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» Undergraduate Financial Aid Information Guide

The Undergraduate Financial Aid Information Guide has been developed to help explain financial aid at Chapman University and to acquaint students and their families with the terms and conditions of receiving financial aid. This guide contains important information. Please bookmark this guide and contact the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid if you need further information or have questions about any of the information provided here.

The information contained in this guide is current as of September 1, 2016, and is subject to revision should federal, state, or institutional policies change. This guide is updated and revised each year.

The Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid makes every attempt to keep students informed of new laws and regulations. Students will be informed of changes via e-mail, letters, the website, bulletin board postings, and telephone communications. Students are strongly encouraged to check their Chapman University email often for communication from the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid.

This Undergraduate Financial Aid Student Information Guide supersedes all previous guides and the policies expressed in this guide are controlling for the 2016-2017 academic year, regardless of any policies stated in any previous guide or in any other communication, verbal or written.

+ - Contact Information and Office Hours

Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid tel. (714) 997-6741
fax: (714)997-6743
Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid
Chapman University
One University Drive
Orange, California 92866

The Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid is open Monday - Friday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. During particularly busy times of the year, such as the first two weeks of the term, our hours may vary.  We encourage students and parents to call for an appointment or to confirm operating hours for the week.

In addition to maintaining the financial aid portion of the official Chapman University Website, the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid maintains a Facebook so that students can keep up-to-date about important financial aid deadlines and opportunities as well as learn about scholarships from outside resources.  Follow the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid on Facebook today!

+ - General Information

When awarding aid, Chapman University must follow all laws and regulations of Federal and State of California aid programs. Our decisions are based on these rules, the information you and your family provide, the number of applicants, and the total funds available.

The priority filing date is March 2 of each year for the following school year, though the FAFSA is available beginning October 1 prior to the March 2 priority deadline. Applicants are asked to respond promptly to any requests for additional information within 30 days of the date requested unless another deadline is established in the communication to the student. All data provided to the Office of Financial Aid and the Federal Government must be accurate in order to minimize processing time.

Every effort will be made to serve as quickly as possible those students who file applications after the preferential filing date, but service may be delayed, and funds may not be available for some financial aid programs. It is the student’s responsibility to meet all financial obligations related to attendance until financial aid is available.

Although Chapman University considers an offer of financial aid a firm commitment, the university sometimes is required by law to revise its offer of assistance. Revisions may be required if anticipated funding is not received, application data is changed, students receive additional awards, there are changes in the student’s credit hour load or residency status, or other factors are present consistent with policies expressed in this guide. As a courtesy, most financial aid will be credited to your student account, however, in some circumstances, you must contact the Office of Student Business Services to sign checks or other appropriate materials such as promissory notes for Federal Perkins and Chapman Interest-Free loans. In order to register for a subsequent semester, your student account must be paid in full by the deadline specified by the Office of Student Business Services. Please follow any payment instructions you are given.

Unless otherwise indicated on your award letter, financial aid awards to undergraduate students are based on full-time attendance (12 credit hours each semester). Please notify the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid if you plan to enroll in fewer units than specified on your award letter.

+ - Application Procedure

  1. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will be used to determine your eligibility for all federal and state financial aid programs. It is also used to help determine your eligibility for grants and loans financed exclusively by Chapman University and our donors. When completing the FAFSA, “Chapman University, One University Drive, Orange, CA” must be stated in the section that requires you to indicate which colleges are to receive the FAFSA information. The Chapman University Federal School Code is 001164.
  2. You can complete the FAFSA electronically by going to When filing electronically you will need to establish an FSA login and password.  If you are required to provide parental information (See section two of the electronic FAFSA), at least one of your parents also must establish an FSA login and password. Your login and password will remain the same for various federal websites and will act as your signature on federal documents such as the FAFSA and loan promissory notes.  
  3. The FAFSA must be completed after October 1 of the year that precedes the academic year for which you are applying. To avoid errors and subsequent delays, it is advantageous to complete the FAFSA by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool available as your complete your electronic FAFSA.  Using the IRS DRT will provide the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid the most accurate information.  NEW INFORMATION: Beginning with the 2017-18 FAFSA, students and families will provide tax information from the 2015 tax year.  For the 2018-19 FAFSA, 2016 tax information will be used and so on.
  4. The priority filing date by which all materials must be completed is March 2 following the October 1 FAFSA opening. Applications submitted after March 2 will be considered, but funding may not be available from some programs.
  5. The Federal Government randomly selects financial aid applications for a process called Verification. If your application is selected, you will be required to provide additional documents such as a copy of Federal Income Tax Return Transcript. Instructions will be sent to you detailing what additional documentation is required to complete your application. Please comply within 30 days. Students are ineligible for financial aid if they, or their parents, fail to file a tax return when required by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.
  6. If you are an undergraduate California resident and wish to apply for a Cal Grant, you also must submit a “GPA Verification Form” to the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) postmarked no later than March 2 of the year preceding the year for which you are applying. A section of this form must be completed by Chapman University, another college, or your high school; please refer to instructions on the form. Students who are currently receiving Cal Grant assistance need not submit the GPA Verification Form. New applicants must submit the FAFSA to the federal processor no later than March 2, which is an absolute deadline for Cal Grants. For students who qualify under the California Dream Act, the California Dream Act Application must be completed in lieu of the FAFSA by the March 2 deadline. This application can be filled out online at


