2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog 
    Jul 21, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog

Financial Information

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Income from student tuition does not cover the cost of a student’s education. Substantial amounts are raised each year by the University to cover the difference between what students pay and the cost of their education. Expenses at Cairn University are moderate and can be maintained at this level only by the generous gifts of individuals, churches, and organizations.

Financial Policies

Settlement of Accounts

Before registration is complete, all students are responsible to pay in full all tuition, fees, and room and board charges and/or have an approved payment schedule. These are to be completed prior to the semester due dates (August 1 for fall; December 15 for spring). For payment in full, the University accepts payments by check, cash, or credit card. Credit card and eCheck payments can be made online at pay.cairn.edu or by telephone at 215.702.4207 or 215.702.4201. (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover accepted online or by telephone. A 2% convenience fee applies for credit card payments.)

Any student account that has to be forwarded for outside collection assistance because of an outstanding balance will be assessed with collection costs and fees. The student will then be responsible for the full balance of their account, including all collection charges and fees.

Withdrawal Tuition Adjustment Policies

University Withdrawal

Students who officially withdraw from the University are entitled to an adjustment on their semester bill as listed below. The preferred procedure is to complete the University Withdrawal Form, which includes an interview in the Office of Student Life, and submit it to the Student Financial Services office. However, an oral statement of intent to withdraw from the University made to the Registrar’s Office will also be considered official. Students receiving Title IV loans must also complete an exit interview in the Financial Aid Office. The official date of withdrawal shall be the date established by the Registrar’s Office as the last date of attendance. Merely ceasing from class attendance does not constitute official withdrawal. No tuition adjustment is made unless the University withdrawal is official.

Tuition Adjustment Chart

If the Student Withdraws The University Retains   Adjustment to Student Account
Prior to the beginning of the first assigned class 0%   100%
Within first 10% of enrollment period 10%   90%
Within 25% of enrollment period 50%   50%
Within 50% of enrollment period 75%   25%
After 50% of enrollment period 100%   0%

Reduction of Aid Upon University Withdrawal

When a student withdraws from the University prior to completion of a semester, aid from federal and state governments and the University will be reduced or returned according to the stipulations of each individual aid program. Calculations will be made following the student’s completion of the withdrawal process.

Aid from private and other sources will be governed by any conditions specified by the donor(s).

Return of Federal Funds Upon Withdrawal

A “Return of Title IV Funds Calculation” will be done for students who are federal aid recipients upon withdrawal from the University during the first 60% of a semester. Federal aid programs included are the Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Direct (Subsidized, Unsubsidized, and PLUS) Loans, TEACH Grants, and Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants. Federal aid funds are considered “earned” based on the percentage of the semester actually completed by the student. This percentage is calculated by dividing the number of days in the semester (excluding breaks of five days or longer) into the number of days the student completed prior to the withdrawal (excluding breaks of five days or longer). The date of withdrawal will be the last date of documented attendance.

If a student received less assistance than the amount that the student earned, the student may be able to receive those additional funds as a Post Withdrawal Disbursement. If the student received more federal aid funds than the student earned, the excess funds must be returned by the university and/or the student. The student will be informed of the results of the calculation via the student’s university email account including any amount required to be returned by the student. Funds required to be returned by the university will be returned within 45 days of the date that the university determines the student withdrew.

The unearned portion of federal student aid funds will be returned to the appropriate aid programs. The funds are returned in the following order:

  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans
  • Federal Direct Subsidized Loans
  • Federal Direct PLUS Loans
  • Federal Pell Grants
  • Federal SEOG Grants
  • TEACH Grants
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants

Until a student has passed the 60 percent point of an enrollment period, only a portion of the student’s aid has been earned. A student who remains enrolled beyond the 60 percent point is considered to have earned all awarded federal student aid for the enrollment period and no funds need be returned.

Information about how to initiate the process of Withdrawal from the University may be found in the Academic Information section of the University catalog or contact the Office of Student Life.

Students withdrawing from classes are responsible for paying any balance due after the required return of federal student aid funds and other adjustments to other financial aid or tuitions and fees.

Students who stop attending all classes without officially withdrawing will be subject to a return of federal student aid funds at the end of the semester based on the last documented date of attendance as determined by the University.

For more information about this calculation, contact the Financial Aid Office.

