Financial Assistance

Financial assistance is available to eligible students to help with educational expenses. This assistance may be used to meet both direct educational charges (tuition, fees, books) and personal living expenses (food, housing, transportation).

Financial assistance includes tuition discounts, grants, scholarships, employment and loan dollars. Students and parents are encouraged to contact the financial assistance office for information or visit the financial assistance website: .

Upon receipt of an application for admission, the admissions office will send new students instructions and application forms for financial assistance. Continuing students are notified annually about the distribution and deadlines for financial assistance application forms.

A student must reapply for financial assistance each academic year.

Eligibility and Application
In general, to be eligible for financial assistance, a student must be enrolled at least half-time and must maintain "satisfactory academic progress." EMU's Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy
is available on the Financial Assistance policies web page at Some institutional aid programs, such as academic scholarships, may have different maintenance requirements.

Assistance is based on one or more of the following criteria: grade level, application date, GPA, level of financial need, test scores, state of residence, receipt of other aid, and parental employment.

EMU uses the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine financial need. Following receipt of appropriate applications, the financial assistance office will send each applicant
a Financial Aid Notification detailing eligibility for all applicable aid programs.

Anticipated changes in enrollment status or failure to maintain "satisfactory academic progress" should be discussed with the financial assistance office to determine the effect on eligibility.
Students who lose merit scholarships or federal aid eligibility will be informed of the appeal process.

Distribution of Aid
Aid is distributed among students based on various eligibility criteria and in a manner consistent with enrollment management goals. The specific awarding policy for each year is available upon request.

Aid awards are usually divided equally between semesters. Subject to meeting program eligibility requirements, financial aid (except student employment earnings) is credited directly to students' tuition accounts at the beginning of each semester. Student and parent loan funds and funds from non-EMU scholarship agencies are credited to students' accounts upon receipt and endorsement of checks or upon receipt of electronic fund transfers transmitted from the funding source. Student employees are issued biweekly paychecks based on hours worked.

Types of Assistance

  • Discounts - Students whose parents are employed by an approved Mennonite education institution may be eligible for tuition discounts. Special restrictions apply.

  • Grants - A grant is an award that does not need to be repaid.

    • Federal need-based grants include the Federal Pell Grant and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant.

    • State grants include the Virginia Tuition Assistance grant and several other state grants.

    • EMU grants include alumni grants, international student tuition grants, matching church grants, need-based EMU grants, and need-based AHANA (African, Hispanic, Asian and Native American) grants.

  • Scholarships - EMU offers renewable academic scholarships to new students based on standardized test scores and high school or previous college GPAs. Prospective students are invited to contact the admissions office for further details regarding these scholarships. Outside scholarships may be obtained through community, civic, business, and church organizations.

Employment Opportunities
On-campus employment may be available to students who apply for financial assistance and are determined eligible. Terms and conditions of employment are outlined on the student employment contract which must be signed by each employee. Students must complete an I-9 form and annually complete federal and state tax withholding certificates.

Educational loans are available for college expenses and must be repaid. Federal loans include Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans and Parent Loans. 

Private student loan programs are available from outside lenders. Loan application procedures are outlined in an insert provided with the Financial Assistance Award Letter.

Study Abroad Programs
Financial aid is available for some study abroad programs. Arrangements are made with the director of cross-cultural programs and must specify EMU as the home institution.  Enrollment in a study abroad program must be through EMU.

Rights and Responsibilities

Students and parents have the right to know the specific criteria of each aid award. Students and parents are responsible to provide complete and accurate disclosure on aid application  forms and to meet specific deadlines.

Students receiving loans must complete online entrance and exit counseling as prescribed by federal student aid regulations for the purpose of reviewing borrower rights and responsibilities, repayment options and interest rate information. Details about deferment options are reviewed during the exit interview.

Refund/Repayment Policy
A student who withdraws or drops below full-time enrollment prior to completing 60% of the current enrollment period may be entitled to an adjustment (refund) of institutional charges.  Activity fees are non-refundable. The refund amount for each applicable charge is based on a percentage of the original charge determined by the remaining weeks in the enrollment period. A chart of the refund percentages for each term is available from the student accounts office and is also included in the student handbook.

If a student drops and/or adds a course(s) which changes enrollment status, his or her award letter will be reviewed to determine if and what financial aid awards must be adjusted. Some financial aid programs require full-time enrollment for receipt of an award, while others allow for pro-rated awards if enrollment is less than full-time. The effect of increasing or decreasing the tuition and fees amount in a student's cost of attendance (budget) may also impact eligibility for receipt of and/or the amount of an award. More information is available on the Financial Assistance Policies web page at

If a student withdraws from the university and has been awarded financial aid, he/she will have their aid reviewed to determine the amount (percentage) that has been earned using the formula required by the federal aid refund policy. If the student has received more aid than has been earned, the excess amount will be returned. The amount of excess aid that is returned is equal to the lesser of the student's institutional charges multiplied by the unearned percentage of funds, or the entire amount of the excess funds. An example of the tuition and aid refund calculations due to a withdrawal may be found in the student handbook.

