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    Jun 23, 2024  
American University Catalog 2023-2024 
American University Catalog 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Undergraduate Financial Aid

American University awards financial aid to students based on a combination of demonstrated financial need, academic achievement, and the availability of funds. Evaluation for AU merit awards is conducted by the AU Office of Admissions and is extended to all applicants who submit their admissions application by the established priority deadlines. Once a student is admitted to American University, the Financial Aid Office assesses the student’s need and develops a financial aid award that includes funds from the programs for which the student qualifies. To receive consideration for need-based financial aid, a student must:

  • file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for federal aid consideration
  • file the CSS Profile for AU Grant consideration
  • be a United States citizen or eligible non-citizen
  • be enrolled in a degree-seeking program

The financial aid award may include a combination of American University scholarships, grants, federal grants, federally subsidized or unsubsidized loans and/or student employment. For more information contact Financial Aid at

Financial Aid Options

Parent PLUS Loans
Scholarships for International Students
Private Scholarships
Work-Study and Part-Time Employment

Undergraduate Deadlines

For federal need-based aid consideration, the FAFSA must be filed with the federal processor. For priority AU need-based aid consideration, both the FAFSA and the College Board CSS Profile must be submitted by the following deadlines:

CSS/Financial Aid Profile Deadlines
CSS Profile and FAFSA Type Deadline
Early Decision I First Year November 15
Early Decision II First Year January 15
Regular Decision First Year January 15
Transfer Students May 1


FAFSA Deadline
FAFSA Deadline
Current AU Students          May 1

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Recipients of federal (Title IV) or institutional funds must maintain minimum Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards to retain eligibility for financial assistance.

Minimum Standards

  • Full-time undergraduate AU need-based aid and federal financial aid recipients must maintain at least a 2.00 cumulative grade point average and complete two-thirds (66.67 percent) of all attempted credit hours
  • Part-time undergraduate financial aid recipients must maintain at least a 2.00 cumulative grade point average and complete two-thirds (66.67 percent) of all attempted credit hours
  • All students must complete their academic program within 150 percent of the normal time limit of that academic program as defined in the Academic Regulations
  • Merit-based scholarship recipients may have different standards than those listed above. Please refer to the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for information on Merit scholarship renewal requirements

Frequency of Monitoring

An audit of each student’s academic progress is conducted annually in June. Financial Aid will send written notification to students who are not maintaining satisfactory progress.

Academic Appeals

All academic questions and appeals must be directed to the student’s respective academic department(s). The Financial Aid Office has no authority to alter the academic record of a student.

Re-establishing Financial Aid Eligibility

Students who have failed to maintain the minimum Satisfactory Academic Progress standards may re-establish eligibility for financial aid funds by: the changing of a grade, the completion of incomplete or in progress course(s), or the reporting of a missing grade. Please note that funds are limited, even if an appeal is granted, funds may not be available.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeals

Students who are not meeting the SAP requirements for aid eligibility will be notified in writing of the loss of aid eligibility. Students with extenuating circumstances may submit an appeal in writing to the Financial Aid Office to request a reinstatement of financial aid. Appeals will be considered on a case by case basis. The appeal letter must include a written description and explanation of the following:

  1. The extenuating circumstances that prevented the student from meeting the SAP requirements.
  2. Course of action or change in situation that will allow them to make satisfactory progress at the next evaluation. In certain cases, the appeal letter should include supporting documentation to prove that the extenuating circumstances occurred. For example, if the extenuating circumstances were an illness, then the student would attach a note from a medical provider confirming the illness took place, that treatment was/is under way, and that the student is now able to return successfully to school. In addition, AU may require an academic plan to show how the student will continue to make SAP while they are on probation.

Refund and Repayment Policy

See Refunds and Cancellation of Charges  for information on American University’s tuition, housing, and meal plan refund policies.

The American University refund policy does not apply to first-time American University students. A “first-time student” is defined in Federal regulations as any student who has not attended at least one class at American University, or who has received a full refund for previous attendance at American University.

Federal (Title IV) Financial Aid Recipients Return of Title IV Funds Policy

Federal regulations require that students, who take a temporary leave, withdraw, are dismissed, or separate from the institution prior to completing 60 percent of a payment period or term be subject to recalculation of their federal aid.

