While the cost of a Cairn University education is competitive with similar institutions, we realize you may need financial assistance to take this journey.  You are not alone. Over 85% of our full-time undergraduate students receive some form of financial assistance.

in scholarships & grants*

*Loans and additional aid sources available. Contact the Financial Aid Office to learn how you can maximize your aid package.

Types of Aid


Full-time freshmen and transfer students are offered merit scholarships based on high school and/or college academic records.

Eligible students may apply for various other University scholarships through the Financial Aid Office.

Merit Scholarships & Grants

Merit scholarships and grants of up to $15,000 per year are offered by the Admissions Office to entering first-time and transfer students based upon high school and/or college academic records. Students are notified of their eligibility for these scholarships prior to or at the time of admission. Scholarships are renewable for each subsequent year of full-time enrollment for students who meet academic standards for renewal.

Find out your estimated scholarship award with the Net Price Calculator.

Alumni Award

Awarded to new students who are children of alumni. This is a renewable award provided the student is enrolled as a full-time student.

Aid amount:

How to apply:
Contact your admissions counselor for more information.

Christian Worker Scholarship

Offered to dependent students whose parent is in full-time Christian ministry or independent student Christian Workers (pastor, church staff, missionary and employees of Christian schools or para-church organizations.)  This need-based award supplements other types of aid. Admitted students are considered if they or the parent are the family’s primary wage earner working full-time in Christian vocation.

Aid amount:
Up to $3,000/year base on unmet financial need

How to apply: 
Submit parent’s proof of full-time employment and salary on organization letterhead to the Financial Aid Office. Deadline: May 1

Church Matching Scholarship

Cairn University will match up to $1,000 given by a church in support of a student. This award is for the fall semester only.

Aid amount:
Up to $1,000/year

How to apply:
A church official must submit the Church Matching Scholarship Application with payment to the Financial Aid Office. Deadline: August 1

Honors Scholarship

Awarded to full-time students with an unweighted GPA of at least 3.5 and/or an SAT score of at least 1210 or an ACT score of at least 25. Scholarship is renewable provided the student remains a full-time undergraduate student in the Honors Program.

Aid amount:
Up to $2000/year

How to apply:
Submit an Honors Program application. Deadline: March 1 for scholarship priority.

International Student Award

Awarded to international students who demonstrate a financial need and have a minimum GPA of 2.0. Student must be designated as an F-1 international student by the Admissions Department and must maintain satisfactory academic progress to remain eligible for the award. Award is renewable provided the student remains in international student status, is a full-time undergraduate student, and meets the qualifying GPA.

Aid amount:
Up to $2,000/year

How to apply: 
Contact your admissions counselor for more information.

Music Scholarship

Awarded to students who successfully pass the School of Music audition and exhibit outstanding performance ability and potential

Aid amount:
Up to $6,000/year

How to apply:
Students must meet Cairn University’s School of Music entrance requirements and audition before May 1.

Phi Theta Kappa Scholarship

Offered to transfer students who are members of Phi Theta Kappa. Must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5.

Aid amount:

Up to $2,000/year

How to apply:
Contact your admissions counselor to learn how to provide confirmation of your Phi Theta Kappa membership.

Word of Life Bible Institute Alumni Scholarship

Offered to graduates of WOLBI who have completed at least one year at WOLBI with a minimum GPA of 2.0. Cumulative GPA of 2.50 is required for annual renewal of award.

Aid amount:
Up to $13,000/year

How to apply:
Students must submit an official WOLBI transcript to the Office of Admissions.

Additional Scholarships

There are many “outside scholarship” opportunities for prospective and current college students to apply for in order to supplement their institutional aid. Explore public scholarship search engines such as fastweb.com or collegeboard.com in order to find possible opportunities. Eligibility and requirements vary.

Federal and State Aid

Need-based financial aid programs are designed to meet a student’s demonstrated financial aid need. Cairn University participates in all federal and state need-based grants, loans, and work-study programs.

Federal Financial Aid

Please note, to be eligible you must:

  • be a US citizen or permanent resident
  • be enrolled in a degree or certificate program
  • file the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) each year
  • meet other federal aid requirements (see studentaid.gov)

Federal Pell Grant

Needy students taking at least 3 credits in an undergraduate degree program could be eligible for federal aid.

Aid amount:
$500 to $5,815 (2016-2017 academic year)

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

Need-based grant awarded to students demonstrating the greatest financial need that qualify for a Federal Pell Grant.

Aid amount:

Direct Stafford Loan

Direct Subsidized Loan is a loan for students with demonstrated financial need. The government pays the loan interest for the student while the student is in school and this the preferred loan of the two direct loans due to this subsidy.

Direct Unsubsidized Loan is a loan which is not based on a students’ financial need. Students pay the loan interest while enrolled or the student can elect to have it deferred and capitalized upon graduation.

Aid amount:
Annual borrowing limits range from $5,500-$12,500.

How to apply: 
Complete the Federal Student Loan entrance counseling and a Direct Loan Master Promissory Note at StudentLoans.gov.
FAFSA required prior to applying for a Stafford Loan.

Direct Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)

Parents of dependent undergraduate students may apply.

Aid amount:
Parents may borrow the difference of cost of attendance minus any financial aid received. 6.84% fixed interest rate (2015-16).

