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Types of Aid

Grants and scholarships are types of financial aid that do not need to be repaid. They may be awarded based on need, excellence in academics or other areas or a combination of both. Please note that institutional grants and scholarships only apply to traditional campus students.

Scholarships and Grants

Institutional Scholarships

New Freshman Scholarships

The Admissions Office will review all new freshman applications to determine which students are eligible for an academic merit scholarship. To calculate merit scholarships as an incoming freshman, check out our scholarship offerings at Spring Arbor University.

SAU Cougar Commitment

At Spring Arbor University, we believe that a quality, Christ-centered education should be available to anyone who wants it. That is why we are proud to offer our SAU Cougar Commitment – a free tuition initiative for eligible incoming Fall 2024 undergraduate students! Check out the SAU Cougar Commitment page for full details.

Transfer Student Scholarships

The Admissions Office will review all transfer applications to determine which students are eligible for an academic merit scholarship. To calculate merit scholarships as a transfer student, check out our scholarship offerings at Spring Arbor University.

Departmental Scholarships

Departmental scholarships are awarded to students majoring in a particular academic disciplines by their respective academic departments. The award amounts and criteria vary, therefore it is necessary for students to contact the departments directly for information and application deadlines.

Art Scholarship

You’re eligible if you are a studio art major, and submit a portfolio and application. Apply

Music Scholarship

You’re eligible if you are a music major, minor or participant in SAU musical ensemble, and audition with the SAU Music Department by January.

Athletic Scholarship

Athletic scholarships are awarded by SAU coaches in compliance with the policies and procedures of the university, Crossroads League and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. This scholarship precludes all other forms of SAU aid other than academic scholarships. Please visit our athletics page at to get started.

Other Scholarships/Grants

Spring Arbor University Grant

Students awarded an SAU Grant must demonstrate a significant amount of unmet need based on the information submitted on the FAFSA. The amount varies based on the level of unmet need.

Multicultural Leadership Scholarship — $3,000 per year

You’re eligible if you’re an American minority student demonstrating interest in advancement of minorities in American society, and admitted to SAU with completed MLS application and essay by Feb. 15. Apply

E.P. Hart Honors Program Scholarship — $1,000 per year

You’re eligible with a high school of GPA of 3.6 and composite ACT score of 27 or the SAT equivalent, and accepted into the Honors program early (apply by Jan. 31). You must maintain a GPA of at least 3.6 and annual honors participation standards. Apply

Free Methodist Ministerial/Missionary Scholarship — $1,000 per year

You may be eligible for this scholarship if one or both of your parents or guardians are Free Methodist pastors or missionaries. Contact your admission representative for details.

Student Statesmanship Institute (SSI) Cobb Scholarship — $5,000 per year

You’re eligible if you have been involved with the Student Statesmanship Institute (SSI) and plan on majoring in any of the following areas: social studies, political science or history, or are considering a career in public service following graduation. You must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0, unweighted, or an ACT score of 25 (or an SAT score of 1200-1230). The recipient may retain the scholarship in subsequent years by maintaining a minimum cumulative college GPA of 2.7. Apply by submitting this form with an essay of 1,000 words or less, describing how your studies at SAU will prepare you for a future career in public service. Candidates must also complete the FAFSA.

Free Methodist Church Matching Grant — Up to $2,000

SAU will match, dollar for dollar, any scholarship provided to any Free Methodist student by their home church. If interested, please have your church contact the Office of Financial Aid on how to participate. If already participating, dollars will be matched each year based on how much is received from your home church.

Endowed and Annually Funded Scholarships

Each scholarship has specific requirements and the amount varies. Submit an SAU supplemental aid application upon receiving an email from the Office of Financial Aid. Application deadline is Feb. 15 each year.

Camp Matching Scholarship — Up to $1,500

Spring Arbor University will match designated Christian Camp gifts for SAU students up to but not exceeding $750. To get started, please contact your camp director. The following camps participate in our camp match program:

  • Michindoh
  • Somerset Beach
  • Spring Hill
  • Covenant Hills
  • Camp Barakel
  • Michawana

Outside Scholarships — General Information

All outside scholarship checks should be sent to Financial Aid at the following address:

Financial Aid
Spring Arbor University
P.O Box 219
Spring Arbor, Michigan 49203

Checks and/or documentation should include student name, student identification number and award period. Scholarship checks received by our office will be divided between fall and spring, unless otherwise indicated in writing by the donor.