When you apply for financial aid, you will be asked to provide a considerable amount of detailed information. It is extremely important that the information is accurate. Take your time when filling out the forms. A FAFSA submitted on March 2 will be considered on the same basis as one submitted on October 1. Inaccurate data, however, will cause delay and may jeopardize your opportunity to receive all the assistance for which you are eligible because funding in some programs may be exhausted by the time an inaccurate application is corrected. You may also be asked to provide additional information. Please respond promptly to these requests. Again, delay on your part may jeopardize your opportunity to receive aid from some programs or may result in your receiving assistance later than you desire.


+ - Renewal of Assistance

Financial aid may be renewed for successive years, but you must apply for it each school year by completing a FAFSA or renewal FAFSA.

Students receiving only merit scholarships or talent scholarships from the University do not need to complete a FAFSA to renew their awards.  Students receiving these awards should refer to their original offer letters for the specific criteria of renewal.

The specific amount of financial aid awarded to you may differ each year. These differences could be the result of several factors including availability of funding, changes in law and regulations, increases or decreases in family financial circumstances, and/or changes in tuition charges and other expenses.

+ - Cost of Attendance

The costs associated with attending Chapman University can be divided into two categories: instructional and non-instructional. Instructional costs consist of tuition, fees, books, and supplies. These costs are the same, or nearly the same, for each individual.

Non-instructional costs include rent, utilities, food, transportation, clothing, laundry, child care, recreation, and other personal expenses. These costs might vary considerably from one individual to another.

In accordance with standards established by federal law, the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid has developed estimates of noninstructional costs for a single student without dependents. These estimates are used as part of the eligibility formula. The estimates are based on federal criteria and your actual expenses may be different. The cost estimates do not include expenses for child care or the special needs of students with disabilities. If you have such expenses and they are not being covered by assistance from a government or private agency, you are encouraged to report your expenses to the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid by completing the Student Review Form. These costs can then be taken into consideration. Please complete the Student Review Form after you have received your first award letter and have determined the assistance you have been offered is insufficient to enable you to attend school.

Be sure to check out Chapman University's current Cost of Attendance.

+ - Payment Plan

Chapman University offers a payment plan to help you spread your expenses over the semester. This payment plan works in conjunction with your financial aid. Details about this program are available from the Office of Student Business Services.

+ - Determining Your Eligibility

Your eligibility for financial aid is established by a concept established in law called the “Federal Methodology of Need Analysis.” This concept requires determining your eligibility by calculating the difference between the costs of attending Chapman University (See Cost of Education) and an Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which is determined by the Federal Government. If the EFC is less than the cost of attendance, Chapman University will attempt to meet the difference with a financial aid award.

Although the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid has some flexibility in determining eligibility, the role of the federal government must be acknowledged. As an institution that makes extensive use of federal financial aid funds, Chapman University is required to utilize formulas, policies and procedures that are written into federal law. These guidelines are not always those that Chapman University would have set. We are compelled to follow them, however, so that federal support will remain available to our students.

The Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid recognizes that defining eligibility and determining its extent involves issues over which there can be a reasonable diversity of opinion. The office attempts to determine eligibility realistically in a manner compliant with law and consistent among all students to assure that every student is awarded as fairly as possible.

+ - Determining Your Award

After your eligibility has been determined, Chapman University will make an offer of financial aid. The Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid may likely combine funds from several financial aid programs into a “package” of assistance.

