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Financial Aid Policies

McDaniel College complies with federal and state regulations to establish policies and procedures for federal, state, and institutional financial aid. We encourage you to go through and review them so you are aware of the financial aid policies at McDaniel. Not all colleges and universities present policy and procedure information in the same manner. Therefore, you should not assume that the information contained within these pages can be applied towards another institution. If you need further assistance or more information, please contact the Financial Aid Office.

Green Terror mascot looking at campus.
McDaniel College Financial Aid Director Kemia Himon assists Financial Aid Specialist Aza Smith

Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) A Family Discussion

As a college student, your McDaniel records (including your academic and financial records) belong to you. This means that McDaniel College staff are legally required to have your written permission before we can disclose details of your academic and financial accounts with others (including parents or guardians). If you would like to authorize us to share your education records with parents or others, you must complete the Release of Student Information Form. 

Important Financial Aid Policies

It is the responsibility of the student to become familiar with the financial aid policies that govern and regulate financial aid.

Class Eligibilty

Module-Based Classes 

A module is any class that does not span the full length of the semester. 

  • You will NOT be considered to have enrolled in modules if you enroll in courses that span the entire length of the semester (fall or spring, which are 14-15 weeks long)
  • You will be considered to have enrolled in modules if you enroll in any courses for the summer semester or JanTerm
  • For modules, you will not be considered to have withdrawn for the semester, if when you stop attending, you:
    1. provide, at the time you would have a withdrawal, written confirmation stating that you will attend another course later in the same semester
    2. are scheduled to begin another class during the semester no later than 45 calendar days after the end of the one you ceased attending

If this confirmation is not received and/or if you fail to attend the later class, a return of funds calculation will be done based on the date of the original withdrawal.

Repeating Classes Policy

If an undergraduate student fails a course, he/she can get financial aid for repeating the failed class, because no credit hours were earned (as long as a student continues to meet Satisfactory Academic Standards). * Please note that graduate students are not subject to this regulation. *

Undergraduate students can get financial aid only once for a previously passed course in which they earned credit if a student needs to repeat the class. Example: Sarah receives a C in her biology class in the spring 2011. If Sarah repeats the class in the fall 11, our office will count the class towards Sarah’s financial aid enrollment one more time.

If a student is repeating a previously passed course because other coursework was failed, our office will not count the repeated class. Example: Peter attends a program in which coursework is taking in strict sequence. Peter passes two classes, but fails another class. If Peter must repeat all three classes during the next semester, our office could only count one class towards Peter’s financial aid enrollment one class.

Auditing Classes Policy

Financial aid may not be used to pay for audited courses.

Example: Mary is enrolled for 12 credits and decided to change a grading method for one class to an audit. Regardless on when the change will take place, our office will need to revise Mary’s aid and exclude the audited class.

Courses Counted for Financial Aid Purposes

For financial aid purposes, only classes offered as part of the student's program of study will count towards the number of credits the student is enrolled in. For example, a graduate student must take at least 6 credits of graduate level courses to be eligible for financial aid. A graduate student taking a 3 credit graduate course and a 3 credit undergraduate course is not eligible for financial aid.

Communication & Confidentiality

Students must regularly check their McDaniel e-mail for communications from the Financial Aid Office.

When students contact the Financial Aid Office using their personal account (non-McDaniel email account), the response will be sent to the student's McDaniel email account.

Students must consent to receive electronic communication from Fin Aid. This can be completed in Financial Aid Self-Service.

Students must use Financial Aid Self-Service to monitor the amounts and status of their financial aid awards.

Students should contact the IT department for problems accessing McDaniel College email or Archway.

Confidentiality Policy

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) requires the Financial Aid Office to release detailed financial aid and billing information only to the student.

However, the student may authorize another person to obtain his/her personal information by completing a FERPA Release Form. This form can be completed in the Registrar's Office.

All visitors to the Financial Aid Office must present a valid ID (student ID card or driver's license) before student specific information can be released. 

