Students hanging out in New Hall quad


Office of Financial Aid

The Office of Financial Aid (OFA), located in St. Mary’s Hall, serves students seeking financial assistance and provides information to students and parents who are not familiar with the financial aid process. Annually, the Financial Aid Office processes in excess of $33 million in the form of grants, scholarships, loans and work programs from federal, state, institutional and private sources.

Students who have been admitted to NDNU as at least half-time students and who are U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents are eligible to be considered for all types of financial assistance. NDNU administers financial aid in accordance with federally accepted principles and practices.

NDNU Financial Aid Policies

Students and their families are expected to bear the primary responsibility for meeting educational costs. All students seeking admission to the University are encouraged to apply for aid. Please note that Direct Loans (DL) are also considered financial aid.

Financial Aid packages combine scholarships, grants, loans, and part-time work, depending upon each student’s eligibility. The total amount of financial aid offered by the University, together with all other financial aid sources, may not exceed the student’s calculated financial need or, with non-need based aid such as Parent PLUS loans, the total cost of attendance.

To be considered for all sources of financial aid, students must enroll full-time and complete sufficient academic units each semester to graduate. (Several Federal and State financial aid programs are available to students enrolled at least half-time).

Generally, students are eligible to receive financial aid for the equivalent of four years of full-time study. To maintain eligibility for NDNU financial aid, a student must meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements. Please see NDNU’s SAP policy.

Applying for Financial Aid

To apply for financial aid, students are required to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA can be filed online by going to Supporting documents such as parent and student’s tax information may be requested by the OFA after the processed FAFSA is received. Financial assistance is awarded only after admission to the University. For further information, please call (650) 508-3741 or email us at


March 2nd is the FAFSA and Cal Grant GPA Verification deadline for undergraduates to be considered for Cal Grants. March 2nd is also the priority filing date for other aid programs. Students should apply as early as possible for full consideration. Students who apply after the March 2nd deadline are packaged with funds as available.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy


NDNU complies with federal requirements to monitor student aid recipient’s satisfactory academic progress toward a declared, approved educational objective of a bachelor’s degree, certificate or master’s degree. The university has established a satisfactory academic progress policy that measures progress:

  • Qualitatively:  Ensuring the student’s GPA is consistent with requirements for receipt of a degree or certificate;
  • Quantitatively:  Ensuring the student completes his/her program within a maximum period of time, and;
  • Incrementally:  Ensuring the student’s term by term credit hour completions are sufficient to enable the student to complete his/her educational objective within a maximum timeframe.

The Office of Financial Aid Office (OFA) has established parameters for minimum GPA in accordance with federal regulations that require students who have completed the equivalent of their first two years of undergraduate work to maintain a 2.0 (“C” average) cumulative GPA. In determining the maximum timeframe for completion, the OFA allows 150% of the time it normally takes students to complete a program. Incremental, term by term, completion requirements have been established to be consistent with and support the maximum timeframe requirements.

Progress is monitored annually at the conclusion of spring semester when a student is evaluated for receipt of aid for the subsequent year. The university academic progress policy is distributed to students in student application materials and on the Financial Aid area of the website. Students are notified of deficiencies to the progress policy via probation and disqualification letters which are accompanied by a copy of the policy and instructions for petitioning to appeal the policy.

Students may petition the progress policy when special, mitigating circumstances prevent the student from meeting minimum requirements. Petitions are reviewed by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee and decisions are made to grant or deny the petition by that body. Students may appeal the decision of the Appeals Committee to the VP of External Affairs.

Reinstatement of suspended eligibility is accomplished either through the granting of an appeal to waive requirements, successfully meeting the terms of a contract, or (with the exception of maximum time frame) when the student successfully removes the deficiencies that caused the disqualification, e.g., making up deficient units and/or raising the cumulative GPA to 2.0.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy
  1. All aid applicants must have a declared, approved educational objective that leads to a degree or certificate.
  2. All undergraduate students must maintain a 2.0 cumulative GPA.
  3. Students are expected to complete their coursework after having attempted 180 semester units. Grades of “W” and “I” will be included in the calculation of the 180 units maximum.
  4. a.  Students who change major or educational goals that require unit completions beyond 180 will be evaluated individually based on a written petition for special circumstances.

    b.  Remedial units are limited to 30 total units in residence and in transfer.

