General Information

Award Packaging

The underlying assumption in all federal and institutional financial aid programs is that the primary responsibility for meeting the costs of education resides with parent(s) and students. With that understanding, the Financial Aid Office makes every effort to see that a reasonable proportion of undergraduate students' financial need is met with grant/scholarship resources.  This includes gift aid from outside of the university such as private scholarships and Vocational Rehabilitation (VR). The extent of institutional grant/scholarship awards will depend upon these outside resources, individual student financial need, timing of application, and available institutional funding levels.

Financial Aid Awards

Award offers are sent to eligible financial aid applicants as early as the spring or summer prior to the award year. The award offer must be accepted, signed, and returned to the Financial Aid Office within a designated period of time. Any award not accepted is subject to cancellation.

Students determined to be ineligible for financial aid are notified after the applications are received and reviewed.

Financial aid is credited to students' accounts after classes begin, but not before the add-drop period is completed. All aid is used first to cover students' University charges. Refunds of aid to students will be made only after the account balance has been paid in full.


The Financial Aid Office is charged with the responsibility for compliance with federal aid program guidelines, which include ensuring that students do not receive more aid than that for which they are eligible (exceeding the "financial need" amount). In cases where a student has been awarded financial aid and other financial assistance received exceeds the financial need amount, the Financial Aid Office must reduce or cancel any aid it has awarded to avoid "overawards" of federal aid. More information about how your eligibility is determined.

It is essential that students notify the Financial Aid Office of any assistance expected from outside sources (private scholarships, VR); or from other University departments or offices (such as tuition scholarships/waivers, stipends, grants, or other assistance/scholarships) in order to determine what effect, if any, this assistance will have on aid awarded by the Financial Aid Office.


Financial aid awards are based on the information provided by the student or parent on the FAFSA. If this information has changed for the following calendar year or there has been a change in domestic or financial circumstances, the student or parent may write a letter describing the changes and ask for a re-evaluation of aid eligibility. Documentation of these changes or expenses must be sent to the Financial Aid Office.

Registration and Fee Payment

The University will permit students to sign a "promissory note" for the amount of charges due as part of the business registration process completed in BISON prior to the start date for each semester. See Tuition and Fees. All amounts not covered by financial aid must be paid in full by the student or parent by the end of each semester. Financial aid cannot be used for outstanding debts from prior academic years.

Questions regarding outstanding balances or student charges should be directed to the Student Financial Services, (202) 250-2453 (Video Phone) or (202) 651-5145 (Voice). Payments should be made directly to the Cashier's Office, Gallaudet University. Be sure to include the student's name and ID number in the memo of any checks.

Refunds of Financial Aid to Students

Financial aid funds that are posted in excess of student charges will be refunded to students during the third or fourth week of each semester (or after a credit balance appears on the account). Because Gallaudet does not require full payment before the semester begins and students are permitted to start classes without full payment, financial aid refunds are not available before classes begin or before the add-drop period is complete. Students should be prepared to cover initial living expenses and books/supplies each semester. At the end of the add/drop period, student enrollment will be verified and financial aid funds will be disbursed to Student Financial Services and applied towards University charges. Once all charges have been assessed and paid in full, credit balance refunds will be prepared and students will be notified via email of when and where they may collect their refund checks. Students can arrange to have their account refunds direct deposited into their personal bank account(s) via Electronic Fund Transfer. Direct deposit can be established by contacting Student Financial Services.

Academic Progress Requirements

In order to retain eligibility for financial aid from year to year, students must meet the University's standards for satisfactory academic progress (SAP). Generally, students must maintain minimum grade point average (GPA) levels established by the University; and must achieve a minimum percentage of cumulative credits earned to cumulative credits attempted each semester of attendance. Failure to meet the minimum standards will result in termination of financial aid eligibility until such time as the standards are met. More information about Academic Standards for Financial Aid.

Return of Title IV-Federal Financial Aid Funds/Student Withdrawal or LOA

The Financial Aid Office is required by federal statute to recalculate federal financial aid eligibility for students who withdraw, drop out, are dismissed, or take a leave of absence prior to completing 60% of a payment period or term. Both institutional and federal Title IV financial aid programs must be recalculated in these situations.

If a student leaves the institution prior to completing 60% of the semester, the financial aid office recalculates eligibility for Title IV funds. Recalculation is based on the percentage of earned aid using the following Federal Return of Title IV funds formula:

Percentage of payment period or term completed = the number of days completed up to the withdrawal date divided by the total days in the payment period or term. (Any break of five days or more is not counted as part of the days in the term.) This percentage is also the percentage of earned aid.

Funds are returned to the appropriate federal program based on the percentage of unearned aid using the following formula:

Aid to be returned = 100% of the aid that could be disbursed minus the percentage of earned aid multiplied by the total amount of aid that could have been disbursed during the payment period or term.

(For example: a student withdraws after 44 days. This number is divided by the total days in the semester: 44/110 = 40%. This student has "earned" 40% of his/her financial aid. If the student has received $6000 in grants and/or loans, 40%, or $2,400 is earned, and the remaining $3,600 must be returned.)

