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Financial Aid Eligibility Requirements

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Eligible Academic Program

A federal financial aid recipient must have a regular or conditional admission to an academic program that has been approved by the U.S. Department of Education for federal aid eligibility. All Saint Leo University degree programs are eligible. Non degree programs are not eligible for financial aid. Please contact Student Financial Services for additional information.

Academic Year

Saint Leo University offers semester credit hour programs on a standard semester term basis. For financial aid purposes, two semesters is the equivalent of an academic year. In some Saint Leo University academic programs, coursework is offered in 8-week courses, i.e., less than the length of a semester. A student that chooses to begin the academic program enrolling in a:

  • 1st 8-week course has enrolled in the Traditional calendar.
  • 2nd 8-week course has enrolled in the Alternative calendar.

Two sequential 8-weeks complete a semester. For instance, Fall 1st 8 week course and Fall 2nd 8 week course completes the Fall semester on the Traditional calendar. Fall 2nd 8 week course and Spring 1st 8 week course completes the Fall semester on the Alternative calendar.

Enrollment Status

A student’s enrollment status depends on the number of credit hours enrolled for a semester.

Enrollment Status Undergraduate Graduate
Full Time 12 or more credit hours 6 or more credit hours
Three Quarter Time 9-11 credit hours  
Half Time 6-8 credit hours 3-5 credit hours
Less Than Half Time Less than 6 credit hours Less than 3 credit hours

Repeated Coursework

A student may be awarded financial aid to retake a previously passed course one time. The next attempt cannot be funded by federal financial aid.

High School Diploma or Equivalency

Successful completion of high school is required to receive federal aid. Saint Leo University requires either:

  • an official high school transcript with a graduation date (this can be from a foreign school if it is equivalent to a U.S. high school diploma),


  • a general education development (GED) official transcript certifying successful completion of the GED.


A student must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or other eligible non-citizen to qualify for federal student aid. If a student files a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) and does not pass the Social Security Administration citizenship match, or the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) permanent resident or otherwise eligible status match, then federally acceptable documentation of citizenship, permanent resident, or other eligible non-citizenship status must be submitted to Student Financial Services to validate the student’s status. A manual secondary confirmation will be performed, if needed.

Financial Aid History

To qualify for federal student aid a student must not be in default of a federal student loan, have exceeded the annual and/or aggregate federal student loan limits, or have a federal grant over-payment. If a student files a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®), the student’s federal aid history will be checked in the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) database.

Social Security Number

A student must have a valid Social Security Number. That is, the student must be registered with the Social Security Administration (SSA), and the student’s name, birth date, and social security number on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) must match that of the Social Security Administration. If there is no SSA match, the discrepancy must be resolved with the Social Security administration.

For federal student aid, if a student is treated as dependent, the father’s and mother’s of the student identification data must match the Social Security Administration records, as well.

Selective Service Registration

A male that is age 18 through 25 is required to have registered with Selective Service, with several exceptions. If a student files a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) and fails the Selective Service System (SSS) match, the student must provide evidence that he is registered or is exempt from registration. A Selective Service Registration Acknowledgment or letter of registration showing that the student is registered is acceptable documentation. (More information is available at:

A student that has a DD Form 214, a “Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty” showing military service is acceptable documentation. A male student that did not register will be given instructions on how to document that he did not do so knowingly and willfully. Student Financial Services must make a determination of the veracity of a student’s action, before awarding financial aid.

Drug Conviction

If a student has a drug conviction under federal or state law for the sale or possession of drugs and the offense occurred during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving federal student aid, a determination of federal aid eligibility will be made by Student Financial Services. If a student is ineligible at the beginning of her enrollment but expects to become eligible during the year, Student Financial Services will determine the date the student will become eligible.

Pell Grant Program-Related Requirements

May Not Have Earned a Bachelor’s Degree

A Pell Grant applicant may not have earned a baccalaureate or first professional degree. An applicant is ineligible for Pell grant if:

  • the applicant has a baccalaureate or first professional degree, whether or not the degree is from an accredited school, or
  • the applicant has a baccalaureate or professional degree from a foreign school, unless the applicant provides written documentation that the foreign degree is not equivalent to a bachelor’s degree awarded in the United States. This determination will be made by Student Financial Services after reviewing the documents (translated at the applicant’s expense, if needed) that are submitted to certify that the student did not complete a bachelor’s degree. Documentation may be required about the type of school the applicant attended and total years of education leading to the degree.

Civil Commitment for Sexual Offenses

A student subject to an involuntary civil commitment after completing a period of incarceration for a forcible or non-forcible sexual offense is ineligible to receive a Federal Pell grant

Maximum Duration of Eligibility

Beginning with the 2012-13 award year, Public Law 112-74 amended HEA section 401(c)(5) to reduce the duration of a student’s eligibility to receive a Federal Pell Grant for 12 payment periods, i.e., semesters. This provision applies to all Federal Pell Grant eligible students effective with the 2012-13 award year. The calculation of the duration of a student’s eligibility will include all years of the student’s receipt of Federal Pell Grant funding.


