Financial Aid and Scholarships

Definitions

Academic Suspension If you become academically suspended from Montana State University Billings (MSUB), you will immediately lose eligibility for financial assistance. Academic reinstatement does not justify reinstatement of financial aid. (See "Appeal SAP" section).

Appeal (SAP) When a student loses Federal Student Aid (FSA) eligibility because s/he has failed to make satisfactory academic progress (SAP), s/he may appeal on the basis of extenuating circumstances beyond his control, such as: personal injury or illness, the death of a relative, or other special circumstances. The appeal letter must explain why s/he failed to make satis­factory progress and what has changed in her/his situation that will allow her/him to make satisfactory progress in the future.  Appropriate documentation of the special circumstances should be included.  The student must also include a Plan of Study, signed by his academic advisor, listing the courses that he will take each semester until he is again making satisfactory academic progress toward his degree.  Click here to download the MSUB SAP Appeal Form.

Appeal for Independent Status Under federal guidelines, most undergraduate students under the age of 24 are considered dependent for financial aid purposes and must provide parental information on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). However, if a student has severe or extenuating circumstances he may appeal to be considered independent, even though he does not meet any of the independent student criteria on the FAFSA. Some examples include, but are not limited to: abusive home situations, abandonment by both parents, or parents who live in a country of political or civil unrest or refugee camp. Approval of a dependency appeal does not guarantee independent status in future years. A new appeal must be submitted every year.

Cancelled Classes   At times, usually during the summer term, the University may cancel a class due to low enrollment.  When this happens, the student’s financial aid award will be recalculated according to his new enrollments status and any overaward that occurs must be repaid.

Confirm Attendance Once you have registered for your classes, you must finalize your enrollment by confirming your attendance. You much confirm attendance each semester for which you are enrolled, and can do so by logging into your myInfo Secure Area and clicking on Electronic Billing and Payment, OR by visiting the Student Accounts office in McMullen Hall. Students who do not confirm attendance at the beginning of each semester for which they are enrolled will be dropped for non-payment.  You can only confirm attendance if all Financial Aid requirements have been completed and your financial aid is sufficient to cover your bill; OR by setting up payment arrangements with the Student Accounts office.

Continuing Education Classes   Classes and workshops taken at the MSUB Extended Campus that fall under the category of Continuing Education Programs are generally not eligible for financial aid.

Dropped Classes You must earn the credits for which you are funded. Before you drop any classes, review what the consequences will be. If you drop credits before the 16th class day, your financial aid eligibility may change and you may be billed for part or all of your aid.  However, you may receive a refund of your tuition during that time, which will be applied toward what you owe.

Enrollment Status You must enroll for six or more credits per semester to receive most types of financial aid. Only some Pell Grants and statutory tuition waivers (i.e. Veterans', Senior Citizens', American Indian) may be awarded for less than six credits. An enrollment of 6-8 credits is considered half time; 9-11 credits is considered three-quarter time; and 12 or more credits is considered full time for undergraduate students.  For students in a graduate (LINK) program of study, 6-8 credits is half time and 9 or more credits is full time.

Financial Aid Suspension will occur if you do not make satisfactory academic progress.  You are not making satisfactory academic progress and you will be suspended from financial aid if any of the following occur:

  • If you withdraw from a semester, either officially or unofficially
  • If you earn less than 67% of the credits you have attempted, including transfer credits
  • If your cumulative MSUB GPA OR cumulative overall GPA drops below the required minimum (2.00 for undergraduates, 3.0 for graduate students)
  • If you cannot complete your degree with the time limit allowed by federal law (150% of the length of your degree program, as published)

Graduate students must be admitted to a degree program in order to be considered for financial aid.  Graduate students must take at least 6 credits of graduate-level coursework each semester in order to be eligible to receive federal student aid.  Students who are enrolled for the purpose of obtaining a teaching endorsement and students who are seeking initial teacher certification or re-certification are eligible for work-study and undergraduate loans.

