US Financial Aid recipient’s responsibilities
To continue to remain eligible for US Financial Aid while you are enrolled, you must:
- Maintain full-time enrolment (24 UTS credit points per semester) in accordance with Australian student visa conditions
- Make satisfactory academic progress (for US Financial Aid students)
- Not enrol in subjects or degrees offered by online or telecommunication delivery in whole or part
Find more information about your responsibilities.
Satisfactory Academic Progress
All students receiving US Federal Financial Aid must progress satisfactorily towards completion of a chosen academic program in order to maintain their US Financial Aid status.
Relationship with lenders
You have responsibilities to the US Department of Education.
Leave of Absence
The rules regarding interruptions of study for US Financial Aid recipients are very complex, and can have a significant impact on your program of study. Should you have any concerns, you should immediately discuss them with the US Financial Aid Director.
The rules regarding withdrawal from study for US Financial Aid recipients are very complex, and can have a significant impact on your program of study. Should you have any concerns, you should immediately discuss them with the US Financial Aid Director.
Access to loan information
The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) is the US Department of Education's (ED's) central database for student aid. NSLDS receives data from schools, the Direct Loan program, and other Department of ED programs. NSLDS Student Access provides a centralised, integrated view of Title IV loans and grants so that recipients of Title IV Aid can access and inquire about their Title IV loans and/or grant data at the NSLDS website (opens an external site).
We recommend that students monitor their Federal Loan borrowing history online.
You will need to reapply for US Federal Financial Aid every year.
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
All students receiving US Federal Financial Aid (subsidised, unsubsidised and PLUS) at UTS must progress satisfactorily towards completion of a chosen academic program in order to maintain their US Financial Aid status.
UTS is required by US Federal Law (34CFR 668.16) (opens an external site) to define and enforce standards of SAP for students receiving US Federal Funding. The guidelines have been established to encourage students to complete successfully academic programs for which US Federal Financial Aid is received and to be competitive in the US work place when they graduate.
Students are required to meet and also satisfy the US Financial Aid SAP requirements which require a higher standard of academic performance and are independent of the UTS Academic Progression Rules for continued access to funding. Students receiving US Federal Financial Aid must also meet UTS academic progression rules.
To be eligible to receive US Federal Aid, students must be enrolled at least half time, which is 12 credit points per academic period (semester), at UTS. However, while studying at UTS international students are normally expected to be enrolled in 24 credit points, per academic period, a full time load to meet UTS requirements, Australian Government ESOS Regulations, and Student Visa Requirements.
International students on student visas must enrol in sufficient credit points to complete their course in the time specified in their Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) and within the duration of their visa. This would normally require an enrolment in 24 credit points per academic period. This requirement applies to UTS Autumn and Spring semesters.
Note: US Federal Financial Aid will only be available for Semester 1 and Semester 2 (Autumn and Spring) Teaching sessions. Additional loan funds will not be approved for Summer or Intensive Block sessions.
Students receiving US Federal Aid will be evaluated at the end of each academic period. This evaluation process will consider the student’s progress under the following categories:
In order to receive US Federal funds, students must meet minimum standards for both the above mentioned components, whilst simultaneously adhering to UTS Academic Progression Rules and to Australian Immigration and visa requirements.
UTS will monitor enrolment and academic progress every semester. If a student fails to meet minimum satisfactory academic progress based on these standards, then the student will be given a SAP Warning for the following semester. The student will be advised by email from UTS.
If, the student again fails to meet SAP in the next academic period, the student will need to successfully appeal the failure to meet SAP, to be placed on probation in order to continue to receive further federal loans.
The student will be notified by email at the end of each semester if they have failed to meet the SAP requirements and any action required to avoid suspension of Financial Aid.
UTS cannot waive the US Financial Aid SAP requirement for any student to receive financial aid. Please see details of the appeal procedures (see later section of this document) for verifiable extenuating or unforeseen circumstances.
Students in undergraduate and postgraduate coursework programs
Beyond the UTS requirements for academic standing, in order to satisfy the required minimum rate of progress, a US Financial Aid student must gain more than 50 per cent of the credit points for the subjects in which the student has been enrolled each academic period and have at least a pass average (1.5 on the UTS 4-point scale) for the subjects in which the student has been enrolled since the commencement of enrolment in the course. Furthermore, a student taking a full-time study load (24 credit points) must not fail more than one subject in an academic period (semester).
UTS represents its grades in a 4-point scale of 0.5, being a fail, to 4 as the highest possible (high distinction), with the exception of an ungraded pass. See Results and Grades.
For the purposes of US Federal Financial Aid, an ungraded pass will be treated as "Pass" and 1.5 point on the UTS 4-point scale.
