Federal loan regulations indicate that any time a student drops below half-time status (which is 4.5 credits for graduate students), they are no longer eligible for federal students loans and the clock on their 6 month grace period on repayment begins. The student may however still apply for alternative loans to cover the cost of their remaining studies.
Dissertation advisement is a 3 credit course, so if this is the only thing a student is registered for, this rule will apply. However, we can consider the 3 credit dissertation advisement class the equivalent of half-time or full-time study, if this is certified by the department.
In order to submit a certification requesting that the dissertation work be considered equivalent to full-time or half-time study, an e-mail must be sent from the department chair to the Registrar 's office. In order for this to go into effect the student must be registered for at least 1 credit at SHU. The request can only be made for students whose dissertation work is taking a substantial amount of time equivalent to at least half time study. Please note, this cannot go on for multiple semesters without legitimate degree related work (i.e. internships for the counseling program). Once this certification is made and accepted by the Registrar's office, the student will be coded for half-time or full-time equivalency (based on the request). Once this happens federal loan eligibility is still intact and the deferment clock does not start ticking.
April 2, 2012