Financial Aid Overview
Meridian University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) and is approved by the US Department of Education for participation in the Federal Loan Programs.
Financial aid provides financial assistance to students enrolled on a full-time basis who find it challenging to finance their education. The Financial Aid Office is committed to making the process as straightforward and manageable as possible.
Federal and state regulations governing the various federal and state programs may change periodically. Please contact the Financial Aid Office for the most current information.
Meridian’s Federal School Code is G42711.
Student Consumer Information
All postsecondary institutions participating in federal financial aid programs are required to make available certain information to assist consumers in making better informed decisions about their educational options. Please visit Meridian’s Student Consumer Information for this information and required disclosures.
Financial Aid Consultation
All applicants and accepted students can schedule a phone or video-conference consultation with a Meridian Financial Aid Coordinator.
Contacting the Meridian Financial Aid OfficeFinancial Aid Office
47 Sixth Street
Petaluma, CA 94952
OFFICE HOURS: Monday–Friday, 9:00am–5:00pm
PHONE: (707) 765-1836
FAX: (707) 765-2351
The Financial Aid Office addresses areas such as:
- Entrance Counseling
- Financial Aid for New Students
- Financial Aid for Current Students
- Financial Aid Document collection
- Enrollment Agreements
- Academic Plans
- Satisfactory Academic Progress Review
- Doctoral Project Students
- Re-admitted Students
- Vocational Rehabilitation Benefit
- Financial Aid Eligibility Appeals
- Administrative Policies & Compliance (ED, WASC, BPPE)
- Exit Counseling
The following Federal Direct Loan resources are available to help you complete the financial aid process. You must have your Federal Student Aid (FSA ID) to access these sites. You will be redirected to the U.S. Department of Education website when applying for Financial Aid.
|Federal Direct Stafford Loan||Sign the electronic Master Promissory Note (E-MPN) under Manage My Direct Loans|
|Federal Direct PLUS Loan||Find the Direct PLUS Loan Request Process under Manage My Direct Loans|
|Entrance Loan Counseling||Find the Entrance Loan Counseling under Manage My Direct Loans
(New borrowers are required to complete entrance counseling for each loan type, Stafford and PLUS, prior to the first disbursement of funds.)
|Exit Loan Counseling||Review Exit Counseling requirements (Upon separation from Meridian, students are sent a link to online counseling and a PDF document with exit counseling information.)|
|Loan Repayment||Learn more about loan repayment options under Managing Repayment|
Student Loan Counseling
As noted above, students borrowing from the Federal Loan programs are required to complete an Entrance Counseling session prior to receiving the first loan disbursement as well as an Exit Counseling session when leaving Meridian University. The loan counseling sessions are intended to inform the student of his/her rights and responsibilities as a student loan borrower as well as about student loan indebtedness.
General Eligibility Criteria: How do I qualify?
The Federal Direct Stafford Loan program is not based on your income or assets; there is no requirement to demonstrate financial need.
The eligibility criteria to qualify are:
- Be admitted and enrolled on full-time basis in an eligible program at Meridian
- Must be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident of the United States
- Complete the FAFSA each year to determine eligibility for federal financial assistance (Use Meridian’s School Code: 042711)
- Must be in good standing in order to qualify for federal financial assistance (Student may not be in default on or owe a refund for any federal financial aid programs or federal liens)
- Provide proof of compliance with selective service registration and drug conviction regulations
- Must be making Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (FSAP) toward the completion of his/her degree requirements
- Students are responsible for paying the interest on a Direct Unsubsidized Loan during all periods. If a student chooses not to pay the interest while they are in school or during grace periods and deferment or forbearance periods, interest will accrue (accumulate) and be capitalized (that is, interest will be added to the principal amount of the student’s loan).
Financial Aid Process: How do I apply?
- Apply for FSA ID Number
- Complete the FAFSA at https://fafsa.ed.gov
- Meridian’s Federal School Code is G42711
- Once the FAFSA results are received, Meridian will determine your eligibility and email you an Award Notification with instructions on how to complete the financial aid process
- You accept or decline the Award on Meridian’s Financial Aid Online System. If you accept the Award, you must complete an online Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Entrance Counseling requirements through the U.S Department of Education website at https://studentloans.gov.
- Students may apply for the Stafford Loan year-round by completing the FAFSA online at https://fafsa.ed.gov. Plan ahead to ensure that you complete the required items by the start of the quarter.
