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Financial Aid

Award Package Terms and Conditions

To be considered for financial aid, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year. All students are encouraged to apply by the December 15 preferred filing deadline in order to receive an earlier aid package. March 1 is the priority filing date for all students. Students who meet the preferred deadline will receive earlier aid packages. Students must apply by the priority deadline to be considered for need-based grant programs for which funding allocations are limited (such as state grant programs). Need-based grant offers are contingent on the availability of funding and are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis until funding has been exhausted.

Your financial aid award package is based on full-time enrollment. If your final enrollment status is not full time at the close of the add/drop period for each semester, your financial aid award may be revised. Your award package is based on the information reported in your FAFSA and your residency status as determined by the Office of Admission. If you make corrections to the data in your FAFSA, change your housing plans or your residency status changes, then your financial aid package may also be revised.

Your financial aid will be void if incorrect information is discovered on any document used to determine eligibility. This includes, but is not limited to, your FAFSA, loan applications and verification forms, or statements. In addition to voiding your financial aid awards, intentional misrepresentation or false statements on any of these documents may subject you to a fine or imprisonment, or both, under the provisions of the U.S. Criminal Code.

Your award is subject to the following:

  • Availability of funds. State and federal funding is necessarily tentative at the time of the award and CNU cannot guarantee substitute awards if any anticipated funding does not materialize. Grant offers are contingent upon available funding.
  • Program regulations are relative to individual programs or awards granted to the student.
  • Satisfactory Academic Progress. Students must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress standards to continue receiving aid. Please click the link at left for details on these standards.

We reserve the right to make corrections and/or adjustments to all financial aid award packages. Changes to the FAFSA, enrollment, residency and private (external) aid will be reviewed by the Office of Financial Aid and may result in adjustments to your offer of aid.

Accepting Your Aid Offer

Your financial aid award package must be reviewed and accepted electronically. Be sure to read the award fund details outlined in your award offer and the terms and conditions of your award package thoroughly before accepting your aid offer.

Your accepted financial aid, excluding Federal Work Study, may be used as a credit toward your bill at CNU. If you have any questions concerning charges, contact Student Accounts at (757) 594-7195. Once your financial aid has been received and applied to outstanding charges, any remaining balance will be refunded to you.

Please note that your refund, if any, will be sent to you after the start of the semester, so you will need to make alternate arrangements for books and/or living expenses.

If you completely withdraw from classes before 60 percent of the semester has been completed, CNU is required to return a portion or all funds from all state and federal programs and you may be required to repay CNU directly to cover any balance created by the portion of your aid that is returned. If you fail to complete all courses you enroll in (i.e., you receive all “UI” grades), you will be considered to have unofficially withdrawn from the University, and some or all of your aid will be returned. You may owe the University for charges left unpaid.

Private Scholarships

Finding private scholarships and applying for them can be time consuming, but the rewards can be great. Scholarships help reduce your need to accept student loans or to work part-time in order to pay educational costs. If you receive a scholarship, stay in contact with the funding agency. Let them know how much you appreciate their support and re-apply each year.

Copies of private scholarships and/or grant award letters should be sent to the Office of Financial Aid. The scholarship amounts will be reflected as a part of the financial aid package, and will be applied against financial need, if applicable.

Unless otherwise indicated by the scholarship agency, funds will be split equally between the fall and spring semesters. If funds are not expected until after the bill due date, a copy of the letter will allow you to deduct the scholarship from your bill. Please email a copy of the award letter to the Office of Financial Aid at finaid@cnu.edu or fax it to (757) 594-7113.

Checks for private scholarships should mailed to the Cashier’s Office.

Mailing Address:
Christopher Newport University
Attn: Office of Cash Services
1 Avenue of the Arts
Newport News, Virginia 23606

Please be sure the letter and check payment include your name and CNU ID number.

Purchasing Books with Financial Aid

If you have excess funds available from financial aid after your charges are paid, you may use up to $250 toward the purchase of books through the university’s electronic bookstore.

Once you check out at "Payment Methods," please use your student ID number to find "Account Number" located under Alternate Forms of Payment.

If you wish to use excess funds greater than $250 you must either wait until after your aid disburses to use the funds, or submit a written increase request to the Office of Student Accounts. If, after your financial aid is applied to your student account, you still have excess funds available, those funds will be refunded to you based on the refund method you selected with Bank Mobile. You can then use this money to pay for books or any other school expenses.

What if my aid package isn’t enough to cover my balance?

CNU is a public university; therefore, need-based financial aid packages are non-negotiable. We are not authorized to discount tuition like private institutions and are subject to make award offers based on the availability of federal and state funding. The financial aid packages offered through the Office of Financial Aid are based on financial need as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Financial need is determined using the federal needs analysis as defined by the Department of Education. If you need additional funding beyond your aid package, we recommend that you explore the following options:

  • Private Scholarships

  • Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loans (see below)

  • Private education loans
    Private loans, also referred to as alternative loans, are non-federal loans made to students to help cover the cost of education. These loans are based on consumer credit and feature competitive interest rates. Most students require a co-signer. You may request to borrow up to the total cost of attendance minus any other financial aid received. A variety of lenders participate in these loan programs. You will select a lending institution of your choice when applying.

