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General Policies

Colorado State University-Pueblo makes every attempt to inform students about important policies related to financial aid. We want to make sure you know all of your rights and responsibilities.

Please become very familiar with these policies so that you are well informed about how your academic decisions will impact your financial aid.

As an institutional member of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), CSU-Pueblo follows the NASFAA Code of Conduct.

At Colorado State University-Pueblo, we strive to meet the financial need of students by maximizing the use of our federal, state, and institutional funding. Our office explores funding sources in the following priority:

  1. Grants and scholarships
  2. Work study programs
  3. Low interest loans

Policies

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    Student's Rights and Responsibilities

    As a student at CSU-Pueblo you have the right to:

    • Know all the types of financial assistance available to our students - including federal, state, and institutional sources.
    • Change or decline any financial aid awarded.
    • Appeal financial aid eligibility, including a financial aid award.

    As a student at CSU-Pueblo you have the responsibility to:

    • Accurately and honestly complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and CSU-Pueblo Scholarship Application each year by the priority deadline of March 1.
    • Use financial aid solely for expenses related to attendance at CSU-Pueblo.
    • Be admitted in a degree-seeking program in order to receive financial aid.
    • Maintain at least 6 credit hours of enrollment per semester to receive financial aid.
    • Keep all contact information up to date with CSU-Pueblo.
    • Notify Financial Aid if you are attending two schools at the same time (you may not receive financial aid at two schools at the same time).
    • Read and understand the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy, the Withdrawal Policy and other general policies related to financial aid.
    • Officially withdraw from CSU-Pueblo if you are unable to attend classes.
    • Report all scholarships that you receive to Financial Aid (all scholarships are counted as part of your financial aid and may impact other financial aid).
    • Review and be aware of all Student Billing policies.
    • Monitor your CSU-Pueblo e-mail account for important Financial Aid information.
    • View your financial aid, balance due, and other individual student information via PAWS.
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    Financial Aid Appeal Procedure

    Although the formula used to determine eligibility for financial aid is generally the same for all applicants, there are certain instances where some flexibility may be employed. Examples include special circumstances that might affect a student's dependency status, missed deadlines, an award which may not meet your cost of education, a significant change in your family's income due to unemployment or change of employment, or significant medical expenses. Contact Financial Aid and discuss your situation with a Financial Aid Counselor, who will determine the best solution. This may include completing a Financial Aid Appeal form, to be provided by a Financial Aid Counselor. Financial Aid Appeals must include a written explanation accompanied by any supporting documentation. Please be advised that we cannot adjust your EFC due to lifestyle choices or consumer decisions which are generally within your control and/or are not directly associated with going to school (e.g., automobile loan payments, individual leases or mortgages, insurance, utility payments, pet expenses, etc.).

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    Financial Aid Committee

    The state of Colorado requires that each institution receiving state-funded student aid have a Financial Aid Committee to advise the Financial Aid Director regarding institution policies. In addition to those duties, at CSU-Pueblo the Financial Aid Committee also acts on Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) appeals, some scholarship award decisions and appeals, and serves in an advisory capacity on general financial aid policies and procedures. The Financial Aid Committee consists of two students, two faculty, two staff, and two Financial Aid Counselors.

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    Merit Policy

    Financial aid awards are based primarily on need, but also merit as funding allows. The merit awards may include funding from the State of Colorado, CSU-Pueblo or both. Academic performance is the chief consideration for merit awards, although other factors may be considered.

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    Award Schedule

    New students entering fall semester are awarded beginning in March each year. New students will receive a financial aid award letter once all Admissions and financial aid application requirements are completed. The award letter contains instructions on how to acknowledge the terms and conditions of your award online (see below). Please note that financial aid will not disburse until the acknowledgment is completed online.

    Currently enrolled students returning for the fall semester are awarded in mid-May each year, after the conclusion of the spring semester. Students may view their application status and award online (see below), and an e-mail message is sent to CSU-Pueblo e-mail accounts whenever there are outstanding requirements or action has been taken. Please note that financial aid awards will not disburse until the terms and conditions are acknowledged online through PAWS.

