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Applying for Aid When Re-enrolling

No.  All you need to do is to work with the Registrar’s Office to make sure you’re an active degree seeking student and complete your 2021-22 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.studentaid.gov.  To be considered for the maximum amount of aid possible, please make sure your FAFSA is completed by the JMU FAFSA Priority Filing Date. You will be able to find that date at www.jmu.edu/financialaid.

Federal Loans

Each federal student loan has a 6 month grace period, which means students do not enter repayment until 6 months after they cease being enrolled on a half-time basis.  Once that happens, the loan enters repayment.  There are few important things to note about this:

 

  • Once the student returns to school on a half-time basis, the loan will be put back into deferment.
  • Once the student ceases to be enrolled on a half-time basis again, that loan will immediately go back into repayment, as each loan only has one grace period. When the grace period is used, the student does not get another applied to that loan.
  • The grace period is a single period of 6 months, not cumulative. For example, if the student ceases half-time enrollment for 3 months only and then returns back to school at a half-time level, the grace period “clock” is reset back to 0.  It’s only after 6 consecutive months of less than half-time enrollment that the grace period is used.
  • Any new loan taken once the student returns to school will have a 6 month grace period under current law, as each loan has a grace period.

 

Please visit www.studentaid.gov for more information about loan deferments.

 

According to www.studentaid.gov, “You are eligible for this deferment if you’re enrolled at least half-time at an eligible college or career school.”  You are not required to be in a degree program, but be attending an eligible college, which generally speaking is a school that participates in the federal student aid programs.

 

Therefore, if you are enrolled at least half-time at an eligible community college in 2020-21, your federal loans will still be eligible for deferment, even if you do not apply for federal student aid while you are there.

If you discontinue from JMU before the school year beings, then there are processes in place that will cancel your student loans as a result of you no longer being enrolled. If you discontinue after the school year begins (withdraw from the university after classes start), then your student loans will be re-evaluated based on the federal Return of Title IV Funds regulations.  You can learn more about this in Section 12: Effects of Dropping and Withdrawing from Classes of our JMU Terms and Conditions – Consumer Information document. 

 

With that said, as part of the process for withdrawing from JMU before school begins or through the Registrar’s Office, there is an option on the Non-Returning Notice for students to indicate if they want their loans canceled.  You can learn more about this in the Leaving JMU section of the Registrar’s Office website.

Yes, anytime students do not return, even for a short period when the intention is to return at a later date, exit loan counseling should be completed.  You can complete Exit Loan Counseling on the federal website, and download a copy of the Exit Loan Counseling Brochure under the Manage Aid section of the JMU financial aid website.

Congress has passed some provisions that are set to expire on September 30, 2020.  You can read more about them at www.studentaid.gov.  We encourage you to keep an eye on this website to see if any additional provisions will be added, or if existing ones will be extended.

You should talk with your new school to see if you qualify to borrow federal student loans based on your attendance there, as taking classes as a non-degree seeking student will not make you eligible for federal student loans.  However, if you find you are eligible for loans, then it’s important to keep in mind that federal student loans do have annual and aggregate (lifetime) maximum limits.  Any loans you take, from any school, will be applied to these federal limits. 

 

You can learn more about these limits at www.studentaid.gov, as well as find your own loan history to determine how much you have already borrowed against these limits.

Private Loans

The answer to this question is best addressed by your private loan lender. Since these loans are not subject to the same rules and regulations as federal loans, JMU cannot answer this question for you.

Please refer to the 2020/21 Preferred Lender List contact information provided.

If you discontinue after the school year begins (withdraw from the university after classes start), then your private loan will be evaluated, and adjusted based on your lender requirements. If you have any questions pertaining to this, please direct them to loans@jmu.edu

 

As part of the process for withdrawing from JMU before school begins or through the Registrar’s Office, there is an option on the Non-Returning Notice for students to indicate if they want their loans canceled.  You can learn more about this in the Leaving JMU section of the Registrar’s Office website.

Some lenders do have relief programs available; however, because this varies by lender, it is best addressed by your lender. JMU cannot answer this question for you. Please refer to the 2020/21 Preferred Lender List contact information provided.

For your convenience, we have provided direct links to our 2020/21 Preferred Lenders websites, along with the lender phone number for existing borrowers.

Sallie Mae

(800) 472-5543 (800-4-SALLIE)

Custom Choice Powered by Cognition

(866) 232-3889

PNC

(800) 762-1001

M&T Bank (Serviced by Sallie Mae)

(800) 472-5543 (800-4-SALLIE)

Union Federal Private Student Loan

(866) 513-8445

College Ave Student Loans

(844) 803-0736

Discover Student Loans

(800) STUDENT (800-788-3368)

Earnest

(888) 601-2801

SoFi

(855) 456-7634

Thrivent Federal Credit Union

(866) 226-5225

Citizens Bank

(888) 333-0256

 

Scholarships

The answer depends, in part, on the funding source of the scholarship and when you plan to enroll. Please contact the department that made the scholarship offer to you to inquire about this, as they would be in the best position to provide you with an answer.

The answer depends, in part, on the funding source of the scholarship and when you plan to enroll. Please contact the department that made the scholarship offer to you to inquire about this, as they would be in the best position to provide you with an answer.

JMU cannot hold outside scholarship funds from one year to the next. If you are not attending, we will return the funds to the donor. If you have questions about being able receive your scholarship when you return, please contact your donor.

