Rules and Regulations

Return of Federal, State, and Institutional Financial Aid

(for financial aid recipients only)

If a student withdraws before 60 percent of the enrollment period (semester) has passed, federal regulations require that Title IV funds be returned to the programs as soon as possible but no later than 45 days after determining the student has withdrawn. Title IV funds include Direct Stafford Loans, Direct PLUS Loans, Pell Grants, and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG). The withdrawal date used to determine the return of federal funds is the date the student notifies the Division of Student Life of their intent to take a leave of absence or withdraw from the College. However, if a student leaves without beginning the Mills official withdrawal process or providing notification of their intent to withdraw, the withdrawal date will be the 50 percent point in the semester unless Mills determines the last date of an academically related activity of the student.

The percentage of Title IV funds to be returned is calculated by the number of calendar days not completed within a semester, as defined by the withdrawal dates above, divided by the total number of calendar days in the semester (from the first day of classes for the semester to the last day of finals). For example, if there are 100 calendar days in a semester and the student withdraws on the 25th day, 75 days have not been completed. This may result in the return of 75 percent of Title IV funds received by the student. However, if a student withdraws after 60 percent of the enrollment period has passed, no Title IV funds need to be returned.

Both Mills and the student may be responsible for returning federal funds to their source. Mills will return the lesser of the institutional charges times the percentage of unearned Title IV aid or the total of Title IV aid disbursed minus the amount of Title IV aid earned by the student. The student is responsible for returning the difference between the amount of Title IV aid returned by Mills and the total amount of unearned Title IV aid. In each case, funds must be repaid to the following sources, in order, up to the amount received from each source:

  1. Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
  2. Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan
  3. Federal Direct PLUS Loan
  4. Federal Pell Grant
  5. Federal SEOG
  6. Other Title IV programs

Although Mills will return loan amounts directly to the lender, amounts to be returned by the student are repaid in accordance with the terms of the promissory note, i.e., a student would begin making payments on their student loan after the grace period, if applicable, has expired. Students must repay only 50 percent of any federal grant amounts scheduled for return by the student. Mills College will disburse any Title IV funds that the student has earned but have not yet been disbursed to the student. Federal grants must be disbursed within 45 days and federal loans must be offered to the student within 30 days giving the student at least 14 days to respond.

The percentage of Mills College scholarship funds returned to the Mills College Scholarship Program will reflect, at a minimum, the same percentage used to determine the tuition adjustment for which a student may be eligible. However, up to 100 percent of a student's Mills College scholarship funds may be returned to the Mills College Scholarship Program if a student has a credit balance after the adjustment for tuition and/or room and board is made and the amount of unearned Title IV aid due from Mills is returned to the Title IV aid programs. In this event, any institutional or state funds received by the student will be returned to the respective aid programs.

If the Return of Title IV (R2T4) calculation results in a Title IV credit balance on the student’s account, the credit balance will be disbursed as soon as possible and no later than 14 days after the calculation of R2T4.

If there is a balance remaining on the student's account after all aid is returned, a billing statement will be issued. Payment is due upon receipt.

The federal formula for the return of Title IV funds is available upon request from the Financial Aid Office in Carnegie Hall.

Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

In keeping with government regulations and Mills policy, financial aid recipients must make satisfactory academic progress toward a degree or certificate in order to receive institutional, federal, and/or state aid. Progress is monitored in accordance with the policy outlined below.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Requirements

A. Qualitative Standards

Undergraduate students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of 2.0. 

Graduate, credential, and certificate students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and cannot receive an F (Failing) grade for any course.

B. Quantitative Standards

All Undergraduate and Graduate students must complete at least 67% of all attempted credits.

C. Attempted & Completed Credits

Attempted credits are enrolled credits as of the end of day on the add deadline for a term.  Courses dropped after this date count as attempted.  

Completed credits are enrolled credits for which credit is received. Courses in which a student receives a grade of “F”, “I”, “IE”, “NP”, “UW”or “W”, will be counted as attempted credits but will not be counted as completed credits for SAP purposes.

D. Transfer Credits

Transfer credits are counted as attempted and completed for the term in which the student was enrolled in those courses.  Transfer credits can only be counted after Mills has received official transcripts documenting those credits.  

E. Grades

Courses for which a grade of “F”, “I”, “IE”, “NP”, “UW”or “W” is received are counted as attempted but not completed. Ungraded courses dropped after the add deadline but before the withdrawal deadline are counted as attempted but not completed.  Course repeats are counted as attempted and completed if a satisfactory grade is received.

