Understanding Your Undergraduate Financial Aid Award

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1 Understanding Your Undergraduate Financial Aid Award The financial assistance administered by the M Center is governed by regulations from federal and state agencies, guidelines established by the College, and various donors who make this aid available. This guide is intended to assist you with questions you may have regarding your financial aid award and/or financial aid policies and procedures. If you have additional questions, please contact the M Center. The M Center is a centralized administrative student service center handling registration and records, financial aid, and student accounts. It is located on the first floor of Carnegie Hall. You may contact the M Center by phone at , or you may financial aid at Table of Contents What information is included in my online financial aid award?... 2 What do I do next?... 2 What are these financial aid awards?... 3 Grants and Scholarships Federal Pell Grants Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants Cal Grants (available to California residents only) Mills Merit Scholarships and Mills Grants Mills Need-Based Scholarships... 5 Self Help Programs Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans Federal Perkins Loans Mills College Loans Work-Study... 8 Other Sources of Aid Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (Federal Direct PLUS Loan) Private Loans Outside Scholarships How are the financial aid awards paid to me? What is the Mills Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy? Course Load and Credit Completion Grade Point Average Enrollment Status Duration of Student Aid Eligibility Financial Aid Warning, Probation, and Disqualification What happens to my financial aid if I withdraw or take a leave of absence? What happens to my financial aid if my enrollment status changes from full-time to part-time? What happens to my financial aid if I change my residency status? What happens to my financial aid if I participate in a domestic visit or international visit (study abroad) program? What is federal verification and how will I know if I have been selected for federal verification? How do I reapply for financial aid for ? Where can I find more information about financial aid?

2 What information is included in my financial aid award? Your financial aid award lists the amounts and sources of aid for which you qualify based on the information provided on your FAFSA and other supplemental documentation. If you or your parents used estimated financial data to complete your FAFSA, you must correct your FAFSA with actual figures from your 2013 federal income tax return(s). These corrections may result in a change in your financial aid award. If you do not understand the terms and conditions of your financial aid award as indicated in the Terms and Conditions of Your Mills College Undergraduate Financial Aid Award document, please contact the M Center to speak with a financial aid counselor. If there are discrepancies with your student information, you must advise our office in writing of the discrepancies. To view the components of your financial aid award in mymills, click on Financial Aid Information. 1. My Cost of Attendance This component of your financial aid award provides a breakdown of the estimated cost of attendance for your enrollment and housing statuses. This is not your bill. Your Mills College bill will not reflect all of these costs. For example, you will not pay Mills directly for books and supplies, personal allowance, etc. In addition, there may be charges on your student bill that will not be included in your estimated cost of attendance. For instance, the Student Health Plan charge has not been included as a cost for dependent students since most dependent undergraduates who have proof of comparable insurance coverage waive this insurance by completing the Student Health Plan Waiver online. The Student Health Plan charge for is $3, Student Requirements This component of your financial aid award provides you with a list of documents which must be submitted and requirements which must be completed before we can process your financial aid. You are responsible for submitting these documents and completing these requirements to ensure the timely disbursement of your aid. Failure to complete these requirements in a timely manner may result in delayed notification of changes to your financial aid award and/or a delay in your ability to obtain access to on-campus housing. Failure to complete all requirements by September 30, 2014 will result in cancellation of some or all of your financial aid awards. 3. My Award Information The Award Overview page outlines your financial aid awards for each term and the total for the academic year. This page also reflects your housing and enrollment statuses. If your housing or enrollment status is not correct, you must notify the M Center, in writing, of the discrepancy. Your financial aid award will be revised upon notification of the change in status. Note: All financial aid awards, unless otherwise noted, are based on full-time enrollment. What do I do next? 1. Read the Terms and Conditions of Your Mills College Undergraduate Financial Aid Award document. The link to this document is included in the notification of your award. This document is also located on the Financial Aid page of the Mills College website. Before accepting your awards in mymills, you must click on the Resources/Additional Information tab and - 2 -