If a student leaves the institution prior to completing 60 percent of a payment period or term, the Financial Aid Office must recalculate eligibility for Title IV funds. Recalculation is based on the percentage of earned aid using the following Federal Return of Title IV funds formula:

Percentage of payment period or term completed = the number of days completed up to the withdrawal date divided by the total days in the payment period or term. (Any break of five days or more is not counted as part of the days in the term.) This percentage is also the percentage of earned aid.

Funds are returned to the appropriate federal program based on the percentage of unearned aid using the following formula:

Aid to be returned = (100 percent of the aid that could be disbursed minus the percentage of earned aid) multiplied by the total amount of aid that could have been disbursed during the payment period or term.

If a student earned less aid than was disbursed, the institution would be required to return a portion of the funds and the student would be required to return a portion of the funds. When Title IV funds are returned, the student borrower may owe a debit balance to the institution.

If a student earned more aid than was disbursed to him or her, the institution would owe the student a post-withdrawal disbursement which must be paid within 120 days of the student’s withdrawal. The institution must return the amount of Title IV funds for which it is responsible no later than 30 days after the date of the determination of the date of the student’s withdrawal.

Refunds are allocated in the following order:

  • William D. Ford Federal Direct (Stafford) Unsubsidized Loans (other than PLUS Loans)
  • William D. Ford Federal Direct (Stafford) Subsidized Loans
  • Federal Perkins Loans
  • William D. Ford Federal Direct (Stafford) Parent PLUS Loans
  • Federal Pell Grants for which a return of funds is required
  • Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grants for which a return of funds is required
  • Federal TEACH Grants
  • Other assistance under Title IV for which a return of funds is required (e.g., LEAP)


The Office of Admissions makes all merit-based scholarship decisions and notifies students at the time of admission to AU. Merit awards range from $3,000 to full tuition per year. Scholarships awarded to selected applicants include but are not limited to:

  • Presidential Scholarship
  • Dean’s Scholarship
  • Leadership Scholarship
  • National Achievement, National Merit, and National Hispanic Scholarships
    Awarded to first-year applicants who were named National Achievement and National Merit finalists and National Hispanic semi-finalists; who have designated American University as their first-choice college with the National Merit Scholarship Corporation by February 1 of their senior year
  • Athletic Scholarship
    Interested students should contact the coach of the sport in which they excel
  • AU Yellow Ribbon Program Scholarship
  • United Methodist Scholarship
    For the children of active, ordained Methodist ministers

Private/Restricted Scholarships

The university has a limited number of scholarships that are funded annually through endowments by donors. Candidates are evaluated by Financial Aid for eligibility for these scholarships and no separate application is required.


Grants are need-based awards that do not have to be repaid and may originate from American University, the federal government, or state governments.

American University Programs

AU grants are offered to eligible admitted students who demonstrate financial need and may be offered in addition to an AU scholarship.

Federal Programs

Federal Pell Grant Program

This grant is offered to students demonstrating exceptional financial need. Awards range from approximately $650 to $6,895 per year.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)

This grant is offered to students demonstrating exceptional financial need. Awards depend on need and the availability of funds.

State Programs

Many states administer grant programs which residents may apply for and receive while attending American University. Students should check with guidance counselors and state grant agencies regarding up-to-date application procedures and eligibility factors.


Federal Loans Programs

William D. Ford Federal Direct (Stafford) Loan

This loan is guaranteed by the federal government. There are two types of Direct Loans: Subsidized Federal Loans are for eligible students who have demonstrated financial need; students who do not have demonstrated need are eligible for an Unsubsidized Federal Loan. Repayment for both begins six months after graduation or when the student drops below halftime enrollment status in any semester. No interest is charged on Subsidized Federal Loans while the student is enrolled at least half-time in a degree seeking program. Unsubsidized Federal Loans are interest bearing. Dependent undergraduate students may borrow up to $5,500 for the first year of study; $6,500 for the second year; and $7,500 per academic year upon completion of 60 credits.

Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)

This federal loan program is available to the parents of dependent undergraduate students to assist them in meeting educational expenses. Repayment begins within 60 days of disbursement; however, deferment is available.

Federal Work-Study Program

This program for students with financial need provides the opportunity to work part-time and use earnings toward educational expenses. Students participating in the program will receive bi-weekly pay for hours worked.

Tuition Exchange

American University participates in the Tuition Exchange Program, a competitive merit-based program available to faculty and staff members. Students whose parents are employed by one of the participating institutions may be eligible for a Tuition Exchange Scholarship.

Tuition Remission

Full-time faculty and staff members and their spouses or domestic partners are eligible for tuition benefits. There is a $50 registration fee (nonrefundable) per semester.