Scholarships and Financial Assistance
Applying for Financial Aid
Alma College is dedicated to the principle that a college education should be available to all students of merit, regardless of personal financial resources. Each year, many Alma students receive financial assistance through scholarships, loans or campus employment.
Applicants who hope to qualify for financial aid grants are expected to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by March 1 of the student's senior year in high school. This form is available online at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/.
Alma College Scholarship and Grant Programs
Students showing intellectual promise and superior academic achievement are eligible for several types of scholarship assistance from Alma College. These renewable awards are for a maximum of four years or eight total semesters.
Alma College Merit Scholarship. Awarded to recognize designated National Merit Scholarship Program finalists with tuition assistance ranging from $500 to $2,000.
Distinguished Scholar Award. National Merit finalists, National Hispanic Scholars and National Achievement Scholars may receive up to full tuition at Alma. Financial need is not a requirement. Students must reside in campus housing to receive the award. A limited number are offered annually.
Distinguished Trustee Honors Scholarships. Based on superior academic achievement, national test scores and campus interviews. These awards are granted without regard to financial need.
Trustee Honors Scholarships. Conferred on the basis of superior academic achievement and national test scores. These awards are granted without regard to financial need.
Presidential Scholarships. Awarded by the College on the basis of outstanding scholarship and high national test scores. These awards are granted without regard to financial need.
Dean's Scholarship. Conferred on the basis of academic achievement and national test scores. These awards are granted without regard to financial need.
Tartan Awards. Given by the College on the basis of academic achievement or high national test scores. These awards are granted without regard to financial need.
Achievement Award. Awarded by the College on the basis of academic achievement. Financial need is not a requirement.
Transfer Scholarships. Available to transferring students who have demonstrated superior academic achievement at their previous undergraduate institution or high school.
Renewal of the preceding scholarships is based upon each student's maintaining academic progress. Alma College scholarships may be replaced by special scholarships of equivalent value. Alma College scholarships and/or grants may include earnings from special endowed funds.
Alma College FAFSA Filing Award. Awarded to students who file the FAFSA by March 1, include Alma's school code on their FAFSA (002236) and visit campus. This award is renewable each year for four years as long as students continue to file the FAFSA yearly.
Alma Alumni Scholarship. For children or grandchildren of Alma alumni.
Phi Theta Kappa Transfer Scholarship. For students who have been selected as Phi Theta Kappa Scholars at their current institution.
Heritage Need-Based Grants. Awarded on the basis of financial need. Submission of a FAFSA is required for consideration. To qualify, students must (1) demonstrate satisfactory academic achievement and (2) submit a FAFSA each year.
Distinguished Performance Scholarships. Up to full tuition for students demonstrating exemplary performance in either art and design, dance, music, theatre or the Scottish arts. Students receiving these scholarships must complete performance requirements at Alma.
Performance Scholarships. Granted in art and design, dance, instrumental music, vocal music and theatre to incoming students. Awards are made upon recommendation of an Alma College faculty member according to established criteria. Students receiving these scholarships must complete performance requirements at Alma.
Alma College Religious Leadership Awards. Awarded to students on the basis of ranking in an essay competition.
Designated Scholarships. Provided by individuals or corporate donors. The stipends are determined by the donors and are based on varied criteria, all of which take academic achievement into account. In some cases, designated scholarships are awarded to students specified by the donor. When criteria are not specified by the donor, scholarship recipients are selected by the Director of Financial Assistance.
Alma Opportunity Awards. Available to under-represented student groups or non-U.S. citizens. Non-U.S. citizens must reside in campus housing to receive the award.
Highland Award. For non-Michigan residents. Students are automatically considered for this award upon acceptance.
Pre-Law Scholarship. Awarded to new students planning on careers in law. Application deadline is February 1.
Upward Bound Scholarship. For students with at least three years of participation in Upward Bound or Upward Bound Math-Science programs. Must provide a letter from program director confirming involvement by March 1.
Yellow Ribbon Program. Full tuition eligible to United States military veterans. More information is available at http://www.gibill.va.gov/.
