Departmental Assistance | Federal and State Aid
Rules and Regulations
Federal and State Aid
State Loan Assumption Program
The M Center at Mills College awards Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans to graduate students who qualify based on the results of their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Departmental assistance is determined by each individual department in conjunction with the M Center. Recipients may accept or reject any portion of the offer.
In 2014–15, 88 percent of Mills graduate students received some portion of their aid directly from the College. Ninety-one percent of our graduate students received more than $16.4 million in aid in 2014–15. An installment payment plan also is available to assist students in meeting educational expenses.
The academic program, in conjunction with the M Center, awards institutional aid each spring to those who are admitted for the upcoming fall semester. Financial aid decisions for the spring semester are made later in the year. Applications from continuing students are reviewed once spring grades have been submitted to ensure students have met the financial aid satisfactory academic progress standards.
Need-based financial aid is renewed on the basis of financial need and satisfactory academic progress. A financial aid application must be filed each year in which renewal is requested. Merit-based financial aid is renewed on the basis of merit only.
Recipients of financial aid may be required to submit income tax forms or other documents that confirm income sources and amounts. Master's degree candidates and certificate students are eligible for financial aid through their original anticipated degree date, which is established by the M Center upon entrance to Mills. Full-time students enrolled in a master's degree program or the Post-baccalaureate Pre-Medical Certificate Program may receive federal financial aid for a maximum of four semesters. Full-time students enrolled in other eligible certificate programs may receive federal financial aid for a maximum of two semesters. Students pursuing a doctorate in education may receive federal financial aid for a maximum of six semesters.
Eligibility for need-based financial aid depends on a student's financial need, which is defined as the difference between estimated expenses and estimated resources. Financial need for each applicant is determined after a careful review of the information submitted as part of the financial aid application.
In establishing eligibility, expenses related to attendance are considered: tuition, fees, room, and board payable to the College, plus allowances for books, supplies, personal expenses, transportation, and/or loan fees. Living expenses are considered in determining financial need for commuters, but the Mills award will not cover the often higher costs of living off campus.
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans are low-interest loans available to college students. To be considered for a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, a student must be a US citizen or eligible noncitizen, must not be in default on a federal student loan or must have made satisfactory arrangements to repay it, and must not owe a refund on a federal student grant or must have made satisfactory arrangements to repay it. The student also must be enrolled at least half time in an eligible program and must maintain satisfactory academic progress for financial aid.
For graduate students enrolled in a master's or doctoral degree program, the annual borrowing limit is $20,500. For independent students enrolled in an eligible certificate program, the annual borrowing limit is $12,500. 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 Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, cannot exceed the student's cost of attendance for the given academic year. The government does not pay the interest while the student is in school, and the borrower has the option to make regularly scheduled interest payments while in school or agree to have the interest added to the principal. Current interest rates are published on the Federal Student Aid website at www.studentaid.ed.gov. No repayment of the principal is required while the student is in school at least half time at an eligible postsecondary institution or during grace or deferment periods. Regular monthly payments begin six months after the student graduates or is no longer enrolled at least half time at an eligible postsecondary institution. An origination fee is deducted proportionately from each loan disbursement.
Students who plan to borrow through the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan program must complete all Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan requirements no later than November 15 for the fall semester and no later than April 15 for the spring semester.
How to Apply
Applications filed after the published deadline will be accepted. However, priority for determining student loan eligibility will be given to students who meet the following deadlines.
Priority Financial Aid Application Deadlines:
Note: Students who will not be enrolled in a master's or doctoral degree program at Mills are considered to be fifth-year undergraduates for purposes of federal student aid and must complete their FAFSA accordingly. This requirement includes students in the following programs:
Loan Eligibility Notification
Once the FAFSA is received by the federal processor, the results will be forwarded to Mills, where loan eligibility can be determined by the M Center. An email notification will be sent to the student indicating that the financial aid award is ready to be viewed in myMILLS via the Mills Resource Portal.
First-time Federal Direct Stafford Loan borrowers at Mills College must complete Direct Loan Entrance Counseling and a Federal Direct Stafford Loan Master Promissory Note. Both requirements can be completed online at www.studentloans.gov. Upon leaving Mills College, borrowers must complete online Exit Loan Counseling at www.studentloans.gov.
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Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan
A student enrolled in a master's or doctoral degree program may also apply for a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan after accepting the maximum annual amounts for which the student qualifies in Federal Direct Stafford Loans. Students may borrow up to the total cost of attendance minus the amount of Federal Direct Stafford Loans and other aid received. To qualify, a student must be a US citizen or eligible noncitizen and must have a valid Social Security number. An origination fee is deducted proportionately from each loan disbursement. The interest rate is fixed, and interest begins to accrue immediately. Current interest rates are published on the Federal Student Aid website at www.studentaid.ed.gov. Payment starts within 60 days of the last disbursement but can be deferred while the student is in school. The student will be given up to 10 years to repay the loan. Students are not awarded Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans in their initial award offer because students must also not have an adverse credit history, as determined by a credit check, to be eligible.
Students who plan to borrow through the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan program must complete all Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan requirements no later than November 15 for the fall semester and no later than April 15 for the spring semester.
How to Apply
Students must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Also, students must complete Direct Loan Entrance Counseling, a Graduate PLUS application, and a Master Promissory Note. These requirements can be completed online at www.studentloans.gov. Students must also meet credit eligibility requirements.
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State Loan Assumption Program
Assumption Program of Loans for Education (APLE)
The APLE is a competitive teacher incentive program designed to encourage outstanding students, district interns, and out-of-state teachers to become California teachers in subject areas where a critical teacher shortage has been identified or in designated schools meeting specific criteria established by the superintendent of public instruction. In order to be eligible for this assumption program, the student must be approved to receive or have received an educational loan(s) and must not be in default on any educational loan(s). The student must also agree to teach in a designated California public school or in subject areas where a critical teacher shortage has been identified. Funding for this program is dependent on appropriations by the State. Therefore, new APLE allocations may or may not be made in any given year. Additional information can be found on the California Student Aid Commission’s website.
Cal Grant Teaching Credential Program Benefit
Students who received Cal Grants as undergraduates within the final 15 months of enrollment may qualify for an additional year of funding while pursuing a teaching credential. Eligible students are required to submit both a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the academic year in which benefits are requested and the Request for Cal Grant Teaching Credential Program Benefits form available on the California Student Aid Commission’s website.
AmeriCorps Matching Grant
Mills College offers an AmeriCorps Matching Grant to qualified AmeriCorps alumni. This award matches AmeriCorps funds the student requests for graduate educational costs on a dollar-for-dollar basis up to $5,500. To qualify, students must be enrolled full-time at Mills and must submit a copy of their voucher to the Financial Aid Office in the M Center. Please note that any institutional funds previously awarded are considered part of the institutional match.
Because on-campus work eligibility is prioritized to undergraduate students, graduate students typically are not eligible for on-campus work-study positions. Graduate students seeking part-time or other employment opportunities are encouraged to utilize the off-campus job listing services of Career Services.
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