Financial Aid Awarding Policies

Financial Aid Awarding Policies

Students have the following rights and responsibilities: 

  • Access to complete information regarding tuition, fees, payment, and refund policies. 
  • Confidentiality of all personal and family financial information. 
  • Reconsideration of student aid eligibility if student and parent situation warrants it through an appeal to Student Financial Services. 
  • To advise Student Financial Services of any additional financial aid received that is not indicated on the Mercyhurst Financial Aid Offer Letter. 
  • To follow application filing deadlines and to submit all required documentation for verification of financial and other information?pertaining to the financial aid application process within 30 days of the request. 
  • To give Student Financial Services permission to relay pertinent financial, academic, and other information to donors of aid upon request. 
  • To maintain Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). (Refer to SAP Policy that follows). 
  • To comply with the rules governing the types of financial assistance the student receives. 

Financial Aid Application Procedures and Deadlines 

To apply for federal and institutional (Mercyhurst) financial aid, a student must complete and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each academic year. 

Students can submit the FAFSA electronically via To file electronically, a student (and parent if student is a dependent) will need a U.S. Department of Education FSA ID. The FSA ID serves as a student’s and/or parent’s electronic signature. Call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 800-433-3243 for additional information about the FAFSA or visit

Although students can file the FAFSA any time after December 1 for the following academic year in which they plan to attend, Mercyhurst’s priority deadline to file the FAFSA is March 15 of that year, to ensure full consideration for federal and institutional scholarships, grants, and loans. Be sure to include Mercyhurst’s institutional code, 003297, in the university choice section of the FAFSA. 

Students may still file the FAFSA after the March 15 deadline, but they risk not receiving aid from some programs. In addition to the processed FAFSA, Student Financial Services must receive all requested documentation within 30 days of the request but no later than 30 days before the end of the semester or award period. This deadline allows processing and authorization of disbursements within timeframes defined by regulations pertaining to federal aid programs. 

Students attending a course(s) in Summer Session must file a separate Summer Financial Aid Application two weeks prior to the end of the summer session they are attending to receive summer financial aid, including Federal Direct Loans. The link to the form is available on the Student Hub after April 15. 

Failure to apply or to submit required documentation by the indicated deadlines might result in a loss of financial aid eligibility for all student aid programs.

Student Financial Services Processing Schedule and Deadlines


  • New students (and parents) attend Summer Orientation.
  • New students taking Direct Loans sign Promissory Note for undergraduate students and complete entrance counseling online at
  • Packaging begins for returning students who are registered for the following fall semester.
  • Fall bills are sent to students registered for fall courses.
  • Parents apply for Federal Direct PLUS Loans or Alternative Loans if needed and sign Promissory Notes.


  • Loan exit counseling is completed by student loan borrowers expecting to graduate after summer term.
  • Deadline to submit summer SAP Appeals is July 21, 2023.


  • Fall bills are due August 4, 2023. Payments must be received by this date.
  • Deadline to submit fall SAP appeals is August 11, 2023.


  • Awards are finalized the day after drop/add.
  • Financial Aid Refunds are processed and directly deposited.


  • Student loan borrowers graduating at the end of the fall semester complete loan exit counseling.
  • Awards are finalized for any student with Mini 2 session registration activity.
  • Financial Aid Packaging begins for freshmen and transfer students for the following academic year.


  • All paperwork and loan requests must be submitted by mid-November and finalized to receive aid for fall semester.


  • Spring bills are sent to students registered for spring courses.
  • FAFSA is available for 2024-25 filing through
  • Mercyhurst University must be listed in the university choice section of the FAFSA with a school code 003297.


  • Spring bills are due January 5, 2024. Payments must be received by this date.
  • 1098 Tax Statements for federal and state income tax filing are sent to students who were enrolled in the prior calendar year.
  • Deadline to submit spring SAP appeals is January 5, 2024.


  • 1042-S Tax Statements are sent to international students who were enrolled in the prior calendar year.


  • FAFSA preferred filing deadline is March 15, 2024; Mercyhurst University must be listed in the university choice section of the FAFSA with a school code 003297.
  • Federal income tax returns and any other requested information must be submitted to Student Financial Services to complete the federal financial aid verification process.
  • Awards are finalized for any student with Mini 4 session registration activity.


