FAQ - Updated 4-7-20

The Office of Financial Aid, with guidance from the U.S. Department of Education, is working to address questions and concerns of Soka students who are impacted by the recent developments from the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to answer some of the most frequently asked questions we have created this COVID-19 FAQ.

The Office of Financial Aid is now closed to in person meetings.  We remain open during our regular business hours of Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. through email, video conferencing, and phone appointments. To schedule an appointment, please email financialaid@soka.edu

In the event our regular business hours will not work for you due to a difference in time zones, please let us know and we will work with you to find a mutually convenient time.

On 3/20/20 we received new guidance from the United States Department of Education that we are no longer required to adjust your cost of attendance or financial aid packages. As a result, we are pleased to announce that all Soka students who return home to continue their education online will receive a room & board refund.

Department of Education FAQ guidance from 3/20/20 regarding Cost of Attendance:

“We are planning to close our dormitories as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. If an institution provides a refund for a portion of the costs for a student’s room and board as a result of the outbreak, does the institution need to adjust student budgets? Do we also need to consider the difference in costs for students who must relocate to off-campus housing? What if we provide a partial refund of tuition and fees?

No. If, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, you provide a refund or waiver of expenses for all or part of a student’s tuition, fees, room and board charges, or other institutional charges, or if you become aware that a student has moved off campus for the remainder of the term, the Department will not require a re-evaluation of the student’s cost of attendance. Therefore, you are not required to make changes to a student’s Title IV awards on the basis of such changes.”

Students who successfully petition to stay on campus for the remainder of the semester or continue with their study abroad program will not have their housing charges, cost of attendance, or financial aid revised. As a result, they will not receive a refund.

If you need additional funding to purchase your flight home, or other COVID-19 related expenses, federal regulations permit us to increase your cost of attendance to allow for this additional educational expense. For international students, an additional Soka Loan will be offered to cover this expense. Domestic students will be offered either a federal subsidized/unsubsidized student loan or a parent PLUS loan depending on your remaining federal eligibility.

You will receive a six-month grace period on repayment of each loan that you receive. Your six-month grace period begins the day after you graduate, drop below half-time enrollment, or withdrawal from the university. You do not have to begin making payments on your loan until after your grace period ends.

If you would like to request a budget adjustment, please contact us at financialaid@soka.edu to request the budget adjustment request form.

Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Education does not have the authority to change the compliance requirements related to withdrawals. If you formally withdraw or stop attending your online courses (unofficial withdrawal), the Office of Financial Aid is required to process a withdrawal calculation. This calculation will determine what portion of your financial aid you are entitled to keep and which portion needs to be returned. The Student Accounts Office will also calculate what percentage of fees you are responsible for the term and what percentage you will be credited. If you are thinking about withdrawing from the spring semester we recommend making an appointment by emailing finanicalaid@soka.edu to discuss the financial implications.

The U.S. Department of Education allows the Office of Financial Aid to reassess your family’s ability to contribute to your educational expenses if their income has been impacted as a result of illness, work closure, unemployment or other related financial hardship. To appeal, please complete the Special Circumstance Request for Review form.

For questions about the process or acceptable documentation please contact us at financialaid@soka.edu.

Financial aid documents can be submitted in person, email, or fax. If you decide to email documents as an attachment, we ask that you redact any sensitive information such as social security number or any other personal identifying information prior to scanning the attachment. We are currently exploring a secure drop box option and will update you if we are able to implement this to submit documents. Some loan documents will require the original document be sent via mail or in person and email will not be accepted.