The exterior of the St. Louis Hall is pictured in front of a blue sky.

Learn How You Can Fund Your Undergraduate College Experience

Thank you for considering St. Mary’s University for your undergraduate degree! Our financial assistance staff is excited to work one-on-one with you to provide the personal financial solutions that best suit your family. Explore the different types of financial aid available for undergraduate students at St. Mary’s University, and learn how to qualify for each one. It’s our job to help you fund your education and make your degree affordable.

First-year students receive some form of financial aid
Best Small Colleges in Texas (Niche, 2023)
University in the West for Best Value (U.S. News and World Report, 2024)

Remember to File the FAFSA®!

To be considered for aid, students must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) every year and list St. Mary’s University. The application opens up every October 1. Once you are a continuing student, the FAFSA® Priority deadline to submit your FAFSA® is March 1 (extended to May 6, 2024, for the 2024-2025 academic year). You are encouraged to submit your FAFSA® as soon as possible to ensure the most aid possible.

St. Mary’s University FAFSA® code is 003623.

  • Changes have been made to the 2024-2025 FAFSA®.

    The new FAFSA® features fewer questions and retrieves tax information using a direct data exchange from the IRS instead of the previous IRS Data Retrieval Tool. Review 2024-2025 FAFSA® Simplification changes.

A student speaks with a St. Mary’s staff member.

What are the types of financial aid?

Gift aid includes scholarships, grants, and other benefits (such as Veteran’s Benefits); these kinds of financial assistance generally do not need to be paid back unless otherwise specified.

Self-help aid, on the other hand, includes student and parent educational loans, which require repayment. Also included in the self-help aid category is Federal Work Study, which allows undergraduate students to earn a specified amount of money by working a University job.

In addition, St. Mary’s University awards scholarships to qualified applicants at the time of admission. Our awarding system attempts to provide equitable awards for everyone.

I owe my financial success to the education I received at St. Mary’s. There’s no doubt in my mind.”

John R. Courtney Sr. (B.A. ’61, J.D. ’67)

Scholarships at St. Mary’s

Scholarships are free money that you don’t have to pay back. When awarding gift aid, St. Mary’s University considers your academic achievement whenever possible. The better your academic performance, the greater percentage of gift aid you will receive in relation to total package aid. The total amount of each package is determined by the financial need analysis. However, the proportions of gift aid and self-help within that total are determined by your prior academic work.

Outside scholarships are also used to meet unmet need or to replace self-help. If your outside scholarship is greater than your unmet need and/or the amount of awarded self-help, the gift aid must be reduced in order to comply with federal and state regulations. If you receive notification of an outside scholarship, please let us know as soon as possible. This will allow us to make adjustments and notify you of those changes.

Outside scholarships


Need-based grant programs help you cover the difference between the cost of attendance and your other resources. A grant is a form of financial aid that doesn’t have to be repaid (unless you withdraw from school and owe a refund or don’t meet a requirement of the grant). Your responses on our FAFSA determine your eligibility to receive grant funds.

The Federal Pell Grant is available to undergraduate students with the highest level of need (based on FAFSA data). The amount a student receives is also determined by the expected family contribution and the student’s enrollment status. Effective July 1, 2012, the maximum number of equivalent full-time semesters a student is eligible to receive a Pell Grant will drop from 18 to 12 semesters for all students, including those close to completion.

Federal Pell Grant

The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant is available to students who qualify for the maximum Pell Grant. Funds are limited and are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant

To be considered for the Tuition Equalization Grant, students must be Texas residents, demonstrate financial need and be enrolled full time. These funds are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

Tuition Equalization Grant

Sponsored by St. Mary’s University, the Financial Aid Grant is available to undergraduate students. These limited funds are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

St. Mary’s University Financial Aid Grant


A loan is money you borrow and must pay back with interest. If you apply for financial aid, you may be offered loans as part of your school’s financial aid offer. When you receive a student loan, you are borrowing money to attend a college or career school. You must repay the loan as well as interest that accrues. It is important to understand your repayment options so you can successfully repay your loan.

The U.S. Department of Education offers low-interest loans to eligible students to help cover the cost of college. You may be eligible to receive subsidized and unsubsidized loans based on your financial need.

Direct Federal Stafford Loans may be subsidized, which means the government pays the interest while you are in school, or unsubsidized, which means the interest accrues while you are in school. The eligibility of the Direct Federal Stafford Loan is determined by the completion of the Free Application of Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The interest is a fixed rate of 2.75 percent for loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2020. Students must submit a FAFSA, meet federal eligibility requirements, and enroll at least half-time in a degree-seeking program.

Students who demonstrate financial need are awarded the Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan, while those with less financial need may be eligible for only part of the Subsidized Stafford Loan and may borrow Unsubsidized Stafford Loans up to the academic year limit.

Direct Federal Stafford Loans

The Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS Loan) is available to creditworthy parents who want to borrow a portion or all of the annual cost of education minus other financial assistance offered. Repayment is generally set at small payments on a 10-year plan and begins 60 days after the loan has been fully disbursed to the institution.

