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Financial Aid Information Booklet

2012-2013 Academic Year


The purpose of this section is to provide information on various financial aspects of financial aid. These include cost of attendance, financial need and overaward information, methods of disbursement and refund policies.

Cost of Attendance
Each year the Financial Aid Office develops the student cost of attendance budget (also called the student budget). This budget is used in conjunction with the Expected Family Contribution (EFC - calculated through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid [FAFSA]) to determine each student’s maximum financial aid eligibility. (See Financial Need/Overaward Policy section for further information on this.) The student budget consists of fixed charges including tuition, fees, room and board and estimated charges including books and supplies, transportation costs and personal expenses. Use of financial aid funds to purchase a motor vehicle is strictly prohibited by federal law. There are different budgets for different classes of students. These include dorm (living in campus facilities), off-campus (living off-campus but not with parents; married students are included in this category) and commuter (living with parents).

For the 2011-2012 academic year (the latest available data at the time of publication) these student budgets consisted of:

  Dorm/Off-Campus Commuter
Tuition $27,536 $27,536
Fees 820 820
Room & Board 8,420 2,000
Books & Supplies 1,170 1,170
Personal Expenses 1,300/1,800 1,300
Travel 740/1,210 1,210
Total $39,986/40,956 $34,036

Some of these items are estimates based on average or maximum costs. If a particular student’s cost varies significantly from the estimate, that student’s budget can be adjusted if the student submits a written request accompanied by documentation of the actual cost.

Additional charges such as parking fees, deposits, extra charges for certain courses and charges for part-time attendance are published each year in the Schedule of Semester Fees, which also includes the actual fixed charges for that academic year.

Financial Need/Overaward Policy
Financial need is determined by the Federal Methodology (FM), which is the formula that application data goes through when a student files a FAFSA. This formula must be used if the student wants to apply for Federal student aid, and the Financial Aid Office cannot change the results unless the student can document truly unusual circumstances that warrant adjustment. The FM calculates an EFC, which is then subtracted from the student budget to arrive at the individual student’s financial need. For a hypothetical family with an EFC of $5,500, the determination of financial need would look like this:

Cost of attendance
= Financial Need

If the student’s financial aid package contains any of the following forms of Federal financial aid or need-based institutional aid, then the total amount of the aid package (including aid from Federal, state, institutional and private sources) cannot exceed the financial need:

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Perkins Loan
  • Federal Work-Study
  • Messiah College Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
  • Federal Direct Stafford Loan

Some forms of aid can exceed financial need. These include:
  • Unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loan
  • Federal Direct PLUS Loan
  • Other state sponsored or private education loans
  • Institutional Work Programs
In no case can the total aid package exceed the total student cost of attendance budget.

The purpose of this policy is to explain what an overaward is and to describe the steps that the Financial Aid Office will take to correct an overaward.

An overaward exists when a student who has received Federal student financial aid or need-based institutional aid has a total aid package which exceeds the student’s financial need. A $300 tolerance applies if the student’s package contains Campus-Based Aid (Federal Work-Study, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, or Federal Perkins Loan.  The $300 tolerance does not apply if the student’s package does not contain a form of Campus-Based Aid.) The following examples demonstrate overaward situations:

                                      Student A
                                       Student B
                                      Student C
Total Cost of Attendance

     - Total Family Contribution

    = Financial Need
     - Financial Aid
    = Unmet Need

Student A’s financial aid package contains $17,526 of institutional grants and scholarships, a $2,250 Federal Work-Study assignment, a $3,500 Federal Stafford Loan, and a $9,000 scholarship from his father’s employer (received after his initial package). There is a $190 overaward but no action is necessary because the overaward does not exceed the $300 tolerance.

Student B’s financial aid package contains $19,886 in grants and scholarships from the institution, $7,850 in scholarships from private sources, a $4,300 Pell Grant, a $2250 Federal Work Study assignment  and a $5,500 Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan. There is an overaward of $1,000 and it will be corrected by switching $1000 of the Subsidized Stafford Loan to an Unsubsidized Stafford Loan.

Student C’s financial aid package contains a $10,776 in grants and scholarships from the institution, a $2,250 Federal Work-Study assignment, a $3,500 Federal Stafford Loan and a $6,000 Federal PLUS Loan. Even though the student’s total aid exceeds the financial need, no action is necessary because the scholarship, work assignment and Federal Stafford Loan do not exceed the financial need. The student still has $1660 of unmet need since the Federal PLUS Loan can exceed the financial need as long as the total aid doesn't exceed the total cost of attendance budget.

Overawards are usually the result of the student receiving aid that the Financial Aid Office was not aware of when it completed the student’s financial aid package and/or processed a loan application for the student. It is the student’s responsibility to report additional resources to the Financial Aid Office and this should be done as soon as the student becomes aware that he or she will receive the aid. We must account for all sources of aid, even if they are not processed directly through the Financial Aid Office. You can use our Non-Institutional Scholarship Form to report these forms of aid to us (this form will be available on our 2012-2013 Financial Aid Forms page within the next few weeks.)

Overawards can also result from application errors by the student or the Financial Aid Office. Regardless of the reason for the overaward, the Financial Aid Office is bound by Federal regulation to correct the overaward. Exceptions cannot be made for anyone.

Here are the steps the Financial Aid Office will take to correct an overaward:

a) We will determine whether or not the student has increased financial need that was not anticipated at the time of the award and/or loan application. If so, and the student’s total aid no longer exceeds the student’s need by more than $300 (see note), no further action is necessary.

b) If no increased need is demonstrated, or the student’s total aid still exceeds his or her need by more than $300 (see note), we will adjust or eliminate any undisbursed loan or return loan funds to the lender if the disbursement has already been made. In cases of extreme gift aid, the institution reserves the right to adjust institutional or campus-based aid within the boundaries of Federal regulations.

c) If the student has no loans or the student’s aid still exceeds the student’s need by more than $300 (see note) after all loans have been cancelled, we will reduce institutional grant and/or scholarship aid.