Return of Service Member Tuition Assistance (TA) Funds Upon Withdrawal

If a Service member withdraws before the first day of the semester, 100 percent of the student’s TA will be returned. A Service member is considered to have earned all of his/her TA if he/she has attended more than 60 percent of the course. The University will return any unearned TA funds on a proportional basis through at least the 60 percent portion of the period for which the funds were provided. TA funds are earned proportionally during an enrollment period, with unearned funds returned to the DOD based upon when a student stopped attending. In instances when a Service member stopped attending due to a military service obligation, the University will work with the affected Service member to identify solutions that will not result in a student debt for the returned portions.

Consumer Information

Individuals who desire to review any consumer information required by federal regulations may contact the Financial Aid Office or go online to this link.

Reduction of Aid Upon Course Withdrawal

Students who withdraw from courses during a semester, but after the end of the published drop/add period, will not have their aid adjusted unless the withdrawals result in a reduction of tuition charged. In cases where tuition charges are reduced, financial aid will be recalculated.

Students in courses not meeting the full semester, including students taking Cairn Online courses, should note that adjustments to financial aid will be made as changes in registration by session or module are recorded in University records.

The date of official course withdrawal is the date the signed withdrawal form is submitted to the Registrar’s Office. Notification of course load adjustment and date is given to the Business Services Office and Financial Aid Office by the Registrar’s Office and appropriate adjustments, if necessary, will be made.

Nelnet Campus Commerce

This outside organization provides a convenient monthly payment plan for Cairn students and/or their families. Students enroll yearly and pay an annual enrollment fee with no interest or additional fees. Payments start as early as May 15. For more information about Nelnet Campus Commerce, call the student accounts manager at (215) 702-4207 or log onto https://mycollegepaymentplan.com/cairn-university/. Enrollment is completed online. The student will receive an email invitation from Nelnet with a website and instructions. The student can then invite others to be an authorized payer on the Nelnet account.

Financial Aid

  • A full student financial aid program offers students a realistic opportunity to finance a college education through grants, scholarships, loans, and employment.
  • Financial aid is awarded to students based on academic potential and documented financial need. “Need” is defined as the cost of education minus expected family contribution. Expected family contribution is determined by use of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completed by the student annually. Cairn University’s priority date for receipt of the results of the FAFSA is May 1 for students applying for fall semester each year.
  • The Financial Aid Office is available to assist students and their families by providing advice and suggestions suitable for the individual’s personal financial status. Additional information on any of the financial aid programs may be secured by contacting the Financial Aid Office.

Financial Aid Eligibility Requirements

In order to receive financial aid, a student must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Enrollment as a regular (matriculating) student in a degree or certificate program.
  • Maintenance of satisfactory academic progress as defined below. Note that satisfactory progress standards for receipt of financial aid may differ from minimum University academic standards for continued enrollment.
  • For federal aid programs, status as a US citizen or eligible noncitizen, in addition to certification that funds will be used only for educational expenses.
  • For federal aid, certification that the student is not in default on any federal student loan and does not owe repayment on a federal student grant.
  • Any other specific requirements of the program providing the aid.

Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress

Federal Regulation 34 CFR 668.34 requires postsecondary institutions receiving federal student aid funds under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 to establish a policy for determining whether an eligible student is making satisfactory academic progress (SAP) in his or her education program to receive federal aid.

The Cairn University Financial Aid staff monitors the academic progress of all students with an annual review occurring at the end of each spring semester.

Financial aid satisfactory academic progress (SAP) includes both qualitative standards and quantitative standards, which are detailed in this policy. This policy governs a student’s eligibility to receive federal student aid funds and any other student aid sources that base eligibility on federal or institutional financial aid SAP standards.

All students must meet the qualitative and quantitative standards for financial aid SAP, regardless of enrollment status.


Satisfactory academic progress (SAP) is measured during all periods of a student’s enrollment at Cairn, including periods in which the student is not receiving financial aid. Federal student aid programs subject to this policy include the following programs:

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
  • Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant Program (TEACH)
  • Iraq/Afghanistan Service Grant
  • Direct Subsidized Loan
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loan
  • Direct PLUS Loan (Parent PLUS and Grad PLUS)
  • Federal Work-Study (FWS)

University aid is also subject to this policy as a minimum academic standard for all university financial aid. Some university aid may apply additional standards when determining eligibility such as minimum cumulative GPA required for Admission Grants, Merit Scholarships, and Honors Scholarships for undergraduate students.

A state agency awarding state aid may establish its own academic standards. Students should consult their state awarding agencies for more information.


Appeal: A process by which a student who is not meeting one or more financial aid satisfactory academic progress standards requests that the Financial Aid Office reconsider his or her eligibility to receive financial aid subject to this policy.

