Samuel Merritt University maintains a Financial Aid Office to assist those students who require financial aid to pursue their higher education. Every effort is made to see that no student is denied access to the University because of inability to meet educational expenses. Financial aid is awarded in the form of scholarships, grants, loans, and employment (work study). All financial aid recipients are expected to maintain satisfactory academic progress. Undergraduate students must be enrolled in 10 semester units per term (12 units for the PELL and Cal Grant programs) to be considered for full financial aid. Undergraduate students enrolled in at least six semester units per term are eligible for consideration for partial financial aid. Graduate students must be enrolled in six (6) semester units per term to be considered for full financial aid. Graduate students enrolled in at least three semester units per term are eligible for consideration for partial financial aid. Should a financial aid recipient drop below the minimum academic load, the unearned portion of the financial aid award must be refunded.
Counseling and information are available by appointment. Literature and application forms are available in the Campus Service Center on each campus and will be mailed upon request. In addition, financial aid staff offer counseling at open houses at all campuses.
Link to SMU's Tuition and Fees webpage
The following forms and data must be on file to apply:
- The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be filed with the processing center by the date specified.
- Students interested in applying for the State Cal Grant program must also submit the Grade Point Average Verification Form to the California Student Aid Commission by the March deadline.
Students are expected to contribute to their educational costs from savings and/or other non-financial aid resources. All undergraduate students requesting financial aid must, by federal requirements, apply for a PELL Grant; similarly, California undergraduates seeking aid must apply for Cal Grants by the priority deadline.
Financial aid recipients must reapply for financial aid annually by the priority deadline. Eligible students may be awarded a combination of financial aid comprised of one or more of the following: grants, loans, work study, and scholarships.
Section 484(a)(2) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 requires a student to be making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in order to be eligible for any Title IV federal student aid. Students are evaluated on the basis of credit hour completion, maximum time frame limitation and GPA. Students receiving financial aid are required to make satisfactory progress toward their degree objectives. The specific definition of satisfactory progress varies from one curriculum to another. Students in each component are held to meeting both qualitative and quantitative standards for financial aid eligibility.
SAP will be reviewed after the end of each grading period, as defined by the component's academic division.
Students not meeting SAP for the first time will be placed on SAP Warning, and given their next enrolled term as a probationary period in which financial aid eligibility will continue.
If SAP requirements are met in the next review, eligibility for financial aid will be restored for the following academic period.
If SAP requirements are not met in the next review, eligibility will be discontinued the student will be placed on SAP Probation. Students must submit an Appeal (see SAP Appeal Process in this section) or continue without financial aid funding until SAP is met.
The Financial Aid Office has established parameters for minimum GPA in accordance with federal regulations that require students to maintain a 2.0 (C average) cumulative GPA.
The SMU Registrar supplies all qualitative measurements used by the Financial Aid Office to determine a student’s status in regards to SAP. GPA calculation is determined by the Registrar Office and pursuant to their policies which include calculations involving incomplete and repeated coursework.
A student will be permitted a time limit of eligibility for financial aid according to the following table:
150% Maximum (Years)
RN to BSN
A student registering for less than full-time enrollment will be allowed additional time of eligibility based upon a proportion of the actual registered hours since the time of first enrollment, as compared with normal full-time hours for the same time period. A student failing to meet this standard will be suspended from financial aid eligibility.
Time spent completing approved transfer credits have been taken into consideration in the determination of the maximum period of time to complete programs at SMU. Due to the nature of the some health professions programs, prerequisite coursework from educational institutions other than SMU is required for admission. Thus transfer credits are not a factor in the components calculation of the standard length of time to complete the degree. Therefore the time frames given above are only in relation to enrollment at SMU.
A student must complete at least sixty-seven percent (67%) of the total credit hours enrolled in the respective increment (academic period between SAP evaluations) under review. Incomplete coursework includes receiving failing grades, withdrawals and incompletes.
Financial Aid Probation
Any student failing to meet the qualitative or quantitative requirements will be placed on financial aid probation and notified by email or letter of this status by the Financial Aid Office. A student placed on probation for financial aid eligibility must, by the end of the following grading period, attain the standing specified for satisfactory academic progress. Failure to do so will result in suspension of Federal Title IV and State student financial aid eligibility.
SAP Appeal Process
Students who wish to appeal their SAP decision, should meet with the Associate Director or Director of Financial Aid and obtain the SAP appeal form. This form must be submitted along with the following documents within 15 days of meeting with Financial Aid.
- A written explanation of the special circumstances (e.g., date of the event, health reasons, death of a relative, other type of undue hardships).
- Any supporting documentation:
- Health reasons — Include medical documentation (physician’s note, copy of medical bills, etc.)
- Death of an immediate family member — Include a copy of the death certificate.
- Undue hardship — Include document from a third party professional (instructor, counselor, clergy, court records, etc.) who can verify your claim.
- Written statement on academic plan moving forward.
Once the Financial Aid Office has received and reviewed the above documentation, we will carefully evaluate your past academic performance as well as your written explanation to determine if Federal Student Aid funds can be reinstated. All students will be notified in writing of the decision.
Reinstatement of Title IV Financial Aid Eligibility
It is the student's responsibility to present evidence to the Financial Aid Office at the time he or she has met minimum requirements for reinstatement of Federal Title IV and State student financial aid.
A student seeking to re-establish eligibility of Title IV student financial aid may do so by:
Achieving the required standards over time.
Appealing the financial aid decision.
Consequences of Denial of Appeal
Students who do not maintain satisfactory academic progress and whose appeal is denied lose eligibility for Federal Title IV and State student financial aid for the entire grading period, as defined by the component's academic division.
Veterans Education Benefits
The Veterans Administration and the State Department of Education have approved Samuel Merritt University to certify enrolled veterans for education benefits and tutorial assistance. A veteran or eligible person who is interested in obtaining education benefits or tutorial assistance should contact the Office of the Registrar for applications and information. Veterans and eligible persons should be aware they are subject to the VA approved “Standards of Progress” while receiving benefits.
Details and procedures are available from: VA Regional Processing Office, PO Box 8888, Muskogee, OK 74402-8888, Telephone: 1-800-827-1000 or 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551). Website: www.gibill.va.gov/muskogee or www.va.gov
Veteran’s Policy Statement
- Evaluation of previous education/training CFR §21.4253(d)(3): Samuel Merritt University will conduct an evaluation of previous education and training, grant appropriate credit, shorten the veteran or eligible person’s duration of the course proportionately, and notify the VA and student accordingly.
- Standards of progress CFR §21.4253(d)(1)(i): A veteran or eligible person who remains on probation for grade point deficiency below a 2.0 cumulative GPA beyond two semesters will have his/her veteran’s benefits discontinued and any further certification of benefits interrupted. A 3.0 cumulative GPA must be maintained for the MSN program with respect to this policy.