Financial Aid Policy
Fairfield University administers a comprehensive financial aid program offering assistance on the basis of need and merit, with funds derived from University, state and federal government, and private student aid programs. Need-based funds are distributed following a thorough analysis of a family's ability to pay for educational expenses. Assistance funded by the University is credited toward tuition unless otherwise indicated. Students will make a nominal yearly financial contribution toward program tuition and fees as determined by their federal expected family contribution (EFC). Summer and winter courses will be covered by university financial aid as required courses for the degree. Eligibility for university financial aid is contingent upon enrollment as a full-time undergraduate student, matriculated in a program of study working toward completing their first degree. Renewal of any type of assistance is contingent on the recipient making satisfactory academic progress and on filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the Fairfield Bellarmine Financial Aid Application on time. The information in this section related specifically to students enrolled in the Fairfield Bellarmine programs and may differ from the financial aid policies effective for the bachelor's degree seeking students.
Students who demonstrate need will receive a financial aid package that may consist of grants, scholarships, student employment, and student loans. An expected yearly contribution will be calculated by the university. University resources are available to cover the remaining program costs. Financial aid awards are usually offered to prospective first year students during March, assuming the appropriate applications have been filed on time. Returning students who apply for financial aid will receive their award notifications beginning in June through University email. Financial Aid administrators are available throughout the year to answer questions and to provide assistance. The Office of Financial Aid satellite office is located and staffed on the Fairfield Bellarmine Campus three days a week and can be reached at 203-254-4125 or by email (email@example.com).
To apply for financial aid, undergraduate students enrolled in Fairfield Bellarmine must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Form on an annual basis. Prospective first-year students are required to complete the FAFSA. If you are unable to complete the FAFSA, a university designed Fairfield Bellarmine Financial Aid application can be provided.
Students may file the FAFSA online. Fairfield's FAFSA code is 001385. By accepting any financial aid, you obligate yourself to verify the application information if selected for verification by either the federal processing center or by the Office of Financial Aid. Financial aid awards are estimated until the Office of Financial Aid confirms eligibility. If a student is selected for the verification process, the Office of Financial Aid will provide notification of the required documentation in order to complete the file review and confirm aid eligibility. Documentation required for verification is due no later than August 1. Financial aid awards may change based on verification results. Failure to comply with verification requirements in a timely manner will result in cancellation of need-based aid.
Renewal of Financial Aid Awards
Need-based awards will be renewed provided that the recipient reapplies for aid by University deadlines, continues to demonstrate sufficient need and maintains satisfactory academic progress standards. Need-based awards may be adjusted depending on changes in a student's need in order to comply with the required mandatory yearly financial contribution. Renewal of state and federal award funds will depend on a student's continued eligibility and on the availability of funds.
Financial Aid Disbursements
Federal, state and university financial aid disburses on Mondays and Wednesdays of every month with some exceptions. A student must meet various federal regulations in order to be eligible for a disbursement of federal financial aid. Students receiving state financial aid must comply and adhere to state regulations in order to be eligible for a disbursement of state financial aid. Financial aid does not disburse on scheduled University holidays. Federal loans do not disburse during the monthly reconciliation period from approximately the 25th of each month and the first Monday after the first Saturday of the next month. Final disbursement days and financial aid processing days for each semester are published on the academic calendar each year.
Standards for Satisfactory Academic Progress
For students to be eligible for federal, state or university need-based financial aid, they must be in good academic standing and must make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) toward a degree. SAP is measured at the end of each academic year and is based on both pace of enrollment and academic performance at the time of measurement. Pace is determined by the total number of credit hours completed as a proportion of those attempted. Incomplete grades, repeated courses and course withdrawals that occur after the drop/add period are counted in the credit hours attempted. If the student has transfer credits, the credit hours are counted in both the credit hours completed and attempted.
Academic performance is measured by GPA including grades earned only in Fairfield University courses. In order to make SAP, students advancing from the first year to the sophomore year are expected to have a weighted cumulative GPA of 1.90 or better. At the end of the sophomore year, students are expected to have a weighted cumulative GPA of 1.90 or better. A student with 60 or more completed credits is expected to have a weighted cumulative GPA of 2.00 or greater. For the purposes of both pace and academic performance, summer courses will be included as the trailing term of the academic year.
