Office of Financial Aid


The Clark Atlanta University Office of Student Financial Aid is committed to assisting students and their family with finding funding sources to help with financing their CAU education.

Whether you are a prospective applicant, returning student, graduate student, or summer school student, the office will provide information about the types of available financial aid, how to apply for aid, how to keep your aid and ways to manage your finances throughout the CAU educational experience.

SCHOOL CODE: 00155900


Financial Aid FAQ

The Office of Student Financial Aid administers federal, state and university need-based aid. Types of assistance include grants, scholarships, loans and employment.

We encourage you to complete your Free Application for Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA) application online. Our financial aid priority deadline is February 1. The school code for Clark Atlanta University is 00155900.

We strongly encourage students and parents to use Banner Web and complete the application process by our advertised deadlines:

March 1 for the fall term and October 1 for the spring term.

Our goal is to have aid applications completed and funds applied to the student’s account by the beginning of the term for all students meeting our application deadlines. Summer and the beginning of the term are peak processing times for our office staff. Filing your financial aid application by the priority deadline will prevent any unnecessary delays.

All financial aid functions can be accessed and controlled without your ever having to come into the Office of Student Financial Aid. Simply access Bannerweb with your user ID and PIN and, with ease, you can experience our virtual office without being in the office.

Your user ID and PIN were included in your admissions packet. If you failed to receive them, please contact the Office of Admissions. You will need them to access your financial aid file online.

Your offer of Financial Aid must be accessed via Banner Web. You WILL NOT receive a paper Financial Aid Offer Letter. Should you decide to reject or reduce any part of the offer, you must come into the office and meet with a financial aid advisor. Your offer of Financial Aid is only an offer of financial assistance.

If your award includes a Subsidized and/or Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, you will need to complete our online process. That process includes completing an online application and Promissory Note, with a lender of your choice, and an online Entrance Interview (if a first-time student borrower at CAU).

If your award includes a PLUS Loan (parent loan); your parent will need to apply for the loan using our online process. Please note that the PLUS Loan is based upon the borrower’s credit history.

The amount shown on the offer of Financial Aid on Banner Web indicates only the amount of eligibility. It is no guarantee of funds. The parent borrower will undergo a credit check and final approval rests with the lender.

Institutional Scholarships include merit-based scholarships and gap funding. Institutional scholarships and discounts require a completed FAFSA, full-time enrollment and satisfactory academic progress.

Our Student Expense Budget includes both direct and indirect costs. Direct costs are those charges paid to the University such as tuition, fees, room and board (if living on campus), and books (if purchased from the University bookstore).

Indirect costs are those charges you may incur for travel or transportation, room and board (if living off campus) or miscellaneous expenses included in the Student Expense Budget.

Please understand that all financial aid will be applied to direct costs first to reduce/eliminate a student’s indebtedness to the University. Refunds will be generated to students only after a student’s indebtedness to the University has been satisfied.

Yes, all students must sign a new Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) in order for loans to be disbursed to the school.

You must complete the application online, the Promissory Note with a lender of your choice, and an online Entrance Interview for first-time borrowers.

To determine how much you owe the University, subtract your direct cost from certain financial aid offered (all financial aid offered cannot be included). A PLUS Loan cannot be included unless the parent borrower has applied for the loan and it has been approved by the lender.

College Work-Study cannot be included because the funds must be earned after job placement. The University has no control over the student’s potential earnings.

Outside scholarships will be treated as a resource until the funds are received by the University. If you are a recipient of an outside scholarship, we encourage you to have the donor remit the funds to the University as soon as possible. You are liable to the University should any outside funds not be received by the University.

The University has made arrangements with several private agencies to offer alternative funding options to our students ranging from monthly payment plans to low-cost private loans with affordable interest rates.

We encourage you to explore these options several weeks in advance of the beginning of the term should you find yourself in need of additional funding options. Because these are private sources, you need to allow ample time for processing.

Clark Atlanta University’s Work Study program establishes a system of student employment that

provides financial assistance to students to help cover educational cost and offer

academic and career development opportunities. The employment of students will involve

supplementary activities. Eligible students must be enrolled fulltime for the fall/spring semester taking six (6) minimum credit hours a semester (three (3) for graduate students) All students are eligible to work up to 20 hours per week.

Students with all charges paid and enough financial aid posted to cover the cost to attend will be automatically enrolled. You may verify your financial enrollment via Banner Web, under “Student Accounts.”

