Federal Financial Aid

Types of Federal Programs

Med-Assist School of Hawaii participates in four (4) federal Title IV student aid programs – two grant programs and two loan programs. Grants are forms of gift aid, meaning if a student meets the eligibility qualifications and are awarded these types of assistance it need not be repaid by the student unless a financial aid refund is owed. Loans must be repaid according to the terms of the promissory note that is signed by the student and/or parent, or, as required by federal refund and repayment regulations. The specific types of federal aid programs offered by the school are listed below.

  1. Federal Pell Grant: This is a federal entitlement program whereby all eligible students receive grants according to a federal payment schedule that is based on prior year financial information.
  1. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG): This is a federal campus-based grant program that may be available to Pell Grant recipients. Note: Unlike the Pell Grant and federal loan programs, the FSEOG has a limited funding capacity to the extent that the school may not be able to award all eligible students an FSEOG.
  1. Federal Direct Student Loan (DSL)This is a student loan provided by the federal government. Eligible students may borrow a combination of Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans. The Subsidized DSL is need-based and interest does not accrue while in school. The Unsubsidized DSL is non-need-based and in-school interest accrues immediately. In either case payments can be deferred until after program completion.
  1. Federal Direct PLUS Loan: This is a parent loan provided by the federal government. Eligible parents of dependent students may borrow an amount equal to the cost of attendance less other forms of financial aid (including external aid).


“Verification” is the process of validating the information supplied on the FAFSA. The federal processor which receives the FAFSA may select a student’s application for “verification.” In such a case, federal regulations require Med-Assist School of Hawaii to obtain copies of federal income tax returns from the student and the student’s parent(s) (in the case of the student having filed as a dependent student.) If a federal tax return will not be filed another type of income statement will be requiredOther forms of documentation may also be requested of the student to verify the applicant’s information. Federal regulations also allow schools to select students for review regardless of whether or not the federal processor selected the student for verification. Med-Assist School of Hawaii reserves the right to request for supporting documentation from federal financial aid applicants to verify applicant data.

Federal Aid Governed By Federal Regulations

The information provided in this section is intended to provide a listing of the federal aid offered by Med-Assist School of Hawaii along with some of the very basic policy tenets related to applying for and receiving federal student aid. It does not exhaust the myriad of federal regulations that govern the Title IV federal financial aid programs. In administering its federal aid programs, the school is required to adhere to all applicable federal regulations, many of which are NOT listed here.

Program Eligibility

For vocational schools, federal regulations require that program clock hours be converted into equivalent credit hours in order to meet federal standards for program eligibility and award amounts. In order to be eligible to provide federal student aid, a vocational school’s program must be at least 600 clock hours, or the equivalent of 16 semester credit hours. Furthermore, in order to allow its students to receive the maximum annual federal aid award amounts, a vocational school’s academic program must be at least 900 clock hours, or the equivalent of 24 semester credit hours.

In essence, federal regulations stipulate that all clock hour programs must be converted into equivalent credit hours via a formula. This conversion rate is represented by the following formula:

Number of clock hours in the credit-hour program


The conversion breakdown for Med-Assist’s two academic programs is as follows:

Program Clock Hours Federal Conversion Rate Equals Equivalent Credits Minimum Program Credits Meets Standard Minimum Credits For Full Aid Meets Standard
MA 925 37.5 24.67 16.00 Yes 24.00 Yes
PMC 120 37.5 3.2 16.00 No 24.00 No

Because the Medical Assistant (MA) program meets both of the minimum federal standards, students in this program are eligible to participate in the federal aid program, and moreover, are eligible for the maximum annual amounts allowed for eligible students. As opposed to prorating the annual award amounts for programs that are deemed eligible for program participation, i.e. they provide a minimum of 16 semester based credits, but are not eligible for the maximum annual award amounts due to not being at least the equivalent of 24 semester based credits.Students in the Professional Medical Coder (PMC) program, because the equivalent semester credits do not meet these federal minimum standards, are not eligible for federal student aid. The remainder of this section, therefore, applies only to students enrolled in the Medical Assistant program. 

Applying For Federal Financial Aid

To apply for federal financial aid, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and submit it to the federal processor for processing and transmission to Med-Assist School of Hawaii. This is available online at www.fafsa.ed.gov

Disbursement of Aid

Federal regulations require that financial aid be disbursed in increments throughout a student’s academic program. This is to promote the use of financial aid towards the payment of costs that cover the entire academic program. At a minimum, regulations stipulate that an institution must have two (2) disbursements of aid – the first at the start of classes to cover the first half of the academic program, and the second generally at the mid-point of the academic program to cover the remaining portion of the program.

