Student Rights and Responsibilities
Student Rights--As a student consumer you have the right to:
- know what financial assistance is available, including information on all federal, state, and institutional financial assistance programs;
- know the deadlines for submitting applications for financial aid
- know how your financial need is determined. This process includes how costs for tuition and fees, room and board, travel, books and supplies, and personal expenses are decided in developing cost of attendance budgets;
- know what resources (such as parental contribution, other financial assistance, student assets, etc.) are considered in the calculation of your financial need;
- know how your financial need, as determined by the University, has been met, and how and when financial aid funds are disbursed.
- request from the Office of Financial Aid (OFA), an explanation of the various programs in your student aid package. If you believe you have not received the financial assistance for which you are eligible, you may request in writing a review of your aid application;
- know what portion of the financial assistance received must be repaid, and what portion is scholarship/grant aid. If the aid is a loan, you have the right to know what the interest rate is, the total amount that must be repaid, the payback procedures, the length of time you have to repay the loan, and when repayment is to begin;
- know how the OFA determines whether you are making satisfactory academic progress, and what happens if you are not; and
- you have a right to privacy. All records submitted with your application for financial aid are confidential, and subject to legal requirements concerning disclosure of such information.
Student Responsibilities--It is your responsibility to:
- review and consider all information about the financial aid programs at the University prior to enrolling;
- complete all financial assistance applications and forms accurately, and submit them to the OFA by the appropriate deadlines;
- complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or Renewal FAFSA and the CSS PROFILE (undergraduates) in full. You may experience delays in receiving a decision about financial aid if forms are submitted after the priority filing deadlines or are filled out incompletely or incorrectly. Falsification of information on application forms for federal financial assistance is considered a criminal offense, and you may be subject to penalties under the U.S. Criminal Code;
- respond quickly to all requests for additional documentation related to verification or corrections;
- notify the OFA if there is a change in any of the information reported on the FAFSA or PROFILE;
- read and understand all forms, both paper and electronic, that you are asked to submit or sign, and keep copies of these forms. You are legally responsible for all agreements which you sign;
- if awarded a loan, participate in any required entrance/exit counseling
- notify your lender of any changes in your name, address, or school status if a loan is part of your financial aid;
- if employed through Federal Work Study, report to your job according to the schedule you arranged with your supervisor, complete all work to the best of your ability, and notify your supervisor in advance if you are unable to report to work for any reason;
- maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for financial aid eligibility;
- know and comply with the University's refund and Return of Title IV fund policies
Satisfactory Academic Progress at Rice University
Federal regulations (CRF § 668.34) require that students demonstrate satisfactory academic progress toward completion of their degree to continue to receive institutional, federal and state financial aid. In addition to meeting the standard for receiving financial aid, students must also meet the academic standards of Rice University.
Undergraduate Students: With the exception of the five-year program in architecture, eligibility for institutional aid is limited to the equivalent of 8 semesters of undergraduate enrollment, including coursework taken at other colleges and universities. In addition to meeting the standard for receiving financial aid, students must also meet the academic standards of Rice University.
Graduate Students: Graduate students must demonstrate satisfactory academic progress toward completion of their degree to continue to receive federal and state financial aid. In addition to meeting the standard for receiving financial aid, students must also meet the academic standards of Rice University.
All Students: Satisfactory academic progress is comprised of three areas as required by federal regulations. A student must complete their degree within a specified period that does not exceed 150% of the published length of the program, demonstrate they are making progress towards the completion of their degree by successfully completing 66% percent of all attempted courses, and maintain a cumulative 1.67 GPA, which is consistent with meeting graduation requirements. This regulation applies to each financial aid applicant, whether a previous recipient or not.
Credits counted in the maximum time are all attempted credits (even when not a financial aid recipient). Attempted credits include:
- Earned credits – Passed (A through D-), Satisfactory (S)
- Repeated courses
- Failures – Failed (F), Unsatisfactory (U)
- All accepted transfer credits (including Study Abroad courses) toward the degree program
If a student fails to meet the satisfactory academic progress standards by the end of the academic year, the student will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension and will not be eligible for aid until the satisfactory academic progress standards are met.