Direct Loan Program-Related Requirements

Must Be Enrolled At Least Half-Time

A Direct Loan recipient must be enrolled at least half-time when the loan funds are disbursed. If a student withdraws from term 1 they must be enrolled at least 6 credit hours for term 2 to be eligible for term 2 disbursement of student loans. It should be noted that withdrawn hours from term 1 do not count towards a student’s financial aid eligibility.

Grade Level

The student’s grade level at the time of awarding is used to determine a borrower’s annual academic year loan limit for federal subsidized and unsubsidized loans. Only earned credit hours that count toward the student’s degree will be considered when calculating a student’s loan eligibility. When a borrower’s grade level increases mid-award year, it is the student’s responsibility to contact Student Financial Services to request that additional federal loan funds be awarded. This request can be made via the Request to Change Loan Amounts eForm.

Status Hours
Undergraduate 1st Year 0-29 credit hours completed
Undergraduate 2nd Year 30-59 credit hours completed
Undergraduate 3rd Year 60-89 credit hours completed
Undergraduate 4th Year or beyond 90 or more credit hours completed
Graduate or Professional Level Enrolled in Graduate or Professional Program

Subsidized Loan Eligibility Limited to 150% of Program Length for New Borrowers

Beginning on and after July 1, 2013, congressional legislation permanently limits new borrowers’ eligibility to subsidized loans to 150% of the length of a student’s academic program. For more details, contact Student Financial Services.

Direct Loan Confirmation Policy

Saint Leo University utilizes "active confirmation" on all student Direct Loans prior to crediting the loan to the student’s account. This process requires the student to accept the loan amount(s) he or she would like to borrow for the specified aid year. If any changes are made to the loan amount(s) prior to the loan crediting to the student's account, the loan is reset to "estimated" status and the student must accept the new loan amount.

After the loan is credited to the student's account, Saint Leo University utilizes "passive confirmation" on all student Direct Loans. In this process, students must notify Student Financial Services if, after receiving notification that the loan amount has changed, they no longer choose to receive the loan. Saint Leo University notifies students via email (to the student’s Saint Leo email address) when changes are made to financial aid.

Direct Loan amounts can change upon further review of eligibility, generally resulting in funds being reallocated between subsidized and unsubsidized loans. If the student no longer wishes to receive the loan, return payment must be made to Saint Leo University and the loan is returned to the source.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

A financial aid recipient must make financial aid satisfactory academic progress (SAP) policy to continue to receive financial aid. For a complete description of the requirements, see the SAP policy.

Statement of Educational Purpose

A student that files a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) must sign the Statement of Educational Purpose when submitting the application that certifies federal student aid will be used only for educational purposes.

Other Financial Assistance Sources (besides Title IV Federal Aid)

A federal aid recipient that receives other sources of monetary assistance to meet education costs that were not taken into consideration when awarding federal aid must in inform Student Financial Services of the sources of assistance. If a student files a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) and qualifies for federal aid, all other sources of assistance must be considered, unless federally exempt from inclusion in the total financial aid package.

Demographic Updates

A financial aid recipient must inform Student Financial Services of any change in his or her name, permanent address, phone number, email address, or social security number. A student borrower is responsible for notifying the lender of any change to his or her contact information.

Unusual Enrollment History (UEH)

An unusual enrollment history (UEH) flag on an Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) indicates that the student has an unusual enrollment history regarding the receipt of Federal Pell Grant funds. This flag requires Saint Leo to review the student’s past enrollment records in order to verify federal financial aid eligibility. A student with this flag on their ISIR will be notified by email. A message will be sent to the student’s Saint Leo email account requesting him/her to submit academic transcripts for every higher education institution s/he has attended in the last 3 years. In some cases, students may be required to submit additional information. Examples of enrollment patterns that would generate an UEH flag are when the student received Pell Grant funds at three institutions over two award years, or when a student received Pell Grant funds at three or more institutions in one award year.

If a student receives an email requesting that they submit transcripts, it is important that s/he submit the necessary documents as soon as possible. Submitted transcripts may be unofficial or official copies. The student should notify Student Financial Services if all of their transcripts had already been submitted to the Admissions Office. In some cases a student may be asked to submit additional documentation. This may include a signed and dated statement explaining the special circumstance that caused the student to not earn credits, as well as supporting documentation to verify the special circumstance(s) described.

A student will not receive federal financial aid until all required materials are received and processed. Some students may be placed on a one semester probationary period. Such students must meet the satisfactory academic progress requirements in order to continue to receive financial aid.

Terms and Conditions

Student Financial Services reserves the right to substitute, or reduce, institutional merit scholarships with need based grants or scholarships.

The funds listed on your financial aid offer are based on full-time enrollment status, pending academic and income verification, and pending legislation. (Please note: Florida aid amounts are estimates).

Total institutional aid cannot exceed the cost of tuition and fees. Total grant and scholarship aid from all sources (i.e. federal, state, institutional, outside agencies) cannot exceed the cost of attendance. Institutional aid will be reduced to meet these criteria.

An adjustment in need-based aid will be required only if the total need-based aid exceeds the calculated need. Federal loans and federal work-study will be reduced before any adjustment to the grant portion of an award. Athletic Scholarship recipients may not be eligible for certain institutionally funded grants and scholarships.

Students are encouraged to seek out private scholarship funding. In most cases private scholarships are added to existing financial aid, and do not result in a reduction of existing financial aid.