Undergraduate Financial Aid FAQ

1. Are there financing options available?

The cost of attending Saint Mary's College is comparable to that of attending many other selective private colleges. Help is available from our professional staff to determine eligibility for aid from federal and state sources, private agencies, and from Saint Mary's own funds.

In 2014-2015, over 97% of Saint Mary’s students received over $40 million in financial aid in the form of scholarship, grant, loan and work opportunities. Of these funds, over $27 million were from Saint Mary’s College, in the form of grants and scholarships.

Help is also available for families seeking tuition payment plans and parental loans.

2. Is Saint Mary's affordable for my family?

Saint Mary's is an exceptional value -- as well as a sound investment in your future. However, we understand that affordability is a concern. This is why we offer non-need-based academic scholarships, need-based grants, campus employment, and loans to our students.

We encourage all students to apply for financial assistance, so we may help identify all available financing options.

3. What is the typical cost of a Saint Mary's education for the 2015-16 academic year for a resident student? In addition to the information below, more detailed information is available here.

Tuition & Fees


Room & Board (Double Room-average)


Fixed Expenses




Misc. Expenses




Estimated Expenses


  • Tuition charges cover a full-time academic program of 12-18 credit hours per semester.
  • Additional tuition charges may apply if the student enrolls in more than 18 credit hours or enrolls in a science class with a lab.
  • Additional charges may apply if the student enrolls in a science course with a lab component.
  • Room charges vary according to living arrangements.
  • All fees are subject to change. Families should anticipate annual increases.

4. How is financial need determined?

The Financial Aid Office at Saint Mary's uses the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE to collect information about a family's financial situation which determines their ability to contribute toward college costs. The reported income, family size, number in college, personal assets and unusual family expenses factor into the family's overall financial profile. The student's savings and base-year earnings also are included to determine the student's contribution.

Financial need is the difference between the cost of your education and what you might reasonably be expected to contribute to meet college costs. These contributions are determined using Federal Methodology, the federally approved system utilized by post-secondary institutions across the nation.

The formula is simple:

Cost of Attendance (Student Budget) - Expected Family Contribution (EFC) = Financial Need

5. My EFC figure doesn't seem like what we can actually afford to pay. Is this the amount we will be billed for this year?

No. The EFC is a budgetary figure used to determine financial need and eligibilty for Federal, state, and institutional funding. It does not necessarily reflect the actual amount you will be billed for the academic year. The FAFSA and PROFILE applications use different calculations to determine the EFC; we use both applications to develop a broader picture of the family's financial standing.

6. What kinds of assistance will be available to me, if I am eligible?

Several kinds of financial aid programs help students attend Saint Mary's College. Over 97% of our students are receiving financial aid.

Gift aid is not subject to mandatory repayment. It may include scholarships and/or grants.

  • Academic scholarships are determined by the Scholarship Committee at the time of admission to Saint Mary's College, based on academic achievement and potential for success.
  • Grants are based on the results of the FAFSA, PROFILE, and other financial aid documents.

Self-help aid is either repaid or earned, such as part-time work through the campus employment program. It may also include low-interest, repayable loans , with repayment deferred until after graduation (in most cases).

7. Do I have to reapply for financial aid every year?

Yes. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and CSS/PROFILE applications are needed every year to determine your eligibility for aid. The deadline for both applications is March 1st.

In addition, you must:

  • Meet federal guidelines pertaining to the receipt of federal aid
  • Continue to meet any special conditions noted on your Award Letter
  • Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (PDF) towards your degree

8. Will I get the same amounts and types of aid every year?

Financial need is re-evaluated based on each year's new information; therefore, your aid award may change. Congress also occasionally changes Federal aid programs, so Federal aid amounts may fluctuate. Other factors can affect your aid eligibility, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • If another sibling enrolls in college and/or your family's income decreases...
    You may have more financial need, so your award may increase.
  • If another sibling graduates from college or is no longer eligible to be counted as part of your parent's household, and/or your family's income increases...
    You may have less financial need, so your financial aid would likely decrease.
  • If your family's circumstances remain stable AND you re-apply each year before the established priority deadline...Your financial aid awards should be fairly similar each year.

Remember, these are general guidelines. Your actual award will be based on your specific financial information and the availability of aid programs each year. Questions about any changes in your award should be directed to the Financial Aid Office.

9. When will I receive my final award letter for 2015-16?

We understand that students need to know of any financial aid changes as soon as possible, and we will do our best to provide information about your aid package in a timely manner. Submitting your applications and supplemental documents on time will help expedite processing. Remember, the deadline for verification paperwork is May 15.

  • For incoming first-year or transfer students (those beginning enrollment in fall 2015):  We will begin mailing award letters within two weeks of when Saint Mary's has received the financial aid applications and the student has been admitted.  Please note that every effort is made to create an initial award that is as accurate as possible, though some changes may be necessary after verification is complete.
    *Awards under appeal for special circumstances may take longer.
  • For returning students:
    If all your requested paperwork (verification and/or other documents) is submitted prior to the May 15th deadline, our goal is to begin sending out financial award letters to upper class students in the second week of June. PRISM will not display your financial award prior to the second week of June.
    *Awards under appeal, for special circumstances or other reviews, may take longer.
    **Grades from spring or year-long study-abroad programs are sometimes delayed in reaching the College. This may delay our ability to review your Satisfactory Academic Progress status, thus postponing the release of your financial aid information for the upcoming academic year.

Please note that these are our goals for estimated release dates.

