St. Olaf CollegeAcademic CatalogSt. Olaf College

Table of Contents
An Education for the 21st Century: Academic Life
Graduation Requirements and Curricular Advice
Academic Regulations and Procedures
International and Off-Campus Studies
Special Programs
Admissions and Financial Aid
» Admissions Procedures
» Financing Your Education
» Financial Aid Program
Life Outside the Classroom
Facts and Figures
College Calendar

Registrar's Office
Admin 224
1520 St. Olaf Avenue
Northfield, MN 55057



Please note: This is NOT the most current catalog.

Financial Aid Program

The financial aid program at St. Olaf College has one primary objective: to make it possible for qualified young men and women to obtain an education at St. Olaf. The college operates on the premise that all students admitted to St. Olaf and in good academic standing are worthy of financial assistance to attend St. Olaf if financial need is demonstrated.

The responsibility for financing a St. Olaf education rests first with the student and his or her family. All new students who wish to apply for financial aid must complete the College Scholarship Service (CSS) PROFILE and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Returning students must complete the FAFSA and the St. Olaf Application for Financial Aid. Using a standardized formula, these documents generate, on the basis of the family’s financial situation, the amount of the student’s annual educational expenses the family is expected to meet. That amount is the “expected family contribution.”

“Demonstrated need” is the difference between the annual educational expenses at St. Olaf College and the expected family contribution. Demonstrated need is the basis on which St. Olaf financial aid is awarded. The college will provide each student with a financial aid package of scholarship, grants, loans, and/or student work to meet 100 percent of the demonstrated need.


Only full-time students who are degree candidates at St. Olaf College in their first eight semesters are eligible for financial assistance from the college. Students enrolled for a ninth or tenth semester are not eligible for most grant programs and will have larger loan components in a fifth year of enrollment.

Financial aid is credited directly to the student’s comprehensive fee account. Financial aid is credited on an equal basis for the Fall Semester and the Spring Semester.

Students on academic probation may not be eligible to receive scholarship assistance from St. Olaf or federal or state financial aid during the probationary period.

Students must maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP) for all federal, state, and institutional financial aid programs. For more information on SAP policies at St. Olaf, contact the Office of Financial Aid.


The endowment at St. Olaf (which had a market value of over $200 million in 2004) consists of funds contributed to St. Olaf by alumni, parents, faculty, staff, corporations, foundations, and other friends of the college. The income from those contributions is applied to — among other programs — grants, scholarships, and faculty research and travel.

Thanks to the endowment and other annual financial support, every student attending St. Olaf — whether receiving financial aid or not — benefits from an indirect form of financial assistance. Endowment earnings and annual gifts help support the operating budget of the college and allow St. Olaf to keep tuition charges at roughly 75 percent of the actual cost.


St. Olaf scholarships are available to incoming first-year students, transfers, and returning students. Eligibility for a St. Olaf scholarship is based on demonstrated need, other financial aid, scholastic standing, activity record, test scores, recommendations, and full-time enrollment.

National Merit Scholarships: Applicants who have designated St. Olaf College as their first-choice college with the National Merit Scholarship Corporation are eligible for the St. Olaf National Merit Scholarship award. St. Olaf sponsors up to 40 Merit Scholarships each year for incoming students. The minimum annual award is $7,500.

Other Merit-Based Scholarships: St. Olaf also awards scholarships through programs such as the Buntrock Academic Scholarship and the Award for Service and Leadership. For information on how to apply for these programs, please contact the Office of Admission at (507) 646-3025 or (800) 800-3025, or e-mail to

Buntrock Academic Scholarships range from $2,000 to $9,000 per year. The awards are renewable for each of the recipient’s four years at St. Olaf.

Many schools that offer merit and talent scholarships prescribe strict criteria with respect to a high school G.P.A., test scores, class rank, etc. We have found that such prescriptions often discourage very successful students from competing. As such, we are inclined to respect the differences among high schools and not list a set of minimum criteria for scholarship candidates.

Eligibility for Buntrock awards is based primarily on academic performance in high school, and the selection is highly competitive. Past recipients have generally presented a high school G.P.A. of 3.6 or higher and are often in the top five percent of their high school graduating class. Evidence of participation in extracurricular activities in addition to academic performance is valued.

Recipients of Buntrock awards may be designated a Regents Scholar or a Presidential Scholar. Up to 70 students will be selected as finalists for the Regents award — our top academic scholarship — and are invited to campus for a series of programs and faculty interviews in March.

Candidates who are not selected to interview on campus will automatically be considered for a presidential or deans’ award and will be notified of the committee’s decision in mid-March.

In addition to completing a St. Olaf application for admission, candidates must complete and return the Buntrock academic scholarship application no later than February 1 of the senior year. Candidates who wish to be considered for the Buntrock Regent scholarship must apply under Early Action, completing their application no later than December 1 15 of the senior year. Only those candidates who also wish to be considered for need-based financial aid programs must file the CSS PROFILE form.

The St. Olaf Awards for Service and Leadership recognize the talents and abilities of those students who have given significant time and effort for the benefit of others. Students who have been involved in community service activities, either on a personal level or as part of a larger group, are encouraged to apply for this service award. Applicants for this award should have a complete St. Olaf Application for Admission and a St. Olaf Award for Service and Leadership application on file by February 1 15 of the senior year. We ask that you provide us with a recommendation from an individual who has supervised your activities in this area. In addition, applicants are encouraged to submit a résumé detailing their community service involvement, including types of activities and length of service.


The STEP Program: The St. Olaf Education Partnership (STEP) provides up to $1,000 per year per student as a match to scholarships given by Lutheran congregations to their members attending St. Olaf.