Consortium Agreement Policy

The Financial Aid Office does not sign any consortium agreements to serve as a home institution. A student could always send us a consortium agreement to sign as a host institution.

Disbursement of Funds

Your financial aid disburses to your account after the semester has started. All your aid disburses directly to your McDaniel student account to pay all charges on the account first. If there is a credit balance on your account after disbursement, the excess will be refunded. Please contact the Bursar Office about the refund procedure.

In order for any student to be eligible for loan funds, s/he must be enrolled at least half-time (6 credits for all students) at both Freeze Date and at the time the loan funds are disbursed to the Bursar Office. For students whose classes are staggered, loan funds will not be released until you have reached 6 credits or more. There are several eligibility requirements that are associated with each particular type of financial aid. A student must be enrolled for required number of credits in order for the financial aid to be applied to the student account.

Scholarships, grants or loans from external sources will be posted as the funds are received by McDaniel College. Funds are posted weekly throughout the semester.

Dropping Courses & Withdrawal

Dropping Courses

What happens when you drop one or more classes?

The overall consequences of dropping courses depend on EACH of the following:

  • the aid you have been awarded
  • the number of credits you retain
  • the point in the semester you drop and the tuition refund period in effect

You could owe additional money to the College (which would be due immediately) or you could have additional funds returned to you from the College in the form of a refund. In some cases, your eligibility for aid could be impacted for future semesters. Refer to the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy for more information. 

Students must check with the Financial Aid Office before dropping from any and all courses to determine if their aid will be impacted.


What happens when you withdraw from all classes?

Withdrawing from McDaniel College may have both academic and financial aid consequences.  You are encouraged to understand the consequences before you decide to withdraw.

If you complete 60 percent or less of the term prior to withdrawing, you may be required to repay a substantial portion of your financial aid.

As with dropping a class, the specific financial consequences for you depend on several factors:

  • The amount and type of financial aid you have been awarded for the term
  • The amount of initial charges, as well as adjusted charges
  • The point in the term you withdraw (including the refund period in effect)

You could owe additional money to the College (which would be due immediately), or you could have additional funds returned to you from the College in the form of a refund. In some cases, you could have aid adjusted for future terms.

McDaniel College is required to review a student’s account and recalculate eligibility in the following situations:

  • A student completely withdraws from all classes during the semester, or,
  • A student never attends any classes during the semester, or,
  • A student does not complete all modules (classes that do not span the entire length of the semester) for which s/he has registered for during the semester.

The Financial Aid Office is responsible for reporting in the calculation the last date of attendance as determined by the institution using the last date of attendance or the last date of academically related activity. If neither of these dates are available, then the date the student initiated the withdrawal process will be used.

Confirmation of future enrollment within the same semester will prevent the recalculation process from being initiated. If a student decides that dropping a single course during the semester is necessary but expects to complete the subsequent module courses during the same semester, s/he will be given the option to confirm that intention by responding to email notice from the Financial Aid Office. Without documented confirmation by the student, our office will assume that the student ceased attendance and will begin the Return of Title IV Funds process.

The federal recalculation is determined on a pro-rated basis taking into consideration the actual number of days that a student is in attendance. Once the recalculation is completed, the student will receive notification from our office of any change to his/her financial aid.

Please note that due to complexity of this federal policy, each Return of Title IV funds calculation is dependent on individual student circumstances.

Here are some examples of when our office is required to perform the Return of Title IV calculation:

  1. A final award letter was based on 6 credits- a student withdraws from both classes on October 1, 2011. We are required to complete a Return of Title IV Funds process.
  2. A final award letter was based on 6 credits, with one class starting in September and the second class beginning in late October. A student completes the first class and drops the second class. The student does not respond to our letter to confirm enrollment in another fall class. We are required to complete a Return of Title IV Funds process.
  3. A final award letter is based on 12 credits but the student stops attending the classes in October and receives all failing grades. Our office is required to complete a Return of Title IV Funds process.

If you are considering withdrawing and have any questions about the financial aid consequences, please contact our office.


