STUDENT RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Students have the right to know the programs available at Otis; the procedures and forms for applying for student assistance; how eligibility is determined; the criteria for selecting recipients from a group of eligible applicants; the criteria for determining the types and amounts of financial assistance; access to relevant records in their student file; the terms and conditions governing the receipt of funds from any College scholarship, grant, student work, and loan programs; and policies that govern processes regarding financial aid offers and appeals regarding refusal of award offers.
CHANGES IN FINANCIAL AID INFORMATION
If you drop from full-time (12 unit) status within the first three weeks of the term, you must notify the Financial Aid Office. If your address changes, you must inform the Office of Registration and Records.
CHANGES IN ENROLLMENT STATUS
Students who drop from full-time to part-time status within the first three weeks of the term will have their financial aid is adjusted as follows:
Students who enroll in less than six units will have all aid cancelled except for the Federal Pell Grant, SEOG, Cal Grant, and ACG which will be reduced. Students who withdraw will be charged an administrative fee amounting to 5% of the total institutional costs, or $100.00, whichever is less.
The academic year falls on a two semester program. Fall and Spring students are the majority of students. Spring and Summer students are the minority. Both sets of students are enrolled in foundation classes and eligible for Financial Aid. MFA Graphic Design students are enrolled during Summer and Spring.
The BFA students are considered:
Full time 12 units and above
¾ time 9 – 11 units
½ time 6-8 units
Less ½ time Below 6 units
The MFA students are considered:
Full time 9 units and above
¾ time 6 – 8 units
½ time 4-5 units
Less ½ time Below 4 units
Students are enrolled per credit unit and the Office of Registration and Records is responsible for keeping the Banner system accurate with what the student registered. Students are required to register for full time status at all time to maintain graduation dates. Students who fail, withdraw, or register for less than fulltime must complete the program in 150% of the original length of the program.
The Financial Aid Office will make the revised awards after the drop period for students who enroll below full time status.
SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS (SAP)
Federal Regulations specify that a student must be making progress towards his or her academic degree in order to receive Financial Aid. To remain eligible for federal, state and most institutional aid, a student must maintain “Satisfactory Academic Progress” as specified below.
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is a measure of whether a student is progressing adequately toward completion of his or her course of study. It is determined in terms of grade point average and competed courses.
Definition of Satisfactory Academic Progress:
Qualitative Measurement: GPA Requirement
- Undergraduate students are required to have and maintain a 2.0 cumulative Otis GPA at the end of each semester.
- Graduate students are required to have and maintain a Pass or Low Pass on all their classes at the end of each semester.
Quantitative Measurement: Pace Requirement
- Undergraduate students must complete their degree within 195 credits
(130 credits x 150%).
- Undergraduate students who entered as Freshman in the 2014-15 Academic Year and after must complete their degree within 180 credits (120 credits x 150%).
- The Minimum Cumulative Completion Rate for Otis is 67% (130/195 or 120/180).
Anything below 67% does not meet the SAP standards.
- A student’s completed credits are divided by the attempted credits to establish if the student is on pace to graduate within 150% of their program length.
- Periods when an enrolled student does not receive Title IV aid will still be counted toward the Maximum Time Frame, including the summer term. Transfer credits will be added to both earned and attempted credits, but the GPA of the transfer credits will not be considered.
- Students who repeat coursework can only receive aid for the same class for a maximum of two times. If the student fails the course again and is required to take the same course a third time, they will be ineligible to receive aid for that course.
- Changes in majors or degrees will be a matter of professional judgment and will be done on a case-by-case basis.
Additional Institutional Requirements (Otis Grant): Unit Requirement
- Undergraduate students are required to complete at least 12 credits per semester to maintain SAP.
- Graduate students are required to complete at least 9 credits per semester to maintain SAP.
- If a student receives a failing or incomplete grade, audits or withdraws from a class, these credits cannot be counted toward credit requirements.
Important Notes Regarding Institutional Aid
- Any and all Otis Grants and scholarships are not earned until after the completion of the tuition adjustment period as published in the student handbook.
- Students who drop below full-time status or withdraw before the completion of the tuition adjustment period as published in the student handbook forfeit all Otis grants and scholarships.
Satisfactory Academic Progress is monitored on a per semester basis.
1. The first time a student does not meet any one of the SAP Standard Requirements they will be given a warning letter, and their financial aid account will be placed on “Warning”.
