Apr 24, 2024  
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog 
    
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Financial Aid



Financial Aid Programs

The financial aid programs listed below are available to students seeking a graduate degree at University of Houston-Clear Lake. Students who wish to apply for financial aid should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at studentaid.gov. UHCL’s federal school code is 011711. More information regarding the types of aid listed below can be found at uhcl.edu/costs-aid.

Program

  • Federal TEACH Grant
  • Texas Public Educational Grant (TPEG)
  • University Scholarships
  • Resident Graduate Student Assistance Grant
  • Federal College Work Study Program (FWSP)
  • Texas College Work Study Program (TWSP)
  • Hinson-Hazlewood Loan
  • Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loan
  • *Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan

*All students applying for their first Federal Direct Loan must complete entrance loan counseling and the electronic Master Promissory Note (eMPN) at studentaid.gov before loan funds can be disbursed. Program availability is never guaranteed. Financial aid programs are subject to change at any time.

Qualifying for Financial Aid Programs

Students must meet these minimum requirements:

  • Be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national (includes natives of American Samoa or Swain’s Island) or U.S. permanent resident who has an I-151, I-551 or I-551C (permanent resident card).
  • Be admitted to a degree-seeking graduate program.
  • Be enrolled at least half-time at UHCL (half-time is considered at least five hours for a graduate student).
  • Be making satisfactory academic progress toward a degree.
  • Not be in default on any education loan or owe a refund on a federal and/or state grant.
  • Be registered with Selective Service System, if male.
  • Possess a high school diploma, GED, Homeschool Completion Record, or equivalent of a high school diploma.

Applying for Financial Aid

Because regulations governing financial aid change each year, students are required to reapply and submit new documentation annually. Funding sources and requirements change from year to year, and the amount and type of aid awarded to students may also change. All financial aid applicants are required to submit the following:

  • 2021-2022 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) available online at studentaid.gov.
  • If the FAFSA is selected for a process called verification, the student/spouse must provide supplemental information requested by the Financial Aid Office.

The priority deadline is Jan. 15 of each year. Students applying after Jan. 15 can expect the majority of the grant money to be exhausted.

The FAFSA and any additional documents will not be reviewed or processed until admission requirements have been met.

Students must submit ALL requested documentation to the Office of Student Financial Aid one month before the end of the term they wish to receive financial aid. Failure to adhere to this deadline can prevent the student from being awarded and disbursed financial aid.

Awarding of Aid

Financial aid is awarded based on the information received on the FAFSA. It is our institutional policy to award available grant, scholarship, and work study funds before considering the student for student loans.

UHCL’s policy is to award all eligible students based on full-time enrollment. Students will be given the option to update their intended enrollment. However, final awards will be based on actual enrollment. Therefore, eligibility and enrollment must be verified before funds are disbursed to each student’s account at the beginning of each semester.

Enrollment must again be verified after classes begin. Awards that are processed after the semester begins are based on the actual number of hours in which students are enrolled, excluding hours of withdrawal.

Students whose files are incomplete should be prepared to pay for their tuition, fees, books and supplies at the time of registration. Financial aid will not be awarded until all financial aid documents have been received and admission requirements have been met.

E-mail as Official Communication

The university-assigned campus e-mail address is the official communication vehicle for all student information and exchanges among academic administrative offices. The following notifications will be sent via e-mail:

  • Requests for additional information
  • Notices of scholarship deadlines and opportunities
  • Award notices
  • Disbursement notices
  • Award revisions
  • Required consumer disclosure information

Also, most required consumer disclosure information is contained in the UHCL Financial Aid Guidebook located on the UHCL financial aid website (uhcl.edu/costs-aid).

Students should check their UHCL e-mail accounts regularly to receive information from the Office of Student Financial Aid as well as other university offices. For information regarding UHCL e-mail, or to log in, please visit http://webmail.uhcl.edu.

Students have the ability to forward their UHCL e-mail account to a preferred e-mail account. Students interested in this option should visit University Computing and Telecommunications’ website at www.uhcl.edu/uct.

Students wishing to receive a paper copy of all notifications must submit their request in writing to:

Office of Student Financial Aid
Attn: Executive Director of Financial Aid
Box 5
2700 Bay Area Blvd.
Houston, TX 77058

Disbursement of Funds

Financial aid disbursement occurs when grants, loans or scholarships are applied to a student’s UHCL account.

Financial aid disbursements begin approximately seven days prior to the first class day. In some cases, financial aid disbursements may occur after the fee payment deadline. Any student who has anticipated aid showing on their student account in E-Services does not need to make payment arrangements for the fee payment deadline if the anticipated aid will pay their account balance in full. Students whose accounts will be paid in full with anticipated aid will not be charged late fees.

*Financial Aid disbursement for enrollment in a winter-mini class will not occur until the first disbursement of the spring regular session.

Aid applied to a student’s account will be applied to the current balance first.

If the financial aid credited to a student’s account creates a credit balance, a refund will be issued to the student from the Student Business Services Office after the term begins.

