Jul 13, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Financial Aid

Office: Student Financial Assistance

Mailing Location: Lucas Administrative Center 416

Walk-In Assistance Location: Lucas Administrative Center 301

Telephone: 859-572-5143, toll free:  888-225-4499

Fax: 859-572-6997

Email Address: ofa@nku.edu

Web Address: http://financialaid.nku.edu

Director: Leah Stewart

Other Key Personnel:

Associate Director: Trenee Johnson

Assistant Director of Compliance:  Robin Jones

The Office of Student Financial Assistance creates clear pathways for students and parents to apply for and receive financial aid. Staff will employ creative and innovative approaches to provide personalized service to both current and prospective students as financial aid options are explored. The staff continually strives to exceed the expectations of those they serve.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Students apply for federal, state, and institutional aid programs by completing the FAFSA online at fafsa.gov. The FAFSA is available starting October 1 each year.

To be considered for aid for the academic year or for fall semester only, the FAFSA should be submitted by February 1. Applications submitted after the priority date will be considered if funds are available.

FAFSA Deadlines

FAFSA available October 1
FAFSA Fall Semester Priority Deadline February 1
FAFSA Spring Semester Priority Deadline November 1
*FAFSA Summer Priority Deadline February 1

*Students who wish to apply for a summer term should contact the NKU Office of Student Financial Assistance.

Eligibility to Receive Financial Aid

To receive financial aid, a student must be enrolled in a program leading to a degree or certificate. Graduate students must be in a degree-granting program. Transient or non-degree student enrollment does not qualify for financial aid consideration.

During any semester, a graduate student must be enrolled for at least 3 graduate level credit hours to receive a student loan and 6 semester credit hours to be considered a full-time student.

In order to determine eligibility, students must be fully admitted to NKU, and they must annually complete the FAFSA if they are applying for federal or state financial aid or for other special programs that indicate the FAFSA is required. Students will not be awarded federal, state, or institutional aid until their FAFSA is complete. Students must also be maintaining satisfactory academic progress (SAP) according to NKU’s SAP policy, and must meet all federal, state, and institutional eligibility requirements.

International students are not eligible for federal financial aid. International students may be eligible for university-sponsored scholarships listed on the Office of Student Financial Assistance website. Please note any citizenship or residency requirements. International students may also be eligible for alternative loans.

Cost of Attendance

The federal government requires that the Office of Student Financial Assistance establish an annual cost of attendance (COA). The COA includes tuition, room and board, books, transportation, and miscellaneous expenses. The COA differs based on a student’s residency (Kentucky resident or non-resident). The COA also differs based on whether it is for an undergraduate, graduate, or law program of study. The COA can be prorated depending on the length of the term. Questions regarding a student’s COA should be directed to the Office of Student Financial Assistance.

Award Notification

Students who submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before February 1 for the following academic year will receive notices from different sources: the federal government and NKU.

Students will receive notice with instructions to view their myNKU portal online to accept or decline the financial aid offer(s). This notice will include financial aid for which the student is eligible (that is, student employment, scholarships, and student loans). Upon acceptance of loans, students need to complete the required loan entrance counseling and master promissory note. These requirements can be completed online at www.studentloans.gov.  

It is important for students to understand that all financial aid awards are dependent upon institutional, private, or federal funding. Notification of any change to financial aid awards will be sent to the student via their NKU email address or via U.S. mail.  Please be aware NKU considers the use of your NKU email address to be the primary source of communication between the university and the student.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

Federal regulations mandate that all students make satisfactory, measurable academic progress toward completion of the degree in order to receive federal assistance through Title IV federal grant, work, and loan programs.

This policy will be used to determine eligibility for aid for the 2020-2021 academic year. This policy is current as of the date of this publication and could be subject to change due to federal, state or institutional adjustments. Students should always review the policy on the Office of Financial Assistance website for the most current information.

First-time freshmen, new transfer students and new post baccalaureate students are automatically considered to be making satisfactory academic progress during their first academic year. These students will be subject to the standards of satisfactory academic progress at the end of their first academic year and thereafter. An academic year is defined as August to May.

