Future First-Year Students

First St. Ambrose. Then the World.

We believe in providing an education beyond the classroom, empowering you to make a positive difference in the world.

Learn more about our community that cultivates curiosity, courage, and compassion. 


Student in Beehive

We are dedicated to keeping your college experience affordable and accessible. Rest assured we are staying on top of these changes and will continue to update our current and future students on what to expect.


High Quality Education


Academic Programs

By offering dozens of majors and minors, students can dive into their academic goals or discover their passion. Grow as an academic in our Honors Program. Challenge yourself in ways you never imagined in our Undergraduate Research Institute. Make a social and intellectual connection through service learning.

Explore your choices

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Next Stop: St. Ambrose

Schedule a Visit

Take the first step in your lifelong journey. Get a preview of the St. Ambrose University experience with a campus visit. Explore our current visit opportunities and register today. Be sure to also check out the main campus virtual tour!

Visit SAU

Net Price Calculator

This calculator helps estimate your out-of-pocket costs plus financial aid and scholarship figures for attending St. Ambrose University as first-year student.

Before you begin using one of the calculators below, it's helpful to have your parents' latest tax return (and your own if you have one); that will help you to complete the Financial Aid section of this calculator. The other sections - on scholarships and where you want to live - are self-explanatory.

First-Year Student Calculator

Two students meet with admissions counselor

Test-Optional Admissions

Future undergraduate students have the option to apply with or without test scores

Standardized test scores are not required for undergraduate admission to St. Ambrose University. Get started with two easy steps: complete a free online application and request your transcripts be sent to us.

Review our admissions requirements and Apply Now

Application Information

Requirements for Admission

First-Year Admission:

  • Apply for free using the SAU application or the Common App
  • Cumulative, unweighted grade point average of 2.5 or above (on a 4.0 unweighted scale) from an accredited high school
  • Provide your high school transcript (ask your school to send your academic transcripts to St. Ambrose University)
  • St. Ambrose University has a test-optional admissions process, but test scores may be required for admission to specific academic programs or for conditional admission
    • Send your test score(s) to St. Ambrose by using these codes, ACT: 1352, SAT: 6617
  • Applicants whose first language is not English must meet the English proficiency requirement for admission.

Conditional Admission:

  • Students with a 2.0 - 2.49 unweighted grade point average qualify to be reviewed for Conditional Admission
  • Select students will be granted conditional admission by submitting either a minimum 18 ACT or 960 SAT


    Submit a personal statement (directions and submissions form provided by admissions counselor) to be reviewed along with the last three semesters of coursework in high school

General Education Development (GED) Test or High School Equivalency Test (HiSET):
If you passed either the GED or HiSET, you meet our academic requirements. 

We're here to help.
If you have questions or concerns, our admissions counselors are always willing to talk with you one-on-one. Contact us at 563-333-6300 or admit@go-rutgers.com.


Deadline to Apply

Applications to St. Ambrose University are accepted throughout the year. Begin your application.

Certain programs have limited enrollment and as such have different deadlines:

  • Nursing
  • Social Work
  • Physical Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy


First-Year Tuition and Fees 2023-2024

Undergraduate Tuition for Full Time Status (12-18 credits): $17,659 per semester / $35,318 per year

Enrollment Fee: $350 on campus / $200 off campus
Commit to SAU by submitting a one-time enrollment fee.  The fee covers your housing (if applicable), orientation and matriculation fees.

Technology Fee: $280 per year
Software maintenance, upgrade network and lab equipment, enhance technological services.

Motor Vehicle Registration: Parking ranges from free to $130 per year.
Details about parking here.

Tuition, fees, housing and food are charged on a semester basis. These must be paid before students attend class, unless payment arrangements are made with Student Account Services office. This is not a complete list of fees. Lab, books, graduation, and other miscellaneous fees and expenses may apply for continuing students.

