLY be approved for the number of hours indicated on their Graduation Plan, Progress will be checked at the end of each semester until the student graduates
Notification of Status and Right to Appeal
Students who have been suspended from financial aid will be notified of changes to SAP status via UTM email. Changes in SAP status can also be viewed by the student by logging in to Banner Self-Service.
Paying out of pocket for classes or sitting out a semester is not grounds for reinstatement of aid. Students must bring their academic progress back into compliance or have an appeal approved to have aid reinstated.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeals Process
Students appealing their Satisfactory Academic Progress status are required to submit an appeal for review. Students may only submit two appeals before being required to meet with the Assistant Director or Director of Financial Aid. The following are to be included with the SAP Appeal:
- Financial Aid Appeal Form (Complete all fields)
Signed Statement is included in the appeal form indicating rationale for appeal. Statement must include an explanation of unusual circumstances that led to financial aid suspension.
- Sufficient documentation to support claim of unusual circumstance. Lack of documentation may lead to the denial of appeal. Supporting documentation might include medical records, police reports, obituaries, or legal records.
- Graduation Plan, if applicable.
Appeals are reviewed by the Financial Aid Review Committee once a week. Students are notified of the committee’s decision via email.
A student who has an appeal approved will be placed into a Probation Period, an Academic Plan, or a Graduation Plan status for the following semester of enrollment. The appeal approval notification may list restrictions or requirements to be followed by the student. Failure to follow restrictions or requirements may result in immediate forfeiture of financial aid.
All decisions made by the Director of Financial Aid are final.
Please take note of the following policy regarding financial aid and enrollment hours:
Students' enrollment hours may fluctuate during the week of drop/add (the first week of classes). At the end of drop/add week, faculty will report attendance, and enrollment level will be determined based on any courses added to or dropped from the original registration.
Financial aid and fee assessment will be recalculated based on the final enrollment level and will be adjusted accordingly.
In order to continue to serve the needs of students, The Office of Business Affairs will continue to deliver excess aid funds (refunds) beginning the second day of classes. The amount of excess aid will be based on your ORIGINAL enrollment level.
Please be aware that if you drop courses during drop/add week (and this causes a change in your enrollment status) both your financial aid and your fees will change and you may owe a portion of your excess aid back.
Students must be enrolled in at least 6 hours to remain eligible for financial aid (with the exception of Pell Grants in certain instances).
Students who fail to begin attendance in any class for which they register (and do NOT officially drop) will be reported to the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office as a "no show" and financial aid recipients will have their aid adjusted accordingly.
Students are liable to repay financial aid for any class(es) they do not attend and do not officially drop.
TSAC grants and Pell grants are adjusted to less than full time award amounts at the time of disbursement. Students who drop to less than 12 hours during the first week of classes will have their fees and grants adjusted accordingly. Students who pick up an excess aid check prior to dropping enrollment will be required to repay any funds for which they are not entitled. Please feel free to call The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships if you have any questions (731) 881-7040.
Code of Conduct
Financial Aid and Scholarships employees
- refrain from taking any action for our personal benefit
- refrain from taking any action we believe is contrary to law, regulation, or the best interest of the students and parents we serve
- ensure that the information we provide is accurate, unbiased, and does not reflect any preference arising from actual or potential personal gain
- maintain objectivity in making decisions and in advising the institution regarding relationships with any business partner involved in any aspect of student financial aid
- do not accept or solicit anything of other than nominal value from our business partners involved in making, holding, consolidating or processing student loans
- do not receive any form of reimbursement for serving on the advisory boards of our lending business partners
- disclose any involvement with our business partners to the institution
Our office adheres to the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators' "Statement of Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct for Institutional Financial Aid Professionals."
Return of Title IV (R2T4) and Refund Policy
Return of Title IV Aid
Students who receive federal Title IV aid and withdraw either officially or unofficially are subject to federal Return of Title IV aid regulations. These regulations require a calculation to determine the amount of federal Title IV aid “earned” by the student based on their withdrawal date. Federal Title IV programs include Federal Pell Grant, Direct Loans, Perkins Loans, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), and TEACH Grant.
Students who never begin attendance for the semester are not eligible to receive any federal Title IV aid funds. If federal Title IV aid has been disbursed and it is then discovered that the student never attended, all federal aid must be returned. The student will be billed for any portion of returned aid that is not covered by the institutional refund. No Return of Title IV calculation is required, however, as students who have not attended are not eligible to receive any of their Title IV aid.
