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  • Financial Aid & Enrollment

    Enrollment Status Definitions:

      BFA MFA
    Full Time 12 units and above 9 Units and above
    3/4 Time 9 to 11 units

    6 to 8 units

    1/2 Time 6 to 8 units 4 to 5 untis
    Less than 1/2 Time Below 6 units Below 4 units

    It is recommended that students remain enrolled full‐time to complete their graduation requirements within 150% of the original program length. The financial aid awards for students enrolled below full-time may be adjusted after the Drop period. Students are responsible for any outstanding balance amount that may result from these changes.

    Changes in Enrollment Status

    The financial aid awards can be adjusted based on changes in enrollment status. Students are encouraged to meet with the Student Financial Services staff prior to dropping below full-time enrollment.  Students who change their enrollment status to part‐time within the first four (4) weeks of the semester will have their financial aid adjusted as follows:

    Financial Aid Financial Aid Adjustment
    Federal Pell Grant Determined by the Pell Payment Schedule until the end of the Drop period
    Federal SEOG Not adjusted based on enrollment
    California State Grant (Cal Grant) Recalculated based on half-time or three quarter- time enrollment until the end of the Drop Period
    Otis College Scholarships Cancelled if enrollment drops below full-time within the first four weeks of the semester (must be enrolled in at least 12 units for BFA or 9 units for MFA) or a student withdraws from all classes within the first eight weeks.
    Federal Direct Stafford Loan Reviewed for eligibility based on at least half-time enrollment
    Federal Direct PLUS and Graduate PLUS Loans Reviewed for eligibility based on at least half-time enrollment

    Students enrolled less than half-time at the end of the Drop period lose eligibility for institutional and state grants/scholarships. In addition, students enrolled less than half-time any time during the semester lose eligibility for federal loans that have not been disbursed. Otis College operates on a semester based academic year that consists of two semesters. Exception: MFA Graphic Design program. See major specific information.


  • Student Rights

    Students have the right to know:

    • the programs available at Otis College
    • the procedures and forms required to apply for financial aid
    • the procedure used to determine aid eligibility
    • the applicant selection criteria
    • the eligibility criteria for the aid types and amounts
    • right to access relevant records in their student file
    • the terms and conditions governing the receipt of funds from any scholarship, grant, work study, and loan programs
    • policies governing financial aid offers and appeal processes
  • Tuition Proration & Refunds

    Tuition charges are prorated based on the last day of attendance determined by the Registrar. Students dismissed from Otis College for disciplinary reasons forfeit the right to claim tuition/fee refund. Tuition for students who withdraw or take a leave of absence is adjusted according to the following schedule.

    Tuition Proration and Refund Schedule

    90% refund by the end of 1st week of classes

    75% refund by the end of 2nd week of classes

    50% refund by the end of 3rd week of classes

    25% refund by the end of 4th week of classes

    0% refund after the 4th week of classes

    Students who withdraw within the refund percentage period are responsible for any outstanding balance remaining after tuition adjustment.

    Refund of Credit Balance

    Student Financial Services processes refunds of credit balances on student accounts after the end of the Add period if all payments have been cleared.

    Note: Paper and electronic checks take approximately 10 days to clear by the payee’s financial institution. Credit card, cashier’s check, money order, or cash payments are cleared immediately.

    Refund Methods 

    Otis College of Art and Design delivers your refund with BankMobile Disbursements, a technology solution, powered by BMTX, Inc. Visit for more information.

    Financial Aid Refunds 

    • Financial aid is disbursed (credited) to the student's account when all required financial aid paperwork is complete. It includes tax forms, loan applications, loan entrance counseling, verification forms, etc.. Students have thirty (30) calendar days to complete requested paperwork.
    • Electronically transmitted funds are processed by the Finance Office and posted to the student's account within (3) three business days of receipt if the student’s enrollment status meets the enrollment requirements.
    • A student account is credited only when actual funds have been received and processed. Otis College does not advance monies or credits students' accounts for anticipated or estimated aid.
    • A credit balance is generated when actual aid and/or other payments posted to a student's account exceeds the total amount of tuition and fees charged for the semester.
    • Funds are posted to the student's account in the order received. A credit balance generated by posting of a PLUS loan are refunded to the student's parents or to the student depending on the parent borrower’s instructions. 
    • Refunds of credit balances generated by financial aid are issued to students or parents unless written notification is submitted to Student Financial Services requesting the credit balance to remain on the student's account for a future expense.