Some forms of financial aid, such as TEACH Grant, may not disburse until after the census date. Students concerned about a late payment due to these types of anticipated aid should contact the Office of Student Financial Aid.

The Office of Student Financial Aid will notify students by e-mail when their financial aid is applied to their account.

Criteria for Satisfactory Academic Progress

Under federal and state statutes all students applying for or receiving federal, or state financial assistance must be making satisfactory academic progress (SAP) toward a degree. The Office of Student Financial Aid also uses this requirement for awarding institutional funds.

Students receiving some waivers and exemptions must meet certain components of SAP.

Review for SAP is done at the time the student first applies for financial aid and at the end of each semester. SAP is based on the following qualitative and quantitative measures:

Grade Point Average

The qualitative measure requires that graduate students working on a master’s degree or doctoral degree must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.000 or better.*

*Financial Aid calculates a cumulative GPA for purposes of Satisfactory Academic Progress, which includes all grades received. Students repeating a course will have all grades included in their Financial Aid cumulative GPA calculation.

Completion Ratio

The quantitative measure requires that students must have completed 75% of their cumulative attempted UHCL course work. This percentage is derived by dividing the total number of UHCL hours completed by the total number of UHCL hours attempted. Attempted hours are the total number of hours completed plus hours of WX, WQ, I, F, and IP coursework. Hours of WX, WQ, I, F, and IP are considered “not completed,” and negatively affect the ratio requirements. The percentage derived must be 75% or greater.

Timeframe to Complete Academic Program

First or second master’s degree or doctorate within a total of 54 UHCL hours. Hours counted include all coursework taken at UHCL (including WX, WQ, I, F, and IP grades) and transfer coursework.

Students enrolled in the following programs must complete their master’s or doctorate within the specified timeframe listed below:

Early Childhood Education M.S. 73 hours
Clinical Psychology M.A. 63 hours
School Psychology SSP 70 hours
Family Therapy M.A. 63 hours
Healthcare Business Administration 84 hours
Education Leadership Ed.D. 69 hours

Students with two or more earned graduate degrees attempting additional graduate degrees will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis after exceeding 54 UHCL hours or 150% of the program of study (whichever is greater).

Note: Students changing plans are still held to timeframes originally begun with the first major chosen.

Appeal Process for Denial Based on Unsatisfactory Progress

Students who fail to meet the grade point average requirement, or the completion ratio requirement will be given a “financial aid warning” for the following semester. Students will be notified via UHCL e-mail of their warning status. Students who fail to meet SAP after their warning semester will not be eligible to receive financial aid, unless they complete a SAP appeal and academic plan, and that appeal is approved.

Students who fail to meet the timeframe requirement are not granted an automatic warning status and will not be eligible to receive financial aid unless they complete a SAP appeal and academic plan, and that appeal is approved.

Appeals are considered for the following reasons:

  • Increase in workload at place of employment because of promotion or overtime. Documentation from the employer may be required.
  • Personal illness or serious illness of immediate family members, such as spouse, child, parent, or sibling. Documentation is required. Acceptable forms of documentation include but are not limited to receipts for doctor visits, insurance Explanation of Benefits (EOB), or a note from the doctor.
  • Death of a family member. Documentation is required, such as a death certificate, obituary, prayer card, or brochure from the funeral or memorial service.
  • Mitigating circumstances. Appropriate support documentation may be required.

Each appeal is reviewed on its own merit.

SAP Appeal forms are available online and must contain the following:

  • Why the GPA is below the minimum requirement and how the student plans to bring the GPA up to the minimum requirement.
  • Explanation of withdrawal from courses or the reason for not completing the courses.
  • The number of courses or credit hours remaining for the student to complete the degree program.

Academic Plan, pages 3 - 4 of SAP Appeal must be completed with an academic adviser. Students should contribute to the academic plan to ensure success.

Deadlines: Appeal forms and academic plans must be submitted to the Office of Student Financial Aid by the census date each semester (appeals received after this date may be reviewed at the discretion of the SAP Committee).  Appeals must be approved before the close of the semester for financial aid to be reinstated for that semester. 

A copy of the student’s Candidate Plan of Study must be submitted with the appeal. Incomplete appeals and academic plans will not be considered. The SAP Committee will review all appeals at least twice per month. All decisions reached by the SAP Committee are final. Students will be notified via their UHCL e-mail regarding the outcome of their appeal.

Students whose SAP appeals are approved will receive financial aid for one semester on a probationary basis. At the end of that semester, students who are meeting the three criteria for SAP or are following the terms and conditions of their academic plan will not have to appeal. Students who are not meeting SAP will be notified via their UHCL email and they may submit another SAP appeal to the Office of Student Financial Aid.

Financial Aid Policy for Students Withdrawing from the University

Per federal regulations students who receive financial aid and completely withdraw from the university must repay all or part of their financial aid according to the policy explained below.