All students should be aware that dropping or withdrawing from courses could also impact their state and/or institutional aid. Eligibility for state aid is determined based upon enrollment at the Freeze Date. If a Return of Title IV Funds calculation is required, institutional aid will be adjusted according to McDaniel College’s tuition adjustment percentages. Review the catalog for more information about the tuition adjustment policy.  

Drug Policy

A federal or state drug conviction can disqualify a student for Title IV funds. A student who has been convicted of any offense under any federal or state law involving the possession or sale of a controlled substance for conduct that occurred during a period of enrollment in which federal student aid was received shall not be eligible to receive federal student aid (including any grant, loan, or work assistance) during the period beginning on the date of such conviction and ending after the interval specified in the following table:

If convicted of an offense involving:

The possession of a controlled substance:


  •  First offense: 1 year
  •  Second offense: 2 years
  •  Third offense: Indefinite

The sale of a controlled substance:


  • First offense: 2 years
  • Second offense: Indefinite

Note: Convictions that are reversed, set aside, or removed from your record do not count, nor does any conviction received while the student was a juvenile, unless they were tried as an adult. Alcohol and tobacco are not illegal drugs under this law.

Regaining Eligibility

Rehabilitation: A student whose eligibility has been suspended may resume eligibility before the end of the ineligibility period if the student satisfactorily completes a drug rehabilitation program and passes two unannounced drug tests conducted by a drug rehabilitation program.

Standards for a Qualified Drug Rehabilitation Program:

  • be qualified to receive funds directly or indirectly from a federal, state, or local government program
  • be qualified to receive payment directly or indirectly from a federally or state-licensed insurance company
  • be administered or recognized by federal, state, or local government agency or court
  • be administered or recognized by a federally or state-licensed hospital, health clinic, or medical doctor

It is the student's responsibility to certify that s/he has successfully completed a qualified drug rehabilitation program and passed the required drug tests. Students may submit documentation to the Financial Aid Office if they have met the requirements to regain Title IV eligibility. 

If I have a drug conviction, should I still apply for aid?

Yes, because you may be eligible depending on the date and number of convictions.  You may still be eligible for non-federal aid and you may be able to regain your eligibility.

Answer the question about drugs on the FAFSA (#35). Do NOT leave this question blank. If you answer YES, you can call Federal Student Aid at 800-433-3243 if you need help filling out the worksheet after you receive it.

Freeze Date

What is a Freeze Date?

Eligibility for financial aid at McDaniel College is based on the number of credit hours you are enrolled and attending/participating in at the end of the add/drop period for the fall and spring terms, defined as the Freeze Date. Financial aid may be adjusted if your enrollment on the Freeze Date differs from the enrollment initially used to determine your financial aid eligibility.

What does this mean?

Financial aid eligibility is determined based on level of enrollment. Certain types of financial aid require full-time enrollment to maintain eligibility; other types of financial aid only require half-time enrollment. If you receive financial aid that is based on full-time enrollment and have reduced your credit hours as of the Freeze Date, an award may be cancelled and you may be billed for lost aid.


You enrolled in 12 credit hours (full-time status) at the beginning of the semester and received financial aid based on full-time enrollment. You later dropped or withdrew from a 3 credit hour course. At the Freeze Date, your actual enrollment is 9 credit hours (three-quarter-time status). Your financial aid eligibility will be recalculated to reflect three-quarter-time enrollment.

What can you do?

If you anticipate a change in enrollment, please contact our office to determine how this change will impact your financial aid.

Enrollment requirements for different types of aid are listed below:

Please note that wait-listed courses do not count towards credit requirements where financial aid is concerned.

  • Institutional Scholarships and tuition waivers :  Full-time
  • Pell Grants:  Full-time (prorated at ¾ time, ½ time and less than ½ time)
  • All institutional grants:  Full-time
  • Loans (including Stafford Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized, Parent PLUS, Graduate PLUS, Private/Alternative ):  Half-time
  • Work-Study:  Half-Time

Full-time enrollment – 12 credits per semester for undergraduates, 9 credits for graduates

Half-time enrollment – 6 credits per semester for undergraduates, 6 credits for graduate students

Module-based classes

If a student already received a financial aid award letter, any module-based class(es) added after the freeze date will not be counted towards financial aid enrollment status for the semester for all types of aid except loans. If a student plans to enroll in any module-based class(es), please do so before the freeze date. No exceptions will be made. 