  • Loan exit counseling is completed by student loan borrowers expecting to graduate after spring semester.
  • Summer Financial Aid applications are available in Student Financial Services and on the student Hub.


  • Admissions Confirmation Deposits are due May 1, 2024 for new students.
  • FAFSA filing deadline for PA State Grant applicants is May 1, 2024.
  • Returning student records are reviewed for Satisfactory Academic Progress after spring semester grades are posted

Financial Aid Packaging

Helping students afford a Mercyhurst education is important to the university. Although the primary financial responsibility for an education rests with a student’s family, there are several sources that can help reduce the expense of an education at Mercyhurst. The federal government, state government, and Mercyhurst all provide various forms of assistance to help a student and family finance the student’s education at Mercyhurst.  The student’s Cost of Attendance (COA), Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and Financial Need (FN) are the components used to determine a student’s financial aid eligibility and to create a student’s financial aid package.

Cost of Attendance

Mercyhurst determines the Cost of Attendance (COA), or budget, which is an estimate of the educational expenses a student will incur during the academic year. These costs include tuition, fees, housing, food, transportation allowance, books and supplies allowance, and miscellaneous educational expenses.  Cost of Attendance figures are available in the Cost of Attendance Section.

Expected Family Contribution

Expected Family Contribution is an estimate of the family’s financial strength and the ability to contribute, and it is measured by applying the official needs analysis formula to the data submitted on the student’s FAFSA.

Financial Need

Financial Need refers to the Cost of Attendance minus the Expected Family Contribution. Demonstrated Financial Need (COA-EFC=FN) determines a student’s eligibility for need-based financial assistance.

Special Circumstances

Although the formula to determine financial aid eligibility is standard for all applicants, there is some flexibility in recalculating eligibility in special circumstances. For example, if a student or a student’s family has experienced an income reduction due to unemployment, disability, divorce, or death, or other reason, the student can submit an appeal to potentially have financial aid eligibility recalculated using updated information. Contact Student Financial Services at 814-824-2288 for more information or to schedule an appointment with a Student Financial Services counselor.

Other special circumstances include loss of nontaxable income (e.g., child support, Social Security benefits, and so on). In all cases, special circumstances must be   fully documented with tax returns, death certificates, court documentation, or letters from appropriate agencies, individuals, or employers. If there are other circumstances that affect the amount that a student and family can contribute toward a student’s education, contact Student Financial Services as soon as possible, but keep in mind that the reasons must be sound, and the student will have to provide adequate proof to support any adjustments.

Verification and Eligibility Confirmation

Verification is the process by which Student Financial Services — as dictated by federal regulations — compares the information reported on a FAFSA with a student’s (and student’s parents’) prior-prior-year tax returns and other financial documentation. If a student’s application is selected for verification, the student will be contacted by letter and e-mail requesting the information required. Student Financial Services must receive all requested documentation before federal aid can be disbursed. If there are differences between the data supplied on the FAFSA and the verification documentation, corrections might be needed, and the student’s FAFSA will be reprocessed. This might result in a revision of the financial aid package. Failure to submit documents within the requested time frame will result in cancellation of aid.

If a student is a Pennsylvania resident receiving state aid, PHEAA might select the student file for state validation. If a student receives an Applicant Information Request from PHEAA, the student must forward all requested information and financial documents directly to PHEAA in Harrisburg. In some cases, PHEAA might request the same information that was requested by Student Financial Services. The student must forward this same information and documentation to PHEAA to avoid a delay in disbursement of funds or loss of state aid altogether.

It is extremely important that students (and parents) respond to requests for information promptly, because finalized financial aid packages are processed in the order of file completion dates. To ensure a student’s financial aid funds disburse as scheduled at the start of the fall semester, the student must be registered for classes, make Satisfactory Academic Progress, and submit all required documentation by July 20 prior to the academic year. Failure to reply to requests for information will result in cancellation of any financial aid offers. Students may still submit late documents, but aid is not guaranteed. The absolute deadline for submittal of all documents is 30 days before the end of the semester or award period in which the student is enrolled for the academic year. The designated deadlines allow Student Financial Services to process and authorize disbursements within the time frames permitted under federal regulations and university policies.

