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  • Q. Where do I make payments or seek help understanding my bill??

    The Office of Enrollment Services is available to assist you with course registration, student records, bill payments, and other questions about your enrollment. Visit Enrollment Services online and learn more about making payments at
  • Q. What will happen to my financial aid if I take an academic leave?

    Students who must interrupt their studies for a legitimate reason, such as sustained ill health or military service, may be granted an academic leave for a stated period, usually not to exceed one year. Requesting Academic Leave permits the student to return to the University within a specified timeframe without reapplying to the University. Academic Leave can only be granted for a future term(s) and cannot be granted once a term has started. Students that have to interrupt their studies once a semester has started will have to apply for a term withdrawal. Undergraduate students should consult with the Dean of Students Office to request academic leave. Graduate students should consult with their respective academic department

    Students on Academic Leave will need to be reported to the National Student Clearinghouse as ‘not enrolled’ with an effective date as of the last day of the semester in which they were last enrolled. They will enter their federal student loan grace period as of that date, and if they have previously used up their student loan grace period, they will immediately enter into loan repayment. Learn more on our Policies page.
  • Q. Will my scholarships be reinstated if I am approved for academic leave?

    Catholic University Undergraduate Scholarships and Need-Based Grants are valid for up to 8 semesters and will be reinstated upon return from your approved academic leave with the Dean of Students Office as long as all other requirements are met. Graduate students should consult with the respective academic department. Federal grants may change each year and are dependent upon federal regulations and your FAFSA. Endowed scholarships are dependent upon funding from specific donors and may not be available in future years.
  • Q. I used the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, and I or my parents filed an amended tax return, what should I submit?

    If you or your parents filed an amended IRS income tax return, please submit a signed copy of the IRS Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to the Financial Aid Office along with a copy of the 2020 IRS Tax Return Transcript.

    Make sure to request the IRS Tax Return Transcript, and not the IRS Tax Account Transcript. Tax Account Transcripts do not contain the information required and cannot be used in place of a Tax Return Transcript.

    A 2020 IRS Tax Return Transcript can be obtained:

    ONLINE: Visit Click on Get Your Tax Record, and then click on Get Transcript Online or Get Transcript by Mail
    PHONE: Call 1-800-908-9946
    PAPER: Complete an IRS Form 4506-T, available at, and submit it to the IRS as indicated on the form. Because the tax transcript will not include your USC ID number, DO NOT have it sent directly to USC. Have it sent to you so that you can upload a copy of it through FAST.

    Please note that a tax return (IRS Form 1040) is not acceptable documentation.
  • Q. How many credits are required to receive my Federal Direct Loans?

    A. In order to qualify to receive direct student loans, a student must be enrolled and attending class at least half-time. The number of credits to be considered half-time:

    Fall Spring Summer
    Undergraduate 6 6 6
    Graduate, Doctorate 4 4 4

    Undergraduate students are considered half-time at 6 credits. Graduate students are considered half-time at 4 credits.

  • Q. When am I considered enrolled full-time?

    Per Enrollment Services: Full-time rates/fees are charged for enrollment of 12 or more credits for undergraduate students, 12 or more credits for Columbus School of Law day students, 13 or more credits for Columbus School of Law evening students, and 8 or more credits for graduate students.
  • Q. Can I enroll part-time and still receive my undergraduate scholarships?

    Scholarships and most university grants are valid for 8 semesters of eligibility for full-time study. Full-time study for undergraduate students is defined as 12 or more undergraduate credits. Undergraduate scholarships and university grants will not be awarded for part-time study. If part-time enrollment is chosen, scholarships will be reinstated when full-time status is resumed.
  • Q. How and when do I accept my financial aid awards?

    You can view and accept your aid package on Cardinal Students. You will receive a log-in to our student portal. You must log in within 10 days. Financial aid awards are accepted in Cardinal Station. Financial aid should be accepted before the semester starts. Review the guide on accepting financial aid to learn more.
  • Q. How do I sign forms electronically?

    Forms submitted to our office must be dated and signed. Signatures must be user-generated. Digital IDs are not accepted. Please follow the instructions to electronically sign your PDF documents.

  • Q: When do I have to pay my balance due?

    Catholic University notifies students that their initial bill is available in late June. You can then view your account through the Cardinal Pay website. Students can pay their balance through the student portal, Cardinal Students. Payment is due before the last day to add a class each term.
  • Q: How do I give my parents access to my billing statement?

    You can grant an individual access to anyone you want to be an Authorized Payer. You, as the student, automatically have access to Cardinal Pay. You can set up an Authorized Payer on the Cardinal Paysite. Remember to give them their temporary password to access the system.
  • Q: How does my aid package pay to my account?

    All aid is disbursed 10 days prior to the start of the semester if the student has completed all the necessary paperwork. This is done electronically through our financial aid system, Cardinal Station.
  • Q: What does it mean to be selected for verification?

    A student’s FAFSA file may be flagged for a process called VERIFICATION. We may ask for additional documentation to support income, number in household, number in college, and assets. The additional documentation required will be on your TO DO LIST on Cardinal Students. Please act as quickly as possible so as not to delay the disbursement of your aid.
  • Q: Should I apply for financial aid each year?