When is the Freeze Date?

Please contact the Registrar's office for current Freeze Date Information.

Housing Policy

Any time a student changes his or her housing status, the student must inform the Financial Aid Office of the change by filling out a Housing Update Form.

If a student makes the decision to change their housing status, their Cost of Attendance and McDaniel Grant will be recalculated. As the result of the change in the cost of attendance, the following revisions could be made:

  • A student who was awarded a McDaniel Grant will have the grant reduced if a student changes his housing status from a resident to a commuter.

    If a student who originally planned to commute will decide to live on-campus, the student may request an upward adjustment in grant assistance. The Financial Aid Office will attempt to meet these requests, based on the availability of funds.

  • Students with federal or private loans might have their loans reduced.

It is strongly suggested that students meet with Financial Aid Staff prior to finalizing changes to housing arrangements.

Leave of Absence & Return of Federal Student Aid

The law specifies how McDaniel College must determine the amount of Title IV program assistance, also known as Federal Financial Aid, that you earn if you withdraw from school. The Title IV programs that are covered by this law are Federal Pell Grants, Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants, TEACH Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOGs), Direct Loans, and Direct PLUS Loans. 

Though your aid is posted to your account at the start of each period, you earn the funds as you complete the period. If you withdraw during your payment period or period of enrollment (contact our Financial Aid Office if you need us to  define these terms for you and tell you which one applies to you), the amount of Title IV program assistance that you have earned up to that point is determined by a specific formula. If you received (or McDaniel College or your parent(s) received on your behalf) less assistance than the amount that you earned, you may be able to receive those additional funds in the form of a post-withdrawal disbursement. If you receive more assistance than you earned, the excess funds must be returned by McDaniel College and/or you. 


The amount of assistance that you have earned is determined on a pro rata basis. For example, if you completed 30% of your payment period or period of enrollment, you earn 30% of the assistance you were originally scheduled to receive. Once you have completed more than 60% of the payment period or period of enrollment, you earn all the assistance that you were scheduled to receive for that period. 

You will not be subject to returns of your Title IV program assistance if you meet one of the following exemptions: 

  1. You complete all of the requirements for graduation; 

  1. You successfully complete a class or multiple classes that comprise at least 49 percent of the days in the term; or 

  1. You successfully complete a class or multiple classes that comprise at least half-time enrollment. 

If you did not receive all the funds you earned, you may be due a post-withdrawal disbursement. If your post-withdrawal disbursement includes loan funds, McDaniel College must get your permission before we can disburse them. You may choose to decline some or all of the loan funds so that you don’t incur additional debt. We may automatically use all or a portion of your post-withdrawal disbursement of grant 

funds for tuition, fees, and housing and food charges (as contracted with the school). We’ll need your permission to use the post-withdrawal grant disbursement for all other institutional charges. If you do not give your permission, you will be offered the funds. However, it may be in your best interest to allow the school to keep the funds to reduce your debt at the school. 

There are some Title IV funds that you were scheduled to receive that cannot be disbursed to you once you withdraw because of other eligibility requirements. For example, if you are a first-time, first-year 

undergraduate student and you have not completed the first 30 days of your program before you withdraw, you will not receive any Direct Loan funds that you would have received had you remained enrolled past the 30th day. 

If you receive (or McDaniel College or your parent receive on your behalf) excess Title IV program funds that must be returned, McDaniel College must return a portion of the excess funds equal to the lesser of: 

  1. your institutional charges multiplied by the unearned percentage of your funds, or 

  1. the entire amount of excess funds. 

The school must return this amount even if it didn’t keep this amount of your Title IV program funds. 

If your school is not required to return all of the excess funds, you may be required to return the remaining amount. 

