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Student Rights and Responsibilities

 

Student's Rights

 

As an American River College student who is receiving financial aid at this institution, I have the right to the following:

 

1. Information regarding federal, state and institutional financial aid programs offered at the college.  This information is provided in the Types of Financial Aid page on our Web site and can be explained by members of the Financial Aid Office.

 

2. Notice of deadlines for applications, processes and forms required for each financial aid program and for any supporting documentation.  This is provided in the Dates/Deadlines page on our Web site and can be explained by members of the Financial Aid Office.

 

3. Explanation of the various elements in my financial aid package, how I will receive financial aid disbursements, and when I will receive financial aid.  This information is provided in your Award Letter notification (sent to your Los Rios email address) once your file has been packaged, in the Types of Financial Aid page on our Web site, in the Financial Aid General Information page on our Web site, and can be explained by members of the Financial Aid Office.

 

4. Explanation of the costs to attend ARC and the policies if you withdraw.  The Cost of Attendance for American River College is in compliance with the California Community College Chancellor's Office and is based upon the recommended levels for listed budget categories.  This information is located in the Financial Aid General Information page on our Web site.  Adjustments to a student's Cost of Attendance are not allowed, with the exception for students who participate in the Study Abroad program.  Students involved in the Study Abroad program must meet with a designated Financial Aid Officer, demonstrate proof of acceptance to the Study Abroad program, and request a Cost of Attendance adjustment during an in-person appointment.  If I withdraw from ARC while receiving financial aid, then the specifics concerning repayment can be found online by clicking here

 

5. Explanation for how my financial aid package was determined.  Financial aid at American River College is a highly automated process, and the Financial Aid system seeks to package students for all financial aid programs, for which the student is eligible, based upon data received from the FAFSA, the California Student Aid Commission, income thresholds, date of application processing and enrollment status.  Student loans are not automatically processed but must be requested through the eServices system.  Federal Work Study eligibility and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant funds are determined by prioritization based upon the date of FAFSA application, level of unmet financial need for education, and availability of funds in the allocation to the college.  For more details, this information is available to you in the Types of Financial Aid page on our Web site and can be explained by appointment with an Officer in the Financial Aid Office.

 

6. Explanation of the portion of your financial aid that is a grant (also known as "gift aid"), and how much financial aid must be paid back (known as "self-help aid"). If you request a loan Direct Student Loan, meet eligibility requirements and are approved, then you have the right to know the interest rate, the total amount that must be repaid, your repayment options, when repayment begins, how long you have to repay, and conditions of deferments and cancellations.  This information is provided to you in the  How to Apply for a Federal Direct Loan page on our Web site, and you can make an appointment with a loan Officer for more information.

 

7. Explanation for how to be considered for additional aid if your financial circumstances significantly change.  This is called the Special Circumstance Request process and is available to students who have experienced a drastic change in their financial circumstance, generally outside of the student's control and since the time that taxes were filed and the FAFSA was completed.  Students can make an appointment with a Financial Aid Officer to initiate the Special Circumstances process.  All requests for Special Circumstance are considered by an internal committee and are subject to Professional Judgment determination by the Financial Aid Office Administration.  Determinations for Special Circumstance are final and binding.  Third-party documentation demonstrating change to income is required, and any request for Special Circumstance consideration will require a student to go through the Verification Process.

 

8. If I have a grievance issue regarding financial aid eligibility, processing, disbursement issues, or an instance of harassment that has transpired, then the student should first seek to pursue resolution by contacting the Associate Vice President for Student Services.  If the issue is not resolved, then the student can elect to follow the college's grievance process (see http://www.arc.losrios.edu/About_ARC/Resources.htm).  Students who wish to seek external information or action may contact the California State Chancellor's Office for CalGrant or BOG Fee Waiver issues (see http://californiacommunitycolleges.cccco.edu/complaintsform.aspx) or can seek information or action from the US Department of Education for Pell, FSEOG, Federal Work Study, Direct Loan, Return of Title IV funds, or other federal programs/processes (see http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/complaintprocess.html) or the California State Chancellor's Office Compliant process (see http://californiacommunitycolleges.cccco.edu/complaintsform.aspx).

 

9. Explanation of how ARC determines whether or not a student is making Satisfactory Academic Progress.  This information is provided to you in the Satisfactory Academic Progress page of our Web site and can be explained by members of the Financial Aid Office.

 

10. Explanation of how to reapply for financial aid for subsequent years.  Each year, the FAFSA becomes available on January 1st for students to complete at www.fafsa.ed.gov.  Additionally, Cal Grant applications are available at https://mygrantinfo.csac.ca.gov/ (Dream Act Students should only apply using the CA Dream Act Application).  Beginning in the 2017 - 2018 award year, the FAFSA will be available to students in October for earlier processing.

