2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
    Jul 17, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Student Financial Aid

The Financial Aid Program at University of the Cumberlands assists eligible students through scholarships, grants, loans, and employment. University of the Cumberlands believes that the primary responsibility for financing a college education rests with the student’s family. Financial aid from the University is supplementary to the efforts of the family.

All students who need financial aid assistance should complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Students can complete the FAFSA, PLUS Loan Application, MPN (Master Promissory Note) and Entrance Counseling form online at www.studentaid.gov. If you need help completing the FAFSA, contact the Financial Aid Office.

In selecting financial aid recipients, consideration for an applicant’s academic achievement, character and financial need to determine their offer of financial assistance. Through a combination of scholarship, grants, work-study and loans, University of the Cumberlands strives to make higher education affordable. The total amount of financial aid granted to any student by any combination of sources shall not exceed the student’s direct cost plus books if included in the Cost of Attendance (COA). Student loans and parent loans may be added above this figure, not to exceed the total COA.

Once aid has been accepted and all outstanding requirements have been satisfied, the University will begin disbursing aid during the third week of classes each semester and/or bi-term if applicable. Scholarship and grant aid are automatically accepted on the student’s behalf. Financial aid (grants, loans, and scholarships) that has been authorized but not paid to the student account is considered to be anticipated. Anticipated aid is deducted from the current term balance when reviewing your account activity in the myUC portal. Any balance not covered by financial aid will be billed to your student account and is subject to the payment due date. If the remaining balance after financial aid is not submitted by the payment due date or scheduled and current on a payment plan, then the student account is subject to a late fee. After the financial aid is disbursed, it will be applied to the student account. However, there will be no further reduction in the remaining balance because the aid was considered while in the anticipated status. Federal financial aid from the current year/term cannot be used to pay a prior balance from a previous academic year/term. The student may acquire private loans to pay a previous academic year/term balance in certain instances. All offered financial aid is subject to change based on federal, state, and institutional policies, rules, and regulations.

A student is not eligible for any financial aid before the first day of class attendance. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Financial Aid Office for more information concerning financial aid.

Special Circumstance Appeals

If you are a prospective or returning student who has completed your FAFSA and experienced a situation negatively impacting your ability to fund your education, help may be available in the form of our Financial Assistance Form. These situations may include a personal or family loss of income, change in employment status, or other situations that affect your financial stability. If you are an undergraduate student, we will reevaluate your aid offer. If you are a graduate student, we will reevaluate your cost of attendance budget.

UC recognizes that each family situation is unique; therefore, each application for Financial Assistance is carefully analyzed. Since the applications for financial aid are confidential, students and parents are urged to answer all questions completely and fully explain all special circumstances and provide any documentation that may assist in the appeal process. In most cases, incomplete applications will be returned to the applicant for the needed information.

Financial Aid Withdrawal and Non-Attendance Policies

Occasionally According to the Department of Education Federal Regulations, Title IV funds (Pell grant, Federal SEOG, TEACH Grants, Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized student loans, Plus loans) are offered to students with the expectation they will attend the classes for which they enrolled. Part of the awarding criteria for Financial Aid is the number of credit hours a student registered for (enrollment status) along with the duration of enrollment (semester). Each semester consists of two eight-week and/or a 16-week term.

Attendance is confirmed before the end census date (Drop/Add period). Courses with confirmed attendance through census determine enrollment status for financial aid purposes. If a student has not attended a class at the census, the student will be administratively withdrawn as a “no-show” from the course and will not receive any federal or state aid for the course.

Changes to enrollment status and your offered aid can occur when altering your class schedule. Suppose you are considering dropping a course before the census date or dropping more credit hours than what is added back (i.e., drop 3 credit hour course but only add a 1 credit hour course). In that case, any offered aid is refigured on the REVISED enrollment status, resulting in a change from full-time to part-time and reducing offered aid for the semester.

Official Withdrawals

When a student officially withdraws from all courses before completing the semester, our office is required to complete a recalculation, for all Title IV funds, as of the Last Date of Attendance (LDA). University of the Cumberlands is not required to monitor student attendance. Instructors must record academic activity (including online, student teaching, internships, practicum, and so forth) through the census period. If a student receives a failing grade in a course, an instructor will be required to enter the last date of the academically-related activity for that course. The last date of academic activity is the date used for Return to Title IV recalculations.