If determined eligible under the Federal Methodology of Need Analysis, Federal Pell Grants are the first aid program to be placed in an undergraduate student’s package. These grants are followed by Cal Grants if the student is awarded such assistance by the CSAC. Academic scholarships are awarded to new students based on information submitted as part of their application for admission. Students who are selected to receive scholarships will have them included in their packages.

Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant funds (FSEOG) are limited, and these funds are awarded to undergraduate students determined by the Federal Government to be the neediest.

Chapman Grants also are awarded to needy undergraduate students based on their academic records and the availability of funds.

Talent scholarships may be awarded to undergraduates based solely on talent pertaining to their area of study. These awards are provided in the same manner as an academic scholarship, and will not change from one year to the next, provided renewal requirements are met. These scholarships are renewable for up to 8 semesters.

After awarding grants, scholarships and fellowships, if eligibility is remaining, students will receive Federal Direct Loans.

Federal Work Study is then awarded to students who meet the eligibility rules for this program. Receipt of these awards is contingent upon each recipient finding a job (See the Federal Work Study description listed under “Federal Aid Programs”).

Finally, Federal Perkins Loans and Chapman Interest-Free Loans are awarded to the extent that funds are available.

Policies have been developed to ensure that students with the same degree of eligibility will receive the same awards, and usually this intent is achieved. There will be times, however, when awards will differ because of circumstances beyond the control of the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid. Such circumstances might include the academic program in which a student is enrolled, applications submitted with inaccurate or incomplete data, or applications submitted after the preferential filing date of March 2.

+ - Accepting Your Award

The Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid will notify you when you have been awarded financial aid. New students will receive both an email and an award packet in the mail. Returning students will be notified via email to their Chapman University email addresses.

All grants and scholarships will be automatically accepted for you.  Should you decide to decline one of these awards, please notify the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid immediately.

You may accept or decline your loans and work study online using your student portal.

Please make changes within three weeks of the date you are notified of your award.

For most financial aid programs, assistance will be posted to your student account during the first two weeks of classes each semester provided you are registered for classes. For students who receive award letters after the start of classes, disbursement will take place as soon as possible.

Federal Pell Grant funds will be posted to your account after the Add/ Drop period. The amount of your Federal Pell Grant may change after the second week of classes (the “add” period) if your enrollment status changes (full-time to three-quarter time, half time to full time, etc.) Students whose classes begin late in the semester must still be registered for those classes by the end of the second week of the semester in order to receive federal and state grant funding for the classes.

First-time loan borrowers at Chapman University must participate in online loan counseling and complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) prior to receiving funds. (See “Loan Entrance and Exit Counseling”).

For most students, loan funds are disbursed during the first two weeks of the semester provided the aforementioned requirements are met and the student is enrolled at least half-time.

If disbursement of financial aid results in a credit balance on your account, the Office of Student Business Services will issue a refund to you in the amount of the credit balance. Please contact the Office of Student Business Services for more information.

Federal Work Study is employment, and funds are provided through the payroll system as they are earned. Student employees are paid on the 10th and 26th of each month.

Financial aid funds will not be disbursed before classes begin. There are no exceptions to this policy.

Due to the timing of disbursements and the enrollment/application conditions that must be met in order to receive a disbursement, it is important that you be prepared to purchase books and supplies and meet living expenses for the first 30 days of each semester.

+ - Loan Entrance Counseling and MPN

Direct Student Loans

The Federal Government requires that students who receive loan funds for the first time to attend Chapman University must participate in loan counseling and complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) before funds can be released. Step-by-step instructions for online loan counseling and completion of the MPN can be found on the Forms page of our website.

Loan Entrance Counseling can be completed online at or by attending one of our in-person sessions during orientation. Students who are unable to complete loan counseling during orientation or online should speak directly with the Loan Coordinator in the Financial Aid Office.

Direct PLUS Loans

In some cases, the Department of Education may require Parent borrowers and/or their endorsers to complete Entrance Counseling as well.  This Entrance Counseling must be completed online at  If Entrance Counseling is required for a PLUS Loan borrower, that loan will not disburse until Entrance Counseling has been completed.

Perkings Loan

Perkins Loan borrowers are required to complete Entrance Counseling prior to disbursement.  This is typically completed at the same time as the Master Promissory Note and is completed online.  The Business Office will notify students about this requirement.

