The Big Switch

Graduation Incentive Plan FAQ

On June 26, 2013, the CSU Board of Trustees approved a 2% tuition increase for all undergraduate students, effective for the Fall 2013 semester.  To help maintain affordability and help undergraduate students remain on track for earning a bachelor’s degree, CSU President Ronald Berkman announced a plan to rebate the 2% tuition increase and to provide a textbook credit for undergraduate students who completed 30 credit hours in the upcoming academic year.  (The academic year is comprised of Fall 2013, Spring 2014, and Summer 2014).  To qualify, students must be in good financial and academic standing.  This FAQ page will help answer questions about the Graduation Incentive Plan.

How does an undergraduate student qualify for the tuition rebate and textbook credit?

  1. There are 6 major criteria required to participate in the Graduation Incentive Plan:
  2. You must be an undergraduate, degree seeking student throughout the full current academic year (Fall 2013 / Spring 2014 / Summer 2014).
  3. You must accrue (earn) 30 credit hours during the current academic year.
  4. You must be in good academic standing with the University.  Good academic standing is defined as maintaining a minimum cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of 2.0 and successfully completing 67% of the credit hours attempted.  Successful completion is defined as earning a passing grade.  Grades of F, U, X, & W and Incomplete will be calculated as non-completions. (For more information, see the Undergraduate Catalog).  This is consistent with the regulations for financial aid eligibility. 
  5. You must be in good financial standing with the University, i.e., your student account balance is paid in full and you have no fines, fees or penalties with any auxiliary office (Parking, Library, Rec Center, etc.).
  6. You must be enrolled (and stay enrolled) in the Fall 2014 semester.
  7. You must purchase, or rent your textbooks in person at CSU’s Viking Outfitters bookstore.  The credit cannot be applied to online purchases.

How much is the tuition rebate?

Each eligible student will be credited $200 on their Student Account for tuition expenses in Fall 2014 semester   This amount was set based on the $184.80 increase to the annual full-time undergraduate tuition.

How much is the textbook credit?

Each eligible student will be credited a maximum of $200 in Fall, 2014 toward textbook purchases or rentals that are made in person at the University bookstore, Viking Outfitters.

How do I sign up?

Students don’t need to do anything to participate in the Graduation Incentive Plan.  The University is monitoring student qualifications throughout this academic year.  Students simply need to continue to remain in good standing both academically and financially and make progress toward graduation.

I have a balance on my student account of under $200.  I know I can register for classes and continue to receive financial aid, but why can’t this incentive money be used to pay off my small balance?

While the University permits students to continue academically with a balance under $200, good financial standing is defined as having a student account balance that is paid in full with zero due to the University.

I don’t plan to enroll at CSU in Fall 2014.  Can my rebate money be used in the Spring 2015 term?

The Graduation Incentive is intended to help assist students’ progress toward graduation.  The most effective method to achieve this goal is to be enrolled full time every semester.  Therefore, students must be enrolled in Fall 2014 and remain enrolled for the entire semester.  This incentive will be reversed and a charge will be added to Student Accounts for students who withdraw during the term.

Why don’t you just send me the money?

The incentive is intended to keep the cost of education affordable for CSU students.  It’s an incentive for students to continue their education, not a reward for prior accomplishments.

I work full time and can’t take 30 hours in a year. Why can’t I be eligible for a pro-rated amount of the incentive?

That’s a great question.  Unfortunately, the incentive program was designed as a program to assist students in a timely pursuit of graduation in 4 years – a goal that requires students to attend full time.

Are there undergraduate, degree-seeking students who are NOT eligible to participate in the Graduation Incentive Plan?