Incompletes A grade of Incomplete (“I”) means that no credit has been earned for a course. "I" grades are not considered passing grades and could jeopardize your future financial aid.

Loan Counseling There are several types of loan counseling required by the U.S. Department of Education. All new student loan borrowers (Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans) must complete the online Entrance Counseling before their loan funds can be disbursed. When a student graduates, withdraws, or drops below half-time enrollment status, Exit loan counseling must be completed. Entrance and Exit counseling can be accessed at https://studentloans.gov/

Non-Degree status students are not eligible for financial aid. To receive grants, work-study, loans, and most tuition waivers, you must be enrolled in a degree or certificate program that is offered by MSUB. University campus students may enroll in a General Studies program until they have attempted 60 credits, at which point they must declare a degree in order to continue receiving financial aid. City College students must declare a degree or certificate program.

Ombudsman For help resolving student loan problems after you have tried all other avenues, go to the Ombudsman Website, or call 1-877-557-2575.

Overaward When the total of all aid received by the student exceeds the student's cost of attendance budget , awards in the package will be adjusted (cancelled or reduced) in order to eliminate the overaward. Federal Loans and Work-Study will be reduced before any reduction is made to scholarship or grant funds.

Pre-professional Programs Students enrolled in pre-professional degree programs are eligible for financial aid while taking the courses required for admission into a professional program. They are eligible for Federal Direct Loans at the freshman or sophomore level.

Provisional Graduate students are eligible for financial aid for one calendar year. After one calendar year, the student must be fully accepted into a regular (not provisional) graduate program.

Return of Title IV Funds Policy If you withdraw from college, officially or unofficially, you may be required to REPAY all or part of the financial aid you received.  Any refund will be used to repay your financial aid before any refund will be made to you. (Refer to Refund Policy in the "General Bulletin") The amount of financial aid that must be returned to the Department of Education is based on a federal formula that takes into consideration the date of your withdrawal; the amount of federal financial aid you received for the term; and the amount of your institutional charges for the term.

Repeated Courses are courses which were previously attempted. Although you can receive financial aid for a Repeated Course, the repeated course counts as attempted credits each time you enroll in them.  You can receive financial aid for a previously-passed class only once.

Second Bachelor's Degree A student who is seeking a second bachelor’s degree is eligible for financial aid. A second degree means that upon completing the program of study, the student will be awarded an additional undergraduate degree, not just another major or minor added to the student’s first bachelor’s degree. 

Loans are awarded at undergraduate loan maximums, provided the student has not reached the lifetime aggregate loan limits ($31,000 for Dependent students and $57,500 for Independent students).

Self Support Classes are eligible for financial aid with the exception of fee waivers. These are not the same as Continuing Education courses which are not eligible for funding. If a class is canceled, you could be billed for an overaward unless you replace the cancelled class with another class.

Teacher Certification and Re-certification  A student may receive Federal Work-Study (FWS), as well as Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans, and Perkins Loans (and a parent may receive Direct PLUS Loans on behalf of a dependent student) if he or she is enrolled at least half time in required teacher certification coursework.  To qualify, the coursework must be required for elementary or secondary teacher certification or recertification in the state where the student plans to teach.  Optional courses that the student elects to take for professional recognition or advancement, and courses recommended by your school but not required for certification, do not qualify. You may be asked to document that the courses are required by the state for teacher certification.

Transfer Students will be evaluated for financial aid eligibility at MSUB according to the standards at this University.

Withdrawing If you withdraw from the university, you will be suspended from financial aid, and you could be required to repay part or all of the financial aid you received for the semester you withdraw. There are two types of withdrawals, Official and Unofficial. An Official Withdrawal occurs when the student notifies the University of his intent to withdraw.  An Unofficial withdrawal occurs when a student receives no passing grades (only F's, I's, W's, X's) during a semester. In both these circumstances, students will be suspended from financial aid. In addition, the University is required by federal law to return part of the federal funding and the students are billed for the returned amounts. 


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