Financial Aid

Mission

The primary mission of Financial Aid Office (FAO) is to administer all financial aid programs, federal or local in compliance with applicable law and regulations and maintaining integrity, accuracy and timeliness in the delivery of financial assistance to all eligible students admitted to the College of Micronesia-FSM (COM-FSM) to help students pay for their educational expenses. Financial aid is provided by federal, state, and institutional sources and consists of grants, loans, and work-study.

Types of Financial Assistance

Financial assistance may be in the form of:

GRANTS and SCHOLARSHIPS which do not have to be repaid provided you attend classes, do not drop classes, or withdraw from COM-FSM; and

WORK-STUDY that provides opportunity to work and earn money for educational expenses.

COM-FSM administers one U.S. Federal Student Aid (FSA) Program (Title IV). To determine if you are eligible, the U.S. Department of Education uses a standard formula, established by the U.S. Congress, to evaluate the information reported on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or your Renewal FAFSA.

The formula produces an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) number which appears on your Student Aid Report (SAR) or Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR). Your EFC helps determine whether you are eligible nor not.

Upon receipt of your SAR or ISIR, the Financial Aid Office prepares an award letter that will advise you of the types and amount of financial aid you will be awarded as well as information on when the aid will be available to you.

  1. Federal Pell Grant

    Federal Pell Grant is a grant to help undergraduates pay for their education. For many students, Pell Grant provides the foundation to which aid from other federal and non-federal sources may be added. Federal Pell Grant does not have to be repaid.

    The maximum award for the 2015-2016 Award Year (July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016) is $5,775. The amount you will receive depends not only on your EFC, but also on the cost of your attendance at COM-FSM; your enrollment status as a full-time, three-fourth-time, half-time, or less than half-time student; and the number of semesters attended during the academic year.

    Pell Grant Duration of Eligibility

    The new lifetime limit of Pell Grants is 600%. This means that the duration of a student’s eligibility to receive a Federal Pell Grant from 18 full time semesters (9 years) has been reduced to 12 full time semesters (6 years). This provision applies to all Federal Pell Grant eligible students regardless of when they received their first Pell grant award. The calculation of the duration of a student’s eligibility will include all years of the student’s receipt of Federal Pell Grant funding.

    Example:

    YearsSummerFallSpringTotalCumulative %
    1 (09-10) $1078 = 25% $2155 = 75% $1077 = 25% 100% 300%
    2 (10-11) $592 = 13% $2366 = 50% $1773 = 37% 100% 400%
    3 (11-12) N/A $2775=50% $2775=50% 100% 500%
    4 (12-13)   $2775=50% $2775=50% 100% 600%
    5 (13-14)   $2823=50% $2822 = 50% 100% 600%
    6 (14-15)   $2865=50% $2865 = 50% 100% 600%

    NOTE:This new policy will have a big impact on students who were enrolled in the 4th Year programs and those students who have been attempting to enroll in more than three programs after graduating from their Associate degree programs. Students who have reached this maximum are advised to seek other means of financial assistance such as state and national scholarships.

  2. Supplemental Education Grant (SEG)

    The Compact of Free Association Amendments Act of 2003 eliminates eligibility for citizens of the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Federated State of Micronesia for Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) and Federal Work Study (FWS). Under the same Amended Compact Act of 2003, students who began their enrollment after June 25, 2004 are eligible for assistance from SEG program.

  3. SEG Work-Study Program

    The SEG Work-Study Program gives students the opportunity to earn money to help pay for their educational expenses by providing part-time work. College regulations limit students to a maximum of 20 hours per week while classes are in session and 40 hours per week when classes are not in session (Easter break, semester recess, etc.). Students are not eligible to work overtime hours.

    Work Study pay rate is at least the current COM-FSM minimum wage, and the total award depends on the level of need of a student and the funding level.

    The number of hours students are allowed to work depends on their class schedule, health, and academic progress. Students are paid biweekly.

