A+ Information for Participating Postsecondary Schools
The administrative rule for the A+ Scholarship Program can be found in the Code of State Regulations, Title 6, Division 10, Chapter 2. The rule number is 6 CSR 10-2.190.
The MDHEWD uses the Estimated A+ Tuition Reimbursement/Budget form to project program expenditures. This form is due July 1 for the summer term, October 1 for the fall term and February 15 for the spring term. It may be faxed to the MDHEWD at (573) 751-6635, emailed to a financial assistance staff member or mailed to P.O. Box 1469, Jefferson City, Missouri 65102-1469.
Reimbursement is capped at the standard credit hour rate at State Technical College of Missouri, or the clock hour equivalent as calculated using the federal credit to clock hour conversion rate. For the 2019-2020 academic year, reimbursement is capped at $175.25 per credit hour and $4.70 per clock hour. The calculation of the cap should be made after the student’s non-loan federal aid, primarily the Pell grant, has been applied to the student’s tuition. Instructions for calculating the reimbursement cap are in the A+ Certification Manual (see Certification in FAMOUS below).
Institutions with programs affected by the cap may request a waiver of this requirement on a program by program basis by submitting a written request to the commissioner of higher education. The request should include at a minimum:
- Documentation of the program’s high demand by students and employers
- Data on recent program outcomes (graduation rate, placement rate, licensure rate, etc.)
- Justification for the program’s cost, particularly in relation to comparable programs offered at community colleges and other types of A+ participating institutions in your area
Certification in FAMOUS
The A+ Certification Manual provides detailed information about calculating awards and requesting payments. In addition, new for the 2019-2020 academic year, this A+ calculator was designed to help institutions determine if a student has met the 105% eligibility limitation and to correctly calculate award amounts. Highlights of the calculator include:
Two tabs related to the 105% eligibility limitation. The first tab is for students pursuing their initial certificate or degree. The second tab is for students who have completed a certificate and are working on a subsequent credential.
Six award calculation tabs to cover three payment periods per academic year for two years. These tabs serve both credit and clock hour schools.
Definitions for every field so it is clear what needs to be entered or is being calculated. Enterable fields are brown. Calculated fields are protected. The award calculation tabs are linked to the 105% eligibility limitation tabs so the hours for each payment period are automatically included in the 105% calculation.
Below is a summary of how to request funds once the awards are calculated, along with the required templates.
There are two ways in which to request A+ funds in the FAMOUS system. The first method involves uploading a file of eligible students into FAMOUS. The A+ File Layout for FAMOUS provides detailed information about the content of each field in the A+ Certification Template.The A+ Certification Template is the spreadsheet used to create the upload file for requesting funds. The template must be saved as a CSV file before uploading to FAMOUS.
The second method involves entering the certification information directly into the student’s record in FAMOUS. Corrections to a student’s disbursement must be made directly into FAMOUS, even if the original disbursement was requested using an upload file.
The tuition amount eligible for reimbursement is capped at the published standard per credit hour tuition rate charged by State Technical College of Missouri. See Reimbursement Cap above for more information.
Creating a Student Record in FAMOUS
There will be some circumstances in which you will need to request funds for a student who does not have a record in FAMOUS. Primarily this will occur if the student files the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) after the date the MDHEWD stops downloading FAFSA records, or if the student is attending an institution that does not participate in the federal Title IV programs.
In either of these circumstances, you may create the student’s record in FAMOUS using a process similar to uploading a certification file. The Create Student Record File Layout provides detailed information about the content of each field in the Create Student Record Template. The Create Student Record Template is the spreadsheet used to create the upload file for creating the student’s record. The template should be saved as a CSV file before uploading to FAMOUS. Once the student’s record is created, you will need to follow the instructions for certifying the student.
Return of A+ Funds
If your institution needs to return A+ funds, please use the return process in FAMOUS. Instructions for returning funds in FAMOUS are available in Section 8.3 of the FAMOUS User Manual for Postsecondary Institutions. If you need to return funds for the 2010-2011 year or prior, please complete the Institutional Refund Form and submit it along with the check.
