What is the Self-Paced Degree Program (SPDP)?
Upper Iowa University (UIU) offers self-paced correspondence courses as an option for students pursuing a college education. These courses are offered through UIU's Self-Paced Degree Program (SPDP). A correspondence course is a home-study course under which UIU provides instructional material, including examinations on the material to students who are not physically attending classes in a UIU classroom. Correspondence courses are self-paced. When you complete a portion of the instructional materials, examinations are provided that relate to that portion of the material.
What is the academic year for SPDP?
For the purpose of administering federal financial aid programs, the Federal Title IV academic year is defined in credit hours and instructional time. Students seeking financial aid for the Self-Paced Degree Program must meet the set academic year requirements of 24 credit hours and 24 months of instructional time. The financial aid office measures successful progression of coursework to determine eligibility throughout the academic year.
Is the SPDP eligible for financial aid funds?
Students seeking financial aid must be officially accepted to Upper Iowa University, be degree seeking, and be enrolled at least half-time for Federal Student Aid (FSA) purposes. Students registered in 2 courses (6 credits) per each 6 month enrollment are considered at half-time status. FSA funding covers the cost of tuition and book allowance for each course for half-time students meeting eligibility requirements.
For Federal Student Aid (FSA) purposes, Self-Paced Degree Program (SPDP) courses are part of a non-term correspondence program with an academic definition of 24 credit hours in 24 months of instructional time. Students seeking financial aid need to take a minimum of 2 classes for each 6 month enrollment and successfully complete the defined academic year of 24 credit hours during 2 calendar years (24 months) of enrollment before moving to the next academic year in the program. Courses for the SPDP program are 6 months in length. Students have the option of registering for additional courses, having 12 different start dates each calendar year.
The FAFSA must be completed each year a student attends for eligibility to be determined. Students must complete their financial aid file to be eligible for aid.
Qualifying degree seeking students can receive financial aid in one program of choice per enrollment period. Prior enrollments must not overlap new enrollment periods for FSA purposes. Students may be enrolled for concurrent enrollment periods, however for FSA purposes, the choice must be made by the student which program enrollment they want financial aid eligibility awarded.
Students receiving FSA funds in another program may choose to register for 1 or more additional courses through SPDP during the same timeframe, as well, by using partial overpayments received and/or through other forms of payment.
How is the eligibility for financial aid funds determined for the SPDP?
Undergrad students' enrolled half-time will have eligibility determined based of the determined cost of attendance. The Self-Paced Degree Program program's cost of attendance does not include additional allowances for personal expenses, transportation, room or board.
Awarded eligibility may cover the cost of courses and a book allowance for those who qualify and complete the process. The cost of attendance is based on the number of classes registered in a 6 month enrollment. Students seeking aid must be registered in a minimum of 2 classes per 6 month enrollment to be considered at half-time status to be eligible for financial aid. Students may enroll in up to 4 courses per 6 month enrollment. The cost of attendance is based on the cost of each class, as well as a book stipend for each class.
Student awards reflect half-time status. The Financial Aid Office (FAO) will determine eligibility based off the information provided on the FAFSA. The FAO will determine eligibility based on the cost of attendance and half-time Pell chart to determine Federal Pell Grant. Loan eligibility is based on grade level, cost of attendance, and consider other aid eligibility to determine need based and non-need based Direct Loan eligibility. (Maximum borrowing limits set by Federal Student Aid apply).
If your financial need or full cost of attendance is met, you may not be eligible for additional aid without reducing other previously awarded aid.
What is the academic year start date for SPDP?
For financial aid purposes, the start of the financial aid year begins with classes starting May 1. For instance, classes starting on May 1, 2014, will be considered part of the 2014-2015 school year for financial aid purposes only.
Click here to view the SPDP handbook.
Frequently Asked Questions About SPDP
How will I receive my Financial Aid funds?
Financial aid funds will be credited to your UIU student account for each 6 month enrollment once completion standards are verified. Funding will be applied toward your charges. Funding that is applied to your account for each enrollment during the payment period will be based off the incurred charges for the year (payment period).
Do I need to do anything special to receive and keep my financial aid package?
