Financial Aid FAQs

Who Should Apply
How to Apply
When to Apply
Who Completes the FAFSA? (U.S. Citizens Only)
Dependency Status
Financial "Need"
Unique Circumstances
Signing the FAFSA
Verification
Documents Needed
Consequences of Not Complying
Notification of Financial Aid Package
Accepting the Awards
Canceling Awards
Amount of Financial Aid Offered
How to Apply for Loans
About Lenders
Entrance Counseling
Increasing Loan Amounts
Use of Loan Funds
MSM Scholarships
Resources for Scholarships
Outside Scholarships
Disbursements
Employment
Enrollment Issues
Withdrawing
Study Abroad


Who Should Apply

Q: I probably don't qualify for financial aid. Should I apply for aid anyway?
A: Yes. Many families mistakenly think they don't qualify for aid and prevent themselves from receiving financial aid by failing to apply for it. In addition, there are a few sources of aid such as the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, Grad PLUS Loan, and the Parent PLUS Loan that are not need-based. Submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is free, and your information is confidential. Please note that the priority deadline for submitting your FAFSA for consideration for Manhattan School of Music Institutional Scholarships and any other financial aid is March 1 for the following fall semester. 
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How to Apply

Q: Where can I get a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for financial aid?
A: Apply electronically at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Make sure you are logged into the .gov site, not a .com site. There should be no charge to complete the FAFSA. It is a free application. 
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Q: Where can I get information about Federal Student Aid? 
A: Visit the Federal Student Aid Website. You may call the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) or 1-800-730-8913 (if hearing impaired) and order a free copy of The Student Guide: Financial Aid from the US Department of Education. The website and toll free hotline is run by the US Department of Education, and its staff can answer questions about federal student aid programs and applications. 
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Q: Where can I get a CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE to apply for for financial aid?
A: You may apply electronically at www.student.collegeboard.org/css-financial-aid-profile
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When to Apply

Q: How soon after January 1 should the FAFSA and CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE be completed? Is it better to wait until the income taxes have been filed? 
A: Complete the FAFSA and CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE as soon as possible after January 1 of the year in which you are entering college. You do not need to wait until your taxes are filed. Although it is best to file your taxes early, it is acceptable to use estimates of your income. You will have an opportunity to make any necessary corrections later. If you wait too long, you might miss the priority deadline of March 1 for filing your FAFSA and PROFILE for consideration for institutional, federal, and state aid. 
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Q: Is there a time limit on applying for financial aid?
A: You can apply for aid throughout the year, but our priority deadline is March 1, the date we begin our awarding process.
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Who Completes the FAFSA (U.S. Citizens Only)

Q: I'm an undergraduate student under 24 years of age and I have been living on my own. My parents don't claim me on their taxes. Do I still need to provide their information on the FAFSA?
A: Yes. For the purposes of financial aid, dependency status is determined by a series of questions on the FAFSA. If you answer "no" to all of them, then you're considered dependent and your parent(s) must complete their portion of the application.
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Q: My parents are separated or divorced. How do I file the FAFSA?
A: If your parents are separated or divorced, the custodial parent is responsible for filling out the FAFSA. The custodial parent is the parent with whom you lived the most during the past 12 months, from the FAFSA application date, not the previous calendar year. Note: This is not necessarily the same as the parent who has legal custody. If you did not live with one parent more than the other, the parent who provided you with the most financial support during the past twelve months should complete the FAFSA. This is probably the parent who claimed you as a dependent on their tax return. If you have not received any support from either parent during the past 12 months, use the most recent calendar year for which you received some support from a parent. Please note, however, that any child support and/or alimony received by the custodial parent from the non-custodial parent must be included on the FAFSA. If your custodial parent is remarried, you must include their spouse's information on the FAFSA as well. 
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Q: My biological parents are not married, but are living together. How do I file the FAFSA?
A: The information and income for both parents should be reported on the FAFSA when your biological parents are not married by living together. There is a marital status option of “Unmarried and both parents living together.”
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Q: I have same-sex parents who live together. How do I file the FAFSA?
A: If your parents were married in a state that recognizes same-sex marriages then their marital status would be reported as “married” and both of their information should be reported on the FAFSA as parent 1 and parent 2. If your parents have not been married in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage you would report their marital status as “Unmarried and both parents living together” and both of their information should be reported on the FAFSA as parent 1 and parent 2.
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Q: My parents are divorced, and the parent I'm living with has remarried. Does my stepparent have to report his or her income and assets on the FAFSA? 
A: Yes, provided that the parent you're living with is the one filling out the FAFSA (your custodial parent). If your parent is remarried when you complete the FAFSA, his/her spouse's income and assets must be reported on the FAFSA even if they weren't married in the previous year.
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Q: My custodial parent remarried and signed a prenuptial agreement that absolves the stepparent from financial responsibility for my education. Why does my stepparent have to provide financial information on the FAFSA?
A: Prenuptial agreements are ignored by the federal need analysis process. After all, two individuals (parent and stepparent) cannot make an agreement between themselves that is binding on a third party (the federal government). The federal government considers the stepparent as a source of support regardless of any prenuptial agreements to the contrary. If a parent remarries, the stepparent is considered responsible for supporting the parent and children even if he or she is unwilling or not legally bound to do so.
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Q:
 I have never lived with my parents. My relatives (grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.) have cared for me most of my life; however, they have never adopted me. Can I use my relative's financial information on the FAFSA application?
A: No. You must use your parent's information to the extent possible. If this is not achievable, contact the Office of Financial Aid for assistance.
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Dependency Status