Outside scholarship funds are counted as financial assistance. If outside scholarship exceeds financial need and/or cost of attendance, adjustments will be made to the student’s aid package. It is important to notify the Office of Financial Aid of any outside scholarship you receive, so that the appropriate adjustments can be made. If an over-award occurs after aid has been disbursed, the student may be required to repay all or a portion of their financial aid to the university.

Federal and State Grants & Programs

Federal and State Grants are need-based aid that does not have to be repaid. The financial need is determined by your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) which is calculated by completing the FAFSA.

Federal Pell Grant (PELL)

The Federal Pell Grant Program provides need-based aid to low-income undergraduates to promote access to post-secondary education. If you are eligible for the Pell Grant, it will be listed on your SAU award letter based on the number of enrolled credits. Eligibility is determined by the FAFSA.

Students are limited to six years of Pell eligibility, or the full-time equivalent of six years for those attending less than full time.

Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Award (SEOG)

Available to Pell-eligible undergraduate students with exceptional financial need. The amount awarded is determined by the student’s need and the availability of funds at the university. To apply for the grant, complete the applicable year FAFSA.

Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH Grant)

The TEACH Grant is available to students who intend to teach in public or private elementary or secondary schools that serve students from low-income families for a minimum of four years as a full-time, highly-qualified, high-need field teacher.

If you are awarded the TEACH Grant and do not complete the four years of qualified teaching service within eight years of completing the course of study for which the TEACH Grant was received, or otherwise fail to meet any other requirement of the TEACH Grant, the grant will convert into a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, with interest accrued and capitalized from the date of original disbursement.

Eligibility Requirements

To receive the TEACH Grant, you must:

  • meet the general eligibility requirements for the federal student aid programs as described at
  • complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • be enrolled as an undergraduate, post-baccalaureate or graduate student at a school that participates in the TEACH Grant Program.
  • be enrolled in a TEACH Grant-eligible program of study.
  • meet certain academic achievement requirements (generally, scoring above the 75th percentile on one or more portions of a college admissions test or maintaining at least a 3.25 cumulative grade point average).
  • complete counseling at that explains the terms and conditions of the TEACH Grant service obligation.
  • sign a TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve.

Amount of Grant

  • Anyone applying for the TEACH Grant Program may be eligible up to $4,000 per year
  • The lifetime maximum amount a student may receive is $16,000 total for four-year undergraduate programs and $8,000 total for graduate programs. Note: Acceptance of the TEACH Grant may reduce the Michigan Tuition Grant and Michigan Competitive Scholarship eligibility for undergraduate students.
  • The TEACH Grant program funding has been reduced by sequestration.

High-Need Fields

High-need fields are identified in the specific subject areas below:

  • Bilingual Education and English Language Acquisition (TSL at SAU – not Language Arts or English) 
  • World Languages – Spanish, French and TSL 
  • Mathematics 
  • Science – Integrated Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics 
  • Special Education
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Elementary Education (Core Subjects) 
  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies
  • Other identified teacher shortage areas as identified at the time you begin teaching in that field. These are teacher subject shortage areas (not geographic areas) in the Department of Education’s Annual Teacher Shortage Area Nationwide Listing.

Schools Serving Low-Income Students

Schools serving low-income students include any elementary or secondary school that is listed in the Department of Education’s Annual Directory of Designated Low-Income Schools for Teacher Cancellation Benefits.

Service Agreement

Each year you receive a TEACH Grant, you must sign a TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve and Promise to Pay. The TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve specifies the conditions under which the grant will be awarded, the teaching service requirements and includes an acknowledgment by you that you understand that if you do not meet the teaching service requirements you must repay the grant as a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, with interest accrued from the date the grant funds were disbursed.

You will be required to complete Agreement to Serve each year that you accept a TEACH Grant.

SAU Eligible Programs

  • Undergrad Teacher Education areas for certification
  • Early Childhood Education
  • World Languages (At SAU — Spanish and French)
  • Mathematics
  • Science  (At SAU — Integrated Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics)
  • Special Education

How do I apply?

First time TEACH Grant Applications:

If you are a new student applying for TEACH Grant for the first time at Spring Arbor University, you need to submit TEACH Grant Application. Also you will need to submit a Conviction Disclosure Form.

