As recent national surveys have indicated, Gonzaga University consistently is ranked among the best regional comprehensive colleges and universities in the West. In addition, Gonzaga is ranked extremely high in value among regional comprehensive universities. A primary reason for this recognition is the excellent quality of financial aid awards provided Gonzaga students. In addition to the University’s significant institutional grant and scholarship program, Gonzaga also participates in all federal and state financial aid programs. The Financial Aid Office provides numerous services to meet the needs of those who wish to obtain a Gonzaga degree.
Applying for Admission
Students are encouraged to apply for admission and financial aid concurrently in order to expedite each important process. However, aid applicants must be admitted to the University in order to receive a financial aid award.
Applying for Financial Aid
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the required application for need-based financial aid at Gonzaga. In order for Gonzaga to receive FAFSA data to determine eligibility for financial aid, applicants must list Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington, federal school code “003778” in the School section of the FAFSA. The FAFSA is available on the internet at www.fafsa.ed.gov.
Financial Aid Priority Dates
Financial aid applicants must complete their FAFSA no earlier than January 1st but not later than February 1st in order to meet the University priority filing deadline. Also, applicants must be admitted to the University by February 1st in order to ensure priority consideration for available financial aid. Students applying after these priority dates will be considered for financial aid on a funds-available basis.
Financial Aid Process
The FAFSA data is processed by the central processor, and an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is calculated utilizing a formula mandated by the federal government. The results of this calculation are forwarded to the University, where the Financial Aid Office compares the EFC to the cost of attendance in order to determine each applicant’s financial need and eligibility for specific types of financial assistance. Applicants selected for verification must provide documentation of FAFSA data (for example, income tax returns) which is compared to the original application information. Financial aid eligibility and awards may be revised following the verification process.
The Financial Aid Package
Once financial need is established, the Financial Aid Office assembles the best possible financial aid package for each applicant. This package generally combines several types of aid from sources inside and outside the University. Rarely does total student aid come from a single source. A typical financial aid package is developed from four sources: scholarships, grants, work-study, and long-term educational loans. The proportions of aid from each of these sources vary greatly, depending upon individual circumstances. Financial aid packages can vary from year to year, depending on changes in a student’s financial need, grades, and date of filing. Students must reapply for financial aid each year by the priority date to ensure maximum eligibility. Institutional assistance covered by the Gonzaga Guarantee provides for four years of receipt provided the recipient maintains full-time, continuous, undergraduate enrollment and maintains good academic standing according to this University catalogue.
Gonzaga University offers scholarship assistance exceeding $30 million on an annual basis. Eligibility for scholarships is based solely on academic merit or on a combination of merit and financial need.
Merit-Based Scholarships: By applying for admission to the University, all incoming freshmen are automatically considered for one of a series of merit-based institutional scholarships. Other merit-based scholarships require separate applications with varying deadlines. These can be found at www.Gonzaga.edu/scholarship-opportunities.
Please contact the Financial Aid Office for further information and applications. Also, the Financial Aid Office has a scholarship library which students are encouraged to use.
Need-Based Scholarships: Students who have been admitted and who have filed the FAFSA are automatically considered for Gonzaga funding which incorporates academic achievement and financial need. These funds are renewable by maintaining a specified grade point average and successful completion of specified credit hours.
Grants are a form of financial aid for which eligibility is based upon financial need, not academic achievement. Grants are a preferred form of financial assistance since they do not have to be repaid. The FAFSA is the application for all grants.
Federal Pell Grants: This program provides grant assistance from the federal government to needy students. The amount of the grant is determined by the federal government, and it is prorated to reflect actual enrollment status.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG): This is another form of federal grant assistance provided to students with substantial financial need. The amount of the grant varies according to funding and need criteria.
Federal TEACH Grant: This is a $4,000 annual grant/loan awarded to students who agree to teach for four years as a highly-qualified teacher in a high-need field at a low-income school after completing their degree. If the four year service requirement is not met, the funds must be repaid by the student as an unsubsidized Stafford loan.
Washington State Need Grants: This state-funded program provides financial assistance to undergraduate students who are residents of the State of Washington and who demonstrate substantial financial need.
University Grants: Gonzaga awards a significant number of grants from University funds. The amount of these grants varies according to an applicant’s financial need and date of application.