 

11Appointment to meet with members of the Financial Aid Office to acquire information and to understand processes.  Appointments can be made in-person at the Financial Aid Lab, at the Financial Aid counter or by phone to the Financial Aid Office (916.484.8437).  Appointments may be limited after a determination regarding an issue has been reached and has already been explained to you. 

 

12. If I have an issue that needs special attention or am seeking to have an issue resolved after meeting with a member of the Financial Aid Office, then I can submit a Student Action Request form.  The Student Action Request form can be obtained from the Financial Aid Office front counter or can be emailed to me at my Los Rios email address by a member of the Financial Aid Office.  Using the form, I can explain my situation, the resolution that I am seeking, and the method of notification following the requested action.  I must first meet with a Clerk or Officer of the Financial Aid Office before any an appointment with the Supervisor or a higher administrator at ARC.

 

 Student's Responsibilities

 

Federal and State financial aid is to be used only to pay the cost of attending an institution of higher education.  Any violation regarding the use of federal and state financial aid for costs other than attending an institution of higher education can result in legal action including financial retribution penalties, imprisonment or both.  Financial Aid is intended to supplement costs associated with education only and should not be considered a means for full living expenses.  

 

1. Students are ultimately responsible for all educational costs at American River College.  I must make arrangements to meet all financial obligations for education until financial aid eligibility can be determined through the file review, verification, award notification, origination and disbursement processes.  Failure to anticipate educational costs and timelines for financial aid processing are not justifications for failure to maintain enrollment or to successfully complete courses at American River College.  

 

2. A valid, legal photo ID is required in order to obtain any information pertaining to my financial aid status at the Financial Aid Office.  Student-specific financial aid information cannot be provided over the phone due to confidentiality rights.  This is a security measure to protect student data and information in compliance with FERPA (1974) regulations.  Students can only receive general policy information and general procedural information over the phone.  Third party requestors must have a signed, current FERPA Release Form on file with the Financial Aid Office, and the third party must present valid identification before student information will be shared.  Requests for release of information can take up to two weeks for processing.

 

3. The Financial Aid Office cannot make copies of required documents.  I must retain a copy of all submitted Financial Aid documents for my records.  The Financial Aid Office is not responsible for any lost, stolen, or destroyed documents by mail, fax or document scanning.  Students are encouraged to submit scanned PDF documents through the secure upload process.

 

4. To establish financial aid eligibility at ARC, I must have a current admissions application, register for classes, be enrolled in an eligible program, complete the FAFSA application and maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).  Please refer to the SAP policy online at http://www.arc.losrios.edu/Support_Services/Financial_Aid/Satisfactory_Progress_Policy.htm.

 

5. I must declare an eligible program of study each semester when completing the supplemental form online or with the Enrollment Services OfficeStudents enrolled in an ineligible certificate program or ineligible program of study at ARC will not be eligible to receive financial aid.  I will be ineligible to receive financial aid for any courses that are not required to complete my selected program of study.  Aid eligibility will only be calculated for units that directly apply to the student's program of study.  Units for courses that do not directly apply to the student's eligible program of study may be covered by the BOG Fee Waiver, but these units will not be calculated toward enrollment status for grants or a loan.

 

6. I must keep my mailing address and email address current at all times with the Enrollment Services Office and BankMobile (separately).  All disbursements are made through BankMobile.  Checks, if selected as a refund preference, will be mailed from BankMobile to the mailing address on file with BankMobile Financial Services.  The Financial Aid Office will correspond with me via email via the Los Rios Gmail account only.  I will check my email account regularly for updates and information pertaining to my financial aid status. 

 

7. My name, date of birth, and social security number must match ALL of the following in order for aid to be disbursed: CA Driver's License/ State-issued I.D., Social Security Card, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) documents (if applicable), information on the FAFSA, and information on file with the Enrollment Services office.  I must provide up-to-date information to all applicable agencies and systems.

 

8. I must have a high school diploma or equivalent (such as a General Educational Development Certificate (GED) or have been home schooled) to be eligible for financial aid. Students without a high school diploma who enrolled in an eligible Title IV program prior to July 1, 2012 may be able to meet the high school diploma requirement by successfully completing six degree applicable/transferable units.  A student without a high school diploma who enrolled in an eligible Title IV program after July 1, 2012 is not eligible for federal student aid.  Students who have disputes regarding validity of home school graduation, GED, foreign high school or high school diploma status can request an evaluation of their documentation with the Enrollment Services Office at American River College.  Students may be referred to an external professional evaluation service if an in-office determination cannot be made.