The date of notification is when a student begins the withdrawal process or the date, as determined by University of the Cumberlands, that the student otherwise provided official notification in writing or orally of his intent to withdraw.

How to Withdraw from Classes

Students that wish officially withdraw should contact their student success coordinator.

Unofficial Withdrawals

Students that complete an academically related activity during a period of enrollment and later withdraw or stop attending without proper notification from all their courses will be evaluated for Return of Title IV Funds (R2T4). If one instructor reports a student attended through the end of the period, no R2T4 would be required. Similarly, if the student never attended, they are not eligible for Title IV Aid, and no R2T4 would be necessary. Students that University of the Cumberlands withdraw for non-attendance will have an LDA that is either the midpoint of the payment period or the last date of an academically related activity in which the student participated.

Return of Federal Title IV Aid Funds

At University of the Cumberlands, students withdrawing from all courses either officially or unofficially that received Federal Title IV funds, federal regulations require a specific refund calculation, also known as a Return to Title IV (R2T4) calculation. It is required by federal statute to recalculate federal financial aid eligibility for students who withdraw, are dismissed, or cease attending before completing 60% of a payment period (semester/term). Suppose a student withdraws on or before the 60 percent point in time. In that case, a portion of Federal Title IV aid funds awarded to a student. All federal aid mentioned above must be returned in accordance with the provisions of the Higher Education Act, as amended. The return of federal student aid funds may result in the student owing a balance to the University and/or to the U.S. Department of Education. Calculations that result in a credit balance will be issued a refund within 14 days or sooner as of the date the R2T4 is completed.

In some cases, students can be exempt from withdrawals if they are taking courses that are modular, or bi-term courses at University of the Cumberlands. To be exempt the student must have met on of the following three criteria:

  1. Completed requirements for graduation.
  2. Successful completion of 49% of days in the payment period or period of enrollment
  3. Successful completion of half-time enrollment

The calculation that determines the amount of aid earned by the student for the period is a percentage of earned aid using the following Federal Return of Title IV Funds formula:

Percentage of the payment period completed in which courses are offered in modules = the number of days completed up to the withdrawal date divided by the payment period’s total days. (Any break of five days or more is not counted as part of the number of completed days or total days in the payment period.) This percentage is also the percentage of earned aid.

The Calculation that determines the Funds returned to the appropriate federal program using Federal Return of Title IV Funds 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 part of the funds as well. University of the Cumberlands will return the amount of Title IV funds for which it is responsible as soon as possible, but no later than 45 days after University of the Cumberlands determines or should have determined that the student withdrew. Keep in mind that when Title IV funds are returned, it may create a balance on your student account that you will be responsible for making repayment arrangements.

The return of Federal Title IV Aid funds is allocated in the following order:

  1. Loans:
    • Federal Direct Unsubsidized
    • Federal Direct Subsidized
    • Federal Perkins Loans
    • Federal Direct Parent (PLUS) Loans received on behalf of student.
  2. Remaining Funds:
    • Federal PELL Grant
    • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
    • Federal TEACH Grant
    • Iraq Afghanistan Service Grant

Return of Title IV Example:

A sophomore withdraws three weeks into the semester. The student was charged full-time undergraduate tuition of $4,938. A $2,250 subsidized and $2,000 unsubsidized Direct Loan paid the majority of charges; the student paid the remainder from savings and has a $0 balance on the student account on the day of withdrawal. There are 110 total days in the semester; the student attended 37 days. Percentage of earned aid = 37/110 = 33.63% earned.

  • Unearned aid = 100% - 33.6% (earned) = 66.4% unearned
  • $4,250 (aid received) X 33.63% = $1,428 earned.
  • $4,250 - $1,428 = $2,822 unearned (Aid that must be returned).
  • Amount of Aid to be Returned by School = Institutional charges multiplied by the unearned percentage; $4,938 X 66.4% = $3,278.83
  • Since $3,278 exceeds the amount of unearned aid, the lesser number is used.

$822 Subsidized and $2,000 Unsubsidized Direct Loan disbursement would be reversed from the student account, creating a balance owed to University of the Cumberlands. Student receiving tuition and fee refunds will be credited according to the published refund schedule (https://www.ucumberlands.edu/payment/refund-policy).