    PAWS - Personal Access to Web Services, allows students to access a variety of new Web student services, including the ability to:

    • View/Print Financial Aid application status, award, and disbursements.
    • View/Print student employment disbursements, and student payroll check/stub details.
    • View/Print a summary of their disbursements from grant/scholarships, loans, and student employment per semester.
    • View their current bank EFT (Electronic Fund Transfer) account information and stop fund transfer into the account.

    Please note that PAWS is only available to those students who have been assigned a Personal Identification Number (PID).

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    Disbursement

    The following criteria must be satisfied before financial aid will be applied toward the student account or disbursed to the student:

    • Must sign and return all requested documents to Financial Aid
    • Must be admitted to the University in a degree-seeking program
    • Must be enrolled in a minimum of credit hours for particular financial programs
    • Must pay any prior balance to the University
    • Must not be on academic or financial aid suspension
    • First-time Federal Direct Loan borrowers must complete a Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling.

    Your financial aid funds will be used to pay for your tuition, fees, room, and board. If any funds remain, they can be electronically transferred to a designated student checking account prior to the beginning of each semester. You may complete a Direct Deposit form and return it to Financial Aid to have the funds automatically deposited into your designated account.

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    Distance Education

    The Office of Extended Studies offers a variety distance education courses for the student who needs flexibility in their schedule. Listed below are types of courses that may be covered by financial aid:

    Traditional Courses are offered at various extension sites, which can be viewed on the Extended Studies website. Students may qualify for financial aid while taking these traditional courses as long as they are admitted to the University as a degree-seeking student.

    Independent Study Courses are basically home study courses that allow students a great amount of flexibility. Although this is the best method of study for some students, it is important to take note of specific limitations and rules required by the federal government concerning how financial aid is administered:

    • You may only receive financial aid for correspondence courses if you are enrolled in a degree-granting program.
    • A student enrolled solely in correspondence courses cannot be considered more than a half-time student no matter how many credits the student is taking.
    • Students enrolled in correspondence courses are only eligible to receive financial aid to cover the costs of tuition, fees, books, and supplies.
    • Financial aid will only cover courses offered by Colorado State University-Pueblo.
    • Students may only receive Federal Pell Grant disbursements upon completing at least one-half (50%) of their coursework and no later than the last day of the published end of the semester (see Semester Notes).
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    Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

    As a standard for participating in any federal student aid program, CSU-Pueblo is required by the U.S. Department of Education to apply reasonable standards for measuring whether a student is making progress toward a degree. The state of Colorado also requires that students meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in order to receive any state-funded student assistance. Both of these requirements are met and apply to CSU-Pueblo institutional financial aid eligibility by measuring student academic performance at the end of each payment period (period of enrollment) against the following qualitative and quantitative standards:

    Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA)

    2.0 for undergraduate programs, 3.0 for graduate programs

    Completion Percentage (Pace)

    At least 67%* of all credit hours attempted must have successfully passing grades (all students must complete coursework with successfully passing grades by the end of each period of enrollment or put both current and future financial aid eligibility at risk). Successfully passing grades are S or D- and higher; all others (U, F, W, IN, IP, NC, and repeated coursework - see below) count as unsuccessful credit hours attempted.

    * Please note that for the 2013 / 2014 academic year (through Summer session 2014), the Completion Percentage (Pace) requirement is 75%.

    Course repetition

    Students are allowed to repeat a course and have it count toward enrollment for financial aid eligibility only once. Each attempt at the course, however, will count toward a student's pace, and all prior attempts with lower grades will count as unsuccessful credit hours attempted. Please note this is specifically in reference to repeating identical coursework at CSU-Pueblo. Credits accepted as transfer credits that may count as equivalent to coursework offered here at CSU-Pueblo do not count as course repetition.

    Withdrawals

    Withdrawals do not affect a student's cumulative GPA for SAP, but count as credit hours attempted toward both pace and maximum time frame.  Please note that a withdrawal (grade of “W”) has great distinction from courses which are simply dropped (no grade and no record of attempt).

