Financial Aid Programs

Financial aid is made up of a number of different types of financial assistance sources. At Gallaudet University the three primary categories of aid are federal programs, University grants/scholarships, and outside sources of assistance. A brief description of each category follows.


Federal Pell Grant - Undergraduate only
This is a federal grant based on financial need, cost of attendance, and student enrollment status. Pell Grants range in value from $626 to $5,775 per academic year (2015-2016). Grant amounts are determined after the Financial Aid Office receives the results of the student's Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA must be received before or while a student is enrolled. FAFSA results received after a student withdraws or at the end of a school year are void.

Information about Pell Lifetime Limits:

Beginning with the 2012-2013 Academic Year, federal law limits the amount of Pell Grant that a student can receive. You must plan now for your future enrollment, especially if you plan to transfer into Gallaudet University to pursue a bachelor's degree. Remember, the six‐year limit is a LIFETIME limit, regardless of completion of your academic goals or bachelor's degree. Details about the Pell lifetime limits can be found in the Federal Pell Lifetime Limits Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
This is a federal grant for undergraduate students who are determined to have exceptional financial need, based on the results of their FAFSA. Average grants range in value from $200 to $2,000 per academic year, depending upon individual need and available funding.

Federal Work-Study (FWS)
These are federal funds intended to promote part-time employment, on or off-campus, for students who demonstrate financial need. FWS funds awarded to students are paid as they are earned for employment. Placement for students awarded FWS funds is done through Gallaudet's Career Center. Community service positions and reading tutor positions off campus are available to FWS recipients. These positions offer a variety of service sites and activities. For more information, contact the Gallaudet University Career Center and visit the Federal Work Study Center.

Federal Perkins Student Loan Program
The Perkins Student Loan is a low interest (5 %) federal loan administered by Gallaudet. Perkins Loans are available to students who have "exceptional financial need" as determined by the FAFSA. Undergraduate students may borrow a maximum of $5,500 per year, depending on the availability of funds and an individual's financial need. Graduate or professional students may borrow a maximum of $8,000 per year, depending on availability of funds and individual financial need.

The aggregate Federal Perkins Loan Program limit is $27,000 for a student who has successfully completed two years of a bachelor's program but hasn't completed the degree, $60,000 for a graduate or professional student, and $11,000 for all other students.

Federal Perkins loan borrowers are required to complete a Master Promissory Note in person, in the Financial Aid Office, prior to the first disbursement of their Perkins loan award. The Perkins MPN is a paper document that requires a wet signature and verification of student identity. Be prepared to provide contact information for three personal references and two forms of photo identification. Students are only required to sign only one MPN, for all Perkins loan awards received while attending Gallaudet University. Failure to complete the MPN will result in cancellation of the Perkins loan award.

Perkins loan borrowers must be enrolled half-time (6 credits). Upon dropping to less than half-time enrollment, the student will be required to complete Exit Loan Counseling for his/her Federal Perkins loan.  Repayment begins nine months after a student graduates, withdraws, or drops below half-time. (Grace periods may vary for less-than-half-time students.) Gallaudet University contracts with Campus Partners, to service all Federal Perkins loans. For additional information regarding Federal Perkins loan repayment, please refer to the Campus Partners website.

Federal Stafford Loans
The Federal Direct Stafford Loan program provides low interest loans to students. The lender is the U.S. Department of Education, rather than a bank or other financial institution. Subsidized Stafford Loans are those for which the government pays the interest while a student is enrolled at least half-time (a minimum of six credit hours toward student's degree program) or in applicable loan deferment status. Unsubsidized Stafford Loans are those that are not need-based, and the student is responsible for paying the interest that accrues during in-school and deferment periods.

Interest rates vary, depending on Stafford Loan history and the date on which the loan is disbursed. For prior loans with variable interest, rates are set each June. For prior borrowers with outstanding loan balances, interest rates will be the same as for previous loans. For loans disbursed after July 1, 2015, Stafford loan interest rates will be "fixed" at 4.29% for Undergraduate students and 5.84% for Graduate students. Undergraduate students may borrow up to $3,500 per year as freshmen, $4,500 per year as sophomores and $5,500 per year as juniors and seniors in Subsidized Stafford Loans.  (Actual loan amounts may be less, depending on individual student eligibility.) Repayment begins six months after the student graduates, withdraws, or drops below half-time attendance. More information on interest rates and repayment.

