Financial Aid Student Attendance Policy
Financial Aid Student Attendance Policy
Financial Aid Student Attendance Policy
Federal regulations require that the Financial Aid & Scholarships office establish an attendance policy to govern a student's eligibility to receive federal student aid for a given semester. The Sinclair policy requires the Financial Aid & Scholarships office to verify that students establish attendance through academic engagement during the first 14 days of the following terms to receive federal financial aid:
- Full Term
- A Term
- 12 Week Term
- B Term
Attendance is verified for flex sections by the final grade earned for that course. Flex sections are defined as sections that are not full-term, A, B, or the 12-Week term. Unearned grades are a grade of "Z" which equates to a student never attending, "W", and a "U" or "F" with a last date of attendance.
Sinclair allows instructors to establish an academic attendance policy for each course they teach, which may be different from the Financial Aid Student Attendance Policy. Federal student aid is based on the Financial Aid Student Attendance Policy even if the academic attendance policy reports a different result.
Federal Pell Grant and Federal SEOG must be adjusted for students who have not established attendance in all courses through the first 14 days of the class, or in accordance with the provision for extenuating circumstances described below. Federal Direct Loans may be adjusted for students who have not established attendance in one or more classes. Per federal regulations, Direct Loans must be removed completely if students do not establish attendance in at least one class. Students reported as non-attending are typically not withdrawn from the course.
Attendance Policy Exceptions
There are exceptions to the Financial Aid Student Attendance Policy because of directives from outside entities.
The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (ODRC) requires attendance to be taken for all Prison Education Programs (PEP). Our current policy determines that attendance must be established within 14 days of the first day of class. Per the ODRC policy, we will extend this timeframe to 15 days for all PEP programs. If the student does not begin attendance in all registered classes, the Pell Grant must be recalculated based on the student's revised enrollment status.
The Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission (OPOTA) also requires attendance to be taken for the Criminal Justice Training/Police Academy. There are no issues with our current policy that attendance must be established within 14 days of the start of class.
The Financial Aid & Scholarships office must be notified as soon as possible by representatives from the Advanced Job Training Office (AJT) for PEP programs and from the Criminal Justice Department for the Police Academy if a student stops attending, but no later than 14 days after the student's last date of attendance. There are limited exceptions to the 14-day rule such as a natural disaster or the instructor has an unusual circumstance that kept them from taking and reporting attendance within a timely manner. Per Volume 5 of the Federal Student Aid Handbook, the school is expected to have determined whether the student intends to return to classes or to withdraw after 14 days. If the student is eventually determined to have withdrawn, the end of the 14-day period begins the timeframe for completing a Return of Title IV (R2T4) calculation.
Academic Engagement includes but is not limited to:
- Physically attending a class where there is an opportunity for direct interaction between the instructor and students
- Submitting an academic assignment
- Taking an exam, an interactive tutorial, or computer-assisted instruction
- Attending a study group assigned by the school
- Participating in an online discussion about academic matters and
- Initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a question about the academic subject studied in the course.
The definition of academic engagement does not include activities where a student may be present, but not academically engaged, such as:
- Participating in a student-organized study group
- Logging into an online class without active participation or
- Participating in academic counseling or advising.
A student's self-certification alone is not sufficient documentation of attendance in an academically related activity; it must be supported by institutional documentation of the student's attendance in the activity.
Attendance Reporting Change Request (Attendance Appeal)
If a student was reported as non-attending in error, it is the student's responsibility to request that their instructor submit an electronic attendance reporting change request to the Financial Aid & Scholarships office. In a case where the student attended the wrong section of a class, the instructor with whom the student established attendance must submit the attendance reporting change request form with the date the student established attendance in his/her section. The instructor of the correct section must also submit an attendance reporting change request with the date the student established attendance in his/her section. The electronic request form is available to instructors on Forms Central, accessed through the Sinclair portal.
Students Who Attended Within the First 14 Days of the Course
The instructor submits the request with the first date the student attended the course. The Financial Aid & Scholarships office reviews the student's financial aid award based on the date the instructor reported the student first attended the course.
Students Who Did Not Attend Within the First 14 Days of the Course Due to Extenuating Circumstances
The instructor submits the request with the first date the student attended the course and enters a brief explanation of his/her knowledge of the student's circumstances. The Financial Aid & Scholarships office notifies the student of the next steps via Sinclair email (See Extenuating Circumstances section for examples of acceptable documentation).
The Financial Aid & Scholarships office considers the following extenuating circumstances to allow students to establish attendance after the 14th day of the course. The documentation provided must correspond to the attendance taking period for which the student is submitting the request:
- Severe illness preventing him or her from attending all classes during the first 14 days of the course and he or she provided documentation from a medical doctor or hospital, and a financial aid staff member agrees that attendance in the first 14 days of the course was not possible, or
- Death of a close family member and provides a copy of the death certificate or obituary referencing the student's name in relationship to the deceased, or
- Campus closure (inclement weather or an act of God) causing the student to miss classes, and in addition, the student documents the extenuating circumstances preventing him or her from establishing attendance during the remainder of the 14-day period, or
- Attended the wrong section of the course or changed sections but established attendance during the first 14 days of the course in that section as evidenced by the instructor for that course, even though the student was not registered in that course at the time attendance was verified, or
- The instructor ceased teaching the course or is no longer available to submit the attendance reporting change request form (for example due to death, medical illness or disability, relocating out of state, etc.) and the student has been regularly attending the courses, or
- Other documented extenuating circumstances that a financial aid staff member determines meets the requirements for proof of attendance.
If a technical error occurs during the attendance reporting submission or college error prevented accurate attendance reporting, attendance verification may be updated without an attendance reporting change request if the instructor provides the course roster and documentation of the error to the Financial Aid & Scholarships office. The director of Financial Aid & Scholarships determines if an attendance reporting change request exception can be approved.
Attendance Reporting Change Request Review Timeline
Attendance Reporting Change Request decisions can take up to 10 business days. Students are notified of the request decision through their Sinclair.edu email account. All request decisions are final. Attendance Reporting Change Requests for Fall and Spring Semesters must be submitted within 30 days after the end of the term for which they are appealing. Attendance Reporting Change Request for Summer must be submitted within 15 days after the semester ends. Any appeals received after the deadline for each semester will be reviewed by a Financial Aid Manager on a case-by-case basis. Note: Processing deadlines may impact Federal Direct Loan eligibility for students with requests approved after the semester ends. Contact the Financial Aid & Scholarships office for more information.
Reporting Earned Grades
Students who earned grades in a course previously reported by the instructor as non-attending may contact the Financial Aid & Scholarships office within 30 days after the semester ends to review federal aid eligibility for the completed course. Students may report grades earned for courses completed during Summer Semester to the Financial Aid & Scholarships office within 15 days after the semester ends. In some cases, attendance may be updated through other Financial Aid Processes such as Return to Title IV or Packaging if conflicting information exists. Any requests received after the deadline for each semester will be reviewed by a Financial Aid Manager on a case-by-case basis. Note: Processing deadlines may impact Federal Direct Loan eligibility for students with requests approved after the semester ends. Contact the Financial Aid & Scholarships office for more information.
*Where days are addressed, Financial Aid & Scholarships office uses calendar days.
- Last Revised: 08/02/2023