Full details of the tuition and financial aid refund policies are available upon request from the student accounts and financial assistance offices. Students are encouraged to review the refund policies, the withdrawal example including refund calculations, and schedule of refundable/non-refundable charges and deposits found in the student handbook.

Drop/Add Policy
Adjustments to financial aid awards may occur if classes are dropped prior to the point in each term described generally as "the last day to drop and receive a 'W' grade."

Consumer Information and Financial Aid Policies
For financial assistance policies and other consumer information required by the federal government to be available to students, see

Return of Title IV Funds and Refund Policies

Return of Title IV Funds
The federal government mandates that if you withdraw either officially or unofficially from all of your classes you may only keep the financial aid you have earned up to the time of withdrawal. If you drop your classes before they are 60% completed, you may be required to repay a portion of your federal aid. If Title IV funds were disbursed in excess of the earned amount they must be returned by EMU and/or by you to the federal government. This situation could result in you owing federal aid funds to Eastern Mennonite University, to the government, or to both. This does not apply to you if you have dropped some of your classes but remained enrolled in others, or have successfully completed at least one class.

When you withdraw from classes 100%, EMU must determine the actual amount of federal aid that you earned while you attended your classes. To determine the amount of aid you have earned up to the time of withdrawal, EMU will divide the number of calendar days you attended classes by the total number of calendar days in your program of study (less any scheduled breaks of 5 days or more). The resulting percentage is then multiplied by the total federal funds that were disbursed to you for the semester. This calculation determines the amount of aid you earned which you may keep (for example, if you attended 25% of the term, you have earned 25% of the aid disbursed). The unearned amount (total aid disbursed less the earned amount) must be returned to the federal government by EMU or by you. EMU will notify you if you are required to repay any of your federal funds.

Federal funds that may be affected by a 100% withdrawal are the Federal Pell grant, Federal student loans and Federal SEOG grant. Financial aid returned must be allocated in the following order:

  1. Federal Unsubsidized Student Loan
  2. Federal Subsidized Student Loan
  3. Federal Grad PLUS Loan
  4. Federal PLUS (Parent) Loan
  5. Federal Pell Grant
  6. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
  7. Federal TEACH Grant

A student may be eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement if, prior to withdrawing, the student earned more federal financial aid than was disbursed. If a student is eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement for Title IV funds, it will be processed for the student and a refund will be issued within 14 days of the credit balance.

If the post-withdrawal disbursement includes loan funds, EMU must get the student’s permission before it can disburse the loan. Students may choose to decline some or all of the loan funds so that s/he does not incur additional debt. A notice will be sent to the student, and the student must notify the financial aid office in writing within 14 days.

EMU may automatically use all or a portion of the post-withdrawal disbursement of grant funds for tuition and fees. However, the school needs the student’s permission to use the post-withdrawal grant disbursement for all other school charges. If the student does not give his/her permission, the student will be offered the funds. However, it may be in the student’s best interest to allow the school to keep the funds to reduce the student’s debt at the school.

It is also important to understand that accepting a post-withdrawal disbursement of student loan funds will increase a student’s overall student loan debt that must be repaid under the terms of the Master Promissory Note. Additionally, accepting the disbursement of grant funds will reduce the remaining amount of grant funds available to the student should the student continue his/her education at a later time.

EMU must calculate the Return of Title IV Funds within 30 days and must return the Title IV funds within 45 days.

Official Withdrawal Process
It is the student’s responsibility to officially withdraw from classes. To officially withdraw from all classes in a semester, the student should initiate the process by contacting the Assistant Provost for Retention. Official contacts should be made with the student financial aid office, the business office, the registrar’s office, the academic adviser, and the resident director (if living in the Residence Halls). The date of withdrawal is the date the student notifies the Assistant Provost.  A student who stops attending classes but has not followed the process above does not constitute an official withdrawal. Students who withdraw from some classes but not all of their classes, must contact their academic adviser and the registrar. 

Unofficial Withdrawal
Occurs when a student leaves the school without notice or when all courses in which the student is enrolled are given an F grade due to non- completion of the course. The student’s last date of attendance or participation in any academic activity will be the date used to calculate the Return of Title IV Funds. If the last date of attendance or participation in any academic activity cannot be determined, EMU will use the midpoint (50% point) of the semester.

Refund Policies
For refund policies including refund charts and calendars that show refund dates and percentages, please visit the appropriate page in the EMU undergraduate handbook.