Institutions are required to have written policies and procedures for administering the Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grant (FSEOG). The guidance below should assist you in developing a policy and procedure for your institution. Take the time to read and develop one now if you do not already have one in place. Don’t get caught in a program review or audit without one!
The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) provides assistance to exceptionally needy undergraduate students. Students are exceptionally needy if they have the lowest EFCs. A priority must be given to Pell Grant recipients.
Schools have more latitude in selecting and awarding recipients of FSEOG funds than you do when awarding Pell or Direct Loans. However, there is certain criteria that must be considered, and in order to receive FSEOG, students must meet the general eligibility requirements that apply to all federal student aid recipients.
In general, if any part of the school’s allocation is directly or indirectly based on the financial need of independent students or students who are attending part-time, then you must offer a reasonable proportion of the FSEOG allocation. This requirement includes part-time students at eligible additional locations, as well as part-time students on the main campus. A policy that excludes part-time or independent students is not acceptable.
The maximum FSEOG for a full academic year is usually $4,000. The minimum FSEOG amount is $100, but you may prorate this amount if the student is enrolled for less than an academic year.
The FSEOG maximum award for a student applies to both the federal share and the required non-federal share. The FSEOG federal dollars awarded to a student are considered to be 75 percent of that student’s total FSEOG award, and the school must account for the remaining 25 percent non-federal share, regardless of the type of school resources used and the method used to match.
When awarding FSEOG funds for an award year, you must first select students with the lowest expected family contributions (EFC) who will also receive Pell Grants in that award year. This group is known as the FSEOG first selection group.
If you have remaining FSEOG funds after making awards to all Pell Grant recipients for that award year, you must next select students with the lowest EFCs who are not receiving Pell Grants. This group of students is known as the FSEOG second selection group.
A school would not be in compliance if it awards FSEOGs on a first-come, first-served basis or were it to arbitrarily set expected EFC benchmarks (cutoffs) from which it would select FSEOG recipients. Such a practice might exclude otherwise eligible students from the selection process.
Your selection procedures may specify categories of students to ensure that the students in each category have an opportunity to be awarded FSEOG funds. Categories may be based on class standing, enrollment status, program, date of application, or a combination of factors. You may choose to assign a percentage or dollar amount of FSEOG funds to each category; there is no requirement to make the percentage or dollar amount proportional to the need of students in a particular category or even to the number of students in the category. However, categorization may not be used to exclude certain students or groups of students from consideration. If you know that your school’s funds are so limited as to effectively exclude year after year categories that come later in the sequence, your school may not be in compliance with the “reasonably available” provision.
Your school’s written selection procedures must ensure that FSEOG recipients are selected on the basis of the lowest EFC and Pell Grant priority requirements over the entire award year. If your school enrolls students as often as monthly or weekly, FSEOG funds can be reserved for use throughout that award year (on the basis of your school’s experiences from previous periods), and selection practices can be applied in a manner that would assure a reasonable consistency over the entire award year.