FAQ for Administering the Completion Requirement for All Students and the 2.0 CGPA Requirement for Initial Students
Q1: The A+ Scholarship regulation provides allowable exceptions to full-time enrollment for students that are enrolled in all available hours applicable to the program of study for the term, are participating in a required internship, or are enrolled in prerequisite courses that do not require full-time enrollment. In addition, full-time is defined as a minimum of 6 hours for students that meet the requirements of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Are students in these situations now required to complete 12 credit hours each term (6 credit hours in summer)?
A1: The definition of, and the established exceptions to, full-time enrollment still apply. However, students that enroll in less than 12 credit hours (6 in summer) as a result of qualifying for one of the exceptions to full-time enrollment or having a qualifying disability must complete all of the hours in which they enroll in a term to be eligible for an award in the next term.
Q2: Are students that are not enrolled in/do not receive A+ reimbursement for a term eligible for an award the next term?
A2: The requirement that students complete 12 credit hours in a term (6 credit hours in summer) only applies to students who are enrolled in the term and have a positive net disbursement for that term. A positive net disbursement occurs when the disbursement amount less any returned funds is greater than zero.
Students that do not enroll in any coursework in a term will be eligible for an award in the next term, provided the student meets all of the program’s other eligibility criteria. For example, mid-year high school graduates may receive a spring award even though they were not enrolled in the fall term.
Students that have a zero net disbursement for a term also will be eligible for an award the next term. There are many circumstances in which these situations could occur, including but not limited to:
- The student is not eligible for an A+ award because the student is not enrolled full time and does not meet one of the allowable exceptions for full-time enrollment.
- The student opts to pay the term’s tuition and fee bill out-of-pocket. This would include situations where the student did not complete 12 credit hours as a result of withdrawn coursework and would apply whether the withdrawal was partial or complete.
- The student is a renewal student that is ineligible for an award because he did not meet the 2.5 cumulative grade point average, or any other renewal requirement.
- The student is eligible for an award, but the award is reduced to zero when the Pell grant is applied to tuition and general fees.
Students that complete less than 12 hours in a term but choose to receive A+ reimbursement for the remaining coursework will have a positive net disbursement for that term. As a result they will be ineligible for an award in the next term.
Q3: Are all students required to meet the 12 credit hour completion requirement, or is it limited to initial students like the 2.0 grade point average requirement?
A3: The 12 credit hour completion requirement applies to all students, both initial and renewal. The 2.0 grade point average requirement applies to initial students only. An initial student is one that is eligible for A+ reimbursement and has not received reimbursement in any prior award year (July 1 to June 30).
Q4: Is the 2.0 grade point average based on the student’s grade point average for the fall term only, or do students have to achieve a cumulative 2.0 grade point average?
A4: Initial students must achieve a cumulative 2.0 grade point average at the end of the fall term. In addition to the fall term GPA, the cumulative GPA may also include the summer GPA; any coursework the school accepts in transfer, as included in the cumulative GPA per institutional policy; and any postsecondary coursework completed prior to high school graduation included in the cumulative GPA per institutional policy. The student’s cumulative GPA at the end of the summer will not affect the student’s eligibility for a fall award. Some examples follow.
Example 1: Student A attends an A+ institution for the first time in fall, has never attended any other institution, and did not take any dual credit courses in high school. Student A’s cumulative GPA at the end of the fall term will be calculated based on the coursework taken in the fall term.
Example 2: Student B attends an A+ institution for the first time in summer, has never attended any other institution, and did not take any dual credit courses in high school. Student B does not enroll in the fall term but plans to enroll in spring. Student B’s cumulative GPA at the end of the fall term will be calculated based on the coursework taken in the summer term.
Example 3: Student C attends an A+ institution for the first time in summer, has never attended any other institution, and did not take any dual credit courses in high school. Student C enrolls in the fall term. Student C’s cumulative GPA at the end of the fall term will be calculated based on the coursework taken in both summer and fall.
Example 4: Student D transfers to an A+ institution from a four-year institution in summer and has never received A+ before (an initial student). Student D took three dual credit courses in high school. Student D subsequently enrolls in the fall term. Student D’s cumulative GPA at the end of the fall term will be calculated based on the coursework taken in both the summer and fall terms, and may include the transfer and dual credit coursework, if it is the institution’s policy to include such coursework in the cumulative GPA calculation.