For any loan funds that you must return, you (or your parent for a Direct PLUS Loan) will repay the loan funds in accordance with the terms of the promissory note. That is, you will not be required to repay any loan funds immediately, but instead, you will make scheduled payments to the holder of the loan over a period of time. 

Any amount of unearned grant funds that you must return is called an overpayment. The maximum amount of a grant overpayment that you must repay is half of the grant funds you received or were scheduled to receive. You do not have to repay a grant overpayment if the original amount of the overpayment is $50 or less. You must make arrangements with McDaniel College or the Department of Education to return the unearned grant funds. 

The requirements for Title IV program funds when you withdraw are separate from McDaniel College’s refund policy. Therefore, you may still owe funds to the school to cover unpaid institutional charges. We may also charge you for any Title IV program funds that the school was required to return. If you don’t know McDaniel College’s refund policy, we can provide you with a copy upon request and the requirements and procedures for officially withdrawing from school. 

If you have questions about your Title IV program funds, you can call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FEDAID (1-800-433-3243). TTY users may call 1-800-730-8913. Information is also available on Student Aid on the Web at


Loan Cancellation Policy

The Financial Aid Office uses an active confirmation process for all students. Students are required to use Financial Aid Self-Service to reduce or decline previously awarded loans.

New students or first time borrowers should accept and activate their loans by the priority deadline, if possible. If not, the loans will be cancelled 30 days after the semester has started. If the student is awarded later, the loans will be cancelled 30 days after awarding if the steps have not been completed. The student will be notified via email that the loan was cancelled.

Reinstating Loans

To reinstate the Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized or PLUS loans, the student and/or parent will need to complete the action steps and submit a Loan Change Form to request that the loan be reinstated. 

McDaniel 1Card Tuition Account Transfer Policy

McDaniel College offers students the option to request book advance funds. Bookstore advances are based on enrollment status and the amount of excess aid expected; this means that once the student’s tuition, room/board, and fees have been paid, then the excess can be used to buy books from the College's bookstore. For example, if your bill is $14,000 and you are receiving $14,500 in financial aid, we may be able to grant you a book advance for up to $500 depending on student type and credits:

Full-time Students - $600
Undergraduate 12+ credits
Graduate 9+ credits

Part-time Students - $50 per credit
Undergraduate less than 12 credits
Graduate less than 9 credits

Please note the following in order to request a book advance:

  • Obtain a McDaniel 1Card Tuition Account Transfer form from the Bursar’s Office.
  • Student must be matriculated and registered for classes.
  • All requested documents must have been submitted to the Financial Aid Office. 
  • There can be no outstanding balance.
  • Book advances are only given for fall and spring semesters with limited exceptions for summer: Pell-eligible students whose federal aid will result in a credit balance. There are no Bookstore Advances for JanTerm, but the JanTerm credits and charges are considered part of the spring semester.
  • You can only request one book advance per semester.
  • Book advances may be requested 1 week prior to the start of the classes.
  • Book advances are not available once a refund has been initiated for your account.
  • Contact the McDaniel Bursar Office at 410-857-2209 if you have questions about whether or not you are eligible for a book advance.

Overaward Policy

An “overaward” occurs when the need-based awards exceed financial need or when the total of financial aid awards exceeds the cost of attendance. If a student has been overawarded, federal regulations require McDaniel College to adjust awards which may result in a bill. Need-based aid includes grants, scholarships, Federal Work Study, Federal Direct Subsidized Loans, and outside resources (i.e. faculty/staff tuition benefits, scholarships, etc.). Non-need based aid includes Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Federal Parent PLUS Loans, Federal Graduate PLUS Loans, and Alternative Loans.

Possible reasons an overaward can occur are:

  • Additional awards are received after the final award letter was sent.*
  • Housing status changes after the final award letter was sent.
  • The verification process results in changes made to FAFSA data.

If a need-based overaward occurs, the financial aid department will reduce or cancel federal aid in the following order. A Federal Pell Grant is never reduced.

