Financial Aid Appeals Information

Welcome to University of the Pacific’s financial aid appeals information page! 

We are committed to assisting you with meeting the costs of your education at University of the Pacific. Students and their families are the first source for the financial commitment required for a private university education. When students are not able to fund the full cost of attending the university the financial aid office tries to help bridge the gap. The university works with several federal and state financial aid programs to offer grants, loans and work study to eligible students. The university also partners with numerous donors and together we make a significant investment in students by offering scholarships and grants.  

 

Types of Appeals

Although many aspects of the student’s financial aid application and resulting eligibility are set by federal and state laws and university policies, students have the opportunity to appeal in certain limited circumstances.

The types of appeals that students may submit are described below, with portal application links provided after each description.

 

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) evaluates students for need-based financial assistance such as scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study. 

Your eligibility for scholarships, grants, and other types of financial assistance may be adjusted if you make changes in your enrollment or housing status or there are updates in the information on your FAFSA. 

The FAFSA is based upon a past year’s income and assets that do not reflect their current financial circumstances for some students and families. For this reason and the examples of significant extenuating circumstances listed below, the university provides the opportunity for students to submit additional pertinent information (and documentation) of financial hardship to the Office of Financial Aid for consideration via the applicable appeal application.

  • Financial hardship resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic
  • The student’s major illness or injury
  • Major illness or injury in the student’s immediate family
  • Student’s spouse’s major illness or injury
  • Student’s loss of employment
  • Student’s parent’s loss of employment
  • Student’s spouse’s loss of employment
  • Student’s separation or divorce
  • Student’s parent’s separation or divorce
  • Death in the student’s immediate family
  • Student’s spouse’s death
  • The student’s deployment to active duty
  • The student’s spouse’s deployment to active duty
  • The student’s parent’s deployment to active duty
  • Natural disaster affecting the student
  • Natural disaster affecting the student’s parent(s)
  • Natural disaster affecting the student’s spouse

Does submitting an appeal mean that I am guaranteed to receive funding?

The appeal team carefully reviews each application to determine if the student is eligible and has requested funding for educational costs and/or emergency expenses related to the pandemic. Expenses for non-educational costs such as home repair cannot be considered. That said, the team works to approve as many appeals as possible.

 

How long will it take for me to receive a response from the financial aid team?

The appeal team meets weekly or as needed. Generally, students should expect to receive a response or a request for additional information within 10 – 14 days of submitting their appeal.

 

Should I ask for a larger amount than I need?

Students should thoughtfully consider the amounts they will need to cover the costs they are unable to pay due to their financial hardship. For example, stating that you need help to pay your tuition and then asking for thousands of dollars more than you owe to the university is likely to result in an outright denial of any funds.

The appeal team reviews your FAFSA, student account, current financial aid amounts and educational expenses that are estimated in your COA. Requesting hundreds or thousands of dollars more than your shortfall is likely to result in an appeal that is denied.

Please be aware that by appealing you are applying to be considered for federal/state and or institutional financial aid funds and must answer all questions in the application truthfully and honestly. Significantly inflating the amount of your request is not truthful.

 

If I receive additional financial assistance for this year (2021-2022), will I receive the same amount for every year of my enrollment?

The amount of resources available to the university to meet student’s expenses varies from year to year. Any funding that is provided via the appeal process must be understood to be a single-year non-renewable award solely for the academic year for which you are applying. If your financial hardship persists you may be considered for funding for a subsequent year via the appeal process.

 

I am not sure which type of appeal to submit. Will I get more money if I submit multiple appeal applications?

Students should not submit more than one appeal simultaneously via multiple portals. If you are not sure which type of appeal to submit please contact the financial aid office for guidance. Submitting multiple simultaneous appeals delays the review of your circumstances and will not result in additional funding.

If a student’s financial hardship persists and they are in need of additional funding after receiving the response to their first application, they are permitted to submit a second appeal.

 

Am I required to submit documentation with my appeal application?

Please be aware that by appealing you are applying to be considered for federal/state and or institutional financial aid funds and must answer all questions in the application truthfully and honestly. While you are not required to include documentation when you submit your appeal, the information that you provide is subject to verification, which means that you may be required to submit supplemental documents that confirm and/or explain your answers and statements. 

 

Am I required to accept my student loans before I can receive grant money?

Federal student loans are a valuable resource and personal investment for funding both undergraduate and graduate tuition and other educational expenses. While the appeal team does not primarily base approvals on whether the student has accepted their loans, it is a factor in the decision as to how much is awarded. 

Depending upon their circumstances, (especially if their student account balance is fully covered) students may be able to accept their loans to provide a buffer against unexpected expenses during the year.

 

I heard that HEERF money is available. How do I apply?

The university is using its HEERF allocation to assist students who have financial hardships, especially those that were caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have a financial hardship that is hampering your ability to pay your tuition and/or other educational expenses please submit an appeal.

 

Many students and their families are facing financial hardship due to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges. The Office of Financial Aid has limited funding available for eligible students who need assistance in meeting expenses such as tuition, housing, food, books, and/or technology.

Eligible students could qualify for one-year awards of gap funding, additional federal Pell, FSEOG, HEERF, or institutional grants, loans, and/or work-study to assist them with their enrollment expenses for the academic year.