Returning Students:

Returning students with a FAFSA on file and who meet academic requirements will automatically be awarded a Federal TEACH Grant. If a student was not automatically awarded a Federal TEACH Grant, please contact our office to discuss it further.

Student Next Steps:

  1. Complete TEACH Grant Application:

    Complete TEACH Grant Application and the Disclosure Form – Only First time TEACH Grant Applicants.

  2. Complete Agreement to Serve:

    Complete TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve form at This step must be completed annually in order to renew the TEACH Grant

  3.  Complete TEACH Grant Entrance Counseling:

    Complete the TEACH Grant Entrance Counseling at This step must be completed annually in order to renew the TEACH Grant

Exit Counseling

As with Federal Loans, federal regulations require that students who have received a TEACH Grant complete online exit counseling upon changing majors to something other than an eligible academic program, withdrawing from school or graduating from their program.

Complete TEACH Grant Exit Counseling session.

State Programs

For information on the State of Michigan’s financial aid programs, such as the Tuition Incentive Program (SAU participates in TIP2 only) or Michigan Tuition Grant (MTG), visit the state’s website. The Michigan Tuition Grant application deadline is May 1.

Loan Programs

Federal Student Loans

Also called Federal Direct loans, federal student loans are money loaned directly to you, and you are solely responsible for repaying the money after dropping below half-time, leaving SAU or graduating.

FAFSA is different this year. Learn more about what to expect on our FAFSA information page.

To apply for the federal direct loans, you must first complete the FAFSA at There are two types of Federal Direct Loans: subsidized and unsubsidized.

The interest rates vary each year. For the most up-to-date interest rates, visit

Subsidized Loans

Eligibility for subsidized loans is based on financial need as determined by the FAFSA.

The federal government pays the interest while you are in college and during the six-month grace period after you leave school or enroll less than half time — you are not required to make loan payments until your grace period ends.

Subsidized loans are available only to undergraduate students.

Unsubsidized Loans

Unsubsidized loans are offered regardless of income or assets.

You are responsible for paying all the interest on the loan. You may choose to defer interest and principal payments while in school at least half time. If you do, the interest will be capitalized — that is, added to the initial amount you borrowed. Future interest costs will be based on that higher loan amount.

Direct Loan Limits Chart

Annual Limits
Maximum Subsidized + UnsubsidizedMaximum Subsidized
Dependent Freshman$5,500$3,500
Dependent Sophomore$6,500$4,500
Dependent Junior/Senior$7,500$5,500
Independent Freshman$9,500$3,500
Independent Sophomore$10,500$4,500
Independent Junior/Senior$12,500$5,500

Lifetime Limits

Maximum Subsidized + UnsubsidizedMaximum Subsidized
Dependent Undergraduate$31,000$23,000
Independent Undergraduate$57,500$23,000

Parent PLUS Loans

If you are a dependent undergraduate student, a PLUS loan enables your parents or step-parents (but not your legal guardians or grand-parents) to borrow money that can be applied to your educations expenses.


  • You are the parent or stepparent of a dependent student.
  • You have a completed FAFSA on file.
  • You meet the credit eligibility requirements.
  • You are a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.

How to apply

  • Complete the Parent Plus Loan application at for the applicable year. Make sure you complete each step.
  • Sign your Parent PLUS Master Promissory Note (MPN) at

When to apply

  • You should begin the application process once you receive your statement from the Business Office to ensure timely processing. It may take several weeks for the servicer to send notice of your credit approval or rejection.

Loan Amounts and Limits

  • Parent PLUS Loan amounts will vary widely. Your parent can borrow as much as they like as long as they are not exceeding your total cost of attendance.
  • Should you get a Parent PLUS loan? Use resources from to make an informed decision.

Interest rate and Loan fees


  • The first payment is due within 60 days after each loan is fully disbursed. However, the borrower may choose to defer the first payment until six months after the student ceases to be enrolled at least half-time.
  • More information.

Alternatives if you are not approved for a Parent PLUS loan

Private educational loans are non-federal loans offered by private lenders. The FAFSA is normally not required to apply for a private loan but, we recommend that students first complete the federal aid process to determine if they qualify for a federal loan which often has more favorable terms than a private loan.

To review and apply for Alternative loan options, click Alternative Loan Options. SAU’s lender list is available at FASTChoice.

