Policies

Know all the policies related to your eligibility for aid, including GPA requirements, unit requirements, and more.

Policy Guides

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.

2019-2020 Financial Aid Policy Guide

2018-2019 Financial Aid Policy Guide (Revised)

2017-2018 Financial Aid Policy Guide (Revised)

2016-2017 Financial Aid Policy Guide (Revised)*

2015-2016 Financial Aid Policy Guide (Revised)*

2014-2015 Financial Aid Policy Guide*

2013-2014 Financial Aid Policy Guide*

2012-2013 Financial Aid Policy Guide*

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 25 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.

Nondiscrimination Policy

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 the FAO staff member needs to determine whether 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)
  • Assistant Director Financial Aid (Loan Coordinator)
  • Director of Financial Aid (as back-up)

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

To remain eligible for financial aid, a student must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) and must be in good academic standing as defined by the policies outlined below.
 
The academic year consists of two 16-week semesters. Full-time students may register each semester for a maximum of 18 units. Students enrolled in less than 12 units each semester are considered to be part-time, and both federal and institutional financial aid is pro-rated.
 
No institutional funds are available to a student on a leave of absence, suspension, or studying at another institution (excluding Oxy approved study abroad programs). Students may, however, in some cases, receive federal or state aid to study at another institution by completing a Consortium Agreement. For more information, please contact the FAO.
 
Federal regulations under Title IV of the Higher Education Act require Occidental College to monitor the academic progress of students on financial aid. Occidental has two similar yet distinct SAP policies, one for federal financial aid eligibility and one for institutional financial aid eligibility. In addition, the College has its own Academic Standing requirements that determine whether a student is in good standing. If you have questions regarding the differences between these policies, please contact the FAO for clarification
Aid Programs
The federal SAP policy applies to federal and state financial aid awards, while the institutional SAP policy applies to all Occidental College awards.
 
Federal SAP Policy Institutional SAP Policy

Federal Pell Grant

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

Federal Work Study

Federal Direct Subsidized Loan

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan

Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan

Cal Grant*

Oxy Need-Based Scholarships

Oxy Opportunity Grants

Occidental Merit Scholarships

Occidental Donor Funded Scholarships

Oxy Work Award

Oxy No Interest Loan

Oxy Low Interest Loan

*The Cal Grant program is a state funded grant that follows federal SAP requirements unless when specifically stated.

Qualitative and Quantitative Requirements

Both the federal and institutional policies require that a student make qualitative (grade-based) and quantitative (time-based) progress toward their degree each semester.

The qualitative (grade-based) requirement is measured by your GPA. The quantitative (time-based) requirement is the pace at which you progress toward your degree and earn units.
 
Both the federal and institutional policies require students to complete a certain number of units and maintain a certain grade point average after each semester of college attendance. However, each policy defines qualitative and quantitative progress differently.
 
Requirement Federal SAP Policy Institutional SAP Policy
Qualitative (grade-based) Requirement

Must earn a 2.0 cumulative GPA at the end of each semester

Must earn a 2.0 cumulative GPA at the end of each semester
Quantitative (time-based) Requirement

Must complete a total of 12 units each semester.

Must complete a total of 16 units each semester.

Pace of Progression & Maximum Timeframe Requirements
Pace of progression measures the number of units you completed over the number of units you attempted to complete. To meet the pace of progression requirement, you must have a cumulative pace of progression rate of 67% each semester that you are enrolled.
 
Example 1: If you are a second-year and have attempted 48 units (16 + 16 + 16) by the end of your third semester; however you only earned 42 units (16 + 16 +10), your cumulative pace of progression rate is 42/48 = 83.3%. Since the rate is above 67%, you are meeting the pace of progression requirement.
 
Example 2: If you are a first-year and have attempted 16 units by the end of your first semester; however you only earned 10 units, your cumulative pace of progression rate is 10/16 = 62.5%. Since the rate is below 67%, you are not meeting the pace of progression requirement.
 
In addition to pace of progression, students must also meet the maximum timeframe requirement. Maximum timeframe is the time in which you have to complete your degree. This limits the number of semesters that you are eligible to receive financial aid. After you have exhausted your maximum semesters of eligibility, no additional aid will be extended.
 
Students who pursue double majors or minors are expected to complete all degree requirements within their 128 units. Institutional financial aid will not be granted above 8 semesters; however, federal aid can be extended up to 12 semesters.
 
  Federal SAP Policy Institutional SAP Policy
Maximum Semesters of Eligibility 12 semesters* 8 semesters
Maximum Timeframe Requirement

Must complete a minimum of 12 units per semester and 128 units by the end of your 12th semester.