The Federal Pell Grant is a federally-based program with awards ranging from $400 to $4,050. The amount of the award is determined by the federal government.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG): FSEOG is a federally-funded program for students with financial need. The amount of the award — up to $4,000 per year — is determined by the Office of Financial Aid.

Minnesota State Grant is a program limited to students who are graduates of a Minnesota high school or whose parents currently reside in Minnesota. Awards, ranging to $7,861 $7,662 per year, are determined by the Minnesota Higher Education Services Office.

For state grant purposes, full-time is defined as at least 3.75 courses per semester or 2.75 courses each semester and an Interim course. Students who are enrolled in fewer hours during the school year will experience significant reductions in State Grant amounts.


Federal Perkins Loan Program: Long-term loans for students who demonstrate financial need are available through the federal Perkins loan program. The amounts vary, but cannot exceed $4,000 $3,500 per year.

No interest is charged nor is repayment required while the borrower is enrolled as at least a half-time student. Simple interest of five percent and repayment begin nine months after the borrower ceases to be enrolled or is enrolled less than half-time. Repayment must be completed within 10 years.

Federal Stafford Loans (Subsidized and Unsubsidized) Many families qualify for a subsidized federal Stafford loan, which can provide up to $2,625 per year for first-year students, $3,500 for second-year students and up to $5,500 for third- and fourth-year students.
Eligibility is based on demonstrated need. Factors such as the number of persons in the family and the number of children in college affect eligibility.

Federal Stafford Loans (Subsidized) and (Unsubsidized) can be secured from banks and savings and loan associations. Applications may be obtained from private lenders or from the St. Olaf financial aid office. A student may borrow up to $23,000 in Stafford loans as an undergraduate. Stafford loans are subject to a three percent origination fee and a one percent guarantee fee, although many lenders will pay the guarantee fee for the student borrowers.

For a subsidized Stafford loan, the federal government pays the interest during the in-school period. For an unsubsidized Stafford loan, the interest during the in-school period is at a rate equal to the 91-day T-bill rate plus 1.7% (4.7% 2.82% as of July 2005 2003), with a maximum of 8.25%.

During re-payment, the interest rate for both subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans is at a rate equal to the 91-day T-bill rate plus 2.3% (5.3% 3.42% as of July 2005 2003), again with a maximum of 8.25%. Repayment begins six months after a student ceases to be at least a half-time student and repayment is normally completed according to a 10-year amortization schedule. For those students who borrow about $4,000 or less, the minimum monthly payments of $50 will be required, but will result in a repayment period shorter than 10 years.

Student Educational Loan Fund (SELF): Student educational loans are available to St. Olaf students irrespective of need. The maximum SELF loan is $4,500 per year for first- and second-year students and $6,000 for third- and fourth-year students. These loans, made available by the Minnesota Higher Education Services Office (MHESO), carry a variable interest rate (generally 6-8 percent). Interest is charged and paid quarterly during “in-school” periods. Monthly “interest-only” payments are expected in the first year following the completion of a student’s schooling. Monthly payments toward interest and principal begin on the first anniversary of the completion of school.

Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS): Parent loan for undergraduate students (PLUS) is a program open to the parents of all St. Olaf students. PLUS funds can be secured from banks and from savings and loan associations. Applications are available from participating lenders. The PLUS program is guaranteed by the federal government and is insured against the death of the borrower.

Parents may borrow up to the cost of education minus financial aid received. The interest rate on PLUS is the lower of nine percent or refinanced variable interest rate of T-bill plus 3.1 percent. (The rate will be 6.1% was 4.22 percent in 2005-06 2003-04.) PLUS loans are subject to a four percent origination fee and guarantee fee. Repayment on PLUS loans begins within 60 days after receipt of loan proceeds and can be extended over 10 years.


More than one-half of the students at St. Olaf work on campus part-time.

Need-based, part-time work on campus traditionally has offered students the opportunity to help defray their college expenses and gain useful work experience. Recognizing that many people value the chance to contribute to their education, the college attempts to make student work opportunities available to every St. Olaf student who wishes to work. Priority will continue to be given, however, to those students who demonstrate financial need and receive student work as a component of their financial aid award.

Students are paid a wage of $7.15 per hour or more, depending on the job. The maximum yearly contract of about $2,300 for no more than 10 hours of work per week is not a guarantee a student will earn a specified amount through campus employment. Rather, it is a maximum amount a student has the potential to earn. Student work on campus usually includes assignments in the cafeteria, the library, residence halls and academic, athletic or administrative departments.

Specific work assignments are made by the student work coordinator in the Office of Financial Aid. New students are notified of their assignments when they arrive on campus.


Financial aid is awarded on an annual basis and may be renewed to eligible students upon application. The St. Olaf application must be submitted by April 15 each year. The FAFSA must be completed and forwarded to the processing center by April 15 each year. The amount of the renewal award will be based on demonstrated financial need. Renewal applications are considered in the same manner as new applications.

Students may obtain information and applications from the Office of Financial Aid.


Students falling below minimum academic standards set by St. Olaf College or a student placed on academic probation status for more than two semesters will not be eligible to receive federal financial aid unless documented and extenuating reasons for poor performance can be provided.

For more information and a detailed statement of policy, contact the St. Olaf Office of Financial Aid.


Families of students who do not qualify for financial aid on the basis of FAFSA applications might qualify for three alternate sources of assistance, detailed previously under Loans:

Student Education Loan Fund (SELF)
Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)
Unsubsidized Stafford Loans


More detailed information on all arrangements for financial aid can be obtained in the financial aid booklet distributed by the Office of Admissions, at the website of the Office of Financial Aid ( or by contacting the

Office of Financial Aid
1520 St. Olaf Avenue
St. Olaf College
Northfield, MN 55057-1098

(507) 646-3019.