Student & Consumer Information

ACM’s Student Financial Aid Office educates and counsels students and parents on all aspects of financial aid in order to align financial resources with financial need so that the greatest number of students, regardless of financial circumstances, can obtain their education.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is required to receive federal financial aid and based on your efforts to successfully:

  • maintain a certain cumulative grade point average.
  • complete more than 67% of all attempted classes, and
  • graduate before reaching Maximum Aid Time, which is equal to 150% of the published length of your program.

SAP is reviewed at the end of every semester. If you do not meet SAP standards, you will receive a Financial Aid Warning status letter but remain eligible to receive financial aid.

If your SAP does not improve, you will receive a Financial Aid Termination status letter and have all financial aid removed from your account. Your status may be viewed in Self-Service.

Financial Aid Appeals
You may appeal financial aid termination if extenuating circumstances (student illness or injury or that of a direct family member, family member death, family or financial difficulties, or other documented, unexpected circumstances) affected your ability to meet SAP policy.

You must meet with your academic advisor to discuss why you were unsuccessful in the past, what you will do differently in the future, and develop your Academic Compliance Plan.

Your appeal consists of your Academic Compliance Plan and a Financial Aid Information Sheet. Both forms must be completed in their entirety and submitted before the Appeal Information Sheet deadline.  

Student Financial Aid Code of Conduct

Our Student Financial Aid Office is a member of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), the Eastern Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, and the Delaware-District of Columbia-Maryland Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.

We act in the best interest of students and their families. All actions and decisions are bound by NASFAA's Statement of Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct for Institutional Financial Aid Professionals and the State of Maryland’s Code of Conduct, copies of which are available in the SFAO, and regulations developed by the U.S. Department of Education.

We participate in the Federal Direct Student Loan Program with the U.S. Department of Education is its lender for all Title IV Federal Student Loans.
Should the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) be revived, we will adhere to the 2009 code of conduct policy approved by the ACM Board of Trustees.

The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 requires educational institutions participating in a Title IV Loan Program to adhere to a Code of Conduct, which prohibits conflicts of interest between Allegany College of Maryland's (ACM) officers, employees, and agents with any lender, lender servicer, and/or guarantor. Sections 487 (a) (25) and 487 (e) of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, require the development, administration, and enforcement of a Student Financial Aid Code of Conduct to govern federal student aid programs. Staff members of the ACM Student Financial Aid Office (SFAO) are bound to act in compliance with the ACM Student Financial Aid Code of Conduct, the Maryland State Code of Conduct, and the Statement of Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct from the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA).

Officers, employees, contract employees, trustees, and agents, including alumni associations, booster clubs, foundations, athletic organizations, social, academic, and professional organizations, and other organizations directly or indirectly associated with or authorized by ACM, agree to the provisions of the ACM Student Financial Aid Code of Conduct and will refrain from:

