Answers to Your Questions about the FEP
Q: What is the purpose of the Financial Empowerment Plan (FEP)?
A: The plan is intended to make the financing of your student’s entire degree more predictable, in that you’ll know what tuition, room and board rates will be for all four years. You’ll also know what level of borrowing will probably be necessary in your situation. You’ll determine a monthly out-of-pocket amount while your student is at Grand View, and know what your student’s monthly loan payments are likely to be after graduation. In addition, we’ll help you sort out what alternatives there might be to reduce the amount borrowed. And because tuition increases are limited in the plan, your student’s degree will be a bit more affordable. The FEP also includes a four-year plan of study.
We find that when students fail to complete a degree, the most likely cause is financial, often the result of not thinking ahead across the four years (or more) of the student’s education. This plan is intended to help your student stay in school and graduate in four years. That means a lower total expense and less borrowing than if your student took five or more years to achieve a degree.
In summary, the plan is pointed at affordability, predictability and graduating on time.
Q: How much could we save by participating in the FEP?
A: Over the past ten years, the average annual increase in Grand View’s tuition was 4.39%. Assuming a similar rate of future increase, the FEP would save approximately $3,400 in out-of-pocket costs over four years.
Q: Why is Grand View doing a pilot? Why not make this plan available to everyone right away?
A: A plan of this nature is a significant undertaking for Grand View, and in some respects, for families as well. It is likely that we will find that aspects of the program will need to be adjusted based on the experiences of families in the pilot. Limiting initial participation to a pilot group will allow us to do that before we make the plan available to all.
Q: Are we rewarded for being part of the pilot?
A: In addition to getting all the benefits of the program itself, pilot students will receive a $500 gift card during the spring semester of their freshman year that can be used to pay for books or other merchandise at the Grand View Bookstore. Your student can use the gift card at any point, in any increments, until it is exhausted.
Q: What does Grand View commit to with the FEP?
A: Grand View’s portion of the Financial Empowerment Plan includes:
A maximum fixed increase of 2% per year on a participating student’s tuition and campus-based room and board rates.
An initial four-year financial plan that is personalized for each participating family and then updated annually as needed.
Assistance in developing a four-year plan of study.
Ongoing counseling and coaching for participating students to help them stay on track financially and academically with their four-year plan of study. This coaching can include personal budgeting of discretionary expenses.
Q: What is the student’s portion of the FEP?
A: Students are expected to:
Participate in the initial FEP planning and coaching session and a minimum of one additional coaching session each year while enrolled in the program.
Work with their advisors to determine a major by the end of their sophomore year and craft a four-year plan of study.
Register for classes during their designated period each semester. FEP students will have a priority registration period within the designated registration period for their class.
Stay on track with their four-year plans of study, taking advantage of all available support services to make sure they remain in good standing academically; attend tutoring sessions if their academic progress is in question.
Fulfill their financial obligations on time, completing the FAFSA each year and making sure all bills are paid.
Work with a financial coach to manage their personal finances appropriately so that they can meet their obligations.
Involve their families, when feasible, if there are impediments to fulfilling their part of the FEP.
Q: What is the process for signing up for the Financial Empowerment Plan?
A: When your student’s GV financial aid package/award is ready, you’ll be contacted by a Financial Empowerment Coach to schedule a meeting, which can be in person or remotely (usually through a web-based capability). Before the meeting you’ll be given some “homework” to do that will help you prepare for the coaching meeting. During the meeting, the FEP Coach will prepare – with your active input – a four-year financial plan that is specific to your student and your family situation. The meeting will be very interactive, with opportunities to do some “what-if” scenarios and fine tune the plan. At the conclusion of the meeting, you’ll have a copy of your personalized plan and the FEP agreement to review. In some cases the FEP Coach may ask to work on the plan further and mail or email it to you.
The FEP Coach will be available to answer questions about your plan and the FEP agreement, as well as make additional changes in your plan. If and when you’re comfortable with your plan and with the terms of the agreement, you’ll sign the agreement and submit it to the FEP Coach. You can also decline to participate in the pilot program.
Q: What are the elements of the four-year financial plan that will be developed during the initial coaching session?
A: While each plan is individual, the basics of the plan will include:
Projections of four years of tuition, campus-based room and board, and fees (such as parking and activity fees)
A Student Budget Worksheet tool that will help you and your family budget for expected costs that will be incurred outside of direct charges from Grand View, such as books and supplies, transportation, and incidental and discretionary living expenses (e.g. cell phone, entertainment, food not covered by a meal plan)
Other possible expenses
Projections of four years of Grand View financial aid, federal/state financial aid, and outside scholarships
Projections over four years of the amount of other resources available to the student and family (e.g. 529 educational plans, family college savings, income from student part-time and summer jobs, contributions from other family members)
Projections of potential student loan borrowing over four years, whether loans are taken by the student or by the parent
Projected total cost of your student’s bachelor’s degree
Projected amount of student loan borrowing over four years
Projected monthly payments to Grand View over four years of the amount not covered by financial aid and loans (out-of-pocket costs)
Projections of monthly student loan payments after graduation
Suggestions for reducing student loan borrowing
Your family will have a clear picture of how to finance your student’s entire degree.
Q: Am I obligated to sign up for the plan after I’ve had the initial meeting with the FEP Coach?