+ - Loan Exit Counseling

The Federal Government requires that borrowers who leave the university for any reason participate in loan exit counseling. This requirement applies even if you intend to return to Chapman University after a leave of absence.

Loan exit counseling is easy via the Federal Student Loans Web page. Following is the procedure:

In addition, for exit interviews, you will need your Federal PIN, the name, address, and telephone number of your next of kin, two references, and your employer after graduation (if you have one). Go to

You will be asked to log in — then select “Complete Counseling” and click on “Exit Counseling.”

At the end of the information section of the loan counseling, you will be given an exam. The results of your completed loan counseling will be sent to the Office of Financial Aid electronically.

+ - Changes in Financial Circumstances

The Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid is here to help, and we would like to know of any adverse changes to your or your family’s ability to pay for your education. Such changes may consist of a death or disability of a family member, a divorce, loss of a job for 10 weeks or more, or a change to a lower-paying job. Please contact the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid for additional assistance with this process.

+ - Withdrawal From The University

Return of Financial Aid Funds

Federal law requires that financial aid funds be returned to the government if students withdraw during the first 60 percent of a semester, as measured in days. The amount of funds that must be returned is determined by dividing the amount of time in the semester that a student was not enrolled by the length of time in the semester. For example, a semester is 15 weeks, or 105 days long. If a student were to withdraw at the end of the fifth week (35 days), the student would have missed 70 days of the semester. Dividing 70 days missed by 105 days in the semester equals 66.7 percent. The university would be required to return 66.7 percent of this student’s financial aid to the government.

This federal policy has several implications. For instance, in the previous example, the student withdrew after the deadline for receiving tuition and fee refund. The student would thus be charged for the entire amount of tuition, but 66.7 percent of the student’s financial aid would be returned to the government, making this student personally liable for paying at least 66.7 percent of the tuition charges. It would be to this student’s advantage not to withdraw until 60 percent of the semester (63 days) had passed so that all financial aid could be retained to cover the tuition charges.

A student who withdraws during the first four weeks of school will receive a tuition refund, but this refund will not offset all the financial aid that must be returned to the government. Please know that if you are a financial aid recipient and withdraw during the first 60 percent of a semester, you likely will owe additional money to pay for your tuition and other expenses.

Federal financial aid funds will be returned to the accounts from which you received assistance, up to the amount received from that account, in the following order: Unsubsidized Direct Loans, Subsidized Direct Loans, Federal Perkins Loans, Federal PLUS Loans, Federal Pell Grants, and Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants.

Withdrawal Procedure and Date of Withdrawal

The Federal Government requires that there be at least one “official withdrawal office” at each university. At Chapman University, the official withdrawal office is the Office of the University Registrar.

The Federal Government has defined two types of withdrawal. An “unofficial” withdrawal occurs when a student leaves school without notifying the Registrar. Students who do not officially withdraw and pass no units in a semester or summer session are presumed to have unofficially withdrawn unless they provide the Office of Financial Aid with documentation showing they attended classes through the end of the enrollment period. Such documentation must be presented within 30 days of the end of the enrollment period.

In cases of unofficial withdrawal, the Federal Government requires that half the student’s financial aid be returned. Since the student’s tuition charges would not change, students who unofficially withdraw will become liable for paying at least half their tuition, and perhaps more if their financial aid was greater than their tuition charges.

An “official” withdrawal occurs when a student notifies the Office of the University Registrar that he or she is leaving the university.

Establishing an official withdrawal date is critical for determining the size of tuition refund (if the withdrawal is prior to the end of the first four weeks of school) and for determining the amount of financial aid that must be returned to Federal and State Government. The Federal Government requires that the financial aid withdrawal date is the date the student informs the Office of the University Registrar of intent to withdraw.

The Office of the University Registrar can be informed verbally or in writing. If you tell the Office of the University Registrar you will be withdrawing, the date of your announcement becomes the financial aid withdrawal date. The Office of the University Registrar will ask you to complete and submit a withdrawal form, and it may take a few days to return this document. Nevertheless, the date you tell the Office of the University Registrar you want to withdraw is the financial aid withdrawal date even if you never return the withdrawal form. It is, therefore, vital you be certain of your decision to withdraw from school before you inform the Office of the University Registrar.