This federal loan is offered at a fixed interest rate of 5.30 percent with an interest rate cap 10.50 percent effective for loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2020. The maximum PLUS loan amount you can borrow is the cost of attendance (determined by the school) minus any other financial assistance received.

Federal Parent Loans

College Access Loans (CAL) are available to Texas resident students (or out-of-state students receiving competitive academic scholarships) with creditworthy cosigners. The loan has a $500 annual minimum, but may not be greater than the cost of education less other aid received. Effective April 25, 2017, the interest rate is fixed at 6.6 percent and requires a minimum Experian VantageScore of 350 for credit approval. An origination fee will no longer be accessed for approved bowers. Pre-approvals and promissory notes may be processed online through the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

College Access Loans

Alternative loans are private loans available through lending institutions, which offer competitive interest rates, flexible repayment schedules and differing cosigner requirements. Students should pursue all possibilities for scholarships, grants, work-study and federal loan programs before borrowing from an alternative loan program. Most financial institutions have alternative loan programs.

Find loans with ELMSelect.

Alternative Loans

The following charts show the annual and aggregate limits for subsidized and unsubsidized loans.

Annual loan limits

Student classificationDependent students*Independent students
First-year undergraduate$5,500 (max $3,500 from subsidized loans)$9,500 (limit $3,500 from subsidized loans)
Second-year undergraduate$6,500 (max $4,500 from subsidized loans)$10,500 (limit $4,500 from subsidized loans)
Third-year+ undergraduate$7,500 (max $5,500 from subsidized loans)$12,500 (limit $5,500 from subsidized loans)
Graduate/Professional studentsN/A$20,500 (unsubsidized only)

*Dependent students whose parents are unable to obtain a PLUS loan fall into the independent loan limits.

Aggregate loan limits

Dependent students (undergraduate)Independent students (undergraduate)Graduate/professional students
$31,000 (max $23,000 subsidized)$57,500 (max $23,000 subsidized)$138,500 (max $65,500 subsidized)*

The graduate aggregate limit includes all federal loans received for undergraduate study.

If you are a first-time borrower on or after July 1, 2013, there is a limit on the maximum period of time (measured in academic years) that you can receive Direct Subsidized Loans. This time limit does not apply to Direct Unsubsidized Loans or Direct PLUS Loans. If this limit applies to you, you may not receive Direct Subsidized Loans for more than 150 percent of the published length of your program. This is called your “maximum eligibility period.” Your maximum eligibility period is based on the published length of your current program. You can usually find the published length of any program of study in the school’s catalog.

For example, if you are enrolled in a four-year bachelor’s degree program, the maximum period for which you can receive Direct Subsidized Loans is six years (150 percent of 4 years = 6 years). If you are enrolled in a two-year associate degree program, the maximum period for which you can receive Direct Subsidized Loans is three years (150 percent of 2 years = 3 years).

Because your maximum eligibility period is based on the length of your current program of study, your maximum eligibility period can change if you change to a program that has a different length. Also, if you receive Direct Subsidized Loans for one program and then change to another program, the Direct Subsidized Loans you received for the earlier program will generally count toward your new maximum eligibility period.

Certain types of enrollment may cause you to become responsible for the interest that accrues on your Direct Subsidized Loans when the U.S. Department of Education usually would have paid it. These enrollment patterns are described below.

If entering the Armed Forces, Peace Corps, VISTA or other volunteer public service work, your loan servicer may grant you a forbearance. With forbearance, you may be able to stop making payments or reduce your monthly payment for up to 12 months. Interest will continue to accrue on your subsidized and unsubsidized loans (including all PLUS loans).

Annual Loan Limits

The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) is the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED’s) central database for student aid. NSLDS receives data from schools, guaranty agencies, the Direct Loan program, and other Department of ED programs. NSLDS Student Access provides a centralized, integrated view of Title IV loans and grants so that recipients of Title IV Aid can access and inquire about their Title IV loans and/or grant data. All loan information will be submitted to NSLDS and accessible by authorized agencies, lenders, and institutions.

National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS)

Work Study at St. Mary’s

To assist students who demonstrate financial need, we participate in the Federal Work-Study Program to provide you with employment. Annual awards range from $1,500 to $3,000 (with a wage of $7.25 an hour). Most jobs are located on campus and require you to work between 10 and 13 hours per week (on average).

A variety of jobs are available, including clerical work, communications assistant, fitness center attendant, lifeguard, office assistant, public services assistant, reference assistant or sports official.

In addition, you could choose to participate in the Community-Based College Work-Study Program which allows students to complete work-study hours while working with a community partner. St. Mary’s University partners with a number of local nonprofit agencies, particularly in the areas of education, elderly, health care and legal service.

Getting started with work study is easy! Below are the steps you must take:

  • Accept your Work-Study on Gateway.
  • Financial Assistance Office will email the ApplicantPro work-study job vacancy listing to eligible students.
  • Submit the I-9, W-4 and Policy Acknowledgement forms to St. Mary’s Office of Human Resources.
How to get started

  • Questions?

    For any questions you or your family may have, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re here to support you.

    Office of Admission
    Chaminade Tower
    Text us: 210-526-0796
    Call us: 210-436-3126

    Office of Financial Assistance
    St. Louis Hall, Room 301

Back to top