Post-Withdrawal Disbursement (PWD) Overpayments

If a student earned more aid than was disbursed, the Institution might owe the student a post-withdrawal disbursement. A post-withdrawal disbursement must be made from available grant funds before available loan funds. Loan funds require a confirmation from the borrower that they still wish to have the loan funds disbursed. Loan funds that are a second or subsequent disbursement are not eligible for distribution. Grant funds not credited to the student’s account must be disbursed to the student as soon as possible, but no later than 45 days after the date of the Institution’s determination that the student withdrew.

University of the Cumberlands will provide written notification within 30 days of the date of the Institution’s determination that the student withdrew that:

Identifies the type of loan and the amount that will either be applied to the student’s account and/or refunded back to the appropriate borrower(s) Requests the acceptance or declination of the post-withdrawal loan disbursement. Advises the borrower(s) about their repayment obligation.

Gives the borrower(s) a response deadline. Confirmations received before the deadline will be processed by University of the Cumberlands as soon as possible, but no later than 180 days after the Institution’s determination, the student withdrew. When PWD funds are declined or no response is received, no loan funds will be processed.


In the event of overpayment to a student, University of the Cumberlands will return all funds to the appropriate Federal Aid Program(s) as mentioned above, resulting in the student owing the Institution. University of the Cumberlands utilizes a standard collections procedure for students with account balances. University of the Cumberlands understands that it can report the students who fail to take positive action to NSLDS and refer them to the Default Resolution Group for collection if it were not repaying the funds itself. Inadvertent overpayments will be returned within 45 days of the date of the Institution’s determination that the student withdrew.

State Financial Aid

The student’s percentage of state financial aid shall remain the same as earned under Title IV programs for the same payment period. However, students registered for a 16-week term schedule at census one will be eligible for state financial aid. If classes are added after census one, students will not be eligible for state financial aid.

When a student withdraws from classes after census one, state financial aid will not be included in the return calculation. Students not enrolled at census one will receive state financial aid based on census two enrollment.

Deceased Student

If University of the Cumberlands determines that a student has died during a period, they must perform a Return Calculation. If the calculation indicates that an institution is required to return Title IV funds, the school must return the Title IV funds for which it is responsible.

The student’s estate is not required to return any Title IV funds disbursed to the student. University of the Cumberlands will not report a grant overpayment for a deceased student to National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), nor refer an overpayment to Debt Resolution Services.

The regulations governing the Direct Loan programs provide for a discharge of a borrower’s obligation to repay a Federal Direct Loan if the borrower dies (including a Direct PLUS loan borrower’s obligation to repay if the student on whose behalf the parent borrowed dies). If University of the Cumberlands is aware that a student who has died has any outstanding Title IV loan debt, they may contact the student’s estate and inform it of its actions to have that debt canceled.

Suppose a Title IV credit balance created from funds disbursed before the student’s death exists after the completion of the Return calculation and Institutional refund calculation. In that case, University of the Cumberlands will resolve the credit balance in one of the following ways:

  1. By Cash Management regulations, paying authorized charges at the Institution (including previously paid charges that are now unpaid as a result of the Return of Title IV funds by the Institution)
  2. Returning any remaining credit balance to the Title IV programs

Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Undergraduate Policy

Federal regulations require that all students who receive federal or state financial aid make satisfactory progress toward a degree. Colleges and universities must establish policies that ensure students’ progress successfully towards degree completion both qualitatively (GPA) and quantitatively (hours attempted versus hours earned and max time frame). At Cumberlands, we have established the following Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy for all types of financial aid (federal, state, and institutional). SAP will be reviewed each semester, including the summer term.


Students are expected to successfully complete at least 67% of all attempted credit hours and must complete their program within 150% of its published length. Students who fall below a 67% completion rate, or who cannot complete their program within 150% of its minimum required hours, can lose federal aid eligibility.

To complete the necessary number of credit hours within the maximum allowable time frame, all students must earn credit in 67% of all attempted hours. Grades of W, I, F, and transfer hours are counted as attempted hours; however, grades of W, I, and F will NOT count as earned hours. Repeated coursework can impact the qualitative measurement of SAP, but all repeated courses will count toward attempted hours. Bankrupt hours will still count toward attempted hours, but they will no longer count toward GPA. Below is an example of minimum completion rate requirements:

Fall Hours Spring Hours Total Hours Student Must Earn
12 12 24x.67 16
9 9 18x.67 12
6 6 12.67 8

Maximum Timeframe

The maximum timeframe in which a student must complete their degree cannot exceed 150% of the published length of the student’s degree program. All undergraduate bachelor’s degree programs have a minimum requirement of 120 credit hours, so students can only attempt 180 credit hours total. Associate degrees have a minimum requirement of 60 credit hours, so students can only attempt 90 credit hours total. Any student who attempts hours beyond this number is ineligible for financial aid. All semesters and credit hours attempted are used toward the maximum time frame allowance regardless of whether the student received financial aid. All repeated courses, failed courses, withdrawals, courses taken from a change in major, bankrupt hours, and transferred hours will count as credit hours attempted toward the maximum time frame.