Q: How is dependency status determined on the FAFSA?
A: The FAFSA poses a list of questions to determine whether you are Dependent for financial aid purposes. If you answer "no" to all the questions, you are Dependent. The questions address your age, marital status, degree level, whether you have dependent children, and military veteran status. All graduate students are considered Independent for federal financial aid purposes.
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Q: I am an undergraduate student, under 24 years of age, recently divorced, and have no children. Can I still file as an Independent student and only use my financial information?
A: No. You must satisfy the questions listed on the FAFSA application to be considered independent. If you answer "no" to all questions, you will revert back to a dependent status and will be required to include your parental information.
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Financial "Need"

Q: How is my Expected Family Contribution (EFC) determined?
A: The information proviced in your FAFSA determines your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC determines your eligibility for need-based aid. Items that will affect need-based aid eligibility from year-to-year include the following changes: income and/or assets, number of family members in college, number of family members in residing household, etc. All of these factors play a role in determining the EFC.
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Q:What determines financial need?
A: Financial need is calculated by subtracting your EFC from the Cost of Attendance (COA). The COA includes tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, transportation, personal allowance, etc. It includes both direct (billable) and indirect (non-billable) costs. The difference between the COA and your EFC determines the amount of your financial need and your eligibility for need-based aid. 
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Q: What determines the need-based aid I will receive?
A: Two factors: the EFC and the COA. The difference between the two determines your financial need and eligibility for need-based aid such as the Federal Pell Grant, the Federal Direct Subsidized Loan, and Federal Work Study. The combination of all merit- and need-based federal, state, and institutional aid (scholarships, grants, and loans) plus outside resources cannot exceed the COA.
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Unique Circumstances

Q: What if I have unusual family circumstances?
A: We understand that the need analysis process does not always consider every family situation. If your family has experienced an unusual change in financial circumstances not considered on the FAFSA, you may wish to request consideration. To do this you should submit the request, in writing, and describe in detail the factors which are impacting your ability to contribute toward the Cost of Attendance. We will make every effort to incorporate these circumstances into the need analysis calculation. A review may only be conducted for circumstances that can be documented.
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Q: I have (or my parents have) changed marital status since I filed the FAFSA, should I refile?
A: Please contact the Office of Financial Aid for assistance about this change in circumstance. 
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Signing the FAFSA

