Jun 16, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Funding Graduate Education

Financial aid in the form of scholarships, loans, and employment is available to students who need assistance in meeting their higher education expenses. All funds are administered by the Financial Aid and Scholarships Department in compliance with federal, state, and institutional guidelines.

Need-Based Aid

Fairmont State primary purpose in awarding financial aid is to assist those students who wish to attend college and need financial assistance to do so. Financial need is defined as the difference between the ‘cost of attendance’ and ‘estimated family contribution’. Cost of attendance (COA) is a comprehensive figure including estimated tuition/fees, room/board, books/supplies and other educationally related expenses. Estimated family contribution (EFC) is a measurement of the family’s financial strength and is based upon information provided in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). By using the available resources, Fairmont State attempts to meet the financial need of all students.

Scholarship Aid

It is the intent of Fairmont State to foster the highest degree of scholarship among its students. The institution actively recruits students who have excellent academic records and recognizes and rewards those who continue to excel.

The objective of the scholarship program is to promote the recruitment and retention of a diverse student body with special talents and abilities. A variety of merit and need-based scholarships have been developed to accomplish this objective.

Fairmont State is ultimately responsible for final approval of scholarship programs and related policies and procedures and elicits recommendations from academic departments in that process. The Fairmont State Foundation, Inc., through the auspices of the Fairmont State Foundation’s Scholarship Committee, collaborates with the Offices of Admissions and Financial Aid and Scholarships to explore new areas of scholarship development and expansion, and assist those interested in establishing new merit-based scholarships or enhancing currently established scholarship programs for Fairmont State.

Fairmont State’s Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships also manages the disbursement of scholarships for a wide range of externally funded programs received by Fairmont State students.

Sources of Financial Aid

Sources and types of financial aid offered by Fairmont State as well as other resources are available on the Financial Aid homepage at https://fairmontstate.edu/finaid/.

Definition of an Academic Year

For Direct Loan processing and other Title IV aid, the academic year at Fairmont State begins with the fall, continues with the spring, and concludes with the summer term.

Procedures for Obtaining Financial Aid

  1. Students must complete and submit an application for admission to the Office of Admissions (new students only).
  2. For full consideration of aid based on need, students must complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to the federal processing center by March 1. The FAFSA can continue to be submitted through June 30 of the academic year and must be submitted annually.
  3. For consideration of eligibility for academic scholarships, students must apply for admission to Fairmont State by December 15. (Admissions/Recruitment and Academic Scholarships) and prior to February 3 for Financial Aid and Foundation scholarships in addition to submitting a scholarship application by February 3.
  4. Students interested in aid for summer must complete a separate application, which is made available in March.

Satisfactory Academic Progress for Federal Financial Aid

To receive funds administered by the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships Office, students must be making satisfactory academic progress (SAP) toward completion of an eligible degree or certificate. Federal regulations require evaluation of both quantitative and qualitative academic progress.

For purposes of financial aid and eligibility, academic progress is reviewed at the end of each academic year. This review will occur at the conclusion of the spring semester.

All students enrolling for the first time (including transfers) will be considered to be meeting academic progress in the first semester of enrollment.

Qualitative Progress - Evaluation based upon the cumulative “Grade Point Average (GPA)” as shown on your academic transcript. Graduate students must attain a minimum 3.00 GPA or higher at the end of the spring semester.

Quantitative Progress - Pace of Progression and Maximum Time Frame

  1. Pace: The rate at which attempted academic credits are successfully completed. This is calculated by taking the cumulative number of hours successfully completed and dividing by the cumulative number of hours attempted. Grades of “W”, “F” and “I” count as attempted hours. Transfer hours that appear on your transcript are also included.
    A student must be successfully completing 67% of all hours attempted. The calculation will be rounded to the nearest whole Number.
  2. Maximum Time Frame: The maximum time allowed to complete your degree (including transfer hours) is 150% of the normal time frame. Repeated courses are counted against the maximum time frame.

Graduate program of 36 hours must be completed within 54 attempted hours.

A student who completes the academic requirements for a program but does not yet have the degree or certificate is not eligible for further additional federal student aid funds for that program.

Post-graduate work (credits taken after receiving first degree including a second associate’s or second bachelor’s degree and/or teacher certification) must be completed within 60 hours of post-graduate work. Since all classes attempted will count toward the 60-hour limit, students should meet with their academic advisors to determine what classes are required for completion of the second degree.