    When applying for a private loan, it is important to do your homework. Each of these loan programs is different, and you want to be certain you are getting what is right for you. Spend a few moments comparing interest rates, fees, repayment terms and requirements.

  • CNU Payment Plan
    The Office of Student Accounts offers a payment plan to break up the costs for each semester into monthly increments.

Disbursement of Aid

The Office of Financial Aid will begin disbursing aid to the student billing account after the close of the add/drop date of each semester as long as all disbursement requirements are met. Students must ensure that all required documentation is complete (e.g., Direct Loan Entrance Counseling, Master Promissory Note (MPN)) and that all awards have been either accepted or declined.

Students should monitor their CNU Live account for status updates and CNU email accounts for notifications related to status updates.

Students (and parents for PLUS loans) have 14 days from the date of disbursement to request a cancellation/adjustment to federal student loans. Requests for adjustments/cancellations must be made in writing and must include the date of the request and a student and/or parent signature (as applicable).

Student refunds are processed through the Office of Student Accounts within 14 days of the student receiving a credit balance on the student billing account. All students must select a method of refund even if you do not anticipate having a credit balance or receiving a refund.

Federal Direct Student Loan Information

Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans are federal student loans offered to eligible students to help cover the cost of higher education. The U.S. Department of Education offers eligible students at participating schools Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans after the completion of the FAFSA.

Students should understand the rights and responsibilities associated with accepting federal Direct Loans. In order to educate students on the details of these loans, the following additional steps are required to secure these funds:

  • New Direct Loan borrowers must complete entrance counseling before funds can be disbursed to the school. Entrance counseling is completed at studentloans.gov. Entrance counseling is a tool used to teach students about the Federal Direct Loan rights and responsibilities and loan terms.
  • New Direct Loan borrowers must also complete the Master Promissory Note (MPN) before funds can be disbursed. The MPN is available at studentloans.gov. The MPN must be signed with your FSA ID (same as FAFSA) and serves as your legally binding contract, acknowledging that you agree to the terms of your loan.

Annual Loan Limits

Your loan amount was based on your grade level and may include both Direct Subsidized and Direct Unsubsidized Loans.

Academic Class Dependent Student Independent Student
Freshman (0 – 29 earned credits) $5,500 $9,500
Sophomore (30 – 59 earned credits) $6,500 $10,500
Junior (60 – 89 earned credits) $7,500 $12,500
Senior (90 or more earned credits) $7,500 $12,500
Graduate Student N/A $20,500

Note that for freshmen, only $3,500 may be subsidized; for sophomores $4,500; for juniors and seniors, $5,500.

IMPORTANT NOTE: For Direct Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2019, and before June 30, 2020, the interest rate is 4.35 percent for undergraduate subsidized and unsubsidized loans and 6.08 percent for graduate unsubsidized student loans. Interest rates are fixed rates for the life of the loan. There is also a loan fee for all Direct Loans. The loan fee is a percentage of the loan amount and is proportionately deducted from each loan disbursement. The fee for loans disbursed on or after October 1, 2018 and before October 1, 2019 is 1.062 percent. This affects the amount CNU applies to your bill. For help determining requested loan amounts, please contact the Office of Student Accounts.

Mid-Year Grade Level Loan Adjustments
Your financial aid is packaged on an annual basis. If you change grade levels during the middle of the academic year and would like to be considered for additional loan funds based on your new grade level, please contact the Office of Financial Aid to request a review of your enrollment hours and financial aid package.

Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan Information

PLUS Loans are available to the parents of dependent undergraduate students to help pay education expenses. The parent is the borrower, and it is the parent’s responsibility to repay the loan. These loans are based on a consumer credit check. Parents can borrow up to the cost of attendance less any financial aid received.

If a parent borrower is unable to secure a PLUS loan, the undergraduate dependent student may be eligible for additional unsubsidized loans. If a PLUS application is denied, CNU will receive notice from federal student loans and will make an offer to the student directly for the additional unsubsidized loan. Freshmen and sophomores whose parents are denied may accept an additional $4,000 in unsubsidized loans for the academic year. Juniors and seniors whose parents are denied may accept an additional $5,000 in unsubsidized loans for the academic year.

Parents should understand the rights and responsibilities associated with requesting a PLUS Loan. In order to educate parents on the details of these loans, the following additional steps are required to secure these funds:

  • Direct PLUS loan borrowers must complete the Direct PLUS Loan Request at studentloans.gov. The Direct PLUS Loan Request runs a credit check and provides the school with the results needed to create your Direct PLUS Loan.
  • Direct PLUS loan borrowers must complete the Master Promissory Note (MPN) before funds can be disbursed. The MPN is completed at studentloans.gov. You will need the borrower’s name, date of birth and FAFSA PIN to complete the MPN.

IMPORTANT NOTE: For Direct PLUS Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2019, and before June 30, 2020, the interest rate is 7.08 percent. Interest rates are fixed rates for the life of the loan. There is also a loan fee for all Direct PLUS Loans. The loan fee is a percentage of the loan amount and is proportionately deducted from each loan disbursement. The fee for loans disbursed on or after October 1, 2018 and before October 1, 2019 is 4.248 percent. This affects the amount CNU applies to your bill. For help with determining requested loan amounts, please contact the Office of Student Accounts.

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