Q: How do I sign the FAFSA electronically?
A: To sign your FAFSA electronically, you will need an FSA ID. The FSA ID replaced the four digit PIN in May 2015. An FSA ID is a username and password that you must use to log in to certain US Department of Education (ED) websites. To apply for an FSA ID, visit https://fsaid.ed.gov. If you already have a PIN, you can link your PIN to your new FSA ID so you will be able to use your username and password immediately. This applies for both you and your parent.
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Q: Can I sign on paper?
A: Yes, although it is not recommended. During the FAFSA online application process, you will be asked how you wish to sign. We strongly recommend that you sign electronically to assist in expediting the process. If you choose not to use an FSA ID, you may print the signature page at the end of the FAFSA and mail it to the address listed on that page. Paper signatures take weeks to process and will delay the processing of your FAFSA.
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Verification

Q: I have been selected for verification and I do not understand what that means.
A: Verification is the process your school uses to confirm that the data reported on your FAFSA is accurate. Many student files are selected by the Federal Processor in the process of applying for aid for Verification. Some files are randomly selected while others are selected because of appearing to be error prone. If the student's file is selected, requested documentation should be submitted to the Office of Financial Aid at MSM immediately because of specified deadline date requirements. We normally ask that the documents be provided within two weeks of being selected for verification.
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Documents Needed

Q: What documents are required to fulfill the verification requirements?
A: You will be required to complete a Verification Worksheet. You can download a copy of this worksheet from the Forms on this website. If you are required to include your parental information on your FAFSA, then complete the Dependent Student Worksheet. If you are not required to provide parental information, then complete the Independent Student Worksheet. Verification requires the use of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT). For step-by-step instructions on how to use the DRT, follow this link:

http://www.irsdataretrievaltool.com/irs-data-retrieval-tool-step-by-step-instructions

Contact the Office of Financial Aid to determine what additional tax documentation you will be required to submit with the Verification Worksheet.
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Consequences of Not Complying

Q: What happens if I do not provide the requested verification documents?
A: If the required documentation is not provided to the Office of Financial Aid before the necessary deadline, MSM will not be able to apply any need-based financial aid to your account.
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Notification of Financial Aid Package

Q: How will I be notified of important financial aid information?
A: Please note that the Office of Financial Aid will use electronic means to communicate with you. It is your responsibility to keep your MSM e-mail address current and to read messages that are sent to your email. It also is important that you keep your mailing address and phone number current with MSM’s Registration Office as we communicate through traditional means as well.
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Q: When will I receive a Financial Aid Notification Letter?
A: For new students who have been accepted, notification letters will be emailed April 1st. Returning students' awards will be evaluated in May and June after grades are finalized and the academic progress committee meets. Notification letters will be emailed shortly after.
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Accepting the Awards

Q: What must I do to accept my awards?
A: After receiving your Financial Aid Notification Letter, you will need to print off a copy and verify which awards you would like to accept and sign confirming you are aware of the conditions applied to your continued receipt of the funds. This letter must then be scanned and emailed, faxed, mailed, or dropped off at the Office of Financial Aid to accept your aid. 
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Canceling the Awards

Q: What must I do to cancel all or any portion of my financial aid?
A: Please notify us in writing, preferably by email at finaid@msmnyc.edu. List which program or programs in which you do not wish to participate.
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Q: May I cancel my loans at any time, even if I signed a promissory note?
A: Yes. We can cancel your request for a loan at any time up to and including receipt of the funds at the School.
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Amount of Financial Aid Offered

Q: What if my financial aid (grants, scholarships, and loans) doesn't cover my bill?
A: There are two options: 1) You can enroll in the Tuition Pay Monthly Plan administered by HigherOne and make interest-free, monthly payments; or 2) You can take out a private student loan. 
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How to Apply for Loans

