Policies and Resources

Oakton's academic progress requirements for financial aid recipients are designed to ensure successful completion of an academic program. The following standards apply to students seeking federal or state financial assistance (excluding GI Bill recipients*):

To receive Oakton administered financial assistance, recipients must meet enrollment requirements. To meet these requirements, you must:

  • be enrolled in an eligible Oakton associate’s degree or certificate program**,
  • maintain a cumulative 2.0-grade point average,
  • complete 66 and 2/3 percent of the cumulative college credits attempted, and
  • complete your program within 150 percent of the hours required for a degree/certificate.

Students who receive financial assistance are expected to successfully complete their coursework for the semester they receive aid. After the term has ended, any student who receives all F’s, nonattendance, withdrawal, audit, or any combination of these grades may have to repay their financial assistance.

Students can only receive financial assistance for up to 30 attempted hours of developmental coursework if the financial aid program will pay for developmental courses. Financial aid will not cover developmental classes beyond the 30 attempted hours.

Students who have failed to maintain academic progress will no longer be eligible to receive financial assistance. 

Academic Progress Appeals

Any student whose financial assistance is canceled due to academic progress has a right to appeal. All appeals must be complete, provide detailed information about mitigating circumstances, and be submitted in writing to: Enrollment Center, Oakton Community College, 1600 E. Golf Road, Des Plaines, IL 60016.

Federal regulations require appeals to be submitted in the semester for which the student is seeking financial assistance. It is recommended that appeals be submitted within the first two weeks of a semester. Appeals must be received by the following dates:

  • Fall: October 15
  • Spring: March 15
  • Summer: July 7

Appeals submitted after the deadline will be reviewed for the following semester.

Appeals may be submitted online, however, supporting evidence of mitigating circumstances and academic advising documentation must be submitted in person or mailed to the Enrollment Center.

*GI Bill recipients must comply with the College’s overall Standards of Academic Progress policy.

**An eligible certificate program is one that requires 16 credit hours or more to complete.

 

According to the U.S. Department of Education and State of Illinois student aid regulations, Oakton Community College must measure the academic success of students who apply for financial assistance.This policy promotes the successful completion of a student’s educational program of study, and it is the student’s responsibility to understand and comply with the policy. The following standards apply to students receiving federal or state financial assistance, including grants, loans, scholarships, and federal work-study. GI Bill recipients also must maintain compliance with the Standards of Academic Progress (SOAP) policy set by the College. Oakton determines compliance by measuring a student’s cumulative academic record, even if the student did not receive financial assistance. Standards are subject to change according to the U.S. Department of Education and State of Illinois regulations.

Note: The financial aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy is distinct from Oakton’s SOAP policy. Oakton will immediately cancel financial aid for students who receive a 0.00 GPA as a result of not completing any courses in their first semester at Oakton.

Requirements To Maintain Financial Aid

Degree Objective

A student must be enrolled in an educational program of study leading to an eligible degree or certificate program (16 or more credit hours) by the withdrawal date (“W” date) of a semester. This requirement does not apply to students who only receive the Illinois Veterans’ or Illinois National Guard grants. A student must also register for only those courses that are required for his/her declared degree or certificate program.

Grade Point Average

A student must maintain a cumulative college grade point average of 2.0 or higher (a C average).

Completion Rate

A student must complete a minimum of 66.67 percent of the cumulative Oakton credit hours attempted, including developmental courses. Repeated courses, transferred courses, courses graded as I, IR, W, N, F, FR, FS, IP, IS, J, Q, FZ, V, F20, I20, or any other grade will count as attempted credit hours. Courses graded as I, IR, W, N, F, FR, FS, IP, IS, J, Q, FZ, V, F20, I20, or any other non-completed grade, will not count as completed courses or earned grades. For example, a student who has successfully completed 30 credit hours and who has attempted 40 credit hours would have a completion rate of 75 percent. Noncredit courses are not included in calculating completion rate.

Maximum Time Frame of 150 Percent

Students must complete their Oakton degree or certificate within 150 percent of the college credit hours required for their declared educational program. For example, a student enrolled in an educational program that requires 60 credit hours has a maximum time frame of 90 attempted hours to complete the program. This student would not be eligible for financial assistance for more than 90 attempted credit hours. All attempted hours, including developmental courses, pass/fail courses, repeated courses, withdrawn courses, non-completed courses, and transfer courses accepted for credit at Oakton, will be counted toward this requirement. It is the student’s responsibility to regularly meet with an academic advisor and ensure coursework taken meets the degree requirements for the program of study listed on his/her academic record. For students who are accepted into a limited enrollment program of study, Oakton will use a degree audit to determine how many hours remain to complete the new degree program.