    Special Provision for Books and Supplies

    Credit balance created by federal aid is issued to the student by the 7th day of classes if the student meets all federal aid requirements at least 10 days before the start of the semester. The Student Financial Services disburses funds for eligible students 7 days before the beginning of semester.  

  • Return of Financial Aid Due to Withdrawal or Leave of Absence

    Students who take a leave of absence or withdraw from Otis College may lose all or part of their financial aid. The Student Financial Services adheres to the Department of Education Return of Title IV fund calculation. The amount of earned financial aid may be prorated based on the last day of attendance. Students must complete at least 60% of the semester to earn 100% of the disbursed federal funds. The last date of attendance is confirmed by the Registrar and used as an official withdrawal date.

    Returns are processed in the following order:

    • Federal Direct Loan (Unsubsidized)
    • Federal Direct Loan (Subsidized)
    • Federal Direct Parent/Grad PLUS Loan
    • Federal Pell Grant
    • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
    • Federal SEOG
    • Cal Grant

    Note: The Otis institutional aid is rescinded if a student drops all courses prior to completing 8 weeks of the semester. The student is responsible for any outstanding balance caused by the returned funds.

    Example of Return of Financial Aid Policy

    Mary receives the following financial aid package:

    • $1000 FSEOG
    • $1000 Pell Grant
    • $1000 PLUS Loan
    • $1000 Subsidized or Unsubsidized Direct Loan
    • $3000 Otis Institutional Aid
    • $7000 Total

    Mary attends 45 days of the 111‐day fall term and then withdraws. 45 days attended/111 days in the semester = 40% earned aid. Total federal financial aid earned: 40% of $4000 = $1600

    She retains:

    • $1000 FSEOG
    • $600 Pell Grant

    Otis College returns federal aid in the following order:

    • $1000 Subsidized or Unsubsidized Direct Loan
    • $1000 PLUS Loan
    • $400 Pell Grant
    • $0 FSEOG

    Financial Consequences of Withdrawal

    Mary withdrew after allowable tuition adjustment period (no tuition adjustment after 4th week). Mary's Otis institutional aid is canceled because she withdrew prior to completing 8 weeks. She is responsible for the full amount of tuition charges/fees minus earned aid. The outstanding balance has to be paid at the time of withdraw. 


  • Special or Unusual Circumstances and Professional Judgment

    If the FAFSA does not accurately reflect the student current information/situation, the school can exercise its authority to adjust information reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on a case-by-case basis.  This process is known as Professional Judgement. 

    The professional judgment process requires a thorough review by the Student Financial Services to determine what changes should be made to your FAFSA application. This process is used to reevaluate students' aid eligibility due to significant changes and includes the following steps:

    • Schedule an appointment to discuss your special and/or unusual circumstances with an SFS Counselor.
    • Provide all supporting paperwork to document your circumstances. Based on submitted documentation, SFS determines if 
      • A student's circumstances meet the Professional Judgement criteria or/and justify data element changes to their FAFSA or 
      • Budget increase if a student's expenses are higher the estimated budget. 

    To ensure that the request is reviewed, all required documentation must be provided within 60 days of the request submission. If adjustment of FAFSA data elements does not increase the student's eligibility for grants or the total amount of aid awarded, the FAFSA data elements changes will not be processed. Students are notified of the outcome of the SFS review.

