Financial Aid Policies for Graduate Students

Satisfactory Academic Progress Requirements (to be eligible for federal and state financial aid)

In accordance with federal regulations all financial aid recipients are required to make satisfactory academic progress (SAP) towards their degree and be in good academic standing in order to remain eligible to receive federal and state financial aid. In other words, you must achieve a certain number of credits each year, successfully earn 67% of the courses you attempt, called "pace", and a certain cumulative GPA each year. At the end of the spring term, we will review your academic transcript to make sure that you have achieved the required pace/cumulative GPA, appropriate number of credits, and are not on academic probation. If you do not make satisfactory academic progress then you will not be eligible to receive federal or state financial aid for the next school year until you are in good standing. Federal financial aid includes, but is not limited to, federal Direct student loans, federal Direct Graduate PLUS loans, and work study are subject to meeting the minimum SAP standards set by the university.

Please note the following is considered when evaluating for Satisfactory Academic Progress. Successful completion of credits is defined as the receipt of a passing grade (A to D-). Grades of F (Failure), W (Withdrawal), U (Unsatisfactory), DNA (Did Not Attend), or INC (Incomplete) are not considered successful completion. The only exception is if a student receives an INC in their Thesis, Research Project, Practicum, or Internship. The university allows 3 months for completion of those courses after the end of a term. In some extenuating circumstances the student may be allowed up to one year to complete the INC. In addition, all graduate students must maintain a minimum 3.0 cumulative quality point ratio (QPR) in order to be in good academic standing. Click here for additional information.

A student's academic progress is checked at the end of the spring term. The Financial Aid Office will mail a letter to each student who fails to maintain the minimum academic progress standards detailing their deficiencies and the steps for reinstating financial aid eligibility. Students who have lost their financial aid eligibility have the opportunity to appeal for reinstatement.

The student must write a detailed letter explaining the extenuating circumstances (death, divorce, illness, etc) that hindered them from making satisfactory progress.  The letter must come complete with documentation of the extenuating circumstances (death certificates, doctor’s note, etc.), and explain what has changed that will allow the student to make satisfactory academic progress at the next evaluation period. If your appeal includes information falling under TITLE IX of the Higher Education Act of 1972 we may be required to disclose it to other university officials. Please click here and  review the information provided on the university's TITLE IX information page.

A financial aid appeals committee made up of various members of the University community, including academic and administrative personnel, will meet to review the appeal letters.  Decisions to reinstate eligibility or deny the appeal are made in a fair and equitable manner based on the information the student provided in the letter, the supporting documentation, and a review of the academic record. If the financial aid appeals committee approves the appeal then the student will be awarded their financial aid package for one term following the appeal and would be considered on "Financial Aid probation".  After completion of that term, the student must meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements to be eligible for aid for future terms.  If the appeals committee upholds the loss of financial aid then the student will need to make payment arrangements with the Bursar's Office.

The maximum timeframe a student has to complete the requirements for their master's degree or graduate certificate is within five years of the date of completion of the first course following formal application to the program.

Financial Aid Refund Policy
Students who withdraw from courses prior to the end of the fifth week of the term may be entitled to a full or partial refund of tuition charges. Refunds of charges and financial aid will be based on the institutional refund policy, as described in the academic policies section of the university catalog or by clicking here, and on the Return of Title IV Funds calculation, as required by Section 484B of the Higher Education Act. Federal regulations require that any unearned Title IV aid be returned to the program(s) that provided the funds.

Return of Title IV Funds
A withdrawal requires the university to calculate the amount of unearned aid a student has received. The university must:

  • Determine the student’s official withdrawal date as documented in the Registrar’s Office. The withdrawal date is used to determine the percentage of the payment period completed and therefore the amount of aid a student earned. Students who have completed more than 60% of the term are not subject to the federal calculation.
  • Determine the amount of aid earned by the student. The university must calculate earned aid by multiplying the total aid disbursed or which could have been disbursed (excluding Federal Work study) by the percent of the payment period the student completed.
  • Determine if less aid has been disbursed than a student has earned, such that a post withdrawal disbursement must be made. The university will notify the student in writing within 30 days of the withdrawal date that a post withdrawal disbursement is available. The student must respond within 14 days of notification in order to receive the funds. The student may accept all or part of the post withdrawal disbursement. If more aid was disbursed than earned then the university, the student, or both must return all unearned aid in a specific order:
    1. Unsubsidized Direct Student Loan
    2. Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan

Students are responsible for repaying all unearned aid a school is not required to return, as well as any balance created on their university bursar account by the application of the Title IV return of funds formula. The university will notify the student in writing within 30 days of determining an overpayment. Students must repay as follows:

  • Loans - repayment according to terms of the loan
  • Grants - repayment is 50% of unearned grant

Students who owe Title IV grant repayments have 45 days to:

  • Repay in full
  • Make arrangements to repay the university
  • Make arrangements to repay the US Department of Education

Students who fail to take positive action to repay their grants will be reported to the U.S. Department of Education immediately after the 45-day period has elapsed. Additional information and sample worksheets are available in the Financial Aid Office.