The M Center at Mills College awards Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans to graduate students who qualify based on the results of their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Departmental assistance is determined by each individual department in conjunction with the M Center. Recipients may accept or reject any portion of the offer.
In 2019–20, 73 percent of Mills graduate students received some portion of their aid directly from the College. Ninety percent of our graduate students received more than $9.1 million in aid in 2019–20. An installment payment plan also is available to assist students in meeting educational expenses.
The academic program, in conjunction with the M Center, awards institutional aid each spring to those who are admitted for the upcoming fall semester. Financial aid decisions for the spring semester are made later in the year. Applications from continuing students are reviewed once spring grades have been submitted to ensure students have met the financial aid satisfactory academic progress standards.
Need-based financial aid is renewed on the basis of financial need and satisfactory academic progress. A financial aid application must be filed each year in which renewal is requested. Merit-based financial aid is renewed on the basis of merit only.
Recipients of financial aid may be required to submit income tax forms or other documents that confirm income sources and amounts. Master's degree candidates and certificate students are eligible for financial aid through their original anticipated degree date, which is established by the M Center upon entrance to Mills. Full-time students enrolled in a master's degree program or the Post-baccalaureate Pre-Medical Certificate Program may receive federal financial aid for a maximum of four semesters. Full-time students enrolled in other eligible certificate programs may receive federal financial aid for a maximum of two semesters. Students pursuing a doctorate in education may receive federal financial aid for a maximum of six semesters.
Eligibility for need-based financial aid depends on a student's financial need, which is defined as the difference between estimated expenses and estimated resources. Financial need for each applicant is determined after a careful review of the information submitted as part of the financial aid application.
In establishing eligibility, expenses related to attendance are considered: tuition, fees, room, and board payable to the College, plus allowances for books, supplies, personal expenses, transportation, and/or loan fees. Living expenses are considered in determining financial need for commuters, but the Mills award will not cover the often higher costs of living off campus.
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans are low-interest loans available to college students. To be considered for a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, a student must be a US citizen or eligible noncitizen, must not be in default on a federal student loan or must have made satisfactory arrangements to repay it, and must not owe a refund on a federal student grant or must have made satisfactory arrangements to repay it. The student also must be enrolled at least half time in an eligible program and must maintain satisfactory academic progress for financial aid.
For graduate students enrolled in a master's or doctoral degree program, the annual borrowing limit is $20,500. For independent students enrolled in an eligible certificate program, the annual borrowing limit is $12,500 . A student does not have to demonstrate financial need for a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan except to the extent that total financial aid, including the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, cannot exceed the student's cost of attendance for the given academic year. The government does not pay the interest while the student is in school, and the borrower has the option to make regularly scheduled interest payments while in school or agree to have the interest added to the principal. Current interest rates are published on the Federal Student Aid website at https://studentaid.gov. No repayment of the principal is required while the student is in school at least half time at an eligible postsecondary institution or during grace or deferment periods. Regular monthly payments begin six months after the student graduates or is no longer enrolled at least half time at an eligible postsecondary institution. An origination fee is deducted proportionately from each loan disbursement.
Students who plan to borrow through the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan program must complete all Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan requirements no later than November 15 for the fall semester and no later than April 15 for the spring semester.
How to Apply
Applications filed after the published deadline will be accepted. However, priority for determining student loan eligibility will be given to students who meet the following deadlines.
- February 1 for fall admission
- November 1 for spring admission
Note: Students who will not be enrolled in a master's or doctoral degree program at Mills are considered to be fifth-year undergraduates for purposes of federal student aid and must complete their FAFSA accordingly. This requirement includes students in the following programs:
- Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Certificate Program
- Post-baccalaureate Certificate Program in Computer Science
- Post-baccalaureate Pre-Medical Certificate Program
Certificate program students must submit their FAFSA by:
- February 15 for fall semester
- November 1 for spring semester
FAFSA Guidelines for Postbac Students
When completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), postbaccalaureate students should provide the following answers:
- When you begin the 2020-2021 school year, what will be your grade level? Answer: 5th year/other undergraduate
- When you begin the 2020-2021 school year, what degree or certificate will you be working on? Answer: Certificate/Diploma (occupational/technical/education program of less than 2 years)
- At the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year, will you be working on a master’s or doctorate program? Answer: No
- Grade Level: Answer: 5th year, Post Baccalaureate Certification, 2nd Degree
Loan Eligibility Notification
Once the FAFSA is received by the federal processor, the results will be forwarded to Mills, where loan eligibility can be determined by the M Center. An email notification will be sent to the student indicating that the financial aid award is ready to be viewed in myMILLS via the Mills Portal.
First-time Federal Direct Stafford Loan borrowers at Mills College must complete Direct Loan Entrance Counseling and a Federal Direct Stafford Loan Master Promissory Note. Both requirements can be completed online at https://studentaid.gov. Upon leaving Mills College, borrowers must complete online Exit Loan Counseling at https://studentaid.gov.
Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan
A student enrolled in a master's or doctoral degree program may also apply for a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan after accepting the maximum annual amounts for which the student qualifies in Federal Direct Stafford Loans. Students may borrow up to the total cost of attendance minus the amount of Federal Direct Stafford Loans and other aid received. To qualify, a student must be a US citizen or eligible noncitizen and must have a valid Social Security number. An origination fee is deducted proportionately from each loan disbursement. The interest rate is fixed, and interest begins to accrue immediately. Current interest rates are published on the Federal Student Aid website at https://studentaid.gov. Payment starts within 60 days of the last disbursement but can be deferred while the student is in school. The student will be given up to 10 years to repay the loan. Students are not awarded Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans in their initial award offer because students must also not have an adverse credit history, as determined by a credit check, to be eligible.
Students who plan to borrow through the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan program must complete all Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan requirements no later than November 15 for the fall semester and no later than April 15 for the spring semester.
How to Apply
Students must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Also, students must complete Direct Loan Entrance Counseling, a Graduate PLUS application, and a Master Promissory Note. These requirements can be completed online at https://studentaid.gov. Students must also meet credit eligibility requirements.
Other Graduate Funding
Cal Grant Teaching Credential Program Benefit
Students who received Cal Grants as undergraduates within the final 15 months of enrollment may qualify for an additional year of funding while pursuing only a teaching credential. Eligible students are required to submit both a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the academic year in which benefits are requested and the Request for Cal Grant Teaching Credential Program Benefits form available on the California Student Aid Commission’s website.
AmeriCorps Matching Grant
Mills College offers an AmeriCorps Matching Grant to qualified AmeriCorps alumni. This award matches AmeriCorps funds the student requests for graduate educational costs on a dollar-for-dollar basis up to $5,500 or tuition whichever is less. To qualify, students must be enrolled full-time at Mills and must submit a copy of their voucher to the Financial Aid Office in the M Center. Please note that any institutional funds previously awarded are considered part of the institutional match.
Graduate students seeking part-time or other employment opportunities are encouraged to utilize the job listing services of Career Services & Student Employment.