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Adult Student Financial Aid

Overview 

Students enrolled in the Mount’s Continuing Studies programs may seek assistance through federal and state-funded programs. To qualify for financial aid, students must be enrolled on at least a half-time basis, i.e., at least six (6) credits per semester. Most financial aid will be in the form of deferred student loans, though some students may be eligible to receive federal and/or state grants.

Hours: Mon. - Fri.: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.  
Phone number:  301-447-5207
Email: finaid@msmary.edu

Applying for Financial Aid

Registering for Classes

Students interested in receiving financial aid need to plan accordingly. Because enrollment status is critical to this process, students should map their coursework on at least a semester basis. This means preregistering for all courses they intend to take in the semester’s modules.

Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

This form cam be completed at www.fafsa.ed.gov. First-time applicants must register for an FSA ID before submitting the FAFSA.  It typically takes 2-3 days to receive the ID, which serves as an electronic signature. To apply for your FSA ID, go to www.fafsa.ed.gov and click on the icon at the top of the page that says FSA ID. The Mount's Title IV School Code is 002086. Please understand that this form must be sent to the Federal Processing Center first and takes 3-4 days to be processed.  The FAFSA needs to be completed each academic year (July 1 through June 30).

Financial aid award letter emailed.

Once the financial aid office receives your FAFSA and has been notified that you are enrolled at least half-time for a semester, we will email an award letter that will list your aid eligibility for the semester.  Typically, fall semester award letters will start to be emailed in mid-July.  Spring semester letters will be sent starting in November, and summer letters in April.  The email will be sent to your MSM email account.

Complete the Direct Loan Master Promissory Note and on-line Entrance Counseling.

First-time borrowers must complete a Direct Loan Master Promissory Note and Direct Loan Entrance Counseling. The FSA ID used for the FAFSA is required to complete this step.  Both of these steps can be completed online.  

Sign and return the Financial Aid Award Letter.

Upon receipt of the Financial Aid Award Letter from the Financial Aid Office, complete, sign and return the Direct Loan Certification form on the award letter to the Financial Aid Office. 

Verification.

Students selected for federal verification will be required to submit appropriate paperwork to the Financial Aid Office.  Federal aid cannot be processed until the verification process has been completed.   

Students are reminded that any change in enrollment status or the addition of any outside aid may affect their eligibility for Federal funds and prompt a revised award letter to be sent.

Disbursements and Refunds

In addition to your financial aid eligibility, your award letter also provides estimated disbursement dates for your federal aid.  This is the anticipated date that your loans and grants will be transferred to your tuition account.  Any excess financial aid will be refunded to you by the Accounting and Finance Office within the next 14 business days after the disbursement date.

Consortium Agreements

Students who wish to receive aid for courses they are concurrently taking at another institution, or who need to use outside credits in order to maintain their enrollment status for student loan deferment, must seek prior approval for the courses from their Mount advisor. Upon receiving such approval, the student should then initiate the process by downloading the Consortium Agreement (.pdf). Federal regulations prohibit a student from receiving financial aid from more than one institution at a time.

Federal/State Financial Aid

Federal Pell Grants

Awarded by the federal government to students who demonstrate extremely high need through the FAFSA. Because it is awarded by the government, your Pell eligibility should be the same at each college/university. For more information, click here.

State Grants

Some students may be eligible for Maryland state funding. Please check the Maryland Higher Education's website for information regarding programs and applications. Make sure your FAFSA form is filed by March 1st every year to be considered for state aid.

Federal Direct Student Loans

Eligible dependent students may borrow up to $5,500 for the first year of study, up to $6,500 for the second year, and up to $7,500 for each remaining year. The financial aid office will determine if the student is eligible to receive a subsidized loan whereby the government would pay the interest while the student remains in school.  Independent students are eligible to borrow additional unsubsidized funds between $4,000-$5,000 per year depending on their class standing. For more information, click here.

Financial Aid Policies

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Federal Regulations require that a student receiving Federal financial aid make satisfactory academic progress in accordance with standards set by the University.  Progress is reviewed at the conclusion of the fall and spring semesters.  The policy is required to review qualitative and quantitative measures to ensure timely completion of a degree.

