Transition Frequently Asked Questions
Undergraduate transfer students and graduate students will continue to be enrolled after fall 2021, depending on individual circumstances and degree programs, with the expectation that their programs will be completed by the end of spring 2023.
We expect Mills will most likely confer its final degrees in 2023, pending further consideration and action by the Board of Trustees.
In addition to developing transition pathways for our students, it is our intention to discuss transition opportunities for faculty and staff with our Human Resources Department and our unions. We expect many faculty and staff will stay on and support students throughout the transition; others may also find opportunities with a future Mills Institute or with other institutions. We will keep faculty and staff informed as more details are available.
Mills is extremely grateful for the support of all of its donors. The financial situation facing Mills, exacerbated by the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, is twofold: ongoing annual operating deficits, resulting in large part from steadily falling student enrollment; and the critical need to invest a significant amount of money in repairing and upgrading the vast infrastructure that supports our 135-acre campus and its academic mission. The financial issues that are challenging Mills cannot be fixed by a fundraising campaign because they are not one-time occurrences. They are ongoing and fueled by the dramatic changes shaping higher education.
The Mills endowment is made up of more than 600 individual funds, all of which are legally required to be used for the specific purpose for which they were given and are not available to fund the College’s operations. We can and do use interest from the endowment to fund student scholarships, which is an important part of our mission.
Mills will continue our academic functions through at least the spring of 2023, so we expect that these resources will be actively utilized. Mills is engaged in discussions with potential academic partners, in support of a future campus that remains dedicated to education. We will keep our community and our partners across Oakland informed as plans and details evolve.
The Children’s School serves a dual mission of providing education to both children and adults. The infant/toddler program through fifth grade is expected to remain in operation until at least spring of 2023. As part of the Mills College School of Education’s mission to prepare students in the education field, the Children’s School will also continue to serve our students as they complete their degrees by 2023. In addition, current discussions with potential academic partners include discussions about the School of Education and its ongoing importance to educational equity in the Bay Area.
The Mills alumnae network will remain under the governance of the Alumnae Association of Mills College, which is a separate 501c3 nonprofit organization.
Mills has agreed to host the UC Berkeley Changemaker—Oakland Program which will bring 200 of Berkeley’s first-year students of all genders to live and study on the Mills campus during the 2021-22 academic year. The Berkeley students will have dedicated classes, classrooms, and residence halls. The program honors Mills’ mission of advancing gender and racial equity and its rich history of community engagement. We anticipate that there will be co-curricular and potentially cross-registration opportunities that will enhance our students academic experience.
We will begin to transition our academic programs by creating options and degree pathways for all our students. We will help students pursue their educational goals by enabling them to complete their programs at Mills and earn Mills degrees or by assisting them in transferring to another college or university, depending on each student’s individual circumstances and other considerations. The Provost’s Office, working under the guidance of our accrediting agency, the WASC Senior College and University Commission, will develop transition plans for each degree program that Mills offers.
Our goal is to begin to provide degree pathway information to students later this semester.
You can work with your faculty advisor to map out a plan that allows you to complete your degree earlier by including summer and J-term courses. Academic policies may also be modified in the coming months to allow for more flexibility in the timing of degree completion.
Yes, you are welcome to participate in accelerated degree programs that will be completed by spring 2023.
Mills is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission of the (WSCUC), which means that a Mills degree has the integrity of any degree from other WSCUC-accredited institutions. Your Mills degree will remain valid in perpetuity. A Mills degree will represent the same high academic standards that it represents today. Holders of Mills degrees are known for being change makers, risk takers, leaders, and innovators, and they are creating a more just world in every field.
Currently, students and alumnae/i can order official transcripts from the National Student Clearinghouse Transcript Ordering Center. In accordance with our accrediting agency requirements, Mills will make arrangements for students and alumnae/i to continue to have access to their academic records after the transition.
The process to renew financial aid will not change. Current students requiring financial aid for the next academic year must renew their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the California Dream Act Application to determine eligibility for need-based scholarships or grants. Need-based and merit-based scholarship/grants require the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements be met. Per the Mills College Student Handbook (PDF), the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress requires undergraduate students to maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0. Graduate, credential, and certificate students must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0. All students must complete at least 67 percent of all attempted credits.
Although increases to financial aid cannot be guaranteed, federal and California regulations permit the review of special circumstances to make exceptions to either the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the California Dream Act Application. Submitting a special circumstance appeal to the Financial Aid Office must include a statement of the financial changes along with supporting documentation such as W2s, federal income tax returns, copies of unemployment benefits, or letters from the employers. Please contact the Financial Aid Office for additional information.
The announcement about Mills does not change the current requirements around federal loans. If a student withdraws before 60 percent of the enrollment period (semester) has passed, federal regulations require that Federal Title IV funds (loans or grants) be returned to the US Department of Education Federal Student Aid. If a student withdraws after the 60 percent of the enrollment period (semester) has passed, federal regulations determine the student has earned the aid and will not need to be returned to the US Department of Federal Student Aid. Repayment of federal student loans will commence six (6) months after graduating, leaving school, or dropping below half-time enrollment per the terms of the Federal Loan Agreement, or Master Promissory Note (MPN) completed prior to receiving the initial loan disbursements.
The Financial Aid Office can provide information from the Federal Direct Loan program, but cannot speak to any individual student’s eligibility to have loans canceled. The Direct Loan website provides that a student may be eligible for discharge of the Federal Direct Loans if the student completed or is in the process of completing a comparable program at another school, but did not participate in a teach-out, transfer credits or hours from the closed school, or benefit from the training received at the closed school by any other comparable means, and if they otherwise meet the eligibility requirements for a closed school discharge.
Yes, Mills will be offering housing through spring 2023, and students are welcome to live on campus in accordance with all COVID-19 guidelines.
|For department-specific questions, contact:|
Undergraduate students: firstname.lastname@example.org
Graduate students: email@example.com
|Registrar & Records: firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Alumnae Relations: email@example.com||Student Accounts: firstname.lastname@example.org|
Undergraduate students: email@example.com
Graduate students: firstname.lastname@example.org
|Student Life: email@example.com|
|Provost's Office: firstname.lastname@example.org||Transition Team (General Questions): email@example.com|