Pace of enrollment is measured by the percentage of attempted credit hours that are completed. Students must complete at least 67% of the credit hours attempted in a year in order to receive financial aid in the following year. Overall, students are eligible for university-based aid for up to eight semesters of enrollment; students may receive federal financial aid up to 150% (typically 6 years) of the normal time to degree completion. Repeated courses will be counted as part of the attempted and completed courses, and part of the 150% of normal time to completion.
Students who lose eligibility for financial aid as a result of failure to make satisfactory academic progress may appeal to be placed on financial aid probation. This appeal must include the reasons for the lack of progress and the student's anticipated steps for improvement. In order to consider the appeal, the student will need to submit an approved academic plan that will lead to achievement of SAP standards. If during the probation period the student has not successfully achieved satisfactory academic progress, the student may appeal with a modified academic plan. Probation may last for up to one academic year, unless there are extraordinary circumstances. While on probation, a student's progress will be monitored at the end of each semester.
The Office of Financial Aid will notify all students who fail to maintain satisfactory academic progress. Students will be notified of their SAP status by mail and university email.
Reinstatement of Financial Aid
To have financial aid eligibility reinstated, a student may make up the credit hour and/or grade point index deficiencies in a subsequent term without receipt of financial aid for that term. University aid is only offered (if the student maintains eligibility) for eight consecutive semesters.
A student who believes his/her failure to meet SAP standards was due to extenuating circumstances beyond his/her control may appeal in writing to the Appeals Committee. Some examples of extenuating circumstances are:
- A student's serious illness or accident
- Death or serious illness in the student's immediate family
- Cancellation/discontinuance of a class by the University
- Other unforeseeable circumstances beyond the control of the student that caused the student to fall below the satisfactory progress standards
Students should submit the SAP Appeal Form, including a personal letter, explaining the reason for the request and reason for their current academic status. In addition, an approved Academic Plan must be completed by the student and by an administrator from the appropriate Dean's Office. The Academic Plan can be obtained in the Dean's Office of any school, or printed online. The appeal form, personal letter, Academic Plan, and any other supporting documentation (if desired), must be submitted to the student's financial aid counselor in the Office of Financial Aid.
If an appeal for one semester of probationary financial aid is approved, a student's progress will be monitored at the end of each semester. If after the financial aid probation period the student has not successfully achieved the required minimum GPA for reinstatement of the full financial aid award, the student may submit an appeal letter to request an extended probationary period of financial aid. Financial aid probation may last for up to one year, unless there are extraordinary circumstances.
Appeals must be submitted to the Office of Financial Aid by July 1, or by other stated deadlines as provided by the Office of Financial Aid. If reinstatement of aid is sought for summer sessions, the appeal must be submitted prior to the first day of classes for that term. It is the responsibility of the student to initiate an appeal before a specified SAP Appeal deadline.
Estimate of Expenses
The student cost of attendance used in determining financial aid eligibility includes direct charges from the University as well as other expenses incurred by a student during the course of the academic year. The cost of attendance for a full time student, for the 2023-24 academic year, is as follows:
|Tuition and Fees||$15,000|
|Total Cost of Attendance||$35,105|
Those who are asked to withdraw from the University for academic failure will lose entitlement to financial aid. Students who are later readmitted to the University may appeal for reinstatement of some financial aid, but aid is not automatically reinstated. Students' satisfactory academic progress (SAP) status will be reviewed if a student is reinstated to the University.
Students may be asked to complete the SAP appeal process as part of the re-determination of financial aid eligibility.
University Merit or Need-Based Aid Policy for Withdrawals
Students are approved for voluntary or medical withdrawal by taking the appropriate steps as prescribed in the Academic Policies section of this catalog. Students that are receiving University financial aid will have their University need-based and merit-based aid prorated based on the following schedule:
|Official Withdrawal Date||% of University Aid Earned|
|Before first scheduled class||0|
|Before second scheduled class||40|
|Before third scheduled class||60|
|Before fourth scheduled class||80|
|After fourth scheduled class||100|
Note: For courses meeting for less than a full semester (15 weeks), financial aid entitlement will be adjusted accordingly.
