Approved by: Provost
History: Issued              -- August 2005
Revised            -- December 19, 2018
Last Reviewed -- December 19, 2018
Related Policies: Satisfactory Academic Progress-Undergraduate
Additional References:
Responsible Official:

Vice President for Enrollment Management tel. (202) 319-6366


I. Introduction


The Catholic University of America offers a wide variety of scholarships, grants, loans, and work appointments to new and continuing students at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. Need-based federal funds are, by statute, awarded solely on the basis of financial need as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Most University need-based programs follow the same rules as federal programs, with institutional adjustments to need-based formulas. These funds are available to as many qualifying students as funding will allow.

II. Application Procedure


Prospective students wishing to be considered for federal and institutional need-based financial aid should file the FAFSA by the February 1 priority deadline. The FAFSA may be filed online at Award notification from the University is sent only to admitted students.

Students awarded need-based assistance must reapply annually by the May 1 deadline for continuing students. Eligibility is determined by the University's Office of Financial Aid based upon federal and institutional policies.

All prospective and continuing students should visit for comprehensive financial aid information.

III. International Students


Government-funded scholarships, fellowships, and other forms of financial support are restricted to United States citizens or noncitizens eligible for federal Title IV programs. All international students must be prepared to meet the costs of education and living expenses in the United States with personal or family funds. The University will not issue the Certificate of Eligibility (Form I-20 or, where appropriate, DS-2019) unless it has satisfactory evidence that the student will have adequate financial resources.

For additional information concerning financial aid for international students, contact the United States Information Agency, the Institute of International Education, the American consulate in the applicant's country, or the government of that country.

IV. Federal Programs


A. Federal Pell Grant


Authorized by the Education Amendments of 1972, the Federal Pell Grant is designed to provide financial assistance to first-degree undergraduate students with exceptional financial need. Students may apply for a Pell Grant by filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

B. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant Program


These grants are restricted to undergraduate Pell Grant recipients with exceptional financial need who without such funds would be unable to continue their education. Grants usually range from $500 to $1,000 per year for undergraduate study, dependent upon family income and level of funding.

C. Federal Work Study Program


Federal Work Study is a work program based on financial need, funded by federal and institutional resources. Students seek employment from job listings on the career services website or via the fall job fair and are paid semi-monthly at a rate established in accordance with federal minimum wage standards and University scales. Paychecks are distributed biweekly to assist with personal and living expenses. No advances are given. Students must complete all applicable work study and personnel forms prior to the end of the add/drop period.

D. Federal Stafford Loan Program


This program enables a student to borrow money directly from a savings and loan institution, credit union, bank, or other eligible lender. Maximum amounts available vary with a student's grade level. The Office of Financial Aid determines the amount of loan assistance needed by the student. All students who want a Federal Stafford Loan must have a Free Application for Federal Student Aid on file. The FAFSA serves as the loan application; however, all students must complete a master promissory note and entrance interview prior to receiving their first loan disbursement. Freshman undergraduates may borrow up to $2,625 per year; sophomores, up to $3,500 per year; and junior and senior undergraduates, up to $5,500 per year. In most cases, students applying for need-based aid will receive a Stafford Loan before other need-based aid is awarded. Students are expected to take advantage of the increased loan limits listed above each year. Increased loan limits may affect the University undergraduate need-based grant. Lenders contracted for electronic funds transfer with the University are highly recommended. Lender information is available in the Office of Financial Aid.

Additional unsubsidized Stafford Loans are available for independent undergraduate $4,000 for freshmen and sophomores; and $5,000 for juniors and seniors. Parents of dependent students may be eligible for a credit-based federal parent loan. More information is available at or

E. Federal Perkins Loan


Funds are provided jointly by the University and the federal government to make long-term, low-interest loans to students with exceptional financial need. Loans are generally contingent on funds availability. The general provisions are:

  1. no security is required;
  2. no interest accrues while the student is in school;
  3. repayment begins six to nine months after the student ceases to be at least a half-time student, and interest begins to accrue at five percent per year for a maximum of 10 years;
  4. deferment of payment may be granted under special circumstances. A promissory note must be signed before funds will be applied to a student's account.

