The Institute will charge students for a minimum of 12 terms of full-time tuition, or the prorated equivalent based on their classification at the time they begin their enrollment, even if they complete their degree requirements early. Undergraduate students who underload in a term will be charged full-time tuition but their financial aid, including outside scholarships, will be adjusted as indicated below based on the actual number of units students are enrolled in as of Add Day. Students may NOT receive scholarship assistance for any term in which they are not enrolled at least half-time.
Underloads and Financial Aid: The Impact of Less than Full-time Enrollment
Any student who wishes to carry fewer than 36 units in any given term must petition for an underload. Underloads must be approved by the Dean or Associate Dean of Undergraduate Students. Underloads for graduating seniors must be approved by the Registrar. (See the underload policy.)
The following information summarizes the impact of less than full-time enrollment on financial aid. For the separate conditions regarding eligibility see enrolled less than full-time.
Full-time enrollment is defined in the Caltech Catalog as 36 units. Students enrolling less than full-time, taking between 27 to 35 units, are considered enrolled 3/4 time. The impact to their financial aid is usually a reduction to their grant, in the same amount as the reduction in their tuition. Federal Pell Grant recipients will have their Federal Pell award reduced according to federal regulations. The Financial Aid Office will revise the student’s budget to reflect the calculated per-unit tuition and then revise the student’s aid (grant eligibility) to reflect the reduction in calculated need.
Half-time enrollment is defined as enrolling in 18 to 26 units. In this situation, the Financial Aid Office will revise the budget for financial aid purposes to reflect the calculated per-unit tuition and reduce the books and supplies allowance to 1/2 of the standard amount for that term. Federal Pell Grant recipients will have their Pell award reduced according to federal regulations. The Financial Aid Office will revise the student’s budget to reflect the per-unit tuition and other reductions in education related costs and then revise the student’s aid (grant eligibility) to reflect the reduction in calculated need. Students enrolled 1/2 time can also anticipate an increase in their work-study award for the term.
Less than 1/2 Time
Less than 1/2 time enrollment is defined as taking fewer than 18 units. Tuition is revised for financial aid purposes to reflect the calculated per-unit tuition and the books and supplies allowance is reduced to 1/4 of the standard allowance for that term. (As indicated in the Caltech Catalog, the minimum tuition charge is units per term.) The student’s aid is revised based on the reduced education related costs. Federal Pell Grant recipients will have their Pell award reduced according to federal regulations. More importantly, the student/family becomes ineligible for scholarship/grant aid awarded by Caltech and for Federal Direct PLUS or Stafford loans for that term. The student is only eligible for Caltech work-study and loan assistance.
Please note: If the student is enrolled less than half time, the grace period on any student loan (Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Direct Stafford Loan and Caltech and Institute loans) will begin.
Effect on Outside Scholarships
In all of the above categories, the Financial Aid Office also checks to see if a student has an outside scholarship that requires continuous full-time enrollment. If a scholarship donor requires full time enrollment, the Financial Aid Office is required to return the scholarship money for that term to the donor. If this occurs, the student is encouraged to contact the donor directly to review and, possibly, appeal the agency’s policy.
Students with questions regarding underloads should discuss their individual circumstances with a financial aid administrator. Contact the office Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with any questions you have.