As of July 1, 2015, all students may borrow additional Unsubsidized Stafford Loans once subsidized limits are reached (and if otherwise eligible). The maximum amounts of unsubsidized loans that an Independent undergraduates can borrow are: freshmen or sophomores $6,000; juniors or seniors $7,000. Dependent undergraduates may borrow up to $2000 in additional Unsubsidized Stafford Loans each year, regardless of grade level. Graduate students can borrow up to $20,500 in Unsubsidized Stafford Loans. These are maximums only; actual unsubsidized loan amounts are determined according to individual student eligibility.

*Stafford Loans are not awarded/packaged automatically by the Financial Aid Office. Students desiring Stafford Loan should complete and submit the Student Loan Request Form to the Financial Aid Office.

Federal Graduate PLUS Loan
Graduate PLUS Loans are intended to provide unsubsidized loan assistance to graduate students who do not qualify for Federal Stafford Loans, or who have borrowed the maximum Stafford Loans allowed annually and still have remaining unmet educational costs for the academic year (based on their Cost of Attendance). The Graduate PLUS Loan interest rate is fixed at 6.84%, and payments may be deferred while enrolled upon request from your lender. These loans require credit approval. Students who are interested in the Graduate PLUS Loan may complete a Student Loan Request Form, or obtain more information in the Financial Aid Office.

Federal Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)
PLUS loans are loans that are borrowed by parents on behalf of their dependent undergraduate students. This program gives parents with good credit histories an opportunity to borrow an amount each year that equals the student's cost of education minus any financial aid received (borrowing to meet Expected Family Contribution). The PLUS interest rate is variable but cannot exceed 9 percent (for loans disbursed on or after October 1, 1992). Interest rates are set each June. If a parent has an outstanding PLUS loan received prior to October 1992, the lender should be contacted for interest information. Loan proceeds must be endorsed by the parent(s) and returned to Gallaudet for payment toward University charges. For loans first disbursed after July 1, 2008, parents may defer repayment on a PLUS loan until 6 months after the student ceases to be enrolled at least half-time (6 credits). The Parent PLUS interest rate is fixed at 6.84%. Parents may opt to pay accruing interest monthly or quarterly, or allow interest to be capitalized quarterly. More information on PLUS interest rates and repayment.

*PLUS loans are not awarded/packaged automatically by the Financial Aid Office. Parents desiring a PLUS Loan should complete and submit the Parent Loan Request Form to the Financial Aid Office.

Loan Deadlines: Federal Stafford and PLUS Loans must be requested by November for Fall semester and April for Spring in order to meet pre-registration deadlines. This is necessary so that adequate time is given to process loan applications, promissory notes, and receipt of loan funds. Under no circumstances will a loan be awarded/processed for a semester that has ended. Loans will not be processed to cover outstanding charges for a prior semester in order to enroll.

Students who have an outstanding balance from a previous semester may not enroll for the upcoming semester, and therefore are not considered "students" for the purpose of loan requirements. For this reason, it is essential that students apply for loans early, and well before the semester ends.

Master Promissory Notes: Students who are first-time Federal Direct Stafford loan borrowers, or students who are borrowing at Gallaudet for the first-time (e.g. transfer students) are required to complete and sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN). Stafford Loans will be canceled for students who do not complete the MPN requirements within 30 days from notification. (Loan funds will not be approved or disbursed by the U.S. Department of Education without a signed promissory note).

Student Loan Counseling: Federal law requires institutions to inform students of their borrower rights and responsibilities. Entrance/Exit Loan Counseling can be completed online at the Direct Loan Servicing website. If you cannot complete your counseling session online, please contact the Financial Aid Office.

  • Entrance Loan Counseling all first-time Gallaudet borrowers will be directed to complete the appropriate Entrance Loan Counseling session after completing the MPN online. You will be asked a series of questions to determine the appropriate counseling session for you. Your loan request will not be processed until this requirement is satisfied.
  • Exit Loan Counseling is required of Stafford Loan borrowers who withdraw, drop below half-time (6 credits), or graduate. The Financial Aid Office will contact you with when it is time to complete Exit Loan Counseling, and provide you with instructions to do so online. Failure to complete exit interview/counseling requirements will result in a "hold" on transcripts, grades, and diplomas.