Appeals are need-based, meaning students must have financial eligibility to be considered for additional funding. The university bases appeal decisions on events such as loss of employment, major illness, divorce, and other serious life-altering financial changes. 

Please note:

Applications for additional assistance are downloaded for review on Mondays. Your incomplete application will be archived if you begin but do not complete and submit your application by Sunday at midnight. You will then be required to create and submit a new application.

Undergraduate students who initially enrolled as first-year students are generally expected to complete their degrees by the conclusion of their eighth semester of full-time enrollment. Students who initially enrolled as transfer students are generally expected to complete their undergraduate degrees after enrolling for no more than four to six semesters (depending upon the number of units accepted in transfer)

Students who have completed their first bachelor’s degree (at Pacific or elsewhere) are generally only eligible for their remaining undergraduate student loan eligibility.

Most institutional scholarships (e.g., the Regent, President, Pacific, Powell, Provost, and Conservatory Merit) and grants (e.g., athletic, housing, UOP, and UOPI grants) are limited to a maximum of eight semesters of receipt (four to six if you initially entered the university as a transfer student). Federal and state grants and loans are also limited in the number of semesters of eligibility.

Students who require an additional semester (or two) of enrollment and wish to appeal for an extension of their financial assistance may do so by applying to the Office of Financial Aid. Please note, if you want to appeal for an extension of your athletic grant, contact the Athletics Compliance Office.

Undergraduate students are generally required to enroll for a minimum of twelve units (full time) each semester to receive merit scholarships (e.g., Regents, Presidents, Provosts, Conservatory Merit) and other institutional aid such as the athletic, housing, UOP, and UOPI grants.

Students who require fewer than twelve units to complete their undergraduate degree or the undergraduate coursework of a combined degree program (such as the doctorate in Pharmacy) or who have extenuating circumstances such as required courses not being available, serious illness, financial hardship, or family upheaval are permitted to appeal to retain a portion of their institutional aid during a semester of part-time enrollment.

The Cost of Attendance (COA) estimates what it will cost for an undergraduate student to attend University of the Pacific for an academic year. It may vary based on your program of study and program fees. You can view the COA that the university calculated for you in your financial aid offerCharges for tuition, housing, meals, and fees are subject to an annual increase to secure the highest quality instruction, facilities, programs, and services.

The U.S. Congress determines the expenses that can be included in the COA. Although the Office of Financial Aid does not have the authority to include expenses in the COA that are not specified in the governing statutes, such as the cost for purchasing a vehicle, we can consider adjustments to the allowable expenses.

Indirect costs can vary significantly depending upon where students live, whether they have roommates, books and supplies needed for their program, costs for dependent care, special dietary requirements, and personal spending habits.

If your costs for housing, food, books, transportation, and/or your personal expenses are significantly higher than the estimates in your COA, you may appeal to request that the financial aid office consider a possible adjustment in your COA. An adjustment in the COA will generally only result in increased loan eligibility, not additional institutional aid. If you have further questions, please get in touch with the financial aid office on your campus.

Federal and state aid as well as most institutional scholarships (e.g., the Regent, President, Pacific, Provost, and Conservatory Merit) and grants (e.g., athletic, housing, UOP, and UOPI grants), except the Powell Scholarship and certain other endowed awards, are renewable if you are meeting the financial aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards.

Briefly, the SAP regulations require students to meet a minimum grade point average (GPA). For most students, this is a 2.00 and rate-of-credit accumulation threshold (pace), which requires that you pass a minimum of 67% of the units you attempt.

Federal, state, and institutional regulations permit students who are not in satisfactory academic standing to appeal their status to receive financial aid funds. The university permits SAP appeals for federal, state, and institutional financial aid. Students who are not in satisfactory academic standing may appeal their status by accessing the University’s SAP appeal process and presenting their documented extenuating circumstances.

All students, except those eligible to request a recalculation of their SAP status, who submit an appeal must also include a completed academic plan. Please note, students who are eligible for a recalculation of their SAP status may be required to submit an academic plan depending upon the outcome of the recalculation. To develop the academic plan, the student must meet with an academic advisor and adhere to all associated requirements. If the SAP appeal has been approved, the student must adhere to the associated academic plan to receive financial aid.

If your SAP appeal has been approved, you will be placed on probation. During any probationary semester, you are required to achieve a minimum semester (not cumulative) GPA of 2.00 and pace of 67% to be eligible for financial aid the following semester.

If you are not in satisfactory academic standing and experienced significant extenuating circumstances, you may wish to submit a SAP appeal.

Most undergraduate students at University of the Pacific are dependent on financial aid eligibility, which means that they must provide their parent(s)’ information on the FAFSA. Whether students are dependent or independent is based upon their answers in Step III, questions 45 – 57 of the FAFSA.

Sometimes a student who would be considered dependent has experienced family upheavals such as parental abandonment, or a parent(s) who is absent, ill, abusive, incarcerated, debilitated, or otherwise does not function as a parent. In such circumstances, the financial aid office may be able to consider the student for assistance without using the parent’s information. Considering a student without the parent’s information is called a dependency override.

Due to the sensitive nature of family circumstances that might warrant a dependency override, the financial aid office offers students confidential, caring attention.

If you believe that your family circumstances might make you eligible for a dependency override, please begin by talking to one of the counselors in the financial aid office.

After you speak with a counselor, your next step might be to submit a dependency override application.