2024-2025 Graduate Catalog 
    May 19, 2024  
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog

Student Financial Aid Programs and Policies

The Office of Financial Aid assists qualified applicants who, without assistance, would otherwise be unable to pursue an advanced degree. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and resulting need analysis is used to apply for federal and state consideration for payment of tuition, housing, or other charges.

A student must apply each year to renew financial aid eligibility. The amount of financial aid awarded will reflect changes in tuition or other costs and updates to the financial profile of the student.

Financial aid awards are based on the enrollment status of the student during a semester as of the conclusion of the Add/Drop Period, defined as:

Full-time Status: 6 or more semester hours
Half-time Status: 3 semester hours

The required enrollment status for federal direct loans is half-time. A non-degree student is not eligible for financial aid.

Aid Sources

Federal Direct Loan - A Federal Direct Loan is available to eligible borrowers. Interest accrues on the unsubsidized loan while the student is enrolled. The borrower may opt to pay the interest as it accrues or allow it to accrue and capitalize. The unsubsidized loan is a non-need-based loan program. The maximum Federal Direct Loan per academic year is $20,500 for an eligible degree-seeking graduate student. Maximum loan amounts per semester may also be limited based on the cost of attendance. An international student attending on an F-1 visa or an international student outside the U.S. enrolled in a distance education program is not eligible to borrow a Federal Direct Loan.

Federal PLUS Loan for Graduate Students - A degree-seeking graduate student may be eligible to borrow under the PLUS Loan Program up to the cost of attendance minus other estimated financial assistance in the Federal Direct loan program. The terms and conditions applicable to Parent PLUS loans also apply to Graduate/Professional PLUS loans. The requirements include a determination that the applicant does not have an adverse credit history. Repayment begins 60 days after the date of graduation, withdrawal, or enrollment status below half-time unless the student requests a school deferment. The student must have applied for the annual loan maximum eligibility under the Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan Program before applying for a Graduate/Professional PLUS loan. An international student attending on an F-1 visa or an international student outside the U.S. enrolled in a distance education program is not eligible to borrow a Federal PLUS Loan for Graduate Students.

Other Programs - The following federal, state, or private financial aid sources are available to a student based on the individual’s affiliations or experiences.

Veterans Administration Education Benefits
Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Job Training Agencies
Employer Sponsorship

Applying for Financial Aid and Financial Aid Counseling

The student is encouraged to apply for federal and state grant program funding to determine the student’s eligibility. A student seeking federal or state financial aid program assistance should submit all potential aid applications at least 30 days prior to the start of a semester. Failure to submit all required applications, documentation, and materials requested by the end of the semester could result in a large unpaid tuition bill. Financial aid counseling is always available by phone, Teams meetings, or in person.

Enrollment Status Determination

A student’s enrollment status is determined at the end of the Add/Drop Period. The student is charged the applicable tuition rate for the number of semester hours in which the student is enrolled on the census date.

Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid Recipients

Satisfactory academic progress (SAP) for federal Title IV, Higher Education Act (HEA) student financial aid program assistance is defined as the minimum progress required toward the completion of a degree and must be maintained in order to receive federal financial aid. As required by federal regulations, the Harrisburg University SAP policy for federal Title IV financial aid recipients is stricter than the University’s academic progress policy for students not receiving Title IV financial aid.

It is important to note this policy applies to both full-time and less-than-full-time graduate students.  A graduate student must be enrolled in at least 6 credits for the semester to be considered full-time.  A graduate student enrolled in less than 6 credits for the semester is considered to be less than full-time.

Federal regulations require the University to establish standards of academic progress in both of the following areas:

  • the student’s cumulative grade point average, the qualitative measure; and,
  • the maximum time limit for completing the program of study, the quantitative measure.

Satisfactory academic progress is evaluated at the end of each semester. Financial aid recipients must maintain the standards in both areas, regardless of whether aid was received in the past. A student who does not meet one or both of the standards is not making satisfactory progress until the standards are met.

A student who is academically eligible to continue enrollment at the University, but does not meet the standards of academic progress, may remain enrolled without financial aid until eligibility to receive financial aid is re-established. A student should contact the Office of Financial Aid to discuss strategies for meeting the standards and to inquire about options for financial assistance that are not subject to satisfactory academic progress requirements.

Transfer credit hours from another institution that are accepted toward a program of study are counted as both attempted semester hours and earned semester hours in the program pursuit calculation to determine satisfactory academic progress for Title IV, HEA student assistance program purposes. Grades for transfer credit hours are not included in the calculation of the cumulative grade point average.

Semester hours for a grade of Incomplete (I) are counted in the total attempted semester hours in the program pursuit calculation of satisfactory academic progress for Title IV, HEA student assistance program purposes. It is the student’s responsibility to contact the Financial Aid office in the event of a change of grade, for example, from “I” to “C”, to ensure that the SAP status is reviewed for eligibility changes. 