Q: How do I apply for a Federal Direct Student Loan?
A: To apply for a Federal Direct Student Loan, first complete the FAFSA. Then, log in to www.studentloans.gov with your FSA ID. To qualify, you need to complete the Entrance Counseling and sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN).
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Q: How do my parents apply for a Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan?
A: To apply for a Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan, first complete the FAFSA. Either one of your parents or stepparents can apply for a PLUS loan, if you are considered a Dependent student on your FAFSA. Your parent can apply at www.studentloans.gov. To qualify, your parent would complete the Parent PLUS Request Process and, if approved, sign a PLUS Master Promissory Note (MPN).
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Q: What if my parent applies for a PLUS Loan but is denied?
A: Your parent has two options: They can appeal the decision by contacting Applicant Services with the Department of Education at 1-800-557-7394. Or, they can seek an endorser for the PLUS loan. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid for assistance with these options. If your parent chooses not to pursue the PLUS loan after being denied, then we can award you an additional amount in a Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan. For first and second year students, the additional amount is $4,000; for third and fourth year students, the amount is $5,000. 
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Q: How do I apply for a Federal Graduate PLUS Loan?
A: To apply for a Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loan, first complete the FAFSA. You can apply online at www.studentloans.gov. To qualify, you would complete the PLUS Request Process and, if approved, sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN).
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About Lenders

Q: Can I use my own lender for a loan?
A: Students are entitled to choose any lender they wish to use for alternative student loans. 
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Entrance Counseling

Q: What is Entrance Counseling and where do I complete it?
A: It is a federally required on-line counseling session which informs you of your rights and responsibilities as a student loan borrower. You can access it online at www.studentloans.gov.
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Increasing Loan Amounts

Q: The Federal Direct Student Loans are not enough to cover my expenses. Can I increase the amount?
A: No. The maximum amount you can borrow each year in Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans depends on your grade level and whether you are a dependent student or an independent student. We can decrease, but not increase the loan amount. The maximum amounts are set by the federal government.
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Q: Can I increase the PLUS loan?
A: Yes. Your parent can increase the Parent PLUS loan and a graduate student can increase a Grad PLUS Loan to accommodate your full need but cannot exceed the difference between the Cost of Attendance and your financial aid. Endorsed loans cannot be increased above the endorsed amount. [Back to Top]

Use of Loan Funds

Q: What can I spend my loan money on?
A: Federal Direct Student, Parent PLUS, Grad PLUS and private educational loans can be used for direct and indirect education costs such as tuition, books, supplies, housing, food and any other educationally related costs.
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MSM Scholarships

Q: How do I apply for Institutional Scholarships?
A: All new applicants are automatically reviewed for Institutional Scholarships based on their citizenship and degree programs. To receive maximum scholarship, complete the following by the March 1 priority deadline:
US Undergraduate Applicants: Complete the FAFSA and CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE
US Graduate Students: Complete the FAFSA
International Applicants: CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE
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Q: How much money should I expect from a MSM Scholarship, if I were to be selected?
A: Scholarship amounts vary. Scholarship dollars are limited, and we attempt to allocate the funds in the most equitable manner possible. On average, Institutional Scholarships offer in the area of $5,000 to full tuition and, in some limited cases, fees and room and board per year. 
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Q: What do I need to do to renew my MSM Scholarship each year?
A: Scholarship recipients who do not meet the criteria below or who are placed on academic probation are not eligible to receive their full award the following semester/year.

Student must receive a similar or higher composite year-end jury score than originally awarded at the student's entrance audition 
 
Maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA each term
 
Uphold an exemplary performance and participation in all performances, ensembles, and classes
 
Sustain exemplary school community conduct.
 
Must not receive less than a B grade in any private lessons or any ensemble. 
 
Meet the concert attendance requirement determined by the Institution. 
 
If a Professional Studies or Doctor of Musical Arts student receives a scholarship, they may be required to participate in large ensemble performance cycles as assigned by the Office of Performance Operations.
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Q: If I do not receive a scholarship upon entry to MSM, is it possible for me to get scholarships in other years?
A: Yes. All students have the opportunity to appeal to the Scholarship Committee for additional funds in subsequent year. Receiving a higher jury score on your year-end jury from your admissions audition is typically necessary for receiving funding. To be officially reviewed, please email The Office of Financial aid explaining your situation and requesting to be reviewed for scholarship funding.
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Q: I don't understand why I did not receive any scholarships; my grades are excellent.
A: Although MSM would like to offer a scholarship to everyone deserving of recognition, due to limited funding, this is not possible. We look at a multitude of variables to make these difficult decisions, which includes the audition.
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Resources for Scholarships

Q: Could you offer any advice on where to go to apply for scholarships?
A: Community, local, and state organizations often offer scholarships to students. You may wish to use a Scholarship Search Engine such as Fastweb or organizations such as finaid.org
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Outside Scholarships