Financial aid recipients who receive federal student aid who withdraw on or before the 60% point in time of the semester enrolled will have the percentage and amount of Title IV unearned assistance calculated by the university. The unearned funds must be returned to the Title IV programs. The federal formula used to determine the less than 60% portion of enrollment requires that the number of calendar days in the period of enrollment for which the assistance is awarded be divided into the number of calendar days completed in that period as of the day the student withdrew. The Office of Student Financial Aid will then determine the amount of money to be returned.

A student who obtains all F grades or a combination of withdrawals and F grades will be considered an unofficial withdraw. The Office of Student Financial Aid will use the date of last attendance input by the professor on the grade roster as the date of withdrawal for the term. If the withdrawal date is on or before the 60% point in time of the semester enrolled, the student will have the percentage and amount of Title IV unearned assistance calculated by the university. The Office of Student Financial Aid will then determine the amount of money to be returned. Aid may also be adjusted or canceled if the student never attended the course.

While rare, some students may be eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement. The Office of Student Financial Aid will contact these students. Students should carefully read the deadlines given to be eligible for the disbursement.

Refund Distribution Priority

Refunds will be applied to the funds received by the student in the following priority:

  • Federal Direct Loan Program (DL) - Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
  • Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loan
  • Federal TEACH Grant
  • Other Title IV programs

Dropping From a Class but Retaining Half-Time Status

Financial aid awards are based on full-time status. Students can request a package based on enrollment less than full-time. Students who change their enrollment status prior to census day will have their awards reevaluated based on their actual enrollment. Students who received funds based on the original enrollment status may be required to make repayment of the appropriate funds.

Students who reduce their course load after census day but remain enrolled at UHCL at least half-time will not have their financial aid adjusted and will not owe a refund. However, dropped courses are considered in the ratio calculation used to determine satisfactory academic progress.

College Work Study

Students awarded a college work-study (CWS) job as part of their financial aid package work on or off campus for up to 20 hours per week and are paid on a biweekly basis. Students who are awarded CWS can apply for jobs on the Office of Student Financial Aid’s website (uhcl.edu/costs-aid).

Exit Counseling

When Federal Direct Loan recipients complete a degree or drop below half-time, federal statutes require those students to complete exit counseling. The purpose of exit counseling is to ensure loan recipients understand obligations and are prepared for repayment. Students’ academic records may be encumbered if the student borrower does not complete exit counseling.

Exit counseling is completed online at studentaid.gov.

State Waivers and Exemptions

The Office of Student Financial Aid coordinates the application for several state waivers and exemptions listed below. Students can find detailed information for each waiver and exemption at: www.collegeforalltexans.com.

  • Research Assistants and Teaching Assistants Waiver
  • Competitive Scholarship Waiver
  • Good Neighbor Scholarship Program
  • Waiver for College Faculty and their Dependents
  • Adopted Students Formerly in Foster or Other Residential Care
  • Exemption for Students under Conservatorship of the Dept. of Family and Protective Services
  • Blind/Deaf Student Exemption Program
  • Peace Officer Tuition and Laboratory Fee Exemption Program
    • Application deadline is one week before the end of Open Registration for the semester.
    • Exemption is limited to no more than 20% of class enrollment receiving waiver. Students should apply early.

Exemptions allow special groups of Texas residents or nonresidents to enroll and pay a reduced amount of tuition and fees. Waivers allow special groups of nonresidents to enroll and pay a reduced nonresidents tuition rate.

Unless noted otherwise, all applications for waivers and exemptions must be submitted to the Office of Student Financial Aid by the census date for which the waiver/exemption would be applied. All applications after the census date will be reviewed on an individual basis and may be denied.

**Senate Bill 1210 (83rd Texas Legislature, Regular Session) adds a Grade Point Average requirement for persons to receive continuation awards on certain waivers/exemptions listed above. The Bill also establishes a Limit to the Total Number of Hours, cumulative, that a student may take and continue to receive awards. Please refer to www.collegeforalltexans.com or www.uhcl.edu/costs-aid for more information.

Scholarships

The Office of Student Financial Aid is committed to awarding scholarships to students consistent with the educational mission of our university. Graduate students (including international students) entering UHCL for the first time may apply for a Hawk Scholars scholarship award. Additionally, current/continuing UHCL students may apply for university scholarships annually. For information and to apply for scholarships, please visit uhcl.edu/costs-aid.

Enrollment Status

The amount of financial aid a student can receive is dependent upon the number of hours in which the student is enrolled. The following are enrollment statuses for graduate students based on the number of hours the student is enrolled:

Enrollment Status Credit Hours
Full Time Enrollment 9 hours or more
Three Quarter Time Enrollment 7 hours to 8 hours
Half Time Enrollment 5 hours to 6 hours
Less Than Half Time Enrollment 4 hours or less

For fall, spring and summer terms, all hours are added together between sessions within each term to arrive at the total number of hours for the term.

Students enrolled less than half time will not be eligible for student loans.

Students are responsible for notifying the Office of Student Financial Aid if their enrollment changes.