Must complete a minimum of 16 units each semester and earn a total of 128 units by the end of your 8th semester.
Pace of Progression Requirement

Must have a cumulative pace of progression rate of 67%.

Must have a cumulative pace of progression rate of 67%.
Transfer Student Eligibility

Transfer student eligibility is based on the total number of semesters used by all institutions. This means that a student who used federal aid for 4 semesters at another institution can only receive 8 semesters of federal aid at Occidental.

 

In addition, the Federal Pell Grant & Federal Direct Loan programs each have maximum eligibility criteria separate from the 12 semester timeframe. For more information, please visit www.studentaid.gov

Transfer student eligibility is pro-rated based on the number of units transferred at the time of admission. This means that a student who enters as a first semester sophomore is eligible for 6 semesters of institutional aid.

*For Cal Grant eligibility, a student can receive a maximum of 8 semesters. Cal Grant eligibility will be pro-rated for transfer students based on the year-in-school certified by Occidental at the time of admission.

How Courses are Counted

The following outlines how certain courses and grades affect the SAP requirements listed above.

Attempted Courses

  • Attempted courses are those for which you are officially enrolled after the last date to drop courses.
  • All attempted course count toward the maximum timeframe.
  • All courses count in calculating a student’s academic progress, including any for which the student did not receive financial aid.
  • Audited courses do not count in the calculation of attempted courses as no units are earned.
  • Courses taken on a credit/no credit basis count toward the total number of attempted courses.
  • Course credit by examination is counted as an attempted course.

Incompletes:

  • Credit for incomplete courses will not count as an attempted course until the course has been completed or the Occidental College Registrar has posted a grade.

Withdrawals:

  • Withdrawals showing as a W on your academic transcript are counted as attempted courses.

Repeated courses:

  • If a student does not receive a passing grade for a course and chooses to repeat the course, the course may be repeated for credit. Both the original course and the repeated course will be considered as attempted for the purposes of determining SAP.
  •  If a student receives a passing grade for a course and chooses to repeat the course, the repeated course does not count as course completed and does not contribute to maintaining SAP. The units for the repeated course are not counted, unless the repeated course is identified as “repeatable" on the Course Catalog.
  • 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 GPA.

Transfers credits

  • Transfer credits from another institution accepted by Occidental College are counted when measuring the maximum timeframe to complete the degree.
  • Occidental does not accept for credit any transfer grades lower than 2.0. Consult the Occidental College Course Catalog for information on how transfer credits are evaluated.
Frequency of SAP Notice
The FAO will monitor all SAP requirements at the end of each semester that you are enrolled only if you plan to re-enroll for the upcoming semester. Students returning to the College after a leave of absence will have their SAP requirements checked at the time they are approved to return to the College.
 
If you do not meet any of the SAP requirements, you will receive a “warning" notification from the FAO that you are at risk of losing aid eligibility. The notification will outline whether you are at risk of losing federal aid, institutional aid, or both.
 
When we disburse aid to your student account, we are certifying that you are making SAP. Aid is always disbursed on the first day of classes for the semester. Please note that it is possible for a student to see “anticipated aid" on their bill or student account before aid is disbursed and before SAP is checked. Seeing “anticipated aid" is not a guarantee that a student is meeting SAP.
 
While SAP is only reviewed once at the end of each semester, it is possible to have your SAP eligibility re-reviewed during the semester if new or updated information is provided that could impact your eligibility (such as a grade change). If new or updated information changes your SAP eligibility, we will send you a notification regarding this change.
Failure to Meet SAP
If you do not meet all of the SAP requirements, you will be placed on a financial aid “warning" semester. During your “warning" semester, you will receive federal and institutional financial aid. If at the end of your “warning" semester, you have not met SAP requirements, you will no longer be eligible for institutional aid, federal aid, or both.
 
Students can receive multiple “warning" semesters during their time at Occidental; however, a student cannot receive two “warning" semesters in a row. Students who fail to meet SAP requirements by the end of their “warning" semester will automatically become ineligible for institutional aid, federal aid, or both.
 
Financial Aid Ineligibility
If you lose your eligibility for institutional aid, federal aid, or both 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.
 
Right to Appeal
Your appeal must be made in writing to the Director of Financial Aid, Gina Becerril. 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 circumstance which prevented you from making progress. Your appeal must also include a written academic plan which outlines how you plan to meet the SAP requirement(s) you failed and what changes you have made to ensure that you will meet SAP.
 
Appeal Granted
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 FAO can make a final determination that you have met the SAP guidelines.
 
Appeal Denied
If your appeal is denied you may still be able to regain eligibility for future semesters of aid 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’s Office to ensure units completed elsewhere are transferable to Occidental.

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