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Glossary of Financial Aid Terms

We understand that the technicalities and jargon of Financial Aid can be tricky. Below you will find definitions of commonly used terms we hope you will find valuable.


Institutional Scholarships, Grants and Loans: Scholarships, grants or loans provided by Bellarmine University

Federal Scholarships, Grants and Loans: Scholarships, grants or loans provided by the Federal Government

State Scholarships, Grants and Loans: Scholarships, grants or loans provided by the Federal Government


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Frequently Asked Questions

We understand that the technicalities and jargon of Financial Aid can be tricky. Below you will find definitions of commonly used terms we hope you will find valuable.

When will I find out my scholarship amount?

Students will begin receiving scholarship award notices shortly after they are admitted to Bellarmine.

When should I apply for other financial aid?

Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at as soon as possible after October 1 of your senior year in high school. List Bellarmine as a school to receive your information. Bellarmine’s school code is 001954. There will be opportunities to make adjustments if your circumstances change.

Should I participate in commercial scholarship or aid searches?

We discourage our students from participating in any search that requires a fee for an agency to find scholarships or grants. Applying for need-based aid is free, and in our experience these search agencies only tend to turn up federal sources you could locate on your own.

How do I receive the Bellarmine Scholar and the Bellarmine Fellow Award?

The Bellarmine Scholar and Bellarmine Fellow scholarships, awarded to entering first-year students, are Bellarmine’s most prestigious academic scholar-ships. The Bellarmine Scholar Award includes full tuition, fees, room and board with a study abroad stipend. The Bellarmine Fellow Award includes full tuition with a study abroad stipend. The application deadline is December 1 and an essay with the topic “Describe an incident or situation in your life which piqued your intellectual curiosity” is required. Essays are reviewed and students are invited to interview with faculty. After the interviews, five students are selected to receive each award.

Will scholarships from agencies other than Bellarmine affect my aid award?

This depends on the amount of the outside scholarships and on whether we have been able to meet your need with other aid. Please notify us when you find out you have received an outside scholarship, and we will notify you of any changes to your existing aid award by sending you a revised aid award. Outside scholarships do not replace the Expected Family Contribution. Instead, they must be counted as financial aid and deducted from the amount of aid eligibility. Bellarmine encourages students to pursue scholarships from other agencies.

Can international students apply for aid?

Only United States citizens and eligible non-citizens can file the FAFSA to apply for federal and state need-based aid. All other students, including those in the U.S. on an F1 or F2 student visa, are ineligible. Merit scholarships are available to international students through Bellarmine's Office of Admission. How much are and how can I pay for my books? The average Bellarmine student will spend $788 per year on books. If you have enough financial aid to cover tuition, mandatory fees, room and board, and books, contact the Student Accounts Office for a book voucher to use at the Bellarmine Bookstore. Otherwise, books cannot be charged to your student account. My parents’ income may be too high.

Should I still apply for aid?

We encourage all students to complete a FAFSA for their first year in college. Parental income is not the only factor that determines aid eligibility, and some people are surprised to find that they qualify for aid. Keep in mind that families who do not receive other need-based aid can still borrow a Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan, but you must file the FAFSA first. Will my financial aid package vary year to year? You must re-apply for need-based aid each year. Assuming that your financial situation stays the same and you maintain satisfactory academic progress, your aid should stay about the same from year to year. Changes in household size, number of children in college or your parents’ income and assets can have an effect on your financial aid award. Merit scholarships are automatically renewed each year provided you maintain the requirements.

What are my payment options if I owe any money after my scholarships and financial aid?

At Bellarmine we offer several payment options to fit your need and financial situation. You can pay your bill off all at once or at the beginning of each semester. We also offer monthly plan options spreading the balance out over the course of as many as ten months and as few as five.

What is the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)?

The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is a measure of your family’s financial strength and is calculated according to a formula established by law. Your family’s taxed and untaxed income, assets and benefits (such as unemployment or Social Security) are all considered in the formula. Additional considerations include your family size and the number of family members who will attend college during the year. The information you report on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is used to calculate your EFC. Schools use the EFC to determine your federal student aid eligibility and financial aid award. Your EFC is not the amount of money your family will have to pay for college nor is it the amount of federal student aid you will receive. It is a number used by your school to calculate the amount of federal student aid you are eligible to receive.

The Bellarmine Blog

Bellarmine University educates students – mind body and spirit – for meaningful lives, rewarding careers, ethical leadership and service to improve the human condition. Read about our mission in action on our blog.

Gracie's First Impression

Mar 26, 2021, 11:17 AM by Katelyn Norris

By: Gracie Spalding, Medical Laboratory Science

What truly got me interested into attending Bellarminewas seeing the community and school spirit. I saw this during my childhood when I attended basketball games. I would always see the passion of the students in the student section and in the band. They all seemed like they were so into the game. They clearly had a passion for the school. They held their breath and wiggled their fingers during Bellarmine’s free throws in hopes of a good basket. Their voices rang out gleefully along with the rest of the crowd when Bellarmine scored. They bellowed along to the chants of the cheerleaders on the gym floor. Seeing that kind of enthusiasm made me want to be a part of it too. I wanted to feel the sense of belonging to a community like those students felt.

Although I got a taste of the Bellarmine community when I grew up, the main time I sensed this excitement for the school was during my campus visit. My parents and I drove to Bellarmine and walked into Centro. We were welcomed by two friendly tour guides who helped to make me feel comfortable by asking me about myself and showing an interest in who I am. The group of adolescents and their guardians were split into two groups. One went with the male tour guide, and the other went with the female. My parents and I were with the female tour guide.

our tour guide spoke about Bellarmine in a way that showed she truly loved being here

Bellarmine has a stunning campus. While it did not go unnoticed by anyone, what stuck out more to me was the community and school spirit. It was not as blatantly obvious as the cheering of students at basketball games, but our tour guide spoke about Bellarmine in a way that showed she truly loved being here. She explained the friendships you develop with the faculty because of the small size of the classes, which was something I truly appreciate.

The biggest thing about the tour that showed me that Bellarmine’s community was something I wanted to be a part of was how at different points in the tour, we would encounter other students across campus. Our tour guide said hello, and she was friends with quite a few of them. These brief interruptions showed me the reality of being on campus, and this was not something I had seen at other schools. The interactions showed me how friendly everyone is and how the structure of the campus enables you to see friends in your day-to-day life. I can greet and talk to people at least once or twice per day while I am going across campus at Bellarmine. Being able to bump into my friends and classmates on campus was not something I realized I wanted until I saw it during the tour. That type of spontaneous interaction is a fantastic reminder of the wonderful community at Bellarmine.

It shows how tight knit the school is and how you can form close friendships with people here.