    Below are some examples of special and/or unusual circumstances:

    • unable to provide parental information
    • homeless or at risk of being homeless
    • changes to dependency status
    • unusually high childcare or dependent care expenses
    • unusually high medical expenses
    • loss of a job/ changes in a family's reported income
    • death or disability of a wage earner
    • separation/divorce of the student's parents
    • housing arrangement changes

    Students who have experienced financial hardship may wish to request an adjustment to their financial aid eligibility by submitting information about their special and/or unusual circumstances at  

  • Student Financial Services Code of Conduct
    • Processes loan applications through any lender a student or parent chooses.
    • Does not solicit or accept anything of value from any lender in exchange for any advantage sought by the lender or to make educational loans to students.
    • Prohibits employees of the financial aid office from taking from any lender any gift worth more than nominal value.
    • Prohibits employees of the financial aid office from entering into any type of consulting arrangement or other contract to provide to a lender services relating to educational loans.
    • Prohibits employees of the financial aid office, who serve on an advisory board (or commission or group) relating to educational loans established by a lender or group of lenders from receiving anything of value from the lender or group of lenders in connection with serving on such advisory board (or commission or group).
    • Prohibits external lenders' employees, representatives, or agents from providing staffing services to the financial aid office.
    • Prohibits external lenders' employees, representatives, or agents from identifying themselves to students of the College or their parents as employees, representatives or agents of the financial aid office.
    • Does not assign for any borrower, through award packaging or other methods, a loan to a particular lender, and does not refuse to certify or delay certification of any loan based on the borrower's selection of a particular lender or guaranty agency.


  • Student Financial Services Terms & Conditions


    By accepting a financial aid package offered by the College, the student agrees to comply with the Financial Aid Terms & Conditions.

    Federal Aid, Title IV Funds

    1. I understand that any federal Title IV financial aid I receive, except for Federal Work Study wages, will first be applied to any outstanding balance on my account for tuition, fees, room and board (Title IV financial aid includes aid from the Pell Grant, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Direct Loan, and PLUS Loan programs.).

    2. I authorize Otis College of Art and Design to apply my Title IV financial aid to the above charges and other charges assessed to my student account such as student health insurance, mandatory fees and fines, and any other education related charges. I authorize Otis College to apply my Title IV financial aid to minor prior year charges (less than $200). I further understand that this authorization will remain in effect until I rescind it or the end of the semester and that I may withdraw it at any time by submitting my request in writing to One Stop.

    State Grants

    3. I authorize Otis College to use Cal Grant funds to cover institutional charges and understand that the full amount of these funds will be applied to my student account.  I understand my right to request the Cal Grant B Subsistence funds to be issued directly to me and agree that if I request a direct payment, I am responsible for any outstanding balance on my student account.

    4. I understand that Cal Grant is limited to four years and if I am eligible for this state grant, I have to be enrolled full-time and take at least 30 credit units per academic year to earn my degree in four years (AB-2248).


    5. I understand that all offered loans are based on gross amounts, may require a separate promissory note and may be adjusted due to changes in enrollment status, income verification, or additional aid.

    a) Understand that the federal Parent PLUS and private student loans are credit based and are subject to approval by the lending institution.

    b) Understand that my adverse credit history may impact my eligibility for credit based loans.

    c) Understand loan fees may be deducted from the loan proceeds prior to disbursement of the loan.

    d) Understand that I should follow-up regarding the denial status of my loan(s)

    6. I understand that I may cancel loans within 14 days after receipt of the notice that my student account was credited by student loans or the first day of class, whichever is later. I also understand that I can request my student loan adjustment or cancellation by e-mailing One Stop at from my Otis student email.

    7. I authorize Otis College to receive my loan proceeds via EFT.


    8. I understand that I must report all scholarships received from external organizations to the Financial Aid Office.

    9. I understand that

    • All scholarships and grants awarded to me by Otis College of Art and Design will be credited to my student account and applied toward the outstanding tuition/fee balance.
    • I will lose eligibility for the offered scholarship(s) if I do not accept the award(s) and/or complete all requirements prior to the end of the Drop period.
    • All institutional scholarship awards are not refundable and cannot exceed the total tuition charges per semester.  
    • If I receive external tuition-specific aid (scholarships, grants, tuition reimbursement, etc.), the offered institutional scholarship award(s) will be adjusted or reversed not to exceed the total tuition charges per semester.
    • Renewable scholarships are available for up to 8 semesters for undergraduate and 4 semesters for graduate students. The number of semesters depends on the student's academic level/number of transferred units determined during the admission process. 
    • The full award of my scholarship will be rescinded if I withdraw from all courses during the first eight (8) weeks of the term or if my enrollment drops below full-time during the first four (4) weeks of the semester. Some exceptions may be made due to extenuating circumstances.
    • All or a portion of my scholarship may be replaced with a different designated Otis College scholarship award.