Enrollment Status

Each financial aid program has specific requirements regarding enrollment status. In general, Student Financial Services uses the following undergraduate enrollment criteria each semester to determine eligibility for the financial aid programs it administers.

Credits Enrollment Status Classification


Full Time


Three Quarter Time


Half Time


Less than Half Time


Students enrolled in a post-baccalaureate program are considered undergraduate students for financial aid purposes.

A student’s financial aid package is based on full-time enrollment as determined on the census date (the morning after drop/add). If a student does not have full-time status, financial aid will be adjusted accordingly. Students registered for any Mini 2 or Mini 4 courses will have a secondary census date after the drop/add period for those terms. If changes to enrollment cause the student to be less than full time for the semester, aid for the entire semester will be recalculated and, in some cases, canceled. If canceled aid results in a balance owed to the school, the student must pay the balance within 30 days.

Failure to resolve an outstanding balance within that time frame may result in the account being placed on hold, possible deregistration from future registered courses, and a hold on the grades and/or transcripts. Summer enrollment status follows the same enrollment criteria for financial aid eligibility. Students must consult with Student Financial Services if they plan to withdraw from any courses in any term.

Other Eligibility Criteria

Eligibility for federal student aid is determined on the basis of financial need and several other factors. To receive financial aid from federal programs, students must meet the following criteria:

  • File FAFSA.
  • Demonstrate financial need where applicable.
  • Have a high school diploma or its equivalent.
  • Be admitted to a certificate or degree program and be working toward a certificate or degree.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.
  • Have a valid Social Security number.
  • Register with Selective Service (if required).
  • Not be in default on a student loan or owe a repayment of federal student aid.
  • Maintain Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress once enrolled. (Refer to the Financial aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.)

In addition to most of the federal aid criteria detailed earlier, eligibility for Pennsylvania assistance programs requires that the student (and parents if the student is a dependent) meet Pennsylvania residency requirements.

Enrollment at Other Institutions/Study-Abroad

Students cannot receive financial aid at multiple institutions for the same courses. A student must declare which institution is to be considered the “home school” for financial aid eligibility purposes. If students have been approved to study abroad or to attend another institution during a semester to take part or all of their educational requirements, the students might receive some forms of financial aid for that semester, if approved in advance and if a Consortium Agreement is executed between Mercyhurst and the other institution. Not all schools participate in Consortium Agreements, so it is important to confirm this early. Consortium Agreement information is available from Student Financial Services.

The Financial Aid Package

Financial aid at Mercyhurst is awarded according to financial need, merit, talent, athletic ability, or combination of these factors. If a student is eligible for financial assistance based on financial need, the student might receive a combination of gift aid (grants or scholarships that need not be repaid) and self-help aid (loans, which must be repaid, or part-time employment on campus). Any combination of awards is referred to as a student’s financial aid package.  

Once a financial aid package has been awarded, a student can review it at any time throughout the year via Self Service. Students are awarded for the official academic year only (fall and spring semesters). If students are interested in receiving federal aid for summer, they must complete a Summer Aid Application and submit it to Student Financial Services two weeks before the end of the summer session for which they are registered. All balances must be paid in full by the bill due date.  There is no institutional aid available for summer sessions. 

Eligibility for federal and state grants, as well as some Mercyhurst scholarships, is based on the information on the FAFSA and the general eligibility requirements of each program. Gift aid is always awarded before self-help aid. If a student has remaining eligibility after gift aid has been awarded, the student’s financial aid package might also include work-study offers and student loans. 

If any portion of the financial aid package consists of Federal SEOG, Federal Work- Study, or Subsidized Stafford Loan, total aid (excluding Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, Federal PLUS Loan, and Alternative Loans) can never exceed a student’s demonstrated financial need. If a student receives a financial aid offer after the original financial aid package is developed and that new award causes an “over award,” some form of financial aid assistance will be reduced so the total aid does not exceed the student’s demonstrated financial need. In all instances, a student’s total financial aid can never exceed a student’s Cost of Attendance. 