3 acknowledge that you have read, understand, and will comply with the terms, conditions, and requirements indicated in this document. 2. Read all of the information in this guide. Also review the information provided on the Cost of Attendance page, the Student Requirements page, and the Award Overview page under Financial Aid Information in your mymills account. 3. Accept or decline your financial aid awards in mymills as instructed in the Accepting Your Mills College Financial Aid Award document. Before accepting your awards, you must click on the Resources/Additional Information tab and acknowledge that you have read, understand, and will comply with the terms, conditions, and requirements indicated in this document. 4. Submit all required documents listed on the Student Requirements page under Financial Aid Information in your mymills account. 5. Notify the M Center in writing of any aid/resource, i.e. outside scholarships, employer tuition benefits, veterans benefits, vocational rehabilitation benefits, etc. you will be receiving during the academic year. Please note that tuition benefits, such as employer tuition benefits, in combination with tuition awards, such as Mills merit scholarships, Mills Grants, or Cal Grants, cannot exceed a student s tuition amount. If this additional aid changes your eligibility, Mills College will adjust your financial aid award accordingly. 6. Financial aid information will be sent to you throughout your attendance at Mills. It is important that you create a permanent file in which you retain all materials pertinent to your aid e.g., copies of your financial aid applications, federal tax returns, financial aid award information, etc. You will also need to refer to this information when completing future applications. 7. You will need to plan carefully in advance of each semester to ensure that you bring sufficient cash for basic start-up expenses i.e., books and supplies, to begin the semester. If you will be living off campus, you should be prepared to pay, at a minimum, your first month s rent and security deposit even if you are expecting a refund once all of your aid is paid to your student account. 8. You will need to reapply for financial aid each year. In Spring 2015, the M Center will publicize the requirements and deadlines for continuing students for the academic year. What are these financial aid awards? Grants and Scholarships 1. Federal Pell Grants Federal Pell Grants are awarded to students with exceptional financial need. A student s eligibility for a Pell Grant is determined by the information provided on the student s FAFSA each year. Amounts range from $602 to $5,730 and are based on the student s expected family contribution. Pell Grant amounts are contingent on federal funding levels and are subject to change based on Congressional action. The amount of Pell Grant funding a student may receive over her lifetime is limited by federal law to be the equivalent of six years of Pell Grant funding. The six-year maximum applies to all students regardless of when or where they received their first Pell Grant. Since the maximum amount of Pell Grant funding a student may receive each year is equal to 100%, the six-year equivalent is 600%. Students may view their Pell Grant Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU) percentage at Information regarding the maximum amount of Pell Grant funding students may receive over their lifetime is available at Mills is not able to provide additional funding to replace this grant for students who reach their Pell Grant lifetime eligibility limit prior to completing their studies at Mills

4 2. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants are awarded to students with exceptional financial need i.e., those with the lowest expected family contribution. Funds are limited, so it is important that students apply for financial aid each year by the deadline to ensure that they will be considered for this award. 3. Cal Grants (available to California residents only) California residents are expected to apply for these grants each year by completing the FAFSA. Applicants who are not currently receiving a Cal Grant must also complete the state s Cal Grant GPA Verification Form. These forms must be postmarked by March 2 prior to the academic year for which the aid applicant is seeking Cal Grant consideration. The Cal Grant is awarded based on a complex formula of merit and need, and the award amount is determined by the state of California. The Cal Grant amount indicated on a student s award letter is estimated. The final amount for will be determined upon approval of the State budget. Eligibility for a Cal Grant is determined on an annual basis. Students who receive a Cal Grant in a given year may or may not be eligible for a Cal Grant in subsequent years. To be eligible in subsequent years, students must file a FAFSA by the published deadline, have remaining Cal Grant eligibility, pass income and asset limit tests, be making satisfactory academic progress for financial aid, etc. Mills will not be able to replace a Cal Grant if a student is not eligible for this grant in subsequent years; however, Mills will attempt to replace a portion of the amount with scholarship and/or loan to the extent of available funding if the student continues to demonstrate significant financial need. After submitting the FAFSA and/or Cal Grant GPA Verification Form, applicants can check the status of a Cal Grant by logging on to WebGrants for Students at This secure site also allows students to view payment history and to submit school changes online. New Cal Grant recipients will be sent a California Aid Report (CAR) from the California Student Aid Commission. Students who filed a FAFSA and a Cal Grant GPA Verification Form but are not awarded a Cal Grant will receive a Cal Grant Disqualification letter listing the reason(s) for ineligibility. IT IS IMPORTANT THAT NEW CAL GRANT APPLICANTS SEND TO THE M CENTER A COPY OF THEIR CAL GRANT NOTIFICATION LETTER FROM THE STATE AS SOON AS IT IS RECEIVED IF THE CAL GRANT INFORMATION ON THIS LETTER IS DIFFERENT FROM THAT WHICH APPEARS ON THE APPLICANT S MILLS FINANCIAL AID AWARD LETTER. For example, if the Mills Financial Aid Award Letter does not include a Cal Grant A, but the applicant receives a CAR indicating a Cal Grant A award, the applicant should send our office a copy of the CAR. In this case, the student s financial aid award may be revised to reflect this additional resource, and the applicant s Mills scholarship amount will be reduced by the amount of the Cal Grant. Conversely, if the Mills Award Letter includes a Cal Grant A and the applicant was sent a Cal Grant Disqualification letter, the applicant should send our office a copy of the disqualification letter. Please be advised that Mills will not be able to replace an estimated Cal Grant which does not actualize due to the student s failure to complete the application forms by the deadlines or due to changes in the student s eligibility resulting from updates to student and/or parent data on the FAFSA. If the Cal Grant amount actualizes to a higher amount than the amount indicated on the student s award letter, the student s Mills College scholarship will be reduced by the amount of the increase

