Sep 28, 2020  
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog 
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Guidelines for Need-Based Assistance

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SMU operates under the philosophy that financing an education is a “shared investment” between government, schools, and families. We believe that both parents and students have a primary responsibility to contribute toward educational expenses to the extent that they are reasonably able. Consideration for need-based financial assistance is based on specific requirements determined by each of the funding institutions.


SMU considers an undergraduate student to be dependent upon their families. To be considered for SMU funded need-based funds, each family must submit the College Board’s CSS/PROFILE® application.

Per federal regulations, a student is classified as “dependent” unless they satisfy one or more of the following requirements. If the answer is yes to any of the following, the student is classified as “independent.”

  • The student is an orphan or a ward of the court.
  • The student is a U.S. military veteran.
  • The student provides more than half of the financial support for a dependent other than a spouse.
  • The student is married.
  • The student turns 24 years of age before December 31 of the academic year for which aid is sought.
  • The student was in foster care after age 13.
  • The student was an emancipated minor by the court in the student’s state of legal residence.
  • The student was under legal guardianship as determined by a court in the student’s state of legal residence.

The University reserves the right to alter from year to year the combination of gift funds and self-help funding (student loan and work programs) based on a family’s demonstrated financial need as determined through the FAFSA and CSS/PROFILE® applications, along with the availability of funds, current policies of the Board of Trustees, and federal/state legislation. Typically, the amount of self-help will increase as a student advances toward graduation.


To be eligible for federal or state financial assistance, a student must meet the following criteria:

  • Be in good standing with the University and meet the standards of satisfactory progress in the selected course of study leading to a degree or certificate
  • Not be in default on any student loan or have borrowed in excess of the loan limits
  • Not owe a refund on grants previously received from the federal government or the state of Texas
  • Be registered with the Selective Service, if required to do so
  • Be a U.S. citizen or an eligible nonresident (for federal programs) and be a Texas resident as defined by Texas program regulations (for state programs)


Students randomly selected for verification must submit any and all documents requested by the Office of Financial Aid to confirm and verify data submitted on the FAFSA. Supporting documentation may include, for example, signed copies of tax returns or official tax transcripts from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. All documentation should be submitted in a timely manner to be considered for available funds. Verification must be completed prior to disbursement of funds.

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