Policies and Procedures

To remain eligible for financial aid at MSU-Northern, you must make satisfactory academic progress toward your degree objective. Satisfactory Progress is a condition for continued eligibility and is measured by the following factors:

  1. Students who receive financial aid assistance must successfully complete no less than 67% of cumulative credits attempted. Failure to do so will result in one of two financial aid statuses: Warning or TERMINATION. See the "Satisfactory Academic Progress" policy below.
  2. A student's eligibility is terminated at the point when maximum time frame parameters have been met. Generally limitations are: 98 semester credits for an Associate degree, 186 semester credits for a Bachelor's degree, or 45 semester credits for an undecided degree seeking student. Graduate student eligibility expires at 72 semester credits. Transfer credits will affect these time frames.
  3. Students must meet a Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) and percentage of cumulative credits attempted (usually 67%) requirement to continue their eligibility. Minimum Cumulative GPA is 2.00 for undergraduates and 3.00 for graduates. Satisfactory completion means a student has received a minimum grade of D or P (Pass). Grades other than A, B, C, D do not represent Satisfactory Progress
  4. Students whose status is "Termination" will not be considered for aid while in the "Termination" status.
  5. This policy is applicable to all students receiving institutionally administered aid. Any federal, state, institutional aid (including scholarships, fee waivers, work-study and loans) are included in this policy. MSUN Staff waivers are the only exception. The eligibility of applicants may be reviewed at any time during the semester.
  6. Students declared ineligible for financial aid under this policy will have the opportunity to appeal. The procedure must be initiated by the student by completing an appeal form and returning the form with appropriate documentation to the Financial Aid Office (Cowan Hall, Room 213).

Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid policy. You are responsible for knowing and understanding this policy thoroughly. The information in this policy provides more detailed instructions on how the institution monitors progress and on how to exercise the appeal process.

When an award letter is prepared for you, the Financial Aid Office has reviewed what you reported on the FAFSA (application) and the Student Data Form and funded you at the level you indicated. At the time of disbursement, your credit load and Satisfactory Progress status is reviewed. Coordination with the Registrar's Office, Business Office and Financial Aid Office will dictate whether or not aid can be released or needs to be adjusted. Not all award amounts are affected by changes in enrollment. If your award is affected, you will be notified.

Disbursement of your aid is based upon the number of credits for which you are enrolled at the time your aid is disbursed. Your award letter will indicate this information. If you add credits after your financial aid has been disbursed, you may be entitled to additional funds. You should check with the Financial Aid Office for a review of your funding level.

If you drop credits after all your financial aid funds have been disbursed, including a retroactive drop of credits, you may have received funds that you were not entitled to receive. You will receive a bill for any overpayments that may occur.

Dropping credits after the 15th class day

If you drop credits after the 15th day of classes, you may not be required to repay aid funds. You may, however, have deficient credits at the end of the semester. Please refer to "Satisfactory Progress Requirements" on this page.

  • You have the right to privacy. All records and data submitted with your application for financial aid are treated as confidential information.
  • You have the right to a complete explanation of the award process. If you do not understand your financial aid award, or feel your application has not been evaluated fairly, please contact the Financial Aid Office.
  • You have the right to be notified of cancellation or withdrawal of aid and to be informed of why this action is being taken.
  • You have the right to appeal. You may request a review of any decision concerning your financial aid eligibility. Please contact the Financial Aid Office and make an appointment. If necessary, you may be directed to submit a written appeal and supporting documentation.
  • You have the responsibility to report funds or benefits from any source (such as outside scholarships) that you receive or are promised (before and after you are awarded financial aid).
  • The Financial Aid Office is required BY LAW to make adjustments to prevent or correct over awards. We take this responsibility seriously. You will save yourself frustration, inconvenience, and possible financial penalty by reporting any changes in your financial status promptly.
  • You have the responsibility to report any change in your student status immediately. If you move, change your name, drop credits, withdraw from school, or do anything else that may affect your financial situation, please report that information to the Financial Aid Office and your student loan lender/servicer.
  • You have the responsibility to keep copies of all correspondence regarding your financial aid, whether it is from the Financial Aid Office, governmental agencies, or outside lenders.
  • You have the responsibility to use financial aid funds for educationally related expenses only such as tuition and fees, books, supplies, and reasonable living costs.
  • You have the responsibility to repay loans on time. Acceptance of any loan carries the serious obligation to repay. Failure to meet this obligation affects the availability of loans to future students. Before you accept any loans for financing your education, you should carefully consider the total amount and repayment requirements for which you will be responsible when you terminate your educational objectives.
  • You have the responsibility to understand how the Financial Aid Office determines if you are making satisfactory academic progress and what happens if you do not maintain satisfactory progress.