Note: If the college determines during SAP review that a student cannot mathematically complete the required courses for his/her educational program within the maximum time frame, the student will become ineligible for financial assistance. For example, if the number of credit hours the student needs to complete his/her declared educational program exceeds the maximum timeframe, he/she will immediately become ineligible for financial assistance.

Transfer Courses

Transfer courses accepted for credit toward a student’s educational program at Oakton will count as both attempted hours and completed hours. Oakton may request transcripts from previous institutions at any time to determine a student’s prior completion rate and to ensure the student is making satisfactory academic progress towards degree completion.

Developmental Courses (Courses under 100-level)

A student can only receive financial assistance for up to 30 attempted hours if the financial assistance program will pay for developmental courses. An Oakton academic advisor must deem these courses necessary for successful completion of a program.

Repeated Courses

A student may receive financial assistance one additional time for a repeated course if the course was previously passed with a grade of A, B, C, D, P, AS, BS, CS, DS or P20. If a course is repeated, only the highest grade is used in the calculation of the cumulative GPA, but all attempts will remain on the transcript and are recorded for financial aid purposes.

Review Of Academic Progress Standards

To determine compliance with the academic standards for financial aid, a financial assistance advisor reviews each recipient’s cumulative academic record at the conclusion of each semester—in August, January, and June. It can take a minimum of two to three weeks before a student receives a decision via email. Decisions are final even if a grade changes after the decision is made. Students who fail to maintain satisfactory academic progress after one semester will be placed on financial aid warning and will only be eligible to receive financial assistance for one more semester. Students who fail to maintain academic progress after two semesters will be placed on financial aid cancellation and will no longer be eligible to receive financial assistance. In some cases students are automatically placed in Cancellation status and will not receive a Warning period. Examples include: Students who receive a 0.00 GPA as a result of not completing any courses in a semester at Oakton or students not taking coursework required for the program of study listed on their academic record. Students may reestablish eligibility for financial assistance by meeting all requirements necessary to maintain satisfactory academic progress.

Appeal Procedures

Any student whose financial assistance is canceled because of failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress has a right to appeal. Appeals must be complete, provide detailed information and supporting documentation about mitigating circumstances, and be submitted in writing to the Enrollment Center. Mitigating circumstances usually include injury or illness of the student, or the death of an immediate family member.

Deadline Date

Federal regulations require appeals to be submitted in the semester in which the student is seeking financial assistance. The college recommends an appeal be submitted within the first two weeks of a semester; Appeals must be received by the following dates: October 15 for fall; March 15 for spring; and July 7 for summer. Appeals submitted after the deadline will be reviewed for the following semester. A committee will review each appeal on a case-by-case basis and students will be notified of the committee’s decision within 30 days. The decision of the appeals committee is final.

Required Documents
A student must submit the following information in the original submission. Incomplete appeals will not be reviewed.

1. A typed letter, written and signed by the student, or submission of the online appeal form. Either must respond to instructions below
in order to be considered complete.
Summarize why the student failed to complete the academic progress requirements and identify the activities that would allow him/her to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress. Reference each semester the student did not complete every course in the semester. List your educational objectives and clarify how these objectives will be achieved. Letter must focus on personal extenuating circumstances, not financial need.

2. Third party documentation

Submit third party documentation that identifies the reason(s) why the student failed to maintain academic progress, such as a letter from a medical doctor or other mental health professional, medical, or legal documentation; or a death certificate. An Oakton degree audit report, transcript, or change of major form is not considered third party documentation.

3. Forms completed with an Oakton academic advisor

With an Oakton academic advisor’s assistance, complete and submit a Standards of Academic Progress for Financial Aid Recipients Advising and Educational Agreement and an Academic Planning Guide. The Agreement Form is available at the Enrollment Center. The Academic Planning Guide lists coursework required to complete the student’s educational program at Oakton and the semester in which courses will be taken. The educational program listed on these two forms must match the program of study indicated on the student’s academic record.

Appeal Decision
If the appeal is approved, the student must agree to the following in a signed contract:

• Follow the designated academic plan created with the academic advisor
• Receive a minimum of a C grade in each class and a 2.0 GPA for the semester • Not drop/withdraw from any courses
•Meet with an academic advisor during the semester

Students whose appeals are approved will be placed on financial aid probation and are eligible to receive financial assistance for the approved semester. After the probation semester, if students do not meet academic standards or correctly follow their designated academic plan, they become ineligible to receive financial aid. If a student’s appeal is denied or no appeal is made, all tuition and fee charges must be paid by the student until all requirements necessary to maintain satisfactory academic progress are met.

