Muhlenberg College believes that the primary responsibility for financing a college education rests with the parents and the student. Consequently, the majority of assistance is awarded on the basis of financial need together with demonstrated and potential academic and nonacademic achievement.
The primary purpose of Muhlenberg’s financial aid program is to provide counseling and assistance to those students who, without such aid, would be unable to attend the College. The program assists full-time students (those enrolled for a minimum of 3 course units per semester) in meeting their costs through institutional scholarships, grants, student employment, and the three campus-based federal programs: Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Federal Perkins Loans, and Federal Work Study (FWS). The program also distributes information on and processes all outside federal programs, state grants, and other scholarships. Candidates for financial aid will be considered for any form or combination of forms of assistance. Consideration follows Muhlenberg College’s policy of nondiscrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability, or age as defined by law.
Basis for Financial Aid
Because each family’s financial situation is unique, for determining eligibility for Muhlenberg College need-based aid, the Office of Financial Aid carefully studies the need analysis that it receives from the College Scholarship Service and the Federal Processor. It begins by determining a reasonable student budget that includes expenses to cover tuition, room and board, books and supplies, personal expenses, and travel. Next, it compares this budget with the family’s income, assets, and the student’s earnings and savings contribution. The difference between college costs and the amount that the whole family can reasonably afford equals the financial need.
If financial need is established, the Office of Financial Aid awards aid to the extent that funds are available. The aid package usually includes a combination of grant, loan, and employment opportunity. The office will also assess the student’s eligibility to receive funds from such outside sources as federal and state grants, loans, and private scholarship or grant programs. Early in the senior year, high school students should ask their school guidance counselor about the various applications for these programs.
Financial Aid awards are given out for each academic year. Students must reapply each year by the stated deadlines in order to receive need-based awards in subsequent academic years. Renewals are based upon financial need from the FAFSA and other required documents, academic performance, positive contributions to the College and surrounding community, standing within the College’s Social Judicial System, and the availability of funds. Students who have a negative impact on the campus community through their behavior may jeopardize their institutional grant awards. Need-based financial aid is subject to change each year due to changes in the family’s financial circumstances. (See “Important Facts” on our website.)
Financial Aid Application Procedures
Prospective Students: A candidate for the first-year class who desires Muhlenberg College need-based grant financial assistance should complete the College Scholarship Service (CSS) financial aid PROFILE form and Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) no later than February 15. A Muhlenberg College Application for Financial Aid and a signed copy of the parents’ and student’s 2015 IRS 1040 Tax Return and W2 Form(s) must be submitted to the Office of Financial Aid by March 1. Late applications will be considered only if funds are available. The financial aid PROFILE form and FAFSA are on the financial aid section of the Muhlenberg website. If all forms are received on time, first-year students will be informed of their aid decision by early April. These decisions are made only after affirmative admissions decisions have been reached.
Transfer Students: Transfer candidates are placed on a wait list for Muhlenberg College need-based grant financial aid. Only after returning upperclass students and incoming first-year students are awarded will financial aid transfer candidates be considered for institutional grant aid. Transfer candidates for institutional grant aid must complete the financial aid PROFILE form and FAFSA by March 15. A Muhlenberg College Application for Financial Aid and a signed copy of the parents’ and student’s 2015 IRS 1040 Tax Return and W2 Form(s) must be submitted to the Office of Financial Aid by April 15.
Continuing Students: Upperclass students applying for Muhlenberg College need-based grant aid should obtain a packet of renewal aid forms before the mid-year break from the Office of Financial Aid. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and CSS financial aid PROFILE must be completed by April 15. A Muhlenberg College Application for Financial Aid and a signed copy of the parents’ and student’s 2015 IRS 1040 Tax Return and W2 Form(s) must be submitted to the Office of Financial Aid, also by April 15. If all forms are received on time, upperclass students should be informed of their aid decisions in early June. Students may contact the Office of Financial Aid for the penalties regarding filing forms late.
All students wishing to be considered only for Federal grants and loans must only file the FAFSA and if selected for verification, the appropriate documentation.
Independent Students: Students wishing to apply as independents must first consult with the Director of Financial Aid to see if they qualify for that status.