Tuition and Fees

The pursuit of higher education is an investment into your future.

When estimating your financial commitment for your education at Clark Atlanta University, tuition forms an enormous part of the cost. There are also other costs and fees that need to be factored in, such as lab fees, books, health insurance, etc. The tables below provide an overview of costs associated with a CAU education.

You can calculate your cost of attendance using the Net Price Calculator which estimates your financial aid and scholarships.


How to sign up on a payment plan

Students enroll in payment plans via their Banner Web account. Please ensure that all of your charges are on your account including tuition, housing and meal plans before enrolling in a payment plan.

  1. Go to Banner Web and enter secure area.
  2. Log in with user ID and pin.
  3. Select Student Services and Financial Aid
  4. Select Student Records
  5. Select ECSI Tuition Payment Plan
  6. Complete Application and payment

Fall Payment Plan Information

Term of Plan

Enrollment dates

5 months

July 1   – July 31

4 months

August 1- August 31

3 months

September 1- September 20

First installment plus $70.00 application fee is due upon enrollment. Payments are due on the 1st of each month. Final payment on all fall plans are due on November 1.


Spring Payment Plan Information

Term of Plan

Enrollment dates

5 months

November 13 – December 31

4 months

January 1- January 31

3 months

February 1- February 14

First installment plus $70.00 application fee is due upon enrollment. Payments are due on the 1st of each month. Final payment on all spring plans are due on April 1

Applying for Federal Aid

 The U.S. Department of Education awards more than $120 billion a year in grants, work-study funds, and low-interest loans to more than 13 million students. Federal student aid covers such expenses as tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and transportation. Aid also can help pay for other related expenses, such as a computer and dependent care. 

If you decide to finance some of your educational expenses through loans, the following government sponsored student loans should be first on your list of options:

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)

Complete and e-sign the Federal required Master Promissory Note

Complete and e-sign the Federal required Plus loan application and Master Promissory Note

Federal Work-Study provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. The program encourages community service work and work related to the student’s course of study

Learn more about Work Study at CAU

The U.S. Department of Education releases official cohort default rates once per year. A cohort default rate (CDR), for schools having 30 or more borrowers entering repayment in a fiscal year, is the percentage of a school’s borrowers who enter repayment on certain William D. Ford Federal Direct Loans (Direct Loans) and Federal Family Education Loans (FFELs) during that fiscal year and default (or meet the other specified condition) before the end of the second fiscal year following the fiscal year that the borrower entered repayment. The current CDR for Clark Atlanta University can be found here.

Scholarships and Discounts

Institutional Scholarships for First-Year Students
First-year students are automatically considered for Merit based scholarships when submitting their application to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Merit scholarships are competitive, and students must have a minimum 3.2 GPA and 1100 SAT or 22 ACT score to qualify, however meeting the minimum qualifications does not guarantee a scholarship offer. Students who receive an offer from the Office of Undergraduate Admissions are notified via email once a scholarship decision has been made.

Most Frequently Asked Questions

Available to continuing sophomores, juniors, and seniors who have not exceeded 8 semesters of CAU enrollment. Awards are based on academic performance and Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Pell-eligible students are given priority. To be considered students must complete the FASFA no later than February 1st and have a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or higher. Summer courses may not be used toward GPA calculations and/or credit hour deficiencies. There is no application required and awards will vary each year based on GPA and the overall availability of funding. Recipients are notified the summer prior to the award year.

Student Freedom Initiative is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring freedom in professional and life choices for students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities like Clark Atlanta University. The program offers an income-contingent funding alternative, known as the Student Freedom Agreement, which is available to rising juniors and seniors majoring in a STEM field, as well as educational and career support resources.

Clark Atlanta University students looking for alternatives to traditional loan options and enhanced educational experience may find just that in Student Freedom Initiative. Student Freedom Initiative is a nonprofit organization that helps students from Minority Serving Institutions achieve their life goals and professional aspirations. The program, which is expected to launch in fall 2021, will initially focus on students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) majoring in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects.