10. When will I be billed?

The bill for fall semester is typically e-mailed to the student's Saint Mary's e-mail address in July and is due prior to the start of fall classes in August. The spring semester bill is typically e-mailed in December and is due prior to the start of spring classes in January.

11.  How and when do I apply for a Federal Direct Loan?

If your financial aid award includes a Federal Direct loan, you must complete both the Master Promissory Note and Direct Loan Entrance CounselingPlease do not complete either of these steps prior to May 1.

For expedited processing and accurate reflection of your aid on your July tuition bill, we recommend completing these requirements prior to June 1st.

12. Are part-time jobs available on campus?

Saint Mary's offers students employment opportunities that are supervised directly by our faculty and administrators. Until Labor Day, most campus jobs are limited to students who are eligible for Federal Work Study, although there are a limited number of jobs available before Labor Day to students who do not have Federal Work Study.  To view the jobs available, refer to the job listings on our student employment website. Some of the position options are:

  • Academic departments: office assistants, lab supervisors, tutors
  • Administrative offices: office assistants
  • Other opportunities are also available in: athletic programs, campus ministry, food services and residence life
  • A limited number of paid community service opportunities are also available to interested students who demonstrate financial need

Federal Work Study generally requires the student to work between 5 and 15 hours per week during academic periods. Students can generally choose whether work earnings will be applied towards the tuition bill or paid out to the student (via paycheck or direct deposit into a bank account).


13. How do I get a job on-campus?

Check our website for current job listings. When you find a position that interests you and that you qualify for, contact the supervisor noted. You must fill out payroll documents before you can receive a time card and begin working. Note: If a job requires a student to be eligible for Federal Work Study you can only apply for the job if Federal Work Study was part of your financial aid package. You can refer to your financial aid award letter or sign onto PRISM to confirm whether you were awarded Federal Work Study.

14. Are students required to live on-campus?

Please refer to the information provided by Residence Life regarding living on-campus and room selection/assignment.

15. Will my financial aid change if I move off-campus?

Yes, your aid will likely change if your housing situation changes. Students who choose to live in off-campus housing are awarded institutional aid using a differentiated policy.

  • Eligibility for all assistance is based on an off-campus cost of attendance rather than that of a residential (on-campus) student.
  • Therefore, eligibility for institutional grant aid (including endowed scholarships, Saint Mary's Grant, and Holy Cross grant) will likely be reduced.
  • Need-based federal assistance may also be affected.
  • The Holy Cross Grant is only available to students who live on campus.

Because of these potential changes, careful analysis of on-campus versus off-campus costs should be done before your final decision is made. If more specific information is needed, we advise you to contact your financial aid counselor.

If you are changing your housing status, please notify the Financial Aid Office.

16. Will my financial aid change if I receive an outside scholarship?

The receipt of any scholarship, grant, or loan not listed on the original award letter must be reported to Financial Aid as soon as you are aware of the award. Some adjustment to your existing aid may be necessary, depending on the amount of the new funding and whether it is restricted to tuition or can be applied to other costs. If an adjustment to your existing aid is necessary, you will be notified.

As a general guide, you may see an adjustment if you have:

  • Federal Perkins Loan
  • Federal Work-Study/Work-Study Community Service
  • Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan
  • Saint Mary's Grant, Holy Cross Grant, and/or Endowed Scholarships

17. I am filling out a form requiring my Saint Mary's student ID number. Where do I find that?

Your student ID number begins with the numbers "980." It can be found on your Saint Mary's College ID card, Student Accounts billing statement, transcript, or PRISM account. ID numbers for incoming students are at the bottom of the Financial Aid Award Letter.

If you are still unable to locate your ID number after checking these sources, you may substitute your Social Security number (in most cases).

18. My Indiana State Grants (ICHE) are not coded for the correct school. What should I do?

Saint Mary's College needs to be listed as the first school on your FAFSA. Our school code is 001836.

  • Go to the ICHE (Indiana Commission for Higher Education) web site, www.in.gov/ssaci/estudent/ to make Saint Mary's College your first school choice.

If you are changing schools during the academic year, follow the same instructions to update your school choice on the FAFSA .

19. How do I accept, decline, or reduce my financial aid?

  • Access PRISM
  • Your user ID is your Saint Mary's student ID number, which begins with "980..."
  • Enter your PIN number. If you can't remember your PIN, click on the "Forgot PIN?" link.
  • You should now see the main menu.  Click on either the "Financial Aid" tab or the link for "Financial Aid"
  • Select "My Award Information"
  • Select "Award for Aid Year"
  • Select the appropriate aid year
  • Review your aid by clicking on the "Award Overview" tab
  • Read and accept the information on the "Terms and Conditions" tab
  • Go to the "Accept Award Offer" tab and either accept or decline the aid offered to you.

20. I was selected for verification. What do I need to do?

Verification is a process where the College will request additional documentation from you before finalizing your financial aid award.  Once verification review has been finalized, Saint Mary's will send you your final aid offer.

In order to complete the verification process, you will need to submit the following information to the Saint Mary's Financial Aid Office:

  • A completed verification statement
  • Copies of parent and student W2 statements and/or K1 statements and Schedule C from the federal tax return
  • Complete the IRS Data Retrieval Process or request a Tax Return Transcript from the IRS.

For more information on these items and recent changes to the verification process, click HERE.

Comments, Suggestions & Questions E-mail: finaid@saintmarys.edu
For questions regarding billing, please contact the Student Accounts Office: student.accounts@saintmarys.edu