Types of Financial Aid

Now that you have decided to attend college, what next? Students often ask a very logical question: "Can I afford the school of my choice?"

At Viterbo we think you'll be pleasantly surprised to learn that for most students a quality private college education is affordable—not out of reach.

We want you to consider Viterbo as an investment in your future. For that reason, we're equally committed to working with you to make sure your financial need is met.

We offer two types of financial assistance: need-based and merit-based. While merit-based financial aid is determined strictly on academics, talent, or other merit, there are many factors to be considered in determining need-based financial aid. Based on dependency status, these can include parents' income and assets, the number of dependents in the parents' household, the number of those dependents in post-secondary education, parents' ages; and student's assets, earnings and household size. Because of the many factors involved, it is very difficult to predict eligibility. So, we strongly encourage all families to apply for need-based financial aid.

Need is defined as the total cost of attending a college (tuition, fees, room, board, books, etc.) minus the expected family contribution (EFC). The EFC is determined by the federal government based on income and household information provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The EFC is the same at any school you attend, but the cost of attending and the financial aid awarded will vary from one college or university to another.

Alternative Loans

Alternative loans are privately funded loans that allow the student to borrow an amount up to the cost of education (determined by the school) minus any financial aid the student is eligible for. Generally, alternative loans accrue interest while the student is in school and a co-signer typically will improve the terms (i.e., interest rates) of the loan.


Alternative Loan Information

Merit-Based Financial Aid

Visit First-year Cost and Aid for details on merit-based financial aid

Need-Based Financial Aid

There are several types of need-based funding. Listed below are some examples:

Federal and State Grants — Eligibility is determined by filing the FAFSA and grants are awarded based on Federal and State criteria and methodology. Students who already have a Bachelor's Degree are not eligible for Federal and State Grants. Grants do not need to be paid back.

Federal Loans — Eligibility is determined by filing the FAFSA and loans are awarded based on dependency status and grade level. Loans must be paid back, but not until the student graduates, is enrolled less than half-time, or quits school. Interest rates, compilation, and payment schedules vary with different types of loans.

Student Employment (Federal Work-Study) — Eligibility is determined by filing the FAFSA. Students apply and are hired for various jobs across campus and are paid by the University on a bi-monthly basis. Work-study money is earned by the student and can be used to defray tuition costs or for personal expenses.

Institutional Grants and Scholarships — Eligibility is determined by filing the FAFSA and by institutional policies specific to the different grant and scholarship programs. Grants and scholarships do not need to be paid back. Please note, you cannot receive more than one tuition specific grant or scholarship at a time, however you can receive more than one that are not tuition specific (up to the total cost of attendance each semester or academic year).

Important information regarding the need-based financial aid process

Tips on applying for need-based financial aid

Need-based awards are not automatically renewable each year. Students must renew their FAFSA application each year they plan to attend college. However, if the student and family financial information remains relatively constant, financial aid offers should remain similar year to year.

Never assume your family will not be eligible for need-based financial aid. Many families are pleasantly surprised by offers of assistance from Viterbo. The only way to know for sure whether or not you are eligible for need-based financial aid is to submit the FAFSA.

If you and/or your parent have unusual circumstances which could affect your ability to contribute to college expenses, you may qualify for a re-evaluation of eligibility. Unusual circumstances include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Changes to earned income (i.e., loss of job, retirement, death)
  • Legal separation/divorce after filing FAFSA
  • Paid out-of-pocket medical expenses not covered by insurance of at least $5000
  • Parent in college tuition expenses
  • Parent’s own student loans/PLUS Loans for another student

Circumstances you feel we should know about must be communicated in writing with specifics concerning the circumstance, i.e., dates, amounts, etc. Use the form on the Special Circumstances webpage to explain the circumstance(s).

Additional paperwork and documentation will be required before the re-evaluation will be completed.  The decision of the Financial Aid Office is final and cannot be appealed to the U.S. Department of Education.


Viterbo University has numerous scholarship opportunities. These scholarships are awarded on a non-need basis and range from $2,000 to full tuition. Students must be enrolled full-time to receive these scholarships. Extended learning and/or graduate students are not eligible for scholarships.