Mercyhurst University usually reduces self-help aid (loans and work-study offers) first. Gift aid (grants and scholarships) will only be reduced if necessary. If gift aid must be reduced, Mercyhurst grants or scholarships are adjusted before federal, state, or external sources. Also, Mercyhurst grants, or scholarships are reduced when total awards from Mercyhurst exceed a student’s direct costs. Students will never receive a refund of Mercyhurst grants or scholarships in the form of a payment. 

Mercyhurst Scholarships and Grants 

Institutional scholarships and grant programs require that students be enrolled full time and maintain a minimum Grade Point Average (GPA). There is a four-consecutive-year maximum time limit (two-consecutive-year maximum time limit for associate degree students) to receive institutional scholarships and grants for new freshmen. Some awards are for two years only, which will be specified in the original admissions packet. This is assuming a student maintains continuous enrollment (fall and spring semesters only). Students must continue to meet the scholarship criteria as described in communications sent directly to the student with the financial aid offer letter. Students must also meet the minimum standards specified in the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for Financial Aid. Other scholarships may be based on athletic ability or talent. Mercyhurst offers several scholarships and grants based on financial need. Students are required to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) annually to receive Mercyhurst need-based scholarship and grants. Institutional grants and scholarships are awarded for the official academic semesters only (fall and spring), which does not include summer sessions. Students who are not enrolled for two consecutive semesters (fall and spring semesters only) forfeit their institutional aid and must reapply to the university as a readmitted student; readmitted students generally receive lower institutional aid than those maintaining continuous enrollment. 

Note: The following information on the student aid programs is current as of the publication date of this academic catalog. Mercyhurst reserves the right to change or cancel awards because of regulatory changes, revised allocations, or additional information concerning a student’s financial aid eligibility. 

Mercyhurst does not guarantee substitution of funds for any portion of the financial aid package cancelled or reduced by government agencies or other sources, or for any portion of the financial aid package declined by the student. Awarding is contingent upon program requirements, student eligibility, and availability of funds. Work-study offers are not guarantees of employment; positions are generally filled on a first-come basis. 

In addition to state, federal and private funding sources, Mercyhurst offers scholarships to incoming students based on academic merit, financial need, and athletic and artistic performance to help meet tuition costs. Unless otherwise noted, most Mercyhurst University financial aid is automatically renewable for four years of study from the student’s start date at Mercyhurst, given the renewal criteria is met. 

Full-time enrollment is required, and a student must meet Satisfactory Academic Progress each year (detailed fully in the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy section). Herrmann, Egan and some other scholarships may have higher GPA renewal requirements. It is a student’s responsibility to know and understand the renewal requirements for each scholarship received.

Carolyn Herrmann Scholarships are awarded to applicants who demonstrate a high degree of academic ability. Named for a Sister of Mercy, Herrmann Scholarships are among our most prestigious awards, ranging from $12,000 to more than $20,000 for some students. High school GPA, SAT or ACT test scores, class rank, and high school coursework are considered in evaluating a student’s qualifications for this scholarship. If students qualify for other merit-related scholarships (e.g.  art, dance, music, band), their Herrmann Scholarship might be reduced. This scholarship is renewable for four years of study. Herrmann Scholarships might be reduced if a student’s GPA falls below 3.0; the award is forfeited in full if a student’s GPA falls below 2.5.

University Awards are awarded to students based on academic achievement in high school. This scholarship is renewable for four years of study. University scholarships might be reduced if a student’s GPA falls below 2.5; the award is forfeited in full if a student’s GPA falls below 2.0.

President’s Grants are awarded to students who show strong potential as a Mercyhurst University student but are unable to afford the cost of tuition. These scholarships are central to our mission of ensuring Mercyhurst remains an accessible choice for students. Admissions counselors award these scholarships on behalf of Mercyhurst President, Dr. Kathleen Getz. Completion of the FAFSA is required to be considered for this scholarship.

Mercyhurst Grants are a need-based awards based on the completion of the FAFSA form to help students subsidize the higher expenses of the first year (e.g. meal plan requirements). These awards can be reduced by up to one-third each year for up to four years.

Athletic Scholarships are awarded by coaches to students who demonstrate substantial athletic prowess and potential. Applicants being actively recruited by an athletic team should discuss financial aid with the coach. Students must meet NCAA eligibility requirements to qualify for athletic aid. Only merit-based awards can be combined with an athletic scholarship.