    Work Study funds are made available at the beginning of the school year. If you are awarded Work Study, you should work out a schedule and carefully monitor the number of hours that you work per week and not exceed the amount awarded. Upon depleting your Work Study award, you will be terminated from your Work Study position.

    It is the student’s responsibility to report to the Work-Study Coordinator for job placement/assignment. Failure to do so may result in cancellation of employment and the award.

  4. National and State Scholarships

    There are state scholarships (as well as grants and loans) available or offered through your own state government. The COM-FSM Financial Aid Offices provide assistance in filling out the state scholarship application form, completing and certifying the "expense section" of the form, and forwarding the applications to the respective state scholarship offices. The respective state scholarship offices make scholarship awards.

    Tuition Waiver and Reduction

    Tuition up to six credits is waived for COM-FSM employees. Dependents of COM-FSM employees as define in the COM-FSM Personnel Policy and Procedure Manual are granted 50% tuition reduction.

    Student Eligibility Requirements for Financial Aid

    Before receiving any federal student aid, you must meet the general eligibility requirements listed in this section, as well as those requirements, which are unique to each program. In order to comply with the general eligibility provisions, you must:

    1. Have a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) certificate, pass an independently administered test approved by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE), or meet other standards your state establishes that are approved by the U.S. DOE. A copy of your diploma or GED certificate must be submitted with your application.
    2. Be accepted and enrolled as a regular student working toward a degree or certificate in an eligible program.
    3. Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen. (FSM, Palau, and Marshall Island citizens are eligible non-citizens.)
    4. Have a "demonstrated" financial need. Your yearly educational expenses must be greater than the contribution you and your family can make toward these expenses.
    5. Maintain satisfactory academic progress once in school.

  5. Veterans Administration Benefits

    The College of Micronesia-FSM is an approved educational institution for education and training under the US Veteran’s Educational Assistance Act (GI Bill). COM-FSM charges veterans and military service members the same tuition rate as all students and there is no in-state or out-of-state tuition differential.

    All students who are eligible to receive financial assistance from the US Department of Veterans Affairs under Chapter 30 (Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty), 33 (Post-9/11 GI Bill), and 35 (Survivors and Dependents) are advised to contact the college’s School Certifying Official for clarification and explanation of awards before registering with their assigned advisor.

    Joey A. Oducado Vice President for Enrollment Management & Student Services
    US VA School Certifying Official
    College of Micronesia-FSM
    P.O. Box 159
    Kolonia, Pohnpei FM 96941
    Phone: (691) 320-2480 extension 129 | Email: joducado@comfsm.fm

    Application Information and Procedure

    Application Information

    To be considered for financial aid at the College of Micronesia-FSM, each applicant must complete and submit the required documents and forms identified below following the instructions given. Your application will not be processed until the Financial Aid Office receives the required documents and forms, and you have been officially accepted into a COM-FSM degree/certificate program.

    The Financial Aid Office at COM-FSM should receive all applications for aid and supporting documents not later than June 1st of each year. Applications received after this period will be evaluated only to the extent to which funds are available.

    New students should apply for financial aid when applying for admission to college. Financial aid cannot be awarded to applicants who are not officially admitted and enrolled in college. Continuing COM-FSM students must reapply for financial aid each year.

    Financial aid is not automatically renewed or awarded. You must file an application for financial aid each year.

    Financial aid application forms, related materials, and information can be obtained from the Financial Aid Offices at the State Campuses. Apply as soon as possible after January 1st for financial aid for the next academic year.

    Application Procedure

    If you did not apply for federal student aid for the 2014-2015 School year, you can apply for federal aid for the 2015-2016 School Year by completing and mailing the 2015-2016 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), or completing the FAFSA on the Internet at www.fafsa.ed.gov.

    If you did apply for federal student aid for the 2014-2015 School Year and you have a valid U.S Social Security Number, you will be able to file a 2015-2016 Renewal Free Application for Federal Student Aid (Renewal FAFSA). You will either receive it at your home address or from the Financial Aid Office. You may also file a Renewal FAFSA electronically.