Q: I received an outside scholarship. Should I report it to the financial aid office?
A: Yes. If you are receiving any kind of financial aid from any sources other than MSM, you must report the scholarship to the financial aid office. You should provide a copy of the notification letter you received from the organization offering you the scholarship. We will then be able to apply it to your account as anticipated aid.
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Q: Do you accept outside scholarships?
A: Yes. The scholarship will be credited to your bill once we have received the funds from the grantor.
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Disbursements

Q: How does my financial aid get applied to my bill?
A: All gift aid (scholarships and grants) is applied to your bill first. Loan money is then applied as follows: Federal Direct Loans first–student, then Parent or Grad PLUS (if eligible), then private loans. 
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Q: How does the loan money get to MSM?
A: For the Federal Direct Loans, monies are sent to the MSM Business Office by electronic funds transfer. Many private loans are also disbursed this way, or by paper check. If there is a credit balance after all of your aid has been applied to your account, you or your parents (in case of a Parent PLUS loan) will be issued a refund check.
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Q: What do I do if my loan comes in as a paper check?
A: The Office of Student Accounts/Bursar will notify you to visit their office to endorse the check so they can finalize processing. It is important for you to respond promptly to their request as it will delay the processing of your refund, if you will receive one. Even if you will not receive a refund, it is imperative that you endorse your check as soon as possible as it could delay your ability to register for subsequent terms.
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Q: When will funds be applied to my account?
A: All financial aid (excluding Federal Work Study) is applied to your account after the drop and add period has ended. The Business Office will begin to process the accounts and any money that is in excess of your fees will be refunded to you or your parents (in case of a PLUS loan) in a refund check.
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Q: When additional money comes in after my bill is paid, how long will it take for me to get a check?
A: A check will be issued within 14 days from receipt and posting of the funds.
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Employment

Q: I am very interested in working on campus. How do I apply?
A: All available positions are posted on MSM’s student website.Students have the ability to apply for any open student position. Students will apply directly to the department of interest and be interviewed and, possibly, and hired by the manager of that particular office.
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Q: Is there a limit on the number of hours I can work on campus?
A: . Yes. MSM will allow you to work a maximum of 20 hours per week when classes are in session. During holidays and periods of non-enrollment, you may work up to 30 hours per week.
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Q: What type of work will I be doing?
A: This varies depending on the job. Most jobs will include light office work, such as filing, phone work, etc. Other areas include giving tours, computer lab, library, etc.
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Enrollment

Q: I only have a few classes left and do not need to attend full-time. How does going part-time affect my financial aid?
A: You must be enrolled in a minimum of 6 credit hours to receive financial aid. Part-time enrollment affects the Pell Grant and institutional scholarship funds. It has a limited effect on federal or private loans. The Pell Grant and institutional scholarship funds will be prorated based on the number of credit hours being taken under 12 hours. Please visit the Office of Financial Aid to discuss your options. 
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Withdrawing

Q: What happens to my financial aid if I must withdraw from all classes or am unable to complete a semester?
A: If you must withdraw from classes, you may be required to repay a portion of your financial aid. Eligibility for financial aid is based on the costs involved with attending for an entire semester. Please read carefully the Return of Title IV Aid Policy listed on our website. If you have loans, you will enter into repayment within 6 months after you withdraw unless you enroll in a degree seeking program for at least 6 credit hours. Visit the Office of Financial Aid to discuss your options before you withdraw from MSM.
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Q: I need to withdraw from one of my classes and all of my aid has been applied to my bill. Do I have to repay any money?
A: As long as you are not fully withdrawing from MSM you will not owe. However, withdrawing from a class may have an impact on the continuation of certain programs in subsequent years. Visit the Office of Financial Aid to discuss how this might affect you before you withdraw from your class.
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Study Abroad

Q: I want to study abroad this summer. Will financial aid pay for this?
A: No. Summer is considered a period of non-enrollment, we cannot offer any type of aid. We suggest you visit www.StudyAbroadLoans.com as perhaps a viable option for funding.
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