  5. All undergraduate financial aid recipients must make progress toward completion of their educational goals consistent with the enrollment status for which aid is awarded by meeting the following unit completion requirements:
  6. If financial aid is awarded for:                             Student must complete at least:

    Full-time                                                             12 Units
    Three quarter-time                                             9 Units
    Half-time                                                            6 Units
    Less than half-time                                             All Units of enrollment

    a. Only graded units of A, B, C, and D, and “CR” are considered as completed units.

    b. F, NC, W, IP, AF and I grades are not considered as units completed. Students who receive I or IP grades must notify the OFA with verification when hours have been completed.

    c. A student may repeat a course for which a grade of C, D, or F is received but repeats are limited to the number of times specified in the University Catalog. Students may repeat only courses designated as repeatable in the Catalog. Independent Study may not be used to repeat a course. These classes will be included in enrollment status and must be taken for a letter grade.

    d. Consortium Agreement units taken at other institutions under a ‘Consortium Agreement’ will be considered transfer units and will be part of the SAP calculation.

    e. Study Abroad courses approved by NDNU for academic credit toward a student’s degree taken in a study abroad program are counted as attempted and completed units.

    f. Incomplete courses will not be considered as being successfully completed. An incomplete grade will count as credit/s attempted and credit/s not earned until the grades have been changed to a passing grade.

  7. Students who fail to meet the minimum unit completion requirement and/or students who fail to achieve a minimum 2.0 GPA will be placed on financial aid disqualification. Students on financial aid disqualification have the right to appeal.
  8. Students who appeal and are approved will be placed on financial aid probation. Financial aid probation is removed when:
  9. a. The student meets the minimum unit completion requirement in the probationary term, and/or

    b. The student meets the minimum GPA requirement in the probationary term.

  10. All aid applicants must have complied with the terms and conditions of any prior financial aid contract to continue to be eligible.
  11. Students may reinstate full eligibility by:
  12. a. Demonstrating satisfactory academic progress (completing the required number of units with the required GPA in a semester, either at NDNU or another institution) without receiving financial aid,

    b. Petitioning to have requirements waived due to mitigating circumstances,

    c. Meeting the special conditions of a contract created as a result of a petition.

  13. Graduate students (Master’s Programs) must complete 3 units per semester to be eligible for financial aid with a 3.0 GPA. Graduate students who fail to meet the minimum of 9 units per academic year will be allowed one semester to remove the deficiency. Deficient units must be earned in addition to the 3 units required to complete the current semester requirements.
Monitoring Satisfactory Academic Progress
  1. Progress for students is monitored on an annual basis.
  2. Progress exception students are identified at the end of the academic year.
  3. Students who are deficient during the prior year are notified via letter that they will be placed on probation during the subsequent semester of attendance and failure to complete the minimum requirements during that semester will result in disqualification.
  4. Student’s financial aid account in PowerFAIDS Custom Data is coded for SAP disqualification or probation for the appropriate term. This field is selected to run a report that is used to check the probationary student’s progress during the probationary term.
Appeals and Contracts
  1. Students are notified of disqualification of aid eligibility due to lack of progress through the “Disqualification Letter” and advised that to appeal they must submit the petition (appeal and any appropriate documentation) form to the Financial Aid Appeals Committee.

    a. The Financial Aid Appeals Committee consists of:

      Director of Financial Aid, Chair

      All active Financial Aid Counselors

      Director of Retention

      Dean of Enrollment may be used on an ad hoc basis if another member is unavailable or asks to be excused from a particular appeal.

    b. The appeal and any documentation are reviewed by the Committee.

  2. Review of petitions is performed by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee. The Committee reviews the student’s transcript as well as the educational plan and petition. Decisions are made to either:
  3. a. Approve the petition based on the student’s circumstances and/or the student’s proximity to program completion.

    b. Request a second, more detailed petition when circumstances are not well documented or the student’s plan is unclear.

    c. Deny the petition when the student appears to have consistently demonstrated inability to meet minimum requirements.

  4. The Committee’s decision is communicated to the Student by the Financial Aid Director. If the Committee establishes any conditions, these are included in the letter. The student is notified of the Committee’s decisions within five days.
  5. a. Denials, requests for additional information, or referrals to the VP of External Affairs are noted in the “comments” in PowerFAIDS and the Custom Data field is updated with either an additional probationary term or disqualification term.

    b. Disqualified student’s tracking status is placed in a hold status in PowerFAIDS.

    c. Students who have been disqualified must produce documentation to the Financial Aid Office that they have met the conditions of reinstatement before aid can be reinstated.