If you stop attending classes, you should officially withdraw to prevent assignment of grades of "F". If you don't withdraw, your status will be "TERMINATION", and you will not be eligible for aid until you reinstate your eligibility. In order to reinstate your eligibility, you must re-enroll and earn a GPA of 2.00 with no funding assistance from any federal or institutional aid. You must complete 67% of any credits attempted during your reinstatement period with a minimum GPA of 2.00 in order to regain eligibility. For more information on withdrawal procedures, contact the Registrar's Office in Cowan Hall.

If you withdraw from all courses either officially or unofficially, a withdrawal calculation will be performed by the Financial Aid Office to determine whether you received funding for which you were not eligible. A copy of this refund/return of Title IV funds is available in the Financial Aid office located in Cowan Hall.

If you received funds for which you were not eligible, you will receive a bill from the institution for repayment of those funds.

If you are eligible for a refund of your registration or housing fees from MSU-Northern, Federal regulations require that the refund first be applied to any student loan disbursed to you during the current loan period and then to repay any other financial aid for which you were billed. Any remaining amount will be refunded to you.

If you have any student loans, your lender or servicer will be notified of your enrollment status change and you may enter a "grace period" or repayment status. In keeping with the terms of your loans, you are required to inform your lenders of changes in your enrollment status.

If you plan to return to MSU-Northern and apply for assistance, please refer to the Satisfactory Progress policy to determine your eligibility status for future applications for aid.

If you or your parent(s) have had a substantial change in family income or assets due to unemployment, disaster, disability, divorce, or the loss of other compensation or benefits since applying for financial aid, you and/or your parent(s) may be eligible for special consideration. In addition, if you have non-discretionary expenses which may affect your ability to meet educational expenses, you may ask for reconsideration to increase your eligibility. As in any special consideration, all requests must follow the "Appeals" process outlined in the Satisfactory Progress policy. All requests must be documented and reasons for the exception must be provided.

If you or your parent(s) have special circumstances, please contact the Financial Aid Office for assistance with the "Appeal" process.

If your residency or student classification status changes, your aid eligibility may be affected. If you receive any new or additional aid from any source, your eligibility may be affected, Report these changes in writing to the Financial Aid Office as soon as you know of them. If these changes do not appear on your Award Letter, it is your responsibility to report them when you sign and return the office copy of the Award Letter.

The Financial Aid office will follow up on changes made and, if necessary, recalculate your eligibility. If you are no longer eligible for any part of the aid you have been offered, the we will work with you to resolve the over-award. If, however, it is necessary that you repay a portion of your financial aid, you must repay it before you are eligible to receive further aid.

Title IV funds are awarded to eligible students under the assumption that they will attend MSUN for the entire period for which the assistance is awarded. Students who wish to completely withdraw from their courses must officially withdraw at the Registrar's Office. A student who completely withdraws at or before 60% of the semester is completed may have to return a portion of the federal financial aid received for that semester. To comply with Federal Regulations, MSUN processes Return of Title IV funds weekly until 60% of the semester is completed.

A Return of Title IV Funds calculation determines the percentage of financial aid that a student has earned, based on the number of calendar days attended, divided by the total number of days in the enrollment period. For a student who officially withdraws, the date of withdrawal will be the date that the student first notifies the school of his intent to withdraw. A student who does not earn any passing grades, and has a combination of I, W, N, X, and or F grades, is considered to be an "unofficial withdrawal". For students with unofficial withdrawals, a documented Last Date of Attendance in class, or participation in an academically-related activity, is used. If no such date is available, the midpoint of the semester may be used as the withdrawal date. Factors used in the calculation to determine the amount of financial aid to be repaid by a student who has withdrawn from the university are the date of official or unofficial withdrawal, the type and amount of financial aid received by the student, and the amount of the student's original charges.

The amount of assistance that a student has earned at the time of withdrawal is determined on a pro rata basis. For example, if a student who has completed 30% of the semester has earned 30% of the Title IV aid for that semester. If a student withdraws and has completed more than 60% of the semester, the student has earned all the financial aid for that period. For more complete details on how the calculation is performed, please contact our office.

The amount of assistance that a student has earned at the time of withdrawal is determined on a pro rata basis. For example, if a student who has completed 30% of the semester has earned 30% of the Title IV aid for that semester. If a student withdraws and has completed more than 60% of the semester, the student has earned all the financial aid for that period. For more complete details on how the calculation is performed, please contact our office.

  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized loans,
  • Federal Direct Subsidized Loans,
  • Federal Direct PLUS loans,
  • Federal Pell Grant,
  • Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG),
  • Other Title IV grant funds

The requirements for Title IV program funds when a student withdraws are separate from the university policy, which is set by the Board of Regents. The university may charge the student to cover unpaid institutional charges for the semester, or for Title IV program funds that it was required to return.

