Applying for Financial Aid
Mills maintains a strong financial aid program. Currently, more than 80% of our entering undergraduates receive some type of financial assistance. As a Mills student, you may continue to receive aid as long as you maintain satisfactory academic progress as outlined in the financial aid policy section of the Mills catalog. In the case of need-based financial aid, assuming little change in your family financial circumstances from year to year, you can expect a similar level of aid for each of your undergraduate years as long as you meet the College's published application deadline. If you are at all concerned about your ability to pay for college, you should apply for financial aid.
Your potential need for financial aid will not affect our admission decision. We select applicants on a "need-blind" basis, though being accepted does not guarantee assistance.
When to Apply
Don't wait until you've been admitted to Mills to apply for financial aid. Priority for financial aid will be given to students who meet the published deadlines. Even candidates who initially do not feel they need financial assistance are strongly encouraged to submit the appropriate application materials by the corresponding deadlines.
How to Apply
To apply for financial aid, students must complete the required financial aid forms and submit them by the deadlines. Note: Students who meet the requirements of AB 540 and who are ineligible for federal financial aid should complete the requirements indicated under the "Financial Aid Application Process for AB 540 Eligible Students" section below.
Students may also request a financial aid packet in four convenient ways:
When completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the California Dream Act Application for AB 540 Eligible Students, use estimated income and estimated tax figures for the previous year if tax returns are not yet completed. Financial aid awards will be adjusted later if the actual income and taxes paid differ significantly from the estimates. The Federal School Code for Mills College is 001238.
Students who meet the requirements of AB 540 and who are ineligible federal financial aid will be considered for institutional (Mills) scholarships and Cal Grants upon admission to Mills and completion of the following financial aid requirements:
The California Dream Act of 2011 became law through the passage of two bills, Assembly Bill 130 (AB130) and Assembly Bill 131 (AB131). AB131 goes into effect on January 1, 2013 and allows students who meet the requirements of AB 540 and who are ineligible for federal financial aid to apply for Cal Grants by completing the California Dream Act Application for AB 540 Eligible Students and submitting a Cal Grant GPA Verification Form (included in the California Dream Act Application). A link to the application will be provided when it becomes available in January.
To meet the requirements of AB 540, a student must:
Financial Aid for International Visit and Domestic Visit Programs
For students participating in a Mills-affiliated international visit (study abroad) or domestic visit program, federal and state sources of financial aid will transfer to assist with program costs. The amount of a student's federal and/or state aid available for this purpose will be determined by the M Center; federal and/or state sources of financial aid will be adjusted according to the costs of the program in keeping with federal and state regulations. Institutional scholarships, i.e. merit-based and need-based Mills scholarships, cannot be transferred toward the cost of a domestic visit or international visit (study abroad) program. Costs for travel usually are not included in published program fees and are the responsibility of the participating student.
Note: A limited amount of scholarship support is available for students planning to study abroad in the Spring 2014 semester. This support is made possible through a donation from a generous Mills alumna. Up to four students will be selected to receive a scholarship ranging from $1,000 to $3,000 for use in meeting the tuition expenses of a Mills-affiliated international visit (study abroad) program. Students will be selected on the basis of financial need. There is no separate application for these scholarships. To be considered, a student must have filed a FAFSA for the correct academic year and have submitted a complete application to study abroad by October 15. Additional information regarding these scholarships is available in the M Center.
Notification of Awards
Students are notified by email when their financial aid awards are ready for viewing online in myMILLS via the Mills Resource Portal.
Types of Assistance
Financial assistance for attending Mills can come from the following sources:
All applicants for need-based financial aid must apply for a Federal Pell Grant. Similarly, California residents must apply for a California State Grant. It is important to note that even though you must apply for all available federal and state financial aid, if you do not qualify for this assistance you may still be eligible for assistance from Mills through our institutional aid program.
Grants and Scholarships
Scholarships and grants from federal sources as well as from Mills and private outside organizations do not require repayment. While most grants and scholarships are based on demonstrated financial need, others are based solely on academic achievement, ability, and promise. In order to be considered for the following need-based federal awards, a student must:
To be considered for need-based institutional scholarships, students must demonstrate financial need, maintain satisfactory academic progress, and have a high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) certificate or have completed a high school education in a homeschool setting approved under state law. Eligibility for need-based institutional funding is determined by a review of income, assets, and household information as reported on the FAFSA or California Dream Act Application, academic information, and available funding. Priority for Mills scholarship funding is given to students who meet the published financial aid deadlines.
Most federal/state grants and need-based institutional scholarships/grants are disbursed directly to a student's account electronically in two separate payments. If all disbursement requirements have been met, the first disbursement is made at the start of the fall semester, and the second disbursement is made at the of the spring semester.
Federal Grant Programs
Two federal programs provide grant assistance based on need.
Additional information regarding federal grants and scholarships can be accessed at www.studentaid.ed.gov.
State Grant Programs
The California Student Aid Commission administers grant programs for undergraduates and is an important source of support for California residents.
Cal Grants replace need-based Mills College scholarships. Mills will not replace Cal Grant funds for students who otherwise would have been eligible for a Cal Grant but who fail to complete the required forms and application process by the deadlines.
To be considered for the Cal Grant program, California residents must file the FAFSA (or California Dream Act Application for AB540 eligible students) and the Cal Grant "GPA Verification Form" by the state deadline of March 2.