Oakton Community College’s most recent cohort default rate for FY2018 is 2.4%. This rate is calculated by looking at the number of students who have defaulted on their student loans (are not repaying their student loans) divided by the number of students who entered into loan repayment in a given fiscal year. In comparison, the national average cohort default rate for 2-year public colleges is 11.5%.

Approximately 1% of Oakton students borrow federal student loans every year.

The student’s cost to attend college, known as “cost of attendance” or “cost of education,” includes tuition and fees, as well as such living expenses as room, board, and transportation while attending school. The school estimates the cost of attendance following guidelines established by federal regulation.

Financial need is determined by an equation that balances the cost of education with the student’s expected family contribution. The federal government computes the expected family contribution from information provided on the FAFSA application. When the expected contribution is less than the cost of education, the student has demonstrated a “need” for financial assistance.

 

Cost of Education

minus ( - )

Expected Family Contribution

equals ( = )

Financial Need


The Cost of Attendance (COA)* below is for in-district enrollment of 28 or more credit hours for the fall and spring semesters. Use the COA that reflects your living situation.

Estimated Cost of Attendance

Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 Semesters

Expense

Living w Parents or Relatives

Living Alone, w Spouse and/
or Children

Tuition and Fees

$3,985

$3,985

Books and Supplies

$1,410

$1,410

Transportation

$1,939

$1,939

Room and Board

$4,158

$8,019

Personal Expenses

$1,800

$1,800

TOTAL

$13,292

$17,153

*Tuition estimate is based on in-district rates. Tuition and fees are subject to change.

The College is committed to providing important student loan information. All student loan borrowers are required to have loan counseling before receiving funds. Online counseling is available and encouraged. Students need to complete “entrance” counseling before receiving loan funds. This process ensures that students are knowledgeable about the process before completing a contractual obligation with legal responsibilities and required repayment.

The U.S. Department of Education provides this important borrower information and “entrance” loan counseling at studentaid.gov. You will need your federal FSAID to complete your loan counseling.

At the end of the loan period, students must complete “exit” counseling as a reminder of their obligation to repay their student loans.  Exit counseling materials will be emailed to loan borrowers with instructions to complete online exit counseling at studentaid.gov. A hold will be placed on the student’s account until all exit counseling materials have been submitted and verified.

Many students rely on the federal government to finance their education through low-interest student loans. Student loans provide a variety of deferment options and extended repayment terms.

Students who are thinking of borrowing for school expenses should review the chart below to determine the level of debt they might reasonably be able to handle. The payment is approximately 8 percent of the suggested income level, and the table assumes a 10-year repayment period at 8.25 percent interest.

Loans are serious financial obligations that must be repaid. Oakton encourages students to borrow conservatively, keeping in mind what they will need to repay after completing all of their education.

 

Student Loan Repayment Chart

Amount
borrowed

120 monthly
payments

Total amount
paid

Total interest
paid

Suggested
income
level

$10,000

$122.65

$14,718.32

$4,718.32

$18,398

$15,000

$183.98

$22,077.47

$7,077.47

$27,597

$20,000

$245.31

$29,436.63

$9,436.63

$36,796

$25,000

$306.63

$36,795.79

$11,795.79

$45,995

$30,000

$367.96

$44,154.95

$14,154.95

$55,194

In accordance with federal regulation, when Title IV recipients withdraw from all courses during the period of enrollment for which they were charged, the College must review the charges. Title IV funds will be returned to the appropriate financial aid program(s), if the College determines a refund is warranted. Determination of refunds is based on current federal regulation that requires financial assistance to be adjusted to percentage of time attended. This policy does not apply to students who attend up to or beyond 60 percent of the term.

Return of Title IV Funds Policy

The law specifies how schools determine the amount of Title IV funds earned when a federal financial aid recipient withdraws from the College. If a student drops out or withdraws, either officially or unofficially, and has received or was eligible to receive Title IV federal funds in the form of a Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Federal Direct Loan, or a Federal PLUS Loan, the federal government requires that the College review the student’s eligibility for those funds. The College is required to apply a federally mandated formula to determine how much of the federal funding was “earned” up to the time of the drop/withdrawal. This review and recalculation is called “Return of Title IV Funds” and it will be performed within 30 days of the date of the school’s determination that the student withdrew.

Students are considered to have withdrawn when they fail to complete all the required days necessary to conclude a given term. Students enrolled in classes that do not span the entire term are considered withdrawn if, at the time of withdrawal, the student is not actively attending another class and did not provide confirmation of future attendance in the term.

