Commonly Asked Questions and Answers about Financial Aid at Muhlenberg College
How do I qualify for financial aid?
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; Early Decision II – February 1; Regular Decision – February 1.
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
What is the income cut-off for financial aid?
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.
Will other family members in college affect my financial need?
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.
My parents are divorced or separated? How do you treat that situation?
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.
How can I be an independent student?
In order to be considered independent for federal and state purposes for the 2022-2023 academic year, you must meet one of the following criteria:
- Be born before January 1, 1999
- 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 7/1/22 & 6/30/23
- Been adopted at the age of 13 or older
Muhlenberg College will review a student's independent status on a case-by-case basis.
What percentage of the Class of '25 received financial assistance?
94.88% of the Class of ‘25 is receiving scholarships and grants from all sources. 97.77% of the class is receiving some type of financial assistance.
What are the components of a Muhlenberg College financial aid package?
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 and it 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.
How do I apply for Muhlenberg's Merit Scholarships?
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, scholarships range from $5,000-$30,000. Five (5) Merit Scholarships with a value of $40,000 each will be awarded to the class of 2026. If selected to one of four Muhlenberg College honors programs, the student will receive a $5,000 per year scholarship.
If I receive a Merit Scholarship, how does that affect my financial aid package?
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).
How does the student employment program work at Muhlenberg College?
Students are awarded student employment as part of their financial aid offer. The average student employment award is $1,800. It has been our experience that by working 8 hours a week a student can easily earn the full $1,800 award for the year. These funds are not applied directly towards a student’s semester charges but earned through a monthly paycheck for the hours they work. All available positions are posted through Handshake. Positions range from being in administrative offices, academic departments, security, the Center for the Arts, the Student Union, and the theater, to name a few.
If I am not awarded student employment as part of my financial aid package, can I still work on campus?
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. These available positions are posted in Handshake. In these specific departments students are paid through an office's designated department funds. These funds will not be listed in a student’s aid offer.
Can I expect the same financial aid package for all four years at Muhlenberg?
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.
Merit and talent based aid will continue to be awarded for the same amount each award year, as long as a student meets the requirements for each award.
If I receive a scholarship from my high school or local organization, how will it affect my financial aid award?
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.
What kinds of loan options are available?
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. First-year students may borrow $3,500, sophomores $4,500 and juniors and seniors $5,500. The interest rate changes each July 1st. For AY 22/23 loans it is fixed at 4.99%.
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. All students are eligible for a $2,000 unsubsidized Direct Federal Loan. The interest rate also changes each July 1st. For AY 22/23 loans it is fixed at 4.99%.
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 $5,500, sophomores $6,500, juniors and seniors $7,500 less any subsidized Student Loan they received. The interest rate changes each July 1st. For AY 22/23 loans it is fixed at 4.99%.
Federal Direct PLUS Loan: This is a loan that the parent(s) of the student can take out as the borrower. The maximum amount that may be borrowed is the Cost of Attendance minus any other financial aid. Principal and interest payments or interest only payments are required. The interest rate changes each July 1st. For AY 22/23 loans it is fixed at 7.54%.
Alternative Educational Loans: These are loans that go in the student’s name. Students normally have a cosigner for the loan. The maximum amount that may be borrowed is the cost of attendance minus any other financial aid. Principal and interest 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.
Elm Select is a resource that can assist in searching for the right alternative loan for your particular situation. This link will take you to their loan search engine.
How much does it cost to attend Muhlenberg?
Please view the cost chart provided on the Cost of Education webpage. This information is based on the most current academic year.
How can I pay for the part of my tuition that is not covered by financial aid and loans?
Semester statements can be viewed in Workday following course registration for each semester. Payments can be made through Nelnet. The Business Office offers 2 payment plans per year, 5 months each. The Fall Semester payment plan spans from July to November. The Spring Semester payment plan spans from December to April. To view more Tuition Payment Information please view the provided information by the Business Office on the Muhlenberg College website. Payment plans can be setup through Nelnet.