Financial Aid FAQ's
What is financial aid?
Financial Aid refers to scholarships, grants, loan and work opportunities which assist students in meeting their college expenses.
Two common classifications of student financial aid are:
- Gift Assistance: Scholarships and Grants, which usually do not have to be repaid.
- Self-help: Loans, which must be repaid, though in many cases not until the student has finished college. Student employment is also self-help assistance, whereby the student works and receives a bi-weekly paycheck. Most Saint Michael's financial aid packages typically include a self-help component.
What are the sources of financial aid?
The College administers and distributes funds from institutional, private, federal and state sources. Students who follow the application procedures outlined on this page will be considered for institutional student financial aid as well as the following federal student aid programs: Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Direct Loan and Federal Work-Study Program. Many Saint Michael’s College students also obtain funding from various outside/external sources.
How is financial need determined?
Financial need is the difference between the estimated cost of attendance for a school year and the "expected family contribution" from the student and his/her parents. An expected family contribution is calculated through the Federal methodology from family financial data submitted by each family that applies for financial aid. The Office of New Student Aid and Scholarships reviews the expected family contribution, determines the applicant’s financial need and notifies the student of available sources of funding.
How is the expected family contribution calculated?
All of the information reported by the family on the FAFSA is used to determine eligibility for the various federal, state and institutional programs. For institutional funds, Saint Michael's College adheres to the traditional premise that the family bears the first responsibility to contribute toward college expenses to the extent that it is able to do so.
When are financial aid applicants notified?
Admitted first year students who have properly completed the financial aid process are notified soon after the first of April, if not before.
Is there a cost associated with applying for financial aid?
All that Saint Michael's requires is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and it is entirely free.
Is financial aid renewable?
All forms of financial aid, including scholarships offered by the College, are generally renewed, provided there is satisfactory academic progress and good standing, a timely financial aid application, annually demonstrated financial need and availability of funds. Some scholarships require recipients to maintain a specific cumulative grade point average. Application for renewal requires the proper and timely completion of the FAFSA.
Student Loan FAQ's
How do I find out if I qualify for a Federal Direct Student Loan?
Your school determines your Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct loan eligibility; details of your eligibility will be included in the financial aid award package provided to you by your school. The same application is used for both loan types; you do not need to complete multiple applications.
What is the difference between Subsidized and Unsubsidized loan?
To be eligible for the Federal Subsidized Direct Loan, you must have demonstrated financial need to borrow a Federal Subsidized Direct loan. The federal government pays the interest while you are enrolled in school (at least half-time) and during grace and deferment periods.
The Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan is not based on demonstrating financial need and the federal government does not pay the interest; you are responsible for all interest. Interest begins to accumulate immediately upon disbursement. Repayment of accrued interest will be deferred until repayment of principal is required.
What do I need to do after I have accepted my loans?
Once a student loan has been accepted by a student there are still a few steps that need to be completed before the loan will credit to a student's account.
First-time borrowers of the Federal Direct Loan program will be required to sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) and complete and online entrance counseling session. The Master Promissory Note is valid for 10 years and once signed will be used for any Federal Direct Loan through this 10-year period. Entrance counseling is a short orientation to the rights and responsibilities of being a student loan borrower. Both of these steps must only be completed once for each student while they are attending Saint Michael's. The MPN and Entrance counseling can be completed online through studentloans.gov.
When can I get my loan funds?
Loans are disbursed by term. Once you have resolved all eligibility issues (including verification and satisfactory academic progress) your financial aid for the upcoming term will in most cases be disbursed on the first day of classes. Final adjustments due to changes in your credit hours will occur approximately two weeks after the start of the term. Your financial aid will be credited to your Saint Michael's tuition and fees, room and board and miscellaneous fees.
What happens to excess loan funds on my student account?
If the amount of financial aid and other credits on your bill exceed tuition, fees, and other charges, you may receive a refund. You may use your refund for books, indirect expenses, or any other education expenses for the term. You will receive a check in your Saint Michael's mail box or you can arrange to have it held in the Cashier's office. No funds will be released before the first day of classes.
How do my parents borrow from the PLUS loan program?
If a parent of a dependent student would like to borrow the PLUS loan, they need to complete the FAFSA. To apply for the PLUS loan, the parent needs to complete the Master Promissory Note (MPN) and the PLUS Loan Application on the Federal website studentloans.gov. In addition, they must complete the Federal Direct PLUS Loan Data Worksheet and mail or fax the form back to Student Financial Services, Box 4, or fax to 802.654.2591.
Please be aware that the Federal Direct PLUS Loan is contingent upon a credit approval and can only be certified for the amount remaining after consideration of the cost of attendance less all other financial aid awarded and accepted.
How can I make changes to my loan amount?
If you would like to adjust/reduce the Federal Stafford Loan or Federal Perkins Loan you were awarded, please contact Student Financial Services by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Loan change requests must be submitted in writing.
We recognize that students may need to rely on a variety of resources to assist them in paying for their educational expenses. As you consider the educational loans available from each program, be sure to keep in mind that some loans are more expensive than others. Generally, federal loans should be used first as they may provide the best terms, conditions, benefits, have a fixed interest rate, and the Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized loans do not require a credit check. Private loans should generally be used once other options have been exhausted as they may have higher interest rates, less favorable terms and conditions and often have more strict qualifying credit criteria.
Before applying for a loan be sure to research the loan product(s) to ensure you are getting the most competitive rates, fees and terms available. As you research available loans, be sure to review the websites or ask the lenders how your specific needs and the terms of the loans meet your individual situation. Listed below are some items to consider:
- Is the interest rate fixed or variable?
- Does the loan have a maximum (capped) variable interest rate?
- Can you receive a better interest rate if you have someone co-sign the loan?
- Are payments required to be made while in-school?
- Can the loan be used if only taking 3 credits (less than half time)?
The Lender List
Our lender list is a three year list of lenders used by our undergraduate students. It is not ranked in any way and we do not have a preferred lender arrangement with any of the lenders on this list.
Please note that some lenders are restricting loans based on the students' residency and/or banking or company affiliations. (e.g. If you are not from Maine, you would not be eligible for the MELA loan as it is restricted to residents of Maine.)