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

MSU Billings defines the academic year as 30 weeks and 24 credits

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

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 they may appeal to be considered independent, even though they do 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.

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 their new enrollments status and any over-award that occurs must be repaid.

Once students have registered for their classes, they must finalize their enrollment by confirming their attendance. Students must confirm attendance each semester for which they are enrolled, and can do so by logging into their 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 have their classes dropped for non-payment. Students 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.
A consortium agreement allows a student to request to receive financial aid while enrolled for courses at two schools, the degree granting institution (home institution), and another institution (host institution). By completing the consortium agreement the student is requesting that their eligibility for financial assistance be determined by including the total credits being attempted at both institutions for the semester or term. There are two ways to complete a consortium agreement.
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
Students must earn the same number of credits they receive funding for each semester. Before dropping any classes, students should review the consequences of what dropping a class will be to their financial aid award and student account. If students drop a class  which reduces their number of credits before the 16th class day of the term, their financial aid eligibility may change. A reduction in their financial aid award will result in a balance due with the Student Accounts office.  However, students may also receive a tuition credit from the Student Accounts office for the dropped course which could result in a refund of their tuition during that time. Any tuition credit will be applied toward the student's reduced financial aid.
Students must enroll in 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 program of study, 5-6 credits is considered half-time enrollment and 7 or more credits is considered full-time enrollment
Most types of financial aid (grants, waivers, loans, and scholarships) are applied directly toward the student’s university bill to assist in covering the student's charges. If there is money left over after the bill has been paid, the remaining amount will be sent to the student as a ‘refund’. Students can elect how they would like to receive their refund, either as a Direct Deposit or as a physical check. Financial aid disburses funds to a student's account and refunds begin to be generated the week before the start of the semester. If the student selected to receive the refund as a physical check, but the check was not received, please verify that the mailing address on file with the University is correct. Otherwise, contact Student Accounts at 406-657-2140. Please keep in mind checks can take 5-7 business days for delivery, depending on the postal service
occurs if a student does not meet all satisfactory academic progress standards. Financial aid suspension occurs in any of the following situations if:
  • a student withdraws from a semester, either officially or unofficially
  • a student earns less than 67% of the credits attempted, including transfer credits
  • a student's cumulative MSUB GPA OR cumulative overall GPA drops below the required minimum (2.00 for undergraduates, 3.0 for graduate students)
  • a student cannot complete their 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 5 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.
A grade of Incomplete (“I”) means that no credit has been earned for a course. "I" grades are not considered passing grades and count as credits attempted but not earned for the term in the student's pass-rate calculation for satisfactory academic progress. Incomplete grades could jeopardize a student's future financial aid eligibility
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
Non-degree seeking students are not eligible for financial aid. To receive grants, work-study, loans, and most tuition waivers, students 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
For help resolving student loan problems go to the Ombudsman Website, or call 1-877-557-2575
When the total of all aid received by the student exceeds the student's cost of attendance budget, awards in the financial aid package will be adjusted (cancelled or reduced) in order to eliminate the over award. Federal Loans and Work-Study funds will be reduced before any reduction is made to scholarship or grant funds
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
The Higher Education Act of 1992 allows financial aid administrators to make professional judgement decisions for special or unusual family or student circumstances. These circumstances must be documented and must be analyzed on a case-by-case basis. The Financial Aid Officer can exercise professional judgement in different ways. One example is when the student or student’s family (if dependent) has experienced a hardship where the expected year income will be significantly less than the prior year income. In this situation, the aid administrator will request substantial verification of the circumstances and expected year income. Another example where a financial aid officer can use professional judgement is for granting a dependency override. Because professional judgement decisions are unique, specific required documentation cannot be listed. It is left to the discretion of the Financial Aid Officer to request appropriate documentation. The documentation should substantiate the student’s situation and be from a professional outside the family, not a family member. In cases of a dependency override (known as an ‘Appeal of Independent Status’ at MSUB), documentation from more than one organization may be collected. The decision for using professional judgement will be made by the Financial Aid Officer. If a student wishes to appeal the decision, they are encouraged to submit a written appeal to the Director of Financial Aid.
students are eligible for financial aid for one calendar year. After one calendar year, the student must be fully accepted into a regular (non-provisional) graduate program
If a student withdraws from all courses, officially or unofficially, they may be required to REPAY all or part of the financial aid they received.  Any refund will be used to repay their financial aid before any refund will be made to the student. (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 the student's withdrawal; the amount of federal financial aid the student received for the term; and the amount of their institutional charges for the term. Requirements are outlined in the Return of Title IV Aid Policy.
 are courses which were previously attempted. Although students can receive financial aid for a Repeated Course, the repeated course counts as attempted credits each time they enroll in them.  Students can receive financial aid for a previously-passed class only once
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).
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, a student could be billed for an over-award unless they replace the cancelled class with another class
A student may receive Federal Work-Study (FWS),  and Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized 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. Students may be asked to document that the courses are required by the state for teacher certification
will be evaluated for financial aid eligibility at MSUB according to the standards at this University
Per the U.S. Department of Education, MSU Billings is required to verify the accuracy of financial aid application information for a random selection of students. MSU Billings strongly suggests that all students who are eligible and who filed a Federal Tax Return use the IRS Data Retrieval tool when filling out their FAFSA on the Web. This process may expedite the verification and awarding process. The U.S. Department of Education and/or MSU Billings may also randomly select students for verification. Students selected for verification may be required to submit additional information. Additional information for the verification process may include, but is not limited to: IRS tax return transcripts, IRS Verification of Non-filer Letter, W-2s, official proof of High School Completion Status, and identification documents. If students are selected for verification, the documents that they will need to submit to the Office of Financial Aid will be indicated on their myInfo page under the “My Eligibility” tab. If a student is required to submit their tax information, they must now submit an official IRS tax return transcript if they do not use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) successfully. In addition, for the 2013-2014 award year and forward, students who are randomly selected for verification may also have to provide to the Office of Financial Aid their High School Completion Status documentation, proof of their identity, and a signed Educational Statement of Purpose. Once the required documents are received in the Office of Financial Aid, the normal processing time is 4-6 weeks. Participation in the verification process is not optional. If students do not complete verification by either the earlier of 120 days after last day they are enrolled, or the Department of Education's 2019-2020 deadline of September 20, 2020, a student will not be able to receive federal financial assistance for that award year.
 If a student withdraws from the university, they will be suspended from financial aid and could be required to repay part or all of the financial aid they received for the semester they withdrew. There are two types of withdrawals, Official and Unofficial. An Official Withdrawal occurs when the student notifies the University of their 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.