Students who receive federal Title IV financial aid and withdraw from all classes – officially or unofficially - are subject to federal Return of Title IV regulations. The Return of Title IV aid calculation determines the amount of earned and unearned federal Title IV aid, based on the student’s withdrawal date. Students earn Title IV aid as they attend classes during the semester. Only when a student has attended past the 60% mark in the semester have they earned all of their federal Title IV assistance for the term. The Return of Title IV aid calculation determines if federal funds need to be returned by the institution and/or the student (when federal aid has been disbursed for the semester) or if the student is due a post-withdrawal disbursement of federal aid (when federal aid has not been disbursed). The Return of Title IV aid calculation is made within 30 days of the University receiving the student’s withdrawal request (or notice of unofficial withdrawal) and the student is notified of the results of this calculation. The enrollment period will include the first day of class through the last day of finals but will exclude breaks that are five consecutive days or more, such as spring break.
The Return of Title IV calculation may require a return of previously disbursed federal aid by UTM and/or the student.
This return of Title IV funds may result in an outstanding balance that the student owes UTM. After UTM adjusts the student’s federal aid awards based on the R2T4 calculation of earned aid, federal funds may not cover all of the student’s institutional charges. It is the student’s responsibility to return any other funds in accordance with the terms of the loan, or grants in the case of an overpayment. Students who receive federal student financial assistance funds in excess of their direct cost (i.e. maintenance, tuition, room) may be required to repay funds to certain Title IV programs (See Repayments below).
Once the return has been processed a letter is mailed to the student that explains that there is an amount due to the institution, which aid was returned, based on the withdrawal date, and that the balance must be paid before they can register for any subsequent semesters. There is also an additional letter that is mailed that explains the refund calculation, Satisfactory Academic Progress, grace periods for loans, exit counseling for loans, and requirements to maintain the Tennessee Lottery Scholarship.
Title IV funds are returned in the order listed below, as determined by the federal Department of Education. Title IV funds are returned within 30 days of the student’s withdrawal.
- Direct Unsubsidized Loan
- Direct Subsidized Loan
- Direct PLUS Loan
- Federal Perkins Loan
- Federal Pell Grant
- TEACH Grant
- Other SFA Programs
- Other federal, state, private, or institutional sources of aid
- The student
Note: The University reserves the right to bill the student for any Return of Title IV aid that exceeds the University’s institutional refund (as determined by UTM refund policy).
Students who receive federal student financial assistance funds in excess of their direct cost (i.e. maintenance, tuition, room) may be required to repay funds to certain Title IV programs.
- Federal Pell Grant
- Other SFA Programs
- Other federal, state, private, or institutional sources of aid
If a student is due a post-withdrawal disbursement, a letter is sent to the student offering the amount of disbursement that is not credited to the student’s account. This letter is mailed no later than 30 calendar days after the date the school determines the student withdrew. This letter will identify the type and amount of funds that make up the post-withdrawal disbursement. It also explains the student may decline all or a portion of those funds. The letter will inform the student that he or she has 14 calendar days from the date of the letter to accept this disbursement. With a timely and positive response from the student, the post-withdrawal disbursement is disbursed to the student’s account within 90 days of the date of the institution’s determination that the student withdrew. Without a timely response or with a negative response from the student, the post-withdrawal disbursement must be returned to the appropriate fund, if received.
An overpayment exists whenever a student receives aid that exceeds his or her eligibility for a Title IV program. Overpayments can be caused by incorrect reporting of information on the FAFSA, miscalculating cost of attendance, miscalculation of the EFC by a school, paying ineligible students, and paying aid in excess of grant or loan maximums. In general, unless the school is liable, a student is liable for any Pell, Perkins Loan, or FSEOG overpayment made to him or her.
Overpayments for Which the School Is Responsible
UTM is liable for any amount of a Pell Grant, TEACH Grant, Perkins Loan, or FSEOG overpayment (including amounts under $25) that occurred because we failed to follow the federal requirements. When returning Pell overpayments, we make a downward adjustment to the student’s award in the federal Common Origination Disbursement (COD) website, and report the return to the UT system, who returns the funds to the Department of Ed. This is not a Title IV debt, in this case, because UTM is responsible for the overpayment and will not become a Title IV debt for a student. If an overpayment is the result of an interim disbursement and the student does not repay it, UTM will repay the overpayment from the school’s funds within 45 days following the student’s last day of attendance or by the last day of the award year, whichever comes first.
Overpayments for Which the Student Is Responsible
In some instances, a student rather than the school is responsible for repaying the overpayment. If a student has received more Pell funds than the student was eligible to receive because the student’s eligibility for Title IV aid decreased, we will try to eliminate the overpayment by adjusting later disbursements for the award year. If that is not possible, we will attempt to recover the overpayment by notifying the student by email and requesting full payment of amount owed. If the student fails to repay the overpayment within 45 days he or she will be ineligible for Title IV funds until the overpayment is resolved. If the student has not repaid or made satisfactory arrangements to repay the overpayment by 45 days, we will report the overpayment to the Dept. of Ed collections on the next business day and the student will be ineligible for Title IV funds until the overpayment is resolved.