Courses for which a grade of “I” is received are counted as attempted but not completed, but a student may be petition the Financial Aid Office to perform a second review if the "I" grade contributed to a student failing to meet SAP requirements, if a letter grade is given before the end of the term following the term in which the course in question was enrolled, and if the new letter grade may result in the student meeting SAP requirements.

F. Maximum Time Frames

No student may exceed attempted credit hours above 150% of their required degree plan, to include all credits transferred in, registered, earned or attempted. In addition, any course withdrawn, dropped after the add deadline, duplicated or never completed are counted as attempted. For example, if a student is enrolled in a degree program requiring 120 credits, the student cannot exceed 180 credits attempted throughout the course of their enrollment. Further restrictions follow.

Students in the Nursing Program are eligible for financial aid for a maximum of four semesters while attending Mills College. 

Financial aid eligibility for all undergraduate students continues only to the original expected date of graduation for a first baccalaureate degree. For example, a request to extend a graduation date in order to complete a second major or to participate in an international visit (study abroad), domestic visit, international exchange, or domestic exchange program is not a basis for extending financial aid eligibility an additional semester(s).

G. Review Period

The Mills College Financial Aid Office reviews SAP following the end of each standard academic year (following the end of each Spring semester).

Financial Aid Probation and Disqualification

The Financial Aid Office reviews SAP annually after the end of the Spring semester.  If a student is found to have met SAP requirements no further action will be taken and the student may remain eligible to receive financial aid.

Failure to meet SAP requirements

Students who do not meet the qualitative or quantitative requirements at the end of the academic year are notified by email of their status and are no longer eligible to receive financial aid. Disqualified students may appeal and, if the appeal is approved, be placed on financial aid SAP probation.

Failure to Complete Degree

Students who do not complete their degree within the maximum time frame are not eligible to receive financial aid.


Students who appeal and are placed on financial aid SAP probation are eligible to receive financial aid during the probation period. Probation may last for up to two semesters. No additional semesters of probation are available. Students on financial aid SAP probation are eligible to receive aid funds during probationary terms.

Failure to Comply

Failure to meet the qualitative and quantitative requirements or standards set in an academic plan approved by the Financial Aid Office (see the “Appeals Process” section below) during a probationary term will result in final financial aid disqualification. Students who are in final financial aid disqualification are ineligible to receive financial aid and may not appeal for subsequent terms of probation. Students on financial aid SAP probation are strongly encouraged by the Financial Aid Office to meet with the Division of Student life in order to plan for academic recovery. Graduate students who are placed on a probationary term are encouraged to meet with their academic advisor. The Financial Aid Office sends the notice of financial aid SAP disqualification to students.

Appeals Option & Process

Students who become ineligible for financial aid due to SAP and have experienced extenuating circumstances that have had a direct effect on performance may submit an appeal to request continued financial aid eligibility through a period of probation. The deadline to submit an appeal is the end of the first week of the fall semester following disqualification. For example, if you are disqualified after the Spring 2020 semester, your deadline to appeal is the end of the first week of the Fall 2020 semester.

A. Basis for Appeal

Appeals for re-establishing eligibility may be based on extenuating circumstances that have prohibited the student from meeting SAP standards during the probationary period. Extenuating circumstances must be supported by official documents. Examples of extenuating circumstances are:

  • Death of an immediate family member.
  • Documented illness.
  • Major accident or injury (self, child, or parent).
  • Victim of a crime or unexpected disaster.

B. How to Appeal

Students must complete and submit a Mills College Academic Progress Appeal Request Form, along with official supporting documentation, the student’s statement explaining why Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) was not met, and a current educational plan approved by the student's advisor. Students must also explain what has changed in the student’s situation that will allow them to meet SAP requirements at the next evaluation. Incomplete forms will be returned to the student. Appeals are submitted to

C. Appeal Review

The Financial Aid Appeals Committee will review requests and take one of four actions:

  • Approve reinstatement on probation.
  • Approve reinstatement on probation with an academic plan.
  • Request that the student provide additional information.
  • Deny the appeal.

D. Notification of Appeal Decision

The Financial Aid Office will notify the student in writing of the decision on the appeal.

E. Academic Plan

An academic plan may be offered by the committee if the committee both agrees to reinstate the student and believes that the student cannot realistically make SAP within one standard academic year. The academic plan will provide alternative milestones and may require more frequent review of the student’s academic progress