  • Revenue Sharing - No officer, employee, or agent of ACM shall enter into any revenue-sharing or profit-sharing arrangement with any lender.
  • Denial of Borrower's Lender Choice - The ACM SFAO shall not deny or delay a Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) borrower his/her choice of a FFELP Lender or Guarantor. The ACM SFAO shall not assign, through any awarding, certifying, or packaging method, a borrower's loan to a particular lender.
  • Prepackaging Private/Alternative Loans - The ACM SFAO will not package a private/alternative education loan as part of the student's financial aid award, unless the student has signed the FFELP Waiver Form and continues to agree to the terms and conditions of the private/alternative loan. The ACM SFAO may suggest that a student borrow under the private/alternative program if the borrower is ineligible for additional funding, has exhausted the limits of the Title IV loan programs, or refuses to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
  • Accepting Gifts, Goods, and/or Services - No officer, employee, or agent shall solicit or accept impermissible gifts, goods, and/or services from a FFELP or private/alternative lender, lender servicer, and/or guarantor. A gift to any family member of the above mentioned is also not permissible. Gifts, goods, and/or services include:  gratuities, meals, travel, lodging, entertainment (expenses for shows, sporting events, or alcoholic beverages), favors, loans, discounts, hospitality (such as private parties of select training or conference attendees), and in-kind services, such as printing customized consumer information for borrowers with the ACM school logo. ACM SFAO staff may accept only items of nominal value, certain services, and/or certain materials. Permissible gifts would include items such as pens, pencils, notepads, sticky-notes, rulers, calculators, small tote bags, and other individual office supply items.  An employee may accept any general items of value from a lender, lender servicer, and/or guarantor provided that the item is also offered to the general public. ACM SFAO staff may accept informational brochures and can participate in meals, refreshments, and receptions in conjunction with meetings and trainings that contribute to his/her professional development, and conference events open to all attendees.
  • Accepting Philanthropic Contributions - No officer, employee, or agent shall accept philanthropic contributions from a lender, lender servicer, and/or guarantor that are related to the educational loans provided by the lender, lender servicer, and/or guarantor or that is made in exchange for any advantage related to the educational loan. Educational loans here include loans made by ACM under the private/alternative loan program. ACM will not accept scholarships or grants from a lender or guarantor in exchange for FFELP applications, referrals, a promised loan volume, or placement on the ACM recommended lender list.
  • Advisory Board Compensation - ACM employees with responsibility for any financial aid services will not accept anything of value for serving on or otherwise participating as a member of an advisory council or advisory board for a lender, lender affiliate, lender servicer, or guarantor, except that the employee may be reimbursed for reasonable expenses incurred while serving in such capacities.
  • Accepting Compensation for Consulting - No officer, employee, or agent shall accept from a lender or its affiliate any fee, payment, or other financial benefit, including the opportunity to purchase stock, as compensation for any type of consulting arrangement or other contract to provide education loan-related services to or on behalf of the lender.
  • Lender Staff Assistance - ACM will not request or accept from any lender any assistance with call center staffing or financial aid office staffing. ACM may accept from a lender professional development training and training materials, educational counseling materials, or staffing services on a short-term, nonrecurring basis during emergencies or disasters.
  • Competitive Rates Based on Loan Volume -The ACM SFAO shall not request or accept competitive rates on private/alternative loans in exchange for a specified amount of loan activity or in exchange for endorsing the lender's FFELP loans.
  • Lender Affiliated Employment -ACM SFAO staff members shall not accept full time or part time employment with any educational loan lender, lender servicer, and/or guarantor.  Staff members who are approached by these entities shall immediately disclose this information to the SFAO Director.

ACM will not use a Preferred Lender List; however, the SFAO will make use of a Recommended Lender List. The ACM SFAO may request and accept assistance from lenders and/or guarantors to conduct entrance and exit loan counseling. ACM SFAO staff shall always be in control of the counseling sessions and will not permit the lender and/or guarantor representative to promote in any way the specific lender's products or services. ACM will make use of the various lender and/or guarantor's materials and products to aid students in financial literacy.

ACM is committed to providing the information and resources necessary to help every student achieve educational success and will consider the individual needs of each student.

The information contained herein has been provided to all ACM officers, employees, and agents affiliated with this college. In addition, this Student Financial Aid Code of Conduct will be published on the ACM internet site and at least annually, will update the code and inform the officers, employees, and agents of the provisions of this code. Staff, employees, and agents affiliated with this college who fail to comply with this policy will be subject to all applicable disciplinary actions.

Approved by the Board of Trustees July 20, 2009

College Financing Plan
  • What is the College Financing Plan? How is it intended to be used?

 The College Financing Plan is a consumer tool that is designed to simplify information that prospective students receive about costs and financial aid so that they can make informed decisions about which post secondary institution to attend.

The College Financing Plan may be used in place of or as a supplemental cover sheet to an institution’s existing financial aid offer letter. Either approach ensures that families will have an easy-to-read form that enables them to compare institutions in terms of grant and scholarship amounts, net costs and loan and work options to help pay the net costs.

An institution need not use the College Financing Plan every time it revises a student's financial aid package. However, since the College Financing Plan helps students compare aid offers, we encourage institutions to use it when financial aid packages are revised.

  • To whom must I provide the College Financing Plan and when must I provide it?

