Correspondence Courses and Federal Student Aid

Some students find it necessary to take a correspondence course to augment their normal class attendance in order to complete their degree requirements. Since SDSM&T offers a limited number of classes by correspondence courses, students generally will make arrangements to take these types of courses from other eligible colleges or universities. Regardless of where the course is being taken from, before signing up for a correspondence course, it is very important that you confer with your advisor and the Financial Aid Director to determine if the course will meet your degree requirements at SDSM&T. If you are receiving Federal Student Aid (Pell Grant, SEOG, Work-Study, Perkins Loan, Subsidized/Unsubsidized Direct Loan, Direct Parent PLUS Loan and/or Direct GRAD PLUS Loan) and are enrolling in a correspondence course, there are important rules you must be aware of. These rules apply even if you are already enrolled full-time and the correspondence course does not change your enrollment status.

1. In order for your correspondence course to count toward your enrollment status for a semester, you must be enrolled in the class by the end of the add/drop period for that semester. Financial aid eligibility is determined as of enrollment on that date. You may enroll in correspondence courses after that date, but your financial aid eligibility will not increase as a result of the enrollment.

2. If you are enrolling in correspondence courses only, regardless of the number of credit hours you are taking in excess of 6 credit hours each semester, federal regulations prevent us from considering you anything other than a half time student. If you are eligible for a Pell Grant, you will only receive funding as a half time student. If you want to be considered a full time student, you must also be taking non-correspondence coursework as well.

3. A correspondence course is counted the same as a regular course when calculating Satisfactory Academic Progress. You must complete the course within the term in which you enrolled in the class. If you have not completed the course by the end of the term, you will receive a grade of “I” (Incomplete). This will count as an incomplete when calculating Satisfactory Academic Progress. In order to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress, you must complete 67% of the credits you attempt in a 12-month period beginning with summer, fall, and ending with spring.

4. If you are enrolling in correspondence courses only and are eligible for a Pell Grant, federal regulations state that you cannot receive your Pell Grant until you have completed 50% of the lessons. It is up to you to notify the Financial Aid Office when that has been done. We will confirm that with the university you are taking the correspondence courses from and disburse your award at that time.

5. In addition, if you are enrolling in correspondence courses only and are eligible for SEOG, Work-Study, Perkins Loan, Subsidized/Unsubsidized Direct Loans, and/or Direct PLUS Loan, you must submit the first lesson for each course before your aid can be disbursed to you. In addition, your estimated cost of attendance for calculating your financial need will only include tuition, fees, and books (excluded are room and board, personal, and transportation expenses).

6. If you have any questions in regard to any of these policies, please contact the Financial Aid Office via any one of the means indicated below.

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Always Here to Help

Financial aid is new territory for many students and their parents, and can some times be complex.

Please feel free to contact the School of Mines Financial Aid Office if you have questions or need assistance on financial aid matters.