  • Federal Work Study
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
  • Direct Subsidized Loan

If a non-need based overaward occurs (student’s cost of attendance was exceeded), the financial aid department will reduce or cancel federal aid in the following order.

  • Alternative Loan
  • PLUS or Graduate PLUS loan
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loan
  • Federal Work Study
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
  • TEACH Grant
  • Direct Subsidized Loan

If student’s tuition is paid by other sources, institutional scholarships will be reduced or cancelled to avoid the excess of the funds awarded toward the tuition.

If a new student receives a late Educational Assistance Grant from the state of Maryland, other aid will be reduced accordingly.

The combined amount of aid from all the sources can never exceed student’s cost of attendance.

*It is the student's responsibility to provide documentation of external sources of aid such as scholarships and tuition benefits to the Financial Aid Office as soon as the information is received.

Retroactive Reduction to Aid

There are several situations that may arise which require the Financial Aid Office to reduce funds, even if they have disbursed. These situations include, but are not limited to:

  • changing credit load during the Drop/Add period at the beginning of each semester
  • dropping a class you never attended
  • failing to meet prerequisite  requirements for classes offered in a sequence for the same semester
  • changing your degree plan
  • completely withdrawing from all of your courses for a semester
  • not completing all courses in a semester that are in module format
  • receiving grades of all "F"s for the semester
  • receiving an "F" for a class you never attended
  • receiving a "W" for a class you never attended
  • receiving additional education assistance, such as scholarships after your financial aid has disbursed
  • discovering that you have been awarded over the annual or lifetime loan limits

Many students realize after the fact that decisions they made may require them to repay some or all of their financial aid for a semester. The consequences can amount to hundreds or thousands of dollars. Save yourself this worry by understanding the impact of your decisions before you make them. Please contact our office for guidance.

Revisions to Financial Aid

If you receive disbursement for any aid sources that later must be revised or canceled, you may be liable for partial or full repayment of the funds.

Your financial aid may be revised or canceled:

  • if aid was based on false or inaccurate information.
  • if an error was made in determining your eligibility or in disbursement of aid.
  • if the amount of aid you receive will exceed your financial need or budget. (This may occur if you receive additional aid or as a result of verification).
  • if you withdraw from one or more classes.
  • if you do not submit all required documents.
  • if you fail to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress.
  • if additional funds become available.
  • if extenuating circumstances warrant an adjustment in your eligibility for financial aid.
  • if you fail to achieve the required standards for merit based aid you receive from McDaniel College
  • if you do not achieve the proper grade level needed for student loans that were initially awarded.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Educational institutions that participate in federal financial aid programs are required to define and enforce Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards for those students receiving financial aid. The standards used for financial aid recipients must be at least as rigorous as those applied to the general College population. These standards assure that completion of a degree will occur, and within an established time frame.

The standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress measure a student’s academic progress both qualitatively and quantitatively. Therefore, in addition to minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) requirements, the federally-established standards include requirements that students need to progress in their academic program by successfully completing the majority of courses for which they enroll and place a limitation on the maximum period of time that students can receive federal financial aid while pursuing a degree at an educational institution. In addition, certain types of courses are limited or excluded from eligibility.

Download Undergraduate SAP Policy

Download Graduate SAP Policy

Updating Your Information

The aid awarded to you was based on your financial circumstances, enrollment plans, and satisfactory academic progress status as originally reported. If you receive additional aid or if your circumstances change, the Financial Aid Office may be required to make award adjustments. Because of this, you are required to report the following:

  • Any additional financial aid (scholarships, grants, and loans; tuition reimbursements and any other educational or tuition assistance) not listed on your award letter. Students receiving additional financial aid not listed on the award letter must complete and return the Notification of External Scholarship Form to the Financial Aid Office.
  • A change in your enrollment status for the current semester or for future semester.
  • A change from living with a parent or relative to living in a College residence hall or off-campus housing, or the reverse (change in housing status for the current or future semester).
  • Withdrawal from the College prior to the first day of the term.
  • Withdrawal from the College  during the semester.
  • If you stop attending all courses.