The USC Aiken Office of Financial Aid awards financial aid in accordance with federal, state and institutional policies and regulations. Your indicated aid preferences are considered in the awarding process. Because of funding limitations, it is usually not possible to meet all of a student's calculated financial need. Financial aid is awarded primarily to supplement the resources of the student and his or her family, with whom lies the primary responsibility for meeting educational expenses. The financial aid application process must be repeated each year. Financial aid is not automatically renewed.
Financial aid for USC Aiken's summer sessions requires a separate application. Summer applicants must contact the Office of Financial Aid in early March to obtain the proper form(s) and to be informed of applicable deadlines.
Award Notification and Information
If you are offered financial aid, we will notify you of your eligibility by sending you an email award notification directing you to view your awards on Self Service Carolina (SSC). This notice may indicate funds from more than one financial aid program.
See detailed information regarding the types of financial aid which may be included in your awards under "Types of Aid".
Your financial aid initially will be processed based on full-time enrollment for both Fall and Spring. If you do not enroll full-time, your awards will be adjusted appropriately. If you want to revise or decline part or all of your financial aid offer, you may do so on Self Service Carolina (SSC).
You must be enrolled at least half-time (6 or more credit hours) to receive educational loan funds. Awards are based on hours enrolled in USC Aiken courses. Extremely limited federal grant funds are available for students whose enrollment status is less than half-time, but most USC Aiken students who enroll for fewer than six credit hours will not receive financial assistance. All awards are initially based on full-time enrollment and will be adjusted if you take fewer than 12 hours.
Withdrawals and Return of Title IV Federal Aid
Should you register for classes at USC Aiken and withdraw prior to the first day of classes, all disbursed aid must be repaid immediately. Should you withdraw or reduce your course load, you may be eligible to receive a refund. However, most recipients of financial aid do not receive a refund because the funds are credited to the appropriate student aid account. A copy of USC Aiken's refund and repayment policy is available upon request.
If you withdraw or drop classes during a refund period, you may be required to repay the student aid funds you have received; also, should you stop attending classes and/or receive a grade of F, you may be required to repay some of the student aid funds you received. If you have any questions concerning your course load reduction, you should see a Financial Aid Counselor for advisement prior to changing your status. A student may not receive financial aid while in default on a federal student loan or while owing a repayment to a federal grant program. If you are delinquent on financial obligations to USC Aiken, you will not be able to register again at this institution, transfer credits to another institution or graduate.
Students must follow the Withdrawal Policy as issued by the Registrar's Office. Students receiving financial aid should visit the Office of Student Financial Aid to confirm how financial aid will be impacted when withdrawing from school, or even just dropping a class, before submitting the withdrawal to the Office of Records. During this visit, the student's financial aid and course load will be reviewed. Students receiving Direct Loans and withdrawing to less than half time may be required to complete Loan Exit Counseling. Half-time enrollment varies depending on a student’s program of study.
The Return of Title IV Funds Policy applies to all students who have, or could have been, disbursed federal funds. In accordance with federal regulations, the institution and the student are required to return unearned portions of Title IV assistance (federal grants and/or federal student loans). This return of unearned funds only applies to students who have completely withdrawn. The return of funds is based upon the percentage of time the student attended the institution. The percentage of time completed is determined by dividing the number of days prior to complete withdrawal by the total days of the semester. The earned percentage (rounded) is then subtracted from 100 percent, which then gives the unearned percentage.
If a student withdraws after 60 percent of the semester has been completed, no funds will be returned.
Return of Title IV funds to the federal government will be made in the following order:
- Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans
- Federal Direct Subsidized Loans
- Federal Direct PLUS Loans
- Federal PELL Grants
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)
- Federal Teach Grants
- Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
The Financial Aid Office performs all calculations for Return to Title IV funds. Once these calculations are performed, the Office of Student Financial Aid then reduces awards and notifies students of funds owed to the U.S. Department of Education. Students will be notified by the Business Services Office if money is owed to the university. Failure to repay the federal government could jeopardize eligibility for future financial assistance at USC Aiken and other institutions. Failure to repay the institution could jeopardize eligibility to return to the school and/or receive official academic transcripts
Preregistered Students: Your bill will be available online in your Self Service Carolina account. Questions about your aid can be answered by the Office of Financial Aid staff. You must follow all instructions for bill processing provided by the USC Aiken Business Services Office. If your financial aid funds exceed your bill, the excess or overage will be mailed to you or direct deposited to your account by the Business Services Office.
Regular Registration: Students participating in regular or late registration who are enrolling full-time may pay using their available financial aid by following the instructions concerning their bill found on SSC.
Post Registration: If your aid cannot be applied to your account during preregistration or regular registration due to a late or incomplete application, the Business Services Office will disburse your aid when it becomes available. You must be registered for the required credit hours at the time of disbursement.
Federal Direct Loan Disbursement
If you are a first-time borrower, you are required to complete loan counseling. Loan counseling will require 30-45 minutes prior to loan disbursement. You must complete loan counseling online at https://studentaid.gov/.
If you think we have overlooked some aspect of your financial situation that would affect our evaluation of your need, you should bring this to the attention of the Office of Financial Aid. With proper documentation, certain extenuating circumstances can be taken into consideration. USC Aiken ensures the confidentiality of student records in accordance with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (known as the Buckley Amendment). Your family financial information and the type and amount of your aid are held in confidence. Information is released only with your written consent.
SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS
Pursuant to federal regulation, the USC Aiken Office of Financial Aid is required to monitor the academic progress of all students who apply for federal financial aid. Financial aid funds can be awarded only to students who are making measurable progress toward the completion of degree requirements within a reasonable period of time. Assessment of a financial aid applicant's academic progress is done at the completion of the Spring semester or at the time the new FAFSA is received by the Office of Financial Aid.
Students are considered to be making satisfactory progress only if they are meeting all of the standards set forth in this policy. If a student fails to meet any particular standard or combination of standards, he or she will become ineligible for federal financial aid.
FEDERAL WORK-STUDY (FWS) RECIPIENTS
The Federal Work-Study Program provides USC Aiken students with part-time, on-campus employment; community service employment; and tutoring positions with the America Reads Program. You must obtain a position and work in that position to receive payment. Job placement is handled through the USC Aiken Career Services Office. For a listing of available jobs, students should refer to the Career Services Job Board or the Student Employment Job Vacancy Board located across from the Career Services Office in the Penland Administration Building. Once hired, students are paid semi-monthly at an hourly rate which is determined by the University, but which is not to be less than the federal minimum wage.
All students who participate in the FWS program are required to attend a mandatory, one time only, student employment training session.
TRANSIENT AND STUDY ABROAD ENROLLMENT
If you have received or anticipate the receipt of an award for study at USC Aiken and you plan to enroll at a different USC campus on a temporary basis, you cannot use the aid awarded by USC Aiken unless all steps necessary to complete a valid transient agreement have been completed. USC Aiken will only enter into an agreement with another USC System campus as the awarding institution. Awards offered by USC Aiken cannot be used to attend institutions outside the USC System with the exception of approved study abroad programs. All courses taken at any other USC campus must be applicable toward your USC Aiken degree. You must provide our office with a copy of your approved Special Enrollment Request Form which you complete with your advisor.
To use the USC Aiken award(s) under either of these enrollment arrangements, you must speak with a financial aid representative and obtain the paperwork to complete the study abroad or transient process. The deadline to initiate this request for Fall semester is September 1st. For Spring semester, the deadline is February 1st. For Summer sessions, the deadline is April 15th. It is the student's responsibility for payment of all tuition and fees for courses taken at other USC campuses.