Office of Financial Aid

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Muhlenberg Financial Aid on TwitterCommonly Asked Questions and Answers about
Financial Aid at Muhlenberg College

Q: How do I qualify for financial aid?

A: Muhlenberg uses the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as the trigger for federal and state entitlement aid.  The College uses the College Scholarship Service’s (CSS) Financial Aid PROFILE as the trigger for Muhlenberg’s institutional need-based grant aid.  Muhlenberg’s deadline for filing these forms is February 15th.

Q: What is the income cut-off for financial aid?

A: There is no income cut-off for financial aid.  The primary driver of the analysis of need is family income.  However, both the PROFILE and FAFSA will take into account assets, number in college, and the age of the oldest parent.  Unreimbursed medical expenses and expenses for private secondary school education are some additional factors the CSS PROFILE uses.

Q: Does Muhlenberg College count home equity when determining a family's financial need?

A: As is the case with many schools that Muhlenberg College competes with, we do have our own institutional methodology for awarding our institutional funds.  In determining a family's financial need with this methodology, we do include home equity as part of the calculation, which we currently cap at parent AGI. We use federal (FAFSA) methodology to determine eligibility for federal and state aid.

Q: Will other family members in college affect my financial need?

A: Muhlenberg College not only looks at who else (siblings only) in the family is enrolled in college, but also at the costs and financial aid involved at the other in­stitution.  We will divide the expected parent contribution accordingly.  For example, if a sibling is enrolled at a community college, the parent contribu­tion will not be divided in half as it would have been had that student been attending a school with a similar cost to Muhlenberg.  Instead, it will be divided proportion­ally.

Q: My parents are divorced or separated?  How do you treat that situation?

A: Federal regulations state that a custodial parent is the parent with whom the student lives with for 50% or more of the year and/or provides 50% of the financial support for the student.  It is the custodial parent that completes the “parent” sections of the PROFILE form (for institutional aid) and FAFSA (for federal and state aid).  If this parent has remarried, then the step-parent's financial aid informa­tion IS REQUIRED.  The federal govern­ment feels that as part of the marriage the step-parent assumes some respon­sibility for the student.  In addition, Muhlenberg College requires the non-custodial parent to complete the CSS Noncustodial Parent's Profile Form that is available online in order to be considered for institutional need-based aid.

If the whereabouts of the non-custodial parent are unknown or if the non-custodial parent refuses to complete the Noncustodial Parent's Profile Form, please contact the Office of Financial Aid in writing.  These situa­tions are handled on an individual case-by-case basis.

Q: If I would only like to be considered for Federal Financial Aid, what must I do?

A: You will only need to complete the Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  We also ask that you complete sections A and C (to update your personal contact information and establish your FERPA contacts) of the appropriate Muhlenberg College Application for Financial Aid.  If you are selected by the Federal Government for “Verification”, you will be required to complete additional forms and provide us with additional information.

Q: How can I be an independent student?

A: In order to be considered independent for federal and state purposes for the 2014-2015 academic year, you must meet one of the following criteria:

       Be born before January 1, 1991
       Be a veteran of the US Armed Forces
       Currently serving active duty in the U.S. Armed Services other than training          
       Be married
       Be an orphan or ward of the court
       Have legal dependents other than a spouse that receive half of their support from you
       between 7/1/14 & 6/30/15
       Been adopted at the age of 13 or older

Muhlenberg College will review a student's independent status on a case-by-case basis.

Q: What percentage of the Class of '17  received any  institutional aid?

A: 86.7% of the Class of ‘17 is receiving grant money from Muhlenberg College.  89.6% of the class is receiving some type of financial assistance. 

Q: What are the components of a Muhlenberg College financial aid package?

A: The typical financial aid package for a Muhlenberg student will usually consist of one or more of the following:

       Muhlenberg College Grant Money:  This is money from Muhlenberg College that
       does not need to be repaid.
       Federal/State Grant Money: This is money that does not need to be repaid and is
       awarded by the federal or state government.
       Student Employment: This is money that the student earns.            
       Loans: This is money that the student needs to repay.

The make-up of the award (grant vs. self-help) is based on a student's finan­cial need and the student's high school achievements.

Q: How do I apply for Muhlenberg's Merit Scholarships?

A: When you submit your application for admission to Muhlenberg College, you are automati­cally considered for all of the merit scholarships that the col­lege offers.  If any additional infor­mation is required, the Office of Admis­sions will contact you directly.  Muhlenberg College enrolls over 125 Merit Scholarship recipients per incoming class.  The scholarships range from $1,000-$18,000. Merit Scholarship recipients typically have combined Critical Reading and Math SAT scores of over 1300 and rank in the top 10% of their high school class. 

Q: If I receive a Merit Scholarship, how does that affect my financial aid package?

A: Merit award decisions are made independently from the need-based financial aid awards.  However, because of federal guidelines, merit awards must be counted as a financial aid source and will be listed on your award letter.  Because of Muhlenberg College's "preferential" pack­aging, Merit Scholarship recipients' packages are weighted toward scholarship and grant as opposed to self-help (loans and student employment).

