Muhlenberg uses the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as the trigger for federal and state entitlement aid, as well as for Muhlenberg’s institutional need-based grant aid. Students are also required to complete the Muhlenberg Scholarship and Aid application, which may be found in each student’s financial aid portal. Muhlenberg’s deadlines for filing these forms are: Early Decision I – November 15, 2019; Early Decision II – February 1, 2020; Regular Decision – February 1, 2020.
We strongly encourage families to utilize the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) when completing the FAFSA. If your family is eligible, using the DRT may eliminate the need for additional documentation. The FAFSA is found here: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa
Students should also complete the Muhlenberg College Scholarship & Aid Application after October 25, 2019 and before February 1, 2020. This form may be only be completed after a student activates his or her Muhlenberg Financial Aid Online account.
There is no income cut-off for financial aid. The primary driver of the analysis of need is family income. However, both the FAFSA and our own institutional application 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 used by the Muhlenberg Scholarship and Aid application.
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.
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.
Federal regulations state that a custodial parent is the parent with whom the student lives 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 FAFSA. 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.
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. For the 2019-2020 academic year scholarships range from $5,000-$30,000. 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. Five (5) Merit Scholarships with a value of $40,000 each will be awarded to the class of 2024. If selected to one of four Muhlenberg College honors programs, the student will receive a $5,000 per year scholarship.
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).
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 hoursa week, the students can easily earn the full $1,800 award. 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.
Students who wish to work on campus but who were not awarded student employment as part of their financial aid package still have the option of working in specific departments. Students should stop by the financial aid office to find out more information about non-work study positions.
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.
Outside scholarships awarded to Muhlenberg College students will benefit students to the greatest extent possible. Students 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. In order to achieve this, the College will first reduce self-help (loans and/or jobs). After that, a dollar for dollar reduction in Muhlenberg College grants and scholarships will occur so that no form of assistance is in excess of a student’s cost of attendance.
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 19/20 loans it is fixed at 4.53%.
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,allstudents are eligible for a $2,000 unsubsidized Direct Federal 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 $5,500less any subsidized Student Loan they received.The interest rate changes each July 1st. For AY 19/20 loans it is fixed at 4.53%.
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 19/20 loans it is fixed at 7.08%.
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. Principalandinterest may be deferred while the student is enrolled in school. They have variable interest rates. Students may contact their lenders, credit card lenders or search the web for programs available.
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.