The U.S. Department of Education has established regulations to prevent cases of fraud and abuse in the Federal Pell Grant and/or Federal Direct Stafford Loan Program by identifying students with unusual enrollment histories.
Upon reviewing completed FAFSA applications, the U.S. Department of Education will select students who have unusual enrollment history over the past four academic/award years. If selected, before a student can receive financial aid, the Office of Student Financial Assistance is required to review the student’s file in order to determine future financial aid eligibility.
What does Unusual Enrollment History mean?
Unusual Enrollment History (UEH) is defined as the specific pattern the U.S. Department of Education uses to select students who have received a Federal Pell Grant and/or Federal Direct Stafford Subsidized/Unsubsidized loans at multiple institutions over the past four academic/award years.
The U.S. Department of Education is concerned with this pattern.
Regulation requires the Office of Student Financial Assistance to determine whether students attend an institution long enough to receive the Federal Pell Grant or Federal Direct Stafford loan, leave without completing the enrollment period, enroll at another institution and then repeat this pattern of remaining just long enough to collect another Federal Pell Grant or Federal Direct Stafford loan without having earned any academic credit.
Students must be aware that there are federal limitations for receiving both Federal Pell Grant and Federal Direct Stafford Subsidized/Unsubsidized loan funding. Students who are receiving these funds but are not successfully moving toward degree completion are in jeopardy of losing eligibility to receive these funds.
What happens next?
When selected for Unusual Enrollment, the Office of Student Financial Assistance will place an item on the student’s myUCF To-Do List notifying that student. At that time, the office will first review the student’s academic records already on file with the university. In addition, the office will review the student’s Federal Pell Grant or Federal Direct Stafford loan disbursements at multiple institutions over the past four award years. For example, For the 2019-2020 aid year, the office will review the student’s enrollment history during the 2018-2019, 2017-2018, 2016-2017, 2015-2016 aid years. By reviewing all of the student’s academic records, the office will determine if for each of the previously attended institutions, whether academic credit was earned during the award year in which the student received Pell Grant or Stafford loan funds. Academic credit is considered to have been earned if the academic records show that the student completed any credit hours or clock hours.
During the initial review period, a selected student is not required to submit any documents to the office. If, however, the Office of Student Financial Assistance cannot accurately determine a student’s enrollment history with the information on file, the office will place a second item on the student’s myUCF To-Do list notifying that student that the office will need additional documentation. At this time, the student will be required to provide proof of academic credit at any institution the student received Federal Pell Grant or Federal Direct Stafford loan while in attendance during the relevant academic/award years.
What will the office need?
If requested, students must submit either an official or unofficial transcript, or grade report, to the Office of Student Financial Assistance. Once all transcripts have been received, our office will verify whether or not academic credit was received at each institution during the relevant years.
If the student provides all of the required documentation and it is evidenced that the student did not earn credit at an institution he/she received Federal Pell Grant or Federal Direct Stafford loan disbursement, that student will need to provide a written statement explaining personal/academic reasons why he/she failed to earn academic credit and present documentation to support this explanation as well.
If the UEH review and/or documentation supports that the student did not enroll in multiple schools solely to obtain Federal Pell Grant and/or Federal Direct Stafford loan disbursements, then the item/s on the student’s To-Do list will clear from his/her myUCF student portal. At that time, the student will be eligible to receive Title IV funds (financial aid).
If after reviewing a student’s records and any supporting documentation that student is denied eligibility for financial aid (Title IV, HEA program assistance) due to unusual enrollment history, that student can submit an Unusual Enrollment History Appeal Form. Once the office receives the appeal form, the Office of Student Financial Assistance will review the appeal along with any additional supporting documentation. If after review, the office determines that the student is eligible for reinstatement, the student will be notified accordingly.
If a student chooses not to appeal based on extenuating circumstances, that student also has the option to regain financial aid eligibility after he/she has completed one academic term consisting of a minimum of six credit hours without financial aid assistance at UCF or at another institution. The coursework must be completed with passing grades (successful completion is defined as earning a grade of A, B, C, D or S). Once the term has been completed, the student can submit an appeal after final grades for that semester have posted. The student can select the option on the appeal indicating that he/she has successfully completed one academic semester without financial aid assistance.