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To receive payment of financial aid awards once they are finalized, you must be registered for sufficient units each semester and attend classes. Some awards require full-time enrollment, others may be prorated if you take less than 12 units. For most awards, the minimum number of units required is 6. For Direct Loans, master's candidates meet this minimum with 4 units. If you never begin attendance in your classes or drop units after disbursement during the add/drop period, you may be required to repay some or all of the funds that were disbursed to your student account and/or issued to you as a refund.
The amounts on your award offer for each semester are based on full-time enrollment (at least 12 units per semester for undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students and at least 8 for master's students). Your actual unit enrollment is checked at the time of disbursement. Your award amount in specific financial aid programs could change if you enroll in less than full-time units. The following describes those changes.
Federal Pell Grant Adjustments
The Pell Grant is prorated based on whether a student is three-quarter-time, half-time or less than half-time. Adjustments are as follows:
- Three-Quarter-Time (9-11 Units) — 75% of full-time award
- Half-Time (6-8 Units) — 50% of full-time award
- Less than Half-Time (1-5 Units) — generally 25% of full-time award
If you are a credential student, you must be enrolled in at least 6 units that apply toward your credential in order to receive a Pell Grant disbursement. Your applicable enrollment will be determined by the School of Education after the end of the add/drop period. For this reason, Pell Grants for credential students disburse approximately four weeks after the semester begins.
Please Note: Some Pell Grant awards are reduced to zero for less than full-time attendance based on having a higher Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
State University Grant Adjustments
The amount of your State University Grant (SUG) is based on the amount you are charged for the Tuition Fee. Students who enroll in 6 or fewer units are charged a lower fee, and students enrolled in 7 or more units are charged a higher fee.
You must be enrolled at least half-time in order to receive a disbursement of SUG. For undergraduate students and initial credential candidates, half-time or greater enrollment means 6 or more units. For master's candidates, half-time or greater enrollment means 4 or more units. If you are enrolled less than half-time, you are not eligible for SUG.
Note: The Tuition Fee charged for a Classified Graduate student is determined by the actual units enrolled rather than by weighted unit value for enrollment status.
For current Tuition Fee rates, visit the Student Charges/Fees page on the Office of the Registrar web site.
Cal Grant A and B Fees Portion Reductions
The Cal Grant is prorated based on whether a student is three-quarter-time or half-time. Cal Grant is prorated as follows:
|Enrollment||Academic Years 2012-2013 and 2013-2014|
|12 units +||$2736|
|1-5 units||Not eligible|
Credential program Cal Grant A/B TCP awards are prorated in the same way, based on the Credential Program Tuition Fee. Prorations for Spring semester are rounded down, so your award may be slightly less.
Please Note: If you are enrolled in fewer than 6 units, you are not eligible for the Cal Grant.
For current Tuition Fee rates, visit the Student Charges/Fees page on the Office of the Registrar web site.
Cal Grant B Access (Stipend) Reductions
Based on an academic year award of $1474, the stipend is prorated as follows:
|Enrollment||Per Semester Amount|
|12 units +||$737|
|1-5 units||Not eligible|
Prorations for Spring semester are rounded down, so your award may be slightly less.
Federal SEOG (Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant)
This grant is not subject to any reductions based on unit load.
EOPG (Educational Opportunity Program Grant)
EOP students are expected to be enrolled full-time. Part-time students are not eligible for the EOPG.
Federal Direct Loans & Federal Perkins Loans
You must be enrolled in at least 6 units to be eligible for Direct Loans (master's students meet this requirement with 4 units). Perkins Loan recipients are allowed to be in one or more units; however, your grace period begins if you are enrolled in less than half-time units.
If you register for class, receive a financial aid check and then never attend at least one meeting of each class, you are not eligible for any assistance and must return all funds received no later than 15 days from the date classes begin. If you received Federal Direct Loan funds or Federal PLUS (Parent) Loan funds and you do not return that check to SSU, the U.S. Department of Education will be notified that you were ineligible for disbursement and the Department will bill you for immediate repayment of the amount disbursed to you. Until that amount is repaid in full, you will be ineligible for any additional federal or state aid. If you received any grant funds, those funds must be returned, in full, to SSU's Seawolf Service Center, located in Salazar Hall. If the funds are not returned within the above stated time frame, a hold will be placed on your University account and you will not have access to transcripts or be allowed to register for subsequent semesters until that amount is repaid.
