The U.S. Department of Education requires institutions of higher education to establish policies relating to the processing of U.S. Federal Aid.

Admissions and Registration Policies

Queen Margaret University's Admissions and Registration regulations can be found via the link below:

Admission requirements vary depending on the course. Please check the relevant entry requirements via the course specific page:

https://www.qmu.ac.uk/study-here/course-a-z/

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid Recipients

Queen Margaret University has clear Assessment Guidelines for all undergraduate, taught postgraduate and research degrees and these can be found on our Quality Website at https://www.qmu.ac.uk/media/4038/assessment-regulations-2017-final.pdf

US Federal regulations state that a student is required to be making satisfactory academic progress (SAP) in order to be eligible to receive federal aid from the US Department of Education. This applies to all students receiving Federal Student Aid irrespective of their study level (e.g. undergraduate, postgraduate) and mode of attendance (e.g. full-time, part-time).

The University does not have the right to waive the satisfactory academic progress requirement for any student.

Evaluation Process

Students receiving financial aid will be evaluated at the end of each payment period prior to each disbursement of federal aid (with the exception of the first disbursement). This evaluation process will consider the student’s progress as per the requirements stipulated in the guidelines applicable to their degree and level, in order to determine their eligibility for continued awards of aid.

The evaluation process is based on the University’s own assessment and registration regulations along with US Federal Student Aid guidance.

All periods of study at the University are considered during the evaluation, even those for which the student did not receive Federal Student Aid.

The evaluation process considers two aspects of student performance: pace and average grade.

  • PacePeriods of suspension from a course will be included in the maximum timeframe. Periods when a student doesn’t receive federal aid are included in the maximum timeframe. Credits transferred from the same programme at another institution will have the time spent at the first institution included in the maximum timeframe.
  • The evaluation process will ensure that a student is progressing at a pace such that they will complete their course within the maximum timeframe allowed. The maximum timeframe for completion is shown in the table below. A student becomes ineligible for FSA when it is no longer possible for them to complete the course within the maximum timeframe. Pace is calculated by dividing the number of credits completed by the number of credits taken. 66.7% is the pace at which students must be successfully completing their courses to finish within the maximum timeframe.

Degree Type

Program Length in credit hours

Maximum timeframe in credit hours

Undergraduate degree

(BA (Hons) / BSc (Hons))

480

720 (150%)

Masters degree

(MA, MBA, MPA, MSc, MRes)

180

270 (150%)

Incomplete modules and withdrawals due to deferred decisions, pending assessments or extenuating circumstances will not be considered during the evaluation process. All other incomplete modules will be considered to be failed and will impact pace and average grade as normal.

  • Average gradeStudent performance undertaken at another institution for which they have been awarded exemption or recognition of prior learning for their current course is also considered during the evaluation process. Transfer credits not counted towards the current course are not evaluated.Incomplete modules and module withdrawals due to deferred decisions, pending assessments or extenuating circumstances will not be considered during the evaluation process.
  •  
  • For students who are required to be reassessed in a failed module, the reassessment result will be considered during the evaluation process.
  • Students must have an average grade of at least a "D" at undergraduate level or “C” at postgraduate level, consistent with requirements for graduation to maintain eligibility for Financial Aid. Programmes which meet professional registration requirements (such as MSc Speech & Language Therapy) require students to have an average grade of at least a "C" at the end of second year to maintain eligibility for Financial Aid.

Outcomes of Evaluation Process

There are two outcomes of the Satisfactory Academic Progress Evaluation Process.

  1. A student meets the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirement and is deemed eligible for continued Title IV funds.
  2. A student does not meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirement and is put on Financial Aid Warning status.

Financial Aid Warning Status

Where SAP requirements have not been met, the student will be advised in writing by the Management Information Officer. The student will be placed on ‘Financial Aid Warning’ status for the subsequent payment period and can receive only one disbursement for that one period before they become ineligible for Title IV funds..

While on Financial Aid Warning status the student must either:

  • Meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirement by the end of the payment period to have their Finance Aid Warning status removed, and eligibility for further Title IV funds reinstated.
  • or
  • The student will lose their eligibility and have their aid suspended unless they successfully appeal via the process below.

Appeals

A student can make an appeal to the Student Finance Adviser if they can demonstrate exceptional circumstances. These circumstances may include –

  • Death of an immediate family member
  • Extended illness of an immediate family member
  • Extended illness or injury of the student
  • Other exceptional circumstances as determined by the Student Finance Adviser

The letter of appeal should address in detail the extenuating circumstances and what has changed in the student’s situation that will allow them to meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirement at the next evaluation. The appeal must be submitted within 10 days of receipt of the notice of being placed on Financial Aid Warning status along with all of the evidence to support the appeal.

If the appeal is upheld and the student is deemed capable of meeting the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirement by the end of the payment period, the student is placed on Financial Aid Probation status for that payment period only. The Satisfactory Academic Progress will be reviewed again at the end of the payment period.

If the appeal is upheld but the student is determined to require more than one payment period to meet the Satisfactory Payment Period requirement, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Probation status and an academic plan will be developed. QMU and the student will develop a plan that ensures the student will meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirement by a specific time. The student’s performance will be measured against the plan at the end of the payment period. If the student is meeting the requirements of the academic plan, or indeed the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements, the student will be eligible to receive Title IV funds.

If the appeal is not upheld, is unsuccessful or the student does not appeal, the student loses eligibility and has financial aid suspended.