This second disbursement will be no sooner than at the successful completion of the first half of the program which is defined as when the following has been attained by the student:

  • At least half of the weeks of instructional time in the academic program; AND
  • At least half of the clock/credit hours in the academic program;

To ensure compliance with these mandated requirements, Med-Assist School of Hawaii defines its two payment periods as follows:

Payment Period: 1st Period 2nd Period Totals
Academic Phases: 1 – 4 5 – 7 7 Phases
Credit Hours: 24.50 13.50 38 Credit Hours
Clock Hours: 500 425 925 Clock Hours
1. Disbursement of Aid for the First Payment Period: A student’s aid disbursement will generally be one half of what s/he is eligible to receive for the entire academic program. Provided all application requirements have been met by the student, Med-Assist School of Hawaii will disburse the student’s first period financial aid generally at the start of the academic program but no sooner than 10 days prior to the first day of classes.
2. Disbursement of Aid for the Second Payment Period: Per federal regulations, disbursement of the second half of federal aid, for the second payment period, will not be disbursed until the student completes phase four (4) and only after the completion of half the academic program, which is defined as having completed either of the credit/clock hours for the first payment period as listed in the chart above. A student is considered to have “completed” the credit/clock hours for a class upon satisfactorily completing the course. Mere attendance does not satisfy the completion of the requisite credit/clock hours mentioned above.

a. Satisfactory Academic Progress Review: Disbursement of federal aid for the second payment period is also contingent upon the student demonstrating satisfactory academic progress.

b. 37. Federal  Clock Hour To Credit Hour Conversion Rule:Federal regulations also require that in determining the completion of one half of the program that the federal 37.5 clock hour to credit hour conversion rule is followed. Students therefore must complete the equivalent of half of the program semester credits as determined by this requirement. This is best illustrated by the following procedural example:

Program clock hours:                                                  925

Subtract transfer clock hours:                                       0

Adjusted program clock hours:                                925

Divided by federal conversion rate:                       37.5

Equivalent federal credit hours:                           24.67

Rounded down:                                                               24

Divided by two payment periods:                              12

In the example shown, which reflects a student starting the MA program with no courses transferred in, the student must pass the equivalent of 12 converted clock hours to semester hours by the end of the fourth phase in order to receive the second disbursement. For students who do transfer in courses, the equivalent clock hours serve to reduce the program required clock hours, which is then factored by the 37.5 requirement to arrive at an adjusted program credits which is always rounded down. This adjusted program total is then divided in two to derive the minimum amount of equivalent credits that a student must achieve (again after the fourth phase) in order to receive the second disbursement.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Students receiving federal financial assistance must demonstrate satisfactory academic progress (SAP) according to federal financial aid guidelines. These guidelines are imbued within the school’s satisfactory academic progress policy that is described in “Satisfactory Academic Progress”. In addition, the following policies and procedures apply to all federal aid recipients who must meet federal SAP requirements.

1. Satisfactory Academic Progress Review: A review of SAP for every student will be performed prior to each disbursement of federal financial aid. This is generally prior to the first disbursement of aid (first disbursement) and after the first payment period, which is the conclusion of the first four (4) academic phases (second disbursement), where it is expected that at least one half of the total program hours will have been completed. It should be noted that no review of a student’s SAP is required if at the point of a student’s first disbursement the student has yet to complete an academic phase. Students who are determined not to be making SAP according to the provisions stated in the school’s Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy shall not be eligible for future disbursements of federal financial aid until such time as they meet the standards of SAP.

2. Appeal Process: Students wishing to appeal decisions with regard to satisfactory progress can make an appointment and meet with the FAA. If such a meeting does not satisfy the student, the appeal may then be submitted to the Fiscal Administrator within five (5) days of having met with the FAA. The Fiscal Administrator shall review the appeal and render a decision. This decision shall be final.In determining a resolution to the student’s appeal, the Fiscal Administrator may elect to convene a meeting of the Administrative Committee, which, in addition to the President, includes the Financial Administrator and the Dean/Director of Programs.

3. Financial Aid Probation: Students who believe that their SAP was affected by circumstances beyond their control can make an appointment to meet with the Financial Aid Advisor (FAA) and see if they might be eligible to receive continued assistance under financial aid probation. Financial aid probation may be granted if a student’s SAP has been affected by any of the following conditions:

a. Medical illness.

b. Medical injury.

c. Death of a family member.

d. Other mitigating circumstances.

Students not making SAP who would like to be considered for financial aid probation, must submit a written appeal to the FAA and explain how any of the conditions listed above might have adversely impacted their SAP. Should the FAA determine that a student’s SAP was adversely impacted by at least one of the reasons described and believes that the student will be able to regain satisfactory academic progress during the subsequent payment period, continued financial aid eligibility may be granted under financial aid probation. Financial aid probation may be granted if a student’s SAP has been affected by any of the conditions listed above, AND, it is believed that the student should be able to make satisfactory academic progress during the subsequent payment period.