    If you apply by mail, your application will be processed in approximately four weeks. Your Student Aid Report will be mailed to the address you provided on the envelope. Review the information on the SAR for accuracy, and if corrections are necessary, make them on the SAR and mail it to the Central Processor or do so electronically at www.fafsa.ed.gov.. The SAR will report the information from your application and, if there are no questions or problems with your application, your SAR will report your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), the number used in determining your eligibility for federal student aid. Each school listed on your application will also receive your Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) electronically.

    If you apply electronically through a school, your application will be processed within two to three days. The results will be sent electronically to your school if the school can receive the information electronically. You will also receive your SAR in the mail. College of Micronesia-FSM at the National Campus has electronic capability to process your FAFSA.

    The Institutional Code for COM-FSM is
    010343

    Step: 1

    Complete and sign either the 2015-2016 FAFSA or Renewal FAFSA 2015-2016 and mail it to:
    Federal Student Aid Programs
    P.O. Box 7002
    Mt. Vernon, IL 62864-0072


    Step 2:

    Complete the COM-FSM Application for Financial Aid and submit it directly to the Financial Aid Office.


    Step 3:

    Submit your parents’ 2014 income verification form directly to the Financial Aid Office.


    Step 4:

    Submit a copy of your passport or birth certificate for citizenship verification to the Financial Aid Office. Make sure your name and date of birth in the passport or birth certificate is exactly the same with what you provided in your FAFSA application.


    Step 5:

    If you attended any college or university prior to enrolling at COM-FSM, whether or not you received financial aid from those schools, you must provide the name(s) of the school(s) you previously attended to the COM-FSM Financial Aid Office so your financial aid history can be checked through National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).

    Educational Expenses

    Direct Educational Expenses per Semester

    Tuition ($135 per Credit)
    15 Credits $2,025.00
    Required Fees
    Registration Fee $15.00
    Health Fee $15.00
    Activity Fee $20.00
    Technology Fee $100.00
    Facility Use Fee Full-Time(Fall/Spring) $200.00
    Facility Use Fee Full-Time(Summer) $50.00
    Facility Use Fee Part-Time(Fall/Spring) $70.00
    Facility Use Fee Part-Time(Summer) $25.00
    Room(RH Residents)
    Regular Semester(Fall/Spring) $368.00
    Summer Session $175.00

    Estimated Indirect Educational Expenses per Semester

    Books and Supplies
    Regular Semester(Fall/Spring) $500.00
    Summer Session $250.00
    Personal
    Regular Semester(Fall/Spring) $750.00
    Summer Session $375.00
    Transportation(Taxi)
    Regular Semester(Fall/Spring) $800.00
    Summer Session $400.00
    Room and Board Allowance(Off Campus)
    Students without dependents living with parents
    Regular Semester(Fall/Spring) $840.00
    Summer Session $420.00
    All Others
    Regular Semester(Fall/Spring) $1,500.00
    Summer Session $750.00

    Needs Analysis: How Financial Need Is Calculated

    Aid from the federal student aid programs is awarded based on financial need. Financial need is defined as the difference between a student and/or his/her family's expected contributions and the student's annual educational expenses. The steps for determining your financial need are:

    1. Estimate your educational expenses or costs of attendance (tuition, fees, room, board, books, supplies, personal needs, transportation, etc.).
    2. Calculate the amount you and/or your family may be expected to contribute toward those costs. Based on the information provided on your FAFSA, the Federal Central Processing System (CPS) analyzes and calculates the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC measures the family’s financial strength, based on income and assets of the student, the student's spouse, and, if the student is a dependent, the student's parents. The EFC formula also takes into account the family's expenses, based on the number of persons in the household and the number of those persons attending college. Parents are excluded from the count of family members in college.
    3. Subtract contributions from you and your family from the total estimated educational expenses to arrive at the estimated financial need.