Q: What is the average grant received by the Class of ‘17

A: The average Muhlenberg College grant for the Class of '17 was $19,373.  The total average financial aid package for the Class of ’17 was $24,762.00. 

Q: How does the student employment program work at Muhlenberg College?

A: Students are awarded student employment as part of their financial aid package.  The aver­age student employment award is $1,800.  It has been our ex­perience that by working 8 hours a week, the students can easily earn the full $1,800 award.  Students can find out about the jobs that will be open for the upcoming academic year during June Advising or in August from the bulletin board outside our office.  Students are responsible for contacting the super­visor listed and obtaining their own job.  They will receive a monthly paycheck for their work.  Some of the  jobs are in administrative offices, academic departments, security, the Center for the Arts, the Student Union, and the theater.

Q: If I am not awarded student employment as part of my financial aid package, can I still work on campus?

A: Students who wish to work on campus but who were not awarded student employment as part of their financial aid package should stop in the Office of Financial Aid at the beginning of the semester to fill out a job application.  After the first two weeks of school, we will open all remaining jobs to eligible financial aid students.  After the third week, we will open it up to all students. 

Q: Can I expect the same financial aid package for all four year's at Muhlen­berg?

A: A student's need-based financial aid package is renewed each year provided the student still demonstrates financial need as determined by the annual filing of the FAFSA, is making satisfactory academic progress and is in good standing in the College Community.  However, if your financial need decreases due to a change in your family's cir­cumstances (i.e., the size of your family decreases, the number in college decreases, your family's income or assets increases), or you are having dif­ficulty with your academic performance, your need-based financial aid award will be affected.

Q: If I receive a scholarship from my high school or local organization, how will it affect my financial aid award?

A:  Muhlenberg College students on financial aid, including merit scholarship recipients, are required to report their outside awards to the Office of Financial Aid as soon as they are notified of them.  No amount of aid, including outside awards and merit scholarships, can ever exceed Muhlenberg’s cost of attendance.  If necessary, adjustments to Muhlenberg financial aid awards will occur only to the self help portion (federal loans, student employment) for the first $6000 a student receives in outside scholarships.  Once a student exceeds a total of $6000 in outside scholarships, a dollar for dollar reduction in need based Muhlenberg College Grant will occur.

Q: What kind of loan options are available?

A: There are several loan options available to students and their parents.

       Federal Direct Subsidized Student Loan : This is a need-based loan that goes in the student's name.  It is subsidized by the federal government so there are no payments required as long as the student is enrolled in school on at least a half-time basis.  Freshmen may borrow $3,500, soph­omores $4,500 and juniors and seniors $5,500.  The interest rate changes each July 1st.  For AY 13/14 loans it is fixed at 3.9%.

       Federal Direct Unsubsidized Student Loan: This is also a loan that goes in the student's name.  Interest payments can be deferred until after graduation or are made while the student is in school.  Beginning with the 2008-2009 academic year, all students are eligible for a $2,000 unsubsidized Stafford Loan.

 In addition, students that do not qualify for the maximum subsidized loan for their grade level may borrow the difference in the unsubsidized loan.  Freshmen may borrow $3,500, sopho­mores $4,500, juniors and seniors $5,500 less any subsidized Student Loan they received. The interest rate changes each July 1st.  For AY 13/14 loans it is fixed at 3.9%.

       Federal Perkins Loan: For the AY 12/13, this is a need-based loan that also goes in the student's name.  The interest is subsidized by the federal government so there are no payments required as long as the student is enrolled on at least a half-time basis.  The interest rate after graduation is fixed at 5%. 

       Federal Direct PLUS Loan: This is a loan that the parent(s) of the student take out.  The maximum amount that may be borrowed is the Cost of Education minus any other financial aid.  Principal and interest payments or interest only payments are required and the interest changes each July 1st.  For AY 13/14 loans it is fixed at 6.4%.

       Alternative Educational Loans: These are loans that go in the student’s name.  Students normally have a co-signer for the loan.  The maximum amount that may be borrowed is the cost of education minus any other financial aid.  Principal and interest may be deferred while the student is enrolled in school.  They have variable interest rates. Students my contact their lenders, credit card lenders or search the web for programs available.

Q: How much does it cost to attend Muhlenberg?

A: For the 2013/2014 academic year, tuition, fees, room and board total $52,835.  The 2014/2015 charges will be announced in April of 2014.

Q: How can I pay for the part of my tuition that is not covered by financial aid and loans?

A: Muhlenberg College will send out bills for the Fall Semester in June prior to the start of the Fall Semester.  The Spring Semester bill will be sent out in December.  Bills are usually due 30 days after they are sent.  Muhlenberg College also participates in a 10-Month Payment Plan.  This plan allows stu­dents and their families to begin making payments in May/June prior to start­ing the Fall Semester.  There is simply an application fee of $50 and families indicate in the application how much they wish to spread out over the 10-Month period.