Financial aid eligibility is limited to no more than two master’s degrees. Students who wish to pursue additional degrees beyond these may do so but without federal financial assistance.

Failure to Meet Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress

Students who fail to meet the qualitative or quantitative standards defined above at the end of any enrollment period (including summer), will be placed on “warning” for the next semester. During this warning semester the student may continue to receive financial aid.

Students who are within 15 credit hours or less of the maximum time frame defined above will be place on “warning” for the next semester. During this warning semester the student may continue to receive financial aid.

Failure to meet any of the above defined standards at the end of a “warning” semester will result in the loss of financial aid eligibility for future semesters.

Students will be notified by postal mail and e-mail of SAP status after grades are posted. As soon as the status is updated, it can be viewed on the student’s FELiX account.

Financial Aid Appeal Process

A student may appeal the loss of financial aid through the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships.

To appeal, the student must have experienced extenuating circumstances beyond their control which impacted academic progress. Examples of extenuating circumstances are death of immediate family member, injury, illness, or other unusual circumstances presented to the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office.

The appeal must include the following:

  1. Why the student failed to make Satisfactory Academic Progress;
  2. What has now changed that will allow the student to make satisfactory academic progress at the end of the next semester (statements of good intent are not sufficient);
  3. Student’s academic plan that will allow the student to reach the minimum requirements for SAP. The academic plan must include the next semester’s classes. Students must meet with academic advisor to discuss the academic plan;
  4. Documentation to verify extenuating circumstances.

If the appeal is granted, the student will be placed on financial aid probation for one semester and may receive aid during that probation semester. At the end of the probation semester the student MUST meet the defined SAP standards or meet the academic plan that was developed for the appeal.

Appeals must be submitted by the deadline date established for each semester, generally 2 weeks prior to the start of the semester. Deadline dates will be published on the SAP Appeal form. Late appeals will not be accepted. Students who wish to enroll after the deadline should make plans to pay all charges through personal means.

Appeals will be reviewed by a Financial Aid Committee. If denied by the committee, the student may request that the appeal be reviewed by Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships.

If appeal is denied by the Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships for Fall or Spring, the student can request a review by the Faculty Senate Financial Aid Appeals Committee. This committee will meet one time during the week prior to the start of the Fall and Spring Semesters. Denial of appeals by the Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships for the Summer Semester is final.

Students who have lost eligibility for financial aid but have not been academically suspended from Fairmont State may continue to enroll in courses. Students are responsible for the tuition charges. Once the student meets the standards of financial aid satisfactory academic progress, the student may again receive consideration for financial aid.

Title IV Financial Aid Return of Aid Policy

If a student withdraws from school whether officially (he/she completes the withdrawal form or drop all classes on the web) or unofficially (student stops attending classes) and has been awarded and/or paid Title IV Federal Aid, student is subject to a Return of Title IV Aid calculation. This calculation determines how much aid must be returned to the federal programs in the event of a complete official or unofficial withdrawal prior to completing 60% of the term.

The calculation determines the amount of federal aid that is considered to be earned and the amount that is considered to be unearned, and therefore must be returned to the Federal programs. State and/or institutional Aid may also be subject to return based on withdrawal date. The earned/unearned amounts are calculated based on the percent of the term completed. The length of the term is defined as the first day of all classes through the last day of all classes (not including a break of 5 days or more and finals week).

Students who have been awarded aid that has not disbursed will also be reviewed to determine if they are eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement. Withdrawn students who have been selected for verification but have not provided the documents necessary for disbursement may be eligible for a postwithdrawal disbursement. Their account will be
reviewed and they will be offered a post-withdrawal disbursement if eligible and given 14 - 30 days to return the requested documentation. Students will only be eligible for the percentage of ‘earned’ aid at the time of withdrawal.