    Unofficial Withdrawals*

    Students who do not earn any passing grades for the period of enrollment (the grade point average for the semester is 0.0) and do not complete the Official Withdrawal process are placed on Financial Aid Suspension (see Evaluation below for more details on Financial Aid Suspension).

    * Please note that this portion of the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy becomes effective with the Fall 2014 semester.

    Incompletes

    At the time of evaluation (the end of each period of enrollment), Incompletes (grade of "I") do not affect a student's cumulative GPA for SAP, but count as credit hours attempted toward both pace and maximum time frame. Students with grades of Incomplete which become new letter grades prior to or during a subsequent period of enrollment and that may affect financial aid eligibility for that period of enrollment can contact Financial Aid for further evaluation.

    Transfer credit

    Transfer credit does not count toward a student's cumulative GPA for SAP, but does count as both attempted and completed credit hours (100%) toward pace and maximum time frame.

    Maximum time frame

    Undergraduate students - attempted credit hours may not exceed 150% of the educational program

    Graduate students - attempted credit hours may not exceed 100% of the educational program

    Note that both Pace and Maximum time frame are measured in credit hours only, regardless of full time or part time attendance.

    Evaluation

    All students enrolled at CSU-Pueblo are evaluated for SAP at the end of each period of enrollment, after the Registrar's Office has released official grades. Students can find their SAP status within the Financial Aid menu on PAWS. Listed below are each status and definition:

    • Eligible: Student is eligible for financial aid. This category may include students with no SAP issue at all, students who have appealed successfully and have successfully completed their Probation period of enrollment, students who have successfully completed their Probation period of enrollment and are following their Academic Plan, and students who have met SAP after being Ineligible previously.
    • Warning: Failure to make SAP, but student is financial aid eligible for one more period of enrollment and must make SAP by the end of that period of enrollment or student will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension. Warning status is not appealable.
    • Suspension: Failure to make SAP after a Warning period or students who Unofficially Withdrawal from a period of enrollment (earn no passing grades for the period of enrollment - see Unofficial Withdrawals above), but student is eligible to appeal. If the appeal is approved, the student can continue financial aid eligibility for another period of enrollment under a Probation status. Students may also choose not to appeal and attempt to regain financial aid eligibility by meeting SAP while paying out of pocket (without any financial aid).
    • Probation: Failure to make SAP, but appeal is approved and student is financial aid eligible for one more period of enrollment, or possibly more if following required Academic Plan (which may include documentation requirements not directly related to academic performance).
    • Ineligible: Failure to make SAP and/or failure to follow required Academic Plan. This status also applies to appeals that are not approved - the student is not eligible for financial aid until cumulative SAP standards are met and may not appeal.

    Appeal Procedure

    All students who have their financial aid eligibility suspended may appeal to the Financial Aid Committee to receive financial aid in a subsequent period of enrollment. GPA, Pace, and Maximum time frame are all appealable. There is no form to complete, and contacting Financial Aid is not required, but you may visit a Financial Aid Counselor during our walk in business hours (8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday - Friday). Appeals must be in a written format, and:

    • Have student printed name, PID, daytime contact information, and signature
    • Have Academic Advisor name, department, and contact information
    • Include information describing why SAP minimum standards have not been met and how the situation has changed so that SAP will be met at next evaluation
    • Detail any extenuating circumstances, including supporting documentation from a 3rd party (e.g., police reports, detailed hospital bill or physician's statement, death certificate, etc.)
    • Include enrollment plans for next period of enrollment (e.g., number of credit hours, change in major, Academic Improvement Plan details, any other academic-related documentation, etc.)
    • Be complete and turned in to Financial Aid by the following priority deadlines for each period of enrollment:
      • July 1 for Fall semester
      • Monday before classes begin for Spring semester
      • June 1 for summer

    Absolutely no appeals will be reviewed after the first Friday of courses for a given period of enrollment.