A: You can choose not to participate in the pilot.
Q: Does the agreement guarantee that my student will graduate in four years no matter what?
A: All students in the FEP will develop four-year plans of study designed to help them stay on track to graduate in four years, and they will be given priority registration within their class registration period. Grand View will provide every possible academic and financial support for four-year graduation but cannot guarantee it for all FEP students regardless of circumstance. Every student’s circumstance is different, and there are many reasons why students change direction.
Q: My student is likely to attend beyond his/her fourth year. Will the FEP accommodate an additional semester or year?
A: Yes. If you know at the time you sign up for the FEP that your student is likely to need more than four years to graduate – for instance because of athletic eligibility or a double major – we can incorporate that into your plan up front. We will, however, extend the plan only one additional year, to five years maximum.
Q: Can my student change his or her major and still be part of the FEP?
A: Probably. These kinds of circumstances will be handled on a case-by-case basis. For instance, if a student decides to change a major well into the junior year, graduating in four years is unlikely, but it’s possible that modifications in the plan could allow the student to remain in FEP.
Q: Can we do a three-year FEP?
A: Yes. If your student intends to graduate in three years, we will craft a plan to help achieve that.
Q: Is financial aid for FEP participants guaranteed to remain the same for four years?
A: A student’s financial aid comes in several forms: federal and/or state grants, Grand View awards and scholarships (athletic and others), outside scholarships, etc. Since federal and state programs are outside of Grand View’s control, we cannot guarantee that those amounts will remain the same. The same is true for other outside scholarships and grants. Most Grand View scholarships are renewable for four years, with specified renewal criteria; so if the student, whether an FEP participant or not, meets the renewal criteria, the scholarship will be awarded in a subsequent year according to the criteria established. So, it is the renewal criteria for the scholarship, rather than FEP participation, that governs the amount of a scholarship in subsequent years.
Q: What about room and board? Is that amount guaranteed for the duration of the plan?
A: Room and board rates for FEP participants are guaranteed not to increase more than 2% per year over the life of the plan. However, students have several residential and meal plan options that are priced differently. If an FEP student choses to live in a different student residence than the one figured into the four-year plan or decides to select a different meal plan, those choices could change the projected expenses in either direction. In those circumstances, the FEP Coach can assist the family in revising their plan.
Q: What is the difference between the Financial Empowerment Plan and my student’s financial aid package? Are they related?
A: Virtually all Grand View students are awarded some kind of financial aid, and that aid is communicated to the student in a financial aid “package” or “award.” The financial aid package remains the same regardless of the student’s participation in FEP, as long as the student fulfills the renewal terms of the financial aid awards. The two are related only by the fact that the financial aid package becomes a resource that is figured into the four-year plan under the FEP.
Q: Who will coach my student over the span of the FEP and how often?
A: There are trained staff dedicated to the ongoing coaching and counseling provided in the FEP, with a meeting scheduled at least once each academic year. Your student will be assigned a Student Empowerment Coach with whom he/she can build a trusting and open relationship and can request a meeting at any time, as can the Student Empowerment Coach.
Q: What is the role of the Office of Financial Aid in the FEP?
A: The Office of Financial Aid prepares financial aid packages/awards in accordance with federal, state and institutional policy/regulations and helps students with questions related specifically to financial aid programs. The FEP coaching and advising staff can help students with personal budgeting and all kinds of other personal financial questions, as well as academic issues; their role is much broader.
Q: Do we have to fill out the FAFSA every year?
A: Yes, if you are receiving – or expect to receive – any kind of financial aid. That is a requirement for federal and state financial aid programs.
Q: What happens if my student decides to study abroad for a semester or go on other kinds of study trips? Could that affect our FEP?
A: Possibly. That is another circumstance that would be handled on a case-by-case basis, with portions of the plan adjusted to accommodate a change in expenses.
Q: What happens if my student gets in trouble academically?
A: If your student fails to maintain good academic standing, the Student Empowerment Coach will initiate an “intervention” that is likely to require tutoring and/or other measures to get the student back to good academic standing. Participating in these kinds of activities, if necessary, is a requirement of the FEP. The concept of “academic standing” and “satisfactory academic performance to receive financial aid” is defined in the GV Catalog. Problems with academic performance also affect a student’s financial aid, so students will need to follow all university processes and procedures that relate to circumstances such as academic probation and suspension as well.
Q: What happens if my student or our family has unexpected financial challenges or for some reason our eligibility for outside financial aid changes?
A: The FEP staff, along with the Office of Financial Aid in some circumstances, will assist with re-developing your four-year plan to attempt to accommodate those changes or challenges.
Q: Can we be asked to leave the FEP?
A: In extreme circumstances, yes, if the student and/or family are unable to fulfill their part of the program; those circumstances would be handled on a case-by-case basis.
Q: Can we decide to leave the FEP at any time?
A: Yes. You can exit the FEP, at which time your student would be enrolled under the same terms as students who are not in the FEP.
Q: What happens if my student needs or wants to withdraw from Grand View, for instance to transfer to a different school? Is there a financial penalty?
A: There is no financial penalty. However, your account would need to be brought current, such that you had covered all charges incurred to the date of withdrawal. In some cases that could mean that Grand View would owe you money; in other cases, the reverse.