5 For students who have a Cal Grant B award, the tuition and/or access portion of this award will be credited directly to the student s account unless the student notifies the M Center in writing that she would like a paper check for the access portion of the award. Students who would like a paper check for the access portion of their Cal Grant B award must complete the Cal Grant B Payment Authorization Form available in the M Center. This form may be submitted at any time and authorizes Mills to issue a paper check for the access portion of a Cal Grant award effective for subsequent disbursements. The authorization cannot be applied retroactively and will apply only to disbursements scheduled on or after the date of the authorization. Students may rescind this authorization at any time by providing notification to the M Center in writing. 4. Mills Merit Scholarships and Mills Grants Merit scholarships include the Holmgren Presidential, Presidential, Provost, Faculty, Eucalyptus, Dean s, Arthur Vining Davis, Scheffler, Vera M. Long, Barbara Hazelton Floyd, Caroll Donner, Phi Theta Kappa, and Alpha Gamma Sigma scholarships. These merit awards contribute toward the tuition charges of full-time entering students and are renewable within the guidelines of the Mills Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy (see section titled What is the Mills Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy? on p. 11). The Mills Grant also contributes toward the tuition charges of full-time entering students and is renewable within the guidelines of the Mills Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy. 5. Mills Need-Based Scholarships Priority for awarding need-based scholarships is given to students who have demonstrated financial need and who meet the published financial aid deadlines. Unfortunately, Mills College cannot meet 100% of each student s need. Continuing undergraduates must file a complete financial aid application by the College s published deadline each year for need-based aid consideration during the following academic year. Although late applicants will be considered for Mills scholarship funding, amounts may be reduced to reflect funding levels at the time of application. The application forms and deadlines (subject to change each year) for continuing undergraduates are posted on the Financial Aid page of the Mills College website each January. For the academic year, the FAFSA and the Cal Grant GPA Verification Form filing deadline is March 2, In addition, students selected for federal verification must submit the appropriate verification worksheet and 2014 tax documents. Self Help Programs Most students who receive financial aid from Mills College also borrow and work to meet a portion of their college costs. These self-help forms of aid include Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans, Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans, Federal Perkins Loans, Mills College Loans, and workstudy programs. 1. Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans are low-interest loans available to college students with demonstrated financial need. The annual borrowing limit is $3,500 for first year students, $4,500 for sophomores and $5,500 for juniors and seniors. The aggregate borrowing limit for undergraduates is $23,000 and $65,500 for undergraduate/graduate loans combined. Information regarding Federal Stafford Loans students previously may have borrowed is available at Note: Mills is not able to provide additional funding to replace a Federal Direct Stafford Loan for students who reach their aggregate borrowing limit prior to completing their studies at Mills

6 Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans are not credit-based. The loans are disbursed in two separate payments, and the second disbursement can be made no earlier than the midpoint of the loan period i.e., if a student is attending fall and spring, one disbursement in fall and one disbursement in spring. The Federal Direct Stafford Loan origination fee for loans disbursed on or after December 1, 2013 and before October 1, 2014 is 1.072%. The origination fee for loans disbursed on or after October 1, 2014 is subject to change. This loan program has a deferment provision so that no repayment of the loan is required while the student is enrolled at least half-time at an eligible post-secondary institution. As long as a student demonstrates "financial need" for a Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan which the College must determine using Federal Methodology, the loan is "subsidized" by the federal government; this means that the federal government will pay the in-school interest which accrues on this loan as long as the borrower is enrolled at least half-time in a degree program. Repayment begins six months after the borrower graduates or is no longer enrolled at least half-time. The interest rate for loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2013 and before July 1, 2014 is fixed at 3.86%. The interest rate for loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2014 is subject to change. In late May, new students who have been awarded a Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan will receive additional information regarding requirements for receipt of the loan funds. First-time Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan borrowers at Mills must complete online Direct Loan Entrance Counseling at Entrance Loan Counseling provides students with important information regarding student loans such as borrower rights and responsibilities, interest rates, repayment options, consequences of default, etc. so that they can make informed decisions regarding borrowing. Students must also complete a Federal Direct Stafford Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) at Loan processing takes two to four weeks depending on the time of year. Students who will be using the proceeds of their student loan(s) to pay their college bill must complete all Federal Direct Stafford Loan requirements by July 1 for the fall semester and by December 15 for the spring semester. Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan funds for students who applied by the deadline are typically available to be posted to student accounts within the first 30 days of classes for each semester. Students who decide to borrow through the Federal Direct Stafford Loan program after initially declining their loans must complete all Federal Direct Stafford Loan requirements no later than November 15 for the fall semester and no later than April 15 for the spring semester. Upon leaving Mills College, borrowers must complete Exit Loan Counseling. Exit Loan Counseling provides students with important information regarding their loans, including estimated repayment schedules, repayment and deferment options, consolidation information, etc. 2. Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans are available to students who do not qualify for the Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan or to students who want an additional loan to supplement the Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan. The borrower must be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen. A student does not have to demonstrate financial need for a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan except to the extent that total financial aid (including the unsubsidized loan) cannot exceed the student s cost of attendance for the given academic year. Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans are not credit-based, and the funds come directly from the federal government rather than from a bank or other financial institution. Unlike a Federal Direct - 6 -

