Rules and Regulations
Return of Federal, State, and Institutional Financial Aid
Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy
Satisfactory Academic Progress Requirements
Financial Aid Probation and Disqualification
Return of Federal, State, and Institutional Financial Aid
(for financial aid recipients only)
If a student withdraws before 60 percent 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). The withdrawal date used to determine the return of federal funds is the date the student notifies the Division of Student Life of her intent to take a leave of absence or withdraw from the College. 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.
The percentage of Title IV funds to be returned is calculated by the number of calendar days not completed within a semester, as defined by the withdrawal dates above, divided by the total number of calendar days in the semester (from the first day of classes for the semester to the last day of finals). For example, if there are 100 calendar days in a semester and the student withdraws on the 25th day, 75 days have not been completed. This may result in the return of 75 percent of Title IV funds received by the student. However, if a student withdraws after 60 percent of the enrollment period has passed, no Title IV funds need to be returned.
Both Mills and the student may be responsible for returning federal funds to their source. Mills will return the lesser of the institutional charges times the percentage of unearned Title IV aid or the total of Title IV aid disbursed minus the amount of Title IV aid earned by the student. The student is responsible for returning the difference between the amount of Title IV aid returned by Mills and the total amount of unearned Title IV aid. In each case, funds must be repaid to the following sources, in order, up to the amount received from each source:
Although Mills will return loan amounts directly to the lender, amounts to be returned by the student are repaid in accordance with the terms of the promissory note, i.e., a student would begin making payments on her student loan after the grace period, if applicable, has expired. Students must repay only 50 percent of any federal grant amounts scheduled for return by the student.
The percentage of Mills College scholarship funds returned to the Mills College Scholarship Program will reflect, at a minimum, the same percentage used to determine the tuition adjustment for which a student may be eligible. However, up to 100 percent of a student's Mills College scholarship funds may be returned to the Mills College Scholarship Program if a student has a credit balance after the adjustment for tuition and/or room and board is made and the amount of unearned Title IV aid due from Mills is returned to the Title IV aid programs. In this event, any institutional or state funds received by the student will be returned to the aid programs in the order listed below, up to the amounts received for each source and for as long as there is an amount to refund:
If there is a credit balance remaining on the student's account after institutional and state funds have been returned, a refund for the remaining credit balance will be issued to the student.
If there is a balance remaining on the student's account after all aid is returned, a billing statement will be issued. Payment is due upon receipt.
The federal formula for the return of Title IV funds is available upon request from the M Center in Carnegie Hall.
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.
Course Load and Credit Completion
• 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 in 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
1st Semester 3.50
Dropped, failed, and incomplete courses cannot be counted when determining the total number of credits completed. A repeated course may be counted when determining the total number of credits completed as long as it is not the result of more than one repetition of a previously passed course or the result of any repetition of a previously passed course due to the student failing other coursework.
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 semester and cumulative GPA of 2.0 to be making 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.
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.
Grade Point Average
Part-time students are expected to complete all credits attempted and to maintain a minimum semester and cumulative GPA of 2.0.
Duration of Student 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. 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 visit (study abroad), domestic visit, international exchange, or domestic exchange program is not a basis for extending financial aid eligibility an additional semester(s).
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 financial 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 satisfactory 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.
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, by the end of that semester, to the financial aid credit and GPA benchmarks outlined in the terms of her probation.
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