Know all the policies related to your eligibility for aid, including GPA requirements, unit requirements, and more.
The Policy Guide contains all important information regarding your eligibility for financial aid. You should keep your Financial Aid Policy Guide to reference throughout your four years at Oxy.
Student Financial Aid Agreement
By accepting financial aid, you agree to the following:
- I have the responsibility to re-apply for financial aid by March 2nd of every year.
- I have the right to an explanation of my financial aid eligibility.
- I agree to report, in writing, to the Financial Aid Office any changes in my financial, marital, academic, or residential status, or funds and support I receive from any source.
- I understand that any change in my status may result in a reduction of my award and may require repayment of any financial aid.
- I understand that Occidental College reserves the right to modify my financial aid award(s) at any time due to changes in my federal, state, or institutional eligibility.
- I have the responsibility to use financial aid funds for education-related expenses only.
- I am aware that to continue to receive assistance, I must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress as defined in the Financial Aid Policy Guide and the Occidental College Course Catalog.
- I agree to complete all procedures for any loans that have been awarded. I also agree to complete exit counseling for loans advanced to me, prior to graduation or withdrawal. Failure to do so will allow Occidental College to withhold records and/or my diploma.
- I have the responsibility to repay student loans. Failure to do so will allow Occidental College to withhold my student records and/or diploma.
- I understand that the College may directly apply awards to my student account.
- I agree to have my Cal Grant B Stipend (if eligible) credited to my student account. I understand that if I need assistance with room, board, books, or living expenses, I should consult with the Financial Aid Office.
- I have a responsibility to respond to requests from the Financial Aid Office, federal, state, and college auditors in a timely manner.
- I have the right to privacy. All information submitted to the Financial Aid Office will be treated as confidential as prescribed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
Consent for Release of Information
In accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and to ensure your privacy, no account will be discussed with another person (this includes non-custodial parents, guardians, or other family members), without written consent from the student and (if applicable) the custodial parent.
Selective Service Requirement
The Military Selective Service Act requires that men between the ages of 18 and 26 register with the Selective Service Administration. Any male student who fails to do so is ineligible for financial aid. Confirmation of Selective Service registration is completed through an electronic match between the Selective Service Administration and the U.S. Department of Education when you apply for financial aid using your FAFSA. You can register online at http://www.sss.gov or at your local post office. If additional confirmation is required, the Financial Aid Office will contact you.
It is the policy of Occidental College that all applicants will receive equal consideration and treatment without regard to race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, or sexual orientation or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law. This nondiscrimination policy covers admission and access to, treatment of, and employment in, College programs and activities, including but not limited to, academic admission, financial aid, educational services, and student employment.
Release of Financial Aid History Policy
Once you leave/graduate from the College, the financial aid office will store your financial aid file for seven years after the date you cease to be enrolled. Electronic records of your file will remain in our computer database. Our computer database dates back to academic year 2004-2005.
Financial aid history will only be released:
- To the student, if the student has provided a written request and proof of identity
- To a third party (often an FBI Special Agent), if they have a written request from the student. In this case the third party’s credentials (badge/shield and/or photo identification) are also verified before information is released.
These requests will be reviewed by an assigned member of the Financial Aid Office staff. If as part of the request the FAO staff member needs to determine if the student has defaulted on any federal loan or owes a repayment on a federal grant, the FAO will need to access the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).
Due to the privacy issues involved with NSLDS, access is limited to three people at Occidental College:
- Assistant Controller for Student Business Services (Federal Perkins Loan Coordinator)
- Sr. Assistant Director of Financial Aid (Federal Direct Loan Coordinator)
- Executive Director of Financial Aid (as back-up)
In the fall of 2013 NSLDS access to Occidental students and alumni was granted to American Student Assistance (ASA) as part of its SALT program on financial literacy and debt management. ASA was only able to access this information after the student had given consent.
Access to NSLDS is limited to the release of a financial aid history as is noted above. It is never to be used for personal reasons. Due to the privacy issues involved with this database, users must limit their use to an “as needed” basis and never share NSLDS User IDs or passwords. Violating any section of this policy is a serious system security offense. Repeated system security violations will cause a permanent user revocation on the NSLDS System. In addition, a notice will be put in the Occidental College staff member’s employment file and repeated violation could lead to termination of employment.
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy
Federal regulations require Occidental College to monitor the academic progress of students receiving financial aid. When we disburse aid to your student account, we are certifying that you are making satisfactory academic progress (SAP) toward your degree.
Occidental students must make quantitative (time-based) and qualitative (grade-based) progress towards their degree. The time-based requirement is the pace at which you must progress toward your degree. The grade-based requirement is measured by your GPA.