7 Subsidized Stafford Loan, interest is charged throughout the life of the loan. The borrower is responsible for the interest from the time the unsubsidized loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. The borrower may choose to pay the interest charged on the loan or allow it to accrue (accumulate) and be capitalized (added to the loan principal) when the loan enters repayment. Capitalizing the interest will increase the amount the borrower must repay. The loan is disbursed in two separate payments, and the second disbursement can be made no earlier than the midpoint of the loan period i.e., if a student is attending fall and spring, one disbursement in fall and one disbursement in spring. The Federal Direct Stafford Loan origination fee for loans disbursed on or after December 1, 2013 and before October 1, 2014 is 1.072%. The origination fee for loans disbursed on or after October 1, 2014 is subject to change. No repayment of the principal is required when the student is in school at least half-time, or during grace or deferment periods, and regular monthly payments begin six months after the student graduates or is no longer enrolled at least half-time. The interest rate for loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2013 and before July 1, 2014 is fixed at 3.86%. The interest rate for loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2014 is subject to change. Undergraduate annual borrowing limits for this program, including any Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan amounts, are as follows: Dependent first year students $ 5,500 Dependent sophomores $ 6,500 Dependent juniors and seniors $ 7,500 Independent first year students $ 9,500 Independent sophomores $ 10,500 Independent juniors and seniors $ 12,500 The aggregate borrowing limit is $31,000 for dependent undergraduates (including Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan amounts) and $57,500 for independent undergraduates (including Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan amounts). Information regarding Federal Stafford Loans students previously may have borrowed is available at Note: Mills is not able to provide additional funding to replace a Federal Direct Stafford Loan for students who reach their aggregate borrowing limit prior to completing their studies at Mills. In late May, new students who have been awarded a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan will receive additional information regarding requirements for receipt of the loan funds. Firsttime Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan borrowers at Mills must complete online Direct Loan Entrance Counseling at Entrance Loan Counseling provides students with important information regarding student loans such as borrower rights and responsibilities, interest rates, repayment options, consequences of default, etc. so that they can make informed decisions regarding borrowing. Students must also complete a Federal Direct Stafford Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) at Loan processing takes two to four weeks depending on the time of year. Students who will be using the proceeds of their student loan(s) to pay their college bill must complete all Federal Direct Stafford Loan requirements by July 1 for the fall semester and by December 15 for the spring semester. Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan funds for students who applied by the deadline are typically available to be posted to student accounts within the first 30 days of classes for each semester. Students who decide to borrow through the Federal Direct Stafford Loan program after initially declining their loans must complete all Federal Direct Stafford Loan requirements no later than November 15 for the fall semester and no later than April 15 for the spring semester