    Students are notified of their SAP appeal decision via their PAWS account. Financial Aid Committee decisions are final. Students whose appeals are not approved may reestablish financial aid eligibility only by meeting the SAP cumulative standards. Students may appeal SAP only once during their entire enrollment at CSU-Pueblo.

    Academic Plans

    All students who appeal successfully and are subsequently placed on Probation will automatically have a minimum Academic Plan consisting of at least 2.0 GPA and 67% completion rate (3.0 GPA and 100% completion rates for graduate students) within subsequent periods of enrollment. The Financial Aid Committee will further develop Academic Plans for individual students based on the particular situation and content of appeal on a case by case basis. The requirements of these more rigorous plans will be made in writing and signed by the student prior to a subsequent financial aid disbursement, and the Academic Plans will be monitored by the Financial Aid Committee or designee.

    Note that the SAP policy differs from CSU-Pueblo's Good Academic Standing policy (see Catalog), and in particular the difference between an SAP Academic Plan and a Center for Academic Enrichment Academic Improvement Plan. The SAP policy reviews both Pace and Maximum time frame, in addition to GPA, and all attempted credit hours are included in reviewing student eligibility, including those excluded by the Registrar's Office in Academic Renewal situations. These two policies also have separate appeal procedures.

    This SAP policy is effective Fall 2014, and supersedes all other CSU-Pueblo SAP policies published on the web and/or in prior catalogs.

    Resources

    Financial Aid encourages students to be aware of the resources available at Colorado State University-Pueblo to assist those who might be struggling to maintain the required GPA or completion rate for Satisfactory Academic Progress.

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    Verification Policy

    What is Verification?

    Verification is the process of checking the accuracy of information students provide when they apply for financial aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), administered by the U.S. Department of Education.

    Since the effectiveness of the federal student financial aid programs depends on the accuracy of the data students report, schools must verify information provided by students and parents on the FAFSA. The verification of selected applicants applies to the following federal programs: Pell Grant, subsidized Stafford and unsubsidized Stafford loans, Perkins loan, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), College Work Study programs, and all state of Colorado programs.

    What If I Have Been Selected?

    The U.S. Department of Education randomly selects students who must be verified. At least 30% of all students who apply for financial aid will be selected for the verification process.

    Remember - We cannot disburse federal financial aid until the verification process is completed.

    Approximately 2-3 weeks, after completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR). If you completed the paper FAFSA application, it will take approximately 4-5 weeks. The SAR will reflect the information you provided on the FAFSA. Your SAR may also tell you that you have been selected for verification.

    If you are selected, you will need to submit certain financial documents to the Financial Aid Office, as well as a Verification Worksheet that we will provide. The documents will vary, depending on your status as an independent or dependent student.

    The required documents are listed in your PAWS account. You can find the corresponding documents on the Forms sections of the Financial Aid website.

    We consider the SAR to be your notification of verification.

    We consider the SAR to be your notification of verification. We also send out a notification from our office. This will detail the required documents and include the Verification Worksheet.

    Is My Information Correct?

    After reviewing your documents, if we find no errors on your SAR, there will be no changes to the award letter you have received.

    What If Corrections Need To Be Made?

    After reviewing your documents, if we find errors your SAR is electronically sent to the federal processor for corrections. The federal processor will then electronically return your corrected information to our financial aid office.

    You will receive a corrected SAR electronically or in the mail, and if there are no further changes, the verification process is finished. Your award letter may be adjusted due to the changes on your FAFSA that reflect your corrected eligibility.

    What Happens if Verification is not Completed?

    If you do not submit the required documents for verification, you are not eligible to receive financial aid. Remember when you are selected for verification, the federal government requires you to submit requested documentation to the financial aid office.

    IRS Data Retrieval Tool/ Tax Return Transcripts

    Financial Aid will only accept tax return information directly from the Internal Revenue Service. We CANNOT accept individual taxpayer copies of Federal Tax Returns or that of a paid tax preparer. The instructions below apply to each parent/stepparent included in the household listed on the student's FAFSA. There are two ways to submit tax information to Colorado State University-Pueblo:

    IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) available on the student FAFSA under the tax information section.

