Financial Aid FAQs

Who receives need-based financial aid?

To determine who receives need-based financial aid, we first calculate how much financial aid you need. We do this by subtracting the amount of your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) according to the results of your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) from the cost of attending (COA) Miami University for the year:

Cost of Attendance (COA) minus Expected Family Contribution (EFC) equals Financial Need.

Any family demonstrating need in this way will be considered for need-based financial aid.

What is Expected Family Contribution (EFC)?

The EFC is an eligibility index that institutions use to determine how much financial aid you would receive if you were to attend college. The EFC is calculated according to a formula specified in law and is based upon the information provided by the student and their family on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Your EFC is the same no matter which school you attend.

Although family income is obviously an important consideration, many factors are examined when assessing what your family can afford to contribute. These factors include assets, family size, and the number of children in college.

What is being measured is your family's financial strength. Miami expects students and parents to be in this together. The expected family contribution includes contributions from both the student and the parent(s). In addition to the parent(s)' contribution, the student's contribution includes a portion of prior year earnings as well as money from personal savings and assets.

How do I get my excess financial aid?

If you have met all the requirements to qualify for the first disbursement of funds and your aid exceeds your university-billed charges, your excess financial aid will be refunded. For a quicker refund, make sure to sign up for RedHawk Refunds.

If you have excess financial aid as a result of a PLUS loan, a refund check will be sent to the parent borrower's address, unless the parent requests on the initial Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan Application that the refund be issued to the student.

If your primary campus is Miami University Hamilton or Miami University Middletown, your excess financial aid will be disbursed after the enrollment freeze date for each semester (see the One Stop dates and deadlines calendar for specific dates).

Can I use excess financial aid funds to buy my books, course materials, supplies, and equipment?

If your aid has disbursed prior to the beginning of school and you receive a refund for the excess financial aid, you should use those funds to buy your books, course materials, supplies, and equipment. If your aid exceeds university charges but has not been disbursed prior to the beginning of school, you may be able to charge your books, course materials, supplies, and equipment against your excess financial aid utilizing MUlaa. Contact the One Stop during the first week of school to see if you qualify.

Can I receive financial aid for a computer purchase?

A computer purchase is considered an eligible educational expense and financial aid may be used to assist in purchasing one. If you have already received financial aid up to your cost of attendance (COA), you may request a one-time COA increase for the amount of the computer with proof of purchase.

Receiving a COA increase does not necessarily mean you will qualify for additional aid. Contact the One Stop to determine if you qualify for assistance in purchasing a computer.

I have a special family circumstance. What should I do?

You should submit a letter or email to the One Stop explaining the change in circumstance. We will run a simulation to see if the change will result in eligibility for additional federal aid. If so, a special circumstance appeal form will be sent to you. Complete the form and submit it with the required supporting documentation. We will review it and notify you if you qualify for additional financial aid.

Can I receive financial aid for audited classes?

To receive financial aid for any class you must be earning academic credit for it. Though you are charged full fees for auditing a course, you do not receive academic credit. Therefore, you are not eligible for financial aid for any audited courses.

My direct loan money won't be available for another three weeks. What can I do for living expenses in the meantime?

Consider the following:

  • Students may need to provide proof to their landlord that the financial assistance they are receiving for the semester will cover their rent. They may submit a copy of their Financial Aid Offer found in Banner 9 Self Service - Financial Aid and a copy of their Bursar bill indicating that an overage amount is expected. Students with private loans can provide documentation directly from the lender verifying the loan amount and the loan period. The landlord reserves the right not to accept these documents.
  • Special circumstances may warrant the issuance of a short-term loan. The maximum amount for a short-term loan is $500. You must have a 2.0 GPA or better and show that you have adequate means of repaying the loan. The loan must be repaid by the due date set at the time of the loan. Exceptions to these guidelines are rare. We may also decline your request for the short-term loan if loan funds are limited or depleted. Contact the One Stop for more information about a short-term loan.

If I move off campus, how will it affect my financial aid?

When we calculate your eligibility for need-based financial aid, we use the same estimated expenses for living costs whether you are living on-campus or off-campus, as long as you are not living with your parents. If you are receiving financial aid in excess of your university-billed charges, you will receive a refund.

If you have been awarded scholarships from Miami University specifically for your Miami housing and food charges and choose to live off-campus, you will not receive the portion of your scholarship that would have paid your Miami housing costs. If you do not purchase a university meal plan, you will not receive the portion of your scholarship that would have paid your Miami meal costs.

I am seeking a second Bachelor’s degree. Am I eligible for aid?

To be eligible for financial aid when you are seeking a second bachelor's degree from Miami University you must be enrolled in a different degree program than the one that you previously completed. Students seeking to complete a second degree will be prompted to complete the Alternative Programs form, along with their academic adviser. 

My account shows there is money in the "Estimated Aid" column. What does this mean?

"Estimated Aid" is any finalized scholarship, grant, loan, or payment plan as of the time the account is viewed.

If there are financial aid funds in excess of university-billed charges after your aid disburses, the money will be refunded to the student provided that all financial aid requirements have been met.