Geneseo has acquired Student Information and Campus Administration technology that will help the Office of Financial Aid enforce the federal and state policy that states that financial aid can only be awarded to courses that are required for a student’s degree.
During pre-registration for fall 2019, students who receive any type of federal or state financial aid will be notified via email by the Office of Financial Aid about their aid-applicable credits with actions that they can take.
Director of the Office of Financial Aid Susan Romano explained how federal and state policies will be enforced at Geneseo using this new technology.
“It has always been this way in order to receive financial aid, the courses you are taking must be applicable to your degree requirements,” Romano said. “We at Geneseo have never had the means to check to ensure that students’ course work was degree applicable. We now have this technology because of a SUNY entity called SICAS.”
Geneseo acquired this technology in 2016, and since then, has worked on the implementation phase of the software, according to the Office of Financial Aid.
“We are now in a place where the academic office has had open discussion with financial aid to get going on using the software,” Romano said. “We have had two and a half years of planning and implementing under our belts.”
Federal regulations prohibit aid to be administered for classes that do not count toward a student’s degree, and courses must be degree applicable. Otherwise, this may result in financial aid awards being reduced, according to the Federal Student Aid Office of the U.S. Department of Education.
“When we use the term ‘degree applicable’ we mean any type of course that is required for your graduation; general education, major requirements and outside major requirements or electives,” Romano said. “As long as you are taking courses that fall within those categories for your primary major, aid is applicable. Minors and second majors are not recognized as applicable to your degree requirements.”
According to the Office of Financial Aid, a student can still declare a minor or second major without having their aid adjusted if the student has enough outside major requirement electives required for graduation.
Assistant Director of the Office of Financial Aid Megan Kennerknecht explained how this will affect Geneseo students who benefit from financial aid.
“Students need to be aware of how many ‘free’ electives that they have,” Kennerknecht said. “Out of the 120 credits required to graduate, you have a certain number of general education credits and your first major. All else is a free elective that meets either an upper division requirement or outside major requirements. But all of those electives that are left over, you have free reign over. If you had 30 credits left over and wanted to declare a minor, the student would still be able to do that.”
According to the Office of Financial Aid, financial aid program recipients that will be affected are the Federal Pell Grant, Federal SEOG Grant, Federal Student and Parent Direct Loans, NYS Tap and SUNY Tuition Credit, NYS Excelsior, AIMS, Merit and STEM Scholarships.
“We will begin notifying students via email during advanced registration for fall of 2019,” Kennerknecht said. “We are not using the real time version of the software, where there would be a pop-up during registration that would notify students right away because we want students to get used to the terminology of the policy before we take that route.”
According to the Federal Student Aid Office of the U.S. Department of Education, failure to comply with course eligibility regulations will result in the reduction of your financial aid package.
“Aid will be divided up by courses,” Kennerknecht said. “If students wish to enroll in courses that aren’t aid-eligible, they will lose a fraction of their aid accordingly.”