Return of Title IV Funds

Students who receive federal financial aid and who completely withdraw from the academic program may be required to return a portion, or all, of their financial aid according to federal regulations governing the return of Title IV funds.

When a student withdraws or is dismissed from Med-Assist School of Hawaii, a determination of the potential refund is made based upon the length of time the student was enrolled and the amount of funds earned. This is calculated by determining the percentage of Title IV grant or loan assistance that has been earned by the student and then applying this percentage to the total amount of Title IV grant or loan assistance that was disbursed or could have been disbursed to the student for the payment period as of the student’s withdrawal date. Any assistance not earned is to be returned to the Department of Education.

If a student has completed more than 60% of the payment period, s/he is considered to have earned 100% of the Title IV grant and loan aid received for the payment period, and no funds need to be returned to the Title IV programs.

Med-Assist School of Hawaii will return any portion of unearned Title IV funds for which the school is responsible. It is also the school’s responsibility to inform the student of the amount of unearned Title IV grant aid that s/he must return, if applicable. It is the responsibility of the student, or his or her parent if a PLUS Loan is involved, to repay any unearned funds that the school did not return according to the normal terms of the loan.

Final charges, and what is determined to be what the student owes to Med-Assist School of Hawaii, will be determined according to the school refund policy (which adheres to Hawaii State regulations) and this “Return Of Title IV Funds” policy. If a refund is due, and financial aid has been disbursed, all tuition refunds will be first made to the Title IV programs. To assist the student in minimizing indebtedness, refunds will first be returned to appropriate loan programs in the order of applicable PLUS Loans, then Direct Unsubsidized Loans, and then Direct Subsidized Loans. If the student has taken out no loans, or entire loan proceeds have been appropriately refunded and their remains additional unearned aid to return, applicable federal grant funds shall be refunded in the order of the FSEOG, and then Pell Grant.

The date of determination by Med-Assist School of Hawaii that the student has withdrawn is determined as follows:

  • For a student providing official notification of his or her withdrawal, the date of determination is the date the student notifies the school that s/he withdrew.
  • For a student who does not provide notification of his or her withdrawal, Med-Assist School of Hawaii will make a determination as to whether the student should be dropped and a refund calculated if a student has been absent for over 14 days.
  • For a student who does not return from an approved leave of absence, the date of determination is the earlier of the date the leave of absence ends, or, the date the student notifies the school that s/he will not be returning.

NOTE: For students taking an unapproved leave of absence, the date of determination will be that date that the student began the leave of absence.

Med-Assist School of Hawaii must return Title IV program funds no later than 45 days after the date of determination.

A post-withdrawal disbursement is a disbursement made to a student who has withdrawn but who has earned more aid than has been disbursed. Neither Med-Assist School of Hawaii nor the student is required to return funds when the student is eligible to receive a post-withdrawal disbursement. A post-withdrawal disbursement must exhaust available Title IV grant funds before utilizing available loan funds. A post-disbursement of Title IV grant funds must be delivered within 45 days after the date of Med-Assist School of Hawaii’s determination that the student withdrew. If the student is eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement of a loan, it must be offered to the student, or, in the case of a PLUS Loan, the parent, within 30 days of the date of determination.

To make a post-withdrawal disbursement all of the following conditions must be met:

  • The student’s SAR (Student Aid Report) or ISIR (Institutional Student Information Record) was processed by the federal processor on or before the date of the student’s withdrawal. NOTE: This does not apply to PLUS Loans since a financial aid application (i.e. FAFSA) is not required for a parent to borrow a PLUS.
  • The SAR or ISIR contains an official EFC (Expected Family Contribution).
  • Med-Assist School of Hawaii had certified the loan on or before the date of the student’s withdrawal.
  • The borrower had signed the MPN (Master Promissory Note) for the loan prior to the date Med-Assist School of Hawaii completed the return of Title IV funds calculation.

All student information, regarding either leaving the program before its completion, or, finishing the program but at a later date than first determined, will be processed into the National Student Loan Database (NSLDS) to assure proper loan repayment data is recorded.

Return of Federal Aid Calculation Differs from the School’s Refund Policy

The amount of federal aid that needs to be returned to the federal government is calculated utilizing a federal formula that compares the amount of aid a student received to the apportioned time the student was in school during a respective payment period. This formula is based on federal regulatory policy and is NOT the same as the school’s institutional refund policy. In determining the final adjusted financial charges that a withdrawing student owes, Med-Assist School of Hawaii is required to follow these federal calculation guidelines in conjunction with its own refund policies. The satisfactory return of Title IV funds may in fact result in a remaining balance still owed by the student to Med-Assist School of Hawaii.

Financial Aid Adviser

  • Cameron Benson is our Financial Aid Adviser on site
  • Phone: 808-524-3363
  • e-mail: cbenson@mash.edu
  • Office Hours are from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm