Mar 03, 2024  
2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog 
2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Financial Aid

Merrimack College is committed to assisting students in achieving their educational goals. Institutional, federal and state aid is available to full-time, undergraduate students demonstrating eligibility according to Merrimack’s application procedures and funding policies. Merrimack College believes the primary responsibility for a student’s education belongs to the individual and his or her parent(s). However, the College recognizes that meeting the cost of a private education is a financial challenge for many students and families. Therefore, we have established a substantial program for financial aid designed to provide assistance to deserving students who desire to study at Merrimack.

Application Information

All students who wish to apply for financial aid should file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at

To apply for need-based aid-grants, loans, and work programs-applicants must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), using the Merrimack College federal school code of 002120. The FAFSA, starting with the 2017-18 academic year will be available online at beginning October 1. The recommended deadline should correspond with your application deadline.

Continuing students must file the FAFSA renewal prior to April 1st and meet Merrimack’s standards for Satisfactory Academic Progress for financial aid.

The Merrimack College Federal School Code is 002120 and must be included on your FAFSA.

Eligibility for Federal Financial Aid

To apply for federal financial aid at Merrimack a student must:

  1. file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA);
  2. be a citizen of the United States, a permanent resident, or eligible non-citizen;
  3. enroll in an degree-granting program of study;
  4. have received their high school diploma or GED;
  5. be registered with Selective Service, if required;
  6. not be convicted of a drug-related crime in the last year;
  7. not be in default from previous student loans;
  8. make satisfactory academic progress toward the completion of his or her course of study. The complete schedule of the College’s statement on Satisfactory Academic Progress follows and is also available upon request from the Office of Financial Aid.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards

In order to receive financial aid from federal, state, institutional or any private funding which require satisfactory academic progress, a student must comply with the standards listed in the College Catalog, Student Handbook, or other financial aid publications. In accordance with federal regulations, Merrimack College has adopted the following statement of Satisfactory Academic Progress standards which students must meet in order to maintain eligibility for financial aid from the federal and state programs.

Qualitative Standards: Satisfactory Academic Progress requires a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better by the end of your second academic year, or after four semesters of coursework.

Quantitative Standards: Students must successfully earn 67% of their cumulative attempted credits. In addition, you will not be eligible to receive federal financial aid once you have attempted more than 150% of the normal credits required for your degree. For full-time students this means the student must complete their degree within 6 years.


  • All transfer and summer credits are calculated toward the satisfactory academic progress standard whether taken at Merrimack College or any other institution.
  • Grades of F, W (other than medical), unofficial withdrawal or N are considered attempted, but not earned credits.
  • Students can repeat courses as many times as required to pass the course. However, if a student wishes to repeat a course to improve their grade, they can only receive aid for courses repeated one time.

Review of Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress for federal and state financial aid will be reviewed at the end of each Spring semester. If the cumulative grade point average falls below the minimum standard and/or the student falls behind in earned credits, the student will be notified by the Office of Financial Aid, and may appeal in writing by completing the required process below. Once the appeal is received, the Office of Financial Aid will notify student of future eligibility.

The review of Satisfactory Academic Progress for financial aid purposes is based on a student’s entire academic record, even if the student did not receive financial aid during previous semesters of enrollment.


Students who do not meet the minimum Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements for financial aid have the opportunity to appeal when special circumstances exist. Conditions when a student may appeal include death of a relative, injury or illness of the student, or other extenuating circumstances. In order to appeal, a student must submit a completed Satisfactory Academic Progress appeal form, including personal statement and supporting documentation. In addition, the student must meet with their Academic Success Coach to develop an academic plan, outlining the steps required to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress standards.

If a student’s appeal is approved, they will be placed on financial aid probation, and will continue to receive financial aid while on probation. At the end of this probation period, the student’s academic record will be reviewed to evaluate progress and determine continued eligibility.

Denied appeals will result in the student being ineligible for financial aid until minimum Satisfactory Academic Progress standards are met.

Appeals will be granted only one time during your enrollment at Merrimack. Exceptions may be made in certain circumstances.

After an appeal is granted, if the student fails to meet the terms outlined in their academic plan, he or she will become ineligible for financial aid until the minimum standards for Satisfactory Academic Progress are met. All courses, including summer and transfer courses, are calculated toward Satisfactory Academic Progress whether they are taken at Merrimack College or any other institution.

Re-Establishing Financial Aid Eligibility

A student may regain financial aid eligibility by successfully meeting the College’s SAP policy requirements or successfully meeting the requirements of an established academic plan.

Types of Aid


Grants are gift aid which do not have to be repaid.

ATHLETIC SCHOLARSHIP: Recipients are selected by the Merrimack Department of Athletics. All questions regarding this type of aid should be directed to the Coach and the Assistant Athletic Director of Compliance.

