Current Federal Regulations Affecting Disbursement of Federal Aid

Current Federal Regulations Affecting Disbursement of Federal Aid

Document Number: SFS--124 Revision #: 1.0
Document Owner: Executive VP Date Last Updated: 08/17/2012
Primary Author: Executive Director of Enrollment Services Status: Approved
Date Originally Created: 04/17/2012
General Description
Description: Information about the disbursement of federal aid relative to admission and student financial aid policies.

Purpose: Delineation of policy.

Scope: Students

Responsibility: Student Financial Services
VP of Business and Finance
Relevant Knowledge: In order to comply with this policy you should know:
Current University policy
Federal statutes
Terms and Definitions: Additional training

Corrective Action

Loss of privilege, staff

Loss of privilege, student
Policy Provisions
1. Current Federal Regulations That Affect Admissions and/or Disbursement of Federal Aid

A student must be a citizen or eligible noncitizen to receive aid from the FSA programs. (HEA Sec. 484(a)(5), 34 CFR 668.32(d), 34 CFR 668.33,and Subpart I of Part 668)

Cumberland University requests citizenship self-certification in the form of a question on the admissions application. Students who apply for federal aid and complete a FAFSA are also matched against the Social Security Administration (SSA) database or Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for confirmation of compliance with the citizenship requirements.

In order to be eligible for aid a student must be enrolled as a regular student in an eligible program. 34 CFR 668.32

A regular student is someone who is enrolled or accepted for enrollment in an eligible institution for the purpose of obtaining a degree or certificate offered by the school. (HEA Sec. 484 (a)(1), (b)(3), (4); 34 CFR 668.32 (a)(1))

Cumberland University currently defines a “regular” student as a student who has been “initially or finally” accepted.

A freshman or Transfer- 30 must meet the following admissions standards a minimum high school grade point average of 3.00 (un-weighted) and a 21 ACT composite score or SAT minimum of 21 ACT composite score or 980/990 SAT Critical Reading and Mathematics combined score to automatically meet acceptance standards.

A Transfer + 30 must meet the minimum standard of a cumulative 2.0 GPA or better for all work attempted/earned at all Universities or Colleges previously attended to automatically meet acceptance standards.

Students who do not meet “automatic” acceptance standards must be accepted by the Admissions Committee and provide all of the necessary documents to be considered for Initial or Final Acceptance.

In addition to meeting acceptance standards students must submit the following documentation:

Undergraduate documentation for Initial Acceptance:
• Application to the University
• Application Fee or waiver
• Official High School Transcript* (if a freshman or Transfer-30) or Official GED scores
*Official Partial HS transcript is acceptable if work is still in progress
• Official transcripts for all Universities/Colleges previously attended (Transfer + 30) (in-progress work is acceptable for initial acceptance)
• Personal Statement
• Official ACT/SAT scores (if a freshman or Transfer-30)

Undergraduate documentation for Final Acceptance:
• All of the above
• Final Official HS Transcript(s) (if a freshman or Transfer-30)
• All Official College Transcript(s) if student has taken Dual Enrollment courses or other previous college level work (if a freshman or Transfer-30)
• Official final transcripts for all Universities/Colleges previously attended (Transfer + 30) (cannot show in-progress work)
• Complete Immunization form (TN requirement and school requirement) (will not apply to 100% online programs/students)

International Students are required to have these additional documents:

• Affidavit of Support
• Official TOEFL scores (students from countries where English is not the native language must demonstrate a satisfactory score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examination)
• Transcript Evaluation using appropriate agency

To receive FSA funds, a student must be qualified to study at the postsecondary level (HEA Sec. 484(d), 34 CFR 668.32(e), 34 CFR 600.2).

A student qualifies if she:
• has a high school diploma (this can be from a foreign school if it is equivalent to a U.S. high school diploma);
• has the recognized equivalent of a high school diploma, such as a general education development or GED certificate;
• has completed homeschooling at the secondary level;
• has passed a Department-approved ability-to-benefit test; or
• has satisfactorily completed six credits of college work that are appli¬cable to a degree or certificate offered by the school.

Cumberland University currently requires an official high school transcript or official GED scores for all students who have less than 30 hours earned at a post-secondary level beyond Dual Enrollment.

Recent Changes in regulations (see below) may require that we strengthen our procedures and collect HS transcripts from all students.

Validity of High School Diploma [§668.16(p)]

Effective July 1, 2011, institutions of higher education will be required to have procedures in place to evaluate a student’s high school completion if the institution or Secretary has reason to believe the high school diploma was not obtained from an entity that provides a secondary school education.

The Department has emphasized that the new rules do not impose a requirement for institutions to collect high school diplomas. Additionally, there is no master list of valid high schools, and this new regulation does not apply to home-schooled students.

The 2011-2012 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will have one question with three fields. Students who indicate they will have a high school diploma when they begin college will be instructed to provide the name of the high school where they received or will receive the diploma, as well as listing the city and state where the school is located. Students completing the FAFSA on the Web will not be allowed to skip this question. For the 2011-2012 application period, this question will only be presented to first-time undergraduate students.

While the Department is not requiring school’s to validate this data element during this first year, it does not release schools from the requirement to have procedures in place to identify and resolve conflicting information. In the Preamble to the Final Regulations and at the FSA conference, the Department stated additional guidance would be provided via a Dear College Letter and the Federal Student Aid Handbook. (Excerpt from the NACAC Policy Brief, link provided below)


This not a comprehensive list of all the federal regulations that impact the admissions process or the disbursement of federal aid but are a major factor in how we determined our admissions policies and procedures. The next few pages are our published policies from the 2010-2011 catalog that pertain to this topic.

Performance Evaluation
Performance Metrics: Compliance with federal mandate
Compliance with standard policy and procedure

Consequences: Further training
Loss of privileges
Subject Experts
The following may be consulted for additional information.
Executive Director of Enrollment Services

Legal Counsel

VP of Business and Finance