First-Year Housing and Food Costs 2023-2024

First-Year Student Housing Options

Bechtel Hall
$3,850 per semester / $7,700 per year

  • First year students, co-ed by floor
  • Offers double occupancy, suite-style living
  • Private bathroom and shower in each suite

Cosgrove Hall
$3,355 per semester / $6,710 per year

  • First year students, co-ed by floor
  • Offers double occupancy, suite-style living
  • Private bathroom and shower in each suite
  • Main cafeteria located on first floor

Davis Hall
$2,855 per semester / $5,710 per year

  • First year through upper level students, female only
  • Single bedrooms with options for double rooms
  • Lower level includes a study lounge with a big screen TV

North Hall
$3,850 per semester / $7,700 per year

  • First year through upper level students, co-ed by floor
  • Suite and apartment-style living with lounges on each floor
  • Academic themed housing option

Meal Plans
Each meal plan includes Buzz Bucks to spend during the semester on food court items and beverages, room service pizza or to buy a cafeteria meal for a guest. Meal plan change and appeal processes are available on the Housing Options and Meal Plans portal page.

7 meals per week + $225 Buzz Bucks
$1,900 per semester / $3,800 per year

12 meals per week + $275 Buzz Bucks
$2,410 per semester / $4,820 per year

19 meals per week + $200 Buzz Bucks
$2,670 per semester / $5,340 per year

Flex 160 meal plan + $100 Buzz Bucks
$2,500 per semester / $5,000 per year

Tuition Refund Insurance

St. Ambrose has partnered with Sallie Mae to offer an opt-in tuition insurance plan. Participation in the tuition insurance plan is optional and St. Ambrose University does not administer the program. The University's withdrawal and refund policies are applicable whether or not you enroll in the tuition insurance plan.

Each year thousands of college students are unable to complete classes for the semester due to unforeseen medical issues such as illness, accidents, concussions, or issues related to mental health.

Unfortunately, in many cases these families are unable to recoup all of their tuition dollars. At St. Ambrose, depending on the timing of the withdrawal, there may be circumstances where you may not be eligible to receive a full refund of your tuition and fees. We understand these types of situations can be a financial hardship for many families. Therefore, we are pleased to make available the Tuition Refund Insurance plan.

Tuition Refund Insurance can help refund your tuition, fees, and room/board charges - up to the policy limits - if you are unable to complete the semester due to a covered medical reason such as an illness, accident, or mental health issue (two-day hospital stay required for mental health-related issues). This insurance program complements and enhances our school's refund policy, and we believe families will benefit from this added protection.

Visit GradGuard for more information.

Scholarships and Grants


St. Ambrose offers excellent scholarships and grants, work-study and other financial aid options! Full-time students may be eligible based on your strong academic performance in college, your talent in fine arts or athletics or your demonstrated financial need as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The SAU school code for the FAFSA is 001889.

First-Year Scholarships and Institutional Aid 2024-2025

Merit-Based Scholarships

4.0 GPA: $24,000
3.75-3.99 GPA: $22,000
3.0-3.749 GPA: $20,000
2.5-2.99 GPA: $18,000
2.0-2.49 GPA: $14,000
If GPA is 2.0-2.49, additional documents and review required for admission.

Merit-Based Scholarships

4.o GPA: $17,000
3.75-3.99 GPA: $16,000
3.0-3.749 GPA: $15,000
2.5-2.99 GPA: $14,000
2.0-2.49 GPA: $13,000
If GPA is 2.0-2.49, additional documents and review required for admission.


Ambrose Advantage Full-Tuition Scholarship
Pell-eligible Iowa residents, learn more here

Fr. Welch Alumni Scholarship: $500 per year
Parent is a St. Ambrose graduate

Catholic Traditions Scholarship: $1,000 per year
Students with Catholic religious denomination or plans to graduate from Catholic high school 

Minority Scholarship: $500 per year
Ethnically diverse student

Athletic Scholarships: varies
Performance and ability

Fine Arts Scholarships: varies
Performance and ability in music, art and theatre

Faith Learning Justice Campus Ministry Scholarships: $2,000 per year
Recognition of involvement in church and community service and interest in strengthening faith and growing as a leader in campus ministry

Scholarships are determined by unweighted GPA, and are renewable for four years of undergraduate student. Increases in scholarship awards due to change in GPA will be reviewed until March 1.

State and Federal Grants, Work Study

Grants are money that you don't repay, and they can come from government or private sources. SAU receives all financial aid funds directly - including loans and grants - then applies them to your account: once in the fall term and once in the spring term. Grants can be used to cover your tuition, books, and housing costs. You must apply for grants each academic year. If you have any loan funds in excess of your costs, you may receive a refund. If you are a first-time borrower, there is a 30-day hold on your first disbursement. For all of these grants, you must complete the Free Application Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as it is available.