NOTE: The $300 tolerance applies only if the student’s financial aid package contains a Federal Work-Study assignment. The $300 tolerance does not apply if the student’s only form of Federal financial aid is a Federal Direct Stafford Loan.

Disbursement, Refund and Repayment Information

A. Disbursement

  • Most financial aid is disbursed to the student by entering it on the student’s financial aid computer record and then crediting it to the student’s Business Office account until all institutional charges have been satisfied, subject to program limitations.
  • The amounts of aid that will be credited are included on the financial aid award notice, which is available to the student on MCSquare.
  • The date that credits occur will be reported on the statement of account, which is sent to all students on approximately the following schedule: Just previous to the start of the fall semester, at the beginning of October, at the end of November (applies to the spring semester), at the beginning of February, and monthly for those who have had activity on their account.
  • Funds in excess of institutional charges are given to the student
    as soon as possible after the credit balance appears. A student/parent may authorize the institution to hold excess Federal Stafford or Federal PLUS loan proceeds on account by completing a form developed by the Business Office for this purpose (commonly known as the Yellow Card).
  • Using the same form, a student or parent can also authorize the
    institution to apply Title IV, HEA program funds to other cost-of-attendance charges and other institutional charges, aside from tuition, fees, room, and board. Examples would be parking fees, drop/add fees and computer lab printing fees.
  • Interest earned while the funds are held by the institution is retained by the institution.
  • You are not required to provide this authorization, and you can rescind it at any time.
  • Some forms of aid that arrive at the institution via check made for a specific student are credited directly to the student’s Business Office account without going through the financial aid system, although these amounts are recorded in the financial aid system.
  • Disbursements are made once each semester.
B. Return of Title IV Funds/Institutional Refund Policy
This policy applies to students who withdraw voluntarily or involuntarily, and refunds for these students are determined according to the following policy:

This policy applies to students who withdraw voluntarily or involuntarily, and refunds for these students are determined according to the following policy:


  1. The portion of tuition to be refunded to withdrawing students will be as follows:

    Week 1


    Week 2


    Week 3


    Week 4


    Week 5


  2. For refund calculations, spring semester starts on the first day of January term.  No J-term refunds are issued after the second day of J-term classes.  Students who withdraw after January term, but before the spring-term add date, will be treated as part-time students for refund purposes.
  3. Students who withdraw after the completion of the fifth week of classes will not receive a refund of tuition or residence fees.
  4. Student Government, Student Services, lab, and other course-related fees will not be refunded after the first week.  Nursing course-related fees are not refunded unless the major is dropped prior to the first day of class.
  5. Dining Services fee refunds are pro-rated weekly through the fifth week.
  6. Refunds and adjusted bills will be sent to the student's home address following withdrawal.
  7. There are no refunds for incomplete independent study courses or internships.
  8. There are no refunds for enrolled students vacating a room after the start of the semester.
  9. In accordance with federal regulations, when federal financial aid refunds are involved, the amounts are allocated in the following order:  Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans, Subsidized Federal Direct Loans, Federal Perkins Loans, Federal Direct PLUS Loans, Federal Pell Grants, Federal SEOG.
  10. The term "Title IV Funds" refers to the Federal financial aid programs authorized under the Higher Education Act of 1965 (as amended) and includes the following programs:  unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans, subsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans, Federal Perkins loans, Federal Direct PLUS loans, Federal Pell Grants, Federal SEOG, Federal Work-Study.
  11. Institutional and student responsibilities in regard to the return of Title IV funds:
  • Messiah College's responsibilities:
    • Providing each student with the information given in the policy.
    • Identifying students who are affected by the policy and completing the Return of Title IV Funds calculation for those students.
    • Returning any Title IV funds that are due the Title IV programs.
  • Student's responsibilities:
    • Returning to the Title IV programs any funds that were disbursed directly to the student and which the student was determined to be ineligible for via the Return of Title IV Funds calculation.

12.  Other financial aid will be refunded in proportion to and along the same schedule as tuition.

13. A student’s withdrawal date is:

•the date the student began the institution’s withdrawal process (as described on page 64 of the 2011-2012 Messiah College catalog and in item #10 of the “Information Found in Other Publications” section of this booklet); or

• the midpoint of the period for a student who leaves without notifying the institution; or

• the student’s last date of attendance at a documented academically-related activity.


14. How a Medical Leave of Absence Impacts the Return of Title IV Funds


Students who are granted a leave of absence are treated in the same manner as students who withdraw from the college. These students must be reported out of school for loan purposes even though Messiah College still considers them to be enrolled. A complete copy of the Medical Leave policy appears in the Student Handbook.


See item #11 under “Items Found in Other Publications” for more information on this process.


The fees, procedures, and policies listed above supersede those published previously and are subject to change at any time.  Not all fees are listed.


Any notification of a withdrawal or cancellation and request for a refund should be in writing and addressed to the appropriate institutional official. These would be respectively the Registrar, an Admissions Office representative, and the Controller.


If you believe that your individual circumstances warrant that your charges or refund should be determined in a manner other than the published policy, or you would like examples of the refund policy, contact: Marilyn Donelson, Bursar, Messiah College, Box 3011, One College Avenue, Grantham, PA 17027.

Where to Apply for a Loan/Grant from Your State
The following web page will give you information on who to contact to find out about financial aid programs available from your home state:
(This address is case sensitive.)

This web page provides links to information on the state’s education programs, colleges and universities, financial aid assistance programs, grants, scholarships, continuing education programs, and career opportunities.


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