Loan Repayment (Education Majors Only)

Once recipients are actively teaching, they may also be eligible for one of these loan repayment programs:

To determine whether or not you meet federal or state qualifications, please check with the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate Assistantships provide students with training and valuable professional experience in a higher education work environment. Assistantship duties should contribute to the students’ intellectual growth and degree goals. The purpose of an assistantship is to (a) provide graduate students part-time employment offering practical experience in fields related to their advanced study, and (b) assist faculty in the direct instructional program. A “Graduate Assistant” is a graduate student who is appointed as a University employee to provide the student with an apprenticeship experience and with financial support for graduate education. Appointment as a Graduate Assistant does not confer any rights to permanent appointment to any person. The length of service of a Graduate Assistant does not alter the temporary nature of the appointment or confer additional rights upon such person. Appointments are generally made on a semester-by-semester basis. Fairmont State recognizes student employment as an assistantship only under the definitions, conditions and categories below. Student employment outside these parameters will not be deemed Assistantships. There are three categories of Graduate Assistantships:

Teaching Assistantship (TA)

Teaching assistants (TA) assist faculty with instructional responsibilities or serve as the principle instructor in one or more courses. TAs are selected on the basis of past teaching experience or academic promise as effective instructors in their field of study. Duties may include assisting faculty with teaching-related tasks (e.g., leading discussion groups, lecturing, laboratory, preparing instructional materials, grading exams), responsibilities associated with a self-contained class, and/or advising students. Graduate Teaching Assistants who have the primary responsibility of teaching a course for credit and/or assigning final grades for such a course must have earned at least 18 graduate semester hours in the teaching discipline, be under the direct supervision of a faculty member experienced in the teaching discipline, receive regular in-service training, and be regularly evaluated. All first-time teaching assistants are required to attend the Graduate Assistant Professional Development Workshop that is held prior to the beginning of each semester.

Research Assistantship (RA)

Research Assistants (RA) are selected for excellence in scholarship and promise as researchers. RAs work in research, administrative, academic and other university settings to assist faculty or other university personnel on research projects. They do part-time research as a portion of their training under the direct supervision of regular faculty members or work with administrative units to support the research initiatives of the institution. Duties vary by discipline and program, but may include data collection and entry, data analysis, proposal writing, policy research, attending conferences to present results, and training and supervising less experienced researchers.

Service Assistantship (SA)

Service Assistants (SA) work with the administrative staff of a school, department, college, or office to assist in the operations of the university whose mission is closely related to the student’s area of academic study or interest. SAs are available for academic and nonacademic units. Duties vary widely, but may include gathering, organizing, and analyzing information, implementing and evaluating programs, academic advising, academic tutoring, career counseling, preparing marketing materials, and organizing recruitment events. The main purpose of the assignment is to assist in the service role of the unit.

Graduate Assistantship Requirements

A Full Assistantship requires a maximum of 20 hours per week of service. Graduate assistants may not work more than a total of 20 hours per week on the average. Full-time Graduate Assistants may not be appointed concurrently in other Fairmont State classification. Less Than Full-Time Assistantships - Fairmont State recognizes half-time and three-quarter time graduate assistantships. Half-time assistantships are based on a workload of 10 hours per week and three-quarter time assistantships are based on a workload of 15 hours per week.

Graduate Assistantship Application Procedures

Students who wish to be considered for an assistantship while completing their master’s degree at Fairmont State need to complete an application. A Graduate Assistantship application can be found on the Graduate Studies Forms and Resources webpage. Graduate Assistant applications should be submitted by email to Graduate Studies or sent to: Fairmont State, Office of Graduate Studies, 1201 Locust Avenue, Fairmont, WV, 26554. For additional questions please call (304) 367-4098. Students should follow the admission application schedule when submitting the Graduate Assistant (GA) application and accompanying forms. Students are not required to submit the admission application and GA application at the same time; however, for full consideration applications MUST be received by May 1. No student may hold a graduate fee waiver for a period of time that exceeds the number of semesters normally required in the recipient’s academic discipline.

Graduate Assistantship Eligibility

Only students fully admitted to degree seeking status in a master’s program at Fairmont State University are eligible to receive a Graduate Assistantship. Non-degree seeking students are not eligible for Graduate Assistantships or tuition waivers. Initial appointment to the position of GA requires:

  • current enrollment in a minimum of nine (9) hours of graduate study in a specific degree program;

  • communication skills appropriate to responsibilities of the graduate assistantship;

  • evidence of subject matter competence; and

  • other qualifications as necessary to perform assigned duties.

In addition to the qualifications listed above, reappointment to the position of a GA requires a pattern of significant academic progress toward the completion of degree requirements. At minimum, the GA must (a) earn a 3.0 grade point average or better during each semester of appointment, (b) complete nine (9) hours of graduate level coursework each semester (withdrawal from a course(s) after the fourth week does not constitute acceptable progress), and (c) meet the requirements for and achieve advancement to candidacy in a timely manner.

For more information about Graduate Assistantships at Fairmont State, visit the website.