Undergraduate Financial Aid

Financial Aid

Education: An Investment in Your Future

We recognize the financial commitment a college education entails and do everything possible to assist students with this investment. A financial aid counselor will be happy to meet with you to discuss the financial aid process and the opportunities available. Last year we assisted about 85 percent of our students through scholarships, grants, and loan programs. We also have excellent student employment opportunities and special tuition payment plans. To be eligible for aid, a student must be enrolled at least half-time and must be either a citizen or permanent resident of the United States or a resident of one of the United States Territories.

Financial aid is the combination of grants, scholarships, on-campus employment and low-interest student loans for which you are eligible based on financial need. Institutional scholarships are administered by the Financial Aid committee of Samuel Merritt University. These scholarships range from $1,000 to $5,000 per year and are awarded on the basis of demonstrated academic ability and financial need. In some cases, educational expenses may be tax-deductible. Costs are deductible if the education is either required for continued employment by law or the individual's employer, or maintains or improves the skills required in the individual's current trade or business. If you think this might apply to you, be sure to contact a tax advisor.

In addition, the Federal government has enacted the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, which provides higher education tax incentives for eligible students:

  • Hope Scholarship Credit - Up to $2,500 credit per student, per year
  • Lifetime Learning Credit- Up to $2,000 credit per family, per year
  • Student Loan Interest Deduction - Up to $2,500 per year
  • Education Individual Retirement Accounts - Up to $500 deposit per year into a tax-free Education IRA account.
  • IRA Withdrawals to Pay Higher Education Expenses - Withdrawals of up to 10% without penalty

Students who believe they are eligible to take advantage of this Relief Act are encouraged to consult a tax adviser.

The Financial Aid Process

To apply for financial aid, students must complete the "Free Application for Federal Student Aid" (FAFSA). This application is available in early December from high school or college counseling offices as well as the U.S. Department of Education's FAFSA website or from the Financial Aid Office at Samuel Merritt University. The application will require basic financial information about the student and his/her family. There is no fee for processing the application.

Please follow the instructions included with the application, and list Samuel Merritt University on your list of colleges. (Samuel Merritt's Title IV code is 007012.)

Cal Grant Program

Students who are legal California residents and do not have a bachelor's degree are eligible to apply for the Cal Grant program. An applicant must submit a completed FAFSA to the federal processor and a Cal Grant GPA Verification Form to the California Student Aid Commission by the March 2nd postmark deadline.

Student Employment and Federal Work Study Program

Students interested in part-time employment may qualify for work at the university and Summit Medical Center. Opportunities include the John A. Graziano Memorial Library, the Health Education Center, Studio Three, Audiovisual and various university offices. Additional employment opportunities such as physical therapy clinics, physician's offices, housesitting, etc., are publicized on the SMU Student JobBoard.

Federal work study is a program jointly funded by the federal government and the university and is available to students who need part-time employment to help meet their college expenses. The rate of pay is in accordance with other student pay scales and is in compliance with federal minimum wage standards. Students interested in employment may complete an application available from the Campus Service Center.

The Financial Advantage of Education

For all college graduates, the prospects are bright related to income. As reported by Postsecondary Education Opportunity, as of 1996, based upon the educational attainment of a householder, the average family income for bachelor's degree holders is $75,311, compared to $56,153 for associate's degrees and $45,146 for high school graduates.

Compensation for nurses in California, and nationwide, continues to be competitive. On average, annual wages for nurses in California range from $46,650 for pediatrics to $66,000 for gerontology. Nationwide, these figures are $39,400 for pediatrics to $49,420 for gerontology. Average yearly salaries for supervisors and nurse executives are reported as $56,975 for a head nurse in California to $88,891 for a top-level nurse executive. The national range is slightly lower, from $50,627 for head nurses to $84,823 for top-level nurse executives.

We Are Here to Help

Samuel Merritt University, through its Financial Aid Office, is committed to helping students and families obtain the funds necessary to meet educational expenses. We offer individual financial aid counseling, so please do not hesitate to contact us for an appointment. Our office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Telephone (510) 879-9200.

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