National Presbyterian College Scholarships (NPCS)
Members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) who are high school and community college graduates may apply for these awards which are determined by a national competition according to need. Applications must be filed by March 1. Inquiries may be addressed to the Alma College Financial Assistance Office or to NPCS, at http://www.pcusa.org/.
Scottish Arts Scholarships
Offered by the Alma Chamber of Commerce's Highland Festival Committee, these scholarships recognize skills in piping, dancing, drumming or highland fiddling. Also, the Saint Andrew's Society of Detroit provides awards for Scottish arts talents.
State of Michigan Scholarships and Grants
Many Michigan residents receive assistance through the State of Michigan Competitive Scholarship or Tuition Grant Programs. Students make application for this aid directly to the State of Michigan Higher Education Assistance Authority, Lansing, Michigan, by filing the FAFSA.
The federal government sponsors two grant programs: the federal Pell Grant and the federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant.
Alma College participates in a variety of student loan programs. The College directly funds long-term educational loans and participates in both the federal Perkins Loan and federal Direct Loan programs. Loans are also available through the federal direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) and other alternative loans.
Master Promissory Note Loan Confirmation
Alma College requires an active confirmation of federal Stafford Loan(s). No federal Direct Loan(s) will be processed without direct contact from the student either in person, a signed and returned award letter, or a telephone call.
Students may earn part of their college expenses through campus or community employment. Students are employed on campus as laboratory and library assistants, dining hall attendants, maintenance workers, secretarial and residence hall employees and in other positions. Alma College participates in the Federal Work Study Program, which provides additional employment opportunities on the campus and with non-profit agencies off campus. Earnings are not directly credited to a student's account. Students are paid once a month; checks are picked up in the Business Office.
Inquiries and Information
All students are strongly encouraged to complete all admissions and financial aid paperwork including scholarship applications and performance scholarship auditions, by March 1. After this date, financial aid funds become limited and students may run the risk of being wait-listed for College funds.
Information on all scholarship and financial aid programs is available from the Admissions or Financial Assistance offices, Alma College, 614 W. Superior St., Alma, Michigan 48801-1599 and can also be found at our Web site http://admissions.alma.edu/financialAid.
Policies Governing College Awards
General Policy Notice. Alma College reserves the right to change its scholarship and aid policies at any time. Written or verbal representations by anyone contradictory to the policies stated here and in the Understanding Your Financial Aid Package literature are not binding.
All final award amounts from Alma College may be adjusted to take into consideration any federal, state or outside aid for which a student may qualify. The Financial Assistance Office has the right to revise financial aid packages according to federal, state and institutional policies and regulations. Aid awards will be revised when there are changes in originally reported information or when additional scholarships are received. Alma College grant(s) and/or scholarship(s) will not exceed tuition.
In addition to the policies listed here, students living off campus are subject to a 25% reduction in institutional grant and scholarship aid.
Academic and performance scholarships are awarded for a maximum of four years or eight total terms.
Alma College aid can be used for one semester in overseas/off-campus Alma College-approved programs only by students who are U.S. citizens and live in the U.S. or a U.S. territory.
Probation for any reason, academic or disciplinary, shall be considered justifiable cause for the withdrawal of scholarships and/or need-based awards.
Students may be denied federal Title IV aid due to conviction for possession and/or sale of illegal drugs.
The Tax Reform Act of 1986 requires that scholarships and fellowships exceeding the amount of tuition, fees and books will be subject to tax reporting for degree candidates. Detailed information may be obtained from the IRS.
Voter Registration. Information is available from the Michigan Secretary of State's office at http.www.michigan.gov/sos/. This information is also available in the Financial Assistance Office.
Financial Aid Eligibility
All financial assistance administered through Alma College, including work, is governed by the provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Executive Order No. 11246 which prohibit discrimination in employment on the basis of race, religion, color, creed, sex or national origin.
Students receiving federal, state and Alma College financial aid must maintain satisfactory academic progress to retain financial aid for subsequent terms.
Academic Progress Standards
The various federal and state regulations governing financial assistance programs require that an institution develop standards to measure students' reasonable progress toward a degree. Satisfactory academic progress will be evaluated at the end of the academic year (Fall, Winter, and Spring if the student enrolled in a Spring Term). The following satisfactory academic progress requirements apply to all students receiving financial aid through the programs listed below:
- Alma College scholarships, grants, and loans
- Michigan and non-Michigan state scholarship and grant programs
- National Merit Scholarships
- Federal grants, loans and work-study
- Other outside scholarships, grants and loans
Satisfactory academic progress is measured in cumulative grade point average (GPA), earned credit hours, and maximum time frame standard.