There are certain exceptions to the maximum timeframe requirement (e.g., a double major). If you are placed on SAP Suspension due to max time frame, please contact the Student Financial Center.


Students must also earn a certain cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) to maintain SAP. All undergraduate students must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least a 2.0 on a 4.0 scale. Repeat coursework may improve your GPA, but these courses will still count toward your completion rate.


After each semester, all enrolled students will be evaluated to see if they are meeting the requirements of our SAP policy. If the student fails to meet SAP after one semester, they will be automatically placed on “SAP Warning”. The student will be eligible to receive aid for one semester. At the end of the warning semester, the student will be reevaluated. If the student is meeting SAP at this time, no further action is required, and the student will remain eligible for financial aid. If a student is not making SAP at the end of the Warning period, they will be placed on “SAP Suspension.” Students who are on SAP Suspension will be ineligible to receive financial aid.


Students placed on Financial Aid Suspension who wish to regain eligibility for Federal, State and institutional aid have the option to submit a SAP appeal. We understand that there are unforeseen circumstances that could contribute to a student not meeting SAP. Examples of acceptable circumstances include the death of a relative, an injury or illness of the student, and other special circumstances. Circumstances that CANNOT be used in a SAP appeal include need for financial aid, work-related issues, problems with web-based classes, and improper advising. Please refer to the SAP Appeal Outline linked above for a full list of acceptable and unacceptable extenuating circumstances.

Your SAP appeal letter should include information that will tell us why you failed to make SAP. In the appeal, you must also tell us what has changed that will allow you to make SAP in the next evaluation. Please submit supporting documentation with your SAP appeal. Once you have submitted your appeal letter and all supporting documentation, please allow our SAP Committee up to 14 business days to review your appeal. The SAP Committee reviews appeals on a case-by-case basis using the information submitted through Guardian. Previous appeals will also be reviewed to compare information.

Approved Appeals

If the student can make SAP within one semester, they will be placed in “Financial Aid Probation.” Probation lasts for one semester. If the student fails to make SAP by the end of the probationary period, they will be placed back on Suspension. If a student needs multiple semesters to make SAP, they may be placed on a SAP Academic Plan.

Once an Academic Plan has been created, the student will be placed on Probation and evaluated each semester to ensure they are meeting the conditions of their Academic Plan. If a student fails to meet the conditions of their plan, they will be placed back on SAP suspension. The student will remain on their Academic Plan until they are once again making SAP.

Denied Appeals

The SAP Committee has the right to deny any appeal. Reasons for denial can include the inability of the student to make SAP within their maximum timeframe, insufficient documentation, insufficient information in your appeal letter, and ineligible circumstances that led to failure to make SAP.

If your appeal is denied, you have the option to re-submit your appeal with the required information. There is no limit to the number of SAP appeals that may be submitted. However, if you submit the same extenuating circumstance twice, your appeal will be denied. If your SAP appeal is denied and the decision is final, you have the option of paying out of pocket or pursuing a private loan until you are making SAP.

Appeal Timeframes

Because federal loans cannot be disbursed once a student’s period of enrollment has ended, we advise students to complete their appeals within the first six to ten weeks of classes to give our committee ample time to evaluate the appeal and reinstate aid should the appeal be approved.

Academic Suspension

If you are on Academic Suspension, you must submit an Academic Appeal through the Registrar’s Office before you are able to submit a SAP Appeal to reinstate your financial aid.

Financial SAP Definitions

Earned Hours: A, B, C, D, P (pass), and TR (transfer)

Attempted Hours: Earned Hours plus F, W (withdrawal), I (incomplete), BR (Bankrupt Hours), repeat coursework.

Maximum Timeframe: 150% the published length of your program

Quantitative Pace: The minimum number of Earned vs Attempted Hours (67%)

Qualitative pace: The minimum GPA requirement (2.0)

SAP Warning: As soon as a student fails to make SAP, they are placed on “SAP Warning” and have one (1) semester to begin making SAP. A student is eligible for financial aid while on SAP Warning.