Note: Remedial, Non-Credit Subjects and Incompletes
Remedial and non-credit subjects will not be counted in assessing full-time hours and US Financial Aid will not be offered for these subjects. A student is required to achieve a grade on any withheld, deferred or supplementary assessment within six months of completing a subject. However, the student cannot have an incomplete grade in a subject and receive financial aid, unless the UTS GPA is still at least 1.5 when that subject counts as a 0 grade.
Postgraduates by Research
Students undertaking postgraduate study via research mode are also bound by the same criteria in relation to time in which they are able to access aid and successful progression towards completion of their research. Students undertaking postgraduate research will need to achieve the “satisfactory” criteria awarded by the Principal Supervisor on the half-yearly Progress Report that is submitted to the Graduate Research School. Upon receipt of a first “conceded satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory” report, the student will be put on US Financial Aid probation. If the student does not receive a "satisfactory" report in the next academic period, US Federal Financial Aid will be suspended.
Transfer students' transcripts will be evaluated by the relevant Academic Program Director. Those subjects which are applicable to the degree requirement will be accepted and will be used to measure the quantitative SAP requirement. Only those grades earned at UTS will be used to compute the qualitative requirement.
Change of program or degree
Students who decide to change their degree or program objective will be evaluated similarly to Transfer Students with the exception that the grades previously earned at UTS will be used to measure the qualitative requirements.
A student who repeats a subject will have the original grade counted in the GPA, and the credit points for the subject will only be counted towards the degree for the repeated subject. The credit points in both attempts will be counted in the total credit points enrolled for the UTS GPA calculation.
Subject withdrawal, without academic and financial penalty, is permissible up until the census date for the teaching period. Students, who withdraw from a subject after the census date of the semester, receive a grade of "W" (withdrawn fail) on their transcripts. The grade is considered the same as a UTS "F" grade in calculating the GPA. If a student withdraws from a subject, but retains more than half-time enrolment, US Financial Aid will be adjusted to reflect the lesser load.
An undergraduate student or postgraduate student by course work is entitled to receive aid for 150% of the full-time course duration, providing they maintain the required UTS GPA of at least 1.5. If the student is applying recognition of prior learning (previously 'credit recognition') towards the degree, the course duration is adjusted to the time required to complete the degree as a full-time student i.e. credit hours from another institution that are accepted towards the student’s educational program count as both attempted and completed hours.
- 1 year degree/program – eligibility for aid 1.5 years
- 1.5 year degree - eligibility for aid 2 years
- 2 year degree - eligibility for aid 3 years
- 3 year degree – eligibility for aid 4.5 years
- 4 year degree – eligibility for aid 6 years
- 5 year degree – eligibility for aid 7.5 years
In a review at the end of each academic period, a student with a regular full-time study load (normally 24 UTS credit points) must have successfully completed at least two-thirds of the attempted program to date, in order to meet this requirement. If the student’s program requires a non-standard study load this calculation will be adjusted accordingly to ensure progress is adequate to meet the maximum time frame for program completion.
Students undertaking research degrees are entitled to receive aid for 150% of the allocated course time frame, provided they receive permission from the Dean of the Graduate Research School to extend the completion date of the program.
Whilst US Federal Aid eligibility may allow students to continue; UTS academic progress rules and student visa restrictions may impact on the students’ ability to continue within the program.
Under Australian Government laws, students are expected to complete her/his course by the end date specified in the CoE. The CoE end date is normally determined by the standard full-time duration of the course. For example, a UTS Bachelor of Business degree should be completed within 3 years. If a student has been granted credit or advanced standing then the CoE duration may be shorter than the standard full-time duration. To complete the course in the standard duration students will normally need to be enrolled in 100% load each academic period. This is usually 24 credit points, although certain accelerated Master's courses at UTS may have non-standard loads, e.g. 18 or 32 credit points.
Notification to students
SAP will be assessed for each student at the end of each academic period, to determine eligibility for continued offer of aid. If a student is given a Financial Aid Warning he/she will be advised by email by the University.
A student will be notified by email if he/she has failed to meet the US Financial Aid SAP and of the relevant appeal processes. UTS cannot waive the US Financial Aid SAP requirements for any student to receive financial aid. However, if funding is suspended, an appeal procedure for verifiable extenuating or unforeseen circumstances is available.
Warning and Probation
The policy for US Federal Financial Aid Warning and Probation is as follows:
- Students who fail to achieve the required academic progress commensurate with the longevity of their degree program and their academic level within that degree structure will be given a Financial Aid Warning for one academic period i.e., one disbursement period.
- Students who fail all their subjects in any one academic period will be put on Financial Aid Probation, if they successfully appeal the suspension of US Financial Aid.
