Financial Aid Policies

Get to know our policies and how your financial aid award is calculated.


  • policies and guidelines

    Important Information for You to Know


Your downloadable (PDF) guide for Eligibility Requirements, Types of Aid, and Costs and Payment guidelines.

2016-2017 Award Guide

Below are guidelines for students who have been selected for verification based upon application data.

What is Verification?

Verification is the process schools use to review a student’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for accuracy. This is done by collecting and comparing documents used to complete the FAFSA.

The federal government randomly selects applicants for the verification process. Saint Catherine University may select additional students for verification.

If you are selected for verification, the Financial Aid Office sends you a notification explaining what additional documents are needed, including tax and income forms. Once you have submitted all required documentation, your file will be reviewed. If our office has additional questions, we may contact you for further information. Based on the review of your information, our office will make the necessary corrections to your FAFSA.

It is the student’s responsibility to reply to our requests for information. We are unable to provide you with a financial aid award letter until all documents have been received and reviewed. Failure to respond to our requests will result in a delay in awarding and paying financial aid and possible loss of certain types of aid, especially institutional grant.

The following options will walk you through the verification process. Your paper or electronic notification of incomplete financial aid requirements sent to you from our office lists the appropriate aid year (the academic year for which you are receiving financial aid). Please refer to this aid year when selecting your verification documents for completion.

Required Documents for Verification

Verification Tips & Deadlines

Your paper or electronic notification of incomplete financial aid requirements sent to you from our office lists the appropriate aid year (the academic year for which you are receiving financial aid). Please refer to this aid year when selecting your verification documents for completion. Continuing students can view required documents through the financial aid links in KateWay.

  • Make sure to submit your application for financial aid by the April 15 priority deadline.
  • When you are completing verification, review your requirements list to determine which forms and documents you will need to submit. Only submit the documents requested.
  • Make sure all required verification forms are completed fully-- if a value is a zero, enter a zero.
  • Sign all required verification worksheets, and return to the Financial Aid Office within two weeks of your initial notification along with any supplemental documentation requested by your counselor.
  • The tax return transcript requirement is waived if you use the FAFSA IRS Data Retrieval Tool to automatically complete tax return data elements on your FAFSA and do not subsequently change those values (view IRS Data Retrieval Information below). Announcement: The IRS Data Retrieval Tool is unavailable at this time. We regret any inconvenience. To fill out a FAFSA, you can manually input your tax information. Remember, if you’re filling out the 2017–18 FAFSA form, your 2015 tax information is required (not 2016).
  • If a tax return transcript is required, submit to the Financial Aid Office within four weeks of your initial notification.
  • If you have been granted an extension for filing your tax return, you should submit all other verification documents requested, documentation of income, and your extension form.
  • Other documents could be requested as determined by the Financial Aid Office in order to verify the FAFSA data. For example, this could include W-2 forms, certain tax schedules or investment statements upon request.
  • If documents are submitted after the requested deadlines listed above, you may jeopardize your priority consideration for maximum aid eligibility and may delay disbursement of loans or other funding until after the start of the academic year.
  • If documents are submitted after the period of your enrollment has ended, your aid eligibility may be limited or you may be ineligible for financial aid funds.
  • Keep copies of all the documents you submitted for your records.

When submitting information, write your St. Catherine student ID number on the documents.

Announcement: The IRS Data Retrieval Tool is unavailable at this time. Students and families should plan for the tool to be offline until the start of the next FAFSA season, which starts in October 2017. We regret any inconvenience. To fill out a FAFSA, you can manually input your tax information. Remember, if you’re filling out the 2017–18 FAFSA form, your 2015 tax information is required (not 2016).

Below is a guideline on using IRS Data Retrieval when entering FAFSA application data.

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool is currently available for tax filers. The FAFSA will provide filers with the option of retrieving certain relevant data elements (such as adjusted gross income) directly from the IRS tax database.

Eligibility Information

Most students and parents are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool if they have already filed their taxes. However, there are a few scenarios in which students and parents are ineligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, such as:

  • The student/parent is married, and either the student/parent or his/her spouse filed as Married Filing Separately.
  • The student/parent is married, and either the student/parent or his/her spouse filed as Head of Household.
  • The parents' marital status is "Unmarried and both parents living together."
  • The student/parent filed an amended tax return.
  • The student/parent filed a Puerto Rican or foreign tax return.
  • Any students or parents who meet the above criteria will need to enter their tax return information manually.