Iowa Tuition Grant
To be eligible for the Iowa Tuition Grant, you must be a resident of Iowa as defined by the State Board of Regents and currently enrolled or planning to enroll in an undergraduate degree program at an eligible Iowa college or university (SAU is eligible). Iowa College Aid administers need-based college financial aid for Iowans, such as the Iowa Tuition Grant.
Award: $7,500 maximum

Federal Pell Grant
Awarded to students of the highest need based on how much your family can contribute to your education. The U.S. Department of Education sets a threshold. Then, when you file your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), it computes where you land within that threshold and determines if you qualify for the grant and for how much.
Award: $6,895 maximum

Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
You must file a FAFSA to qualify for a Pell Grant. This grant is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to students who have submitted all required documents for review and in time for the review to be complete. If you are eligible for a Pell Grant or SEOG, the awards will appear on your financial aid award letter.
Award: $400 maximum

Federal Work Study
Must secure campus employment.
Award: $2,560

Federal Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant 
Provides aid to students intending to teach in a high-need field at a school that serves low-income families (as determined by the U.S. Department of Education or a state education agency). Review criteria and all details here.
Award: up to $4,000

Outside Scholarships

There are many opportunities to receive scholarships from outside sources, here are a few websites to begin researching your options:

Another tip: Next time you're on campus, check out the bulletin board outside Student Financial Services where we post more flyers and applications for outside scholarships.


Financing Your Education

Loans are one way to pay for your degree.

Financial institutions lend money to a person over a set period of time with the legal expectation that the recipient will repay the amount.

As part of learning about loans, read SAU's Financial Aid Policies and use the Net Price Calculator to see how loans affect your budget.

Loan Best Practices and Tips

Here are some important tips to follow when borrowing student loans:

  • As a student loan borrower, be aware of your rights and responsibilities.
  • Be a responsible borrower and only borrow what you need to cover your educational expenses. If you have borrowed more money than you need for the semester, you can always return it. There are no penalties for early repayment.
  • Know your allotted grace period for each loan. If you go below half-time status or withdraw from school, you will enter your grace period. If your grace period elapses and you are not enrolled, you will begin your repayment period.
  • Pay off accruing interest to avoid interest capitalization when entering repayment.
  • Avoid defaulting on your student loan. If you have trouble making monthly payments, contact your student loan provider or school for help and information.
  • If you have any loan funds in excess of your costs, you may receive a refund. If you are a first-time borrower, there is a 30-day hold on your first disbursement.
Federal Loans – For Students and Parents

Federal Student Loans

All students filing a FAFSA are eligible for federal loans.

The SAU Financial Aid Office determines which types of federal loans you are eligible for, and the loans will be listed on your official award letter.

Federal Direct Loans

These are federally guaranteed loans. There are two types of Direct Loans: subsidized and unsubsidized. Learn more about these loan types on the federal Student Aid website.

  • A subsidized loan is based on financial need; the government waives the interest accrual while the student is enrolled at least half-time. Repayment on a subsidized loan does not start until 6 months after the student drops below half-time enrollment, graduates, or withdraws.
  • An unsubsidized loan is not based on financial need, and there is no interest payment deferment.

Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loans

This loan is for parents who want to finance their student's remaining balance and expenses. This is a credit-based loan with a fixed interest rate (see the table below). Parents are responsible for the full payment or interest-only payments while their student is enrolled. The loan cannot exceed the cost of attendance that remains once all other institutional and federal aid has been applied.

Loan TypeBorrowerStarting July 1, '23-June 30, '24
Direct Subsidized Undergraduate fixed 5.5%
Direct Unsubsidized Graduate and Undergraduate fixed 5.5% (undergraduate); fixed 7.05% (graduate)
Direct PLUS Graduate or Parents fixed 8.05% 

*See the graduate student loan accordion for more information regarding federal loans available to graduate level students.

Federal loans have an origination fee, which is a one-time cost subtracted from the top of whatever amount they lend you to pay for administration and processing costs. The fees for 23- 24 are 1.057% for subsidized and unsubsidized Direct loans, and 4.228% for Parent PLUS and Graduate PLUS loans.

For information, visit the Federal Direct Loan website.