Student Freedom Initiative aims to help HBCU students escape the crushing burden of unmanageable student loan debt, which often plagues many African American students. What’s more, the initiative serves as a catalyst for freedom in higher education and life choices, by providing students with tools and resources that enhance their educational experiences and pave the way for better career paths. Some of these key aspects of the program include:

  • An income-contingent funding alternative
  • Tutoring, mentoring and other support services
  • Internships
  • Targeted institutional capacity-building support

Eligibility for the Initiative

Student Freedom Initiative’s income-contingent funding alternative is called the Student Freedom Agreement and will initially be limited to rising juniors and seniors, as determined by credit hours, majoring in a STEM field. The Clark Atlanta University administration, in collaboration with Student Freedom Initiative, has approved the following majors for participation in the program:

  • Computer and Information Systems
  • Cybersecurity
  • Dual Degree Engineer and Computer Science
  • Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Biology
  • Dual Degree Biology
  • Dual Degree Engineering and Math
  • Mathematics
  • Chemistry
  • Dual Degree Engineering and Chemistry
  • Industrial Chemistry
  • Dual Degree Engineering and Physics
  • Physics

To be eligible to receive funding under a Student Freedom Agreement, a student must meet the following other application criteria:

  • Have a valid Social Security Number (SSN) or a valid Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
  • School-approved Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) (or acceptable state alternative)
  • Enrolled full-time at a participating four-year college or university*
  • Rising junior or senior (by credit hours)
  • Majoring in an approved science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) degree-seeking program
  • Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) toward completion of the eligible degree program, as defined by the student’s school for financial aid purposes.

*Exception available if less than full-time coursework is required for degree completion in final year.

While the financial assistance will only be available to certain STEM students at Clark Atlanta University, select features of the income-contingent funding alternative program will be available to all students regardless of major and class. These features would include support services like internships, mentoring and tutoring.

How the Student Freedom Agreement Works

Students that meet the criteria outlined in Student Freedom Initiative can apply to have a portion of their college education funded by the program beginning with the fall 2021 semester. Once committed to the program, students will be entered into a Student Freedom Agreement and pledge to pay back into the program once they graduate college.

Graduates who benefited from the program while in college will make fixed-payments for a certain period, with the payments based on income. Payment amounts may rise and fall throughout the payment period, as they are income-contingent, and participants will only be asked to make monthly payments for a maximum of 20 years. All payments made by the graduated HBCU students will be recycled back into the program to benefit thousands of future students, supporting the next generation.

There are some protections for participants of the program. Participants may forfeit making payments if they file bankruptcy or total, permanent disability. They may also defer up to 12 monthly payments for any reason.

The Student Freedom Agreement should not be considered the only financing option for an HBCU student. Instead, the agreement should be factored in as a portion of a student’s total financial aid package. It will not replace state or institutional aid, any federal grants, work-study funds or Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans. Instead, it is designed to cover the remaining costs of attendance after the aforementioned options are exhausted, acting as an alternative to Parent PLUS loans and high-interest private student loans.

While the program offers many benefits for qualifying students at Clark Atlanta University, it might not be the best alternative funding option for every student. With this in mind, students should work with their financial aid counselors to better understand the terms of the Student Freedom Agreement and all loan options. From there, students can make informed decisions that best meet their interests.

To learn more about the terms of the Student Freedom Agreement and the application process, please visit Student Freedom Initiative’s website. When applying for the Student Freedom Agreement, students should carefully read all documents concerning Student Freedom Initiative, as the documents will contain the detailed terms of the Student Freedom Agreement.

Offered to biological or legally adopted dependent siblings currently enrolled at Clark Atlanta University. Families must submit a copy of all birth certificates and parents’ federal tax return along with a Siblings Discount Application to the Office of Student Financial Aid by July 1st. Independent students do not qualify for the Siblings discount. Sibling Discounts may not be combined with other non-federal institutional funding. The discount will not exceed 33% of the annual cost of tuition.

Offered to dependents of United Methodist Church ministers enrolled at Clark Atlanta University. Students must submit a copy of the parents’ tax return and a letter from the conference indicating that the Minister is in good standing with the United Methodist Church by July 1.

Beginning in Fall 2017, Clark Atlanta University will offer the equivalent of Room and Board scholarships to select students on a full NROTC tuition scholarship. Recipients must reside in traditional CAU housing. Students must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with the Financial Aid Office prior to having funds deposited to their accounts.  The Room and Board scholarship is capped at the value of a double room and a full meal plan as designated by CAU. The Room and Board scholarship will be reduced or eliminated by any state, federal, or outside scholarships or grants the student receives that would cause the total financial aid to exceed the cost of attendance as determined by CAU. The NROTC tuition scholarship and the CAU Room and Board scholarship replace any other CAU financial aid awarded before notification and acceptance of the aforementioned scholarships.

