Types of Aid

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Different Types of Aid

There are a number of different types of aid based on your personal scenario that make financing your education easy. Our financial aid team is here to help you maximize your aid eligibility.

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Grants & Need-Based Aid

Federal and state grants are available for students demonstrating financial need. To be eligible for any of the grants listed below you must file a FAFSA at www.studentaid.gov. Renewal of these grants from year to year is based on continued financial need.

Federal Pell Grants
Eligibility is based on financial need as determined by your FAFSA. Award amounts are based on financial need and course load. Students with prior bachelor’s or graduate degrees are not eligible for this grant.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)
These grants are available to a limited number of undergraduate students who demonstrate exceptional financial need and are who are also eligible for the Pell Grant. Priority consideration will be given to students who complete their FAFSA by July 1 each year. Students with prior bachelor’s or graduate degrees are not eligible for this grant.

Iowa Tuition Grant
The state of Iowa offers the Iowa Tuition Grant to students who are residents of Iowa, attend a private college in Iowa, and meet the estimated family contribution (EFC) requirements as demonstrated by their FAFSA. To be eligible for the Iowa Tuition Grant you must complete the FAFSA by July 1st. The award amount is determined each year by the Iowa College Student Aid Commission. In the event that available state funds are insufficient to pay the full amount of each approved grant, the Iowa College Student Aid Commission will administratively reduce the maximum award to an amount less than the statutory maximum.

Last Dollar Scholarship 
This is a non-need-based, state-funded grant program for Iowans who are attending a certificate or associate degree program associated with high-demand careers. The grant is intended to help cover remaining gaps after other federal and state grants/scholarships have been applied.  Award amounts differ based on other forms of financial aid you may already be receiving.  Because the list of eligible programs is based on job demand, it may change from year to year. Students whose programs are removed from the state of Iowa’s list will still be eligible for the Last-Dollar scholarship until they complete their credentials or leave school, as long as they otherwise continue to meet all other eligibility criteria. Learn more about the Last-Dollar Scholarship.

Who is eligible?

  • New high school graduates who enroll in a qualified program of study full-time for the fall immediately following high school graduation, apply for all other available state and federal grants and scholarships, and meet ongoing requirements.
  • Adult learners (age 20 and older) who enroll in a qualified program of study full-time or part-time, apply for all other available state and federal grants and scholarships, and meet ongoing requirements.

Private Loans

A college education is one of the best investments you can make, but borrowing money should still be done prudently. Wise borrowing of federal and private loans will enable you to pay the educational and living expenses necessary to accomplish your dream of becoming a college graduate. Visit the FASTChoice website for more information.

Federal and State Aid First
You should utilize your maximum federal and state financial aid eligibility before borrowing a private student loan. Private student loans should not be your primary source of funding. The terms and conditions of federal grant and loan programs may be more favorable than those of private student loans. Mercy College will not certify a private student loan on your behalf until you have filed a FAFSA and applied for federal and state financial aid.

Federal Student Loans

Stafford Loans

Eligibility for federal student loans is based on the results of your FAFSA. Loans may be subsidized or unsubsidized depending on a number of factors, including but not limited to your financial need and other components of your financial aid award. You must be enrolled at least half-time each semester to receive a Stafford Loan.

Stafford Loans have fixed interest rates. Repayment begins six months after you graduate or are no longer enrolled in college at least half-time.

Subsidized Stafford Loans will not accrue interest while you are enrolled in school at least half-time. Unsubsidized Stafford Loans will begin accruing interest at the time of disbursement. Both types of loans will be assessed an origination fee by the US Department of Education.

To apply for a Stafford Loan, you must first file a FAFSA. The Financial Aid Office will evaluate your eligibility for a loan. The amount you may borrow per academic year depends on your grade level and dependency status.

You will receive an award offer that you must sign and return. New borrowers must also complete Stafford Subsidized/Unsubsidized Entrance Counseling and a Master Promissory Note (MPN) at www.studentaid.gov before we will receive your loan

Federal Student Loans

Parent Plus Loans

PLUS loans are available to parents who have a dependent student enrolled in college at least half time. The loans are guaranteed by the federal government. Financial need is not a prerequisite for borrowing, but the parent must meet credit requirements. Repayment begins 60 days after the loan has been fully disbursed, but the borrower can request deferment while the student is enrolled at least half time. The student must file a FAFSA to determine dependency status. To apply, the parent (borrower) must submit a Parent PLUS Loan request and a Master Promissory Note (MPN) at www.studentaid.gov.

If federal loans are insufficient to meet your borrowing needs, you may wish to investigate the additional loan options in the Private Student Loan section on this page.

Graduate PLUS Loan

Federal Graduate PLUS loans are available only for students enrolled at least half-time in a graduate program. Students must first complete a FAFSA, and then complete the Graduate PLUS application and additional steps at www.studentaid.gov.

Cost of


Your total financial aid, including grants, loans, and all other aid you receive, cannot exceed your total cost of attendance. This financial aid budget includes the tuition and fees that you will pay Mercy, an average cost of books and supplies, as well as a modest amount for living expenses, housing, food, and transportation.

You can find the cost of attendance for an average student in your program by clicking the links below. Your actual cost of attendance will vary depending on the number of credits you enroll in. Please see our tuition and fee schedule for details. After your register for classes, approximately a month before each semester begins, you will receive a statement showing your official bill.

Your cost of attendance limits the amount of aid – including private student loans – that Mercy College will approve for your education. You can appeal if needed by completing the cost of attendance appeal.

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Mercy College of Health Sciences has been transforming students into healthcare professionals since 1899. Located in downtown Des Moines, Iowa, we offer master’s degreesbachelor’s degreesassociate degreescertificate programs, and continuing education courses.

Mercy College is the only private Catholic college in central Iowa and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), in addition to numerous programmatic accreditors.

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