Quick Facts about the Federal Direct Loan Program

St. Ambrose University undergrad students who take out a federal direct loan* 67%
2020 Cohort default rate for SAU students with a federal direct loan(s)** 0.0%

2020 Cohort default rate national average***


*Borrowing data is for the 2022-2023 academic year. Graduate data available upon request.

**The federally calculated cohort default rate (CDR) measures how many federal student loan borrowers default within a specified period after entering repayment. For the 2020 CDR, students would have went into repayment between October 2019 and September 2022, and defaulted by September 2023.

*** The national cohort default rate has dropped to 0 percent, which reflects the pandemic pause on student loan repayment. This page is updated each year when the Official Cohort Default Rate is released in September.

Private Loans

Private alternative loans are designed to assist students who need additional funding to meet the gap between the cost of attendance and any financial aid they have already received for that year/term.

Private loans are not part of the federal education loan program. Any student with questions or considering a private loan to help cover costs should first speak with the Financial Aid Office.

If you are considering a private educational loan, be aware of the following:

  • As a private loan borrower, it is your responsibility to research which loan will be best for you. You should pay close attention to interest rates, fees, and repayment terms.
  • If a lender approves the loan amount you requested, the University might not approve that same amount. The amount of money you may borrow (your loan) will be determined by both the University and other aid you receive. The loan also must fit within your Cost of Attendance budget set by the University according to Department of Education guidelines.
  • Private/alternative loans are credit-based loans. This means that the company will run your credit history. If your credit does not pass, you may be required to have a co-signer in order to receive that loan. The majority of private educational loan lenders offer a choice of variable or fixed interest rates. Variable means that the rates will fluctuate with the market over the life of the loan. Fixed means your interest rate will stay the same over the life of the loan. This will greatly influence the total cost of the loan over the years of repayment. If you do require a co-signer, most lenders offer a co-signer release option. This means that once you are in repayment and can be approved for credit on your own, your cosigner will be removed from the loan through a refinance process.
  • Many private educational loans also have associated fees. These processing or origination fees are charged to you and taken off the top of your loan. For example, you borrow $1,000 and the loan you chose had a 5 percent origination fee, you would only receive $950 because $50 is deducted for the fee.
  • Once you apply, the Financial Aid office will be notified and we will certify your loan. In most cases, this is done electronically, but you can expect that processing will take several weeks to complete because of the credit underwriting that the lenders perform.

Compare Loans to Make an Informed Decision
This private loan comparison tool empowers you to take control of the process and make an informed decision in selecting the best private loan for your individual situation.

  • FASTChoice, powered by Great Lakes loan guarantor and processor, helps you choose the right loan by presenting you with loan details, including eligibility requirements, interest rates, loan limits and borrower benefits. FASTChoice provides comparison tools for a variety of private educational lenders previously utilized St. Ambrose students.

As required by state and federal law, the preferred lender list has the following disclosures:

  • In conjunction with lenders reviewed and used by our students, the SAU Financial Aid staff generated a list of lenders and compared those lenders' loan product details such as: fees, interest rates, rebates, etc. After evaluating those loan products, the staff generated a list of preferred lenders.
  • Evaluation and Selection Criteria: After compiling a comprehensive list, lenders were evaluated and selected based on interest rates, origination fees, cosigner options, out-of-state borrower options, efficiency of loans processing, customer service, loan limit criteria, non-degree seeking loans options, past due balance options, and repayment options/incentives.
  • Each lender on this preferred lender list is unaffiliated with the other.
  • A student is not required to borrow from a lender on this list and may apply for a private student loan with any lender. 

St. Ambrose University does not endorse any of the lenders included in the links above and cannot recommend specific lenders. Students may also choose to use a loan provider that does not appear in the list of lenders included at either of the links above.

Loan Forgiveness

You may be eligible for a portion or all of your student loan to be forgiven (not repaid) depending on your area of study, how your loan is financed, or where you work.

Information on this page is not exhaustive, so inquire with your loan provider or servicer.

Teacher Loan Forgiveness

If you plan to teach, you may qualify for a portion of your loan to be forgiven or completely paid (canceled). 

Loan type: Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans, Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

Working in certain public service jobs and making continuous payments on your Direct Loan may qualify the balance of your loan to be forgiven. Examples of public service include government jobs at any level, attorneys in certain fields, non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations, and other non-profit groups. AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, and VISTA also count.

Health Care Professionals Loan Repayment

Several programs offer loan repayment or forgiveness to those working in medical professions, usually in low-income or health professional shortage areas (HPSA).