Once you have been awarded your financial aid and accepted your eligibility, your coursework will be tracked to determine your completion requirements to receive financial aid. Student eligibility is awarded yearly, being disbursed to eligible students after successfully completing each 6 month enrollment in the payment period, throughout the program's academic year.
Successful progression is measured by successful completion of credit hours earned and months of instructional time completed in the defined academic year. Students will not advance to their next annual loan limit, nor receive additional disbursements until the successful completion is achieved.
Pell recipients will qualify for the first half of their Pell Grant eligibility after successfully completing 25% of the coursework in the program's defined academic year. The second half of the Pell Grant eligibility is disbursed for students after successful completion of 75% of their required coursework for the defined academic year.
If you decide to accept awarded loan eligibility, you will need to complete the required coursework by the end date of the courses to receive a loan disbursement. Extensions do not apply to financial aid.
Completion standards must be met for the program to be awarded additional eligibility for future enrollments. Students will not advance to their next annual loan limit, nor receive additional disbursements until the successful completion of 24 credits and 24 months of instructional time is met.
Students who qualify for financial aid in the Self-Paced Degree Study Program will be awarded for a payment period of 12 months of instructional time (2 sets of classes – 6 months in length). Aid will disburse for each 6 month enrollment to eligible students who meet the successful completion standards* for the courses. Students taking more than 2 classes during a 6 month enrollment must notify the financial aid office to have their award adjusted to reflect additional eligibility. Below are the completion standards that must be met to qualify for aid awarded:
Pell Funds will disburse as follows:
- After successful completion of 25% of the academic year (1st set of classes/6 months) eligible students will have earned the first half of Pell Grant funds. All assignments must be completed/submitted by the end of the 6 month enrollment for your first set of classes.
- After successful completion of 75% of the academic year (3rd set of classes/18 months) eligible students will have earned the second half of Pell Grant funds. All assignments must be completed/submitted by the end of the 6 month enrollment for your third set of classes.
Loan Funds will disburse as follows:
- After successful completion of 25% of the academic year (1st set of classes/6 months) eligible students will have earned the first disbursement of loan funds in the first payment period. All assignments must be completed/submitted for your first set of courses by the end of your first 6 month enrollment.
- After successful completion of 50% of the academic year (2nd set of classes/12 months) eligible students will have earned the second disbursement of loan funds. All assignments must be completed/submitted for the set of courses by the end of the 6 month enrollment.
- After successful completion of 75% of the academic year (3rd set of classes/18 months) eligible students will have earned the first disbursement of loan funds in the second payment period. All assignments must be completed/submitted for your first set of courses by the end of your first 6 month enrollment.
- After successful completion of 100% of the academic year (4th set of classes/24 months) eligible students will have earned the second disbursement of loan funds. All assignments must be completed/submitted for your first set of courses by the end of your first 6 month enrollment.
*Failure to meet the above completion standards could result in the loss of the funding you were awarded. An extension for courses in the Self-Paced Degree Program does not apply to your financial aid eligibility, as successful completion is measured for each 6 month enrollment. The coursework must be graded by the instructor and returned to the Self-Paced Degree Program office by the end of the each 6 month enrollment.
A withdrawal calculation will be required for students who do not successfully complete the assignments within each 6 month enrollment. For financial aid purposes, students must take 2 sets of classes (6 month enrollment per set) and successfully complete the coursework prior to the end date of each 6 month enrollment to qualify for awarded eligibility. Students who successfully complete all assignments during the first 6 month enrollment in the 12 month payment period, but are not re-enrolled in the second set of courses within 45 days of completing the first set of courses (6 month enrollment), will be considered withdrawn and a financial aid calculation will be required. This could affect current and future eligibility.
In order to avoid being withdrawn and to qualify for your financial aid, students need to complete the required assignments successfully for each course within the 6 month timeframe and be re-enrolled in the next set of courses within 45 days of completing the first set in the payment period. Please contact your advisor to register for the next set of courses prior to completing your current courses. Otherwise, please notify the Financial Aid Office of your intent to not re-enroll.
For additional information, please refer to the Self-Paced Degree Program Financial Aid Handbook.