When a student withdraws during the payment period, the amount of federal grant and/or loan assistance earned up to that point is determined by a specific formula. If less assistance is received than what was earned, the student may qualify for those funds. If more assistance is received than earned, the unearned funds must be returned by the College and/or student to the appropriate federal program(s).

NOTE: The requirements for Title IV program funds when a student withdraws are separate from any refund policy the College may have. Please refer to Oakton’s website for information on the College’s tuition refund policy and procedures for withdrawal.

Steps to Calculate the Return of Title IV Funds

Oakton Community College will determine:

  1. The total amount of Title IV aid disbursed for the semester in which the student withdrew. A student’s Title IV aid is determined as such amount that has been applied to the student’s account on or before the date the student withdrew.
  2. The total amount of Title IV aid disbursed plus the amount of said funds that could have been disbursed for the semester in which the student withdrew.
  3. The percentage of Title IV aid earned is determined by: the number of calendar days completed, divided by the total number of calendar days in the semester in which the student withdrew.
    Days Attended ÷ Days in Enrollment Period = Percentage Completed. For example, if a student was scheduled to attend classes for 112 calendar days in a payment period and withdrew on the 28th calendar day, the student would have earned 25 percent of the Title IV funds awarded.
  4. If the calculated percentage completed exceeds 60 percent, then the student has “earned” all the Title IV aid for the enrollment period.
  5. The amount of Title IV aid earned is determined by: the percentage of Title IV aid earned (Step 3) multiplied by the total amount of said funds disbursed or that could have been disbursed for the term in which the student withdrew. Total Aid Disbursed × Percentage Completed = Earned Aid.
  6. The amount of Title IV aid to be disbursed or returned.
  • If the financial assistance already disbursed equals the earned aid, no further action is required.
  • If the financial assistance already disbursed is greater that the earned aid, the difference must be returned to the appropriate Title IV aid program. Total Disbursed Aid – Earned Aid = Unearned Aid to be Returned.
  • If the financial assistance already disbursed is less than the earned aid, then Oakton will calculate a post-withdrawal disbursement. Oakton will credit any outstanding charges on a student’s account first before issuing a credit balance to the student. Grant funds will be disbursed within 45 days after the date the school determined the student withdrew. If a student were to be eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement of a loan, or parent, in case of PLUS loan, then Oakton will provide written notification to student or parent within 30 days to confirm the disbursement of loan funds.
  • Oakton will process any disbursement no later than 45 days after the date of the school’s determination that the student withdrew. If the calculation results in a credit balance to the student, Oakton will disburse any credit balance no later than 14 days after the Return of Title IV Funds calculation. 

Return of Unearned Title IV Funds
When the total amount of Title IV grant and/or loan assistance earned as of the withdrawal date is less than the amount disbursed to the student, the difference will be returned to the appropriate Title IV program(s).

Financial aid returned by the student, the student’s parents, or the college must be allocated in the following order:

  1. Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan
  2. Federal Subsidized Direct Loan
  3. Federal Direct Parent Loan (PLUS)
  4. Federal Pell Grant
  5. Iraq & Afghanistan Service Grant
  6. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)

If the student previously received a refund from financial aid, the student may be required to repay a portion of those funds to the College. The student will be billed for any balance due for any unearned refunds received or institutional charges left unpaid.

Types of Withdrawals
For financial aid purposes there are two types of withdrawals: Official and Unofficial.

Official – an official withdrawal from Oakton Community College by the student. For the policy and procedure of Official Withdrawals, review the College Catalog or Admissions Withdrawal from Classes information.

Unofficial – federal financial aid regulations consider a student to be an unofficial withdrawal if the student stops attending classes, but does not officially withdraw from those classes, and is assigned a grade of N (nonattendance), F (failure), FR/FS (failure in a developmental class), or a combination of N, F, FR, FS, and W (withdrawal) grades for the term.

Determination of the Withdrawal Date
The official withdrawal date is the specific day the student filed for such action or the midpoint of the payment period for an unofficial withdrawal. 

Important Note

When a student fails to begin attendance
If a student receives financial aid, but never attends classes, Oakton will return all disbursed funds to the respective federal aid programs. If the student owes money to Oakton resulting from the return of federal funds, the student will be billed by the Cashier’s Office. If the student does not pay the funds due to Oakton, a hold will be placed on the student’s account. This means he will not be permitted to register for classes or receive transcripts until the balance is paid.

How a withdrawal affects future financial aid eligibility
Refer to Oakton’s Academic Standards for Financial Aid Recipients (PDF) (58 KB) to determine how a withdrawal will impact future financial aid eligibility.

This refund policy does not apply to students who withdraw from individual classes. For further information, contact the Enrollment Center.

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