FINANCIAL AID, SCHOLARSHIPS, AND AWARDS

GENERAL INFORMATION

Financial Aid

The Office of Financial Aid offers financial assistance to students who might otherwise be unable to attend the university. Financial aid awarded through the office may be gift aid, which includes grants and scholarships, or self-help aid, which includes loans and student employment programs. Regardless of income, residence or academic credentials, students should apply for all types of financial aid.

University Contact With Students Through Electronic Mail

Electronic mail (e-mail) is an official method of contact between the university and students. This e-mail contact applies to all forms of communication including but not limited to matters concerning admissions, registration, financial aid, and academic affairs. Students are given e-mail addresses after their initial registration. Students should check e-mail at least once a week. The university provides computer access for all students by way of open computer labs. For information concerning the use of e-mail and the availability of computers, check the Academic Computing website at https://www.nicholls.edu/academic_computing/ for more information.

Projected Costs

The following chart details the estimated costs for tuition and fees, room and board, books, transportation, and personal expenses for a full-time, undergraduate resident student. The estimated costs are based on the student’s housing plans for the award year.

Full Time Student
On Campus Off Campus With Parents
Tuition $7,874 $7,874 $7,874
Room and Board $9,092 $9,074 $3,228
Transportation $1,332 $1,916 $1,916
Personal/Miscellaneous $2,004 $2,004 $2,004
Books $1,220 $1,220 $1,220
Loan Fees $72 $72 $72
$21,594 $22,160 $16,314

The above figures are based on the 2015-2016 award year. Some components of the total cost are direct costs and others are indirect costs. The total cost does not necessarily represent the actual charges you will be billed for by Nicholls. Expenses for housing, clothing, travel, recreation, and personal and miscellaneous items vary based on individual lifestyle. The Office of Financial Aid uses an estimate for reasonable expenses a student may incur and adjustments may be made on a case-by-case basis. For most students and their families, financial aid reduces out-of-pocket expenses considerably, and the actual cost of attending Nicholls will not be as much as the full estimated projected costs shown above.

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Applying for Financial Aid

To apply for financial aid, a student must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) detailing information about their family’s financial circumstances. Because financial aid is intended as a supplement to the family’s resources, the student and his or her family will be expected to contribute as much as they can afford toward educational expenses.

Determining how much a family can pay toward college expenses is a complicated process that involves much more than looking at family income. Normally three major factors determine the family’s ability to pay for college: income, family size, and number of children in college. Upon receipt of the FAFSA, the Federal Processing Center makes a thorough evaluation of the family’s financial strength and, using a federally mandated formula, computes the expected family contribution (EFC) which is an estimate of the amount the family can contribute toward educational expenses. This process is a function of the Federal Processing Center, not the Nicholls Office of Financial Aid.

Once the FAFSA is processed, a Student Aid Report (SAR) is forwarded to each applicant, and an electronic SAR is forwarded to each institution the student lists on the FAFSA. The student must provide any material or supporting documentation if requested by the Office of Financial Aid in a timely manner.  Failure to do so will result in aid being delayed.

Students must reapply for financial aid every year. The FAFSA is available after January 1st each year. Paper applications are available in high school guidance offices and at the Nicholls Office of Financial Aid, or a student can apply online at www.fafsa.gov.

To be considered for priority processing at Nicholls, a student must complete his or her FAFSA before April 15 for the following fall semester and October 31 for the following spring semester.

Students should ask the high school guidance counselor about community, foundation and other private scholarships. Veterans should also ask about Veterans Administration benefits to determine eligibility. The Nicholls coordinator may be consulted at 985-448-4208.

Transfer students must be maintaining satisfactory academic progress as defined by the Office of Financial Aid in order to be eligible to receive financial aid.

Notification of Award

A financial aid decision will be made and the student notified only after he or she is admitted to Nicholls and the financial aid application is complete. If the student is awarded aid, the decision will be in the form of a financial aid award notification. This communication will direct the student to access his/her financial aid awards through the Banner Self Service System,  which includes the total amount of the student’s award; a breakdown of the award by its “package” components: grants, loan and employment; a summary of the analysis of the student’s financial need; and  any assumptions on which the award was made.