Academic Plan
          1. If during the appeal process, The Office of Financial Aid determines that a student cannot meet SAP standards by the end of the probationary period (one semester); an academic plan will be required to approve the student’s appeal.
          2. NDNU’s Academic Success Center (ASC) will work closely with students in developing an academic plan; both ASC and the student must adhere and agree to the plan. The overall purpose of the academic plan is for students to meet SAP standards at the end of the semester specified in the academic plan.
          3. The plan will be reviewed by The Office of Financial Aid after every semester; a student who fails to meet the requirements established in the plan will be put on final disqualification and no further appeal will be granted.
Definition of Terms
          1. Financial Aid Satisfactory: The student has met SAP requirements and is eligible for federal student aid.
          2. Financial Aid Unsatisfactory/ Disqualification: The student has not met SAP requirements and is ineligible for federal student aid.
          3. Financial Aid Probation: The student has successfully appealed an SAP Unsatisfactory/ Disqualification and is eligible for federal student aid for one term or for the number of semesters specified in the academic plan.
          4. Financial Aid Warning: The mid-term report during the fall and spring semester will be utilized to identify students who are in danger of not meeting SAP requirements. An undergraduate student will receive a financial aid warning if he/she gets a grade of C- or lower and a graduate student will receive a financial aid warning if he/she receives a grade of B- or lower.
          5. Cumulative GPA: Undergraduate students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher. Graduate students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 or higher.
          6. Maximum Timeframe (150% rule): Students must complete their program within 150% of the standard timeframe required to earn their degree.
Return of Title IV Funds (R2T4) Policy

In accordance with federal regulations, students who receive federal financial assistance and withdraw from all of their classes before completing more than 60% of the semester will be required to return any unearned federal funds. The amount of the return will be calculated on a daily, pro-rata basis. FWS earnings are excluded from the calculation.  All R2T4 calculations are done on the federal site using the calculator provided.

Since NDNU is not required to take attendance, a student’s withdrawal date for the return of Title IV calculation will be:

          • The date the student provides notification, orally or in writing, to the Registrar’s Office that he or she intends to withdraw, or
          • The midpoint of the semester for students who do not officially withdraw or
          • The date posted by the instructor indicating the student’s last date of attendance in class.

The Office of Financial Aid will use the information provided by the Registrar to learn about any student who officially withdraws. The OFA will return any funds due from the institution while simultaneously notifying the student of any funds he/she may owe or offer the student any unearned funds which were not disbursed. This process will occur within a 30-day period of the withdrawal.

NOTE:  Students who complete an official Leave of Absence are treated the same as a withdrawal at NDNU.  This allows for the most refund of funds for the student and prevents them from being in pre-claims or defaulted status on their loans if they don’t return on the planned date.

Calculation of Return of Funds

A.  The percentage of Title IV aid earned will be calculated by counting the number of days from the beginning of the semester to the withdrawal date and dividing that number by the number of calendar days in the semester. Once that percentage is determined it will be multiplied against the total amount of Title IV aid that was disbursed and that which could have been disbursed.

B.   To determine if a student was eligible to receive Title IV funds even though none were disbursed, the cash management rules of §668.164 (g) (2) will be applied. To be an eligible student for:

          1. Pell Grants:  received a valid SAR or ISIR;
          2. FSEOG awards:  the student was awarded the grant;
          3. Federal Stafford Loan:  the school certified the loan record and the first year, first-time borrower completed the first thirty days of the semester.  (NDNU is currently exempt from the 30 day delay requirement.)

C.    Once the amount of earned Title IV aid is determined, the sum will be subtracted from the total of Title IV aid that was disbursed. If the student received more than the earned amount, the unearned portion will be returned by NDNU and by the student in accordance with the method prescribed in regulation. The institutional charges for the semester will be multiplied by the percentage of Title IV aid unearned and compared to the amount of Title IV aid to be returned. The smaller amount will be returned by the college in the following priority:

          1. Unsubsidized DL Loan
          2. Subsidized DL Loan
          3. Perkins Loan
          4. Grad PLUS
          5. PLUS
          6. Pell Grant
          7. FSEOG

D.  The amount the college returns will be subtracted from the total sum that must be returned and the remaining balance will be due from the student. The student will be responsible for returning unearned funds in the same priority listed above. Students who have loans will return funds in accordance with the terms of the promissory note. Students who receive grants will be required to return 50% of the unearned amount.

E.  NDNU uses the federal calculator provided by the Department of Education to process Return of Title IV funds.

Responsibilities of Title IV Funds
      1. The student will have 45 days from the date he or she receives notice from the NDNU to repay the unearned portion of Title IV grant in full, or to set up a satisfactory repayment arrangement with the Department of Education.
      1. Grant overpayments will be reported to NSLDS marked with the appropriate flag corresponding to the action taken by the student. This reporting will take place within 30 days after the student fails to repay the overpayment.
      1. When funds could have been disbursed and the student did not receive all of the earned Title IV aid and the withdrawal date has been determined, the FAO will send the student a letter offering the un-disbursed financial aid. The student will be instructed to respond to the letter within 14 calendar days indicating whether or not the student wants the funds. If the student requests that the earned Title IV aid be disbursed, a check will be ordered and mailed to the student within 90 days of the University’s determination that the student withdrew.

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