Viterbo University's List of Scholarships
Viterbo University offers many scholarships through the generosity of friends and alumni of Viterbo University. They are awarded to continuing students on an individual basis and administered by the Financial Aid Office.

Army ROTC Scholarship

Athletic Scholarships
As a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), Viterbo University may award scholarship money to varsity student-athletes based on athletic ability. The head coach of each intercollegiate sport has the authority to make the awards, given the endorsement of the Director of Athletics. These scholarships may vary in amount and are eligible for renewal based on department criteria. Contact the Department of Athletics for further information.

Fine Arts Scholarships
Fine Arts Scholarships are available to new students intending to major in one of the Fine Arts areas. These scholarships are awarded by the individual academic departments (Art, Music, and Theatre) and are based on an audition or portfolio review. Fine Arts Scholarships are eligible for renewal based on departmental criteria. Contact the School of Fine Arts for more information.

Scholarship Online Searches and Applications
The Financial Aid Office receives several scholarship opportunities from sources outside of Viterbo University. These scholarships have their own criteria and application processes. These are privately funded scholarships. This page is maintained by the Financial Aid Office.

Student Employment

Federal work study provides part-time jobs for students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. Qualifying students work on campus and earn at least the current federal minimum wage. Total work study award depends on when you apply and your level of financial need. If you are interested in getting a federal work study job while enrolled at Viterbo, make sure to apply for your FAFSA early because funds are limited. The program is administered by the financial aid office.

To be awarded federal work study, a student must:

  • have financial need as determined by filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year.
  • accept their work study award on their VitNet Self-Service.
  • apply for a work study position starting on the first day of each semester (work study jobs posted on Handshake).

Students wishing to change or add a position after the school year has begun, should contact the financial aid office.

Summer employment requires a separate institutional application, typically available March 1.

Summer Employment Application
Study Abroad Financial Aid
Exchange vs. Non-Exchange Programs
  • Exchange: The cost of these programs is billed by Viterbo and is based on Viterbo tuition and fees. The student can use federal, state, and institutional financial aid toward their program; however, Viterbo academic scholarship will be reduced to “off-campus rate” for the semester(s) the student is away (minus $500/semester for transfer scholarship or minus $1000/semester for academic scholarships—Presidents, Dean, Hallmark, Heritage, Access). Any other institutional aid tied to housing will be reduced or canceled per appropriate policy.
  • Non-Exchange: Students applying to non-Viterbo programs can only apply their federal and state aid to program costs. No Viterbo sponsored aid can be used. Costs of these programs varies and can be more or less than Viterbo tuition and fees.
Consortium Agreements
  • If a student is using federal and/or state aid toward a non-exchange program, they must complete a Consortium Agreement with the Viterbo Financial Aid Office. The Consortium Agreement facilitates the payment of financial aid funds through Viterbo to the study abroad program.
  • Every effort is made to send financial aid funds to the study abroad program prior or close to the student’s departure, however, some programs have payment dates that do not coincide with Viterbo’s financial aid disbursement dates. In those cases the program may offer a deferred payment agreement or payment plan. It is the student’s responsibility to request the necessary paperwork from the study abroad program and submit to Viterbo to be completed.
Viterbo Courses With a Short Term Travel Component
  • Travel-related course expenses will be added to the student’s tuition at the beginning of the semester in which the travel component will take place (usually over spring break or at the very end of the semester).
  • There is no federal, state, or institutional grant or scholarship aid to assist with the added program costs. Students may apply for alternative/private education loans and/or parent may apply for Federal PLUS Loan (contact the Viterbo Financial Aid Office for assistance).

Study Abroad Informational Tables32.75 KB

Summer Financial Aid

Financial Aid may be available for your summer classes.

For Summer 2024, you will need the 2023-24 FAFSA (no longer available after June 30, 2024)

Summer Financial Aid is based on the following guidelines:

  1. You must enroll at least half-time to receive federal student loans for summer. Undergraduate half-time is a minimum of six credits and graduate half-time is a minimum of three credits. If you are eligible for a Pell Grant, you may have eligibility at less than half-time, check with the financial aid office for details.
  2. Requests for financial aid for attendance at another campus (visiting campus) will be reviewed and approved on a case-by-case basis. If approved, we cannot guarantee your financial aid will be available at the beginning of your enrollment period. You must be prepared to make satisfactory payment arrangements with the visiting campus until the funds can be sent.
  3. Courses taken at a visiting campus and approved for financial aid must be approved, in advance, for transfer credit by the Viterbo University Registrar Office.