8 Upon leaving Mills College, borrowers must complete Exit Loan Counseling. Exit Loan Counseling provides students with important information regarding their loans, including estimated repayment schedules, repayment and deferment options, consolidation information, etc. 3. Federal Perkins Loans Perkins Loan funds are limited and are awarded to students with exceptional financial need. The student s award letter will indicate the Federal Perkins Loan amount, if any, the student is eligible to borrow. Federal guidelines limit borrowing on this program to $5,500 annually. No interest accumulates on this loan as long as the student is enrolled at least half-time in a degree program. Repayment, with a 5% interest rate, begins nine months after the recipient ceases to be enrolled at least half-time. Depending on the amount of the loan, repayment may extend up to ten years. In late May, new students who have been awarded a Federal Perkins Loan will receive additional information regarding requirements for receipt of the loan funds. First-time Federal Perkins Loan borrowers at Mills must complete online Federal Perkins Loan entrance counseling, a Federal Perkins Loan Master Promissory Note, and a Federal Perkins Loan Request Statement. Continuing students who have been awarded a Federal Perkins Loan and who have completed a Federal Perkins Loan Master Promissory Note previously at Mills need only complete the Federal Perkins Loan Request Statement. Failure to complete all requirements by September 30, 2014 will result in cancellation of the loan offer. Upon leaving Mills College, borrowers must complete Exit Loan Counseling. Exit Loan Counseling provides students with important information regarding their loans, including estimated repayment schedules, repayment and deferment options, consolidation information, etc. 4. Mills College Loans This long-term student loan program, funded by Mills College, is designed for students with financial need who have exhausted their borrowing eligibility through government student loan programs. Borrowers must be registered full-time and be in good financial standing with the College. The student s award letter will indicate the Mills College Loan amount, if any, the student is eligible to borrow. No interest accumulates on this loan as long as the borrower is enrolled fulltime at Mills or, subsequently, in a degree program at another institution of higher education. Repayment with an 8.5% fixed interest rate begins nine months after the borrower ceases to be enrolled full-time. The annual borrowing limit is $2,500. Depending on the amount of the loan, repayment may extend up to five years. Mills College Loan borrowers must complete a Mills College Loan Master Promissory Note, a Mills College Loan Request Statement, and an Applicant Self-Certification Form. Failure to complete all requirements within 30 days will result in cancellation of the loan offer. Upon leaving Mills College, borrowers must complete exit loan counseling requirements. 5. Work-Study All undergraduate student employment at Mills College is considered work-study. A work-study award does not guarantee employment but enables students to apply for an on-campus job through listings available at Career Services. Students who have been offered work-study as part of their financial aid package can come to the M Center any time during the semester (not before) to pick up their Student Employment Agreement. This work authorization form is required to work on campus and must be completed by the student and her employer and filed with Career - 8 -

9 Services before the student begins working. Students who obtain on-campus employment are paid for hours actually worked. Additional information regarding the process of applying for a workstudy position will be provided during the new student orientation program at the start of the fall semester. All student employees must complete or have on file an I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) form and a current W-4 form. These forms will be provided with the Student Employment Agreement. The I-9 form is completed only once, and students are required to provide documents that establish both identity and employment eligibility. New students who have a work-study award and who plan to apply for an on-campus job should plan to bring the originals of these documents to Mills. Other Sources of Aid 1. Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (Federal Direct PLUS Loan) Federal Direct PLUS Loans are available to parent borrowers who have no adverse credit history. The lender is the U.S. Department of Education (the Department) rather than a bank or other financial institution. Parents may borrow up to the estimated cost of attendance, as indicated on the student s financial aid award letter, minus other financial aid. The Federal Direct PLUS Loan origination fee for loans disbursed on or after December 1, 2013 and before October 1, 2014 is 4.288%. The origination fee for loans disbursed on or after October 1, 2014 is subject to change. For Federal Direct PLUS Loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2013 and before July 1, 2014, the interest rate is fixed at 6.41%, and interest is charged on the PLUS Loan from the date of the first disbursement until the loan is paid in full. The interest rate for loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2014 is subject to change. The loan is disbursed in at least two installments, i.e. one disbursement in fall and one disbursement in spring, and no installment will be greater than half of the loan amount. To be eligible to borrow a Federal Direct PLUS Loan, the parent must meet the general eligibility requirements for federal student aid. For example, the Federal Direct PLUS Loan applicant must be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen, must not be in default on a federal student loan, and must not owe a refund on a federal education grant, etc. The student must be enrolled at least half-time in an eligible degree program and must be making satisfactory academic progress for financial aid. A credit check will be conducted, and a parent borrower must not have an adverse credit history. Parents who do not pass the credit check may still be able to obtain a Federal Direct PLUS Loan if they are able to obtain an endorser who does not have an adverse credit history. An endorser is an individual who agrees to repay the loan if the borrower fails to do so. In some cases, a parent may also be able to obtain a Federal Direct PLUS Loan if they are able to document to the Department s satisfaction that there are extenuating circumstances related to the adverse credit history. Parents who plan to borrow through the Federal Direct PLUS Loan program must complete the PLUS Application Process and a Federal Direct PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note at They must also submit to the M Center at Mills a Federal Direct PLUS Loan Request Statement. General information about the Federal Direct PLUS Loan program also is available at