    Yes. Students must update their financial records by filing the upcoming year’s FAFSA every year to reestablish eligibility for federal aid programs and the Catholic University Undergraduate Need-Based Grant. Continuing students do not need to file the CSS Profile.. The sooner you fill out the FAFSA, the better. It should be completed on October 1 each year at
  • Q: May I decline my loans?

    You most certainly can decline your loans if you feel your aid and personal resources are sufficient to meet your educational costs.
  • Q: How do I sign up for the payment plan?

    Catholic University is transitioning to a new payment plan provider for the 2021–2022 academic year. Details about the plan will be provided by Enrollment Services at
  • Q. How much will I actually pay for the year now that I have received my Financial Aid Notice and first bill?

    A. Your estimated out of pocket expenses are determined by deducting your total financial aid award from your cost of attendance listed on your Financial Aid Award Notice.  Download our Financial Aid Planner to better understand your expenses.
  • Q: Is there an income cutoff for financial aid?

    No. Income is a factor when determining eligibility for need-based aid, but other factors are also taken into account such as household size, number in college, and the age of the oldest parent. We recommend that all students file for aid so that their eligibility can be evaluated using all of the necessary information. Students/parents need to file a FAFSA if they want to take advantage of the federal and PLUS loan programs.
  • Q: How is financial need determined?

    Financial need for federal aid programs and institutional grants is determined by subtracting the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from the total cost of education for the year. Of course, costs vary among colleges and universities, so need will also vary from one institution to another.
  • Q: Does Catholic University fund the full difference between the cost of my attendance and my family’s EFC?

    Catholic University is not able to meet the full need of every student offered admission. Our need-based grants range between $1,000 and more than $40,000, so the exact percentage of need met varies from student to student.
  • Q: Can I lose my financial aid if I don’t maintain a certain GPA?

    Eligibility for financial aid is contingent upon maintaining Catholic University’s minimum standards for academic progress. Students receiving selected academic-based scholarships may have to meet additional academic standards to retain these awards.
  • Q. What are some common mistakes students and families make when filling out the FAFSA?

    A. The first mistake you can make is not filling out the FAFSA in the first place! Don't assume that you can't afford college - the FAFSA opens the door to many different opportunities for financial aid, and the sooner you apply, the better, as state grant agencies and scholarship organizations— which often have a limited pot of funds to give out on a first come, first served basis— usually require you to have filed a FAFSA in order to receive aid. Keep in mind that you don't need to know where you'll be attending school in order to file the FAFSA, and you don't need to have your taxes completed yet for the previous year because starting with the 2017-18 FAFSA, you will use tax information from two years prior (learn more about using tax information from 2018 for the 2020-21 FAFSA). Applying online makes filling out the FAFSA easier because the online form uses skip logic to only ask relevant questions. You will also have the option to retrieve your IRS data to automatically populate the FAFSA, which simplifies the application process, helps reduce errors and lowers your chances of being selected to verify the information on your FAFSA. When filling out the FAFSA, make sure to pay attention to federal, state, and institutional deadlines, take your time to avoid information errors, and not leave too many spaces blank. Be sure to use your legal name, have official documents you need ready, and see what other common mistakes you can avoid.
  • Q. Besides federal grants and loans, where can I go to find college financial aid?

    A. In addition to federal grants, loans, and other types of aid (such as Pell Grants, Direct Loans, and the Federal Work-Study Program), students can receive financial aid from state agencies, individual schools, and a variety of community organizations. Usually, the FAFSA is the only form you need to apply for state financial aid, but you should check with your state agency to see if more information is required. Most schools have their own financial aid programs, and use your FAFSA results for those too. There are other independent sources -- through community organizations, churches, and private organizations -- that award financial aid to students. Remember that you do not have to pay anyone to help you find aid, and if you have questions, you can reach out to your school’s, or a prospective school’s, financial aid office.
  • Q. Besides tuition and fees, room and board, what else should I include in a budget for the school year, and how can I stay on track?

    A. It's important to make sure you have enough money and financial aid to cover tuition and fees, and living expenses, but there are other expenses that make up the entire cost of attending college. Be sure to also budget for textbooks and supplies, transportation, travel to and from home during breaks, and emergencies. In some cases, you might also be required to purchase certain supplies specific to your major that might not be listed in the overall estimate for the cost of attendance. 
  • Q. When does loan repayment begin?

    There are several different repayment plans for student loan borrowers. The best way to set yourself up for success is to pick the repayment plan that's best for you to avoid falling into default. Borrowers start out on a standard 10-year repayment plan after a six-month grace period passes, but if that's too much to handle, there are other repayment plans based on your income that can adjust your monthly payments. If you aren't sure which repayment plan best fits your needs, you can learn more and see what your monthly payments would look like with different plans on It's also important to communicate with your student loan servicer and let them know if you need help in repayment. You can find out who your servicer is through the National Student Loan Data System for Students by clicking on "Financial Aid Review."
  • Q: Is aid guaranteed in future years?

    Catholic University’s policy is to maintain University assistance at the same level for each of our student’s four years while adhering to institutional and federal financial aid policies and regulations regarding financial need. However, the Catholic University Need-Based Grant and all student federal aid programs are based on need, so we cannot guarantee annual eligibility. If a student’s family income level changes markedly or the number of children in college changes, then financial aid eligibility can be affected from year to year. Four-year academic scholarships, however, will be automatically renewed each year as long as students meet specific program requirements.