SAP Suspension: If a student on SAP Warning fails to make SAP after one (1) semester, they will be placed on SAP Suspension and be ineligible to receive aid.

SAP Appeal: A letter and documentation outlining why a student failed to make SAP, how they will make SAP in the future, and why they should regain financial aid eligibility.

SAP Probation: If a student on SAP Suspension has an approved appeal, they will be given an Academic Plan and placed on SAP Probation.

Academic Plan: If a student is on SAP Suspension, they may be placed on an academic plan after an approved appeal. Eligibility for financial aid depends on the student’s ability to meet the conditions of this academic plan.

Endowed Scholarships, Workships, Loans

The University is fortunate to have the support of alumni and friends from across the country and around the world who have generously given to the endowment for a named scholarship, workship or loan fund. Earnings from these funds are awarded annually to students at the University who meet the criteria set forth by the person or persons who established the fund.

University Scholarships

Through the Financial Aid Office, University of the Cumberlands administers a program of athletic and academic scholarships available to qualified full-time on-campus undergraduate students upon application and/or selection. Most scholarships are available for up to eight semesters unless otherwise noted.

First-time Freshman Students

Academic-Based Scholarships

  1. Rogers Scholar Scholarship
  2. Kentucky Governor’s Scholar Scholarship
  3. Presidential Scholarships

Students may qualify for only one Academic-Based Scholarship category. Academic-Based Scholarships are for full-time students only and are renewable for up to 4 years, provided the student maintains satisfactory academic progress.

Other Scholarships

  1. Athletic Scholarships (Students receiving athletic awards will not receive a Presidential award)
  2. Music Scholarships
  3. Christian Leadership Scholarship
  4. Outside Scholarship Information

Transfer Students

Transfer students will be considered for Presidential scholarships based on their cumulative GPA from the last college they attended full-time. Students should submit this information to the Admissions Office prior to May 1. Students will be notified of their scholarship eligibility by the Financial Aid Office.

Athletic Scholarships

etic Scholarships are offered in both men’s and women’s intercollegiate athletics in accordance with the regulations of the NAIA and the Mid-South.

Workship Program

Self-Help through Work Study

Since its founding in 1888, the self-help feature has been an integral part of University of the Cumberlands.

UC believes that the privilege of a university education should be based upon motivation, ability, character and purpose rather than upon the amount of money a student or his parents might have. The most wholesome type of financial assistance consists of helping students to help themselves. A student aid program should develop qualities of thrift and self-reliance, as does the work-study plan at Cumberlands.

Much of the financial assistance at UC is given in the form of remunerative employment. The work program is optional, and the amount of work depends on ability and need.

In recent years many students have earned their college expenses. Continued employment and promotion depend upon the quality of work done. At UC, students receive a formal education for minimal cost, and if they don’t have the money, they pay for a large portion of their college by doing daily work in the University’s cafeteria, in the maintenance department, in Appalachian outreach programs, as student assistants, photographers, postal clerks and part-time secretaries.

Self-help opportunities are afforded to over six hundred students who work an average of twelve hours per week under guidance and supervision. These students are taught the value of promptness, industry, dependability and initiative.

Federal Work-study

The Federal Work-Study Study Program is an integral part of the operation of the University and the University’s objective to prepare students to become well-rounded and educated individuals. The program provides part-time jobs for students who have financial need and allows them the opportunity to help pay for part of their educational expenses. At University of the Cumberlands, students work in a variety of departments that will create a work schedule built around their academic schedule. The Financial Aid Office uses information received from a student’s FAFSA to determine eligibility for federal work-study. A student’s total federal work-study award depends on when the FAFSA information is received, level of financial need and Cumberlands’ current funding level. In order to receive work-study funds, they must be earned. The majority of work-study jobs are paid minimum wage.

In most cases, earnings are used to help pay a student’s account balance. Work-Study students have the option to enroll in direct deposit to post wages directly to their student account. Checks may be picked up at the Office of Student Accounts Office for those who do not wish to participate in the direct deposit option. It is the student’s responsibility to apply for and secure employment, report to work as scheduled, perform assigned tasks and abide by the policies and procedures of the department in which they are employed. If a student does not complete the total number of work-study hours for the semester, they will be responsible for the remaining balance on their student account. If a student does