10 2. Private Loans Private loans are offered by a number of lenders and may assist with college expenses that may not be covered by federal loan programs. Private loans typically are credit-based with a range of interest rates and fees. Students should determine the interest rate of, and any fees associated with, a private loan before accepting the loan. Private loans may have higher fees and/or interest rates than federal loans, and many have variable interest rates that can increase or decrease over time, depending on market conditions. The interest rate on a private loan may depend on the borrower s credit rating. Private loans which are approved for a student s first year of attendance will not necessarily be approved for all years of attendance. Private loans which must be certified by the College can be certified for a maximum of the student s estimated cost of attendance, as indicated on the student s financial aid award letter, minus other aid the student will be receiving for the academic year. The process of applying for a private loan can take several weeks. Students who plan to use private loan funds to assist with the balance due on their student account or to assist with living expenses should start the application process in June. Students should contact the private student loan lender or the M Center if they have questions about a private student loan. Note: Federal student loans are required by law to provide a range of flexible repayment options including, but not limited to, income-based repayment and income-contingent repayment plans, and loan forgiveness benefits, which other student loans, i.e. private loans, are not required to provide. Federal Direct Loans are available to students regardless of income. 3. Outside Scholarships Students receiving financial aid of any kind in addition to the resources identified on the enclosed financial aid award letter are expected to notify the M Center immediately in writing. Note: In many instances, an adjustment will be made to an applicant s financial aid award (in keeping with government regulations) to reflect the improvement of the applicant s resources. Although private, outside scholarships may result in a dollar for dollar reduction in the aid offer, it is the policy of Mills to allow 100% of the outside scholarship to meet any unmet need. Once there is no unmet need, 50% of the private outside award (not used to meet unmet need) will be used to reduce self-help (loan or job) sources and 50% to reduce Mills scholarship. For this reason, private outside awards can be a good source for students to supplement their Mills College financial aid awards and to reduce their reliance on student loans or job earnings during the academic year. If the applicant s financial aid award lists an "Outside Organization Scholarship, it is because the applicant has advised us that the applicant is a potential recipient of such funds. An applicant should notify the M Center in writing if she knows that she will not be awarded these monies so that her award may be revised. Mills is not able to provide additional funding to students whose Outside Organization Scholarship does not actualize. How are the financial aid awards paid to me? All of the federal, state and institutional scholarships/grants/loans are paid directly to a student s account upon completion of all requirements. The aid is applied against Mills College charges first. If there is a credit balance after Mills charges have been paid, the student will receive a refund. Exception: If the disbursement of a Federal Direct PLUS Loan results in a credit balance on a student s account, the refund will be sent to the parent borrower unless the parent borrower authorizes Mills to hold the funds or release them to the student. Work-study earnings are paid to students semi-monthly upon submission of signed timesheets

11 What is the Mills Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy? In keeping with government regulations and Mills policy, financial aid recipients must make satisfactory academic progress toward a degree or certificate in order to receive institutional, federal and/or state aid. Progress is monitored each semester in accordance with the policy outlined below. 1. Course Load and Credit Completion The normal undergraduate course load at Mills College is 4.25 credits per semester. Accordingly, students are expected to complete: 8.5 credits by the end of the first year; 17 credits by the end of the second year; 25.5 credits by the end of the third year; and 34 credits by the end of the fourth year. A financial aid recipient who currently is making satisfactory academic progress can enroll for less than 4.25 credits for a given semester without jeopardizing aid eligibility for that semester as long as the student enrolls for a minimum of 3.5 credits. An aid recipient enrolling in fewer than 3.5 credits will jeopardize eligibility for federal and state grants, Mills scholarship and grant funds, and possibly loan funds; therefore, students giving any consideration to enrolling in fewer than 3.5 credits must submit a written explanation of their circumstances to the M Center and should meet with a financial aid staff member to ensure that they understand how their aid eligibility would be affected. To be making satisfactory academic progress for financial aid, a student must have completed a minimum number of credits by the end of each semester. The total number of credits includes any transfer credits accepted by Mills. Accordingly, students must meet the following credit benchmarks to remain in good academic standing for financial aid purposes. Semester Total number of credits a student must have completed by the end of each semester Dropped, failed, and incomplete courses cannot be counted when determining the total number of credits completed. Students who are planning to take a reduced course load due to disability will need to submit an academic plan (forms are available in the Division of Student Life) to the M Center before the end of the second week of classes for the semester, complete the number of credits indicated in the academic plan, and maintain a minimum 2.0 semester and cumulative GPA to maintain satisfactory academic progress for financial aid. Any changes to the academic plan for a given semester should be submitted before the end of the second week of classes, as changes made to the academic plan after the second week of classes will not be considered in determining the number of credits which must be completed by the end of that semester