V. Veterans Benefits


Often overlooked are many benefits available to veterans and to children of deceased veterans or those disabled in military service. In addition to the benefits offered directly by the Veterans Administration, others are available through their various service organizations, such as the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Catholic War Veterans, and directly through the branches of the armed services. Any possible claim resulting from the current or past military service of the student or a member of his family should be investigated.

VI. State Programs


The states of Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont and the District of Columbia currently award grants for undergraduate study to eligible state residents attending The Catholic University of America. High school students should consult with their guidance counselors concerning application procedures. Other states may also offer such funds. Students should contact state scholarship commissions regarding eligibility and restrictions. Students who reside in the District of Columbia may be eligible for additional grant assistance. Visit for additional information.

VII. Undergraduate Grants


University Grants are awarded based on need as demonstrated by information provided on the FAFSA. University Grants are awarded to incoming full-time freshmen and transfer students pursuing their first bachelor's degrees. Students must apply and be determined eligible each year; renewal is not automatic, nor is eligibility guaranteed. Grant levels are determined both on need and academic record. The university attempts to maintain award levels from year to year, when eligibility is proven and satisfactory academic progress is met, but changes in income or federal policies may influence award levels in succeeding years. University Grants must be coordinated with all other awards, including loans, work study and outside scholarships. All University grant and scholarship assistance is limited to eight semesters and may not exceed full tuition. See for more detailed information.

VIII. University Programs for Undergraduate Students


Undergraduate grant and scholarship programs are limited to full-time undergraduate students pursuing their first B.A./B.S. degrees for up to eight semesters. Scholarship or grant assistance may not exceed the cost of tuition. Transfer students are considered for merit-based scholarships, with semester limits prorated based upon academic level of transfer.

A scholarship offer may be made to a freshman in recognition of excellence exhibited in high school, with the assumption that this same excellence will continue to be demonstrated at The Catholic University of America. All students awarded undergraduate merit scholarships are subject to the renewal guidelines specified at Scholarship awards are subject to a yearly review and one probationary period may be granted under certain circumstances. If a student loses the scholarship due to grades that are below the required minimum, there is no reinstatement privilege at a later date. All scholarship recipients must maintain continuous full-time enrollment status (a minimum of 12 credits per semester) in a degree program and must be registered by the end of the add/drop period each semester (see Academic Calendar). Appeals for extenuating circumstances are made through the director of financial aid in consultation with the vice provost and dean of undergraduate studies.

All undergraduate financial aid programs are subject to federal and university satisfactory academic progress policies. Appeals are made to the director of financial aid.

In order to meet academic progress requirements for all other federal and University aid, the following criteria must be met:

  1. A student must have a minimum GPA of 1.5 after 3 semesters.
  2. A full-time student must satisfactorily complete a minimum of four courses or 12 credits (whichever is greater) for each semester of financial aid eligibility. Repeated courses can only be counted once toward progress. Transfer credits are only considered if accepted by the student's school. In order for deficiencies to be made up over the summer, all transfer credits must be cleared and accepted through the academic dean's office before an award can be made.
  3. A student must satisfactorily complete at least 80 percent of attempted credits by the end of and following the second year. Attempted credits include any credits from which a student withdraws after the add/drop period, along with credits for which a grade of F is received and successfully completed credits.
  4. Courses are satisfactorily completed at the university with a grade of D. Incompletes are calculated as Fs until a grade is recorded.

The University monitors progress each semester. The Office of Financial Aid will notify students in writing if they are not making satisfactory progress. Any special circumstance affecting a student's performance should be brought to the attention of the director of financial aid. Students who are academically dismissed are automatically ineligible for assistance, and will not receive written notification of ineligibility from the Office of Financial Aid. Students who are academically dismissed from the University will be notified in writing by their academic deans. Students who are readmitted to the University after being dismissed are not guaranteed to maintain their original scholarship eligibility upon return.

