Need-Based Scholarships and Grants

General Information 

For most students, a financial aid package consists of gift assistance (grant or scholarship) and a student loan. In addition, work-study is offered to most students who have demonstrated financial need and reside on campus. Recipients may accept or reject any portion of the offer.

Financial aid is renewed on the basis of need and satisfactory academic progress. A financial aid application must be filed each year in which renewal is requested, and priority for Mills scholarship consideration is given to those applicants who meet the published application deadlines. The amount of a student's financial aid will be reviewed annually and may be adjusted to reflect any significant change in financial circumstances.

The number of semesters of eligibility for entering first-year students is limited to eight semesters. For transfer students, the number of semesters of eligibility is established by the initial graduation date defined by the M Center upon entrance to Mills. Financial aid eligibility continues only to this expected date of graduation.

Mills offers need-based scholarships supported in large part by the Marie Dawn Simms Scholarship Fund.


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 (see required forms under Aid Application Forms and Deadlines).

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, and loan fees. Living expenses, such as rent, food, and transportation, are considered in determining financial need for commuters. Expenses are also considered for students who live at home with parents or relatives, but the cost of attendance is lower than for those living elsewhere. Since many of the elements in the cost of attendance are estimates, it is possible for a student to spend more or less than anticipated during any given year.

If no award is made, it could be because the financial information indicates that it would be possible for all the expenses to be met by the student and her family, because a student's overall academic and personal record was not competitive with other applicants, or because the student did not meet the appropriate financial aid application deadlines. Academic achievement and promise as well as financial need may be considered in the awarding process. All factors that have influenced a student's record are carefully considered.

Need-based institutional funds (scholarship, loan, and work-study) are awarded only to full-time students pursuing their first undergraduate degree. Although institutional financial aid is not available for part-time study, students may apply for government financial assistance.

Students pursuing a second baccalaureate degree are eligible to apply for merit scholarships and government student loans.

Federal Verification Process

Federal verification is a process mandated by the federal government in which students and/or parents are required to provide documentation to support data reported on the FAFSA. Approximately 30 percent of students are selected by the federal government for this verification review and are notified of their selection on their Student Aid Reports.

Students selected for federal verification must complete the verification requirements online in the Mills College verification portal at The verification requirements should be completed/submitted within 30 days of the request date. Failure to complete the verification requirements will result in the withdrawal of the student's financial aid award for the academic year. Students will be notified by email if their financial aid award changes as a result of the verification process.