Additionally, there may be a delay between the time of your tax return filing and the availability of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. You then have the option to enter tax return information manually or return at a later date to transfer tax return information into the FAFSA.

How to Use Data Retrieval

If you are eligible, you can execute the retrieval from within the FAFSA website while completing an initial application, renewal application, or correction to an existing application. FAFSA will ask questions to help you determine if you are able to use the Data Retrieval Tool and walk you through the data match process. If you are correcting an existing application, be sure to always make updates to the most recent transaction. At this time, students and parent(s) who use the Data Retrieval Tool and do not make subsequent changes to the transferred information reduce the likelihood of being selected for verification, and will not be selected to verify their tax-related information or be required to submit tax transcripts for verification purposes if they are selected. (You may still be required to submit documentation of non-tax data elements, such as amount of child support paid or food stamp eligibility.)

If you are unable to use the IRS DRT, you may request a copy of your tax transcript online:

More information is available on the FAFSA website.

All financial aid recipients must meet satisfactory academic progress expectations in order to continue receiving financial aid. Academic progress is evaluated and reviewed following the end of each term.

Financial aid eligibility is based on satisfactory academic progress (SAP) standards that St. Catherine University's Financial Aid Office is required by the U.S. Department of Education to establish, publish and apply. The Financial Aid Office measures academic performance and enforces SAP standards to ensure that financial aid recipients progress toward completion of their degree or certificate program. Students who fail to meet these standards become ineligible to receive financial aid until compliant with all of the requirements detailed in this policy.

To demonstrate satisfactory academic progress, a student’s academic performance must meet two main SAP components. The first is a qualitative component, represented by grade point average (GPA). The second is a quantitative component measured by credit completion (the ratio between attempted and passed credits) and maximum time frame (the ability to complete the degree or certificate program within an established number of credits).

Students will be notified of their SAP status by a representative of St. Catherine University. A paper letter notification will be sent to the student via U.S. mail. Electronic notification will be sent to the student's official St. Catherine email address when deemed appropriate.

Section 1. Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress

Grade Point Average
All undergraduate students are required to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0. Graduate students must maintain a cumulative GPA that is equal to or greater than the graduation standards published by their program on the program’s website.

Credit Completion
Students must complete 67% of all credits attempted. A completed credit has a grade of A, B, C, D, or S. Withdrawals, F grades, incomplete courses, and repeated courses are included in attempted credits.

Maximum Time Frame
All students are expected to finish their degree or certificate within an acceptable period of time. Financial aid recipients may continue to receive aid through their cumulative attempted credits that equal 150% of the required number of credits needed to complete their program, including transfer credits from another college that apply to the St. Catherine University program. For undergraduate baccalaureate students this means that a student must complete her program by the time she reaches 195 attempted credits. For associate and graduate students, maximum time frame is measured based on 150% of the length of the student’s program. As soon as it becomes mathematically impossible for a student to graduate within the 150% limit, the University will place the student will on Financial Aid Suspension. Students who require developmental coursework may appeal to have the 150% limit extended.

Section 2. Definitions

Credit – A credit is the unit by which academic work is measured.

Attempted credit – An attempted credit includes all credits for which you are registered at the beginning of each term. Audit credits are not included in attempted credits.

Cumulative credits – Cumulative credits represent the total number of credits evaluated (attempted and passed) for all periods of enrollment at St. Catherine University, including summer and J-terms or terms for which the student did not receive aid. Cumulative credits also include transfer credits from another college that apply to the St. Catherine University program.

Passed credits – Passed credits are those that are successfully completed with a grade of A, B, C, D, P, and S. Grades of I, W, U, F, X, or dropped courses are not counted as passed credits. Developmental credits count toward both attempted and passed credits; audit credits are not counted as attempted or passed credits.

Grade Point Average (GPA) – The GPA is calculated using a grade point value outlined in the catalog for grades A, B, C, D, and F and all plus or minus variations. Although a grade of P or S will count as credit earned, it carries no grade point value. Transfer credit grades from another college that apply to the St. Catherine University program are included in the calculation of the cumulative GPA.