Cal Grants are disbursed directly to a student's account electronically in two separate payments. If all disbursement requirements have been met, the first disbursement is made at the start of the fall semester, and the second disbursement is made at the start of the spring semester.
Additional information regarding state grant programs can be accessed at www.csac.ca.gov.
In addition to aid which is based on financial need, Mills offers a variety of merit scholarships which recognize students with outstanding academic and leadership accomplishments. All entering fall-term, full-time applicants who meet the academic or talent eligibility requirements will be considered for the scholarships described below. All admissions materials must be returned by:
With few exceptions, the maximum a student may receive in merit-based scholarship funds is $25,000.
Merit scholarships are disbursed directly to a student's account electronically in two separate payments. If all disbursement requirements have been met, the first disbursement is made at the start of the fall semester, and the second disbursement is made at the start of the spring semester.
Student loans are an important part of financial aid funding for most families. All loans must be repaid under the terms and conditions of the promissory note. Repayment typically is scheduled to begin after the student graduates or is no longer enrolled at the college.
In order to be considered for a Federal Direct Stafford Loan, a Federal Perkins Loan, or a Mills College Loan, a student must:
In addition, Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan borrowers and Federal Perkins Loan borrowers must demonstrate financial need.
Federal Perkins Loans are awarded through Mills on the basis of financial need and availability of funds. Undergraduates are limited to borrowing a maximum of $5,500 per year. Repayment at 5% interest begins nine months after the student graduates or is no longer enrolled at least half-time.
Federal Subsidized Stafford Loans enable students with demonstrated financial need to borrow to help pay for college expenses. 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 $65,000 for undergraduate/graduate loans combined.
The federal government will pay the interest for students while they are 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 rates for federal student loans are published here.
Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loans are available for students who do not qualify for the Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan or to students who want an additional loan to supplement the Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan. These loans are available to students who have first applied for other financial aid including the Federal Pell Grant (undergraduates only) and the Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan program. The interest rates for federal student loans are published here. Unlike the Subsidized loan, however, the government does not pay the interest while the student is in school, and the borrower must make interest payments, or agree to have the interest added to the principal.
Undergraduate annual borrowing limits for this program, including any subsidized Federal Stafford amounts, are as follows:
The aggregate borrowing limit is $31,000 for dependent undergraduates and $57,500 for independent undergraduates (both figures include Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan amounts).
The Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) is designed for parents of dependent students (who have no adverse credit history) to supplement the Federal Stafford Loan Program. Parents who find the expected family contribution to be unrealistic or who seek loan funds to cover a student's unmet need may borrow up to the full cost of attendance minus other financial aid. In most cases, repayment begins immediately and payments are made in equal installments over a period of up to ten years. The interest rates for federal loans are published here.
Mills College Loans are funded by Mills College and are designed for students with financial need who have exhausted their borrowing eligibility through government student loan and/or private loan programs. Funds are very limited and, therefore, loan offers are always subject to availability of funds. Repayment at an 8.5% interest rate begins nine months after the borrower ceases to be enrolled full-time. The annual borrowing limit is $2,500.
Disbursement of Student Loans
Federal Direct Stafford Loans, Federal Direct PLUS Loans, Federal Perkins Loans, and Mills College Loans are disbursed directly to a student's account electronically in two separate payments unless the loan period is for the fall semester only or the spring semester only. If all disbursement requirements have been met, the first disbursement is made at the start of the fall semester, and the second disbursement is made at the start of the spring semester. One payment is made at the beginning of the semester for loans with a loan period of only one semester.
Additional Information Regarding Federal Student Loans
For more information regarding Federal Direct Stafford Loans, Federal Direct PLUS Loans, and Federal Perkins Loans, including repayment plans and estimated monthly payment amounts, please refer to the federal publication "Your Federal Student Loans: Learn the Basics and Manage Your Debt." Additional information regarding federal student loans is also available at www.studentloans.gov and at www.studentaid.ed.gov.
Most financial aid awards for resident students who have a limited work history (those who enter Mills directly from high school, for example) and who have financial need include a campus work opportunity. A work-study award does not guarantee employment but enables a student to apply for an on-campus job through listings available at Career Services. Off-campus job opportunities are also listed with 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 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 Employee Services before the student begins working. All student employees must complete or have on file an I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) form and a W-4 form. These forms are provided with the Student Employment Agreement and must be completed and returned to Employee Services.
Students who obtain on-campus employment are paid for hours actually worked. Total earnings cannot exceed the total annual work-study award. Timesheets must be forwarded to the Payroll Office in Employee Services by the timesheet due dates. Students are paid for hours actually worked as logged on the timesheet. The student payroll is run semi-monthly, and students may choose one of three payment options:
1) direct deposit to a personal checking or savings account
2) credit to her/his Mills student account
3) paper check
Questions regarding work-study can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Financial aid for international students is available only in the form of a Mills College merit-based scholarship. The scholarship awards are based on academic performance in school, school examination results and the results of standardized tests. Unfortunately, these scholarships do not meet the total cost of tuition, fees, books and living expenses. International students are expected to meet these costs with their own funds. There is no separate application form for scholarships. All students who submit admission applications and all required credentials by the published deadlines are considered for scholarships. To indicate the amount of funds available, students should submit the Certification of Finances form, available on the Mills College website, and bank statement(s) with the application for admission.