The primary purpose of the financial aid program of Saint Mary’s University is to provide assistance to students with financial need who would otherwise be unable to receive an undergraduate education at the university. Saint Mary’s University expects both the student and the family to make a realistic contribution to the payment of the student’s expenses. In determining the extent of a student’s financial need, the university takes into account the financial resources of the parents and of the students, including income, assets and other financial resources. Financial need exists when the student’s estimated university expenses exceed their estimated resources.
Financial aid is awarded on a non-discriminating basis, without regard to race, gender, intended major or class level. Financial aid is offered only to enrolled students and to students who have been accepted for admission to Saint Mary’s University. Aid recipients must carry at least a half-time course load. Students who qualify will be awarded a financial aid package (contingent upon the availability of funds) to meet their need. This package will usually be composed of grant money, loans and work funds. Applications for all financial aid programs must be renewed each year.
Saint Mary’s University also recognizes academic excellence within the policy of demonstrated financial need. If students with financial need meet the academic criteria, they may receive up to 65–75% of the financial need in the form of a scholarship. For more information, contact the vice president for enrollment management.
Because the university realizes that a student might have difficulty obtaining adequate finances, financial aid and admissions personnel are more than willing to discuss the various financial aid programs available to the student. The university treats all materials and correspondence as confidential. As a recipient of financial aid, the student is the beneficiary of funds made available by a variety of agencies: federal, state, institutional and private. In accepting an aid award, students indicate that they have read and understand the obligations and responsibilities of an aid recipient. Failure to comply with the stated regulations places the liability directly upon the student.
It is important that students understand the various types of financial aid they may receive. If a loan is part of the aid package, the student must sign a promissory note. This is a legally binding obligation to repay the loan according to the stated conditions. Students are required to complete loan counseling before receiving their loan. In accepting campus employment as part of the aid package, the student agrees to take the initiative in obtaining a job and to work the number of hours necessary to earn the amount of money offered in the work award. In accepting any portion of a Saint Mary’s financial aid package, students agree that the financial aid office will have control over all other financial assistance they might receive. This supervision is necessary because federal and state regulations require that the total amount of assistance must not exceed students’ documented need. Thus, students should work closely with the financial aid office to be sure that all conditions of the aid package are met.
Financial Aid Application Procedure
Analysis of the applicant’s financial resources is a required step in the university’s review of requests for financial aid. The university accepts the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA form may be completed online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Using the established guidelines for determining the applicant’s estimated resources, the director of financial aid determines the most equitable aid package available to meet the demonstrated need.
Student status and financial aid eligibility may be affected if a course is repeated more tahn once after credit is earned. For questions regarding this issue, please contact the office of financial aid.
All correspondence should be directed to:
Financial Aid Office
Saint Mary’s University
700 Terrace Heights #5
Winona, MN 55987-1399
Financial Aid Programs
The following funds are used in awarding need-based financial aid: Saint Mary’s Scholarship and Grant Programs, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Federal Pell Grant, Minnesota State Grant, Federal Perkins, Federal Direct loans, federal and state work study. Information about the various financial aid programs available through Saint Mary’s University (need-based or merit awards) is available upon request from the admission or financial aid offices.
Financial Aid Refund Policy
Federal law requires institutions and/or the student to return the portion of the financial aid that is considered UNEARNED. This policy applies only when, during the term, a student withdraws from ALL classes AND the percentage of the term completed is equal to or less than 60%. Course load reductions that leave a student with at least one remaining class are not affected by this policy. The following example illustrates how the new policy works:
- Calculate the percentage of the term completed (# days completed/ # days in semester X 100). If greater than 60%, then no return of financial aid is required. If less than or equal to 60%, then proceed to step #2.
- Determine the percentage of financial aid EARNED by multiplying the total amount of financial aid received for the term by the percentage in step #1. The student is permitted to keep this amount in his/her student account.
- Determine the amount of UNEARNED financial aid that must be returned to financial aid programs accounts by subtracting the amount of EARNED financial aid (determined in step #2) from the total amount of financial aid received for the term.
- There are specific calculations that determine how much of the UNEARNED financial aid must be returned to the federal program(s) by the institution and how much must be returned by the student.
- There is a prescribed order in which funds must be returned to the programs: (1) federal loans, (2) federal grants, and (3) other federal aid.
It is possible, depending on the date of withdrawal, to have no refund of tuition and fees, although part of the financial aid may be required to be returned. For example, if a student withdraws from the university after the end of ALL refund periods, it is possible that the student may owe the full amount of billed costs. Even if the student does not finish the term, he/she may still be charged for these fees.
Furthermore, if the withdrawal occurs after the end of ALL refund periods but on or before 60% of the term is completed, the student may be required to repay all or part of the financial aid as determined in steps #1-5 above. If the student is required to repay all or part of the financial aid, he/she will be notified of the amount required to be repaid. In addition, future registration at Saint Mary’s University and requests for academic transcripts may be denied until repayment is complete. To initiate the refund process, obtain a withdrawal form from the student success center. After completing the form and getting the required signatures, the registrar’s office will withdraw the student and the business office will calculate any refund of fees. The financial aid office will perform the appropriate calculations to determine the amount (if any) of financial aid that must be returned to the program accounts.
Satisfactory Academic Progress
Financial aid eligibility is based on satisfactory academic progress (SAP) standards that Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota is required by the U.S. Department of Education to establish, publish and apply. The financial aid office measures academic performance and enforces SAP standards to ensure that financial aid recipients progress toward completion of their degree. Students who fail to meet these standards become ineligible to receive financial aid until compliant with all of the requirements detailed in this policy.
To demonstrate satisfactory academic progress, a student’s academic performance must meet two main SAP components. The first is a qualitative component, represented by grade point average (GPA). The second is a quantitative component measured by credit completion (the ratio between attempted and completed credits) and the maximum timeframe to complete the degree or certificate program.
The complete policy is available online at www.smumn.edu/undergraduate-home/tuition-financial-aid/policies-paperwork.
Additional Financial Assistance
Non-need-based alternative loan programs are available to assist families in financing their educational costs. A list can be viewed at www.smumn.edu/loans.