Semester hours for a Withdrawal grade (W) are considered attempted semester hours in the calculations of satisfactory academic progress for Title IV, HEA student assistance program purposes.

When a course is repeated, the attempted credit hours are used to determine the student’s enrollment status for the semester (i.e., full-time, half-time, less-than-half-time), but the repeated hours are not counted a second time as attempted credit hours in the cumulative grade point average calculation. Earned semester hours and quality points for a grade used in the cumulative grade point average calculation for a course repeat are taken from the most recent grade.

Academic Standing and Financial Aid Eligibility (qualitative)

A student with a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 or higher is in satisfactory academic standing. If a student has a cumulative grade point average below 3.00 at the end of a semester, the student has failed to meet the minimum satisfactory academic progress standard and is subject to the warning, probation, or dismissal sanction, as applicable, as stated below.

After the initial semester, if at any time the cumulative grade point average falls below 1.00, the University reserves the right to dismiss the student.

Program Pursuit - Maximum Timeframe for Completing the Program of Study (quantitative)

A full-time student must successfully complete a program of study within one- and one-half times the normal time frame in semester hours attempted to continue to receive Title IV HEA student financial aid program assistance. More simply stated, program pursuit requirements for normal 2-year, 6-semester programs consisting of 36 semester hours must be completed successfully within 3 years (i.e., 9 semesters, 54 semester hours) to maintain eligibility for federal financial aid program assistance throughout the program of study.

The quantitative measure of satisfactory academic progress is measured using the following calculation:

Total Earned Semester Hours ÷ Total Attempted Semester Hours = a percentage (%)

Students must complete their degree within 150% of the number of credits necessary to complete the educational program. As a result, students are required to be earning a minimum of 67% of their total cumulative attempted credits at the end of each payment period to remain in good satisfactory academic progress standing.

Failure to Meet One of the Required Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards

A student who fails to meet either the qualitative or quantitative measure of satisfactory academic progress at the end of a semester is subject to the following policy:

First Occurrence - Warning

Following the first semester in which the student does not meet the satisfactory academic progress standard, the student will automatically be placed in a financial aid warning status for the next semester. A letter will be issued advising the student of their financial aid warning status. No appeal is needed, but in coordination with the Office of Student Services, an academic plan may be required. The student remains eligible for financial aid program assistance during the warning semester.

Second Consecutive Occurrence - Probation

If, by the end of the warning semester, the student is not able to achieve satisfactory academic progress status, the student will not be able to receive financial aid for the next period of enrollment unless the student successfully appeals. A letter will be issued advising the student of their financial aid status, the effect of this status on the student’s financial aid eligibility, and the steps the student must take to submit an appeal. If the appeal is approved, the student will be placed in a financial aid probation status for the next semester and will be eligible for financial aid during that semester. If a student is still failing to meet academic progress at the conclusion of the probation semester, financial aid will be suspended, but the student will again be given the opportunity to appeal and be approved for financial aid. In addition to an approved appeal, an academic plan would be required during this semester.


A student who becomes ineligible to participate in the financial aid programs as a result of failure to meet satisfactory academic progress after the warning semester may file an appeal by submitting a letter outlining the nature of the appeal to the Financial Aid Office. An appeal will be considered only if the student’s failure to meet the standards of academic progress is determined to be due to events beyond the student’s control. Examples of circumstances for which an appeal may be considered include military obligation; death of a relative; injury or illness of the student; unusual personal hardship, or other extenuating circumstances. Written documentation of the circumstances of why the student failed to make satisfactory progress and what has changed that will allow the student to make satisfactory progress by the next evaluation must be submitted with the appeal and should reference the student’s name and student ID number. In addition, the evidence must be received documenting that the required academic plan was completed, the cumulative grade point average has improved, and the required satisfactory progress grade point average can potentially be achieved to complete a program of study within the maximum timeframe limitation. Appeals submitted without documentation will not be considered. A timely determination will then be made and documented in the student’s file.

If the financial aid appeal is denied, a second notice will be sent to the student advising them of the denial. If the appeal is approved, a semester of financial aid probation will be awarded. The student will be notified in writing their appeal was approved. The student must achieve satisfactory academic progress by the end of the financial aid probation semester.

Academic Standing and Satisfactory Academic Progress Review and Notification

The University evaluates academic standing and satisfactory academic progress at the end of each semester. All students who receive federal financial aid must meet the standards for satisfactory academic progress in order to establish and retain student financial aid program eligibility. The University may establish academic policies that may be different than the policies governing academic warnings, probation, and dismissal. Written notification of financial aid ineligibility is mailed to a student at the most recently reported permanent address.

Re-establishing Eligibility for Federal Student Assistance Programs

Following a dismissal action, a student may re-establish eligibility by earning course credit successfully at another institution that will directly transfer into the University’s program of study, and the required cumulative grade point average and maximum timeframe percentage for minimum satisfactory progress is achieved by the transfer credit and grades accepted.