5.1 General Information
Note: This information is subject to change, without notice, in order to comply with federal, state, or institutional requirements or policy.
Mississippi University for Women offers a comprehensive program of financial aid to assist Graduate Students. The following federal and institutional programs are available.
- Graduate Assistantships
- Graduate Scholarships
- Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loans
- Graduate PLUS Loans
5.2 Graduate Assistantships and Scholarships
Graduate Studies currently offers financial aid/scholarship assistance in the following forms:
- Graduate Assistantships
- Graduate scholarships may be awarded for up to one-half tuition but are not guaranteed. A new application must be submitted each semester. Scholarship assistance shall be limited to fees for courses numbered 500 and above and for no more than the total hours required for completion of the designated degree. Scholarships cannot be awarded until a student has completed all requirements for full admission to Graduate Studies. Students who are currently on academic probation are not eligible to apply. If the student withdraws from classes after receiving graduate scholarship assistance, the financial aid assistance will be automatically terminated for those classes and must be repaid by the student before reapplying for further graduate assistance.
Graduate students who wish to apply for graduate assistantships and/or graduate scholarships must contact the Graduate Studies Office or the appropriate graduate office for applications and information. The student must submit the form at least two months prior to the registration day of that semester for which he/she is seeking financial assistance.
5.3 Federal Financial Aid Programs
Student loan programs provide long-term, low-interest loans for students. Students must enroll at least half-time (6 undergraduate hours and 6 graduate hours) each term in order to qualify for student loans. All loans must be repaid, with repayment beginning six months after graduating or leaving MUW.
The Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan (formerly Stafford Loan) is based on the cost of education as well as annual and aggregate loan limits. Funds from this loan are disbursed each term according to the student’s award notification and promissory note requirements. Interest on this loan begins to accrue upon disbursement; however, the payment of interest is deferred until six months after graduation or leaving MUW.
The Federal Work-Study Program (FWS) is a “need based” part-time work program which allows students to earn money to help pay educational expenses. FWS will not be available at registration for the payment of fees. FWS student employees will be paid based upon the current minimum wage bi-weekly. The maximum award allows student employees to work up to 20 hours per week.
Annual Loan Limit Amounts (Effective July 1, 2008)
$20,500.00 for Graduate students enrolled in Graduate Programs.
5.4 Application for Federal Financial Aid
The Financial Aid Center administers the student financial aid programs that provide monetary assistance to students who, without such aid, would be unable to attend The W. Student aid is awarded as a supplement to, not in lieu of, the student’s own resources and earnings. The maximum award will not exceed the sum actually needed to supplement these family resources. The University reserves the right to limit awards to prevent award duplication and to include all scholarships, assistantships, veteran’s benefits, and other resources to prevent over-awarding the student’s need.
Mississippi University for Women accepts the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) as application for all types of federal Title IV financial aid. This application can be accessed and completed online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Graduate students must list The W (002422) on the application to insure that The W’s Financial Aid Office receives notification of their interest in attending.
Graduate students who wish to apply for assistance under the federal programs listed in this section must meet the following criteria to become and remain eligible:
- Be fully admitted to a degree-granting program,
- Be enrolled at least half-time (six graduate hours) per semester*,
- Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen,
- Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress,
- Be free of encumbrances resulting from the overpayment of any SFA grant or loan,
- Be free of defaults on education loan,
- Avoid exceeding annual or aggregate loan limits,
- Agree to use federal student funds solely for educational purposes,
- Apply for financial assistance each year.
*Note: Nine graduate hours are considered full-time for graduate students; however, graduate students must enroll in at least six graduate hours to be considered half-time and receive federal aid. Only graduate-level courses will count toward financial aid eligibility.
As soon as each student is awarded student aid funds, the financial aid office will e-mail an Award Notification. Please review the Award Notification carefully. E-mail is the official means of communication so please check your e-mail address frequently. The student is responsible for updating address information with the Office of the Registrar.
5.5 Payment of Funds to Student Accounts
Financial aid funds from all sources will be applied to each student’s account balance for tuition, fees, and other institutional charges after the student has registered and attendance has been verified. Book Vouchers may be obtained from University Accounting to allow books to be charged to the student account as long as aid funds will cover all fees and projected book charges. Funds will be disbursed no earlier than 10 days after the beginning of classes. Funds remaining after all charges are paid will be refunded to the student by University Accounting.
Students earn aid funds through attendance; therefore, students who fail to attend classes within the first three class meetings may not receive the awards that were scheduled. Awards are subject to cancellation and possible repayment if those funds were previously used to pay institutional charges. Students who withdraw from classes later in the semester before reaching the 60 percent point in the semester may have a pro rata portion of their aid funds returned to federal fund accounts or lenders as required by federal regulations.
Attendance and Repayment Policy
Attendance monitoring is required by the U.S. Department of Education to support any disbursements made to eligible students receiving federal or state financial aid funds. Failure to begin attendance in any course for which you have registered will require a possible cancellation of student loans.
