Office of Financial Aid

University of Mississippi

Satisfactory Academic Progress

(Appeal Online)

Satisfactory academic progress is checked at the end of each spring semester. Students failing to meet the standard 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 satisfactory academic progress 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:

  • you were born before January 1, 1985

  • you are married

  • you are enrolled in a graduate or professional program (beyond the bachelor’s degree)

  • you have legal dependents other than a spouse

  • you are an orphan or ward of the court

  • you are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces

  • you are serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training

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; and allowances for books, supplies, transportation, and personal expenses.

Resources that you have available to meet these costs of attendance are determined by a formula established by Congress that produces your expected family contribution (EFC). This EFC is the amount you and your family are expected to contribute toward your education. The expected family contribution is determined by an analysis of the financial data you and your parents provide on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

If your costs of attendance (COA) exceed your expected family contribution (EFC), then you demonstrate financial need amounting to the difference. If your EFC exceeds your costs, you do not have financial need and are, therefore, ineligible for need-based student financial aid programs. Eligibility for most scholarships, the Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan program, and the Federal Parent Loan program is not based on financial need.


Approximately 30 percent of the students who apply for federal financial aid by completing the FAFSA are selected for “verification”–a process of verifying or confirming the data provided by the student and/or parents.

If we receive notification from the federal processor that your application has been selected for verification, we will send you instructions on where to download the verification worksheet from our web site. This worksheet must be completed and submitted to our office along with signed copies of the prior year’s federal income tax returns for those individuals whose incomes were reported on the FAFSA.  If the information you supplied on the work sheet and tax returns matches what you reported on the FAFSA, your application will continue to be processed. If critical data does not match, the Office of Financial Aid will file corrections with the federal processor.

Since the verification process can delay our evaluation of your application, you are encouraged to provide The University of Mississippi 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 bimonthly by mail or direct deposit.

Refund/Repayment for Withdrawals

A student who withdraws from the University during the course of a semester or summer term must secure an “Official Withdrawal from the University” form from the Registrar, and return the form with the necessary signatures of clearance within seven days. Detailed information about the withdrawal process is provided in the Undergraduate Catalog. In the case of an unofficial withdrawal, the school will determine the date of withdrawal to be that of the midpoint of the term, unless able to document a later date.

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), 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 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

  • Academic Competitiveness (ACG) Grant

  • National Science and Mathematics to Retain Talent (SMART) Grant

  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)

  • Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grants (TEACH)
  • Federal Perkins Loan

  • Federal Stafford 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. (See the “Academic Calendar” in the “Class Schedule” publications for the institutional policy.)

The Higher Education Amendments of 1998 state that when a recipient of Title IV funds ceases attendance during a term (withdraws), the University must calculate how much SFA was earned and how much was unearned. The unearned amount must be returned to the Title IV programs.

To do so, the University will first determine the percentage of the term completed. This percentage is determined by dividing the number of calendar days completed as of the date of withdrawal by the total number of calendar days in the term.

  • If the student withdrew on or before 60% of the term has elapsed, the percentage of SFAearned is equal to the percentage of the term completed.

  • If the student withdrew after 60% of the term has elapsed, the percentage of SFA earnedis equal to 100%.

The amount of SFA earned is equal to the percentage of SFA earned multiplied by the total amount of SFA that was disbursed (or could have been disbursed) as of the day the student withdrew.

If the student received more SFA than the amount of SFA earned, the University and/or the student as outlined below must return the unearned funds.

School:  The University must return the lesser of: the amount of SFA not earned
The institutional costs (tuition, housing, etc.) that the student incurred multiplied by the percentage of SFA not earned.

Student:  The student (or parent, in the case of a PLUS loan) must repay the amount of SFA not earned remaining after the University has returned its share.

Unearned funds are first applied (paid back) to any Title IV loans borrowed during the term. The student (or parent, in the case of a PLUS loan) must repay unearned funds to Title IV loan programs in accordance with the terms of the loan. Unearned funds are required to be returned to Title IV loans in the following order:

  • Unsubsidized Stafford loan

  • Subsidized Stafford loan

  • Federal Perkins loans

  • Federal PLUS loans

If unearned funds remain after all loans have been repaid, the remaining unearned funds must be credited to Title IV programs in the following order:

  • Federal Pell Grant

  • Academic Competitiveness (ACG) Grant

  • National Science and Mathematics to Retain Talent (SMART) Grant

  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)

  • Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grants (TEACH)

The student is required to return only 50% of the grant repayment as calculated using federal formula. Grant overpayments may be collected according to arrangements satisfactory to the school, or by overpayment collection procedures prescribed by the Department of Education.

Refund, repayment, and withdrawal policies are subject to change, without notice, in order to comply with administrative and regulatory requirements.


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.