12 Other issues, such as leaves of absence during a semester, will be reviewed by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee upon receipt of a petition from the student. 2. Grade Point Average To be making satisfactory academic progress for financial aid purposes, a student must maintain a minimum semester and cumulative GPA of Enrollment Status Students must be enrolled full-time to be considered for Mills College scholarship or grant assistance. Part-time students are expected to complete all credits attempted and to maintain a minimum semester and cumulative GPA of Duration of Student Aid Eligibility Entering first-year students pursuing a bachelor s degree at Mills are expected to graduate after completing the equivalent of eight semesters of course work. Changes in anticipated degree date do not automatically extend a student s financial aid eligibility. For transfer students, the number of semesters of aid eligibility is established by the initial graduation date defined by the M Center upon entrance to Mills. The M Center reviews each transfer student s previous college course work and establishes an anticipated degree date for the student. A transfer student is eligible for financial aid for only the number of semesters remaining to the original anticipated degree date for a first baccalaureate degree. Changes in anticipated degree date do not automatically extend a student s financial aid eligibility. Note: All transfer students are strongly advised to meet with their faculty advisors and visit the M Center during their first semester of enrollment to confirm any change in their anticipated degree date. Students in the Nursing Program are eligible for financial aid for a maximum of four semesters while attending Mills College. For transfer students, the number of semesters of eligibility is established by the initial expected completion date defined by the M Center upon entrance to Mills. Financial aid received at Mills College is not transferable for attendance at Samuel Merritt University. Upon enrollment at Samuel Merritt University, students are subject to the tuition, fees, and financial aid policies of Samuel Merritt University. Financial aid eligibility for all undergraduate students continues only to the original expected date of graduation for a first baccalaureate degree. For example, a request to extend a graduation date in order to complete a second major or to participate in an international visiting (study abroad), domestic visiting, international exchange, or domestic exchange program is not a basis for extending financial aid eligibility an additional semester(s)

13 5. Financial Aid Warning, Probation, and Disqualification An aid recipient who is placed on academic probation by the College or who fails to meet the financial aid credit and/or GPA benchmarks during a given semester will be placed on Financial Aid Warning status for the upcoming semester. A student may continue to receive financial aid during the semester in which she is placed on Financial Aid Warning status but will lose her eligibility for financial aid if she has not restored herself to the financial aid credit and GPA benchmarks by the end of that semester. Exception: Students who fail to complete a given semester and/or fail to receive at least one passing grade in a given semester will be disqualified from financial aid eligibility for subsequent semesters without first being placed on Financial Aid Warning status. A student who fails to meet the credit and/or GPA benchmarks at the end of a semester in which she has been placed on Financial Aid Warning status is subject to Financial Aid Disqualification. A student who has been disqualified for financial aid purposes is no longer eligible to receive federal, state, or institutional financial aid. A student denied financial aid due to lack of satisfactory academic progress will not be considered for reinstatement of financial aid eligibility until minimum GPA and credit completion standards have been met. The student must also meet satisfactory academic progress standards during semesters in which she does not receive aid. A student requesting reinstatement of aid eligibility after a period of ineligibility must submit to the M Center a written request for a review of her progress toward meeting the academic standards for financial aid eligibility. The student should include in this request the total number of credits completed, her semester GPA, and her cumulative GPA to demonstrate that she has restored herself to the credit and GPA benchmarks. The student must outline any extenuating circumstances which affected her ability to meet the credit and/or GPA benchmarks in the previous semester(s). She must also explain how the circumstances have changed and indicate how the current circumstances will enable her to meet academic progress standards in the upcoming semester. Appeals regarding decisions made according to the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy should be addressed to the Financial Aid Appeals Committee and submitted to the M Center. Circumstances which may warrant an exception to the satisfactory academic progress standards include serious illness, injury, or death of a family member. The appeal must include a written statement from the student outlining the extenuating circumstances which affected the student s ability to meet the credit and/or GPA benchmarks and documentation in support of the appeal, i.e., a letter from a medical professional for medical circumstances. The appeal must also include an explanation of how the circumstances have changed and how the current circumstances will enable the student to meet the satisfactory academic progress standards in the upcoming semester. The deadline to appeal decisions made according to the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy is the end of the second week of the semester. The deadline for the Fall 2014 semester is September 10, For the Spring 2015 semester, the deadline is February 4, Students for whom an appeal has been approved will be placed on Financial Aid Probation status. A student may continue to receive financial aid during the semester in which she is placed on Financial Aid Probation status but will lose her eligibility for financial aid if she has not restored herself to the financial aid credit and GPA benchmarks outlined in the terms of her probation

