Policies and Procedures


To apply for financial aid at VanderCook, all students must complete a Free Application for Financial Student Aid (FAFSA). We encourage applicants to file the FAFSA online at using a PIN for their electronic signature. Students and parents who need a PIN may apply at VanderCook’s Title IV code is 001778. Applications for financial aid should be completed by April 1st for the following fall term.


Students may be randomly selected by the Department of Education for verification. Students selected for verification may be asked to submit additional information including signed tax returns for the parent(s) and student, a verification worksheet, and other financial documents.

Award Notifications

After the financial aid process has been completed, students will receive an award letter detailing their eligibility. This letter is an estimate of the available assistance that a student can expect to receive during the academic year.

Federal Refund Policy (Return of Title IV)

The federal government mandates that students who withdraw from all classes may only keep the financial aid they have "earned" up to the time of withdrawal. Title IV funds that were disbursed in excess of the earned amount must be returned by VanderCook and/or the student to the federal government. This situation could result in the student owing aid funds to VanderCook, the government, or both.

In general, the law assumes that the student must "earn" federal financial aid awards directly in proportion to the number of days of the semester the student attended.  In other words, a student earns financial assistance as they attend class.  If a student completely withdraws from all classes during a semester, VanderCook must calculate the portion of the total scheduled financial assistance earned. If the student received (or the college received on behalf of the student) more assistance than earned, the unearned excess funds must be returned to the federal programs.

To determine the amount of aid the student has earned up to the time of withdrawal, the Financial Aid Office will divide the number of calendar days the student attended classes by the total number of calendar days in the semester (less any scheduled breaks of five days or more).  The resulting percentage is then multiplied by the total federal funds that were disbursed (either to the student's account or to the student directly by check for the semester.  This calculation determines the amount of aid earned by the student that he can keep. However, VanderCook and/or the student must return the unearned amount (total aid disbursed less the earned amount) to the federal government. The Financial Aid Office will provide instructions to students who are required to return funds to the government.

Allocating Returned Title IV (Federal) Aid

Funds that are returned to the federal government are used to reduce the outstanding balances in individual federal programs. Financial aid returned must be returned in the following order:

  • Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
  • Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan
  • Federal PLUS Loan (Parent Loan)
  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal SEOG
  • Other Federal Loan or Grant Assistance

Federal Student Financial Aid Penalties for Drug Law Violations

A student who has been convicted of an offense under any Federal or State law involving the possession or sale of illegal drugs for conduct that occurred during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving federal aid as defined as grant, loan, or work assistance, during the period beginning on the date of such conviction and ending after the interval specified in the following table.

If convicted of an offense involving;

Possession of a Controlled Substance:

Ineligibility Period

First Offense -1 year

Second Offense -2 years

Third Offense- Indefinite

Sale of a Controlled Substance

Ineligibility Period

First Offense -2 years

Second Offense -Indefinite

A student who has lost eligibility for financial aid based on the possession or sale of a controlled substance may regain eligibility before the above stated ineligibility period if:

The student successfully completes a drug rehabilitation program that;

1. Includes at least two unannounced drug tests; and

2. Has received or is qualified to receive funds directly or indirectly under a Federal, State, or local government program;

a. Is administered or recognized by a Federal, State, or local government agency or court;

b. Has received or is qualified to receive payment directly or indirectly from a Federal – or State – licensed insurance company; or

c. Is administered or recognized by a Federal – or State – licensed hospital, health clinic or medical doctor.

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