Eligibility for Financial Aid

In order to receive aid from federal student financial aid programs, you must meet certain requirements:

  • Demonstrate financial need (for most programs);
  • Be a citizen or eligible non-citizen of the United States;
  • Have a valid Social Security Number;
  • Register or have registered for Selective Service (if you are a male between the ages of 18 and 25);
  • Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a regular student in an eligible degree or certificate program;
  • Be enrolled at least half-time to be eligible for Direct Loan program funds;
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress in college;
  • Not be in default on any previous student loans, and not owe any money on a federal student grant and use the federal student aid only for educational purposes;
  • Show you’ve qualified to obtain a college education by having a high school diploma or a recognized equivalent such as a General Educational Development (GED) certificate or completing a high school education in a homeschool setting approved under state law.

Your Rights

As a financial aid recipient, you have the right to know:

  • The types of financial assistance programs available, and the policies and regulations that govern these programs
  • The procedures and deadlines for the submission of all application materials
  • The cost of attendance at St. Mary’s University and our refund policy
  • How we determine financial need
  • The source of each type of aid offered
  • How aid is disbursed or applied to your account
  • The appeal procedures for financial aid decisions

In addition, you have the right to:

  • Apply for additional funds when increased financial need can be demonstrated (additional assistance is dependent on the availability of funds)
  • Be granted a reasonable amount of time in which to consider the award offered before accepting or declining
  • Confidentiality regarding all information submitted to us

Your Responsibilities

As a financial aid recipient, you have the responsibility to:

  • Complete all application forms accurately and thoroughly
  • Know and comply with all priority dates established by the Office of Financial Assistance and any aid programs to which you apply
  • Understand and cooperate with the University’s refund policy
  • Read and understand all information sent to you regarding your financial aid, and keep copies for your records
  • Understand and accept the responsibility of all agreements signed
  • Use financial aid funds solely for educational purposes.
  • Repay all loans according to the terms agreed upon at the time the loan was accepted and the promissory note signed, or risk going into default
  • Report any changes in financial circumstances to the Office of Financial Assistance
  • Understand and comply with the standards of satisfactory academic progress, as established by the Office of Financial Assistance and the federal government
  • Report all outside assistance to the Office of Financial Assistance as soon as possible (scholarships, grants, military benefits, etc.)
  • Promptly return all corrections, documentation or additional information requested by the Office of Financial Assistance or any agency with whom you have applied

Satisfactory Academic Progress and Appeals

For Undergraduate Students

If you fail to meet the minimum Satisfactory Academic Progress standards (SAP), you will be placed on the Suspension SAP status. We understand that there are many factors that impact a student’s academic success, and that in any given semester, there may be extenuating circumstances which may also hamper a student’s success. We are sensitive to these issues, provided you document in a professional manner.

You can appeal this suspension by writing a letter to the appeals committee after receiving the official notification from the Office of Financial Assistance. A good financial assistance appeal should:

  • Explain in detail what happened within the semester that hampered your achievement.
  • Explain in detail what your plan of action will be to allow you to meet SAP guidelines in the future.
  • Be professional.
  • Appeals must be submitted prior to established deadlines.

The Appeals Committee will review your appeal and determine whether the suspension is approved. If the appeal is granted, the student will be placed on a SAP Probation status and will be allowed to receive eligible financial aid for the next semester. If your appeal is not approved, you may become eligible again by meeting the standards for Satisfactory Academic Progress. You will be notified in writing of the final decision.

Conditions for Reinstatement

A student who has been denied aid for academic reasons can become eligible for financial aid again by meeting the appropriate standards for SAP while enrolled at St. Mary’s University. It is the student’s responsibility to notify the Office of Financial Assistance if SAP requirements are met again.

For Graduate Students

If you fail to meet the minimum Satisfactory Academic Progress standards (SAP), you will be placed on Suspension.

You can appeal this suspension by writing a letter to the Appeals Committee after receiving the official notification. Please include the reason why you did not meet the minimum academic standards and state why financial aid should not be terminated. You may also include supporting documentation regarding your plan of action. Appeals must be submitted prior to established deadlines.

The Appeals Committee will review your appeal and determine whether the suspension is justified. You will be notified in writing of the final decision. If your appeal is granted, the status will be updated to Probation and you will be eligible for financial aid for the next semester. If your appeal is not approved, you may become eligible again by meeting the standards for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).

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