Greetings from the Office of Student Financial Assistance!  Our team’s goal is to make the process of applying for and utilizing financial aid as easy as possible. We hope to help you make a Catholic University education possible and affordable. 

By now, you should have already received your Financial Aid Offer Letter. After carefully reviewing your awards, now is an important time to understand the requirements and conditions for your financial aid options. 

The information below is not extensive and serves to provide a brief understanding to get you started. For more in-depth information, please review the appropriate sections of our website.

After carefully reviewing this information, please log in to Cardinal Station at to review and accept or decline your awards.


Catholic University Financial Aid 101


  • Financial aid is awarded based on the information you provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Some of the awards may be determined by your academic department and others may be funded through federal aid programs. These awards are subject to re-evaluation.
    • If you have not completed a FAFSA, you can do so at Use the school code 001437 to add Catholic University.
  • As a graduate student, please be aware that all graduate institutional awards are determined by your academic department. Questions about these awards should be directed to your academic department. These awards will be added to financial aid packages as they are received by our office. The addition of any new awards not already listed on your financial aid offer letter may impact financial aid eligibility.

 When determining your financial aid award, we consider several factors:students outside eating student union

  • Your Projected Expenses at the University. The projected expenses amount you see on your financial aid offer letter includes billable charges that will eventually be on your University bill (tuition, fees, housing & food if living on campus). Please note that all graduate student financial aid eligibility is projected assuming half-time enrollment. Your actual tuition/fees are determined once your enrollment is finalized. In addition, the financial aid offer letter includes non-billable expenses that you may encounter while enrolled (books, transportation, personal items, and loan fees). These non-billable expenses are not included on your bill with the university.

  • Your FAFSA information. The FAFSA helps us determine your eligibility for federal financial aid awards.
    • If you have not completed a FAFSA, you can do so at Use the school code 001437 to add Catholic University.
    • If your FAFSA does not accurately represent your financial situation, please review the appeals section of our website. Please note that graduate student appeals can only be considered for additional loan borrowing eligibility and not for additional institutional aid. 

Next Steps for Accepting and Securing Your Awards

  • Review Your Online To-Do List: Before you are able to receive your awards, make sure there are no outstanding requirements on your To-Do List in Cardinal Station ( The To-Do List appears on the right side of your Student Center as soon as you log in. Your FAFSA may have been selected for federal verification and require additional documentation which will appear on your To-Do List.

  • Accept Your Aid: You must accept or decline your financial aid each academic year. Please review the “terms and constudents at cherry blossomsditions” section below for more information. You have the option to choose the full amount or a lower amount. Once accepted, aid will not disburse until at least 10 days prior to the start of the term. Instructions are available on our Financial Aid FAQ Page

  • Complete Entrance Counseling & Master Promissory Note (MPN):  If accepting Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans for the first time, you will need to complete Entrance Counseling at as well as a Master Promissory Note (MPN) at Federal Direct Loans will not disburse until both tasks are complete. If applying for the Graduate PLUS Loan, a separate Master Promissory Note will be required.

  • Review FERPA Rights: The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects a student’s personal information. Students may complete an Education Record Release if they would like a third party (such as a parent) to have access to financial aid information. If the student does not complete this form, the information we are able to share with third parties is limited. Students may complete the form by contacting Enrollment Services at

  • Report Outside Aid: The total amount of assistance from all sources cannot exceed the University’s COA and federal unmet need. In addition, almost all federal and certain institutional aid programs require unmet need. Outside aid or third-party payments must be coordinated with federal and institutional aid to ensure that these conditions are met. This means that we need to coordinate any outside aid (scholarships, tuition waivers, etc) you have received with the institutional and federal aid offered by the University. You can report outside aid by completing a Notice of Additional Resources Form from our forms page.

  • Continue to Check Your Email & Mail: Important University information will continue to be shared with students in the months to come.


Here are some additional payment options:

  • Payment Plans: Payment plans are offered in 3, 4, and 5-month options for the fall and spring semesters. Visit Enrollment Services at or by calling 202-319-5300 for more information.grad_dana_00197-1600x600.jpg

  • Graduate PLUS Loan: The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan is a non-need-based, fixed-interest loan for graduate students. The University uses a proprietary application available on our website: Graduate PLUS borrowers will also need to complete a separate Master Promissory Note (MPN) before the loan can disburse:

  • Private/Commercial Student Loans: Commercial student loans can be used to supplement federal and university aid. The University does not recommend a specific lender. It is often best to start with banks or credit unions with whom you already have a relationship. Research the lender, interest rates, loan requirements, and repayment plans carefully when selecting your lender.

  • Outside Scholarships: Continue to apply! Start with the scholarships offered by outside organizations with which you may have an affiliation. Scholarships should always be free to search for and apply for. There are many great national sites, including and Learn more on our outside scholarships page.


Additional Information:

  • Federal Work-Study (FWS): This is a need-driven award and is based on your FAFSA information. To qualify for this award, you would need to apply for and secure an approved work-study job. Job listings are available starting in August at and there is a Student Employment Fair during the first week of classes. Work-study students receive paychecks for hours worked; earnings do not apply directly to a student’s bill. Even if you were not awarded FWS funds, you can use the Handshake link above to search for on-campus and local part-time jobs. Learn more at

Please review the terms and conditions of your financial aid awards prior to accepting them. For more details, visit the “Policies” section of our website.

  • To maintain eligibility for all financial aid awards, students must meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). For graduate students, this means maintaining at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA and a course completion rate of at least 67%.

  • All graduate student financial aid eligibility is projected assuming half-time enrollment. Graduate students must be registered at least half-time to qualify for federal aid. If you plan to enroll other than half-time, please make an appointment with our office to discuss how your federal aid may be impacted.
    • If the actual enrollment status differs from the assumption, aid eligibility is recalculated accordingly. Students may owe a balance.

  • All federal aid recipients who fail to complete the semester may have their aid adjusted. Please refer to our “Withdrawing” policy on the site listed above.

  • Students accepted into the John Paul the II Seminary will receive a 50% waiver of tuition only. Students may not combine this waiver with any other scholarship offered by the university.

For in-depth information regarding financial aid policies and resources, visit our website at

If at any time you wish to speak with a Financial Aid Counselor or have questions, schedule an appointment or contact us at your convenience.

We look forward to seeing you on campus soon!

-Office of Student Financial Assistance
The Catholic University of America

After carefully reviewing this information, please log in to Cardinal Station at to review and accept or decline your awards.