Students should submit an appeal to:

Bill Stronach, Student Finance Adviser, Student Services, Queen Margaret University, Queen Margaret University Drive, Musselburgh, EH21 6UU  

Default Prevention and Management

QMU has adopted the US Department of Education's Default Management Plan. Information on this can be found via the following link.

http://ifap.ed.gov/dpcletters/attachments/GEN0514Attach.pdf

Copyright Infringement

Information on students' responsibilities not to copy, scan or distribute copyrighted material is available on our website: https://libguides.qmu.ac.uk/copyright/home

Breach of copyright may result in legal action and/or QMU disciplinary proceedings. (https://www.qmu.ac.uk/media/3993/student-discipline.pdf)

(Under review) Withdrawal Process, Institutional Refund Policy and Return of Title IV (R2T4) Policy

The Withdrawal Process, Institutional Refund Policy and Return of Title IV (R2T4) Policies below are currently being reviewed and will be finalised and published here soon.

Procedures for deferral/suspension/leave of absence can be found on the QMU website: https://www.qmu.ac.uk/current-students/thinking-of-leaving/taking-a-break-or-returning-to-study/

Procedures for withdrawal can be found on the QMU website: https://www.qmu.ac.uk/current-students/thinking-of-leaving/if-you-want-to-leave-qmu/

 

Institutional Refund Policy

If you leave your programme of study early, you must ensure that you inform your Head of Subject and the Student Records department. The date of withdrawal will be deemed to be the date that the Student Records department receives written confirmation of withdrawal.

Procedures for deferral/suspension/leave of absence can be found on the QMU website: https://www.qmu.ac.uk/current-students/thinking-of-leaving/taking-a-break-or-returning-to-study/

Procedures for withdrawal can be found on the QMU website: https://www.qmu.ac.uk/current-students/thinking-of-leaving/if-you-want-to-leave-qmu/

You will be liable for all or part of the fee for the full academic year as follows:

If you leave within 28 days of the start of your programme of study, you will be liable for an administration fee of £250.

If you leave more than 28 days after the start of your programme of study, you will be liable for the appropriate proportion of the fee based on the semesters attended wholly or in part.

If you are making payment of fees by instalments and withdraw from your programme of study, you must still meet any shortfall between the full fee determined by the University and the total amount of the instalments already paid.

https://www.qmu.ac.uk/current-students/current-students-general-information/tuition-fees-and-charges/

Any overpayment of fees will be refunded to the payer.

 

Return of Title IV (R2T4) Policy

The law specifies how the University must determine the amount of Title IV program assistance (Direct Loans) that students earn if they withdraw or interrupt. The University is responsible for calculating R2T4 and the Finance Office is responsible for transferring the funds. The University uses worksheets provided by the US Department of Education to calculate the R2T4 funds. All funds must be returned to the lender within 45 days of the date of when the University determined that a student withdrew. If you have questions about your Title IV program funds, please visit https://studentaid.ed.gov/

We consider a student who follows the process below to have officially withdrawn:

When a student officially withdraws during a payment period, the amount of Title IV program assistance that has been earned up to that point is determined by a specific formula. The date of withdrawal is determined by the Registry and will be the last day the student attended.If the student received more assistance than was earned, the excess funds must be returned by the University and/or the student.

Where a student does not officially withdraw the date of withdrawal will be determined to be the mid-point of the payment period.

The amount of assistance earned is determined on a pro rata basis. The payment period is the semester for which the loan was certified and the percent of attendance is calculated by dividing the number of days attended by the total number of days in the payment period. For example, if the student completes 30% of the payment period or period of enrolment, the student has earned 30% of the assistance they were originally scheduled to receive. Once the student has completed more than 60% of the payment period or period of enrolment, all the assistance that the student was scheduled to receive for that period is considered to have been earned. The University will use the R2T4 worksheets as provided by the US Department of Education to determine how much of the loan may be retained and how much must be returned.

There are some Title IV funds that students are scheduled to receive that cannot be earned once a student withdraws because of other eligibility requirements. A student may be eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement if the University determines the student earned more aid than was disbursed for the period the student attended. The University must make this determination within 30 days. The University needs the student’s permission to use the post-withdrawal loan disbursements. Students will be issued a written notice in the event they have post-withdrawal loan disbursements available. The notice will include the amount and type of the funds to be disbursed, explain the obligation to repay any loan funds disbursed and include the response deadline of 14 days. The student must respond within 14 days, accepting or declining some or all funds.  The University will initiate return of funds as soon as possible but no later than 45 days from the date of determination of the student’s withdrawal.

Any loan funds that must be returned, the student must repay in accordance with the terms of the promissory note. That is, scheduled payments are made to the holder of the loan over a period of time. Students who have received a refund of their loan proceeds before withdrawing may be required to return part or all of those funds to the lender.

Title IV funds will be returned in the following order:

  1. Unsubsidized Federal Direct loans
  2. Subsidized Federal Direct loans
  3. PLUS Loan Funds

The requirements for Title IV program funds when students withdraw are separate from any refund policy that the University may have. Therefore, the student may still owe funds to the University to cover unpaid institutional charges. The University may also attempt to collect from the student any Title IV program funds that the University was required to return.

There are some Title IV funds, that students may have been scheduled to receive, that cannot be earned once a student withdraws because of other eligibility requirements. For example, a first year undergraduate, receiving Aid for the first time, who withdraws within the first 30 days of a programme, will be deemed not to have earned any aid.

As this policy uses a different calculation to University procedures outlined in our withdrawal and deferral information (links above), it may mean that the student owes the University once funds have been returned to the US Department of Education. Students will be notified if this is the case.

Students receiving Aid for the first time will have the first disbursement of their Aid scheduled at least 30 days after the start of a programme.

If you have questions about your Title IV program funds, please visit https://studentaid.ed.gov/