ENDOWED/RESTRICTED SCHOLARSHIPS: A number of individuals, foundations and corporations have donated money to establish nearly 250 endowed/restricted scholarships to Merrimack College. These scholarships vary in character and purpose. Some support study in a particular field, others provide assistance to students from designated geographic areas.

Endowed/Restricted scholarships are based on merit, leadership capability and financial need. Endowed/Restricted scholarships will be made during the academic year by the Office of Financial Aid.

Scholarships designated for entering students do not require a separate application.

If you are selected as a recipient, you will be notified of the award name and to whom a letter of thanks must be addressed. Your acceptance of these funds implies permission for the College to publicize the award.

FAMILY SCHOLARSHIP: If two children are enrolled at Merrimack College in a full-time, day degree program, each child receives a 10% reduction in tuition. Three children receive 13 1/3% and four children receive 15% (reduction is taken after institutional aid is applied).

FEDERAL PELL GRANT: Pell Grants are awarded to students who have filed the FAFSA and whose Expected Family Contribution falls within federal guidelines. Award amounts for full-time students in 2017-2018 range from $606 to $5,920 per year.

FEDERAL SUPPLEMENTAL EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY GRANT: Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants are awarded on a very limited basis first to Pell Grant recipients with the lowest Expected Family Contribution (EFC), pending federal funding. We have a limited amount of SEOG funds, so not all Pell Grant recipients will receive SEOG funds. The priority deadline to be considered is February 15 for freshmen and April 1 for returning students, after which, funds will be awarded based on Pell Grant recipients and their corresponding unmet need.

GILBERT GRANT: Gilbert Grants are one-year grants made available by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to eligible Massachusetts residents. Awards are determined annually pending state funding.

MASSGRANT: Massachusetts provides educational grants to qualified students who have completed the FAFSA. Eligibility is based on residency, financial need according to the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and enrollment status. For the 2017-2018 academic year, the MASSGrant awards range from $600 to $1,600. The MASSGrant is not automatically renewed as students must file the FAFSA before May 1 to determine eligibility.

If you have received state notification you may deduct the state scholarship from your bill only with the understanding that you are responsible for any balance due if the state subsequently adjusts or cancels your award.

MERIT SCHOLARSHIPS: Scholarships are renewable for four years or eight semesters as long as the student maintains good academic standing as defined in the Merrimack College catalog.

MERRIMACK NEED-BASED GRANT: In order to be considered for Merrimack need-based grant aid, a student must file the FAFSA and demonstrate financial need. The award amount in subsequent years will be determined by the demonstrated level of financial need. The FAFSA must be completed each academic year in order to be considered for renewal of Merrimack need-based grant aid. 

OTHER STATE GRANTS: Your state agency will notify you directly of your tentative award. Your state will also notify Merrimack once they have confirmed your award for the academic year. States which have reciprocal agreements with the Commonwealth are: Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and the District of Columbia. Available funding each year is determined by your state. If you have received state notification, you may deduct the state scholarship from your bill only with the understanding that you are responsible for any balance due if the state subsequently adjusts or cancels your award.

TRANSFER SCHOLARSHIPS: Transfer scholarships are renewable as long as the student maintains good academic standing as defined in the Merrimack College catalog. The number of semesters for which the scholarship is renewed is determined by the total transfer credits accepted upon admission, and the number of semesters that remain to meet the required credits for graduation.

TUITION EXCHANGE: This is a scholarship based on parental employment at another participating institution. For additional information, contact the Tuition Exchange liaison at the college.


FEDERAL PERKINS LOAN: The Federal Perkins loan may be available to students with exceptional financial need. Loan amounts range from $500 to $5,500 per year. These loans require no principal or interest payments while the student is pursuing a degree. Ordinarily, a repayment period of ten years is permitted at an interest rate of 5% on the unpaid balance beginning nine months after graduation. Funding is limited, and is not guaranteed for renewal.  As of October 1, 2017, we are no longer awarding new Perkins loans.

MASSACHUSETTS NO INTEREST LOAN: The Massachusetts No Interest Loan Program is a state funded, no interest, deferred loan offered to qualified Massachusetts residents. Repayment does not begin until six months after graduation. Loan amounts range from $1,000 to $4,000 per year. Students must file the FAFSA and have an EFC range of $0 to $15,000. Funding is limited, and is not guaranteed for renewal.

Federal Direct Stafford Loan Program provides loan funds to students to help pay college costs. This is a student loan; therefore, the student is responsible for repayment. Repayment begins six months after the student graduates or stops attending half-time.

This loan is available to students who have filed the FAFSA and meet the eligibility requirements for federal aid. Students are eligible for either a need-based Subsidized Stafford Loan (the government pays the interest while the student is in school) or a non need-based Unsubsidized Stafford Loan (interest is the responsibility of the borrower) or a combination of both.

Interest accrues on the Unsubsidized Loan while the student is in school. The student may pay the interest while in school or capitalize it and pay it along with the principal upon leaving school. The 2017-2018 interest rate for the Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loan is 4.45%.