How you inform the Office of the University Registrar is also important. If you go to the office and state you are “considering” withdrawing, “might” withdraw, or “have been thinking” about it, the financial aid withdrawal date will not be triggered because you are considering your options. The withdrawal date is established only when you state unequivocally that you want to withdraw.

Only the Office of the University Registrar can establish the withdrawal date. If you state you want to withdraw to a faculty member, the Office of Financial Aid, or even the University president, nothing will happen. You must inform the Office of the University Registrar.

The Office of the University Registrar is not permitted to accept a date in the future as the withdrawal date. For instance, if you advise the Office of the University Registrar during the sixth week of classes that you intend to withdraw during the tenth week (in order to avoid losing some of your financial aid), the Office of the University Registrar is required to use the date you make the announcement as the withdrawal date. Again, federal regulations require that the withdrawal date is the date you state your intentions to the Office of the University Registrar, not the date you complete the withdrawal process.

You must complete the entire withdrawal procedure in order to receive “W” grades in your classes. Although the return of financial aid funds will be based on the date you inform the Office of the University Registrar that you will be withdrawing, you will receive “W” grades only if you complete the entire withdrawal process. If you do not officially withdraw, it is likely your professors will give you failing grades. Also, please observe the deadline for withdrawing from classes each semester.

Exceptions to Policy

Federal law requires the return of student financial aid funds for students who unofficially withdraw or who withdraw during the first 60 percent of a semester. The law does not allow for any exceptions.

The vice chancellor for student affairs and dean of students and the dean of your graduate school, however, can grant larger tuition refunds for extraordinary circumstances (for instance, illness) that prevent a student from attending classes. All students are encouraged to discuss their situations with appropriate personnel before deciding to withdraw

+ - Outside Awards

By law, all financial aid recipients are obligated to notify the Office of Financial Aid if receiving scholarships, grants, or loans from a source outside the university. Federal regulations require that the amount of a student’s financial aid eligibility cannot be exceeded. If your eligibility is already being fully met, the outside award compels an adjustment in the assistance you have been (or would be) offered. If your eligibility has not been met, a change to your award may not be necessary.  In some cases, outside awards with conditions attached (such as awards that are for tuition only) may also necessitate an adjustment of other awards in a package that also have similar conditions.  In all cases, the Financial Aid Office will attempt to reduce loans and work study before touching grants and scholarships.

Grants from the federal and state governments as well specialized endowed scholarships from the University are not considered outside awards and will impact other aid in a student's financial aid package.

+ - Admission Requirement

In order to receive financial aid, federal law requires that students be admitted to the university without any restrictions on the number of units they may take or the number of semesters in which they can enroll. Most students are admitted without any limitations, but enrollment restrictions are placed on some graduate students who are admitted conditionally or provisionally. As a result, financial aid is unavailable until appropriate documents are submitted to the Office of Admission, and the student’s status is changed to regular admission. If you have an admission status that prevents you from receiving financial aid, you will receive an award letter that will include a statement about your admission status and financial aid eligibility

+ - Enrollment

For most federal and state financial aid programs, students must enroll at least part-time (six units for undergraduates). Undergraduate students must be full-time in order to receive assistance financed exclusively by Chapman University.

With the exception of developmental skills classes, all classes must be applicable to the student’s degree or teaching the credential program. A student in the teacher credential program, for example, can receive assistance only for courses that are required for the credential by the State of California.

Classes offered as "extended education" are not eligible for financial aid funding and cannot be used to determine part-time or full-time status.

Federal rules permit students to receive financial aid from only one school at a time. If you are attending another college, university, vocational, or another school, you must decide if you would like to apply for assistance from Chapman University or from the other school. Classes must be taken only at Chapman University as specified on your award letter.

Interterm Enrollment

For the purpose of determining financial aid eligibility, interterm enrollment is combined with spring semester enrollment. For instance, an undergraduate would be considered full-time if enrolled in three units during interterm and nine units during spring semester (for a total of 12). Federal regulations require students to attend at least part-time to be eligible for assistance from most aid programs.

Less-than-full-time undergraduates are charged tuition for interterm classes. Graduating seniors may not be charged for an interterm class (See the Office of Student Business Services for more information.) Financial aid may be available to assist these students. If so, the assistance can only be disbursed after the start of spring semester. Interterm enrollment usually consists of no more than three units, which is less-than-part-time. Only when students start attending spring semester can they achieve a part-time attendance status.