 

9. All male students between ages 18-25 must register with Selective Services in order to be eligible for financial aid (click here to register).  Male students who fail to register for Selective Services lose eligibility to Title IV aid opportunities (unless specific extenuating circumstances exist).  Students who failed to register with the Selective Service system and were denied Title IV funds by the US Department of Education decision can have extenuating circumstances evaluated at the campus level by the Financial Aid Office.  Students must compile all supporting documentation, accompanied by a written statement outlining their extenuating circumstances that existed between the ages of 18 - 26 that demonstrate, with a preponderance of evidence, that the failure to register was neither knowing or willful.  Documentation must be submitted to the Financial Aid Office for review.  Ignorance of the requirement to register, on its own, is not typically considered a valid reason to be excused from meeting this requirement. 

 

10. I must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress, or I will be dismissed from financial aid.  A student who has a bachelor's degree, or has completed 150% (or more) of the units required for a program, or has a GPA lower than 2.0, or has completed less than 67% of attempted units is not eligible for financial aid.   I am responsible to review the Appeal Eligibility criteria.  If eligible, I may elect to submit a Financial Aid Appeal form to request an evaluation to determine further eligibility for receiving financial aid.  Reviews are conducted by the Financial Aid Review Committee that is appointed by the Vice President for Student Services or designee.  Appeal deadlines are indicated on the appeal form received following the completion of the online Financial Aid Appeal Workshop.  If I am dismissed from financial aid, eligible to appeal, and I elect to appeal, then I understand that appeal decisions are final and binding for the full award year without further review or consideration.  Students with a more than 150 attempted units, a bachelor-level degree, or a professional degree from a domestic or foreign higher education institution are ineligible for financial aid at American River College. 

 

11. I must notify the ARC Financial Aid Office, in writing, by completing a Decline of Financial Aid form if I intend to enroll or attend any other college or post-secondary school within the same award year.  Per federal regulation, students cannot receive financial aid from two or more institutions at the same time or during periods of overlapping terms.  If I was already disbursed at ARC, then I must first repay ARC prior to receiving aid at another college.

 

12.  I understand that the Financial Aid Office will disburse funds based on my active enrollment status (wait list courses do not count) at the time of disbursementOnly courses that are directly applicable to my program of study can be funded for financial aidIf I have an increase in my number of applicable units, adjustments will be made every other week and on the recalculation date established by the Financial Aid Office for each semester.  No adjustments will be authorized after the recalculation date.  If I drop below 1/2 time enrollment status at any point during my loan award period (between August and May for Fall and Spring attendees), then I have failed to meet the requirement of my loan and have forfeited any further disbursements or loan eligibility during the award year.

 

13.  If I plan to enroll in courses at Folsom Lake College, Cosumnes River College, and/or Sacramento City College, then I must submit a Consortium Request by the published deadline to have these units at the other Los Rios College District colleges considered for financial aid eligibilityCourse(s) enrolled at FLC, CRC, or SCC must be directly related to the student's program of study at ARC.  To be considered for a Consortium Request, a student must be enrolled in at least 0.5 units at ARC (my home school) .  Once a Consortium Request is approved, and if the student is eligible for financial aid, consortium units will be processed for disbursement by the recalculation date.

 

14. If I withdraw from school, I may be required to repay any unearned portion of federal fund(s) received.  In addition, I will be billed for any institutional portion American River College is required to refund to the Department of Education for the financial aid assistance the student received.  Until this institutional portion is paid in full, a hold will be placed on my Los Rios District account, and I will be prevented from registering for classes and obtaining academic transcripts.  I will be ineligible to receive any Title IV funding if funds have not been repaid to the Department of Education.  Click here to learn about the treatment of financial aid when a student withdraws from classes.

 

15. The Department of Education or the Financial Aid Office may select my file for a process called "verification".  This selection may take place any time during the school year, even after I receive financial assistance.  The verification process can take up to 8-12 weeks from the time that the Financial Aid Office receives all my requested documents.  The process will require patience and cooperation as I complete this federal requirement.  I am required to repay any over awarded amount that I may have received, if determined through the verification process, due to subsequent corrections received after any disbursement(s).    

 

16. A federal student loan request (if I must accept student debt) will only be considered after I have completed the FAFSA application process, all grant eligibility has been determined, and I have received an award letter from ARC.  I must complete loan entrance counseling, provide a valid Master Promissory Note annually, be enrolled and maintain at least half-time enrollment status for the entire loan period, not be in default for any former student loan or be in Pell repayment, and meet SAP to be eligible for a Direct Federal Student Loan. Late start classes do not count toward enrollment status until they begin.  In addition, if I am enrolled in ALL late start classes, the loan application will not be processed until after the student is attending at least half-time status.  If I am a first-time borrower, then it is federally required that no disbursement be made to me until at least 30 days after my first date of class attendance.

 

17. At all times, I agree to abide by the Standards of Student Conduct, as outlined in the American River College Catalog and in compliance with California Education Code (Section 66300, Chapter 5, Rules of  Student Conduct; E.C. 76030 Authority to suspend or expel).  Standards of Student Conduct are established and maintained by the Los Rios District Board of Trustees and are applicable to all students at all times.