Federal Return of Title IV Funds Policy
The Financial Aid Office is required by federal statute to recalculate federal financial aid eligibility for students who withdraw, drop out, are dismissed, or take a leave of absence prior to completing 60 percent of a payment period or term. Federal Title IV financial aid programs must be recalculated in these situations. You must begin enrollment in the semester in order to be eligible for a federal student aid disbursement. Withdrawal before the semester start will result in cancellation of federal aid.
If a student leaves the institution prior to completing 60 percent of a payment period or term, the Financial Aid Office recalculates eligibility for Title IV funds. Recalculation is based on the percentage of earned aid using the following Federal Return of Title IV funds formula: percentage of payment period or term completed equals the number of days completed up to the withdrawal date, divided by the total days in the payment period or term. (Any break of five days or more is not counted as part of the days in the term.) This percentage is also the percentage of earned aid. Funds are returned to the appropriate federal program based on the percentage of unearned aid using the following formula: aid to be returned equals 100 percent of the aid that could be disbursed, minus the percentage of earned aid, multiplied by the total amount of aid that could have been disbursed during the payment period or term.
If a student earned less aid than was disbursed, the institution would be required to return a portion of the funds, and the student would be required to return a portion of the funds. Keep in mind that when Title IV funds are returned, the student borrower may owe a debit balance to the institution. If a student earned more aid than was disbursed, the institution would owe the student (or parent in the case of a PLUS loan) a post-withdrawal disbursement which must be paid within 180 days of the student's withdrawal. Students (or parents in the case of a PLUS loan) due a post-withdrawal disbursement will be emailed and mailed a notice to reply no later than 14 days of the date of the notice to confirm or refuse the disbursement. No reply will indicate a refusal of the disbursement. The institution must return the amount of Title IV funds for which it is responsible no later than 45 days after the date of the determination of the date of the student's withdrawal. Refunds are allocated in the following order:
- Unsubsidized Direct Loans
- Subsidized Direct Loans
- Federal Perkins Loans
- Federal Direct PLUS Loans
- Federal Pell Grants for which a return of funds is required
- Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grants for which a return of funds is required
- Federal TEACH Grants for which a return of funds is required
- Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant for which a return of funds is required
The Spring semester begins on January 16, 2020. Sarah Smith began the official withdrawal process with her dean and it was determined that her official withdrawal date would be March 7, 2020. The total number of days in the Spring semester are 107. Sarah completed 51 days of the semester or 47.7%. Sarah had a total federal aid disbursement of $4,357.00. Seeing that Sarah only completed 47.7% of the Spring semester, she also earned only 47.7% of her Spring financial aid
($4,357.00 x 47.7% = $2,078.29). The amount of Title IV aid to be returned is calculated:
$4357.00 - $2,078.29 = $2,278.71
Next, the institution must also determine the percentage of unearned charges based on the total semester charges for the period in which the student will withdraw. First, add the total semester charges. For this example, Sarah’s total semester charges is $23,245.00. Sarah did not attend the full semester (100%). To determine the portion of the semester that Sarah attended, subtract her percentage completed from the total: 100% - 47.7% = 52.3%. To determine Sarah’s unearned charges, the school would calculate unearned charges in the following manner:
$23,245.00 x 52.3% = $12,157.14
Compare the amount of Title IV aid to be Returned above to the amount of unearned charges. The lesser amount is the total of unearned aid that the school is responsible to return. The amount returned is based on the amount disbursed (which may vary by students) and in accordance with the schedule above. If the amount returned in direct loans is less than the total amount in direct loans disbursed to the student, resulting in earned loan funds or in unearned loan funds that the school is not responsible for repaying or both, Fairfield University will notify the loan holder of your withdrawal and withdrawal date. The resulting loan must be repaid in accordance with the terms of the student’s promissory note. Fairfield University will return the loan funds within 45 days of notification from the University Registrar of a student’s withdrawal.
Students will be mailed a notice of withdrawal from the Office of Financial Aid which will include a copy of the student’s withdrawal calculation indicating the amount returned by Fairfield University and the amount that is the responsibility of the student.
