Financial aid changes impact students

By Lindsay McMaster, Chattanooga, TN–

Lending a hand
Lending a hand: Unyae Smith, an Oak Ridge, Tenn., senior, hands off a financial aid document to Sylvia Graves, a student aid servicer in the Financial Aid Office. Graves said Financial Aid is always busy at the start of a new semester, especially when there are new changes to financial aid.

Two new changes in financial aid will affect the way enrollment status is calculated for students and the way students can withdraw from their credit hours.
The changes, which stem from new federal regulations, will affect student schedules beginning this semester.
Dianne Cox, director of financial aid, said if a student takes a class for a third time, the class won’t count toward hours taken that semester.
Olivia Wood, an Oak Ridge, Tenn., junior, said she had been a little confused by this change in policy.
“I heard that if you just had to retake a class, the HOPE wouldn’t cover it,” she said.
However, Cox said, courses listed as repeatable are not affected by this policy change.
“You can attempt [the class] twice, but it does have to be a completion,” Cox said.
While the policy is applicable to all students, Cox estimated that less than 30 students were affected for the fall semester.
“And most of them are still full-time,” Cox said.
The second new policy requires students withdrawing from all classes to complete exit counseling and loan counseling. Students are unable to withdraw online from their last class without first completing a form for the financial aid office.
Cox said the goal of this policy is to help students understand and manage their loans after leaving the university and to do so in a timely fashion.
“The longer a student stays in, the less money there is to put back,” she said.

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