The student may also have an obligation to return a part of the Title IV funds received for the semester. The student portion of any loan funds are repaid according to the terms of the loan. The Institutional Required Return of loan funds will result in an accounts receivable balance with the Business Office. However, an Overpayment of Federal Pell Grant or FSEOG funds must be paid directly to ED. The student has 45 days to repay the Overpayment of Title IV grant funds through the university Business Office. After 45 days, an unpaid Overpayment will result in a financial hold placed on the student's account and a report of grant Overpayment to NSLDS. The hold prohibits the student from registering for classes in future semesters, receiving academic transcripts, or receiving additional federal student aid funds from MSUN. The NSLDS report prevents the student from obtaining additional Federal Student Aid from any university.

If a student withdraws and has not received all of the financial aid earned according to the length of time he attended, a Post-Withdrawal Disbursement (PWD) may be due the student. If the PWD includes loan funds, the university must get the student's written permission within 14 days before the loan funds can be disbursed. A student can choose to decline some or all of the loan funds so further debt is not incurred. If the student is due federal grant funds, the university may automatically use all or a portion of the grant for tuition, fees, room and board charges (as contracted with the university). In addition, the student gives permission for the university to use PWD grant funds to pay for any charges incurred during the semester at the time he confirms attendance. If the student does not owe the university, the PWD funds will be disbursed to the student by check or direct deposit.

For example, if a student who has not received financial aid at the time of withdrawal, but has completed 50% of the semester, he is entitled to 50% of the federal aid that could have been disbursed prior to his withdrawal. If the student withdraws after completing over 60% of the semester, he is entitled to 100% of the federal aid that could have been disbursed prior to withdrawal.

Verification, once performed entirely by the school, is increasingly a shared effort by the school and the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to ensure that federal student aid funds are awarded and paid based on accurate family financial information. A student’s application for federal student aid (the FAFSA) may be chosen for verification by ED or by the school. The information that must be verified varies by applicant, as, effective for the current award year, ED transitions to a targeted approach that specifies verification of only those items that appear most likely to be in error.

Your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) may be selected for review in a process called verification.  If you are selected for verification you will be notified by email and by mail.  

If you are selected for verification, please follow these instructions carefully and turn in all requested documentation promptly to avoid a delay in your financial aid.  It is the MSU Northern’s policy not to disburse federal financial aid until the verification process is complete.

Turning in all of the completed documentation in a timely manner will ensure that your financial aid will not be delayed.  Allow at least 2-3 weeks for the Office of Financial Aid Services to complete the verification process. Incomplete verification forms and missing documentation will delay the processing of your financial aid. You can check the status of your verification in the My Eligibility section of MyInfo.

MSU Northern verifies only those students selected by the CPS.  Students are notified via the tracking requirements established in Banner and are reviewed following the guidelines in The Verification Guide issued by the U.S. Department of Education.  Northern utilizes the Banner software to record this process. Students, ideally, should submit verification documents no later than 3 weeks prior to the beginning of current semester. However, students have until the end of the semester to submit required documentation. This timeframe can be appealed on a case by case basis.  The consequences for failing to submit your information in a timely manner will be that no aid will be awarded or disbursed until the documents have been received and verification is complete.  Students may be dropped from courses if their account charges are not paid in a timely manner and/or late fees may also be assessed.

As required by law, any conflicting information must be resolved BEFORE an award letter will be published.  No funds will be disbursed until verification is complete.

In some cases we, not the CPS, will select a student for verification.  We must verify any information we have reason to believe is conflicting on an application. Also, we may at our discretion require a student to verify any FAFSA information and provide reasonable documentation according to consistently applied school policies. In either case we may, but are not required to, include any of the CPS verification items not already included.  Whether we do that or not, students with these applications are considered selected for verification and, as with CPS-selected applications, all other verification requirements, such as deadlines, allowable tolerances, and interim disbursement rules, apply.

If verification is completed after a term of enrollment has ended, satisfactory progress must be reviewed. The student will be paid ONLY for credits successfully completed according to MSU Northern’s Satisfactory Progress Policy.

The Financial Aid office staff will submit FAFSA corrections deemed necessary based on the verification documentation received or the student will be advised to make the corrections.

Students will receive a notification of a revised financial aid offer, informing them of financial aid eligibility changes (usually due to incorrect FAFSA and/or verification documentation). This notification will be by email where students will be directed to their MyInfo account to review these changes.

If we suspect that a student, employee, or other individual has misreported information or altered documentation to fraudulently obtain federal funds, we are obligated to report our suspicions and provide any evidence to the Office of Inspector General.