    Students/parent(s/) stepparent who have filed their current year taxes will be given the option to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when completing the financial information portion of their student's FAFSA application. This option is available approximately 2-3 weeks after electronically filing Federal Income Tax returns and 8 weeks after mailing Federal Income Tax returns.

    • Must have a valid FSA ID when completing the FAFSA.
    • Must have valid Social Security Number(s).
    • Must have filed a current year Federal Income Tax Return electronically 2-3 weeks prior to filling out the FAFSA or 8-11 weeks if Federal Income Tax Returns were mailed, prior to filling out the FAFSA.
    • Must have an unchanged marital status as of December 31, of the previous year.

    Official Tax Return Transcripts.

    If student/ parent(s)/stepparent did not or cannot use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to transfer Federal Tax Return information to the student FAFSA, they will need to obtain an official Federal Income Tax Return Transcript from the IRS and submit it to our office.

    Tax filers can request Federal Tax Return Transcript information free of charge by:

    • Logging onto the IRS website service Get Transcript. Click on the "Get Transcript by Mail"
    • Telephone request by calling 1-800-908-9946
    • Completing a paper request form using IRS Form 4506

    Note on Tax Extensions: If the student or parent(s)/stepparent filed a Federal Tax Return extension:

    • A copy of parent(s)/stepparent current year IRS Form 4868, "Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns". It must be filed with the Internal Revenue Service, and,
    • Copies of parent(s)/stepparent current tax year IRS W-2 forms from each place of employment. If self-employed, a signed statement certifying the amount of each individual's approximate earnings for the current tax year.
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    Withdrawal Policy

    Students who totally withdraw from the University, for any reason, and it is past the drop/add period, must initiate the Official Withdrawal process by contacting the Center for Academic Enrichment. A withdrawal from the University is not considered official until the following three required steps are completed:

    1. Students must obtain an Official Withdrawal form from the Center for Academic Enrichment
    2. Students must speak with a Financial Aid Counselor in Financial Aid
    3. Students must turn in Official Withdrawal form with all required signatures from the above named offices to the Registrar's Office to finalize the withdrawal

    This process ensures proper notification of instructors for grading purposes. Please note that Official Withdrawals will affect the degree Completion Rate (pace) of the student and may affect their eligibility for financial aid. Please review the University's Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy (SAP)

    Students who totally withdraw from the University after the drop/add period through 60 percent of the semester will have their tuition prorated. A federal formula is used to determine the amount of federal financial aid earned by the student, which will be calculated for students who withdraw within 60 percent of the semester based on the percentage of the semester completed. If the student received less assistance than the amount earned, the student may be able to receive those funds, called a Post Withdrawal Disbursement. For grant aid, the Post Withdrawal Disbursement will occur within 30 days of the withdrawal date and for aid requiring authorization (loans) a letter requesting the student's signature will be mailed within 30 days of the withdrawal date. If the student received more assistance than earned, the excess funds must be returned. The amount of federal financial aid unearned will be deducted from the adjusted tuition amount credited to the student's account; however, there may be additional institutional charges that were not covered by federal financial aid and will be reflected in the total amount owed by the student. Students may use the following calculation to estimate the amount of Title IV aid he or she earned prior to the withdrawal date.

    # of days student completed*/ total # of days in period of enrollment = percentage of aid earned
    *Scheduled breaks of five or more days will be excluded from calculation

    Students who complete an Official Withdrawal after 60 percent of the period of enrollment will not have their tuition adjusted or the federal financial aid received adjusted. Please note that federal financial aid received may not cover the total amount of institutional charges owed by the student. Students can review their account balance through their PAWS account.

    Students who complete official withdrawals within 60 percent of the period of enrollment and did not receive federal financial aid will have their tuition prorated based on the day the official withdrawal was initiated by the student through the office of the Center for Academic Enrichment.