Cumulative Grade Point Measurement. Students must meet the cumulative GPA schedule as outlined under Academic Progress found in the Academic Rules and Procedures section of the Alma College Catalog. Students who are academically dismissed from the College are considered not meeting the cumulative GPA measurement.
Dismissed students who are granted readmission to the College through successful reapplication will be considered as having met this portion of the requirements.
Definitions and explanations on how incomplete grades, work in progress, and repletion of coursework affect a student's GPA can be found under Academic Rules and Procedures of the Alma College Academic Catalog.
Credit Hours Measurement. A student must successfully complete credits equal to at least 67% of the total cumulative Alma College and transfer credits attempted to be making satisfactory academic progress.
Additional Definitions and Explanations
- "Attempted Hours" are the cumulative hours a student has attempted during all enrollment periods at Alma College, regardless of receiving financial aid. Students who receive the following grades are considered to have "attempted" those credit hours and these hours therefore count toward the cumulative maximum: incomplete (IN, IP), withdrawal (W, WP, WF), failure (F,E), and all passing grades (A-AB-B-BC-C-CD-D-DE).
- All transfer hours accepted by Alma College are treated as both attempted and earned hours.
- If a student repeats a course, the credit hours for both the first and the repeated course will be included in the "Attempted Hours" figure when evaluating their academic progress. The credit hours for the first course will not be included in the "Earned Hours" figure.
- Credit hours earned through Advanced Placement examinations, International Baccalaureate, high school dual enrollment, or Alma College proficiency examinations are included in both the measurement of "Attempted" and "Earned" hours.
- Successful completion will be measured using the cumulative total number of "Earned Hours" as reflected on the student's academic transcript at the time of evaluation.
- If a student is not making satisfactory academic progress at the close of the Winter Term or Spring Term (if enrolled), and subsequently earns additional hours during the following summer, these additional earned hours will be considered in the reevaluation of their aid eligibility for the following academic year.
Maximum Time Frame Standard. A program of study must be completed within 150% of the number of credit hours required for degree completion to maintain aid eligibility. The 150% is measured on the basis of Alma College and transfer attempted credits. A bachelor's degree at Alma College requires a minimum of 136 credits to meet graduation requirements. This means a student must complete degree requirements within 204 credits (136 credits x 1.5 = 204 credits). If the number of attempted credits exceeds 150% of the degree requirements for graduation, the student will be placed on satisfactory academic progress suspension.
Failure to Maintain Satisfactory Progress
- Students who fail to meet the cumulative GPA requirement will be notified of their academic dismissal status by the Provost Office.
- At the time of evaluation, students not meeting the earned credit hours measurement will be ineligible to receive financial aid until they again meet the earned credit hours measurement requirement.
Appeal Process for Reinstatement of Financial Aid
- Students who are dismissed due to their failure to meet the cumulative GPA measurement may appeal to the Academic Standards Committee.
- Students failing to meet the earned credit hours measurement may appeal to the Director of Financial Assistance. Students must submit a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form to the Director of Financial Assistance explaining the reason(s) for their failure in meeting satisfactory academic progress and what has changed that will allow the student to make satisfactory academic progress at the next evaluation.
- Also required is an academic plan from the student's academic advisor or Registrar stating how and when the student will make up the deficiency. Students will be notified of the Director of Financial Assistance decision within two weeks of the receipt of the appeal. The following types of information may be considered in determining whether the student's appeal will be accepted:
- the student is making up incompletes, or
- there have been unusual circumstances such as an extended illness or a death within a family, or
- the student withdrew from the college after the Drop/Add period.
A student who successfully appeals, and has had their aid reinstated is allowed one term of aid under a probationary status. However, after receiving one term of aid under a probationary status a student receives no financial assistance unless
- the student meets satisfactory academic progress standards or
- the student is successfully following an academic plan that ensures satisfactory academic progress by a specific point in time.