Sample Repayment Schedule - 5% Interest

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Sample Repayment Schedule - 8% Interest


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Private Loan Programs: Students are required to complete the Application Instructions for Financial Aid before applying for a private loan. Only students who do not qualify for Federal Stafford or PLUS loans (or who have reached annual maximum limits) should consider applying for a Private Student Loan. Gallaudet will not certify a private student loan if a student has not submitted both the IFAA and FAFSA for the requested loan period. Private loans are not subsidized. All applications for alternative loans must be submitted by the end of November for Fall semester and the end of April for Spring. Qualifications and guidelines will vary among alternative loan providers. For more information regarding private student loans, please contact your personal banking institution.

Gallaudet University adheres to a code of conduct that prohibits a conflict of interest with the responsibilities of an agent of the school with respect to private student loans. This code of conduct prohibits:

  •  Revenue-sharing arrangements with any lender

  •  Receiving gifts from a lender, a guarantor, or a loan services

  • Contracting arrangement providing financial benefit from any lender or affiliate of a lender

  • Directing borrowers to particular lenders, or refusing or delaying loan certifications

  • Offers of funds for private loans

  • Call center or financial aid office staffing assistance

  • Advisory board compensation


Grant-in-Aid (GIA)
GIA is a University grant that is given in the form of a credit to students' charges. Recipients must be full-time, regular degree-seeking students. No student refunds may be made from GIA funds, as they are an offset to university direct charges.

These are gift funds that are donated to the University by a variety of individuals and organizations. Recipients must be full-time, regular degree-seeking students. Scholarships are restricted based on donor requirements; however, most are based academic performance. The Financial Aid Office matches students with scholarship requirements. Awards vary with donations and donor restrictions. Applicants for scholarships should complete the IFAA in full (leave no sections blank). Applicants for financial aid are automatically considered and matched with these funds and do not need to apply for individual scholarships.

Some Graduate School departments offer students assistance in the form of tuition waivers, scholarships and/or stipends. Awards are made by individual departments. Prospective graduate students should contact their department regarding the availability of this type of assistance. Although not awarded by the Financial Aid Office, these awards do count as financial aid and toward meeting financial need (unless given as earnings for work performed).

Gallaudet provides a significant level of part-time student employment opportunities through its Career Center. A variety of positions are available to students who wish to work part-time while attending school. Students interested in employment should contact the Career Center.

                  Eligibility for University and Federal Aid Programs
PELL x x x x x x x
FSEOG x x x x x x x
FWS x x x x x x x
PERKINS x x x x x x x
STAFFORD x x x x x x x
PLUS x x x x x x x
GIA x x x x x x
SCHOL x x x x x x x
UG Undergraduate
GRD Graduate student (Masters, PhD)
U.S. Citizen or eligible non-citizen
INT'L International student
F/T Full-time (12 credits UG, 9 credits GRD)
H/T Half-Time (6 credits UG/GRD)
P/T Part-Time (less than 6 credits)
REPAY Aid is a loan and must be repaid
GIFT Aid does NOT require repayment
DEG Must be enrolled in a degree-seeking program
SPEC Not degree-seeking, or non-degree credits


Vocational Rehabilitation (VR)
Each state has a Vocational Rehabilitation program designed to assist people with disabilities to become work-ready. Approximately 47% of Gallaudet students receive some financial support from state VR agencies. If you need more information about VR, contact the program in your area or the Financial Aid Office. For more information: Vocational Rehabilitation.

Social Security
Deaf and hard of hearing students may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is a program providing monthly benefits to individuals who are disabled, unqualified for substantial work, and whom have significant financial need. Information is available through your local Social Security Office. For more information:

State Grants
Most states have grant programs available; however, only a few permit the use of funds for out-of-state attendance. Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Delaware, Vermont, Maryland, Maine, District of Columbia, and Rhode Island are among those who allow grant funds to be used at Gallaudet. Contact your State Scholarship Agency for further information.

Aid Distribution

Financial Aid Disbtribution Chart for Graduate and Undergraduate Students


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