Consumer information

General information
Parents (of dependent students), to the extent that they are able, have the primary responsibility to pay for their child's education. Students are also expected to contribute to their educational costs. Eligibility for federal grants and loans and state need-based grants is determined by filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Bluffton University also requires the FAFSA to determine eligibility for need-based institutional aid.


Contact information
Financial aid and a student's financial need vary considerably. Students are encouraged to discuss their specific needs with a financial aid representative. Office hours are from 8 a.m. -12 p.m. and 1-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

Application procedures
Students seeking financial aid are required to complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) annually. The federal school code for Bluffton University is 003016. A financial aid award notice is generated and sent to the accepted student when FAFSA data is received and any other required documentation is on file.


Students should be aware of application deadlines established by off-campus sources of aid including state and federal agencies. These deadlines are announced about one year before the beginning of the academic year.


Because of limited resources, the State of Ohio maintains an October 1 deadline for Ohio need-based aid (the Ohio College Opportunity Grant). Bluffton University need-based aid is also limited. Therefore, Bluffton University maintains a FAFSA priority deadline of May 1 for both new and returning students. This means that any accepted, first-time or returning student filing the FAFSA after May 1 could be denied need-based funds administered by Bluffton University if funds have been depleted. This May 1 priority deadline is in effect for federal campus-based programs (Federal Perkins loans, FSEOG grants and federal work-study) and for Bluffton University need-based grants.


For additional information on the application procedure see Apply for aid.
Financial need
A student's financial need is determined by subtracting the Expected Family Contribution (EFC as determined by the FAFSA) from Bluffton University s Cost of Attendance (COA). COA includes direct costs such as tuition, fees, room and board (if applicable) and indirect costs or personal expenses. For the 2014-15 academic year the following indirect costs/personal expenses apply:
Residential students
Books and supplies
Personal expenses
Room and board
Financial aid programs
Bluffton University administers financial assistance through scholarships, grants, loans and student employment programs. Scholarships are usually awarded on the basis of academic achievement. Grants and loans are awarded on demonstrated financial need and or remaining costs.
Bluffton University scholarships and grants
Bluffton University offers many different scholarships and grants. A complete listing of these can be found at Bluffton scholarships and grants. Bluffton University grants and scholarships are awarded for a maximum of four years (eight semesters) except where noted.
Renewal policy for Bluffton University scholarships/grants:
Students receiving a Bluffton University scholarship and/or grant that has a GPA requirement for renewal, must maintain the minimum GPA to continue to receive that scholarship or grant. Scholarships or grants that are awarded based on participation in a program or specific major of study may have additional requirements for renewal. A student who falls below the requisite GPA for scholarship renewal at the end of an academic year will continue to receive the award during a scholarship grace period and this student will continue to receive the scholarship in subsequent semesters as long as the cumulative GPA goes up. If/when the requisite GPA for renewal is reached, the scholarship is fully reinstated. If at the end of any semester during a scholarship grace period the cumulative GPA does not go up, the scholarship is lost. A student also has the option to appeal the loss of a scholarship based on documented extenuating circumstances.

Student employment
Bluffton University has a wide variety of student employment opportunities available to students through the Learn and Earn Program. Students are paid monthly for working on campus. Complete information about terms of employment is provided with the student employment work agreement. The federal programs including federal work-study, community service, America Reads and America Counts are all administered under the Learn and Earn Program at Bluffton University. More about campus jobs...


State grant and scholarship programs
A complete list and description of Ohio financial aid programs can be found at:
Federal aid programs
The following federal programs are administered by Bluffton University: Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), and the TEACH Grant.  For additional information and eligibility requirements for these programs go to Federal grants.

Loan programs
Federal Direct Loan program
The Federal Direct Loan Program offers low cost loans to students. Subsidized loan amounts are calculated on need as determined by the FAFSA. Unsubsidized loans are not need-based. For additional information on annual loan limits, interest rates, etc. see Loans.


Federal Perkins Loan
Bluffton University also participates in the low interest, need-based Federal Perkins Loan program. To be considered for eligibility, a student must file the FAFSA and have demonstrated financial need. The interest rate on the Federal Perkins loan is 5 percent. Repayment begins following a nine-month grace period after a student ceases to be enrolled at least half-time. The minimum quarterly payment is $120 and borrowers have a maximum of 10 years to repay.


Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan
The Federal Direct PLUS Loan allows for parents to borrow up to the student's cost of attendance, minus other financial aid. Parents can apply on-line and must complete an application and Master Promissory Note (MPN) for each dependent student for whom they are applying.  For more information on PLUS loans see Loans


Private education loans
Several lending institutions offer private education loans to students and families. Various options and terms apply which should be weighed carefully before any commitment is made. Additional information including a loan comparison tool is available at Loans.

Loan funds are disbursed to the student's account at the beginning of each semester or in a timely manner if the loan has been certified after a term has started.
Disbursement of financial aid and billing
Prior to each semester, the business office issues billing statements. (Please note that unless prior arrangements are made, billing notices are sent to the student and not the parents.) The statements include charges for that semester and any outstanding charges to a student's account. Aid is disbursed to students through the business office by crediting the student's account with the attributed amount of aid at the beginning of each billing period.
The balance due can be paid in full or through the university's payment plan. For more information on payment plans or business office procedures contact the business office at 419-358-3301.
Satisfactory academic progress
Bluffton University monitors student progress toward a degree on a per-term and annual basis for academic and financial aid purposes. Students who meet regular academic requirements for continuing their enrollment are eligible for financial aid. For a complete review of Bluffton University's Satisfactory Academic Progress see the Bluffton University Catalog.

Students who withdraw from Bluffton University and follow the approved withdrawal procedures (see Refund Policies, University Catalog) will receive refunds for instructional fees, room, and board according to the following schedule:

  • Up to and including the first day of classes in the semester 100% refund
  • From 2nd day to 10% period of time in the semester 90% refund
  • After 10% and up to 20% period of time in the semester 80% refund
  • After 20% and up to 30% period of time in the semester 70% refund
  • After 30% and up to 40% period of time in the semester 60% refund
  • After 40% and up to 50% period of time in the semester 50% refund
  • After 50% and up to 60% period of time in the semester 40% refund
  • After 60% period of time in the semester No refund

Students who withdraw before the 60% period in time will have a percentage of their aid (including federal Title IV aid) returned to the aid program by the school and possibly by the student. The amount of federal aid (other than work study) to be returned is equal to the total federal aid that was disbursed for the term multiplied by the percentage of the term not attended.


Federal monies will be returned in the following order: Federal Direct Unsubsidized loan, Federal Direct Subsidized loan, Federal Perkins loan, Federal Direct parent PLUS loan, Federal Pell grant, Federal SEOG grant.


If a refund amount is owed to the student, but the student has outstanding institutional charges, or if the student owes a repayment of a cash disbursement for non-institutional costs, the university will automatically apply the refund amount to those charges or repayment. Bluffton will also notify the student in writing if either situation has occurred.


Students who are Title IV (federal aid) recipients will have the return of those funds and repayments calculated and distributed as prescribed by federal law and regulation. These distribution schedules are available to all prospective and currently enrolled students by contacting the business office or the office of financial aid.


Any student who withdraws from Bluffton University prior to completing 60 percent of the enrollment period or semester will have their financial aid eligibility recalculated based on the percentage of the period they were enrolled. Once a student has completed 60 percent of the period or semester, all financial aid assistance is considered to be 100 percent earned. This policy meets federal requirements in which students earn financial aid based on the percent of the term completed. Bluffton University maintains one refund policy for all federal, state and institutional aid funds based on 34 CFR, Section 668.22 of the Title IV Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended.


The Bluffton University financial aid office is responsible for calculating the percentage of earned aid for the semester and for returning the unearned aid portion to federal, state and institutional aid programs. The financial aid office will perform this calculation within 45 days of the student's withdrawal date. This calculation is measured by dividing the number of days the student attended by the total number of days in the period or semester. The length of the period or semester is based on Bluffton's published academic calendar, including weekends and excluding scheduled breaks of 5 days or more. The first day begins on the first day of classes and ends on the last day of final exams.


To officially withdraw, a student must contact the registrar's office. The registrar's office determines the official date of withdrawal.


When it is determined that a student has stopped attending classes and has withdrawn (officially or unofficially), the registrar contacts the instructors for that student to determine the last date of attendance in each class. The latest date of attendance then is the withdrawal date used for both official and unofficial withdrawals.


The information above is for the 2014-15 academic year and is subject to change for subsequent years