  1. NKU’s SAP standards comply with the requirements of the U.S. Department of Education.
  2. These are financial aid standards only and do not replace or override NKU academic policies.
  3. Academic progress will be reviewed at the end of each spring semester. For current students, satisfactory academic progress is usually determined in early June. Students who are not meeting academic progress requirements will be notified by mail as well as through their myNKU portal.
  4. The academic progress of financial aid applicants will be reviewed as NKU receives FAFSA data.
  5. It is the student’s responsibility to stay informed of the university’s SAP standards and policy.

The academic progress of students will be reviewed for:

  1. qualitative progress (GPA),
  2. quantitative progress (pace of completion), and
  3. maximum time frame for degree completion.

Students must maintain satisfactory progress in all three areas whether or not they have received financial aid in the past.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeals

A letter will notify students who do not maintain good academic standing when they apply for financial aid. Students may be able to appeal to the Financial Aid Appeals Committee. The notification letter contains instructions concerning the appeals process. If the Financial Aid Appeals Committee denies the appeal, the student cannot receive any federal, state, or institutional financial aid and will be responsible for paying tuition out-of-pocket or through another source.

How Withdrawing from Classes Affects Financial Aid

Non-Attendance Policy

Students who do not attend their classes are subject to being dropped by their instructors for non-attendance. As a result, these students may lose part or all of their financial assistance. Any remaining balance must be repaid before the student can receive further financial assistance.

Return of Funds Due to Unofficial Withdrawal

Federal financial aid recipients who receive all F and/or I grades are subject to federal regulations titled Return of Title IV Funds. These students are considered unofficially withdrawn at the midpoint of the semester. Without acceptable proof of attendance or participation in class relative to the student’s activity beyond the midpoint of the semester, the federal Title IV financial aid credited for the term is refunded to the aid program(s) from which it came at the rate of 50 percent of university charges. Loans are refunded before grants. For example, a student with $3,500 Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan and $2,000 Pell Grant fails all of his or her classes for a semester. Assume the charges totaled $2,000. Federal regulations require that 50 percent ($2,000 x 50 percent = $1,000) be refunded for the Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan. The student’s loan debt decreases, but the student still owes NKU $1,000 (assuming the student’s account balance was $0).

Acceptable proof of attendance or participation in a class is a letter from a professor, instructor, or academic advisor noting the last date of a student’s presence in class or involvement in an academically-related activity. Examples of academically-related activities are examinations or quizzes; tutorials; computer-assisted instruction; academic conferences; academic assignments, papers, or projects; and attendance at a school-assigned study group. Financial aid recipients receiving all F and/or I grades for a given semester are notified by mail of the deadline for submitting documentation of class attendance or participation for the semester. Included in the student’s notification is a class attendance verification form that can be completed by the professor verifying attendance. Late certification is not accepted.

NKU is required to comply with Title IV federal regulations in this manner to ensure continued participation in federally funded aid programs.

Return of Funds for Modules (R2T4)

For all programs offered in modules (a course that does not span the entire length of the semester), a student is considered a withdrawal for Title IV purposes if the student ceases attendance at any point prior to completing the payment period or the period of enrollment, unless the school obtains written confirmation that he/she will attend a module that begins later in the same payment period or period of enrollment. To determine if a student who is enrolled in at least one course offered in modules is considered a withdrawal, the student must have begun attendance in the period of enrollment, ceased to attend a course and at the time he/she ceased to attend, he/she was no longer attending any other courses as well.

Return of Funds due to Withdrawal

If a student completely withdraws from the university either voluntarily or involuntarily during a semester, a portion of the federal Title IV aid disbursed to the student must be returned to the financial aid programs. The percentage of Title IV aid required to be returned is based on the percentage of time remaining in the semester as of the student’s date of withdrawal. This percentage is equal to the number of calendar days remaining in the semester divided by the total number of calendar days in the semester. Scheduled breaks of more than four consecutive days are excluded from this calculation.

Percent of aid to be returned =

Number of calendar days remaining in the semester
Total number of calendar days in the semester

Example: A student who remains enrolled for 10 percent of a semester will be eligible to keep 10 percent of the total Title IV aid disbursed to him or her. The balance (90 percent) must be returned to the Title IV program(s). Similarly, a student who remains enrolled for 60 percent of a semester will be eligible to keep 60 percent of the total Title IV aid disbursed to him or her. The balance (40 percent) must be returned to the Title IV program(s).

