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Undergraduate Financial Aid

One of the biggest myths about financial aid is that a family with a high income or high savings shouldn’t bother filing a FAFSA since they won’t qualify for aid. While this might sometimes be true for federal or state aid, John Carroll is a private institution and awards $36 million in financial aid each year. We will review your information and do our best to help you in your unique situation.

First-year students need to apply for admission and apply for financial aid. Both of these things can happen at the same time. You do not need to wait until you are admitted to a school to file for financial aid. 

Continuing Students should renew their FAFSA every year to ensure that they do not miss any federal or institutional assistance. Our financial aid process requires only one federal form, Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Graduate Financial Aid

For Graduate students, the only eligibility for financial aid is in the form of an Unsubsidized Stafford loan. This federal loan is available to all graduate students regardless of income, provided they complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Read more about:

John Carroll University FAFSA School Code: 003050

  1. If this is your first time filling out the FAFSA, you will want to create your FSA ID. You can apply anytime for your FSA ID. Your ID will be used as an electronic signature for you and your parents on the FAFSA application every year.
  2. The FAFSA is usually available beginning October 1 of each year. For the 23-24 school year, it will be released in December. More information on the FAFSA Simplification Act and your families next steps can be found here. You can apply directly online at
  3. Families may be able to select the IRS Data Retrieval option on the FAFSA to transfer tax information to the FAFSA. Learn more about the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.
  4. Dependency: Are you unsure if the parental information will be required on the FAFSA? If so, read the FAFSA dependency questions and to determine whether your student will be considered a Dependent or Independent student. Please note: you will be required to submit supporting documentation to Student Enrollment and Financial Services if you answer “yes” to any of these questions on the FAFSA.
  5. Which Parent to Report: In cases of parental divorce, you may be unsure which parent to use on the FAFSA. For guidance on determining which parent household and income information should be included on the FAFSA please take a look at the "Who Is My “Parent” When I Fill Out the FAFSA?" (pdf)
  6. Review your Student Aid Report (SAR). After you submit your FAFSA, you will receive a SAR either sent to your email address (if you listed it on your application) or your home address. Please review this document for errors. If you notice any errors, you can make the corrections online or, if you filed a paper FAFSA, Student Enrollment and Financial Services can make them for you.
  7. Wait for your John Carroll financial aid award. Beginning in February, we will mail out financial aid awards to families. Our award will detail the types of aid you are receiving, how much John Carroll will cost, and your choices of loans and other borrowing and payment options. Our staff is available for questions in understanding your award.

How Your Aid is Determined 

Your responses on the FAFSA to various income and asset questions are calculated by a federal office, using a formula that takes into account such things as family size, income, the number attending college, and assets (excluding items such as retirement plans and value of the primary residence) to develop your expected family contribution (EFC). Your expected family contribution does not change regardless of, the cost of the school you choose to attend or whether that school is private or public. We then analyze the ensuing Student Aid Report in developing a financial aid package for you to narrow the gap between the total cost of attending John Carroll University and your EFC.

Accepting Your Financial Aid

Viewing and Accepting your Financial Aid-Step by Step Video

First-Year Students

Once your financial aid package has been created, first-year students should receive their initial financial aid package in the mail. You will then gain access to your Student Gateway Profile where you can view and accept your Financial Aid.

Continuing Undergraduate and Graduate Students 

Continuing Undergraduate and Graduate students can expect their financial aid package to begin being created later in the spring semester and ongoing. Students should access their student profile to accept their award offer. 


Upon acceptance of your federal loans, you will need to complete entrance counseling and a master promissory note.   Both of these items must be completed prior to your aid disbursing.  These only need to be completed once during your time at JCU.  Please visit to complete these requirements.


The verification process requires schools to verify the accuracy of the information provided on the FAFSA by requesting and reviewing the student and parent tax information for the current year. Schools are required by the Department of Education to verify certain FAFSA items to prevent errors and to ensure the EFC is accurate. In general, you can expect to be selected for verification at least once through your college career. Student Enrollment and Financial Services has the right to request copies of federal tax forms, 1099s and/or W-2s. JCU will not disburse funds until this process is complete. More information can be found on the Verification Webpage

Special Circumstances

The financial aid process is not an exact science and will not always capture the true picture of your financial reality. You need to share that with us. Families who feel they have a unique financial circumstance that is not reflected on the FAFSA may complete an appeal with Student Enrollment and Financial Services. The Appeals Committee meets weekly to discuss appeals and review family circumstances. An appeal review may result in no change to the award or it may result in the addition of institutional, state, and/or federal aid. Most commonly an appeal may change four different funding sources (John Carroll Grant, College Work Study, Federal SEOG Grant).

Certain family circumstances are substantial enough that they will affect other federal and state grant programs beyond those listed above. They will be put through a program known as Special Circumstances. Special Circumstances are those financial situations that are not reflected on the FAFSA form but are substantial enough that through a process known as Professional Judgment John Carroll would be able to adjust your FAFSA fields and recalculate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

The FAFSA does not provide families with the opportunity to explain special circumstances affecting their family. The Federal Need Analysis Methodology is likewise a rigid formula, with no provisions for exceptions. To remedy this, Congress has delegated to the school’s financial aid administrators the authority to compensate for special circumstances on a case-by-case basis with adequate documentation. The special circumstance review is based on strict guidelines and percentages that must be verified before figures can be manipulated. Examples can include differences between the prior tax year and the current or upcoming award year, such as job loss or unusual capital gains. It can also include anything that differentiates the family’s situation from other families, such as medical expenses paid and not covered by insurance and/or recent death of a parent, or divorce.

Note: All students will be verified first to ensure the FAFSA information provided is accurate. If the FAFSA information is not accurate, a special circumstance review may not result in a lower EFC. The outcome and any resulting revisions to an award are only valid for one academic year.

  • More information on the appeal process and to download the financial aid appeal form can be found on our Financial Aid Appeal page.
JCU Policy on Negotiations

John Carroll University awards the best financial aid award we can within federal and state guidelines and within the limitations of our resources. Therefore, the idea that there is “room” for negotiating a better financial aid award is not realistic. The JCU Appeals process and Federal Special Circumstance process described above are the two ways that an adjustment can be made to a student’s financial aid award (separate funds are set up for these purposes). Every school has different resources and strategies and JCU will not change awards simply based on a student receiving more aid from another institution. Additionally, JCU will not process a financial aid appeal unless a FAFSA has been filed by the student.

We have posted an informal guideline below to help incoming students understand the timing of the admission and financial aid process. Note: the timeline is not a series of deadlines. It is never too late to apply for financial assistance. Do not hesitate to call us, even if the semester has begun.

Suggested Timeline for New Fall Undergraduate Students

  • November: Complete the Admission application.
  • February: Financial aid offer letters are mailed on a weekly basis. Our award will detail the types of aid you are receiving, how much John Carroll will cost, and your choices of loans and other borrowing and payment options. Our staff is available for questions in understanding your offer letter.
  • March/April: Accept your award online through your myJCU Gateway. Complete Entrance Counseling and Master Promissory Note (MPN) if accepting Stafford loans.
    • Send in your $300 Enrollment Deposit.
  • May: Parents and students should begin considering payment options and apply for a parent or alternative loan if needed
  • June/July: Attend Orientation and learn about payment and billing cycles and options. Meet with Student Enrollment and Financial Services for any questions specific to your family situation that you feel we need to know.
  • July: Fall semester bills sent out.
  • August: On-campus residents move in, and classes begin.