Tuition and Financial Aid

Understanding Financial Aid

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University of Cincinnati Online students can complete the entire financial aid process without ever stepping foot on the University of Cincinnati campus.

All of the financial aid resources, applications, and forms you need are available online, and the Student Financial Aid Office has dedicated staff to offer assistance and answer any questions you may have.

Nearly all students are eligible for some form of financial assistance.

The first step is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at

After your FAFSA is processed, which typically takes 3-5 business days, you will be able to view your aid status by logging in to Catalyst, UC’s student portal that provides access to information on financial aid as well as billing and registration.

Your “To-Do List” in Catalyst will display any additional requirements that need to be completed before you can view or accept your financial aid award. It is important to monitor your Catalyst account on an ongoing basis.

Key Considerations as an Online Student

Although all UC students follow the same financial aid process, there are some financial aid matters that may be particularly relevant to you as a distance-learning student:

  • Enrollment eligibility – The financial aid awards that UC offers assume full-time enrollment, so if you plan to attend part-time you will need to be aware of how it may affect your aid eligibility.
  • Year-round loan distribution – A standard financial aid award is based on fall-spring attendance, so if you plan to attend year-round (fall, spring, and summer), you will need to contact the Student Financial Aid Office to have your aid adjusted accordingly.
  • Prior aid history – The Department of Education has established limits to how much financial aid students can receive over the course of their education, so if you have received federal aid in the past, you should review your prior aid history on the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), which will help you to determine your remaining eligibility.
  • Federal Work-Study – You can receive Federal Work-Study funds even if you do not live in the Greater Cincinnati area, so if you have been awarded work-study, you can contact our office for assistance with securing a position in your area.

Contact Us

The Student Financial Aid Office is committed to helping you obtain the resources you need for your education. Students in Cincinnati Online programs who need to get in touch with the Student Financial Aid Office can use the following contact information:

Ron Jackson

Phone: 513-556-6978

Email: [email protected]

Financial Aid

Financial aid packages, grants, and scholarships are available for UC Online students. You can offset the cost of your education by applying for FAFSA (the Free Application for Federal Student Aid) each year that you enroll. Various scholarships are also available for which students can apply. Learn more about your financial aid options and how they can help bring your degree within reach.

Part-Time Enrollment

Your financial aid will be awarded based on full-time enrollment which is 12 or more credit hours (10 hours for graduate students). However, you may choose to enroll in fewer courses each term of your entire academic career or simply find yourself as a part-time student for an occasional term.

Enrollment Eligibility

Ten days prior to the term, your aid eligibility will be determined based on enrollment. It will then be evaluated at other points to match your registration through the 15th day of the term.

In addition to aid disbursement, your total aid eligibility may adjust with a part-time budget adjustment based on your enrollment for the term as determined through the 15th day.

Fund Eligibility

Students attending less than full-time are categorized broadly as part-time for that term. For financial aid purposes, sub-categories of half-time and less than half-time are used to define financial aid fund eligibility.

The chart below can assist you in planning how your aid funds will adjust based on your enrollment. Use it with the term breakdown of your financial aid award offer to view the full-time (or 100%) amount. Calculate how your aid will decrease for non-full-time terms and, as always, project your tuition costs for those same terms to anticipate any out-of-pocket expenses you may have.

While your aid may not adjust immediately with a specific enrollment change, all aid will be re-evaluated by the 15th day of the term to determine your term aid eligibility. Students taking classes during our summer semester should be aware that this can also impact the delivery of your aid package. Financial aid is still available for summer classes. If you’re going to take classes in the summer semester, please view our year-round loan distribution information.

Enrollment classification based on hours for the term is different for undergraduate and graduate/professional students.

Full-Time Co-op Part-Time Half-Time Less than Half-Time
Undergraduate Students & Law 12+ hours Co-op registration 9-11 hours 6-8 hours < 6 hours
Graduate Students 10+ hours Co-op registration 8-9 hours 5-7 hours < 5 hours
Scholarships 100% N/A N/A N/A N/A
Pell 100% 100% 75% 50% 25%
SEOG 100% N/A 100% 100% N/A
TEACH 100% N/A 75& 50% 25%
OCOG 100% N/A 75% 50% 25%
University Need Grant 100% N/A 100% 100% N/A
Cincinnati Pride Grant 100% N/A N/A N/A N/A
Work-Study Employment Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Perkins, Nursing, & Health Professions Loans 100% N/A 100% 100% N/A
Subsidized, Unsubsidized & PLUS Loans 100% 100% 100% 100% N/A
Alternative Loans 100% 100% 100% 100% Varies


  • n/a = Not available.
  • Check the terms of scholarships awarded to you; while most are for full-time, a limited number allow or are designed for part-time enrollment.
  • Students who do not use their full Pell Grant eligibility during fall and spring due to part-time enrollment can access their untapped annual eligibility in summer.
  • Some higher EFCs within the Federal Pell Grant-eligible range for full-time attendance do not allow for funding when registered at part-time, half-time, or less than half-time; if your full-time term Pell is less than $500, you may not be eligible for funds when enrolled less than full-time.
  • Federal Work-Study summer employment does not require summer enrollment as long as the student is enrolled for the following fall.
  • Students who are on co-op should review information specific to co-op so as to understand how Pell and loan awards are treated over the course of each academic year and scholarships are counted over an academic career.
  • Chart information for Alternative Loans is general
    • Select alternative loans will allow less than half-time enrollment.
    • Alternative loans may limit eligibility based on academic program or standing.
    • Availability and eligibility for any alternative loan can change as lenders continually review their loan products.

Part-Time Budgets

Because financial aid awards are initially made with the assumption that students will be enrolled full-time, adjustments will have to occur upon verification that a student is enrolling part-time. The cost of attendance or financial aid budget for part-time students is adjusted to reflect the lower amount of tuition and other educational expenses typically incurred by less than full-time students.

Student Financial Aid will review all part-time students both before the beginning of each term and after the first two weeks (15th day) to ensure the amount of aid received in the term does not exceed the adjusted part-time budget.

In rare cases where aid eligibility is reduced due to a smaller aid budget, a student may have a balance due following the aid adjustment if refund checks were processed in advance of the adjustment. Student Financial Aid will notify students of any aid eligibility adjustment due to part-time status via their UConnect email account.