      Need Equation:
      (Cost of Attendance)-(Expected Family Contribution) = Estimated Financial Need
      Example:
      $5,000 - Estimated Cost of Attendance
         -500 - Expected Family Contribution 
      $4,500 - Estimated Financial Need

    4. The Financial Aid Office then attempts to develop a financial aid package to meet your financial need within the bounds of its funding limitations.

    Award Packaging Policy

    Financial Aid Package

    One of the major challenges of FAO is to distribute the available financial aid resources, both federal and non-federal, to best address the needs of all students. This is done by preparing financial aid packages for eligible students whereby aids from the various sources are combined to help meet their financial need.

    College of Micronesia-FSM operates on a two-semester academic year (fall & spring semesters) and a summer session. The length of each semester is 16 weeks of instructional time and the length of the summer session is usually 6-8 weeks of instructional time. The College’s academic year meets the minimum regulatory requirement, which is 24 semester hours and 30 weeks of instructional time. The College also uses the minimum regulatory standard to determine the enrollment status as stated below:

    Full-time (FT) = 12 units or more
    Three-fourth-time (3/4) = 9-11 units
    Half-time (1/2) = 6-8 units
    Less than half-time = 1-5 units

    Award Requirements

    Priority consideration for financial assistance is given to students who meet the following criteria:

    1. Submitted their completed financial aid application by June 1, 2015, for the 2015-2016 academic year.
    2. Enrolled for at least 12 credits during the fall and the spring semesters and 6 credits during the summer session; and
    3. Maintain good academic standing with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better.

    Awards

    If you meet all the requirements for financial aid, you will be notified by mail or in person at the Financial Aid Office of the types and amounts of awards soon after COM-FSM receives its federal allocations for student aid.

    The types and amounts of aid awarded depend on:

    1. The extent of your financial need, such as living circumstances, resources, semester credit hours, and eligibility for the particular financial aid program;
    2. The availability of funds, financial aid policies, and the number of students COM-FSM is assisting; and
    3. Your compliance with federal and College policies on financial aid.

    Receiving Your Award

    At the beginning of each semester, go to a COM-FSM Financial Aid Office to sign appropriate documents (Award Letter and COM-FSM AFA). Deadline for submission of completed COM-FSM Application for Financial Assistance (COM-AFA) is November 17, 2015 for Fall 2015, April 12, 2016 for Spring 2016 and June 24, 2016 for Summer 2016.

    Failure to sign and submit the documents can result in cancellation of the financial assistance and an unpaid balance on your account.

    Disbursement Procedure

    Your financial aid award for the semester will be applied to your tuition and fees, room and board, and other college charges. Disbursement may be withheld the following semester if you fail to make satisfactory academic progress (SAP) or if there is a dispute regarding your continued eligibility for financial aid.

    Your account with COM-FSM must be paid in full by the end of each semester or you will not be allowed to register again at any COM-FSM Campus or have access.

    Award Adjustment or Revision

    Your award package may be changed (decreased, increased, substituted, or canceled) by the Financial Aid Office for any of the following reasons:

    1. You or your family receives additional financial resources to meet your educational expenses. (Any financial assistance such as employment, grants, scholarships, and loans over and above those identified on the award letter must be reported to the Financial Aid Office.)
    2. You change your major field of study, credit load, or enrollment status on which your award was based.
    3. You or your family provided incorrect information on the FAFSA.
    4. Your family circumstances have changed.

    Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

    Due to changes in the federal regulations, effective fall 2011 term, SAP for federal financial aid will continue to be checked once a year at the end of spring term. However, students will not automatically be given a one year probationary period to get back n track. Additionally, the Financial Aid Office will be looking at cumulative progress instead of annual progress and the student is expected to complete 67% of all credits attempted in order to graduate within the 150% timeframe allowed by federal government. The Department of Education’s goal is to limit how long students who are not making SAP can continue to receive Title IV aid.

