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Other Important Information

Definition of an Academic Year for Financial Aid Purposes

The definition of a financial aid academic year at UH Hilo is one in which a student completes a minimum of 30 weeks of instruction and 24 semester credit hours.  The definition of an Academic Year should not be confused with grade level progression used for Federal student loan programs.  The following grade levels are used for undergraduate programs:

Grade Level (before Fall 2015) Semester Credit Hours Earned
Freshman 0 - 24
Sophomore 25 - 54
Junior 55 - 88
Senior 89 or more

Effective Fall 2015 the following grade level progression will be used for undergraduate programs:

Grade Level (Fall 2015 and after) Semester Credit Hours Earned
Freshman 0 - 29.99
Sophomore 30 - 59.99
Junior 60 - 89.99
Senior 90 or more

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Financial Aid and Tax Issues

  1. Taxable Financial Aid
    Current federal tax laws have made some financial aid taxable income.  Financial aid received (excluding loans) in excess of the cost of tuition, fees and books is considered taxable income.  You should contact the IRS or a tax preparer for additional information.
  2. Educational Income Tax Credits
    There are two educational income tax credits that can reduce your or your family’s federal taxes.  They are based on your university tuition and fee charges.  The American Opportunity Tax Credit is a refundable tax credit for undergraduate college education expenses. This credit provides up to $2,500 in tax credits on the first $4,000 of qualifying educational expenses. The Lifetime Learning Credit is a tax credit for any person who takes college classes. It provides a tax credit of 20% of tuition expenses, with a maximum of $2,000 in tax credits on the first $10,000 of college tuition expenses.
    You can claim the Lifetime Learning Credit on your tax return if you, your spouse, or your dependents are enrolled at an eligible educational institution and you were responsible for paying college expenses. Unlike the American Opportunity Credit, you need not be in the first four years of undergraduate classes. Even if you took only one class, you may take advantage of the Lifetime Learning Credit.  For more information about tax credits, you can visit the IRS website.

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Financial Aid Appeal Procedures

Students wishing to appeal a determination of eligibility for financial aid or the amount or type of financial aid awarded must send a written appeal to the Financial Aid Office.  Appeals should include an explanation of the reason for appeal and documentation supporting the appeal.  The Appeals Committee will review the appeal and the decision of the committee is final.  Students will be informed in writing of the committee’s decision.

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Study Abroad/National Student Exchange

  1. Study Abroad
    Enrollment in a program of study abroad that is approved for credit by the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo may be considered enrollment at the university for purposes of a student applying for financial aid.  Students considering study abroad should contact the Center Global Education and Exchange.
  2. National Student Exchange
    National Student Exchange seeks to expand opportunities to students by enabling them to attend any of over 190 participating college and universities for up to one academic year while paying the host school’s resident tuition.  Students who are interested in going on exchange should contact the National Student Exchange office.

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Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

Student’s rights under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) may be found on the FERPA information website.

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Campus Security Report

Campus Security Reports are available upon request through the Campus Security Office or the Campus Security website.

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Athletic Program Information

Information regarding athletic program participation rates and financial support data as well as completion/graduation rates and transfer-out rates for student athletes can be requested from the Office of Intercollegiate Athletics.

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Federal Student Aid Ombudsman Group

Borrowers with concerns about their Federal Student Loans may contact the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman Group at:

U.S. Department of Education
FSA Ombudsman Group
830 First Street, N.E., Mail Stop 5144
Washington, DC 20202-5144
Phone: 1-877-557-2575
Fax: (202) 275-0549

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Financial Aid Disclaimer

The Financial Aid Office at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo is committed to helping students obtain the maximum amount of financial assistance possible. However, students must assume responsibility for complying with all requirements necessary to process their financial aid. Additionally, the Financial Aid Office is not responsible for any student's financial obligations to the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. You must individually make sure that your financial obligations are properly met. Information in this guide is subject to change with revised regulations and guidelines.

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