Performance Scholarships are awarded by department faculty to music and dance applicants who demonstrate exceptional skill. These awards — starting   at $750 per year — go to exceptional dance (ballet-focused) and music (vocal or instrumental) students. In addition to completing their application, students must also audition to be eligible for these awards. If a student qualifies for other merit-related scholarships (e.g. art, academic), his or her Performance Scholarship might be reduced.

Erie Diocese and Sisters of Mercy Heritage Awards of up to $1,000 are awarded to students enrolling from a Catholic high school (Diocese award) or Mercy-sponsored, co-sponsored, or affiliated high school (Sisters award).

Alumni Legacy Scholarships of up to $1,000 are awarded to applicants who are dependents of a Mercyhurst alumnus or alumna. You must note this on your application for Mercyhurst to qualify for this scholarship.

Rotary Youth Leadership Award Scholarships are available for students who attended and completed the Western PA RYLA Conference and applied to Mercyhurst by March 1.  In addition to applying, applicants also should submit a copy of their RYLA completion certificate to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Students must have at least a 3.5 cumulative high school GPA at the time of admission.

ROTC Room & Meal Plan Scholarships are available from Mercyhurst for students who receive a full ROTC scholarship.  Cadets must complete a Cadet Payment Request (CPR) each semester via The deadline to submit a CPR is three weeks after the add/drop date published in the university catalog. Mercyhurst University offers full room and board scholarships for the first year to recipients of the Advanced Designation three-year Army scholarship. The Mercyhurst ROTC office will notify and work with the Director of Undergraduate Admissions as students become eligible.

Carpe Diem Housing Grants and Supplemental Campus Housing Grants are need-based awards that can be awarded to associate degree or undergraduate certificate-seeking students and those enrolled in undergraduate certificates to subsidize the cost of living on campus.

Traditional Students Internal Transfer Grant

Two-year scholarships are available for traditional-aged students (TR student type) pursuing a Mercyhurst University bachelor’s degree after completion of a Mercyhurst University associate degree program. Please note, the internal transfer scholarship is not applicable to the RN-to-BSN Completion program.


Award Amount      

3.5 - 4.0

$18,000 per year

3.0 - 3.49

$16,000 per year

2.75 - 2.99

$15,000 per year

2.5 - 2.74

$10,000 per year

Adult Student Internal Transfer Grant

Two-year scholarships are available for adult students (AS student type) pursuing a Mercyhurst University bachelor’s degree after completion of a Mercyhurst University associate degree program. Please note, the internal transfer scholarship is not applicable to the RN-to-BSN Completion program.


Award Amount      

3.5 - 4.0

$3,600 per year

3.0 - 3.49

$3,000 per year

Mother Catherine McAuley Scholarships may be awarded to an undergraduate students of any age pursuing a certificate or associates degree, or an adult student (AS student type; 24 years of age or older) pursuing a bachelor’s degree. A 2.0 minimum GPA is required for renewal. This scholarship has been named in honor of Mother Catherine McAuley. The heritage of Mercyhurst is traced back to Mother Catherine McAuley, who founded the Sisters of Mercy in Dublin, Ireland.

Endowed, Restricted & Foundation Scholarships

There are several grants and scholarships available that have been endowed by an individual or established in memory of someone. There are also numerous restricted and foundation scholarships that have been made available by a company, individual, or organization on an annual basis. Eligibility varies according to the donor’s wishes. Students are informed of the criteria required and requirements for renewal at the time of awarding.

Federal Need-Based Grants

Students must file the FAFSA and meet eligibility requirements.

Federal Pell Grant

Awarded to undergraduate students based on financial need if enrolled and have not yet received a first bachelor’s degree. Students may be enrolled part time or full time to receive a Pell Grant. Dollar amounts awarded depend on the student’s Cost of Attendance, Estimated Family Contribution, total Pell Grants received previously, and if the student plans to attend full time or part time. A student’s EFC is derived from the information provided on the FAFSA.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant 
Undergraduate students are eligible to receive SEOG if they are Pell-eligible, pursuing their first undergraduate degree, and have a zero EFC. 

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