Incomplete Courses – An “I” is assigned as a temporary grade for pending course completion, and counts against the completion rate (attempted, but not earned credits). If the incomplete is replaced with a passing grade, the course will be counted as an earned credit.

Repeat Credits – Repeats may be allowed in order to improve a grade or meet program requirements, and they are included in calculations for the SAP grade point average, credit completion, and maximum time frame standards. The most recent grade will become the grade calculated for GPA. Please note a student may only receive financial aid for taking a previously passed course once. If a student needs to raise the grade for a major or other requirement, as long as the course is considered passed, the student cannot receive federal funds for more than one repeat.

Developmental Credits – Remedial coursework is included with registered credits, and will count toward the credit completion and maximum time frame standards.

Transfer Credits – Grades associated with transfer credits are included in the cumulative GPA calculation, and count toward the cumulative credit completion calculation. Transfer credits accepted by St. Catherine University apply toward the maximum time frame calculation, if they are applicable to the current degree program.

Second Major – Students returning after receipt of a first degree in a program in order to complete the requirements for a second major in the program will have their maximum time frame extended to provide for the additional course requirements of the new major.

Change of Major, and Dual Degree – Many students receive multiple degrees and/or certificates from St. Catherine University. Only attempted credits eligible for application toward the student’s current certificate or degree program will count toward the maximum time frame of that certificate or degree. Attempted and passed credits under all majors will be included in the calculation of GPA and credit completion. Students who change majors or seek a dual degree may appeal for an extension of the maximum time frame provision of this policy. Appeals will be evaluated on an individual, case-by-case basis.

Post-Secondary Education Options (PSEO) – Credits earned while a PSEO student at St. Catherine University will be included in the cumulative credit completion standard, GPA, and maximum time frame calculation. PSEO credits earned at another post-secondary institution will be treated as transfer credits.

Joint Program Credits – Grades associated with joint program credits are included in the cumulative GPA calculation, and count toward the cumulative credit completion calculation.

Section 3. Monitoring Eligibility

The academic progress for every financial aid applicant will be reviewed after each term. All of a student’s academic coursework is considered in the review process, whether the student received aid that term or not. The assessment will be based on the student’s entire academic record, including all transfer credit hours accepted.

Financial Aid Warning
If a student does not meet the minimum cumulative GPA and/or credit completion ratio, s/he will automatically be placed on Financial Aid Warning for the next term of enrollment. Financial Aid Warning puts a student on notice that s/he will be suspended and that s/he will lose financial aid eligibility if both the cumulative GPA and cumulative completion standards are not met at the end of the warning term. During a warning term, a student may continue to receive financial aid provided all other eligibility requirements are met.

Financial Aid Suspension
Students who do not meet the minimum cumulative GPA and/or credit completion ratio at the end of the Financial Aid Warning term become ineligible for federal, state and institutional financial aid and will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension. Also, at the point in time it is determined that a student will not be able to complete a degree or certificate within the maximum time frame, s/he will be suspended from financial aid. Provided the student is allowed to register by the academic department and the Office of Academic Affairs, s/he may attend St. Catherine University and pay out of pocket or apply for a private, credit-based alternative loan that does not require a student meet satisfactory academic progress standards. Once the minimum cumulative GPA and credit completion requirements have been met, the student may petition the Financial Aid Office to reinstate their financial aid eligibility. St. Catherine University may immediately suspend a student from financial aid in the event of extraordinary circumstances, such as a student who registers for but does not earn any credits for two consecutive terms, or demonstrates an attendance pattern that abuses the receipt of financial aid.

Financial Aid Probation
A student who is placed on Financial Aid Suspension may appeal the suspension status if there are extenuating circumstances such as the death of a relative, injury or illness of the student or other special circumstances. If a SAP appeal of suspension status is approved by the Financial Aid Office, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Probation. While on probation, a student is eligible to receive financial aid. The student’s record will be reviewed and probationary status evaluated following each term. Probation status may continue into subsequent terms until the minimum cumulative standards have been met, provided the student is following her/his academic plan. If the academic plan is not followed, the student will again be placed on suspension, ineligible for aid and may submit a new appeal. For details on the appeal process and explanation of an academic plan, please refer to Section 4: Right to Appeal.

