What does USU mean by academic participation for Federal Aid recipients?
In some cases federal grant(s) have to be reduced because a student withdrew from a class and USU cannot verify if they participated academically. Participation or academic engagement is any active participation by a student in an instructional activity related to the student’s course of study. When USU cannot document participation, we reduce federal grants and contact the student about their options. Here is more information about that process:
The amount of financial aid you received is based on your enrollment at the start of the term. When that enrollment changes:
- USU tries to document that you participated academically in classes you are no longer enrolled in.
- USU must return the aid you received for any classes in which you did not participate.
Our office documents your academic participation by:
- Reviewing your course records in CANVAS to determine if you participated academically. If we can confirm participation, a note is made in your file about which class(es) you participated in.
- Emailing your instructor to help us determine if you participated academically. If they confirm your participation, the email is scanned into your file and notes are made.
If we cannot confirm that you participated academically, we will email you to request documentation showing you participated academically.
How Do I Document Academic Participation?
Contact our office with any of the documentation outlined below.
Participation can be confirmed with documentation which shows the following:
- In-person class or a class activity attendance
- Graded assignment, quiz or test
- CANVAS emails about graded assignments. CANVAS emails should include your name, name of course, assignment and grade information
- You participated in an interactive tutorial
- You attended a required study group
- You interacted with an instructor about academic matters
- Confirm participation with your instructor
- Your instructor can email us directly to confirm your academic participation. Please do not forward replies from instructor, they must email us directly to confirm. Please have them include your full name and USU A-number.
Participation does not mean:
- Logging into an online class or tutorial without any further academic engagement or, participation or, interaction with the instructor
- Logging into an online class without any interaction with the instructor
- Participating in academic counseling or advisement
- Taking notes for a class
- Living in institutional housing
- Using the meal plan
- Only logging into a course, watching lectures, taking notes, reviewing the syllabus, etc., does not meet federal academic participation requirements.
If you did not participate academically
Please repay the federal aid that has been taken from your account as soon as possible or make payment arrangements with the Bursar's Office.
Classes that haven't started yet
- If you drop a class before it was scheduled to start, you cannot keep the financial aid that was intended to cover this course.
- In some cases, you may be registered for a mid-semester class that hasn't started yet. If you drop this class before it was scheduled to start, you cannot keep the financial aid that was intended to cover this course.
- Generally, your federal grants cannot be reinstated if you dropped a course during the refund period (less than 20% of the term or session).
- If you are going to drop a course and add another course during the refund period, we strongly recommend doing both actions on the same day, or adding the desired course before dropping the other course.
- Federal aid does not allow for you to take classes on a trial basis, drop that course before the end of the refund period, and keep the aid that was based on your original enrollment plan.
Simply logging into a course, watching lectures, taking notes, reviewing the syllabus, etc., does not meet federal academic participation requirements for online courses. If you can document one of the following activities, you should be able to confirm academic participation.
- Submitting an assignment
- Taking a quiz or test
- Participating in an interactive tutorial
- Attending a required study group
- Interacting with an instructor about academic matters
- Federal Pell grants will continue to increase or decrease based on enrollment until the last day to add of the student's final or latest session.
- If you are enrolled in in the second seven-week session, dropping classes in the first or general session may result in federal grant changes to your account In this case, documenting participation does not meet federal requirements and some or all of the grant must be repaid.
- A Return of Title IV funds (R2T4) calculation will be done based on the latest date of participation in any of your courses. You may owe back aid for the portion of the semester that you did not attend/earn.
- Loans: If you failed all of your classes, you need to have at least participated in at least one course to be eligible to keep the portion of your federal loan disbursement you earned by participating
When federal grants have to be returned for non-participation, returned Federal Pell grants can be can awarded in future semesters to students who remain eligible for Pell.
Repaying your Aid:
- If we are not able to document academic participation, federal aid is generally reversed on your account within 1-2 weeks of the withdrawal (or failing grade posted) date.
- Federal Pell Grant that is returned can be awarded later on as long as you remain eligible for that type of aid.
- When a student receives federal aid for a class they don't pass or complete, the school must determine if the student participated academically, and engaged with the course material.
- When a student withdraws from or fails a class, the financial aid office must determine if the student participated academically, and engaged with the course material.
- According to federal regulations, if a student does not engage or participate academically in a course, they are not eligible for some (or all of) the federal aid they received.
- Federal aid is provisional: Dropping or failing a course may result in a reduction of your federal grant(s) and corresponding charges on your account.