Appeal—Students are allowed to appeal their Financial Aid Suspension in cases of the death of a relative, an injury or illness of the student, or other special circumstances. Students must submit a letter discussing why the student failed to make satisfactory academic progress, and what has changed in the student's situation that will allow the student to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress at the next evaluation. Supporting documentation (doctor's letter or academic plan) must accompany the appeal letter and must be submitted to the Office of Financial Aid prior to the beginning of the subsequent term. The Appeals Committee will review appeals on a case-by-case basis.
If an appeal is approved by the Appeals Committee, the student will be placed on financial aid probation and may receive financial aid for one probationary semester. At the end of the probationary term, the student must meet the satisfactory academic progress standards or meet the requirements of an approved academic plan developed by the student’s academic department(s).
Financial Aid after academic suspension—Students who have been suspended by the university for academic reasons need to be aware that if they are readmitted by the Committee on Examinations and Standing, they may not be eligible for financial aid based on their prior academic performance. Students who are petitioning for readmission are advised to contact the Office of Financial Aid to determine their aid eligibility.
Refund of Tuition and Fees at Rice University
Students who withdraw during the first 2 weeks of the semester are not charged tuition or fees for that semester. Students who withdraw during the 3rd week must pay 30 percent of the semester’s tuition, receiving a 70 percent refund. The amount of the refund drops by 10 percent at the beginning of each successive week that passes before withdrawal until the 9th week, after which no refund is made. Federal regulations require a refund calculation for all students receiving Title IV funds. The length of time during which a refund must be calculated is up to 60 percent of the payment period (semester). If a student withdraws on or before the 60 percent point in time, a portion of the Title IV funds awarded to a student (Pell Grant, Federal SEOG, Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans, Federal PLUS Loans, the Texas LEAP Grant) must be returned, according to the provisions of the Higher Education Act as amended. The calculation of the return of these funds may result in the student owing a balance to the university and/or the Department of Education.
For students withdrawing after the 2nd week of classes in a semester, fees or special charges are not refunded. Similarly, students withdrawing or taking leaves of absence in the spring semester do not receive a partial refund of fees paid for the full year. Students withdrawing at any time forfeit the $300 enrollment deposit they paid as incoming students.
Students who receive approval to enroll with a course load of fewer than 12 hours and do so within the first 2 weeks of the semester will be charged at the per hour rate plus a part-time registration fee. There are no refunds for part-time enrollment after the first 2 weeks of the semester.
Students unable to resolve with the cashier’s office any request for special consideration in connection with waivers, refunds, or adjusted payments on tuition, fees, and other charges should forward their appeals to the dean of undergraduates. Exceptions are granted by the dean of undergraduates only under extraordinary circumstances.
Return of Title IV Funds
The Rice Financial Aid Office is required by federal statute to recalculate federal financial aid eligibility for students who withdraw, drop out, are dismissed, or take a leave of absence prior to completing 60% of a payment period or term. The federal Title IV financial aid programs must be recalculated in these situations.
If a student leaves the institution prior to completing 60% of a payment period or term, the financial aid office recalculates eligibility for Title IV funds. Recalculation is based on the percentage of earned aid using the following Federal Return of Title IV funds formula:
Percentage of payment period or term completed = the number of days completed up to the withdrawal date divided by the total days in the payment period or term. (Any break of five days or more is not counted as part of the days in the term.) This percentage is also the percentage of earned aid.
Funds are returned to the appropriate federal program based on the percentage of unearned aid using the following formula:
Aid to be returned = (100% of the aid that could be disbursed minus the percentage of earned aid) multiplied by the total amount of aid that could have been disbursed during the payment period or term.
If a student earned less aid than was disbursed, the institution would be required to return a portion of the funds and the student may be required to return a portion of the funds. Keep in mind that when Title IV funds are returned, this may create a balance due to Rice from the student.
If a student earned more aid than was disbursed to him/her, the institution would owe the student a post-withdrawal disbursement which must be paid within 120 days of the student's withdrawal.
Return of funds are allocated in the following order:
- Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans
- Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans
- Federal Perkins Loans
- Federal Parent (PLUS) Loans
- Federal Pell Grants
- Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grants
- Other Title IV Programs
- Federal or State Programs where a return is required