2. A consecutive semester of not meeting any one of the SAP Standard Requirements will result in a suspension of financial aid funds and the student will be placed on “Unsatisfactory SAP” status.
3. The student will remain ineligible for financial aid until the student has met the requirement for reinstatement by fulfilling the standards or by submitting an appeal.
4. Students who are academically dismissed will also be suspended from receiving any type of aid. They regain eligibility once readmitted by the Academic Standing Committee and a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal form is approved by the Financial Aid Office.
Appeal Process/ Regaining Eligibility:
Students who are determined ineligible for financial aid due to lack of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) may appeal this decision. Students must complete and submit a SAP Appeal form to the Financial Aid Office before financial aid will be awarded. Students will be notified of the SAP Appeal decision via Otis student email.
Students have the responsibility to respond to the Financial Aid Office correspondence regarding suspended financial aid eligibility. Students must list any mitigating circumstances which prevented them from completing Satisfactory Academic Progress and must submit their SAP Appeal within the timeframe in their Suspension Letter.
RETURN OF FINANCIAL AID AT THE TIME OF WITHDRAWAL AND LEAVE OF ABSENCE
Students who completely withdraw during the term or take a leave of absence at Otis will lose all or part of their financial aid depending on how many days they attended Otis. The amount of financial aid earned is determined on a pro-rated basis. Refunds are disbursed in the following order:
- Federal Direct Loan (unsubsidized)
- Federal Direct Loan (subsidized)
- Federal Parent PLUS Loan
- Federal Perkins Loan
- Federal Graduate PLUS Loan
- Federal Pell Grant
- Federal FSEOG
- Cal Grant and other state grants
- Otis College of Art and Design
- The Student
The Financial Aid Office will adhere to the Department of Education calculation for Title IV funds. The calculation is done through the DOE’s website. When any funds were returned, the student is responsible for the balance created due to the returned funds. Registration Office will confirm the students’ last date of attendance and this date will be used as a withdrawal date.
Example of Return of Financial Aid Policy:
Mary receives the following financial aid package:
- $1000 FSEOG
- $1000 Pell Grant
- $1000 PLUS Loan
- $1000 Subsidized or Unsubsidized Direct Loan
- $3000 Otis Institutional Grant
- $7000 Total
Mary attends 45 days of the 111-day fall term, and then withdraws. 45 days attended/111 days in the semester = 40% earned aid. Total federal financial aid earned: 40% of $4000 = $1600
- $3000 Otis Institutional Grant
- $1000 FSEOG
- $600 Pell Grant
Otis returns federal aid in the following order:
- $1000 Subsidized or Unsubsidized Direct Loan
- $1000 PLUS Loan
- $400 Pell Grant
- $0 FSEOG
Financial Consequences of Withdrawal
In the above example, Mary is withdrawing at a time in which she will receive no reduction of tuition charges. Her financial liability is Tuition fees and charges: $11,710 - Financial Aid: $4,600 = Balance Due: $7,110
The official date of withdrawal used in calculating refunds will be the student's last date of attendance as determined by the Registrar. Students dismissed from Otis for disciplinary reasons forfeit the right to claim refunds of tuition, deposits, and fees.
Students who withdraw from Otis College will be refunded tuition and fees according to the following schedule; in addition, students will be charged a $100 withdrawal fee:
90% refund By the end of 1st week of classes
75% refund By the end of 2nd week of classes
50% refund By the end of 3rd week of classes
25% refund By the end of 4th week of classes
0% refund After the 4th week of classes
REFUND TO BORROWERS
Student Accounts Refund Policy In some instances, student accounts will show a credit balance (funds due back to the student or, in some cases, the parents) upon posting of all payments for the current term. In such cases, the following procedure applies:
The processing of the refund or E-Disbursement by Student Accounts begins when the student's account is at a credit balance. An E-Disbursement is processed after the add deadline.
Processing by Student Accounts is within (10) ten days after all of the following:
- The add deadline has passed.
- The account has a credit balance.
- Verification that the funds received have been deposited to the College's bank account.
Financial Aid Refund Policy
In order for Financial Aid to be disbursed (credited) to the student's account, the Financial Aid file must be complete, including all paperwork requested (tax forms, loan applications, verification forms, etc.).
Regarding loans, the lending institution will inform the student, in writing, of the status of his/her loan. In most cases, the student is notified before funds are received by Otis. When the Otis Business Office receives electronically transmitted funds, the funds are processed and posted to the student's account within (3) three business days of receipt. In the case of paper checks, the student will be contacted to come to Student Accounts to endorse the check. After endorsement, the funds will be processed within (3) business days.