Yes.  This program is designed to encourage academic success for students seeking their first undergraduate degree, while attempting to keep the cost of education to students and their families affordable.  Students who do not pay tuition do not meet the criteria to receive a tuition rebate or textbook credit.  Examples include but are not limited to:

  • Students working on a second (or third!) bachelor’s degree do not qualify.  Only degree seeking undergraduate students working on their first bachelor’s degree are eligible to participate.
  • Students who receive full scholarship or sponsorship may not be eligible to participate in the graduation incentive program.
  • If your status changes during the academic year (for instance, you were eligible for a full athletic scholarship during the Fall term and you were no longer eligible for the Spring term) and you meet all the other criteria, you would be eligible to participate in Fall, 2014.

Can students who are not eligible for the tuition rebate still be eligible for the textbook credit?

No.  The eligibility limitation / requirements are true for both the textbook credit and the tuition incentive.

I need to take a developmental course (e.g. Math 087).  Will my developmental course credit apply toward my 30 credit hours?

If you pass your developmental course, your earned credit will apply toward your 30 hours.

I’m going to be a PSEOP student in Fall Semester 2014 and then be an enrolled student in the Spring Semester.  Do my credit hours earned as a PSEOP student count?

No.  Only credit hours earned as a formal degree seeking undergraduate apply.

I’m an International student.  My tuition is based on the out-of-state schedule. What would my tuition incentive be?

Eligible students paying the out-of-state tuition rate will be eligible for $200 tuition incentive and $200 bookstore credit.

What about study abroad hours or if I’m in a consortium agreement or partnership program at another school?

Hours earned during a study abroad program are eligible toward your 30 hour requirement.  Students who earn credit hours through a cross-registration at another university, participate in a consortium or partnership program or attend another school cannot use those hours earned toward the CSU graduation incentive.

What if I get an incomplete grade during one of the qualifying semesters?  What happens to my eligibility then?

As long as you complete your course requirements and your “X” or “I” grade is resolved before August 12, 2014, and you meet all the other criteria, you’ll be eligible to receive the incentive. 

What if I have to withdraw from a course or from an entire semester?  Can I make up my 30 hours during the Fall 2014 term?

Unfortunately, no.  The incentive program is being monitored for an academic year – Fall 2013 through Summer 2014.  Your hours earned, academic standing and financial standing will be evaluated at a specific point in time.  Students will either meet the criteria or not as of that specific date.  Extensions and exceptions will not be considered.

When will you notify me that I qualify for the Graduation Incentive?

Just before the Fall 2014 semester begins.  We’re anticipating evaluating eligibility as of August 12, 2014.  At that point, all grades from the Summer 2014 term should be submitted.

How will you notify me?

You’ll receive an email to your CSU email address.  Additionally, you’ll see a notice on your Student Account in CampusNet that says “Tuition Incentive Award“ and a credit of $200 will be posted to your account.

How will I know that I am eligible for the textbook credit?

If you get the email and see the notice on your student account in CampusNet that you have a Tuition Incentive Award, that means you are also able to take advantage of the $200 textbook credit at Viking Outfitters.  The Viking Outfitters team will also be communicating to eligible students via their own email messaging system.

What if I usually rent my books?  Does my bookstore credit apply?

Viking Outfitters rents textbooks and using your textbook credit to rent your books will help increase your textbook purchasing power.  Keep in mind that you will be subject to all the terms and conditions of a normal Viking Outfitters rental transaction.

Can I use a different bookstore?  I usually buy my books on-line.

Your textbook credit will be available only for in-person transactions at Viking Outfitters (on the first floor of the Student Center) and can only be applied to the purchase or rental of textbooks.

What if I don’t use all of my textbook credit?  Can the balance be held for me until the next term?

No.  There’s not an effective method for the bookstore to “bank” your credit until a subsequent term.

I’m graduating at the end of Spring 2014. Am I eligible to participate?

If you meet the criteria defined during this academic year, and after achieving your undergraduate degree, you become a degree seeking graduate or law student at CSU, there is a different incentive for you!

The University will make a $400 tuition credit available for you to use within the subsequent five semesters.  So if you graduate in Spring 2014, your $400 tuition credit will be available throughout Fall 2015.