 Institutions that have agreed to comply with the Principles of Excellence (POE) in Executive Order 13607 (EO 13607): Institutions are expected to use the College Financing Plan to provide the required personalized and standardized form with financial aid information for undergraduate and graduate service members, veterans, military spouses, and other military family members covered by EO 13607. The College Financing Plan should be provided to prospective students who are eligible to receive Federal military and veterans’ educational benefits. It must be provided to those respective students who have applied for Title IV aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This means that students should receive the College Financing Plan prior to enrollment. Many institutions that have agreed to comply with EO 13607 have also indicated to the Department that they intend to provide the College Financing Plan to all of their students, in addition to those receiving veterans’ benefits.

For all other institutions that adopt the College Financing Plan: Institutions are expected to provide the College Financing Plan to all undergraduate and graduate students as part of their commitment to supplying information in a transparent and consistent manner. It must be provided to those who have applied for Title IV aid using the FAFSA. We expect that institutions that adopt the College Financing Plan will provide it to students prior to enrollment.

  • Why should my institution use the College Financing Plan?

 Institutions have a responsibility to be transparent about their costs and the aid available to meet those costs so that parents and students have the information they need to make decisions about how to finance their college education. Ultimately, this information will also help them to understand their expected financial obligations, an increasingly important aspect of higher education financing. The College Financing Plan addresses a critical need to simplify the financial aid process for students, while still providing the necessary flexibility to institutions to provide additional information as necessary.

  • How will my institution’s software provider help to implement the College Financing Plan for the 2020-2021 award year?

 Institutions and their software providers may use the HTML specifications to produce and populate the College Financing Plan using the applicable fields from their existing data systems.

Software providers have indicated that they will be able to help institutions produce the
College Financing Plan. They are confident that participating institutions will be able to implement the College Financing Plan during the 2020-2021 award year.

Additionally, institutions that plan to implement the College Financing Plan without the help of a vendor may use EDExpress, a software application provided by the Department that processes, packages, and manages Title IV student financial aid

  • May we modify the College Financing Plan to remove programs from which a student will not be funded or for other purposes?

 No. Institutions that adopt the College Financing Plan should not modify the form to remove programs from which a student will not receive funding. To ensure that students will be able to easily compare attributes of different institutions, we intend that all components currently on the College Financing Plan will remain on the form.

We recognize that not all of the components of the College Financing Plan are applicable to graduate students. Because graduate students may not receive Federal Pell Grants or Direct Subsidized Loans, we recommend that institutions place an N/A in these fields for graduate students. However, institutions may remove the lines for Federal Pell Grants and Direct Subsidized Loans from the College Financing Plan.

Institutions may add information that is not included in the College Financing Plan format using the box at the bottom of the form to provide supplemental information. Institutions can also use the College Financing Plan as a cover sheet and include additional information about the student’s aid award as part of a separate financial aid offer letter.

  • The Loan options box on the College Financing Plan specifies “recommended” loan amounts. What does this mean?

 You are expected to evaluate the student’s financial circumstances and provide a recommended loan amount, even if it is zero. This may be different than the amount a student is eligible for. In most cases, you will include the loan amount that you recommend on the student’s offer letter.

  • For postsecondary institutions that agree to comply with EO 13607, how does the institution fulfill the requirement to notify incoming students of the availability of, and their potential eligibility for, Federal financial aid prior to packaging or arranging private student loans or alternative financing programs?

 This disclosure requirement is different from the requirement to provide a prospective student with a personalized and standardized form (the College Financing Plan). To fulfill the disclosure requirement, an institution that agrees to comply with the principles in EO 13607 is expected to provide the required information in an easy-to- read format on the institution’s website where financial aid information is located as well as in all financial aid-related materials distributed (in both written and electronic formats) to the veteran, service member, or family member.

  • Whom may we contact if we have questions about the College Financing Plan?

 Please direct any questions about the College Financing Plan to

To help you and your family make informed decisions about financing your education, we recommend using our College Financing Plan – a comparative consumer tool that simplifies college costs and financial aid information. Think of it as your shopping cart for financial aid.

Your individualized College Financing Plan sheet is available through Self-Service (under the Financial Aid section) after you have been awarded financial aid by the Student Financial Aid Office. Carefully consider its contents before making your final decision.

If you have fully completed the financial aid process and you do not see your College Financing Plan, contact us at 301-784-5213.

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