If a student earned less aid than was disbursed, the institution would be required to return a portion of the funds and the student would be required to return a portion of the funds.

If a student earned more aid than was disbursed to him/her, the institution would owe the student a post-withdrawal disbursement which must be paid within 120 days of the student's withdrawal.

Keep in mind that when Title IV funds are returned, the student may owe a debit balance to the institution.

The institution must return the amount of Title IV funds for which it is responsible no later than 30 days after the date of the determination of the date of the student's withdrawal.

Refunds are allocated in the following order:

  • Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans
  • Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans
  • Unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loans (other than PLUS loans)
  • Subsidized Direct Stafford Loans
  • Federal Perkins Loans
  • Federal Parent (PLUS) Loans
  • Federal Grad PLUS Loans
  • Federal Pell Grants for which a Return of funds is required
  • Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grants for which a Return of funds is required
  • Other assistance under this Title for which a Return of funds is required (e.g., LEAP)


Return to Title IV (R2T4) calculation – A required calculation to determine the amount of aid earned by the student when the student does not attend all days scheduled to complete within a payment period or term (Student is considered to be a withdrawal, whether any credits were completed or not.)

Overaward [not the same as Return to Title IV calculation] – A required recalculation of Pell Grant and other aid types due to student dropping or not attending credits required for the status awarded (full-time, three-quarter time, half-time, less than half-time); required at any point information received that changes student status. Reductions in aid will always be required for students whose status changes due to dropped classes or classes not attended beyond the course census date.

Return of Title IV funds for programs offered in modules

  • A Module is defined as a course or group of courses in a program that does not span the entire length of the payment period (semester), i.e. 8 week online sessions or summer sessions.
  • Gallaudet University, Financial Aid Office will track enrollment in each module to determine if a student began enrollment in all registered courses. If a student officially drops courses in a later module while still attending a current module, the student is not considered as withdrawn based on not attending the later module. However, a recalculation of aid based on a change in enrollment status may still be required.
  • If a student in modular classes provides written confirmation to a school at the time of ceasing attendance that the student plans to attend another course later in the semester, the student is not considered to have withdrawn if the next schedule class the student is to attend begins within 45 days of the last class the student attended.

Unofficial Withdrawal

All financial aid is awarded to students with the expectation that they will attend classes for the entire semester or award period. Students who cease attending classes but who do not officially withdraw (identified by failing grades for all attempted credits) will be considered as having "unofficially withdrawn", and will be subject to financial aid cancellation according to the date attendance ceased as provided by faculty (or, at a 50% unearned rate if attendance information is not available.). This means, regardless of charges for the period, a student who has ceased attending classes will be considered to have unofficially withdrawn and will have a percentage of his/her financial aid cancelled (based on attendance data), and may be subject to repayment of any financial aid disbursed. If any loans have been disbursed, repayment requirements may take effect as of the unofficial withdrawal date.

Students who cease attending classes and are considered as unofficial withdrawals will NOT BE ELIGIBLE for financial aid for the subsequent semester; and/or until future semester courses have been completed and satisfactory academic progress standards are met. More information about Academic standards for Financial Aid.

PLEASE NOTE: A withdrawal from all or any of your courses could result in a negative effect on your Satisfactory Academic Progress.  Please view the section on Standards of Academic Progress (SAP) for Financial Aid located on this page.

Independent Student Definition

The statutory definition of an independent student is one who is at least 24 years of age by December 31 of the award year, an orphan or ward of the court, a veteran of the Armed Forces, married, a graduate or professional student, one who has legal dependents other than a spouse, is in legal guardianship as determined by a court in their state of legal residence, determined by a high school or school district homeless liaison as an unaccompanied homeless youth, or at any time on or after July 1, 2012 determined by the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to be an unaccompanied homeless youth. Students who do not meet one of the above criteria are considered to be dependent and must provide parents' financial information on the FAFSA.

On-line Study

Gallaudet University and Federal Financial Aid Programs (Federal Stafford, PLUS, Perkins, Work Study, PELL Grants and SEOG Grants) may be used to cover on-line (distance education) courses with certain restrictions.

Students taking on-line courses during the regular, 15 week semester, may receive financial aid funding (if otherwise eligible); however the cost of education used to determine financial aid eligibility for on-line class funding will include tuition, fees, and books only.* Transportation costs, personal expenses, room, and board are not included in determining the amount of financial aid funding, and are not considered to be relevant costs associated with on-line study.* Students may choose to live in University housing while taking on-line study; however the expenses related to dorm residence will not be included in financial aid calculations. Students taking on-line courses over 8 weeks must be enrolled for two consecutive sessions in order to be eligible for financial aid funding. See the following Section.

*Students enrolling for at least six credits per semester in their degree programs via resident (lecture) classes in combination with on-line classes will have their financial aid packaged with all applicable costs included (tuition, fees, books, room, board, transportation, and personal expenses).