The evaluation of total credits earned versus attempted (quantitative) and cumulative GPA (qualitative) will determine a student's eligibility to receive Federal and State assistance in future semesters.  Students are considered to be making satisfactory progress toward completion of degree requirements, and thus eligible for Federal and State aid, if they achieve a cumulative grade point average according to the following schedule:

Semesters completed 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Cumulative GPA 1.5 1.7 1.8 1.9 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0

The above GPA standards are based on the University's academic progress requirements.

In addition, a student must maintain a 67% completion rate after each semester.  Your completion rate is determined by evaluating total credits earned versus total attempted credits.  Attempted credits include grades of Withdraw (W), Failure due to excessive absences (FA), Incomplete (I), and Audit (AU).  Credits accepted in transfer count as both attempted and successfully completed credits.  Repeated courses count as attempted credits during each term the student is enrolled in the course.  However, a repeated course is only included in completed courses once.  Repetition of a course passed for a higher grade will be used in the GPA calculation.

Mount St. Mary's University is not obligated to continue institutional aid to a student who requires more than eight semesters to complete degree requirements.  However, Federal aid applicants must complete their current degree program within a timeframe that is no longer than 150% of the length of the program of study.  Therefore, students cannot attempt more than 180 credits for a first bachelor's degree.
A financial aid recipient who fails to achieve the appropriate standard will be placed on financial aid warning.  A student placed on financial aid warning must meet the above requirements at the end of their warning semester to maintain eligibility.  Notification of such will be made, in writing, by the Director of Financial Aid and will include the minimum requirements needed to maintain future eligibility.  Failure to do so will result in financial aid suspension.  

A student who loses eligibility for Federal aid may appeal this decision, in writing.  The appeal will be heard by the Associate Provost, the Director of Financial Aid and the Assistant Director of Financial Aid.  The student will be asked to explain why they failed to make satisfactory progress and what has changed in their situation that will allow them to make satisfactory progress at the next evaluation.  In addition, the student will need to document any extenuating circumstances such as severe illness, severe injury or the death of a relative.

A student with an appeal approved will be on probation if they can meet the above standards after one semester.  If the student cannot meet standards after one semester, the student will be placed on an academic plan and must follow that plan until standards are regained.  If the student does not meet standards after their probation semester or does not follow their academic plan, they will return to financial aid suspension status.

A student can regain eligibility for Federal aid by achieving the required standards listed above without an appeal.

Refund Policy-Federal Aid

The Financial Aid Office is required by federal statute to determine how much financial aid was earned by students who withdraw, drop out, are dismissed, or take a leave of absence prior to completing 60% of a payment period or term.  

For a student who withdraws after the 60% point-in-time, there are no unearned funds. However, a school must still complete a return calculation in order to determine whether the student is eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement. 

The calculation is based on the percentage of earned aid using the following Federal Return of Title IV funds formula: 

Percentage of payment period or term completed = the number of days completed up to the withdrawal date divided by the total days in the payment period or term. (Any break of five days or more is not counted as part of the days in the term.) This percentage is also the percentage of earned aid. 

Funds are returned to the appropriate federal program based on the percentage of unearned aid using the following formula: 

Aid to be returned = (100% of the aid that could be disbursed minus the percentage of earned aid) multiplied by the total amount of aid that could have been disbursed during the payment period or term. 

If a student earned less aid than was disbursed, the institution would be required to return a portion of the funds and the student would be required to return a portion of the funds. Keep in mind that when Title IV funds are returned, the student borrower may owe a debit balance to the institution. 

If a student earned more aid than was disbursed to him/her, the institution would owe the student a post-withdrawal disbursement which must be paid within 120 days of the student's withdrawal. 

The institution must return the amount of Title IV funds for which it is responsible no later than 45 days after the date of the determination of the date of the student's withdrawal. 

Refunds are allocated in the following order: 

Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans; Subsidized Federal Direct Loans; Direct PLUS Loans; Federal Pell Grants for which a Return of funds is required; Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grants for which a Return of funds is required; Other assistance under this Title for which a Return of funds is required (e.g., LEAP).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the eligibility requirements to receive scholarships and grants from Mount St. Mary's University?