Most financial aid is based on documented financial need. Financial need is the difference between the cost of attending the university and the financial resources available to the student. Students are responsible for reporting to the Office of Financial Aid any change in their financial situation that occurs after the initial application for aid is submitted. A documented decrease in resources may provide for an increase in financial aid if funds are available; an increase in resources may result in a reduction or cancellation of financial aid funds or a requirement to repay awards already released to the student.

Rules and regulations governing federal financial aid programs are developed by the federal government and Nicholls. They are subject to change as necessary, and changes can apply to both prospective and currently enrolled students at the time of the change.

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SOURCES AND TYPES OF FINANCIAL AID

The university provides scholarships and employment; the federal government and the state provide funds for grants, loans and employment opportunities; and private individuals and organizations assist students by awarding scholarships. The Office of Financial Aid will refer students with a disability to Vocational Rehabilitation, which will determine whether they qualify for assistance.

In general, scholarships and grants are funds that students do not repay. They are usually awarded on the basis of academic ability, financial need, or both. Loans must be repaid at a predetermined interest rate over a specified time. Employment involves providing a service for compensation on campus during the academic year.

Grants, Loans, and Scholarships/Student Employment
Grants

The FEDERAL PELL GRANT is a federal grant awarded to undergraduate students with no prior bachelor’s or professional degree. The student must meet satisfactory academic progress standards and all eligibility requirements for admittance to the University. Eligibility for the Pell Grant is determined by the student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and Cost of Attendance (COA). The amount of money awarded is prorated based on the number of hours enrolled. The EFC is determined by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Pell Grant is gift aid that does not have to be repaid.

The FEDERAL SUPPLEMENTAL EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY GRANT (SEOG) is a federal grant available to undergraduate students with exceptional need. Students with the lowest Expected Family Contribution, who are also receiving a Federal Pell Grant, may be eligible to receive this grant. Not all recipients of the Federal Pell Grant will receive the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant due to the limited availability of funds. The SEOG is gift aid that does not have to be repaid.

The LOUISIANA GO GRANT is a need-based state grant for students. The Go Grant is aimed at bridging the gap between the amount of financial aid a student is awarded through the Federal Pell Grant program and the actual cost of attending a Louisiana college or university. A student must meet specific program requirements to be eligible to receive this grant.

The TEACHER EDUCATION ASSISTANCE FOR COLLEGE AND HIGHER EDUCATION (TEACH) GRANT PROGRAM is awarded to undergraduate and graduate students who intend to teach full-time in high-need subject areas for at least four years at schools that serve students from low-income families. Students must meet other requirements to establish and maintain eligibility for a TEACH grant.

Loans

The SUBSIDIZED STAFFORD LOAN is awarded to undergraduate students on the basis of financial need determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Eligible students borrow directly from the U.S. Department of Education. The federal government pays the interest on this loan while in school. Repayment of this loan will begin six months after the student graduates, leaves school, or drops below half-time enrollment (6 hours). Graduate and professional students may NOT receive subsidized stafford loans. This loan must be repaid.

The UNSUBSIDIZED STAFFORD LOAN is awarded to undergraduate and graduate students and does not require demonstrated financial need determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Eligible students borrow directly from the U.S. Department of Education. The federal government does not pay the interest while the student is in school. Interest will be charged from the time the loan is disbursed until it is repaid in full. If the student decides to capitalize or defer the interest, it will be added to the principal amount of the student’s loan and this will increase the amount to be repaid. Repayment of this loan will begin six months after the student graduates, leaves school, or drops below half-time enrollment (6 hours). This loan must be repaid.

The PARENT LOAN FOR UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS (PLUS) is a loan for parents to help pay the cost of education for dependent undergraduate students. Parents may borrow up to the full cost of attendance less any other financial assistance the student receives. Parents must be able to pass a credit check or obtain a ‘co-signer’ who is able to pass the credit check. Both the parent and student must meet general eligibility requirements for federal financial assistance.