The federal government deducts an origination fee from the gross loan amount before forwarding the proceeds to the school. This means the amount that is disbursed to your account will be less than the amount you were awarded in your financial aid award letter. For the 2017-2018 academic year, this fee is 1.066%.

New Stafford Loan borrowers must complete both the Entrance Counseling and Master Promissory Note (MPN) at The College will not disburse the loan to the student’s account until both the electronic MPN and Entrance Counseling notifications have been received by the College.

The maximum yearly amount that a student may borrow depends on the number of earned credits. See below.

Status: Earned credits: Maximum annual Student loan limits Base Subsidized/Unsubsidized Additional Unsubsidized  
Freshman 0 to 27 $3,500 $2,000  
Sophomore 28 to 59 $4,500 $2,000  
Junior 60 to 91 $5,500 $2,000  
Senior 92 + $5,500 $2,000  

Student Employment

There are two types of work programs administered by the College.

  1. Federal Work Study is a federally subsidized part-time employment program. Jobs are available on or off campus.
  2. College Employment is an on-campus, part-time employment program funded by the College.

Paychecks are issued bi-weekly via direct deposit, therefore the award amount is not deducted from the tuition account. Jobs and employment announcements will be posted on the Student Employment web site. Jobs for the 2017-2018 academic year are listed on the Advantage website once the semester begins.

Supplemental Loan Options

There are some other opportunities for families to meet their tuition obligation.

FEDERAL DIRECT PARENT PLUS LOAN for Undergraduate Students
The PLUS loan is available to creditworthy parents of dependent undergraduate students. Parents may borrow up to the full cost of education less any financial aid. The first step in applying for a PLUS loan is to be sure that the student for whom a PLUS loan is being processed has filed the FAFSA. A completed FAFSA is required for all Parent PLUS applications.

The 2017-2018 interest rate for the PLUS loan is 7.00% fixed. An origination fee is deducted from the loan before the funds are sent to the College. For 2017-2018, this fee is 4.264%. Repayment begins 60 days after final disbursement and is based on a 10-year repayment. The borrower may also contact the loan servicer to make interest-only payments, or defer payments completely until the student is no longer enrolled in school at least half time.

Parents may apply for the PLUS loan and complete their Master Promissory Note (MPN) online at A completed MPN must be on file before funds will be disbursed to the College.

Students may apply for a private/alternative loan with a credit-worthy co-borrower up to the annual cost of attendance less any financial aid received. Loans vary in interest rates, fees and repayment options. Repayment of interest usually begins immediately, with some lenders offering deferment options.

Please visit to use ELMSelect, which is a truly neutral lender and product comparison tool, and will only list lenders that Merrimack students commonly use.  Students are not obligated to borrow from this list of lenders, and may apply for a loan with any lender of their choice. Students are notified of loan approval directly from their lender. Once approved, the loan is sent to the College for certification and funds will disburse after the add/drop period has expired.

Payment Plans

Merrimack College is pleased to offer an interest-free monthly payment plan through Tuition Management Systems. Instead of a semester payment, this plan enables you to pay on a monthly basis. You have the option of up to five payments per semester, depending upon when you enroll. This plan is available to you for an enrollment fee of $55 through In addition, Education Payment Life Insurance covering the balance of your payment plan amount is also included.

Award Policies

  1. All federal and state awards are subject to government funding.
  2. If your FAFSA is selected for verification, you may be required to submit additional documentation, which may include, but are not limited to, federal transcripts and W2s.
  3. If the student withdraws from any course or courses after the drop/add period or otherwise decreases his/her course load, withdraws from the College or changes housing status, the package may be adjusted.
  4. As noted on the financial aid award letter, one half of the institution and government aid is credited to your account each semester. Please be advised that work study is not deducted from your tuition.
  5. Students who are enrolled in a Merrimack sponsored Study Abroad program are considered enrolled full-time for the purpose of Title IV federal aid, state aid, and institutional aid. Institutional aid will be reset to zero during your semester abroad and students will be considered for a Global Scholars Scholarship.
  6. In order to receive federal and state aid, students must maintain satisfactory academic progress as defined above.
  7. Merrimack scholarships and grants are awarded for full-time undergraduate enrollment. Awards are renewed for four years or eight semesters providing the recipient is enrolled full-time and maintains good academic standing as defined above. Students who are in their final semester of their program and do not require full-time enrollment may be exempt from this requirement, or may have their scholarship pro-rated.
  8. Receipt of outside scholarships may affect the aid package. Outside awards are first used to meet financial need not already met by the aid package. If a student’s financial need is met, the outside scholarship may affect his/her eligibility for a subsidized loan. Students are required to report outside scholarships to the Office of Financial Aid, even if funding is not disbursed to the College.
  9. Students must enroll at least half-time to retain eligibility for federal loans. Undergraduate half-time status is classified as 8 or more credit hours. Graduate half-time status is classified as 4 or more credit hours.
  10. Merrimack College reserves the right to correct any errors in notification of awards