    10. Understand that all scholarships or grants are considered a financial resource according to federal Title IV financial aid regulations and may therefore reduce my eligibility for other federal and/or state financial aid (i.e., loans, grants, Federal Work Study) which, if already disbursed to my student account, must be reversed and returned to the aid source.

    11. Agree to participate in the Day of Gratitude Luncheon to express my gratitude to the donor for his/her generosity.

    12. Understand that any scholarship or grant assistance received in excess of tuition may be subject to federal taxation.

    Aid Eligibility

    13. I understand that if selected for federal verification, I have 30 days from the date of notification to submit the required documentation. Failure to provide documentation within the 30-day timeline may result in loss of eligibility for some of all federal and state awards. Any corrections made to my FAFSA may result in a revision of my financial aid awards and I may be required to pay back part or all of the aid received if the corrections made to my FAFSA information changes my financial aid eligibility.

    14. I understand that aid described as “estimated” on my Financial Aid Award does not represent actual or guaranteed payment but is an estimate of the aid I may receive if I meet all requirements stipulated by that aid program.

    15. I understand that my Financial Aid Award is contingent upon my continued enrollment and attendance in each class upon which my financial aid eligibility was calculated. If I drop any class before completion, I understand that my financial aid eligibility may decrease and some or all of the financial aid awarded to me may be revoked.

    16. I understand that my initial Pell Grant amount is estimated based on my projected enrollment status and will be adjusted based on my actual enrollment status at the end of each semester’s Add/Drop period. Only classes for which I began attendance are considered for determination of the enrollment status. Course(s) added after the Add/Drop period does not increase my eligibility for the Pell Grant award.

    17. Understand that financial aid funds offered to me may not exceed the cost of attendance.

    18. Understand that I must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) as described in the academic catalog by a) successfully completing at least 67% of attempted units on a cumulative basis, b) completing the program within 150% of the normal program length, and c) meeting the minimum required grade point average.

    19. Understand that if the SAP standards are not met, I will be placed on financial aid warning status or I may lose my financial aid eligibility. If my eligibility for financial aid is suspended, I may appeal in writing by submitting the SAP Appeal Form at the One Stop.

    20. I understand that if I withdraw or drop my classes during the trimester, the Financial Aid Office will recalculate eligibility for my federal aid that was disbursed or could have been disbursed.

    • Understand that all unearned financial aid funds will be returned to the Department of Education and may result in unpaid school charges.
    • Agree to pay any unpaid charges that may accrue as a result of return of federal funds.

    21. Authorize Otis College to credit my student account with a post-withdrawal disbursement(s) for charges other than current semester tuition including minor prior year charges.

    22. Understand that this authorization of the above conditions can be rescinded or changed at any time during my period of enrollment.

    23. Understand that Otis College uses electronic means for various financial aid transactions (online financial aid applications and forms, missing information requests, award notifications, award adjustment requests and other transactions between the school and students).

    24. Understand that to receive these transactions in a non-electronic format, I should contact the One Stop in writing and understand that conducting these transactions in non-electronic form may delay the processing of my application.


  • Department of Education Ombudsman

    The Ombudsman Office is a final resource for individuals looking for customer service assistance in regards to loan repayment. Before contacting the Ombudsman, borrowers concerned about student loans should contact their loan holder or the Department of Education website for further information. Current students should contact the Otis College financial aid office first.

    When contacting the Ombudsman Office, be ready to:

    • Identify the problem and the reason behind it
    • Define expectations
    • Describe actions already taken to resolve the problem
    • Supply Documentation to support your position

    The easiest way to contact the Ombudsman is to file an on-line assistance request thru

    Other contact options are:
    U. S. Department of Education
    FSA Ombudsman Group
    830 First Street, N. E., Mail Stop 5144
    Washington, D.C. 20202-5144

    Phone Toll Free: 1-877-557-2575 (Best used to initiate a Case)
    TDD: 202-377-3800
    FAX: 202-275-0549