Financial Aid Probation: A probationary status assigned to a student who failed to make financial aid satisfactory academic progress, has successfully appealed, and has had his or her eligibility for student aid, as identified in this policy, reinstated.

Financial Aid Progress: A status assigned to a student who is meeting all satisfactory academic progress standards as detailed in this policy.

Financial Aid Suspension: A status assigned to a student who is not meeting one or more standards for financial aid satisfactory academic progress.

Maximum Timeframe: A period of time that is 150% of the published length of the academic program in which the student, for financial aid purposes, is expected to complete his or her academic program as specified in this policy.

Pace of Completion: The ratio, expressed as a percentage, of successfully completed (earned) credits divided by attempted credits. The minimum completion rate to continue receiving financial aid at Cairn is 67%. Percentages are not rounded.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards

The following table summarizes the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy requirements for maintaining eligibility for undergraduate student aid:

Academic Progress Evaluation Methods
(two separate criteria)
Credit Hours Attempted
1-27 cr 28-59 cr 60-89 cr 90 cr +
Qualitative Minimum cumulative GPA 1.50 1.70 2.00 2.00
Quantitative Completed Credits ÷ Attempted Credits = Percent (Pace) 67% 67% 67% 67%

Qualitative Standard

Grade Point Average (GPA)

Students must have a minimum cumulative GPA as defined below at each evaluation to be making financial aid SAP.

Undergraduate students: minimum GPA is based on attempted credits as indicated in the above table.

An undergraduate student enrolled in an educational program of more than two academic years must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 by the end of his or her second academic year (4th semester), or have academic standing consistent with Cairn’s requirements for graduation.

Quantitative Standards

Maximum Timeframe Standard

Students must complete their program within a maximum timeframe based on credits attempted for their primary academic program. All attempted credits by the student count for SAP purposes.

The maximum timeframe is calculated by multiplying the minimum credits required for the academic program by 150% to determine the maximum number of attempted credits.

Maximum Timeframe = Minimum credits required for academic program x 150%

For example, a student pursuing a bachelor’s degree that requires 120 credits has a maximum timeframe of 180 credits.

Once the maximum timeframe is reached, or the Financial Aid Office determines that it is not mathematically possible for the student to complete the academic program within the maximum timeframe, the student is considered ineligible for financial aid and will be assigned the status of financial aid suspension.

Attempted credits are counted for all terms (e.g., semesters or other terms) and include transfer credits, credits for courses taken during a semester from which a student has withdrawn, and credits for which the student did not receive financial aid.

Pace of Completion Standard

Students must maintain a pace of completion of at least 67%. This pace of completion should ensure that students will complete their academic programs within the maximum timeframe described above. Percentages are not rounded, and students who fail to meet the pace of completion risk losing eligibility for student financial aid.

Pace of Completion % = (Cumulative credits successfully completed ÷ Cumulative credits attempted)

The information below details when a credit is counted as successfully completed (i.e., credit earned) or as attempted (i.e., credit attempted).

Earned credits, Attempted credits, Incompletes, Withdrawals, Repeats, Remedial, and Transfer Credits

Credits Earned

For purposes of this policy, credits in which a student earns a grade of A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, or S are considered “earned” credits, and are counted as both “attempted” and “earned” in the Pace calculation.

Credits Attempted

In conjunction with and in addition to the academic policy listed in the University catalog, credits earned and credits with grading marks F, NR, and INC (Incomplete) will be considered in both the quantitative (percent completion) and qualitative (GPA) analysis when completed according to the provisions in the University catalog. When an incomplete grade changes to another grade notation, that change will be picked up in the next SAP review.

In conjunction with and in addition to the academic policy listed in the University catalog, the grading marks of NC, NP, W, WP, and WF are not considered as successfully completing the course(s) attempted; therefore, the SAP analysis will consider the attempt of these courses in the quantitative (percent completion) analysis but not in the qualitative (GPA) analysis.


Credits for courses taken during a semester from which a student has withdrawn count as attempted, but do not count as earned. The student’s GPA is not affected by credits from which a student has withdrawn. This is the same for course withdrawals due to a university withdrawal.

Course Repeats

Repeated courses are always included in the cumulative credits attempted and maximum timeframe calculation. When a course is repeated, only the highest grade earned will be used to calculate the student’s GPA.

Remedial Courses

Remedial courses are treated the same as non-remedial courses in the evaluation of GPA, pace, and maximum timeframe.

