American University provides a variety of options to assist graduate students in financing their AU education to include:
Federal Direct (Stafford) Loan
Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans
Federal Work Study
Federal TEACH Grant
American Installment Plans
For more information, contact Financial Aid at 202-885-6500 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Graduate Merit Awards/Deadlines
Students should contact their respective school or college’s graduate admissions office for merit award application deadlines. Merit awards include fellowships, assistantships, and study grants.
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.
- Graduate financial aid recipients must maintain at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average and complete two-thirds (66.67 percent) of all attempted credit hours.
- All students must complete their academic program within the maximum timeframe 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 original award notification regarding merit award eligibility criteria.
The following alternative grading options do not count toward the grade point average but do have an impact on students’ satisfactory academic progress:
- Withdrawals (W), Administrative Withdrawals (ZL), Audits (L), and Fails on Pass/Fail option (FZ) count as credits attempted but not earned, and have no impact on the grade point average.
- Incompletes (I) and Unreported Grades (N) count as attempted credits but not completed.
- Administrative Failures (ZX or FX) count as credits attempted but not earned, and are factored as a grade of F.
- Pass (P) counts as credits attempted and earned, but has no impact on the grade point average.
- In Progress (IP) courses are excluded from the calculation in the initial academic progress evaluation. An IP grade may not stand as a permanent grade and must be resolved before a degree can be awarded.
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.
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. Students failing SAP due to the maximum timeframe provision may provide a copy of the approved extension of candidacy from the academic division to re-establish eligibility. Please note that funds are limited, even if the appeal is granted, funds may not be available.
Financial Aid Appeals
Students failing to maintain SAP standards due to extenuating circumstances that precluded them from successfully completing their coursework may submit a written appeal to the Financial Aid Office. Priority consideration will be granted to students who submit an appeal by the deadline indicated on the SAP notification. The appeal should include a comprehensive description of the circumstances, supporting documentation, a plan of study and the student’s anticipated enrollment for the upcoming academic year. The Appeals Committee will review the appeal, and send a letter of response to the student.
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 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:
- Unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loans (other than PLUS Loans)
- Subsidized Direct (Stafford) Loans
- Federal Perkins Loans
- Direct 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)
Students must complete and file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before federal aid eligibility can be determined. To qualify for federal aid, graduate students must be:
- a US citizen or permanent resident
- enrolled in an eligible degree-granting academic program
- enrolled at least half-time each semester (5 credits fall/spring; 2 credits summer)
Graduate students who qualify for Federal Direct (Stafford) loans may borrow up to $20,500 every two semesters. Federal loans must be re-paid. Repayment will begin six months after graduation or after dropping below half-time status. Federal interest rates are established annually but will not exceed 8.25% on federal student loans. Please contact Financial Aid for current interest rates.
Students who require additional assistance beyond the $20,500 offered through the Federal Direct loan program may elect to cover any remaining educational expenses through the Federal Graduate PLUS loan program.
American University Programs
Graduate Merit-Based Awards
American University is committed to quality graduate education that is responsive to the needs of students, disciplines, the university, and the larger community. Our goals are to provide a high quality educational experience for our students and to offer graduate support that assists students in completing their programs of study. To this end the university has set priorities for the allocation and awarding of graduate assistantships and fellowships as shown below.
Graduate Fellowships are merit-based awards that the university offers in order to attract the most outstanding students in the discipline. These awards are given to graduate degree students and may provide the recipient tuition remission in degree-related courses in a given academic year and/or provide a stipend. The tuition remission should be used during the academic year but may with the permission of the teaching unit head be used during the summer session.
Other designated awards, such as the United Methodist Graduate Scholarship, the Hart A. Massey Fellowship, and the Adel Ait-Ghezala Graduate Research Fellowship are distributed annually by the Office of Graduate Studies.