- All items should be accurately completed and received by the Financial Aid Office at least three weeks prior to your tuition due date. Although loans will be originated throughout the academic year, students who do not submit the required items in a timely manner must be prepared to meet their tuition obligation.
The student is required to register for coursework each year. All loan funds will be returned to the U.S. Department of Education if a student is not registered for coursework.
Review Meridian’s Student Accounts page for information on payments, credit balances, and disbursements.
Code of Conduct for Financial Aid Personnel
Change of Address
It is each student’s responsibility to make sure that Meridian University and the U.S. Department of Education have the most current and correct address, phone number, and email information. If this information changes, the respective representatives must be notified.
Most federal student loans may be deferred while the student is enrolled at least half-time at Meridian. Students are to contact the loan servicer to determine if a deferment form is required by the loan servicer. If required, complete the Borrower Section and then send the deferment form to Meridian University.
Satisfactory Academic Progress
Students must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in order to remain eligible for federal financial aid. Please refer to the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress page for complete details.
Students who register as Continuation Students and are not enrolled in the initial eight-quarter PhD/EdD dissertation period, the four-quarter PsyD Clinical Case Study (CCS) period, or the four-quarter dissertation/CCS extension periods are not eligible for financial aid or in-school deferments on student loans. This includes students in the Fieldwork process. See See Doctoral Project Fees and Financial Aid.
Student Loan Repayment Chart
|Estimated Direct Unsubsidized Loan Repayment (6%)|
|Principal Amount Borrowed||Approx. No. of Monthly Payments||Principal + Interest Payment||Total Interest|
|Estimated Grad Plus Loan Repayment (7%)|
|Principal Amount Borrowed||Approx. No. of Monthly Payments||Principal + Interest Payment||Total Interest|
Meridian University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, creed, gender, sexual orientation or identity, physical or mental disability, citizenship status (within the limits imposed by law), marital status, medical condition, or age in any of its policies, procedures or practices.
Cost of Attendance (COA) is a budget determined by an institution to estimate the cost of education for the academic year. This estimated budget includes both direct costs, which include areas such as tuition and residential/non-residential fees, as well as includes estimates of indirect costs, which include areas such as living expenses (outside of Meridian), books, travel, personal, and/or miscellaneous expenses.
The estimated figures of the indirect costs listed are provided by College Board and are based on both California regional and metropolitan budgets developed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as well as benchmarked against other comparable graduate programs. These are only estimates. Individual student costs may vary based on standard of living and where the student lives. A breakdown of the COA is available here.
Qualified students may request a Meridian Diversity Grant. Criteria used in determining the student’s eligibility for the Diversity Grant are:
- Demonstrated financial need
- Meeting race and ethnic diversity criteria
Note that students who receive a Diversity Grant should not expect it to substantially change their graduate education cost of attendance.
Students can apply for the Diversity Grant by submitting the Meridian Institutional Financial Aid Application. Students who are eligible for Federal Student Aid are not eligable for institutional financial aid.
Keep in mind that outside grants and scholarships are “free sources” of financial aid that do not have to be paid back. You should never be asked to pay for scholarship applications. Please be mindful and look out for financial aid scams.
Financial Aid Support and Assistance
The Following links will walk you through the FAFSA and Financial Aid Process.
- Find types of loans and the amounts a graduate student can borrow:
- Check the status of your loan(s) by visiting studentloans.gov
- Retrieve federal student aid information from a central database at nslds.ed.gov
- Loan Repayment information/Debt Counseling:
- Learn more about California financial aid from the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education at www.bppe.ca.gov/students/financial.shtml
- Watch IRS data retrieval tool and instructions at youtube.com/watch?v=W7Uh3SbRaxA
- Find Consolidation/Income-Based Repayment (IBR) Information at studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/consolidation
- How to contact the FSA Ombudsman Group: studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/disputes/prepare
- More help can be found from the Affordable Colleges Online Resource Center at www.affordablecollegesonline.org/college-resource-center/
- A variety of online calculators, such as financial and investments, mortgage and tax, salary and savings calculators can be found at goodcalculators.com
The following links are free online resources to create a budget outline
- Money management portal: practicalmoneyskills.com
- The Dollar Stretcher: stretcher.com
- Tools, investments, news: smartmoney.com
- GradSense Budget Calculator: http://gradsense.org/gradsense/budget-calculator
- Budgeting software: www.mint.com or www.youneedabudget.com
Estimating Cost of Living
- CNN Money Cost of Living Calculator: http://money.cnn.com/calculator/pf/cost-of-living/
- Economic Policy Institute's "Family Budget" Calculator: http://www.epi.org/resources/budget/
- Award-winning journalist and best-selling author: jeanchatzky.com
- Information about your FICO Score: myfico.com
- One-stop money management for students: whatsmyscore.org
- Credit counseling: consumercredit.com
- Free annual credit report: annualcreditreport.com
Free scholarship search engines
Remember, watch out for financial aid scams. You should never be asked to pay for scholarship applications.