Academic Suspension
Students who have been academically suspended by St. Catherine University are no longer eligible for financial aid. If a student is readmitted, s/he must complete the SAP appeal process. For details on the appeal process, please refer to Section 4: Right to Appeal.

Section 4. Right to Appeal

Financial Aid Suspension Appeal Requirements for Students Meeting SAP Standards:
A student may appeal the financial aid suspension status if:

  • The student has now earned the required cumulative minimum GPA and credit completion ratio to meet SAP standards.
  • The student is readmitted after academic suspension by St. Catherine University and meets the required minimum SAP standards.

If you are now meeting the SAP requirements, email or call the Financial Aid Office to request that your record be reviewed for financial aid eligibility.

Financial Aid Suspension Appeal Requirements for Students Not Meeting SAP Standards:

  • A student who is unable to achieve satisfactory academic progress and is suspended from financial aid has the right to appeal. Students may appeal based on unusual or extenuating circumstances, provided they can document the circumstance and demonstrate that the barriers to academic success have been removed. Unusual circumstances that interfered with the student’s ability to meet SAP standards include, but not limited to:
  • illness, accident, or injury experienced by the student or a significant person in the student’s life.
  • death of a family member or significant person in the student’s life.
  • divorce experienced by the student or parent.
  • personal problems or issues with spouse, family, roommate, or other significant person.
  • exceeding time frame while in a second undergraduate or dual degree program or as a result of changing major.

Students who have experienced unusual or extenuating circumstances, can document the circumstance and demonstrate that the barriers to academic success have been removed should complete the Satisfactory Academic Progress Suspension Appeal Form.

The student should submit the appeal form and required accompanying documentation within 10 days of notification that the student has been suspended. Appeals received more than 10 days after the student was notified of their suspension status will receive equal consideration, provided there is a reasonable explanation for the delay.

In order to appeal, a student is required to:

  • Complete the Satisfactory Academic Progress Suspension Appeal Form.
  • Submit a written statement that identifies the barrier(s) that prevented the student from meeting SAP requirements in the past and explain what has changed that will now allow the student to meet the minimum SAP requirements in the future.
  • Attach supporting documentation, from a third-party such as a counselor or doctor, to verify the conditions and dates of the circumstances hindering the student’s academic success and to confirm that these barriers have been removed.
  • Outline how the student will be able to meet the minimum cumulative GPA and credit completion ratio after her/his next term of enrollment. If s/he is not able to meet the minimum cumulative GPA and credit completion ratio after the next term of enrollment, the student must meet with her/his Academic Advisor/Program Director to develop an academic plan that clearly details how the student will meet SAP standards.
  • The appeal form must be signed by the student’s Academic Advisor/Program Director and the academic plan developed together must ensure that the student is able to meet the minimum cumulative GPA and/or credit completion ratio by a specific point in time.

If you have any questions regarding the SAP policy, the appeal process or appeal form, please contact your financial aid counselor or the Financial Aid Office at finaid@stkate.edu.

The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) signed August, 14, 2008 requires an institution participating in a Title IV program to publish a code of conduct [HEOA 487 (a) (25)]. This code of conduct prohibits conflicts of interest for its financial aid personnel. St. Catherine University’s officers, employees and agents are required to comply with this code of conduct. The following provisions bring the St. Catherine University into compliance with the federal law [HEOA 487 (e)]. Where applicable, this code is superseded by the St. Catherine University’s Employee Handbook, if more restrictive.

St. Catherine University employees are prohibited from:

  1. Revenue sharing arrangements,
  2. Receiving most lender gifts, including those to family members, with certain minimal exceptions,
  3. Receiving fees or other compensation for consulting with lenders,
  4. Using the award packaging or other methods to assign first-time borrowers to certain lenders,
  5. Delaying or refusing to certify any loan based on the borrower’s choice of lender,
  6. Accepting any funds for private education loans in exchange for benefits to the lenders such as a preferred lender arrangement,
  7. Requesting or accepting assistance from any lender for call-center staffing or financial aid office staffing, and
  8. Receiving any compensation or financial benefit for service other than reasonable reimbursement of expenses for any financial aid office employee who serves on a lender’s advisory board.