- Students who have been given a Financial Aid Warning and subsequently meet the academic progress requirements in the following academic period will return to normal US Financial Aid (SAP) standing.
- Students who have been given a Financial Aid Warning and do not meet the academic progress requirements in the academic requirement next academic period will not be eligible to receive US Federal Financial Aid. Students must successfully appeal the suspension to be placed on Financial Aid Probation and become eligible to receive aid for the next academic period.
- Students who have been placed on Financial Aid Probation and fail to meet the academic progress requirements will have their next Financial Aid disbursement suspended and will be ineligible to receive aid until such time as they achieve the required academic standing.
- Students may appeal their suspension of aid, via written appeal to the UTS Financial Aid Officer. Students who appeal will be considered by the US Financial Aid Officer then, if necessary, subsequently by the US Financial Aid Appeals Committee. All appeal findings are final.
- Students, who regain eligibility following a period of US Federal Aid suspension, must reapply for the resumption of US Federal Financial Aid.
- Students, who regain eligibility following a period of US Federal Aid suspension, and resume receipt of US Federal Financial Aid, are automatically on Probation for the first academic period of eligibility.
- Students who transfer into a new academic program will also transfer with any SAP warning or sanction, and will still need to meet the specified criteria in the new program before re-establishing eligibility to receive aid.
Students who have lost their eligibility for US Federal Financial Aid funding may appeal if one or more of the following circumstances exist:
- Death of a family member (parent, spouse, sibling, dependent child etc.)
- The extended illness of the student – extended illness is defined as a documented chronic or recurring medical or emotional illness that causes the student to be absent from class at least 15 days in both of the two most recent academic periods
- The extended illness of a family member that places hardship on the student. Immediate family member includes parent, spouse, sibling or dependent
- Mitigating circumstances as determined by the US Financial Aid Appeals committee.
Students who lose their eligibility for US Federal Student Aid for failure to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) may access a two tier Appeal process (US Financial Aid Officer then the USFA Appeals Committee) to ensure that the University is not placed at risk of claims of bias or discrimination.
If the student fails to meet the SAP requirements, the US Financial Aid Officer will notify the student by email with a Warning, or of their ineligibility for Federal Loan funds within 2 business days (Precluding designated NSW public holidays, weekends and periods of University shutdown) after the release of results.
In the first instance an Appeal against US Federal Financial Aid Suspension must be lodged with the US Financial Aid Officer within five (5) business days of notification of suspension (7 business days after results are released). The appeal must be accompanied by the student’s statement, supporting documentation from at least three unrelated professionals (including their names, qualifications, dates, email address and phone contact information). A response to this first appeal will be provided within 5 business days.
Appeals Contact Information
Appeals need to be made in writing and addressed to the UTS US Financial Aid Office. If you wish to appeal, please email the UTS Financial Aid Office along with the supporting documentation.
If the student wishes to lodge a second appeal, it must be submitted within 5 business days of the first ruling. This appeal will be considered by the USFA Appeals Committee, comprised of the US Financial Aid Director, Coordinator of International Student Services, and a representative from the Registrar’s office.
The US Financial Aid Director as chair of the committee, will respond to the appeal within 10 (ten) business days informing you of the decision.
Students who fail to achieve SAP and lose eligibility and who are unsuccessful at Appeal can regain eligibility once they achieve SAP in a future teaching period; however, they cannot regain eligibility simply by being out of school for a set amount of time or by paying for a set number of classes themselves.
Maintain relationships with lenders
Communication with the US Department of Education
Borrowing money for your education from the US Government program requires some specific responsibilities on your part. Primarily, you are committed to paying the loan funds back in a timely manner.
- Complete entrance counselling (opens an external site). Before being permitted to complete your electronic MPN, you will be counselled on your obligations, rights and options under the terms of your loan.
- Repay your loan. Your obligation to repay became legally binding when you signed the Master Promissory Note (MPN) and authorised the electronic transfer of funds to your account.
You are required to repay the loan, even if you:
- Do not complete your degree
- Were not satisfied with the education or other services your received from the University
- Cannot find employment
- Pay on time. You are expected to make your payments on time unless you have made special arrangements.
- Keep track of your loans on NSLDS (opens an external site).
- Make a minimum payment. The minimum monthly repayment will vary depending on the amount you borrow and your repayment plan. Stay informed at StudentLoans.gov (opens an external site)
- Notify UTS and your Direct Loan Servicer if there are any changes to your:
- current address/phone numbers/name
- Social Security Number
- study plan - withdrawal from University or even subjects/units
- full-time study load
- anticipated graduation date
- driver's license number
- permanent address
- expected employer
- Complete exit counselling (opens an external site) before you leave University or graduate. You will be counselled on your obligations, rights and options under the terms of your loan. This session will cover repayment options, deferments and other important information you may need during your repayment term. During this session you will need to provide the following information:
- Name and address of closest living relative
- Two references - who are not your closest living relatives and living at different addresses
Leave of Absence (LOA)
If you are considering a Leave of Absence, please consult with the US Financial Aid Director as soon as possible. The conditions and repercussions of any LOA are specific for US Financial Aid and differ from those related to a "university" leave of absence.