There is a difference between dropping a course and withdrawing from a course. Dropping a course is done during the add/drop period. The units do not stay on your transcript, and you never receive a grade for this course. Withdrawing from a course occurs after the add/drop period. Because you are past the deadline to drop, you can only "withdraw" from the course. The course appears on your transcript, and you get a grade of a "W". The "W" has no impact on your GPA, but it can affect your financial aid standing.
How Dropping Units Affects Your Eligibility for Financial Aid
If you drop units (during the drop period) after your aid has disbursed, you may become ineligible for some or all of the aid that has been disbursed to you, depending on the number of units you now have and the types of aid disbursed. If this is the case, you will be required to pay that aid back. If you are required to repay any funds, you will receive a written notice with the details of how much is owed back and why. A billing will be placed on your student account for the amount you must repay. Until you repay the funds, you will not be eligible for further disbursements of financial aid at SSU. If you do not repay the funds in a timely manner, you may be blocked from registration and/or you may be blocked from the release of official transcripts/diploma. You may even be sent to a collection agency. Further, if you owe repayment of a federal grant like the Pell Grant, that overpayment may be referred to the federal Department of Education for collection. Federal overpayments will make you ineligible for future financial aid at any school, until the overpayment is resolved.
Conversely, if you add units after your initial disbursement and become eligible for additional funds (for example, in the case of the Pell Grant which is prorated based on enrollment status), additional disbursements will automatically be made to you.
How Withdrawing from Courses Affects Your Financial Aid
If you withdraw from a course or courses after the add/drop period, but still remain in at least one unit, you will not be billed for any of your financial aid. However, depending on how many units you still have remaining, you may not meet the Financial Aid Office (FAO) requirements of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). If you enter into a Financial Aid Warning or Lack of Progress (LOP) status you will be sent an email notifying you of the situation and what you must do to resolve it. For more details about Satisfactory Academic Progress, please visit that section of our web site.
If you withdraw from all courses for a semester you are required to complete and file a Total Withdrawal from SSU form with the Office of the Registrar, on the second floor in Salazar Hall. Students who are eligible for a refund of fees or other university charges may request the appropriate forms at that time. The Registrar will notify the Financial Services Office of the date that you have officially withdrawn.
You will be informed by the University as to whether you will be expected to return any of the aid you received to the federal Department of Education and/or Sonoma State University.
Total Withdrawals After the 60% Point of the Semester
If you formally withdraw after the 60% point of the semester, you and the University have, by federal return of Title IV funds definition, "earned" all of the aid disbursed.
Total Withdrawals on or Before the 60% Point of the Semester
If the date of your total withdrawal from Sonoma State University is prior to or on the 60% point of the semester, the University is required to determine what portion of the aid disbursed was "earned" by you and the University. The "earned" amount will be based on the percentage of the semester that has elapsed based on the date of your withdrawal. You and/or SSU must return any "unearned" aid, as defined by federal return of Title IV funds calculations.
Failure to Notify the University of Withdrawal
Failure to notify the University when you stop attending all classes is considered an Unofficial Total Withdrawal. Faculty will assign a grade of "WU" or "NC" (Unofficial Withdrawal). When a student is assigned a "WU" or "NC" grade for all courses for a semester, federal regulations require that an institution calculate the "earned" amount based on the 50% point of the semester. "Unearned" aid must be returned as described above. This situation could also affect your Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) at SSU.
Students who participate in any of the following programs that involve enrollment at another school are advised to contact the Financial Aid Office as soon as possible. There could be a delay in receiving funds since these programs usually require special handling. Increases to grants based on combined enrollment will not be disbursed until after the add/drop period at SSU has ended.
If you are an undergraduate or a credential student and you are not enrolled full-time at SSU, required courses taken at another school through consortium, concurrent, or cross enrollment might meet the requirements to be considered in your overall enrollment status for the purpose of determining your eligibility for Pell Grant, Cal Grant Fee awards, Cal Grant B Stipend, Educational Opportunity Program Grant (EOPG), and/or TEACH Grant. You must be enrolled in at least 6 units at SSU for your combined enrollment to be considered. (Please Note: If you do not have one of the aforementioned grants in your award offer, combined enrollment will not result in any increase to your financial aid awards.)
For combined enrollment, you must either be attending a school with which SSU has an existing consortium agreement or attending under the cross enrollment program or concurrent enrollment program. For your eligibility to be determined under consortium or cross enrollment, you must complete the Combined Enrollment Financial Aid Request form available at the Financial Aid Office counter on the first floor of Salazar Hall.