Reinstatement of Financial Aid Upon Readmission to the University
Students who are later readmitted to the University may appeal for reinstatement of some financial aid, but aid is not automatically reinstated. A student's satisfactory academic progress (SAP) status will be reviewed once the student is reinstated to the University. The student may be asked to complete the SAP appeal process as part of the re-determination of financial aid eligibility upon readmission to the University.
Fairfield Bellarmine Grant
The Fairfield Bellarmine Grant is a grant awarded to support students enrolled in programs offered at the Fairfield Bellarmine campus. It may be awarded in conjunctions with other types of federal or state aid. Students receiving University grants are eligible to receive such assistance for four consecutive semesters from the date of enrollment as a first year student.
Federal Pell Grant
A federal entitlement program that provides grants of up to $7395 to eligible students in the 2023-24 academic year who are pursuing their first baccalaureate degree.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
Grants from federal funds are made available to students who demonstrate exceptional financial need. Funding for the program is very limited. Priority is given to Federal Pell Grant recipients.
State Scholarships and Grants
All financial aid applicants should research the opportunities that exist in their home state for other scholarships or grants. Students should contact their state board or commission for higher education or consult their high school guidance counselor for information.
Federal Direct Loans may be obtained online. Up to $5500 per academic year for first year students (max $3500 subsidized) and $6500 per academic year for sophomore-level students (max $4500 subsidized).Repayment begins six months after a student ceases to enroll at least half-time (six credits or more). Information on the terms, conditions, interest rates and loan fees can be found online at www.studentaid.gov.
Direct PLUS Loan
This is a loan program for parents of dependent undergraduate students. A parent may borrow up to the cost of education minus any financial aid received during any one academic year. Students must file a FAFSA for parents to be eligible to borrow a PLUS loan. Parents and students must meet general eligibility requirement and parents must pass a credit check to be eligible to borrow a PLUS loan. Information on the terms, conditions, interest rates and loan fees can be found online at www.studentaid.gov.
Tuition Payment Plan
The University offers a tuition payment plan, an interest-free, semester based payment plan for educational expenses. Please contact the Office of the Bursar for more information.
Veterans may apply GI Bill educational benefits to degree studies pursued at Fairfield University. Veterans should consult with the Office of Financial Aid regarding the process and eligibility for possible matching funds through the Post-9/11 GI Bill® and Yellow Ribbon program, as well as Fairfield's Veterans Pride grant. Information about the program, including free tuition for some veterans, is available on our website. The School Certifying Official, located in the Office of the University Registrar, will complete and submit the required certification form for all veteran benefits.
VA Pending Payment Compliance
In accordance with Title 38 US Code § 3679 (e), Fairfield University adopts the following additional provisions for any student using U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Post-9/11 GI Bill® (Chapter 33) or Veteran Readiness and Employment (Chapter 31) benefits.
While payment to the University is pending from the VA, Fairfield University will not prevent the student's enrollment, assess a late payment fee, require the student to secure alternative or additional funding, or deny the student access to any resources available to other students who have satisfied their tuition and fee bills to the university.
In order to qualify for this provision, such students are required to provide a Chapter 33 Certificate of Eligibility (or its equivalent), or for Chapter 31, a VR&E contract with the school on VA Form 28-1905 by the first day of class.
Note: Chapter 33 students can register at the VA Regional Office to use eBenefits to receive the equivalent of a Chapter 33 Certificate of Eligibility. Chapter 31 students cannot receive a completed VA Form 28-1905 (or any equivalent) before the VA VR&E case manager issues it to the school.
Federal Work Study Program
Federal Work Study (FWS) may be offered to students who demonstrate financial need as determined by the FAFSA and university policy. Eligible students can seek employment on or off campus with participating offices and/or agencies. Whenever possible, students may also consider employment that relates to their field of study.
Students who do not qualify for participation in the Federal Work-Study Program, but would like to work part-time to earn money for college expenses, may obtain employment in the cafeteria, the bookstore, and several other campus locations. It is recommended that students contact the offices/departments in which they are interested in working.
Fairfield offers a Net Price Calculator, an additional resource to help students and their families estimate merit-based and need-based aid for which they may qualify for at Fairfield University. For access to the calculator and more information, visit our website.