Note: No Title IV aid funds are required to be returned if the student remains enrolled for more than 60 percent of the semester.

The date of withdrawal is the date a student officially notifies the NKU registrar’s office of his or her intent to completely withdraw from school. If a student unofficially withdraws from school, the Office of Student Financial Assistance will use the midpoint of the semester to establish the student’s date of withdrawal.

At the time a student withdraws, Student Account Services will automatically use all or a portion of the student’s “institutional refund” as payment toward the amount that must be returned to the Title IV programs. The student may also be required to repay a portion of the aid funds that were directly disbursed to him or her in the form of a residual check. 

Failure to pay will result in a HOLD being placed on the student’s account, and the student will not be allowed to register for classes, obtain grades, or obtain an academic transcript. Student loan funds are to be repaid in accordance with the terms of the loan.

Post-Withdrawal Disbursement of Title IV Aid

The Office of Student Financial Assistance will determine if a student is eligible to receive Title IV funds that were awarded but not yet disbursed to the student at the time of his or her withdrawal from school. If the student is eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement, the Office of Student Financial Assistance will first apply these funds to the student’s outstanding university charges (if any). Any remaining amount of the post-withdrawal disbursements will be mailed directly to the student.

Donovan Scholars

The Herman L. Donovan Fellowship for Older Adults program allows Kentucky residents 65 years of age or older to pursue credit-bearing coursework at NKU for a degree or for personal enrichment without payment of application fees or tuition. Donovan Scholars are responsible for books, supplies, parking, and applicable taxes. Noncredit courses are not included in this benefit. Upon applying for admission, students must submit proof of age. The tuition award is posted to the student’s account by the Office of Student Financial Assistance.

Graduate Assistantships


To serve as a graduate assistant (GA), one must be enrolled (fully or provisionally) in a graduate certificate or graduate degree program.

Students admitted as non-degree may be appointed as graduate assistants with the approval of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education, Research & Outreach or designee. Students with concurrent admission (graduate and undergraduate) may not be appointed as graduate assistants.

Requirement for Continuance of Assistantship

A graduate assistant must have a graduate grade point average of 3.0 or above to receive or retain an assistantship. To retain an assistantship, a GA must perform at a satisfactory level in his/her academic program and his/her assistantship responsibilities.

Credit-hour Requirement

A graduate assistant must be enrolled at NKU in a minimum of six semester hours of graduate credit during each semester he/she is serving as a GA. Exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Vice Provost for Graduate Education, Research & Outreach or designee. International students are eligible to be hired as graduate assistants.

Definition of Full-time Graduate Assistant

A full-time graduate assistant will work either 20 or 24 hours per week for 16 weeks in each of the fall and spring semesters of one academic year. A graduate assistant appointed for fewer is considered a part-time graduate assistant. International students may not work more than 20 hours per week.


Graduate assistants receive an hourly rate of pay determined by the hiring department for the work performed and tuition up to a maximum of nine hours per fall and spring semesters. Tuition is paid at the standard (non-business) in-state rate. Non-Kentucky residents are required to pay the difference between the in-state tuition paid by the assistantship and their actual university assessment.

Student Employment

Students may elect to work to assist with meeting educational costs and living expenses.

NKU administers the Federal Work-Study program and an institutional student employment program. NKU administers these programs in accordance with the laws, federal and state regulations, and instructions issued by or on behalf of the Department of Education, as well as its own institutional policies. The Federal Work-Study program provides funds for students with financial need. These funds are earned through part-time employment at NKU and assist in financing the cost of post-secondary education.  These funds are not directly applied toward tuition. Students earn a bi-weekly paycheck that they can utilize for expenses. 

Student workers must be enrolled for at least six credit hours during the fall and spring semesters. U.S. citizens are allowed to work a maximum of 25 hours per week during the academic year and a maximum of 35 hours per week during the summer session. For summer employment, the student must have been enrolled in the previous spring or intend to enroll for the upcoming fall semester. International students are allowed to work a maximum of 20 hours per week during the academic year and must be enrolled for 12 hours per semester.