PRIVATE LOANS are available to students who are not eligible for federal financial aid or who need additional funds to meet educational expenses; however, Federal Title IV funds may be more favorable than private loans. Private loans are expensive and should only be borrowed when all other resources, such as Stafford or PLUS loans, have been exhausted. These loans do not offer the same benefits as Federal Financial Aid and are subject to higher interest rates because they are not guaranteed by the federal government. Since this type of loan is based on your credit history, some lenders may require a co-signer. Always remember that these are loans of last resort.

Scholarships and Student Employment

Nicholls State University also allocates a large percentage of its funds to scholarships and student employment.

A variety of individuals and private organizations including corporations, foundations, churches and community groups offer financial assistance to students in the form of scholarships. Upon graduation, students may also receive financial assistance through their secondary schools. Visit https://www.nicholls.edu/financial-aid/ for a complete list of scholarships.

STUDENT EMPLOYMENT is a financial aid program that enables students to earn money toward college expenses by working on campus. Students can be employed through the university’s student employment program, a federal work-study program, or a grant program.  Federal Work-Study employment is based on financial need as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Applications for any program are available in the Student Employment Office.

Private and University Sources

A variety of individuals and private organizations including corporations, foundations, churches and community groups offer financial assistance to students in the form of scholarships. Upon graduation, students may also receive financial assistance through their secondary schools. Visit https://www.nicholls.edu/financial-aid/ for a complete list of scholarships.

Students with a disability may qualify for financial assistance through Vocational Rehabilitation.

Nicholls State University also allocates a large percentage of its funds to scholarships and student employment.

SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS (SAP)

Minimum Standards

To remain eligible for federal grants, loans, and work-study, students must meet the standards indicated below at the end of each semester. Please note the standards to establish and maintain eligibility for Title IV assistance are more stringent than the University’s academic standards for continuous enrollment. At the end of each term of enrollment, students must earn the minimum cumulative GPA, minimum number of credit hours, and be within the maximum timeframe. Failure to meet the minimum cumulative standards may result in a loss of financial aid eligibility.

To access the entire Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy electronically, please visit www.nicholls.edu/financial-aid/sap. Printed copies are available upon request.

Evaluation and Notification of Eligibility

The minimum progress standards will be checked after each semester of enrollment (Fall, Spring, and Summer). At the end of each term of enrollment, students must earn the minimum cumulative GPA, minimum number of credit hours, and be within the maximum timeframe. At the time of each evaluation, a student who has not achieved the required GPA, or who is not successfully completing his or her educational program at the required pace, is no longer eligible to receive assistance under the Title IV programs unless the student is placed on financial aid warning or the student has appealed and has been placed on financial aid probation/academic plan. Students can find their SAP status within the Financial Aid menu on Banner Self Service.

Financial Aid Appeals

If extenuating circumstances prevented a student from meeting the requirements, a SAP Appeal may be filed. The appeal must be submitted with accompanying documentation and a completed academic plan by the deadline date given. All supporting documents will be retained in the student’s financial aid file. Nicholls’ Satisfactory Academic Appeal Form may be found at www.nicholls.edu/financial-aid/forms.

DROPPING AND RESIGNING POLICY

Dropping a Class or Classes

If you drop a class or classes, you may be required to payback the financial aid that you received. The federal refund policy, your class attendance, and your enrollment status all influence the repayment requirements. If you are considering dropping a class or classes, contact our office to determine the financial aid implications specific to your situation.

Resigning from All Classes

As a recipient of Title IV Funds, you must attend all courses. Failure to attend class could result in an immediate reduction of your aid in addition to that required from the completed Return of Title IV Funds calculation or a cancellation of the total aid awarded.

To access the entire Dropping and Resigning Policy electronically, please visit https://www.nicholls.edu/financial-aid/policies/dropping-and-resigning-policy. Printed copies are available upon request.

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