Available to incoming first year students and continuing sophomores, juniors and seniors; eligible art history majors (or double majors) at Clark Atlanta University are invited to apply for an art history scholarship. For the First-Year Art History Scholarship, the program seeks motivated, well-rounded candidates, both academically and in character with a demonstrated commitment to the study of art history. Students must have a minimum high school GPA of 3.0. For the Art History Scholarship, eligible candidates will be rising sophomores, juniors or seniors in good standing, who have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0; and who have completed at least one art history course earning a “B” or higher.

Applicants must complete all components of the online application. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. First-Year scholarship applicants are strongly encouraged to apply by April 15th. Sophomore, junior and senior scholarship applicants are strongly encouraged to apply or reapply by May 31st. Please review full scholarship details here. Generous scholarship support is provided by the Atlanta University Center Art History + Curatorial Studies Collective and the Alice L. Walton Foundation.

Georgia’s HOPE Scholarship is available to Georgia residents who have demonstrated academic achievement. The scholarship provides money to assist students with their educational costs of attending a HOPE eligible postsecondary institution located in Georgia.

HOPE Specific Eligibility

To receive HOPE Scholarship funding, students must:

  1. Meet one of the following academic requirements:
    • Graduate from a HOPE eligible high school with a 3.0 using the HOPE grade point average calculation. For more details, click here.
    • Complete a HOPE eligible home study program with a 3.0 using the HOPE grade point average calculation. For more details, click here.
    • Graduate from an ineligible high school, complete an ineligible home study program, or earn a GED, on or after July 1, 2014 and score in the national composite 80th percentile or higher on the SAT or ACT prior to graduation, home study completion date or GED test date. For more details, click here.
    • Graduate from an ineligible high school or complete an ineligible home study program, and then earn a 3.0 grade point average on 30 semester hours or 45 quarter hours of college degree-level coursework. This option allows for payment of the first 30 semester hours or 45 quarter hours after they are taken. For more details, click here.
    • Earn a 3.0 grade point average at the college level on degree coursework after attempting 30, 60, or 90 semester hours or 45, 90, or 135 quarter hours, regardless of high school graduation status. For more details, click here.
  2. Be enrolled as a degree-seeking student at a public or private HOPE eligible college and university in Georgia.
  3. Meet additional rigor requirements, beginning with students graduating from high school on or after May 1, 2015.


State Programs Eligibility

  1. Meet U.S. citizenship or eligible non-citizen requirements;
  2. Be a legal resident of Georgia;
  3. Be registered with Selective Service, if required;
  4. Maintain satisfactory academic progress as defined by the college;
  5. Not be in default or owe a refund due on a student financial aid program;
  6. Be in compliance with the Georgia Drug-Free Postsecondary Education Act of 1990.

Award Amounts

Please review the HOPE Scholarship Award Chart to determine your scholarship award amount.

Students that meet all eligibility requirements and are attending an eligible public college or university receive a HOPE award amount, to be applied toward standard undergraduate tuition, up to a maximum of 15 hours, for the specific number of hours enrolled, whether full time or part time.

Students that meet all eligibility requirements and are attending an eligible private college or university receive a HOPE award amount, to be applied toward standard undergraduate tuition, up to a maximum of 12 hours, based on a half-time or full-time enrollment status.

Award Limits

A college degree-seeking student is ineligible for the HOPE Scholarship if he or she has:

  • Received payment from any combination of HOPE or Zell Miller Scholarships, HOPE or Zell Miller Grants, and Accel (through Spring term 2011) Program funds totaling 127 semester (190 quarter) hours of credit; or
  • Attempted 127 semester (190 quarter) hours of college degree credit, regardless of whether or not HOPE funds were received while attempting the hours; or
  • Earned a baccalaureate (four-year) degree, regardless of whether or not HOPE funds were received while earning the degree, or
  • Reached the seven year expiration of eligibility date. Click here for more information.

Application Procedure

Students have two options when applying for the HOPE Scholarship:

Application Deadline

While you have until the last day of classes or exams, whichever occurs later, to submit your application in order to receive HOPE funds for that semester or quarter, we highly recommend submitting your HOPE application as early as possible. The earlier you apply, the earlier the funds are disbursed to your school and credited to your account.