IX. Academic Scholarships and Grants


A. Archdiocesan Scholarships


These full-tuition awards are among the most competitive and prestigious scholarships at the University, with emphasis placed primarily on academic achievement. The Archdiocesan scholarships are offered annually on a limited basis to students selected by the University's scholarship committee. They are renewable through four years of full-time undergraduate study or upon receipt of the first B.A./B.S. (whichever comes first). Trustee scholarships are similar in amount and terms to Archdiocesan Scholarships; however, recipients of Trustee Scholarships need not be Roman Catholic. Recipients of these scholarships are expected to maintain a minimum 3.2 grade point average. A separate application is not required to be considered for these awards.

B. University Scholarships


These merit scholarships are awarded to students who have a proven academic profile as determined by their GPA and SAT (or ACT scores), as well as a strong personal profile, shown through leadership experience and extracurricular activities.

X. Special University-Funded Programs


A. Parish Scholarship


First-year and transfer applicants who are parishioners of Catholic churches in the United States and all U.S. territories are eligible for consideration for the Parish Scholarship. Beginning in the Fall 2019 term, students enrolling at Catholic University as new first-year or transfer students will receive $4,000 annually, renewable for up to four years.

B. Alumni Grant


Beginning with the Fall 2017 enrollment term, first-year and transfer students who have a parent, grandparent, or sibling who graduated from Catholic University (undergraduate, graduate, law) are eligible for the Legacy Grant, which is a $1,000 grant renewable for up to four years.

C. Family Grant


If two or more children of the same family are concurrently registered as full-time dependent undergraduate students, pursuing their first B.A./B.S. degrees, the second and each additional undergraduate student is eligible for a grant of $2,000 per year, provided one other child from the same family is enrolled and meets the above criteria. No student will be considered eligible for the Family Grant because he or she is married to a student or because of the concurrent enrollment of a parent . Students must maintain satisfactory academic progress to continue eligibility.

XI. Faculty/Staff Benefits


Dependent students of staff and faculty at the University may be eligible for assistance up to full tuition. Their parents should contact the Office of Human Resources for specific requirements. Dependents of parents employed by other universities may be eligible for similar programs, either through their personnel office or the Tuition Exchange Program. Students receiving tuition remission through the University or the Tuition Exchange Program may not receive other University-funded grants or scholarships.

XII. Grade Point Average Adjustments


The following adjustments are made to the GPA for the purpose of determining the student's eligibility for financial aid:

  • A grade of I (incomplete) is treated as a failure (F) both in calculating the student's GPA and in determining the number of courses that the student has completed. Students with incomplete grades are encouraged to appeal a negative satisfactory progress decision once the grade has been resolved.
  • If a student satisfactorily replaces a grade of F by repeating the course, the new grade is used to recalculate the cumulative GPA; however both the old course and the replacement course are used to determine the number of courses attempted. Other repetitive coursework is generally ignored in determining the student's progress.
  • Noncredit remedial courses are not considered in determining the student's progress.

XIII. Appeal Process


Students are encouraged to appeal a negative satisfactory progress decision under the following conditions:

  • Student has academic information not previously used in determining the student's progress. A grade change is the most common example of information not previously considered. Recently completed or acknowledged course work is another example.
  • Mitigating circumstances beyond the student's control adversely affected the student's academic performance in a particular semester. Death of an immediate family member or extended illness are examples of circumstances clearly beyond the student's control. Students must document the mitigating circumstances during the appeal process.

A student initiates the appeal process by writing to the director of financial aid and requesting a complete review of the information used in determining the student's progress. The request must include new information not previously used and/or documents supporting mitigating circumstances. The request must also include a plan showing how the student will graduate in a reasonable time frame (within two semesters of the maximum time frame noted above).

The plan and supporting documents will be reviewed by the director of financial aid. The review will be conducted within four weeks of a completed request. The director will notify the student of the results. If an appeal is favorably received, the student will be required to sign a contract reiterating the requirements that the student must fulfill in order to have financial aid renewed for a subsequent semester.

See Satisfactory Academic Progress-Undergraduate.