Students are welcome to select lenders not shown on the list and have the right to do so under federal rules. If you select a lender not on our list, you will need to provide information to the Office of Financial Aid necessary for loan processing. To determine what information is needed, contact our office at or 517-750-2900.

SAU does not endorse or recommend any specific lender(s) therefore, you are free to borrow your loan from any participating lender.

Graduate PLUS Loan


  • Enrolled at least half-time (3cr) in a degree — granting program.
  • File a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
  • Pass a credit check.

How to apply

  • Complete the applicable year Grad PLUS loan.
  • Complete Grad PLUS Entrance Counseling process at You must complete entrance counseling so that you are aware of your rights and responsibilities as a borrower
  • Sign your Grad PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) at . The Grad PLUS MPN will be valid for 10 years provided a PLUS loan is disbursed within 12 months of the MPN signing. If your former Grad PLUS loan was approved with an endorser (co-signer), you will need to complete a new MPN.

Loan Amounts and Limits

  • Grad PLUS Loan amounts will vary widely. The Office of Financial Aid must determine your direct unsubsidized eligibility before you can borrow under the Grad PLUS program.

Interest rate and Loan fees


  • While enrolled at least half-time, you will receive automatic deferment. Since Grad PLUS Loan is not a subsidized loan, interest will accrue during this time. Repayment begins six months after you drop below half-time, graduate or leave school. Learn about your repayment options.

Private (Alternative) Loans

Private educational loans are non-federal loans offered by private lenders. The FAFSA is normally not required to apply for a private loan but, we recommend that students first complete the federal aid process to determine if they qualify for a federal loan which often has more favorable terms than a private loan. To review and apply for Alternative loan options, click Alternative Loan Options. SAU’s lender list is available at FASTChoice.

Students are welcome to select lenders not shown on the list and have the right to do so under federal rules. If you select a lender not on our list, you will need to provide the Office of Financial Aid information necessary to process the loan. To determine what information is needed, contact our office at or 517-750-2900.

SAU does not endorse or recommend any specific lender(s) therefore, you are free to borrow your loan from any participating lender.

Loan Repayment

When it comes to repaying your federal student loan, there’s a lot to consider. Understanding the details of repayment can save you time and money. Visit for additional information.

Information on your federal loan debt, such as loan holder information, which program you borrowed from, and how much you have borrowed is available at the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) website Your loan holder will provide you with information about your monthly payments, interest and length of repayment.

Spring Arbor University graduates have an excellent loan repayment rate; 94.1% stay on track with their payments.

Loan Consolidation

A direct loan consolidation loan allows you to combine multiple federal education loans into one loan. Visit for additional information.

Prevent Default

Understanding your loan agreement, staying on top of your loan information, and making sure to contact your loan servicer if you are having trouble making payments can help you avoid default. Defaulting on a loan affects not only the borrower, but also the university as well as the U.S. taxpayer. The borrower will experience negative consequences to his or her credit rating, garnishment of wages and collection from federal funds such as tax refunds and/or Social Security benefits.

More information about avoiding going into default on your federal loan. For private loans, contact your lender for details.

Borrowing Responsibly

  • Know your rights and responsibilities.
  • Create a personal budget and borrow what is absolutely necessary.
  • Avoid capitalization of interest on unsubsidized loans by making interest payments immediately following disbursement.
  • Organize all loan information in one secure location. Keep detailed records of how much you borrowed and from whom.
  • Regularly verify the accuracy of your loan information in the National Student Loan Data System.
  • Always inform your lender of you contact information changes and always respond to lender-initiated communication.

Other Types of Aid


A Federal Work-Study award is offered to students with financial need who may contribute toward their educational expenses by working part time. Funding for the program is provided by the federal government with matching contributions from SAU. Federal Work Study is available to traditional campus students only who have completed the applicable year FAFSA.

Other Important Information

  • The Federal Work Study is awarded on a priority basis based on the FAFSA receipt date.
  • The amount of Federal Work Study you are eligible to earn is shown on your SAU Financial Aid Award Letter.
  • Federal Work Study positions are available in departments and offices throughout the university, and off-campus community service jobs are also available.
  • Sign and return your award letter to the Office of Financial Aid indicating that you are accepting the Work Study offer.
  • Check job listing for available postings online at student employment.
  • Contact the Human Resources Department for additional information on student employment at 517-750-6431.

*Scholarships and grants are subject to change. Please check with our Student Financial Services department to verify eligible financial aid.