How to apply: 
Complete the Federal Student Loan entrance counseling and a Direct Loan Master Promissory Note at StudentLoans.gov.

Federal Work Study (FWS)

Available to students demonstrating financial need.

Aid amount:
Determined by need and limited by the amount of work hours available

State-Sponsored Financial Aid

PA State Grant (PHEAA)

Undergraduate students demonstrating financial need may be eligible for state aid. Applicants must be PA residents and enrolled at least half-time in a degree program.

Aid amount:
Up to $4,000/year

How to apply: 
Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and additional forms required by PHEAA

State Grants

State grants from DE, OH, MA, RI, VT, and WV may be reciprocal to PA colleges. Students must demonstrate financial need and meet the individual grant program requirements.

Aid amount:
Awards vary

How to apply: 
Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and State edition of grant application (if required).

Veterans Benefits
Yellow Ribbon VA Benefit Program

Cairn University is committed to helping veterans secure the GI Bill funds they are eligible for under any of the following VA chapters:

Yellow Ribbon Program

The Yellow Ribbon Program (YRP) was established by the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008. This program provides supplemental education funding to veterans by matching contributions made by participating colleges and universities.  Learn more at http://www.benefits.va.gov/GIBILL/yellow_ribbon.asp

Cairn University will provide up to $8,000 per academic year for up to fifteen undergraduate students per academic year who are selected to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program.

The YRP benefit will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis in order of the receipt of the application for admission to the University for those veterans who are selected for admission.

Cairn will pay half of the difference between the VA’s base benefit and Cairn’s tuition, and the VA will match our contribution so that in most cases tuition will be fully covered.

Effective August 1, 2016, the Post-9/11 GI Bill will pay up to $21,970.46 per academic year for a full-time student in a private school in Pennsylvania.

The procedures for applying for Yellow Ribbon Program benefits are as follows:

  1. Student applies for VA Education Benefits (VANOPP) – gibill.va.gov
  2. Student receives written notification from VA regarding eligibility for Post-9/11 benefits. The Certificate of Eligibility will advise the student if his/her service meets the requirements for the Yellow Ribbon Program.
    1. Only individuals who are entitled to the maximum benefit rate based on service requirements (qualified at the 100% rate) are eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program.
      1. To be eligible for 100% of the benefit, an individual must have served an aggregate of 36 months of active duty service after September 10, 2001,
      2. or have been honorably discharged for a service-connected disability and served 30 days of continuous service after September 10, 2001.
      3. Active-duty service time required by graduates of a Service Academy or ROTC does NOT count toward the three years necessary to qualify for full benefits.
    2. Veterans must have an honorable discharge or other qualifying discharge to be eligible.
    3. Dependents may be eligible for Transfer of Entitlement under the Post-9/11 GI Bill based on an individual’s service under the eligibility criteria above.

Download the Yellow Ribbon Program application.


Leadership Scholarships are awarded to students who have demonstrated leadership skills through their involvement with Cairn’s partner organizations. These awards are based on levels of involvement or achievement within the programs.

Awana Club

Students who have been involved with Awana in high school qualify for the Awana Club Scholarship. This scholarship is renewable for five years provided the student is enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student.

Aid amount:
Amount is based on defined achievement levels: Citation = $1,500 per year; Meritorious = $1,000 per year.

How to apply:
Submit a letter or citation from Awana to show your level of involvement to the Office of Admissions.

The Veritas Scholarship

Awarded to a graduate of Veritas Press Scholars Academy with a standard, honors, or highest honors diploma. Student must have a SAT combined score of a new SAT score of 1410/1420 (old SAT score of 1350/2020) or ACT score of 30. The student must also have a demonstrated record of leadership. Scholarship is renewable for four years of undergraduate study provided the student is enrolled full-time and maintains a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0.

Aid amount:
Up to $17,500/year

How to apply:
Applicants should apply to Cairn University at cairn.edu/admissions/undergrad/apply. In your Admissions Essay, state that you are applying for the Veritas Scholarship. Deadline: March 1.

Young Life

Students who have been involved with Young Life in high school qualify for the Young Life Scholarship. Scholarship is renewable for four years of undergraduate study provided the student is enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student and demonstrates ongoing involvement with Young Life.

Aid amount:
Up to $1,000/year

How to apply:
Provide a written recommendation from a local Young Life staff member or volunteer explaining your involvement and send it to Cairn University’s Office of Admissions. Deadline: March 1.

Tuition & Costs

Full-Time Undergraduate & First Year Program Costs
Semester Academic Year
2016-2017 Tuition  $12,473 $24,946
Activity Fee  $150 $300
Housing (all residence halls)  $2,509 $5,017
Meals (unlimited access plan)  $2,283 $4,566
Total Tuition & Fees  $17,415 $34,830
Average Aid Award  ($7,780) ($15,560)
Overload (over 18 credits) fee per credit  $693/credit

Part-Time Student Costs

 1-7 credits per semester $740/credit
8-11 credits per semester $1,024/credit
Audit fee $233/course

2016 Summer Session Costs

Tuition $220/credit
Room fee per week $115
Meal plan for 5 day week $115
Students are responsible for the cost of textbooks, supplies, transportation, personal expenses, and any additional program or course-specific fees (applied music lessons, instrument or supply rental, laboratory, etc.) in addition to the costs listed above.

Net Price Calculator

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