Transfer Credits

Transfer credits earned at another school and accepted by Cairn count as both attempted and earned. The student’s GPA is not affected by credits that have been transferred to Cairn from another institution.

Grade Changes

When a grade is changed, a student’s SAP status must be immediately reevaluated (except for changes in valid incomplete grades as noted above). A student must contact the Financial Aid Office after the grade change is posted to his or her academic record to request that the SAP status be reevaluated.

Monitoring for Financial Aid SAP

The following evaluations occur in accordance with the federal regulation:

  • All students are monitored annually at the end of the spring semester when the grade reporting deadline has passed.
  • Students not meeting one or more SAP standards are monitored at the end of every semester to determine if they are now meeting all standards.

Students enrolled in educational programs exceeding two academic years in length are evaluated at the end of their second academic year (4th semester) for a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA, or an academic standing consistent with requirements for graduation.

Students who meet all financial aid SAP standards, and other applicable eligibility requirements, are eligible to receive financial aid. Students who are not meeting financial aid SAP standards, or for whom it is not mathematically possible to meet the standards in the maximum timeframe, will receive notification from the Financial Aid Office via their university email accounts of the impact on their aid eligibility.

Financial Aid Suspension

Financial aid suspension is the status assigned to students who fail to meet one or more standards of SAP. A student assigned the status of financial aid suspension is not eligible to receive financial aid subject to this policy.

Restoring Financial Aid Eligibility

Restoring aid without an appeal

Students who fail to meet the qualitative standards or the quantitative pace of completion standard can restore financial aid eligibility by meeting the minimum financial aid SAP standards required by this policy at the end of a future semester or other term. Students who exceed the maximum timeframe standard cannot restore eligibility without appealing to the Financial Aid Office for reinstatement consideration.


Students assigned the status of financial aid suspension may appeal to the Financial Aid Office for reinstatement of their aid.

A student may file an appeal with the Financial Aid Office on the basis of the death of a relative, an injury or illness of the student, or other special circumstances. In the appeal, the student must explain why he or she failed to make financial aid SAP and what has changed in the student’s situation that will allow the student to demonstrate financial aid SAP at the next evaluation.

The Financial Aid Office will notify the student through the student’s university email account of the results of the Financial Aid SAP appeal. If an appeal is denied, the student is ineligible for financial aid subject to this policy. If an appeal is approved for a student who failed to meet the pace of completion standard or a qualitative standard, the student is assigned the status of financial aid probation. If an appeal is approved for a student who failed to meet the maximum timeframe standard, the student is assigned the status of financial aid progress and must complete his or her program within the extended maximum timeframe approved in the appeal.

Students whose appeals are denied after failing to meet the qualitative standards or the quantitative pace of completion standard can restore financial aid eligibility by meeting the minimum financial aid SAP standards required by this policy at the end of a future semester.

Students on financial aid probation must either meet the minimum SAP standards at the conclusion of the probationary semester to remain eligible for financial aid, or meet the conditions of the academic plan developed by the institution and the student to remain eligible for further financial aid. The academic plan is outlined in the email students receive from the Financial Aid Office when their SAP appeal is approved. Students are responsible for understanding and following the conditions set forth in the academic plan and are encouraged to seek assistance from an academic advisor and make use of the resources of the Academic Resource Center (ARC).

Financial Aid Programs

Federal Aid Programs

Cairn University students who qualify receive federal aid in the form of Pell Grants, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG), Direct Student Loans, Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS Loans), and Federal Work Study employment.

Service Member, National Guard, and Veterans Benefits

Students may use Service Member Tuition Assistance, National Guard, or Veterans Benefits at Cairn University, including through the Yellow Ribbon Program.

For VA educational benefit recipients, beginning August 1, 2019, for any student eligible for Chapter 33 Post 9/11 GI Bill® or Chapter 31 Vocational-Rehabilitation benefits, even if the VA has not yet sent the funds, the University will not:

  • prevent the student from enrolling,
  • assess a late penalty fee,
  • require the securing alternative or additional funding, or
  • deny access to any school resource (access to classes, libraries, or other institutional facilities) that are available to other students that have paid.

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.

Eligible students planning to use VA educational benefits are required to submit to the Financial Aid Office:

  • the VA’s Certificate of Eligibility or Statement of Benefits by the first day of class or earlier, if possible.
  • a written request to be certified prior to each semester.