    The Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy is composed of two standards of measurements stated below:
    Qualitative Measurement

    Measures students’ academic progress, such as Cumulative Grade Point Average

    Quantitative Measurement

    Measures maximum time frame toward the completion of students’ program and the pace of progression [credits completion rate]

    Students must meet the new COM-FSM SAP standards both qualitative and quantitative in order to receive or continue to receive financial aid.

    1. Financial Aid Good Standing

      Financial aid recipients must meet the following standards of COM-FSM SAP policy in order to be eligible for financial aid.

      1. Maintain a Cumulative Grade point Average (cum GPA) of 2.0 or better AND
      2. Successfully complete at least 67% of cumulative credits attempted according to the pace of progression (Credits Completion Rate) formula: (divide cumulative credits earned by cumulative credits attempted). AND
      3. Must complete degree within 150% of slated time.
        • 150%, for 60 credits or AA/AS = 90 credits

      The table below is an example of pace of progression to assist you.

      Semester/Terms Credits Attemp Credits Earned Percent required 67% Pace Pass or Fail
      Semester Cumulative Semester Cumulative
      Fall 2012 12 12 9 9 75% (9/12) Pass
      Spring 2013 12 24(12+12) 6 15 (9+6) 62% (15/24) Fail
      Fall 2013 12 36(24+12) 12 27 (15+12) 75% (27/36) Pass
    2. Financial Aid Warning

      Students are automatically placed on Financial Aid Warning when they fail to meet SAP standards indicated above. Students on financial aid warning status may continue to receive financial aid (Title IV funds) for one payment period (one semester). No appeal is necessary.

    3. Financial Aid Disqualification

      Students who are placed on financial aid warning status and fail to achieve SAP standards at the end of the payment period (one semester) will lose their financial aid eligibility. If students believed that they have experienced circumstances out of their control, they can appeal. As a result of the appeal, students may be placed on financial aid probation, on an academic plan or denied financial aid eligibility.

      Financial Aid Probation
      • Students are placed on Financial Aid Probation when they have been disqualified for not meeting SAP standards and their appeal was approved. They were determined to have the ability to achieve the SAP standards at the end of the payment period. They may continue to receive financial aid (Title IV funds) for one payment period and must achieve SAP standards at the end of the payment period; otherwise, they will lose their financial aid eligibility.
      Academic Plan
      • Students are placed on an Academic Plan when they have been disqualified for not meeting SAP standards and their appeal was approved. It was determined that these students do not have the ability to meet SAP standards at the end of the payment period, therefore, an academic plan for financial aid purpose is developed for them in order to meet the SAP standards at the end of the payment period. They may continue to receive financial aid (Title IV funds) for one payment period and must achieve SAP standards or meet the conditions of an academic plan at the end of one payment period; otherwise, they will lose their financial aid eligibility.
      Denial
      • The appeal is denied if the committee determines that there were no extenuating circumstances. The student loses his/her financial aid eligibility.

    Appeal of Financial Aid Suspension (Exception to the Policy)

    You may appeal determination of ineligibility by submitting an appeal in writing to the Chairman of the Financial Aid Committee within five working days of receipt of your suspension notice. The appeal must include the following:

    1. Your reasons for not achieving the minimum academic (qualitative and/or quantitative) requirements and/or for not completing your education objective within the time frame allowed; and
    2. A non-academic reason why your aid should not be terminated (i.e., illness or death in the family, personal injury or illness, or other special circumstances) with supporting documents from a doctor, counselor, and/or academic advisor.

    Submission of an appeal does not guarantee reinstatement of eligibility. Each appeal will be reviewed by the Committee on a case by case basis to determine whether or not the appeal is valid and contains sufficient reasons for reinstatement. All appeal decisions are final. You will be notified in writing of the Committee’s decision within ten working days after the receipt of your letter of appeal by the Committee.

    Appeal letter forms are available at the Financial Aid Offices at all COM-FSM campuses.