    Students who cease attendance from the University during the drop/add period, drop all courses, will receive a 100 percent tuition refund and will be responsible for repaying all of their federal financial aid funds received back to the University. The student is not eligible to receive federal financial aid when they have dropped all courses and no longer attend. Please review the Financial Aid Policies for more information.

    Students who do not earn any passing grades for the semester (the grade point average for the semester is 0.0) and do not complete the Official Withdrawal process are subject to repayment of the unearned financial aid received. Students will be notified by letter advising them of the opportunity to prove their attendance after 60 percent of the semester and that any failing grades were earned by providing acceptable documentation before the stated deadline. Acceptable documentation includes: graded course work dated passed the 60 percent point of the semester, a letter from a class instructor stating that the student was in attendance after 60 percent of the semester and the failing grade was earned, computer-assisted instruction, and/or other course documentation that clearly states the student's name and last date of attendance which is passed 60 percent of the semester. It is the responsibility of the student to provide the requested documentation. Any documentation received after the deadline will not be accepted unless other written arrangements have been made with a Financial Aid Counselor and it is received five days prior to the deadline established by federal regulations for the return of the federal funds. Financial Aid is required to return federal financial aid within 45 days from the date the school determined the student may have unofficially withdrawn. If a student is unable to provide any documentation, an unofficial withdrawal will be processed and a return of federal financial aid received will be based on the midpoint of the period of enrollment.

    When a student has not earned all aid and some must be returned, it will be returned by fund type in the following order:

    1. Unsubsidized direct loans (other than PLUS loans)
    2. Subsidized direct loans
    3. Federal Perkins loans
    4. Federal Plus loans
    5. Federal Pell Grants
    6. Fed SEOG
    7. Federal Teach grants for which a return is required

    Exit Counseling

    For students who are totally withdrawing or dropping below 6 credits of enrollment from the University - you must also complete Exit Counseling if you have ever borrowed a Stafford or Federal Direct Loan, a Perkins loan, or a TEACH Grant from any educational institution. Please visit Financial Aid and speak with a Financial Aid Counselor if you are required to complete Perkins Exit Counseling. (Students seeking information about repayment options, grace periods, and consequences of not repaying your student loan can visit (Student Aid on the Web).

    Resources

    Please be aware before making the decision to withdraw from the University that there are resources available on campus that might be able to assist you through whatever issue is preventing you from successfully completing your classes for the semester.

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    Summer Financial Aid

    Applying for Aid Summer 2016

    Students wishing to receive funds for summer school should submit the required Summer Financial Aid Application and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the current school year by the priority deadline of May 1.

    If you have not already completed a 2015-2016 FAFSA, we recommend that you complete it by April 1 to receive a summer aid award prior to the Student Accounts summer tuition deadline of May 16. We cannot guarantee Financial Aid awards for a FAFSA received after June 1. All Federal Direct or Perkins loan borrowers at Colorado State University-Pueblo are required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Any additional requirements will be listed in the Financial Aid->Documents tab of your PAWS account.

    Colorado State University-Pueblo considers summer school the end of the school year. Therefore, the eligibility of each student is based upon each student's remaining annual limits for grants and loans. Students who receive their maximum grant and/or loan eligibility for the Fall and Spring semesters may not have any remaining eligibility for summer financial aid.

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    Other General Policies

    Students may elect to charge to their student account for the purchase of textbooks if they choose to purchase through the CSU-Pueblo Bookstore. Please note, however, that charging books to the student account does not in any way guarantee that financial aid awarded will be enough to pay for them - and students could incur late charges on any unpaid portion of their bill. It is the student's responsibility to monitor their account through PAWS to make sure their bill is paid in full, including any book charges. Additionally, to charge books, students must not have a previous outstanding balance with the University, and must not be enrolling in correspondence or Independent Study courses.

    Students are not required to utilize this option to purchase textbooks through the CSU-Pueblo Bookstore. Waiting until disbursement and using any excess funds received to purchase books, or simply purchasing books "out-of-pocket" without the use of financial aid are options also available to students. The method of textbook purchase plays no role in a student's financial aid award.

Financial Aid

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