Due to the discounted price from the traditional undergraduate rate, institutional aid is not awarded in the Continuing Studies program.

What are the eligibility requirements to receive federal and state financial aid?

To receive Title IV federal grants, loans and state financial aid, a student must:
  1. Enroll at least part-time (at least 6 credits)
  2. Be a United States citizen or eligible non-citizen
  3. Be accepted into a degree program
  4. Be seeking a first Bachelor's Degree
  5. Not be in default on any previous loan or owe a refund on any previous grant
  6. Be making satisfactory academic progress according to the University's requirements
  7. Not be convicted for possession of sale of drug (federal programs only)

What is the Mount's Title IV code?

The Title IV code to use on the FAFSA is 002086.

When will financial aid decisions be made?

The financial aid office will email award letters to students in the Continuing Studies program once it receives your FAFSA and has been notified that you are enrolled at least half-time for a semester. The letter will be emailed to your MSM email account.  Typically, fall semester award letters will start to be emailed in mid-July.  Spring semester letters will be sent starting in November, and summer letters in April.

Do I need to complete a FAFSA form every year?

You do need to reapply for aid each year by completing a FAFSA form. It becomes available each year after October 1st and should be filed prior to the March 1 deadline.

What is the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?

This tool allows data from your federal tax returns to be retrieved directly from the IRS's website in order to auto-fill the income section of your FAFSA form. This helps reduce errors and simplify the verification process.

I was awarded a scholarship from a private outside organization. Do I need to inform anyone?

Yes. Federal law stipulates that students may not receive federal support if their financial aid exceeds their demonstrated financial need.  Total aid including outside resources cannot exceed your demonstrated financial need and cost of attendance.

How will adding/dropping classes impact my financial aid award?

Your eligibility for financial aid is based, in part, on your cost of attendance.  Thus, adding or dropping classes could impact your financial aid. You must always maintain half-time enrollment (minimum 6 credits). Dropping below half-time enrollment will result in cancellation of all of your financial aid for the semester. You should contact the financial aid office directly to discuss the impact of dropping any classes.

What is the difference between the Financial Aid Office and the Accounting & Finance Office?

The two offices have separate administrative functions. The Financial Aid Office, located on the first floor of Bradley Hall, determines eligibility for grants, loans and work study. Located on the third floor of Bradley, the Accounting & Finance Office is responsible for billing and collecting payments from students for university charges.

How can I find out how much I owe?

You can access your account balance on the Mount’s portal. You must return your award letter in order for your student loans to be posted to your account.

I received an email from Maryland Higher Education Commission regarding a state award that I received, is this legitimate?

Yes, Maryland residents who complete a FAFSA prior to March 1st are considered for need based awards from the state of Maryland.  Please do not ignore these communications.  You will be asked to create an account in the states portal (MDCAPS) to review and accept these awards.  In addition, you may be required to provide documentation to the state to confirm your eligibility.

Do I need to complete the verification documents mailed to me even though I already put the information on my FAFSA?

Yes, the Department of Education randomly selects student FAFSA’s for verification.  As such, the school is required to collect various documents including a verification worksheet and tax information to verify that the FAFSA is correct.  This is a Federal requirement.

What is student loan consolidation?

Loan consolidation allows students to combine all of their existing federal student loans into one. There are several advantages of loan consolidation. It simplifies repayment by having multiple loans under a single loan holder, reduces the required minimum monthly payments by extending the repayment period from the standard 10 years to a maximum of 30 years, and uses a graduated repayment schedule. The disadvantages to loan consolidation are that students end up paying more interest and they are no longer eligible for many types of deferments. At this time, the only federal consolidation loan being offered is with the U. S. Department of Education. You can obtain an application and more information online.

Where can I find a list of all my federal student loans?

You are able to view all of your federal loan history by creating a login with the National Student Loan Database.  To gain access to the NSLDS website, it is best to use a web browser such as Firefox or the newest version of Internet Explorer.  You will need your FSA ID to log into the website.