The following conditions must be met:
- You must be enrolled in at least 6 units at SSU;
- You must register for the course(s) at the other school prior to the end of SSU's add/drop period for the semester; and
- For consortium or cross enrollment, coursework must be transferable and applicable to your bachelor's degree or teaching credential, or coursework will meet transfer requirements and will be applied toward your remaining major or GE requirements (confirmed by the Combined Enrollment Financial Aid Request form).
- You must provide proof of enrollment at the other school before any grant increases can disburse. At the earliest, grant increases disburse approximately 4 weeks after the start of the semester at SSU.
- You must submit proof of completion of the coursework at the other school to the SSU Financial Aid Office prior to receiving future financial aid at SSU.
Please Note: If you are enrolled full-time at SSU, combined enrollment will not result in any increase to your financial aid.
Cross Enrollment Participation
You may take just one course at the other school. Applies to all California Community Colleges and all campuses of the University of California. You must be enrolled in at least 6 units at SSU. Confirmation of degree applicability of coursework required through completion of the Combined Enrollment Financial Aid Request form. You are required to enroll in classes at the host school before the end of the add/drop period at SSU. You must submit proof of registration at the host school to our office. Grades for the semester must be sent to SSU after you have completed the course(s), and will hold up further aid if not received. Contact the SSU Office of the Registrar for Cross Enrollment application procedures.
Consortium Enrollment Participation
You may take more than one course. You must be enrolled in at least 6 units at SSU. Confirmation of degree applicability of coursework required through completion of the Combined Enrollment Financial Aid Request form. You are required to enroll in classes at the host school before the end of the add/drop period at SSU. You must submit proof of registration at the host school to our office. Grades for the semester must be sent to SSU after you have completed the course(s), and will hold up further aid if not received. Applies to colleges with which SSU has an existing consortium agreement:
- College of Marin
- College of the Redwoods
- Contra Costa College
- Dominican University
- Laney College
- Mendocino College
- Napa Valley College
- Santa Rosa Junior College
- Solano Community College
- Yuba College
SSU students may also attend another CSU as long as they are enrolled in at least 6 units at SSU. Concurrent enrollment must be approved through the Office of the Registrar and is valid for one term only. These units will be considered as part of your enrollment status for financial aid purposes. You are required to enroll in classes at the host CSU before the end of the add/drop period at SSU. You must submit proof of registration at the host CSU to our office. Grades for the semester must be sent to SSU after you have completed the course(s), and will hold up further aid if not received. Contact the SSU Office of the Registrar for Concurrent or Visitor application procedures.
Participation in CourseMatch online concurrent enrollment has some special conditions. Refer to the Office of the Registrar webpage on CourseMatch for details.
Enrollment Only at Another School
CSU Visitor Program
You may visit another CSU campus for a semester if approved by the Office of the Registrar. If you are visiting another school, your financial aid will come from SSU. Once you are approved and enrolled in the Visitor Program, submit a copy of your Application for Intrasystem Visitor Enrollment, along with verification of your enrollment at the other campus, to the SSU Financial Aid Office. Financial aid checks will be mailed to the Bursar's Office at the school you are visiting. It is your responsibility to make payment arrangements with the visiting school. Final grades must be sent to SSU when the semester is completed, and will hold up further aid if not received. If you enroll in a Study Abroad program at your host school, please be aware that you will not be eligible for further aid at SSU until you provide either an English-language translation of your foreign transcript or a transcript from the host CSU listing specific courses and grades.
CSU International Programs
If you are accepted into a CSU International Program, you will be eligible for aid at SSU. Depending on the country which you study in, the total amount of aid you receive could be more or less than you would receive at SSU, due to differing costs. The CSU International Program Office forwards verification of enrollment directly to the SSU Financial Aid Office. Checks will be mailed out to your most current mailing address on file with SSU. For more information on the CSU International Program, visit their web site.
Study Abroad Programs
Study Abroad programs that would require a student-specific consortium agreement between SSU and another institution will not be funded with federal or state financial aid through SSU.
National Student Exchange
During semesters in which SSU is active with National Student Exchange (NSE), you may attend other colleges and universities nationwide that participate in the NSE Program. If you are on Incoming Plan A or Outgoing Plan B, your financial aid will come from SSU. For Incoming Plan B or Outgoing Plan A, your financial aid will come from the other school.
- Incoming Plan A students
- You are enrolled at SSU and tuition and fees are paid to SSU.
- Outgoing Plan B students
- You must submit verification of enrollment at the host school each semester to the SSU Financial Aid Office before funds can be disbursed. Checks will be mailed to the Bursar’s Office at the host school. Final grades must be sent to SSU when each semester is completed, and will hold up further aid if not received