Study Abroad Programs: Students participating in the Muhlenberg International Student Exchange Program (ISEP) or a Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges program may receive federal and Muhlenberg financial aid and should adhere to the requirements and deadlines for upperclass students. Muhlenberg offers grants to students in other approved programs on a competitive basis. In addition, if the courses taken elsewhere are offered through Muhlenberg College, eligible students may also qualify for federal grants and loans.
Types of Aid Awarded by the College
Muhlenberg College Grants: Grant or scholarship funds awarded by the College are gifts that do not have to be repaid. Recipients must demonstrate a financial need, continue to make satisfactory academic progress, and show promise in the areas of campus contributions and college citizenship.
Campus Employment: Priority for on-campus employment goes to students with financial need and is awarded as part of the financial aid package. The Office of Financial Aid manages the program, but students are responsible for obtaining the positions for themselves. The student is paid by check on a monthly basis.
Merit Scholarships: The College also awards various merit scholarships to selected first-year students who demonstrate the potential for outstanding academic achievement. Recipients are to be notified of their selection by April of each year. The awards will be without regard to financial need and will be renewed provided that a 3.00 grade point average is achieved by the end of the second and third years. Students must also achieve a 2.50 cumulative grade point average by the end of their first year.
Ministerial Grants: Regardless of need, dependent sons and daughters of Lutheran pastors of the ELCA and clergy of other denominations with whom the ELCA shares full communion and who are under call for service to the church are eligible for ministerial grants. The College requires eligible students to file the appropriate financial aid applications. Deadlines and procedures for filing are the same as outlined for financial aid applicants. If a student is awarded a Ministerial Grant and also receives federal assistance, the Ministerial Grant may have to be reduced if the total aid received results in an over award of aid. The minimum grant a student can receive is $2,000. If the student demonstrates need, the student will receive grant assistance up to half tuition.
Honors Programs: Students with a combined SAT score of 1300 (Critical Reading and Math) or above and who rank in the top 10 percent of their class are considered for one of three honors programs - Muhlenberg Scholar, Dana Scholars, or RJ Fellows.
Each program provides an enriched academic experience with special seminars and research opportunities. Students receive an annual $4,000 stipend for each program.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG): The Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant is a federal grant awarded through Muhlenberg College. It is reserved for students who receive Pell Grants and may range from $100-$4,000 per year.
Federal Perkins Loan: The Federal Perkins Loan is a federal low interest (5 percent) loan awarded through Muhlenberg College to students with financial need. Students are limited to $3,000 per year and a $15,000 total for their education at Muhlenberg. Repayment of the loan begins six or nine months (depending upon date of initial borrowing) after the borrower ceases full or half-time study. The 5 percent interest starts at the beginning of the repayment period.
Federal College Work-Study Program (FWS): This federal program provides students with jobs on campus. Within limitations established by federal guidelines, the College determines weekly hours and wages. Placement is similar to the Muhlenberg campus employment program but is reserved for students with financial need.
Outside Assistance From Federal, State, or Private Sources
Pell Grant: This is a federal grant made available to eligible students with financial need. The application process takes place through the FAFSA. After filing the FAFSA, the student will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR). This SAR will be used by the Office of Financial Aid for determination of the award. This application must be renewed each year.
State Grant Programs: Consult your secondary school counselor to determine the extent of grant support furnished by your state. Residents of Pennsylvania may qualify for grant funds from the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA). Other states have similar programs. Some states allow you to apply for state grant assistance using the FAFSA and others utilize a separate application. Be sure to complete the correct application for state grant assistance.
Federal Direct Student Loans: Students may borrow from $5,500 to $7,500 annually with low interest and deferred repayment. The maximum you can borrow for undergraduate study is $31,000. Application instructions are available from the Office of Financial Aid. Independent students may also borrow up to an additional $4,000-$5,000 unsubsidized Direct Student Loan.
Restricted Scholarships: Students may also qualify for some of the need-based restricted scholarships administered through the Office of Financial Aid.