14 What happens to my financial aid if I withdraw or take a leave of absence? A student who intends to take a leave of absence or withdraw from Mills must file the Undergraduate Petition for Leave of Absence or Withdrawal form with the Division of Student Life, Cowell Building. Once a student has completed this procedure for leave of absence/withdrawal from Mills, the College is required to use the leave of absence/withdrawal date to determine the financial aid ramifications of the student s leave of absence/withdrawal, including the possibility of a balance due on the student s account. If a student withdraws before 60% of the enrollment period (semester) has passed, federal regulations require that Title IV funds be returned to the programs according to a prorated schedule. Title IV funds include Direct Stafford Loans, Perkins Loans, Direct PLUS Loans, Pell Grants, and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG). However, if a student leaves without beginning the Mills official withdrawal process or providing notification of her intent to withdraw, the withdrawal date will be the 50 percent point in the semester unless Mills determines the last date of an academically related activity of the student. Refer to the current college catalog for the complete Return of Federal, State, and Institutional Financial Aid policy. Students who have a balance due after the adjustments have been made to their student accounts are responsible for making payment arrangements for their outstanding balance with the College. All college services, including transcripts and readmission, will be withheld until the student account is paid in full. What happens to my financial aid if my enrollment status changes from full-time to part-time? When a student changes her enrollment status from full-time to part-time in any given semester, her financial aid awards may be reduced. The change in enrollment also may impact the student s ability to meet the satisfactory academic progress requirements to maintain financial aid eligibility for future semesters. Note: Dropping to part-time may also result in an adjustment to tuition charges as outlined in the college catalog. Students should consult with a financial aid counselor before changing their enrollment status to part-time. What happens to my financial aid if I change my residency status? Students who are considering changing from resident status to non-resident status in the middle of an academic year should be aware that the residence agreement is a binding contract for the entire academic year. Request for release from the agreement must be made in writing to Housing Management and Dining Services. Only exceptional cases are approved. A student s financial aid award may be reduced due to a change in residency status. Students should make an appointment to see a financial aid counselor to discuss the impact on their financial aid award. What happens to my financial aid if I participate in a domestic visit or international visit (study abroad) program approved by Mills? For the academic year, federal and state aid sources will transfer to a Mills-affiliated domestic visit or international visit program, but institutional scholarships and grants, i.e. Mills College merit scholarships, Mills College need-based scholarships, and Mills College grants, cannot be transferred toward the cost of a domestic or international visit program. Mills policy regarding the availability of financial aid

15 for domestic and international visit programs is subject to change on an annual basis. Additional information regarding financial aid for study abroad programs is available on the Mills College website. What is federal verification and how will I know if I have been selected for federal verification? Federal verification is a process mandated by the federal government in which students and/or parents are required to provide secondary documentation to support data reported on the FAFSA. Approximately 30% of students are selected by the federal government for this verification review and are notified of their selection on their Student Aid Reports. Students selected for verification must submit to the M Center a Verification Worksheet. This form will be available on the Mills College website in late March. Students selected for federal verification also are required to submit IRS Tax Return Transcripts of 2013 information for the student (and parent if the student is dependent and provided parent data on the FAFSA) unless the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) on the FAFSA is used to transfer tax information from the IRS to the FAFSA. The Verification Worksheet and IRS Tax Return Transcripts should be submitted to the M Center by May 15, Failure to submit the requested documentation by September 30, 2014 will result in the withdrawal of the student s financial aid award for the academic year. The student will be notified in writing by mail or if her financial aid award changes as a result of the verification process. How do I reapply for financial aid for ? Continuing undergraduates must file a complete FAFSA and a Cal Grant GPA Verification Form (only for California residents who do not have a current Cal Grant award) by March 2, Students selected by the federal government for the verification process will need to submit the appropriate verification worksheet and tax documents to the M Center. Where can I find more information about financial aid? This guide is intended to highlight important information regarding your financial aid but does not include all of the federal, state, and institutional regulations that govern the administration of financial aid. Other policies governing the student aid program at Mills College can be found in the Mills College Undergraduate Catalog, the Student Handbook, the Mills College website, and Mills financial aid application materials. Please refer to these documents for further information. For more information regarding federal financial aid rules and regulations, you can contact the U.S. Department of Education at FED.AID or visit their website at For more information regarding California student aid, including Cal Grants, contact the California Student Aid Commission at or visit their website at For more information regarding Federal Direct Loans, visit

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