LOA is a temporary interruption in a student's degree. LOA refers to the specific time period during a degree when a student is not in attendance and will return to complete the degree. Students returning from LOA are not required to re-apply for admission but must re-enrol in their subjects.
International students studying in Australia on student visas are not normally eligible for LOA, other than in compassionate or compelling circumstances. In these instances, students should contact the US Financial Aid Director, regarding any requirement for LOA.
International students studying in Australia must obtain approval from the US Financial Aid Director for any period of absence greater than one week’s duration during the study period of enrolment. UTS International has an obligation in to advise the Australian Department of Home Affairs where an international student studying in Australia takes LOA.
UTS may grant a student LOA from his/her course that does not meet the conditions to be approved LOA for US Federal Loan purposes (for example, for academic reasons). However, any LOA is considered a withdrawal for US Federal Loan purposes, requiring the school to perform a Return Calculation. The student’s withdrawal date is the date the student begins the officially approved LOA.
Return from UTS Leave of Absence (LOA)
In as much as LOA are viewed as temporary interruptions in a student's attendance, and since the academic programs at UTS are considered term-based programs, where the payment period is the academic period; if a student returns from an approved UTS LOA for a semester in the same payment period, the student may be eligible to receive a second or subsequent disbursement.
If you are considering withdrawal, please consult with the US Financial Aid Director as soon as possible. The rules in this area are very complex.
A "withdrawal" refers to a student's intention to completely terminate studies at an institution with no expectation of return. Students, who subsequently decide to return to their studies, must re-apply for admission through the UTS International.
a. Unit withdrawal
If you withdraw from a subject, but retain more than half time enrolment, your financial aid will be adjusted to reflect the lesser load. However, while studying at UTS international students must normally be enrolled in 24 credit points, per semester, a full-time load to meet UTS requirements, Australian Government ESOS Regulations, and Student Visa Requirements. From 1 July 2007, international students on student visas must enrol in 24 credit points per semester unless they have applied for and received formal permission to reduce their load.
Less than full-time enrolment may also impact the student's ability to retain visa status to complete the degree. Extension of the visa beyond the initial degree timeframe is not guaranteed. While the maximum time allowed for US Financial Aid is 150 per cent of the normal time for completion of the degree, it does not guarantee that you will be granted an Australian student visa to study for that extended time period.
b. Institutional withdrawal
If a student withdraws from the university while receiving Financial Aid, all future disbursements are cancelled and he or she may be required to return funds to the US Federal Government.
Withdrawal also has serious implications for the Australian Student Visa. Confer with your US Financial Aid Director before you withdraw from the University to ensure all possibilities and incumbent consequences are considered.
See Satisfactory Academic Progress for US Financial Aid Recipients and the information on withdrawal.
Note: Students who withdraw from subjects or the course receive a grade of "W" (withdrawn fail) on their transcripts. The grade is considered the same as an "F" grade in calculating the quantitative aspect of the Satisfactory Academic Progress for US Financial Aid Recipients and may affect the student's future eligibility for Financial Aid.
If a student did not begin withdrawal proceedings before some dire event beyond their control, UTS Financial Aid staff will determine the date related to the circumstances.
An unofficial withdrawal is one where the school has not received notice from the student that the student has ceased or will cease attending the school.
A student in receipt of US Financial Aid who is considering withdrawal from a subject or degree should immediately consult with the US Financial Aid Officer.
Return of loan funds
If the withdrawal from the university necessitates a return of loan funds to the US Department of Education, the process will be in accordance with the UTS Return of Funds Policy for US Financial Aid.
Access to loan information
The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) is the US Department of Education's (ED's) central database for student aid. NSLDS receives data from schools, guaranty agencies, the Direct Loan program, and other Department of ED programs. NSLDS Student Access provides a centralised, integrated view of Title IV loans and grants so that recipients of Title IV Aid can access and inquire about their Title IV loans and/or grant data at the NSLDS website (opens an external site).
To continue your US financial aid, you must reapply every year.
How to reapply
Several months before the start of the new academic year, you need to complete:
- a new FAFSA
- a new UTS Financial Aid Application
- a new MPN online at StudentLoans.gov (opens an external site)
Then submit the following to UTS:
- Your completed UTS Financial Aid Application
- A copy of your Student Aid Report (SAR)