Other important information:

  • If you have federal student aid eligibility remaining for the current year, it will be awarded to you for your summer courses. Your summer loan(s) will be credited against current year maximum(s).
  • There is no summer financial aid application, you will be awarded based on your summer enrollment (summer awarding will begin after summer registration has opened).
  • If you make any changes to your summer enrollment you must notify the financial aid office. If you notify us of changes after the summer disbursement date (10 days before the beginning of the summer semester) you may have to repay some of your disbursed aid.
  • Summer financial aid awards will be applied to your bill 10 days prior to the start of the summer semester.
  • Financial Aid awarded for attendance at a "visiting campus" will be sent directly to the visiting campus after any applicable summer tuition owed to Viterbo is applied. If you are entitled to a "refund" of financial aid after all applicable charges are deducted, the refund will be made to you by the visiting campus.
Military Education Benefits
Military Education Benefits for active duty, reservists, National Guard, veterans, spouses, and children


The Financial Aid Office, 218 Murphy Center, is the certifying office for Military Education Benefits at Viterbo University. Contact Carey Jennings, the School Certifying Official, at 608-796-3900 or cdjennings@viterbo.edu.

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VA Enrollment Certification Form.pdf241.98 KB

Enrollment Verification Form FAQ.pdf103.85 KB

Post 9/11 GI Bill® and Yellow Ribbon Program (Chapter 33)

Chapter 33 Post 9/11 GI Bill® program provides up to 36 months of education benefits, which are based on the amount of active duty time served. To learn more about eligibility, how to apply, benefit level, and payment information, go directly to the VA website at Chapter 33 Education Benefit.

Montgomery GI Bill® Active Duty (Chapter 30)

The Montgomery GI Bill® Active Duty program may be available to you if you served as an active duty member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard. For eligibility criteria and how to apply, go directly to the VA website at Chapter 30 Education Benefit.

Montgomery GI Bill® Selected Reserve (Chapter 1606)

The Montgomery GI Bill® Selected Reserve program may be available to you if you are a member of the selected reserve (Army Reserve, Navy Reserve, Air Force Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, Coast Guard Reserve, or the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard). For eligibility criteria and how to apply, go directly to the VA website at Chapter 1606 Education Benefit.

Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Chapter 31)

Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment is a program to assist veterans who have a service connected disability. The VA will pay required costs, such as tuition and fees, books, supplies, equipment, and if needed special services. For eligibility criteria and how to apply, go directly to the VA website at Chapter 31 Education Benefit.

Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance (Chapter 35)

Chapter 35 Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance provides education and training opportunities to eligible dependents of veterans who are permanently and totally disabled due to a service-related condition, or who died while on active duty or as a result of a service-related condition. The program offers up to 45 months of education benefits. For eligibility criteria and how to apply, go directly to the VA website at Chapter 35 Education Benefit.

Department of Defense Tuition Assistance Program (DOD TA)

The Department of Defense (DoD) Tuition Assistance (TA) program provides financial assistance to service members for voluntary off-duty education programs in support of professional and personal self-development goals. TA is available for courses that are offered in the classroom or by distance learning and are part of an approved academic degree or certificate program. The courses must be offered by schools that are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and are signatories to the current DoD Voluntary Education Partnership Memorandum of Understanding (DOD MOU). To learn more about branch specific eligibility and how to apply, go directly to the DOD Tuition Assistance website at DOD TA Education Benefit.

Fry Scholarships

The Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship (Fry Scholarship) currently pays a benefit equal to the Post 9/11 GI Bill® (Click here for rates). Beneficiaries attending school may receive up to their full tuition and fees for a public school or a statutory annual maximum amount for a private school, plus a monthly living stipend and book allowance under this program. The benefit is available to the children and surviving spouses of service members who die in the line of duty after Sept. 10, 2001.For eligibility criteria and how to apply, go directly to the VA website at Fry Scholarship Education Benefit.