Faculty will report “no shows” within the first five days of class each term and will subsequently post an F grade for any student who does not withdraw prior to the drop date. Students are encouraged to make sure faculty know they are attending early in the term to avoid a “no show” reduction in awards. See Section 7.7 Course Administration
Students also should be aware that a total withdrawal from The W will require a review of awards and the possible reduction or repayment of funds unearned by attendance.
Withdrawal from the University - Official and Unofficial
Students who choose to withdraw from the University prior to the end of the term must follow the Withdrawal Procedures established by the University. Failure to complete the semester may have an effect on the financial aid funds disbursed to a student’s account and paid to cover tuition, fees, bookstore charges, campus housing costs, or paid to the student as a refund. Students who drop before the 60% point in the semester will have a “pro rata reduction” in the amount of financial aid disbursed. The federal regulations expect students to “earn” the use of funds for attending the “entire” semester. The percentage of the semester that was not attended becomes the percent of funds that may need to be returned. This reduction will leave an unpaid balance owed to the University on the student’s account, BUT student loans will be reduced with their lender, and other aid funds will be returned to the program accounts for possible use in the summer semester.
Failure to complete the semester and failure to “officially” withdraw is considered an “unofficial withdrawal.” Failure to complete the courses in the semester will result in a grade of F. Faculty are requested to report the last day of class attendance (LDA) or participation in a class project or activity to allow the Financial Aid Office to calculate the percentage of the course the student completed. When no LDA is provided, the 50% point or mid-term date is used to determine the amount of aid to be returned to the federal or state programs. The longer students attend, the lower the amount of funds to be returned and the lower the amount owed to The W.
Repeated coursework is monitored as required by the U.S. Department of Education. An institution can pay a student for only one retake of any previously passed course or its’ equivalency. Secondly, an institution can pay a student when repeating a course (or its equivalency) an infinite number of times if all previous attempts were failures. And, third, an institution cannot pay a student for any repetition of a previously passed course due to the student failing other coursework.
5.6 Satisfactory Academic Progress
Requirements for Federal Financial Aid Recipients
All students at The W who receive federal financial aid must make satisfactory academic progress toward standards defining satisfactory progress, in accordance with regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Education.
Graduate students enrolled in a Graduate Program must maintain a cumulative MUW grade point average of 3.0. The calculation does not include coursework transferred from another institution.
If all other criteria have been met, students can regain eligibility for student aid funds, once the MUW GPA requirements have been met. However, a successful academic appeal in which a student who is otherwise suspended or dismissed is allowed to register for classes does not imply the automatic reinstatement of student aid eligibility. Please refer to the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Process listed below.
- Students working on a graduate degree at The W must complete the degree within the timeframe allowed by the Graduate Studies program.
- Excessive withdrawals and/or dropped courses indicate a lack of progression toward a degree. The student may not receive a W in more than 15 hours or coursework after admission into a graduate program.
- Federal regulations require a student to enroll in a minimum number of credit hours per term in order to receive a federal aid disbursement. Federal student aid recipients attending The W must enroll after at least six credit hours per term. Students who enroll in the minimum number of hours and receive a federal student aid disbursement must not drop below the six credit hour minimum prior to the last day to register (during the add/drop period) for both the Fall and Spring terms.
Satisfactory Academic Progress will be computed at the end of the fall, spring, and spring semesters. Students will be notified in writing by the financial aid office at the end of each semester if they are placed on warning, suspension, or become ineligible due to attempted hours. The financial aid office will update their financial aid standing in banner and adjust financial aid accordingly. Students should note this standing is separate from the academic standing.
During the warning semester, the student will continue to be eligible to receive Title IV aid. After a semester of warning, a student who does not meet the minimum standards will be placed on financial aid suspension. A student will not be eligible for Title IV financial aid until appeal is approved or an academic plan is outlined.
All students who have been suspended from receiving student aid funds have the right to appeal. Please refer to the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Process listed below.
5.7 Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Process
If a student is ineligible for financial aid because the student has not maintained satisfactory progress toward completion of his/her degree, the student may reapply for financial aid when he/she has cleared the deficiency and is again progressing satisfactorily according to the requirements outlined above. It is the student’s responsibility to initiate any appeal for financial aid eligibility.
When mitigating circumstances are involved, the student may appeal the suspension of eligibility. To do so, the student must complete an Appeal Form and submit it to the Director of Financial Aid. The letter must include:
- The reason(s) why satisfactory progress is not being made;
- Changes or improvements that will prevent future problems.
- Any documentation that supports the rationale for the appeal.
The form will be reviewed and a decision will be made within two weeks. Appeals may be approved without provision, or they may be approved provisionally. The student will be placed on an academic plan, establishing a one semester probationary period in which the student must earn a given number of credit hours and/or specified GPA. After the probationary semester, the student would be eligible to receive federal aid if the student is now progressing satisfactorily or the academic plan is being met. As long as progress is being made, subsequent appeals should be approved to allow students to regain full eligibility.
Appeals may also be denied. Appeals for academic reinstatement granted by the Scholastic Appeals Committee or other departments do not constitute reinstatement of financial aid eligibility. If an appeal is denied, eligibility will be reinstated once satisfactory progress is being made.