Other Sources of Aid: In addition to the programs mentioned above, students should investigate other grant and scholarship programs sponsored by a variety of private organizations, including business corporations, foundations, civic clubs, etc. Check with your high school guidance counselor for a list of local organizations.
Sources of Assistance Not Based on Need
FEDERAL DIRECT PLUS: These loans are meant to provide additional funds for educational expenses. Parents of dependent students may borrow up to the cost of attendance minus all financial aid. Payments may be deferred for the 4 years the student is enrolled at Muhlenberg College.
Army ROTC Scholarships: Muhlenberg students are able to participate in this program at Lehigh University. Students enrolled in the Army program can apply for scholarships that could cover some or all of the comprehensive fee, an allowance for books and supplies, and a monthly stipend for personal expenses. Information on the program may be obtained by contacting your guidance counselor or the Department of Military Science at Lehigh University (http://www.lehigh.edu/~inmil/index.shtml).
Payment plans: The College also offers a 10-month payment plan. Contact the Controller’s Office for further information.
Regulations Governing Aid
- To provide for the fullest use of the College’s resources, students are required to apply for all outside awards for which they may be eligible.
- 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 $6,000 a student receives in outside scholarships. Once a student exceeds a total of $6,000 in outside scholarships, a dollar for dollar reduction in need based Muhlenberg College Grant will occur.
- Students receiving federal or Muhlenberg College financial aid must make satisfactory academic progress to retain their awards. (Federal funds include Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Grants [FSEOG], Work-Study Program [FWS], Federal Perkins Loans, the Federal Direct Student Loan Program, and the Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students [PLUS]). If the student fails to maintain the institutional standards outlined in this section, the student is considered to not be making satisfactory academic progress and will lose aid until the standards are met.
First-year students will have a full academic year to meet the minimum standards for satisfactory academic progress. However, should they fail to meet the standards after their first semester, a warning letter will be sent to them explaining the consequences should they fail to meet the minimum standards after their second semester.
Upon formal petition to the Committee on Financial Aid, exceptions may be granted for unusual circumstances. These standards relate only to the awarding of financial aid. (See Academic Difficulty .)
Should circumstances warrant that students need additional time to complete their college requirements beyond the four years, financial aid may be available provided that satisfactory academic progress is being made. Students should contact the Office of Financial Aid for more information. Be aware, however, Muhlenberg College will only provide institutional aid for eight semesters.
- Some families may be selected for a process called Verification. Once notified of this selection, the family has 30 days to complete the verification process. Until the process is completed, no aid can officially be deducted from the student’s bill.
- Muhlenberg College funds are awarded only to traditional full-time day degree students for a maximum of eight semesters.
- Muhlenberg College aid may be cancelled as a result of disciplinary suspension or expulsion, academic dismissal, or withdrawal. Any aid recipient wishing to withdraw from a course(s) or from the College should review the impact of the withdrawal on awards with the Director of Financial Aid.
- The Tax Reform Act of 1986 states that financial aid grant awards (money that does not have to be repaid) in excess of the cost of tuition, fees, books, and equipment are subject to federal income tax.
- More detailed information regarding financial aid may be found on our website and all policies are available in our office.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards
All students are expected to maintain satisfactory academic progress defined as the minimum cumulative GPA shown in the chart below. Students who fall below these standards are reviewed by the Academic Progress Committee to determine academic standing and extenuating circumstances.
Eligibility for federal/state aid may also be affected by academic progress. Aid will be reinstated once the student has achieved satisfactory academic progress per the Academic Progress Committee and has submitted the required documents for financial aid consideration.
Appeals: Any student who has been denied financial aid may appeal the decision. Request for reconsideration must be submitted in writing to the Director of Financial Aid and include supporting documentation. Reconsideration will be based on the merit of the appeal and is subject to availability of funds and a GPA comparable to the all-College average.
More detailed information may be found on our financial aid website.
(includes transfer courses)
Additional Services Available
Students who have demonstrated exceptional need at Muhlenberg may request the Director of Financial Aid to write an application fee waiver letter to various graduate or professional schools.
Waivers of Graduate Record Examination (GRE) fees are available for students whose FAFSA calculated parental contribution towards their Muhlenberg education is $1,500 or less.