Maximum Number of Semesters You Can Receive Aid
At Occidental, if you are a full-time, first-year student, you are eligible to receive institutional and state financial aid for 8 semesters of full-time study. Students who require additional semesters to complete their degree are only eligible for federal assistance for no more than 4 additional semesters as long as they meet other progress standards and remain federally eligible.
If you need additional semesters in order to graduate, you must appeal for additional institutional aid at least one semester before the aid is needed. Appeals should be supported by appropriate documentation and addressed to the Executive Director of Financial Aid, Maureen McRae Goldberg.
Transfer Student Eligibility
Financial aid eligibility for transfer students is pro-rated based on the number of units transferred from previous institution(s). This determination is made at the time of admission by the Registrar. For example, a student who transferred as a second-semester sophomore (fourth semester) is only eligible to receive 5 semesters of aid. If you need information regarding your semesters of eligibility, please contact the Financial Aid Office.
As a full-time student at Occidental you are considered to be making adequate progress toward your degree if you complete a minimum of 12 units each semester and earn a total of 128 units by the end of your 8th semester. You are expected to complete 16 units per semester to graduate in four years. For federal eligibility, you must complete a minimum 12 units per semester and 128 units by the end of your 12th semester.
|End of first semester||16 units|
|End of second semester||32 units|
|End of third semester||48 units|
|End of fourth semester||64 units|
|End of fifth semester||80 units|
|End of sixth semester||96 units|
|End of seventh semester||112 units|
|End of eighth semester||128 units|
Your academic records will be reviewed at the end of each semester to determine that you are making SAP. Making SAP means you must have at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA by the end of each semester and you must have made progress toward your degree as outlined above.
How Courses are Counted
Attempted courses are those for which you are officially enrolled after the last date to drop courses. Withdrawals showing as a W on your academic transcript are counted as attempted courses. All courses count in calculating a student’s academic progress, including any for which the student did not receive financial aid.
- Grades of W are counted as courses attempted and count toward the maximum time frame.
- Academic policy at Occidental states that if a student does not receive a passing grade for a course, the course may be repeated for credit. Repeating a course does not remove the original course from the academic transcript. Both the grade for the original course and the repeated course will be posted and will calculate into the student’s grade point average. Both the original course and the repeated course will be considered as attempted in the calculation of “attempted courses” for purposes of determining SAP.
- Courses taken on a pass/fail basis count toward the total of attempted and completed courses.
- Transfer credits from another institution accepted by Occidental College are counted when measuring the maximum time frame to complete the degree. Occidental does not accept for credit any transfer grades lower than a 2.0. Consult the Occidental College Course Catalog for information about how transfer credits are evaluated.
- Students who pursue a double major or a minor are expected to complete all degree requirements within the 128 unit time frame.
Failure to Meet Satisfactory Academic Progress
If you do not earn at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA and/or fail to earn the required minimum units, you will receive a warning notification from the Financial Aid Office that you are at risk of losing eligibility for aid. If you do not earn at least a cumulative 2.0 and/or earn the minimum required units by the end of your "warning" semester, you are no longer eligible for institutional, state, or federal financial aid.
Right to Appeal
If you lose your financial aid eligibility at the end of your “warning” semester (and the Academic Standards Committee permits you to enroll) you have the right to appeal for an additional semester of aid.
The appeal must be made in writing to the Director of Financial Aid, Maureen McRae Goldberg. The appeal may not be based on your need for financial assistance or your lack of knowledge on the SAP policy. It should be based on some extenuating situation or condition which prevented you from making progress. Your appeal must include a written academic plan which outlines how you plan to restore your GPA to a 2.0 or better and/or meet the minimum unit requirements.
If your appeal is denied you may still be able to regain eligibility for future semesters by enrolling at Occidental (at your own expense), earning a 2.0 or better GPA, and bringing all cumulative units up to required standards. It is also possible to take a leave of absence from Occidental and pursue transferable coursework at another institution. This will allow you to bring your required units up to date and show academic improvement by attaining a minimum GPA of 2.0 or better (a GPA earned at another institution will not affect your Oxy GPA). You are required to speak with the Registrar to ensure units completed elsewhere are transferable to Occidental.
If your appeal is granted, you will be placed on financial aid probation. During probation, you must follow your academic plan and resolve all incomplete grades before the Financial Aid Office can make a final determination that you have met the SAP guidelines.
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- Mailing Address:
Financial Aid Office
1600 Campus Road F-35
Los Angeles, CA 90041-3314
Arthur G. Coons
- Phone: (323) 259-2548
- Fax: (323) 341-4961
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org