Online Degree Completion Program (ODCP)

Students enrolled in the The Online Degree Completion Program (ODCP) may be considered for most types of institutional and federal need-based financial aid funds if they are enrolled at least half time (6 credits) in either one 8-week session, or over two consecutive 8-week sessions. The "semester" for ODCP students is considered to be two 8-week sessions (or 16 weeks), during which at least 6 credits (or more) are attempted. Enrollment for at least 6 credits must be documented before financial aid eligibility can be established. Students who wish to apply for financial aid are required to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the Gallaudet Institutional Financial Aid Application (IFAA). Refer to "Applying for Aid" for additional information.

ODCP students' financial aid review will be based on the results of the FAFSA and other applications, and will consider the applicable costs for tuition, fees, and books/supplies.* Financial aid awarded will be disbursed directly to students' university accounts as a credit to charges, and may be refunded to students if funds are greater than account charges. In the case of Stafford Loans, the disbursement(s) will be made after the drop deadline for students enrolled half-time (6 credits) for one 8-week session, or after the student has begun the second of two consecutive 8-week sessions. Please note: any financial aid awarded for two consecutive sessions will be canceled if a student drops, withdraws, or otherwise does not "attend" the second 8-week session. Students who begin a session but later withdraw may have their financial aid reduced or canceled, based on the date of withdrawal. For this and other information pertaining to financial aid, please review the financial aid website in full. *On-line study costs do not include living expenses, travel, or personal expenses.

Summer School

Some limited financial aid is available for summer school, which is considered to be the "last" semester of the award year for financial aid. Students who desire to apply for summer school aid must complete the Summer Institutional Financial Aid Application (IFAA), available in BISON each Spring. Summer school aid will be awarded only to students who are enrolled for degree credits and who have completed the FAFSA and Summer IFAA.

Summer aid is awarded to eligible students for degree-credit coursework only. Non-degree credit Sign Language courses and credits offered through other University departments/colleges will not be supported by financial aid. Summer aid will not cover coursework which is repeated.

Summer financial aid is limited. Students taking summer courses should not depend on financial aid alone to cover summer charges.

Undergraduate students who plan to begin a Graduate Program in Summer, and who have been enrolled as undergraduate students in fall and/or spring, MUST COMPLETE A FAFSA FOR THE SAME AWARD YEAR AS A GRADUATE STUDENT. FAFSA results for undergraduate students are invalid for awarding graduate level financial aid. The corrected FAFSA must be filed by the beginning of May for the prior Academic Year. For example, a student who is an undergraduate in 2016-2017 and who starts a graduate program in Summer of 2017 MUST correct their 2016-2017 FAFSA to reflect graduate level status. It is essential that undergraduate students beginning a Graduate Program in Summer see Financial Aid about requirements and applications even before acceptance into a graduate program.

Visiting Students

Students who are attending other institutions and who are enrolling at Gallaudet for one or two semesters are considered to be visiting or special students and are not eligible for financial aid. In some cases, students' home institutions will agree to transfer any aid for which they are eligible to Gallaudet via a Consortium Agreement; however, all visiting students must apply for aid at their home institutions, not at Gallaudet. Visiting students should discuss their plans with the Financial Aid Office at their home schools (degree-granting institution) prior to attending Gallaudet.

International Students

Gallaudet has very limited aid for international students. Assistance through the University is intended only to supplement other resources in the event that documented support is unexpectedly reduced or withdrawn. International students are considered to be personally responsible for meeting their college expenses. First-year international students are not eligible for financial aid. Returning international students are required to complete the Gallaudet Institutional Financial Aid Application (IFAA) in BISON. Additional financial assistance for international students from developing countries may be available from the Office Research Support and International Affairs (RSIA).


Correspondence from the Financial Aid Office and Student Financial Services is made directly with students. Students carry the major responsibility for providing the office with information and for communicating with their parents regarding required documents and outstanding balances. Parents should remind their child/student to forward them copies of all financial aid notifications and student account billing statements.

Students also have 24/7 access to their financial aid information in BISON. Students may opt to grant their parent access to their financial aid information by activating the GU Parent Access feature in their BISON Self Service menu. Students may also grant their parent(s) access to their student account by adding them as an Authorized Payer in GallyPay. Instructions for adding an Authorized Payer can be found here.

Campus Communications

All students are issued, or may request, a campus PO Box and E-Mail account. Students are advised that all communications from the Financial Aid Office are sent to their home address or the campus PO Box, once the semester has started. Email notifications via campus e-mail are also frequently used. Students need to check their PO Boxes and e-mail frequently in order to receive essential notices from the Financial Aid Office. Financial aid can be delayed or terminated if students do not respond to requests for information or other required activities sent to the PO Box or through e-mail.

Gallaudet PO Boxes, addresses and E-Mail accounts are maintained in Gallaudet's central data base by the Registrar's Office. These records determine where Financial Aid communications are sent. Students must ensure that this information is current and accurate. Any changes to this information should be made through the Registrar's Office.