Financial Aid Policy
In order for students to be financially validated to attend Houghton College each academic year, it is imperative that required paperwork and funding be secured by various deadlines.
The first step in applying for financial aid is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at https://fafsa.ed.gov. The application is available beginning October 1st of the preceding year and expected to be submitted by February 15th. For 2019-2020, the application will be available October 1, 2018 and should be completed by February 1, 2019.
The federal government selects a significant number of FAFSA applicants for a process called income verification. If a student is selected for income verification, the Student Financial Services Office will contact him or her beginning in February requesting pertinent documentation. Documentation is due to our office within 14 days after the initial request in order to ensure timely processing and issuing of the financial aid award letter. If any documentation is still missing after May 1st, there is no guarantee that the student will be financially validated for the upcoming semester.
If a portion of the balance will be covered with funding from a student’s church, the Church Matching Scholarship form should be submitted to Student Financial Services by May 1st. Applications submitted after May 1st may not be approved for Houghton College Church Matching Funds.
Award letters from outside scholarship organizations should be submitted to Student Financial Services as soon as they are available, preferably by July 1st in order to be reflected on the billing statement. Please notify our office if the organization will be sending scholarship payment directly to the student, rather than Houghton College.
Students borrowing Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans for the first time are required to complete Loan Entrance Counseling and the Master Promissory Note (MPN) at https://studentloans.gov. Federal direct loans will not be listed as anticipated aid on the billing statement if these steps are not completed by July 1st.
Other Department Requirements Impacting Financial Validation
Course registration should be finalized by June 1st. Any changes after June 1st may not be reflected on the Fall billing statement. It is the student’s responsibility to review the course schedule in Student Self-Service and ensure that the billing statement accurately reflects intended enrollment.
Full-time undergraduate students who have their own health insurance must waive the Houghton College Health Insurance at www.StudentInsurance.com. This is required to be completed annually. In order to avoid the charge for Houghton College Health Insurance, the waiver process must be completed by June 15th. Contact the Health Center at HealthCenter@Houghton.edu or (585) 567-4840 with any questions.
Students (*and parents, if granted access) may view real-time account activity and billing statements via the Student Account Center (SAC) at Houghton.afford.com. Students will receive initial login information for the SAC at their Houghton College email address. Click on the “Register” link to create password. Do not change the email address that auto-fills. The username is the student ID with a preceding letter “P”: e.g. P000012345@houghton.edu. Email notifications are issued each time a new electronic billing statement is posted.
*NOTE: Parents do not receive notifications of billing statements unless their students have established shared access accounts for them. This is in compliance with The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
In order to grant access to a parent or other authorized user, students should log into SAC, go to Share Account Access/Manage Account Access/Add.
Enter account information for the shared access user as prompted (it may be easiest to do this in-person with whomever is being granted access).
Fall bills will be issued during the first week of July, due by the first week of August. In order to be financially validated, we must have payment in full. This may mean out-of-pocket payment, an approved loan application, an official payment plan through Houghton.afford.com, or a combination of any of the above.
It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that they are financially validated by the third week of August. This will guarantee that the student is approved to move to campus and begin the Fall semester. Student Financial Services will notify students by email when they are officially financially validated. Students may also check their Financial Validation status in Student Self-Service under the “Finances” tab. The Fall Financial Validation document would be marked as “Received”. Students who are not financially validated should contact the Student Financial Services Office at FinancialAid@Houghton.edu for assistance. Students may not be able to move into college housing or attend classes if they are not financially validated before arrival on campus.
For Spring semester, bills will be issued in November and will be due the second week of December. Financial validation should be completed by the first week of January.
Mayterm and Summer courses should be selected by the last week of March in order for accurate billing statements to be issued in April, due the first week of May. Payment plans are not available for summer courses, so balances must be paid in full prior to the start of the semester. Additional Spring loan funding may be approved to be used toward these charges. Contact Student Financial Services for more information.
Students who fail to adhere to these deadlines will be subject to a $250 late fee after the bill due date, and registration cancellation for the upcoming semester.
If a student has extenuating circumstances, the student may submit a Financial Policy Appeal Form to document these circumstances and outline a detailed plan for payment. Exemptions are approved at the discretion of the Student Financial Services Office based on the documentation provided, and must be requested prior to the bill due date if it becomes apparent to the student that funding will not be secured in time. An approved appeal is a one-time approval and is only applicable to the relevant semester; subsequent semesters are expected to be paid by the due date unless a new appeal is approved.
Students owing over $200 will be placed on Financial Hold and will not be permitted to register for subsequent semesters, receive transcripts, or receive diplomas (if applicable). Students with delinquent balances at the end of a semester may be withdrawn from the College, transferred to Non-current status, and charged a 1.5% per month finance charge. If it becomes necessary to engage the services of a collection agency or attorney to effect collection or settle any dispute in connection with the terms, the student is subject to pay any and all fees due to the collection agency.