Wisconsin National Guard Tuition Grant

All Wisconsin National Guard enlisted members and warrant officers in good standing who do not possess a bachelor’s degree are eligible to receive the Wisconsin National Guard Tuition Grant. This benefit may be used toward 12 quarters of your college undergraduate education. For eligibility criteria and how to apply, go directly to the Wisconsin website at Wisconsin National Guard Education Benefit.

Wisconsin Veterans Education (VetEd) Reimbursement Grant

The Wisconsin Veterans Education Grant program may be available to you if you are a Wisconsin veteran who has not yet earned a bachelor’s degree. For eligibility criteria and how to apply, go directly to the Wisconsin website at Wisconsin Veterans Education Grant Education Benefit. NOTE: Students interested in Vet Ed will need to apply through their local county veterans service office.

Wisconsin Veteran Student Assistance Grant

​​​​​​The Wisconsin Veteran Student Assistance Grant is a State of Wisconsin veterans benefit available to qualified veterans, as well as certain spouses and children of qualified veterans, for use at a private nonprofit educational institution that is a member of the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (WAICU).  ​(Viterbo is a member of WAICU.) Dependent children of qualified veterans must be at least 17 but not yet 26 years of age in order to qualify. See website for other service, residency, and disability qualifications that must be met.

To apply students must:

  1. Review the Wisconsin Veteran Assistance Grant website and complete the WDVA 2059 (Request for Certification for Wisconsin Veteran Student Assistance Grant) form in the “How to Apply” section.
  2. Complete the “Student Section” on the Wisconsin’s Veteran’s Grant for Private Non-Profit Schools form, found on the Higher Higher Educational Aids Board (HEAB) webpage. The Form is then submitted to the Viterbo Financial Aid Office via email financialaid@viterbo.edu, via fax to (608)796-3859 or in person to Murphy Center/Room 218.


Viterbo will be notified of the student’s eligibility for the grant by the Wisconsin Higher Educational Aids Board.

Military Reduced Tuition Rate

The Military Reduced Tuition Rate is eligible for active duty, veteran, and eligible spouses who are enrolled in the following business degree completion programs at Viterbo University:

  • Accounting (Online)
  • Business Leadership (Online)
  • Health Care Management (Online)

All eligible students receive a reduced tuition rate of $420 per semester hour for these programs. To apply for the reduced rate, contact Kassea Hartman, Academic Advising, at kjhartman@viterbo.edu, or at 608-796-3396.

To be eligible for the Military Reduced Tuition Rate, one of the following documents must be presented upon enrollment to ensure awarding of the reduced rate.

Acceptable documents for veterans (disabled /non-disabled):

  • VA issued ID Card
  • DOD issued ID Card
  • VA certifying letter from the Veterans Administration. To obtain a copy, go the VA e-benefits page at VA e-benefits page
  • DD214

Acceptable documents for active duty:

  • DOD issued ID Card
  • Active duty orders

Acceptable Documents for active duty/veteran spouses:

  • DOD issued ID Card
  • Active duty orders with marriage certificate
  • VA certifying letter with marriage certificate


All students who are receiving the Montgomery GI Bill® must now verify their enrollments monthly to receive payments. This verification can be done by using the Web Automated Verification of Enrollment (WAVE) or by using an automated telephone system at 1-877-823-2378.

It is the student veteran's responsibility to report any changes in enrollment to the Certifying Official at Viterbo. Changes will then be reported to the VA. This may result in an overpayment/debt situation.

Students may not receive tuition specific scholarships or grants and veteran's tuition benefits at the same time (this includes ROTC funding); adjustments will be made by the Financial Aid Office. If you have received a scholarship that is meant to pay costs beyond tuition, you must submit documentation of such from the scholarship provider to the Financial Aid Office to be eligible to receive both the scholarship and veteran tuition benefit.

If you have questions regarding your specific entitlements, contact the St. Louis VA Regional Office at 1-888-442-4551 or go to www.benefits.va.gov/stlouis/.

The La Crosse County Veterans Service Office is also available for assistance—call 608-785-9719. The office is located in the County Courthouse, 204 Administrative Center, 400 N. 4th Street North, La Crosse, WI 54601.

If you are eligible for an entitlement that is not listed above, contact the School Certifying Official at 608-796-3900 or cdjennings@viterbo.edu.