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).

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

Appeal (SAP)  Appeal (SAP):  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 progress 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.  Click here to download the MSUB SAP Appeal Form.

Appeal for Independent Status (also known as a dependency override)  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.

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 over-award that occurs must be repaid.

Confirm Attendance  Once you have registered for your classes, you must finalize your enrollment by confirming your attendance. You must 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.

Consortium Agreement A consortium agreement allows the 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 eligibility for financial assistance to be based on the total credits being attempted at both institutions for the semester or term. Click here for more information.

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 Disbursement & Credit Balance Refund Policy  Most types of financial aid (grants, waivers, loans, and scholarships) are applied directly toward the student’s university bill to assist in covering those charges. If there is money left over after the bill has been paid, the remaining amount will be sent as a ‘refund’. Students can elect how they would like to receive their refund, either as a Direct Deposit or as a physical check (detailed instructions[BROKEN LINK] are available). Financial aid disburses on student accounts and refunds begin to be generated the week before the start of the semester and are generated daily thereafter. 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.

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

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.

Over-award  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 over-award. 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.

Professional Judgement  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.

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 (non-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. For a complete review of Return to Title IV requirements click HERE.

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 over-award unless you replace the cancelled class with another class.

Teacher Certification and Re-certification  A student may receive Federal Work-Study (FWS),  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.

Verification  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 you are selected for verification, the documents that you will need to submit to the Office of Financial Aid will be indicated on your myInfo page under the “My Eligibility” tab. If a student is required to submit their tax information, he or she 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 you do not complete it by the Federal deadline earlier of 120 days after last day enrolled or the Department of Education deadline (subject to change by the Department of Education) 2018-2019 award year is September 21, 2019, you will not be able to receive federal financial assistance for that award year.

Withdrawing If you withdraw from the university, you will be suspended from financial aid and 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 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.