Overawards Due to Federal Pell Grant at Multiple Institutions
A student may not receive Federal Pell Grant funds for concurrent enrollment at more than one institution. The COD system will identify students who have been reported as Pell recipients by multiple institutions as potential overawards (POP files). The schools that awarded the student Pell Grant funds for the period must coordinate their response so that the student is receiving Pell Grant funds for attendance at only one school during the period. If after 30 days the schools have not resolved the overpayment, the COD system will reduce both schools’ authorization for this student to zero, and the issue will have to be addressed with the Dept. of Ed’s involvement.
Dropping Hours (Continue with a reduced class load)
When a student decreases the number of hours attempted during a term to less than a full course load (12 hours if campus courses), charges for these hours will be calculated based upon the official drop day as presented to Bursar’s Office from the Office of Academic Records.
Charges for the dropped hours will be calculated as follows:
Charges for Dropping Hours
|Calendar days of Term||% Charged||% Refund|
|Day 1-7||no charge||100%|
|Day 29-end of term||100%||0%|
Refunds of tuition are based on the fees charged, not the amount paid. If the student is receiving financial aid, refunds will be returned to the financial aid accounts, including lenders of student loans, before any money is returned to the student. Credit balances from all sources of the university, with the possible exception of Title IV funds, will be applied to outstanding charges before a refund is issued.
Refunds Withdrawing (Dropping all classes)
Withdrawing from school for any reason during any term must be made by submitting a request to withdraw in Banner Self-Service. Failure to attend classes does not cancel enrollment. The date of the withdrawal is one factor used to determine the amount of fees to be returned. Other factors include whether or not a student is receiving Title IV financial aid and whether unpaid charges (total institutional costs minus the sum of total aid paid to institutional costs and cash paid by the student) remain on the student’s account. The institutional refund percentages will be used to calculate charges on hours dropped (tuition, fees and room):
Charges for Withdrawing
|Calendar days of Term||% Charged||% Refund|
|Day 1-7||no charge||100%|
|Day 29-end of term||100%||0%|
Refunds of tuition are based on the fees charged, not the amount paid. If the student is receiving financial aid, refunds will be returned to the financial aid accounts, including lenders of student loans, before any money is Refunds 43 returned to the student. Credit balances from all sources of the university, with the possible exception of Title IV funds, will be applied to outstanding charges before a refund is issued.
Summer school term is shorter than fall and spring and the summer term is divided into sessions. Therefore, charges for hours dropped (or withdrawals) will be calculated on the following basis:
Summer School Charges
|Maymester 0%||1st Session||2nd Session||Full Term||% Charged||% Refund|
Refunds may not be made until two weeks after the close of registration during the regular school year and two weeks after the close of second session summer semester registration.
Example: The student’s institutional charges for the semester total $4,130, which was paid by a personal check. The student withdrew on the ninth calendar day following regular registration. The refund would be $3,304.40.
Calculation: Semester rate - [ (# of hours) x (% Charged) x (per hour rate) ]= Refund
$4,130 - [ (12) x (20%) x ($344) ] = $3,304.40
The federal refund calculation policy will be used for students who have attended classes at UTM and are receiving Title IV financial aid. Under this refund policy, withdrawals on the first day of classes will permit a 100% refund of institutional charges (fees, tuition, room and board, with no allowance for deposit or consumption on room and board). Withdrawals after the first day of classes will be calculated based on the number of days the student completes in the enrollment period.
Example: The student has enrolled at UTM and is receiving a federal Pell Grant and loan of $5,525. The institutional charges are $4,130. The student withdrew on the 15th day of the enrollment period. The enrollment period is 110 days in length (15/110=13.6% completed days). The refund percent will be 86.4%. Therefore, $4,130 x 86.4%= $3,568.32 will be returned to the federal loan or Pell accounts.
Example of a Return of Title IV Aid Due to Withdrawal
Teri, a returning junior at UTM, began part-time classes on August 22nd. A Pell Grant of $567 was applied to her institutional charges of $2,118. Teri made an out of pocket payment of $559.50 and set up a payment plan for the balance of $991.50 (plus $30 service fee).
On September 6th, when she completed 14.5% of the semester, Teri logged into her Banner Self-Service account and submitted the withdrawal form. The Records office receives the form and removes the 6 hours and the Bursar’s office credits her account $2,118, which is 100% of the institutional charges, based on the institutional refund policy.
The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships performs the required return calculation on September 19th and determines that the amount of unearned funds due from the school is $488, which is then returned. After the school returned the required amount of $488, the new total of Title IV funds on the student’s account was $79, and the new Title IV credit balance was $1,630. Teri was mailed a letter explaining the withdrawal process on September 19th and a refund was issued from the institution on September 19 for $1,630.