Note: there may be additional college-specific application and deadline requirements.


Click here to access and explore information and websites regarding Georgia colleges and universities.

GSFC E-mail

GSFC Telephone
Toll-Free at 1.800.505.GSFC (4732)
In metro Atlanta 770.724.9000
A representative is available Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Georgia Tuition Equalization Grant Program (GTEG)

Program Type

Non-Need Based Grant


To encourage Georgia residents to attend eligible private colleges in Georgia by providing grant assistance.


There are several basic eligibility requirements. To be eligible, students must:

  1. Be a U.S. citizen or national of the U.S. or have evidence from INS of eligible permanent resident alien status;
  2. Be a legal resident of Georgia;
  3. Be enrolled as a full-time student at an eligible private college or university in Georgia; Be an undergraduate student in a program of study leading to a college degree;
  4. Maintain satisfactory academic progress, as defined by the college;
  5. Be in compliance with Selective Service registration requirements;
  6. Not be in default or owe a refund on a student financial aid program;
  7. Be in compliance with the Georgia Drug-Free Postsecondary Education Act of 1990;
  8. Must not have received TEG payment for more than 127 semester/190 quarter hours.


Recipients receive an award of $233 per quarter or $350 per semester and can receive payment for up to four quarters or three semesters per year. (Budgeted each year by the Georgia Legislature. The amount of the award may change during the award year.)

Application Procedure

Students can apply online or by using the printable paper TEG application .

Other Information

Each participating college sets application deadline dates for each school term. You can read the Georgia Tuition Equalization Grant program regulations  for guidelines, policies, and procedures.

The Student Access Loan Program

Effective 2014-2015 (FY 2015), Georgia Student Finance Authority is offering two Student Access Loan Programs, with 1% interest rates, designed to assist undergraduate and technical college students who have a gap in meeting their educational costs.

Student Access Loan (SAL) Program Information

  • Interest rate structure for loans received on or after July 1, 2014:
    • Fixed rate of 1% while in school and out of school as long as the loan remains in good standing.
    • A monthly Keep In Touch (KIT) Payment of $10.00 is required approximately 60 days after the first disbursement is received. The monthly KIT Payment is required while in school and while in grace period.
  • Repayment is a maximum of ten (10) years with a minimum payment of $50.00 for loans received on or after July 1, 2014.
  • The minimum loan amount is $500. The maximum loan limit is $10,000 per year up to a maximum of $40,000 over a college lifetime.
  • Origination Fee – A non-refundable fee of 5% of the loan amount, but not more than $50.00, is deducted from the first disbursement of the loan.
  • SAL is an annual process which includes application, selection, certification, approval, and disbursement.
    • The program is also designed to provide service cancellation opportunities to those who work in select public service sectors or STEM fields.
    • Students are randomly selected to participate in the program (Note: Selection does not guarantee approval and applicants may or may not be selected each application year).
  • The SALT is first come, first served based on the funds available.

Student Eligibility

In order to receive the Student Access Loan, students must:

  • Be considered a Georgia resident and United States citizen or eligible non-citizen.
  • Complete a valid Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to apply for this program.
  • Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in accordance with the SAP policy at their college or university.
  • Must be enrolled in an eligible Georgia postsecondary institution.
  • Meet all eligibility requirements.

Important Things to Know

  • Applications are only collected in pre-designated application cycle periods.  See the application link below for dates and information.
  • If you apply for this loan, you understand that this is a private education loan that must be repaid and cannot be combined or consolidated with federal loans.
  • Borrow smart! When applying for a loan, request only the amount of funds needed for your educational costs and that you can repay.
  • Your eligible postsecondary institution may decline the loan or certify for a reduced amount based on financial aid status.
  • Loan disbursements are sent directly to the student’s chosen eligible postsecondary institution and are not transferable.
  • SAL applicants must have first applied for and exhausted all other student financial aid options including federal and state student loans, scholarship, and grant programs.
  • Students attending an eligible technical college within the Technical College System of Georgia must first apply for SALT.

You may be eligible for a Student Access Loan (SAL) or Student Access Loan – Technical (SALT) if you have exhausted all other funding options to meet your cost of attendance. Please click on the links below for more information or, if you are ready to apply, please click “Applications” below.