Additional Financial Aid Resources for Students with Disabilities
MoneyGeek.com offers resources for students with disabilities:
- Scholarships and financial aid for students: www.moneygeek.com/education/college/resources/scholarship-guide-for-students-with-disabilities/
- Understanding ADA laws and rights of workers: www.moneygeek.com/careers/resources/workers-with-disabilities-and-ada/
Other Outside Sources of Financial Assistance
The federal government has created several tax benefits for families who are saving, or already paying, for higher education. There are also benefits for people who are repaying their student loans. For information from the National Association for Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), visit Higher Education Tax Incentives. This website is a good resource for explaining the benefits and qualifications for each tax relief program. For more details on these programs contact your accountant or you may call the IRS Office of Public Liaison at (202)622.2970 or visit the Internal Revenue Service website at www.irs.gov.
International students are welcome to apply for admission into Meridian’s graduate degree programs. Click here to find Resources for International students.
Meridian does not participate in the Federal Work-Study program.
Private Alternative Education Loans
Under the Federal Financial Aid programs available to Meridian students, students may borrow up to the cost of attendance (as determined by the Financial Aid Office) less other aid received.
Non-federal loan programs may require the following:
- At least half-time enrollment (note that all coursework students enrolled at Meridian are considered full-time)
- A good credit history
- Demonstrated ability to repay the loan
- US citizenship or permanent resident status
Some loans may also require a credit-worthy US citizen or permanent resident co-signer.
For details on federal student loans and their provisions, please visit http://studentaid.ed.gov. It is important that you make an informed decision regarding the lender and loan program you select. Students are encouraged to review their eligibility for federal student loans before pursuing private education loans as the terms and conditions may be more favorable.
The new Truth in Lending Act (TILA) disclosure requirements on private education loans took effect on February 14, 2010. The US Department of Education regulations on private education loans require that:
- The lender present full disclosure of the terms and conditions of the loan (including fees, interest rates, repayment amounts)
- The school certify a student’s cost of attendance and eligibility prior to the lender disbursing funds
- The lender obtain written confirmation through a signed self-certification from the borrower that he/she understands the terms and conditions prior to releasing loan funds to the school
The new disclosure requirements may extend the processing time for private loans and may delay the release of loan funds to the school. Please allow a minimum of three weeks for processing of private alternative loans.
You will be required to complete the following disclosure form before a lender will disburse a private loan: Private Education Loan Application Self Certification (PDF).
- Students must be enrolled at least half-time
- Creditworthy (good credit history) or credit ready (no credit history and adhere to cumulative debt limits)
- Sufficient monthly income to repay the loan
- Stable residence and employment history
- U.S. citizen or permanent resident
Students generally have three repayment options (refer to terms and conditions for specific options):
- Pay interest and principal while in school
- Pay interest-only while in school
- Defer principal and interest and have the interest capitalized (added to your principal)
There may be a minimum payment per month, adjusted depending on amount borrowed. The repayment period is 15 to 25 years depending upon the type of loan and the amount borrowed.
The interest rates are usually variable and may be based on the prime rate or LIBOR rating percentage points depending on the loan program and the lender.
The guarantee fee is often between 0% and 10%, depending on the student’s credit history and the availability of a co-applicant for the loan. In addition, some loans have an additional fee added to the principal balance when the loan goes into repayment.
If you would like to apply for a private alternative loan, visit the FinAid.org website to find a lender with which you would like to work.
Due to the current state of the lending industry and because Meridian is a small private institution, it is important to note that some lenders may opt not to work with Meridian students.
For complete details regarding the terms and conditions of each alternative loan program, contact the lender directly or visit their website.
Note: Meridian does not have preferred lender arrangements nor does it maintain a preferred lender list