    Reinstatement

    If your financial aid eligibility has been suspended due to lack of satisfactory academic progress, it may be reinstated when you have made up ALL prior credit deficiencies and/or have achieved the required grade point average at your own expense.

    Treatment of Incomplete and Withdrawal

    Courses with the following grades will not be considered as successfully completed:

    "F" (failure),
    "I" (incomplete), and
    "W" (withdrawal),

    Credits will not be awarded for the course.

    Repeated Courses

    Courses that are repeated will count in the calculation of hours attempted and completed hours earned for the time frame. A student may attempt a course a second time and still be eligible for financial aid. However, a student will not receive financial aid after the second attempt of the same course.

    COM-FSM REFUND POLICY

    This policy applies to all students. Refund for TUITION AND REFUNDABLE FEES will be determined according to the following schedule:

    Regular Semester (Fall/Spring):

    If you withdraw % to be refunded The school

    to Federal Student Aid (FSA) and/or you retains:

    Prior to the first day of classes 100% 0%
    During the first two weeks 80% 20%
    During the third & fourth weeks 40% 60%
    After the fourth week 0% 100%

    Short Term(Summer):

    If you withdraw % to be refunded The School to FSA and/or you retains:

    Prior to the first day of classes 100% 0%
    During the first week 80% 20%
    During the second week 40% 60%
    After the second week 0% 100%

    Return of Title IV Funds

    The Higher Education Amendment of 1998 regulates how much a school must return to Title IV when a student does not complete an enrollment or payment period.

    When a recipient of Title IV aid withdraws before completing 60 percent of the payment period or an enrollment period, the institution must calculate the amount of Title IV aid the recipient did not earn. Unearned Title IV funds must be returned to the Title IV programs. This policy applies only to students who completely terminate their enrollment at COM-FSM.

    Calculating Return of Funds

    Step 1: Determine Amount of Earned
    Title IV Aid
    Percent Earned
    X Total Title IV Disbursement
      =Amount of Earned Title IV Aid
    Step 2: Determine Title IV Aid
    to be Returned
    Actual Title IV Disbursement
    -Amount of Earned Title IV Aid
      =Total Amount of Title IV Aid to be Returned
    School's Responsibility Lesser of: Unearned TIV Aid and
    Institutional Charges X Percentage Unearned
    School's Responsibility Amount of Unearned TIV Aid
    Minus School's Responsibility X 50%

    If you are planning to withdraw from COM-FSM, please make an appointment with a Financial Aid Counselor to discuss this “return of funds” policy and how it will affect you.

    It is your responsibility to notify the Office of Admission and Records when you plan to withdraw from the College in order to be officially withdrawn. The withdrawal date is defined as follows;

    • last date of attendance when withdrawal process is complete.
    • if taking attendance is not required, the withdrawal date is:
      • the date that the student otherwise provided the school with official notification of the intent to withdraw; or
      • the date that the student otherwise provided the school with official notification of the intent to withdraw; or
      • o if the student unofficially withdraws, the midpoint of the payment period for which Title IV aid was disbursed or later date documented by the school.

    Special rule:The Financial Aid Office may determine the appropriate withdrawal date if the student did not begin the withdrawal process or otherwise notify the Office of Admissions and Records of his/her intent to withdraw due to:

    • illness,
    • accident,
    • grievous personal loss,
    • other such circumstances beyond the student’s control.

    The school must return unearned aid for which the school is responsible by repaying funds to the programs in the following order:

    1. Federal Pell Grant
    2. Other FSA Programs

    If the College determines that there are unearned funds for which the student is responsible for returning, the College will notify/bill the student for the amount. The total unearned funds which the student owes must be returned before any future funds can be granted. If a student fails to return the full amount nor make satisfactory repayment arrangements with the College, the student will lose eligibility for federal student aid once it is reported to National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) by the College.

    For more information see the 2016-2017 COM-FSM Student Financial Aid Handbook

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an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education.
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