Office of Student Financial Services


Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

To be eligible for federal Title IV funds, a student must make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), which MCLA monitors. The Satisfactory Academic Progress standard used for continued financial aid eligibility is a separate policy from the College's academic standard monitored by the Registrar's Office.

Read more the Satisfactory Academic Progress standard here.

FEDERAL Refund Policy

Please note that the information below applies to the Federal College Refund Policy, not over-payments on the account. Please click here for information on student refunds from over-payments.

The federal refund policy applies to all students enrolled at MCLA who withdraw/take a leave of absence whether or not they are financial aid recipients. Students who withdraw from the College before the first day of classes receive a 100% refund.  All refunds after the start of school are pro-rated up to the 60% point of the semester and no refunds are made after the 60% point. Pro-rated refunds are calculated by determining the percentage of the semester completed, up to and including the official withdrawal date.

Based on this calculation, the college determines the amount of unearned financial aid and is responsible for returning any portion necessary to the appropriate financial aid programs.

Read more about the Federal Refund Policy here.

Dependency Status

When completing the FAFSA, students are asked a series of questions that determine whether they are considered a dependent student or an independent student. This dependency status determines whose financial information must be included on the FAFSA for the purpose of awarding aid.

Students who answer "yes" to any of the questions are considered to be independent students, while students who answer "no" to all questions are determined to be dependent students.

  • An independent student is at least one of the following: at least 24 years old, married, a graduate or professional student, a veteran, a member of the armed forces, an orphan, a ward of the court, someone with legal dependents other than a spouse, an emancipated minor or someone who is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.  An independent student does not include their parent's information on their FAFSA.
  • A dependent student does not meet the criteria of an independent student listed above. A dependent student must include their parent's information on their FAFSA. A dependent student must include their parent's information on the FAFSA even if their parent will not be providing financial support for school.

Independence Appeals: Dependent students who have no contact with their parents (e.g. left home due to an abusive situation, do not know where they are) are still required to complete the FAFSA to the best of their ability. After submitting the FAFSA, the student must reach out to Student Financial Services to discuss an Independence Appeal and provide supporting documentation of the situation.

Read more on dependency status here.

Repeat Coursework

Per the U.S. Department of Education, a student receiving aid may repeat a course and receive aid for it if they have never passed the course. If a student has previously passed the course, they may receive one repetition and receive aid for it. Any second or subsequent repetition will not be included in a student's financial aid enrollment status for the purposes of Title IV programs.

Read more about this coursework repetition regulation here.

Complaints to the DHE

If you are a student, former student, parent of a student, faculty member, or staff member and believe that MCLA  or any other institution of higher education operating in Massachusetts is not operating in compliance with state requirements or its own policies and procedures, you may file a complaint with the Massachusetts Department of Hire Education (DHE).

Read more on the DHE/BHE's Complaint Policy and Process here.
General information on the process and how to file a complaint is available here.

If you have questions about these regulations, please contact Student Financial Services at 413.662.5219 or