Your Financial Aid Letter

I've received my financial aid letter, what are my Next Steps?
  1. You must read and understand the factors that may affect your financial aid. See the Award Terms and Regulations outlined below
  2. You must maintain satisfactory progress towards your degree. Changes in your enrollment will also affect your financial aid. Review the Satisfactory Progress Policy online.
  3. It is not necessary to formally "accept" your offer letter, we will assume you want the awards you have been given. However, if you would like to decline any or all of your awards, please contact Student Financial Services at sfs@go-rutgers.com or 563-333-5775.
  4. If there is a Federal Direct Subsidized or Unsubsidized Loan listed on your offer letter, be sure you follow through with the Direct Loan Process. Visit StudentAid.gov to complete your Master Promissory Note and Loan Entrance Counseling.
  5. If you have work study listed on your offer letter, you will need to contact Academic and Career Planning to apply for a position.
Award Terms and Regulations
  • Free Application For Federal Student Aid must be filed every year.
  • To be considered for Iowa Tuition Grant, the filing deadline is July 1.
  • The Financial Aid Office has the right to adjust your award at any time due to changes in your financial, academic, enrollment or housing status.
  • Awards offered from State and Federal programs are contingent upon legislative allocation of funds and maximum limits allowed.
  • You must report any assistance you receive from outside sources, including assistance from your employer, to the Financial Aid Office.

Institutional Aid
Students must be enrolled in at least 12 credit hours per semester to receive Institutional money (i.e. academic and athletic scholarships). Students must be enrolled in at least 6 credit hours per semester to be eligible for federal student loans. There is no institutional aid for summer sessions.

You are eligible for institutional financial aid for up to eight semesters, including semesters taken at other schools, before or after time spent at the university (i.e. if you transfer in as a junior, you will receive 4 semesters of institutional aid; or you attended St. Ambrose, left to attend another school, and then returned). This means that if you continue into a fifth year of classes you will not be eligible for any institutional funds you may have received previously. Institutional funds are those awarded by the university, not state, federal or outside-based scholarships or grants.

All financial aid awards, including loans, are disbursed in two disbursements. One for the Fall term and one for the Spring term. If you are a first-time borrower, there is a 30-day hold on your first disbursement. Once the loan funds have been applied to your account, if you have awards in excess of your costs, you may be due to receive a refund. Any other questions regarding your financial aid should be directed to the Financial Aid Office.

Work Study
If you are receiving assistance under the University Work Study Program, you must understand that the amount shown on your offer letter is the amount we expect you to earn during the course of the academic year if you work all of your allotted hours. Any additional earnings must be approved by your department supervisor and must be taken into consideration in your financial award package.

Endowed Scholarships
Part of the financial aid funds that St. Ambrose awards come from monies provided through the generous support of St. Ambrose University benefactors. Most endowed scholarships are meant to provide financial support for St. Ambrose University's academic and need-based awards. Due to this, in some cases, you may see a portion of your Academic Scholarship, for example, being replaced by a named endowed scholarship. The total dollar amount you receive between the two awards, however, will remain unchanged. Recipients are chosen based on the criteria established by the donor, which include, but are not limited to: major, class rank, GPA, performance in a fine art, or residency. You may be contacted by our Advancement Office to write a thank you letter to the donor.

What Happens if I Withdraw or Need to Drop a Class?
If you drop a class, it may affect the amount of aid you can receive. It is very important to visit with a financial aid counselor if you are planning on dropping a class.

If you are going to withdraw completely from all your classes, your financial aid awards will be prorated according to the amount of time you were actually enrolled. It is possible that you may end up owing the University for a portion of your expenses incurred.

More information regarding this policy is available in the University catalog.

Please contact your Financial Aid Counselor if you are considering dropping classes or withdrawing from the University.

What happens if I currently live On Campus and I move Off Campus?
St. Ambrose University has an Off Campus cap of $14,000 for Institutional funds. If you have more than $14,000 in Institutional funds, your scholarships or grants will be reduced to the $14,000 cap. Institutional funds include, but are not limited to: Academic Scholarships, University Grants, Athletic Grants or Scholarships, other performance type scholarships. This cap does not include Federal or State funds or loans. If you are considering moving Off Campus and have questions, please contact our office.

So, what's next?

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