Once the Financial Aid process is completed and enrollment status has been verified, Financial Aid will be credited (disbursed) to the student's account. Note: an account is credited only when actual funds have been received and processed; the College does not advance monies or credit students' accounts for anticipated or estimated aid. A credit balance results when the amount of actual aid/payments posted to a student's account exceeds the total of tuition and fees charged for the semester. Funds are posted to the student's account in the order received. If a credit balance occurs due to the posting of a PLUS loan, the refunded amount will go to the student's parents.
Business Office/ Cashier Refund Policy
A refund check will be processed within (5) five days of receipt of the Refund Disbursement Form in the Business Office. All checks, with the exception of PLUS loan Refunds for the student's parents, will be mailed directly to the student at the official address on file with the Office of Registration and Records. The College's refund policy complies with the Higher Education Amendment's Act. The preceding information reflects regulations in effect at the time of this printing. Please contact the Financial Aid Office regarding any changes.
Special Provision for Books and Supplies
If a Pell Grant eligible student meets all the requirements for Title IV at least 10 days before the start of the semester, any Title IV funds in excess of the amount owed to the school will be make available to the student by the 7th day of classes. The student is under no obligation to take advantage of this provision.
The Financial Aid Office will disburse funds for eligible students 10 days before the beginning of semester. The Business Office typically issues refunds by the 5th day by either the direct deposit or mailed check. The student can also specifically request the refund to ensure disbursement through the Financial Aid Office.
FINANCIAL AID OFFICE CODE OF CONDUCT
- Processes loan applications through any lender a student or parent chooses.
- Does not solicit or accept anything of value from any lender in exchange for any advantage sought by the lender or to make educational loans to students.
- Prohibits employees of the financial aid office from taking from any lender any gift worth more than nominal value.
- Prohibits employees of the financial aid office from entering into any type of consulting arrangement or other contract to provide to a lender services relating to educational loans.
- Prohibits employees of the financial aid office, who serve on an advisory board (or commission or group) relating to educational loans established by a lender or group of lenders from receiving anything of value from the lender or group of lenders in connection with serving on such advisory board (or commission or group).
- Prohibits external lenders' employees, representatives, or agents from providing staffing services to the financial aid office.
- Prohibits external lenders' employees, representatives, or agents from identifying themselves to students of the College or their parents as employees, representatives or agents of the financial aid office.
- Does not assign for any borrower, through award packaging or other methods, a loan to a particular lender, and does not refuse to certify or delay certification of any loan based on the borrower's selection of a particular lender or guaranty agency.
FINANCIAL AID AND THE MOBILITY PROGRAM
Students on the mobility program are eligible for financial aid with the same requirements and eligibility as being on campus. Students do have the added responsibility to ensure that their file is complete before studying at another university or college.
STUDENT ELIGIBILITY FOR AID
Otis follows and complies with the federal government requirement for federal aid. The Student Eligibility guidelines are used to determine federal aid awards.
Special Provision for Books and Supplies for Pell Eligible Students
Students who receive a Pell grant and borrows the Parent PLUS loan over the direct cost are eligible for an advance on the books and supply allowance on the cost of attendance after the seventh day of disbursements. Students are typically issued a refund at this time however if circumstances arise that a student cannot have funds disbursed on time then the student needs to contact the financial aid office.
Notice of Federal Student Financial Aid Penalties for Drug Law Violations
As indicated in the HEA Section 48499(r), 34 CFR 668.40, a federal or state drug conviction can disqualify a student for Federal Student Aid funds. Convictions only count if they were for an offence that occured during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving Title IV aid. The chart below illustrates the period of ineligibility for FSA funds, depending on whether the conviction was for sale or possession and whether the student had previous offenses. (A conviction for sale of drugs includes convictions for conspiring to sell drugs.)
A student regains eligibility the day after the period of ineligibility ends or when the student successfully completes a qualified drug rehabilitation program. If a conviction is reversed, set aside, or removed from the student's record so that fewer that two convictions for sale or three convictions for possession remain on the record. It is the student's responsibility to certify that he/she has successfully completed the rehabilitation program. The chart below indicates the period of ineligibility:
Possession of illegal drugs
Sale of Illegal Drugs
1 year from date of conviction
2 years from date of conviction
2 years from date of conviction