Student and parent loans are available from a number of sources to assist with the financing of a college education. Loan eligibility is based upon FAFSA data, and the loans require separate promissory notes which are processed by the lender. Student loans must be repaid. While Gonzaga students have demonstrated responsible loan repayment, all students are encouraged to borrow only that amount which is necessary.
Federal Perkins Loans: This program, funded jointly by the federal government, the University, and monies repaid by past student borrowers, provides assistance to students with financial need. The Perkins Loan carries a fixed interest rate of 5%. Repayment begins nine months after dropping below at least half-time student status. Loan cancellation provisions exist with this loan program.
Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans: These student loans are made available by the federal government to students with financial need. The annual interest rate is currently fixed at 4.5%. The interest which accrues while the student is enrolled at least half-time is paid by the federal government. Repayment begins six months after graduation or withdrawal from a degree program.
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans: These loans are identical to the Subsidized Stafford, with the exception that the borrower is responsible for the interest which accrues while the student is enrolled and during any other deferment period. The annual interest rate is fixed at 6.8%. Repayment begins six months after graduation or withdrawal from a degree program. These loans are not based on financial need.
Federal Nursing Loans: These loans are available to undergraduate nursing students with financial need. The Federal Nursing loan carries a fixed 5% interest rate, with no accrual of interest while enrolled at least half-time. Students have a nine month grace period after their enrollment drops below less than half-time before monthly payments are required. Minimum monthly payments of at least $40 per month and interest begin after the grace period.
Federal Direct Plus Loans (PLUS): The PLUS is available to all credit-worthy parents of dependent undergraduate students. These loans are not based on financial need, although Gonzaga requires submission of the FAFSA prior to applying for the loan. The annual interest rate is fixed at 7.9 percent. The maximum amount that can be borrowed is the Gonzaga “cost of attendance” minus other financial aid.
Other Loan Funds: Other loan funds have been established to assist students with expenses due to emergencies or other special circumstances. These funds include the Fred E. and Venora Bigelow Trust (Loan Fund), the Leo J. Brockman Loan Fund, and the Carrie Welch Loan Fund. Inquiries should be directed to the Financial Aid Office.
Studies done regarding the relationship between academic achievement and working show that working part-time, especially on campus results in students more invested in their education, better able to prioritize, and use campus resources for success. The Gonzaga Student Employment Office supports these findings and encourages students to pursue part-time employment opportunities.
Federal Work Study Program: This financial aid program, funded by the federal government and the University, provides a variety of on campus employment opportunities for students. Jobs range from assisting with research to general office work to community action projects. Students work between 10-12 hours per week during the semester. Eligibility for FWS is based on financial need as determined by the FAFSA.
State Work Study Program:This financial aid program is funded by the State of Washington and private employers. It allows Washington State residents to work with Spokane area employers during the academic year and summer sessions. These opportunities provide an excellent way for students to gain experience in their fields of study while earning a good salary. The program provides jobs in accounting, the arts, business, education, engineering, computer programming and processing, law, marketing, and other fields. Eligibility for SWS is based on financial need as determined by the FAFSA.
Non-Work Study Employment: Limited on-campus student employment opportunities are available in various administrative offices and academic areas of the University. Students can access the Community Job Board for off-campus jobs posted by members of the Spokane community.
Satisfactory Academic Progress
The Higher Education Amendments of 1992, and the Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board, require that a student receiving federal and/or state assistance must demonstrate satisfactory academic progress (SAP). In general, SAP is defined as “proceeding toward successful completion of degree requirements.”
Full-time students who are eligible for, and receiving, financial aid must successfully complete 12 credits with a minimum GPA of 2.00 each semester. Students who fail to achieve this criterion are placed on Financial Aid Probation and may lose all financial aid if their academic performance does not reflect satisfactory progress during the next semester. Additionally, State of Washington financial aid recipients who are enrolled full-time are required to successfully complete at least six credit hours per semester or risk immediate suspension of state aid. Please note that current financial aid awarding procedures reflect the expectation that undergraduate students enrolled on a full-time basis will complete their degree requirements in eight semesters.
The policies and procedures governing SAP and its relationship to financial aid are available from the Financial Aid Office, College Hall Room 129. Students with additional questions regarding this policy are invited to inquire at the Financial Aid Office or learn more information about SAP here.