Cairn will readmit a Service member with the same academic status as when he/she last attended Cairn. The Service member should provide written notice when he/she is withdrawing to complete a Service connected duty and also provide notice when he/she returns to Cairn after his/her Service connected duty. (FSA Handbook Vol. 2-70). The Service member will then enroll in the next classes available in his/her program of study.

Students should contact the Financial Aid Office concerning Service and National Guard Member programs and reach out to their Education Services Officer.

State Grant Programs

Qualified Pennsylvania residents in eligible undergraduate programs may receive PA State Grants. University students from Delaware, District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Ohio, Vermont, and West Virginia may also receive assistance from their home state grant programs.

Details on application, amounts of aid, and eligibility requirements are available from the Cairn Financial Aid Office.

Cairn Scholarships and Grants

The University provides opportunities to new freshman and transfer students for both academic scholarships and need-based grants. These awards are available to full-time, matriculating undergraduates. Information on application and policies pertaining to these programs is available on the website or by contacting either the Financial Aid Office or Admissions.

Endowed and Restricted Scholarships

University endowed and restricted funds, received as generous gifts from alumni, friends, and other donors, support the University’s financial aid budget and ensure generous financial aid awards to new and continuing undergraduate students. The Financial Aid staff administers the awarding of these funds. Recipients are selected based on specific criteria, such as academic program and performance, leadership, Christian service, and professional goals.

Music Scholarships

The School of Music awards a number of scholarships to entering music majors each year. Auditions are required. Categories include voice, piano, organ, strings, brass, woodwinds, percussion, and composition. Scholarships range from $600 to $2,000 per year. The applicant should contact the School of Music for information about audition procedures and dates.


On-campus jobs are held by students in the areas of food service, housekeeping, admissions, security, library, academic departments, athletics, and maintenance. Students are normally scheduled to work between 10 and 12 hours per week. Some opportunities exist for students to work full-time during breaks in the academic year, as well as in the summer.

An important part of the Federal Work-Study program is community service employment. Undergraduates who qualify may participate by tutoring elementary school students in a school near the University.

To request the University’s current financial aid information, please contact the Financial Aid Office.

Email: finaid@cairn.edu

Telephone: 877-726-2445 or 215-702-4245

Tuition and Fees 2024-2025

Cost for an incoming resident student for the 2024-2025 year is approximately $46,762; for an incoming commuting student, $34,009. These figures do not include miscellaneous, course, or music fees. The breakdown of these charges is as follows:

New Student Fees and Deposits

Application Fee   $25.00
Re-entrant Fee: Students returning after absence of one full semester or more   $25.00

Reservation Deposit: Payable when admission has been approved

Residence Hall Reservation Deposit (to be applied toward room charge/cost): Payable when application for room has been approved   $100.00


Tuition (Full-time, 12-18 credits) $16,617.00 per semester
New Student Fee (first-time and transfer students) $350.00 one time
Tuition Per Credit Overload (Per credit, over 18 credits) $923.00 per credit
Part-time (1-7 credits) $995.00 per credit
Part-time (8-11 credits) $1,365.00 per credit
Audit Fee $500.00 per course
(Full-time students may audit one course at no extra cost.)  
Cairn Online Tuition (only for those in the Cairn Online program) $425.00 per credit
Degree Completion Tuition $639.00 per credit

Dining and Residence Hall Fees

Room assignments are determined by the Office of Student Life.

Room and Board - Manor Campus or Heritage Hall $6,376.50 per semester
A reduced board cost is available for those doing student teaching.  

Activity Fee

Student organizations fee - required

Full-time students only $212.50 per semester

Miscellaneous Fees/Costs

Late Registration Fee $50.00
Graduation Fee $150.00
Student Medical Insurance (required only when not covered by another policy)
     Price is set by insurance carrier and is subject to change
$2,000.00 per year
Motor Vehicle Registration:  
     Resident student $50.00 per year
     Commuting student $30.00 per year
Locker Fee (optional) $5.00
Transcript Fee $6.40

Course Fees

Practicum Fee $50.00
Student Teaching Fees $360.00
Art Course Fees (vary by course) $30.00-$90.00
Science Course Fees $100.00
Independent Study  
Per credit $100.00

Music Fees

Private 30-minute Lessons - non-music majors (faculty instructor) (In addition to tuition charge) $600.00 per semester
Private 30-minute Lessons - music majors (faculty instructor) (In addition to tuition charge) $250.00 per semester
Instrumental Rental Fee (Applies to all students taking Class Woodwinds, Strings, Brass, Percussion, Piano or Instrumental Methods) $55.00 per semester