Financial Aid

Undergraduate to Graduate Student Status

Students can move from undergraduate to graduate status by continuing into a new program at UC or they may be in a dual degree program.

In either case, the aid that is offered a student may go through modifications so you want to be aware of key elements to ensure you understand the aid you will ultimately receive.

Work with Enrollment Services (, 513-556-1000, 2nd Floor University Pavilion or regional campus location) to ensure your aid is correct for when you change to graduate status.

Aid Changes

Aid eligibility changes when a student moves from being an undergraduate to a graduate student.

  • Most grant programs (i.e., Federal Pell Grant, SEOG, OCOG) are limited to undergraduate students who do not have a bachelor's degree. When a student is deemed a graduate student for aid (even if they do not have a bachelor's degree), they cannot receive these funds for the term.
  • UC-awarded scholarships such as Cincinnatus may continue as the previously awarded student changes from undergraduate to graduate status within the terms of the scholarship program.
  • Dependency status changes when a student is graduate status and parent information is no longer used when determining aid eligibility.
  • Loan amounts increase but also become exclusively unsubsidized (interest-bearing while in school) for graduate students.
  • Students must have a minimum of 72 credit hours (equivalency of 3 full-time undergraduate years) completed as well as be admitted into a graduate program to receive aid as a graduate student. Student with fewer hours but admitted to a graduate program only cannot receive undergraduate aid until such time they have 72 hours.

Dual Degree (Undergrad/Grad) Programs

UC has developed some academic programs where students graduate with both a bachelor's and a master's degree at the same time. The Accelerated Engineering Degee (ACCEND) and other formal academic programs are designed to offer students an accelerated way to receive both degrees.

While these academic programs are helpful and inventive, they don't always align with federal aid requirements where you have to be either an undergraduate or a graduate student. Therefore, students may be offered aid ahead of an academic year that may need to have corrections as the student begins pursuing more graduate work. 

  • Students in dual degree programs are undergraduate until their final terms. 
  • Because the transition may happen mid-year, students may begin a year as an undergraduate and then become a graduate student.
  • Students are more likely graduate students when half or more of their coursework for a term and remaining terms is at the graduate level.
  • Once a student becomes a graduate student, they generally do not change back to being an undergraduate student in dual degree programs.
  • Undergraduate students can take a graduate classes while still an undergraduate.
  • Graduate students, when classified as such, will only be reviewed as graduate students for federal loans based on their graduate class enrollment each term (even if they take final undergraduate classes during the same term).

Moving from Undergrad to Grad Program

Many students will complete their undergraduate degree and then apply and continue on in a graduate program. This change most often occurs between academic years but also can occur within an academic year.

When applying for aid for the upcoming year, apply based on how you will start the aid year that begins in fall. Because automated processes and systems have difficulty treating you as an undergraduate currently but as a graduate student in the upcoming year, your aid processing may get delayed or be awarded incorrectly – particularly if you going to change status mid-year.

Students who are going to be a graduate student for an award year but have undergraduate aid (notably Federal Pell Grant, Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG), Federal Direct Subsidized Loan, or Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan) awarded should contact Enrollment Services to have your situation reviewed based on when you are admitted into your master's program.

Due to its unique nature, students admitted into the PharmD program should review information specific to the Winkle College of Pharmacy.