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Office of Financial Aid
University of Mississippi

Financial Aid Terms and Conditions

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory academic progress (SAP) is checked at the end of each spring semester. Students failing to meet SAP are placed on financial aid suspension beginning with the summer term. Students placed on financial aid suspension are ineligible to receive any federal student aid funds.

Students who fail to maintain SAP may submit an appeal online to the Office of Financial Aid citing any special or mitigating circumstances they believe should be considered. Students submitting successful appeals are placed on financial aid probation and allowed to receive federal student aid for one semester. Each successful appeal includes academic requirements that must be met to receive aid beyond the one semester. Students denied aid for failure to meet these satisfactory academic progress requirements may re-establish eligibility once they meet the requirements.

Please click here for specific information regarding Satisfactory Academic Progress for undergraduate, graduate, Law and Pharmacy students.

Course Load

Some programs require that students be enrolled full time (12 hours for undergraduates, 9 hours for graduate students, and 10 hours for law students). Other programs require half-time enrollment (6 hours for undergraduates, 5 hours for graduate students, and 5 hours for law students). Undergraduates receiving Pell Grants must enroll for 12 or more hours to receive their full entitlements. Pell Grant awards are prorated for less than full-time enrollment. Course-load requirements are outlined in the Notification of Financial Aid.

Dependency Status

When you apply for federal student aid, you will answer certain questions that will determine your dependency status. If it is determined that you are dependent on your parents, you must report their income and assets as well as your own. If it is determined that you are independent of your parents, you should report only your income and assets (and those of your spouse, if married).

You are considered an independent student if one or more of the following applies to you:

  • are age 24 or older (or will turn age 24 before January 1 of the academic year for which you are applying),
  • are considered married as of the date of FAFSA filing (this also includes students who are separated but not yet legally divorced, and living apart from their spouse),
  • are enrolled in a graduate or professional degree (master’s or doctorate) program
  • are currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training,
  • are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces,
  • have legal dependents for whom you provide more than half of their financial support,
  • were an orphan, foster child, or ward/dependent of the court at any time since age of 13,
  • are an emancipated minor or in legal guardianship, or were when reaching the age of majority in your state (NOTE: The United States Department of Education does not recognize Emancipation of a Mississippi Resident as being valid to establish independent student status for Federal Financial Aid.),
  • are/were an unaccompanied youth, or are/were homeless or at risk of being homeless (see Homeless or Risk of Being Homeless professional judgment page for more information).

Unless you meet one or more of these conditions, you must be evaluated as a dependent student. This means that your parents’ financial data will have to be considered in determining your need for financial assistance.

Financial Need

Financial need is the difference between what it costs you to attend The University and the resources you have available to meet those costs. Costs of attendance (COA) include tuition and fees; room and board or an allowance for housing and food for students living off campus; allowances for books, supplies, transportation, and personal expenses.

Your individual family’s ability to meet your costs of attendance is determined by a formula established by Congress that calculates your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is a measure of how much you and your family are expected to contribute to the costs of your education for the year. The EFC is determined by an analysis of the financial data you and your parents (or you and your spouse, if married) provided on the FAFSA. If your costs of attendance (COA) exceed your EFC, then you demonstrate financial need (amounting to the difference between the COA and the EFC). If your EFC exceeds your costs of attendance (COA), then you do not have financial need and are, therefore, ineligible for need-based student financial aid. Eligibility for most scholarships, the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan program, and the Federal Parent (PLUS) Loan program is not based on financial need.


Verification is a federally mandated, quality control process in which some FAFSA applications are  selected by the Federal Processor. Your Student Aid Report will tell you if you have been selected for verification. If so, our office must then complete a verification review in order to “verify” the accuracy of your FAFSA data. We will notify how to complete the verification process, as well as how to access your verification worksheet through your award notification in MyOleMiss. The verification worksheet must be completed and submitted to our office along with other required documentation based on your verification selection status.  After the verification review process, our office may need to correct any inaccurate information on your FAFSA. If no corrections are needed, and all FAFSA data is verified as accurate, your financial aid will be awarded based on your eligibility.

Since the verification process can delay your financial aid awarding, you are encouraged to provide our office with requested information as soon as possible.

Professional Judgment

Although the process for determining eligibility for federal student aid is the same for everyone, there is some flexibility. If you feel that you have special circumstances that might affect your costs of attendance or the amount you and your family is expected to contribute (EFC), you should contact our office. You should be aware that the evaluation of special circumstances usually results in a delay in the awarding of financial aid.  For more detail and documentation, see information on Professional Judgment.

Status Change

Student aid recipients are required to report to the Office of Financial Aid any changes in financial or residency status. This includes the reporting of the receipt of funds from sources such as scholarships, loans, and fellowships not reported in the original application.


The Office of Financial Aid reserves the right to review and revise, or cancel awards at any time for the following reasons: changes in financial or academic status, discovery of incorrect or falsified information, or errors in the determination of need and eligibility for assistance.


Scholarships, loans, and grants are disbursed by direct credit to the student’s Bursar account at the beginning of each semester. Balance checks will credit first to your Bursar bill and any excess funds will be mailed to your permanent address or directly deposited to your personal account.  Federal Work-Study checks are issued bi-monthly (twice a month) by mail or direct deposit.

Refund/Repayment for Withdrawals

The Higher Education Amendments of 1998 defines withdrawal as failure to complete the period of attendance on which federal aid eligibility was based.  Therefore, this policy affects not only those individuals who complete the formal withdrawal notification process (as specified by the registrar – see ), but also those students who simply stop attending classes.

Students withdrawing before the beginning of classes must repay the entire aid disbursed for that term. Students withdrawing after classes begin will be required to repay a prorated portion of funds received.

Special refund provisions (Return of Title IV Funds) apply for students who withdraw after receiving student financial aid (SFA) for a specific term of enrollment from any of the following Title IV programs:

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Iraq & Afghanistan Service Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
  • Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grants (TEACH)
  • Federal Direct Subsidized and/or Unsubsidized Loan
  • Federal PLUS Loan (Undergraduate and Graduate)
  • Other Title IV programs

These provisions are federally mandated and can supersede The University of Mississippi institutional refund policy.


Financial aid awards are not automatically renewed from year to year. Students should apply each January for financial assistance for the academic year beginning in August. Students wishing to apply for financial aid for the summer term should complete a Summer Application in March.


The receipt of federal funds in excess of a student’s eligibility is called an overaward. Students are liable for overawards whether the overaward is a result of incomplete or erroneous data provided by the student or an error on the part of the University. Overawards will be charged to the student’s account in the Bursar’s Office or reduce other future aid.