Virginia State Grants

If you were eligible for a state grant in the fall, then sitting out in the fall will not change your spring eligibility. However, you cannot receive your fall grant funds in the spring, so you would only be eligible to receive no more than your maximum spring eligibility in the spring term.

As long as your 2021-22 FAFSA is filed by JMU FAFSA Priority Filing Date and you meet the rest of the eligibility criteria, then you will still be eligible for a state grant in the 2021-22 academic year.  You can find the FAFSA Priority Filing Date at www.jmu.edu/financialaid.

 

With that said, if you were eligible to receive the Virginia Guaranteed Assistance Program (VGAP) award in 2020-21 and do not attend in the fall and spring terms of 2020-21 you will not meet the VGAP renewal criteria and you will lose VGAP eligibility moving forward due to the continuous enrollment requirement.  If that happens, you may be eligible to receive the Commonwealth Award when you return, which is generally 1% - 4% less than an equivalent VGAP award.

 

You can learn more about state grants at in Section 17: Grants and Scholarships of our Terms and Conditions – Consumer Information document.

 

Students will not lose future CTG eligibility for future terms if they do not enroll in 2020-21.

Outside Grants-Third Party (non-federal, Virginia state, or institutional)

You should contact the organization awarding you that grant and ask this question, as only they can provide you with the answer.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

You need to contact our SAP Team at finaid_sap@jmu.edu to inform them of your intentions, as your SAP approval will need to be re-evaluated to determine if any of the conditions need to be updated based on your non-attendance in 2020-21. 

Pell Grant

If you were eligible for a Pell Grant in the fall, then sitting out in the fall will not change your spring eligibility. However, you cannot receive your fall grant funds in the spring, as you may not receive more than your maximum spring eligibility in the spring term.

As long as your 2021-22 FAFSA is filed, your Expected Family Contribution is within Pell range, and you continue to meet the remaining eligibility criteria, then you will still be eligible for a Pell Grant in the 2021-22 academic year. However, the amount of the award in 2021-22 will likely be different than what was offered in 2020-21, as a new FAFSA is used to determine your eligibility each school year.

Dropping and Withdrawing From Classes

 

This is taken from Section 12: Effects of Dropping and Withdrawing from Classes of the Financial Aid Terms and Conditions – Consumer Information section of our website.

A student’s enrollment level is critical in determining eligibility for financial aid.  In some instances, a change in enrollment level after a financial aid package has been awarded can lead to an adjustment to financial aid eligibility.  You can learn more about the factors considered when awarding financial aid by going to Section 1: How Financial Aid is Awarded.

Students typically change their enrollment by dropping or withdrawing from classes.  Before going any further, it is important to understand the difference between a dropped and withdrawn class:

  • Dropped Class – This class will not show up on a transcript and the student is not charged for the course.  It is as if the student never signed up for the class.
  • Withdrawn Class – A grade of W, WP, or WF will show on the transcript for a withdrawn class.  Visit the Registrar’s Office for more information about these grades.  In most instances students will incur charges for a withdrawn class.  Please visit the University Business Office if you have questions about charges for withdrawn classes.


Drops and withdrawals are treated very differently for the purposes of determining financial aid eligibility.  The sections below will describe the different ways these actions will affect financial aid eligibility.

In all cases, only credits that have a “Yes” under the “Eligible for Financial Aid” Column in “My Class Schedule” in MyMadison can be considered when determining a student’s enrollment level for financial aid.  This applies to all federal aid programs, the state grant programs, institutional grant programs, and private educational loans.  Refer to Section 23: Classes and Program of Study Applicability for more details.  Additional information is outlined in this document that could cause a class listed as “Eligible for Financial Aid” to be ineligible upon further review by the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships, such as Section 14: Effects of Repeating Classes as an example.

 

This is taken from Section 13: Effects of Receiving All "F," "WP," and/or "WF" Grades in a Term of the Financial Aid Terms and Conditions – Consumer Information section of our website.

Students who receive all “F” grades, or a combination of F, W, WP, and/or WF grades, in their classes for a given term are subject to the same Return of Title IV Funds (R2T4) regulations as students who withdraw from all of their courses.  See the Return of Title IV Funds section for more details about this.  If these grades were received as a result of the student not completing the term, R2T4 will be invoked.  If the grades were earned, meaning the student completed the entire term and simply earned “F” grades, then R2T4 will not be invoked.

When JMU instructors input an “F”, “WP”, or “WF” grade into MyMadison they must assign a “reason” code for the grade.  The Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships utilizes this code to determine the reason why a student received that grade, as well as the to secure the last date of attendance when applicable.  The process of searching for these grades and the associated reasons occurs after final grades are due at the end of each term.  The reason codes do not appear on a student’s transcript, but are housed in the university system for the purposes of determining financial aid eligibility.  The codes are:

  • C – Completed the term
  • A – Attended until (professors inputs a last date of attendance)
  • N – Never attended class
  • U – Began class, stopped attending at an unknown point in the term


A student reported last date of attendance cannot be used as an official last date of attendance.  Refer to the Federal Pell Grant and Federal Direct Loan sections later in this document for information on how “F” grades received for never attending a class can affect eligibility after a term has ended.

Situations were a student’s grades indicate he/she did not complete the entire term are referred to as “unofficial withdrawals.”

Determining the Withdrawal Date
The withdrawal used for R2T4 in cases of an “unofficial withdrawal” is generally the 50% (mid-point) date of the term.. At the discretion of the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships, and with documentation from a student’s instructors, a student’s last day of academic activity may be used as the withdrawal date in place of the date the withdrawal process began.  

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