Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the Cardinal Covenant Program? How are students selected to be a participant in the program?
In the fall of 2007, the University of Louisville initiated a special program called Cardinal Covenant in response to rising college costs and the challenge for students from low-income families to fund their education.
The University of Louisville’s Cardinal Covenant program is the first program of its kind in the state of Kentucky.
The goal of this program is to make college attainable for the 22.6% of Kentucky families living at or below 150% of the federal poverty level. Students are selected to be part of the Cardinal Covenant program based on information from the student’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), essay submission, and adherence to all required deadlines.
Direct Costs include tuition, room, board, and books. The Cardinal Covenant program makes a promise to incoming freshmen who meet the specific criteria to award enough gift assistance from federal, state, private, and institutional sources to cover these costs. Room, board, and books are estimated direct costs based on on-campus traditional university housing costs and an average cost for books.
The Cardinal Covenant program promises to meet the Direct Costs with need based and gift assistance. Each student enters the University of Louisville with a different level of assistance in the forms of outside scholarships, institutional scholarships, federal grants and state grants. Some students have enough need based and gift assistance from these other areas to cover their Direct Costs. However, other students do not. Those students who do not have enough need based and gift assistance to cover their Direct Costs are provided with a Cardinal Covenant award.
The Cardinal Covenant award amount can be adjusted throughout the year in response to changes in awards. Many awards such as KEES or outside scholarships are estimated, and until the Student Financial Aid Office receives the final award, the awarded Cardinal Covenant funds can be impacted.
Students are required to maintain a 2.0 cumulative GPA for the Cardinal Covenant funds to be renewed. Eligibility for these funds is based on the cumulative GPA reviewed at the end of the spring semester. Coursework completed in the subsequent summer semester will not be used in determining eligibility.
In addition, students are required to maintain a minimum grade point average to continue enrollment at the university. Students, who met or exceeded the minimum GPA required for their assigned academic unit, are considered to be in Good Standing. The first semester a student falls below the minimum GPA in their academic unit, he or she will be placed on Academic Warning. Students who continue to maintain a cumulative GPA below the requirements of an academic unit may be placed on Academic Probation or Academic Suspension. More information on Academic Standing is available online.
There are other reasons a student should strive to earn the best possible GPA.
One reason is the possibility of receiving funds in excess of the direct cost. The Cardinal Covenant program promises to cover the direct costs with assistance from federal, state, private, and institutional sources to cover these costs. However, some students who receive awards based on merit qualify for a total award greater than just the direct cost. Typically these merit based awards require a student to have earned a 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher.
A civic way of thinking about the importance of earning the best possible GPA is the idea if the Cardinals Covenant student population has a strong GPA, it allows the university to recruit a higher the number of Cardinal Covenant students in the future. In other words, if you do your part to keep your GPA as high as possible, other students who come from similar backgrounds can receive a chance to go to college. This allows the program to grow and assist more student every year.
The difference between a semester GPA and a cumulative GPA is that the semester GPA is only calculated for a specific semester (ex. fall 2012 semester) and the cumulative GPA is calculated for all semesters (ex. fall, spring and summer) a student is enrolled. The student grade report will include both the semester GPA and the cumulative GPA. More information on GPA is available online.
The Student Financial Aid Office understands that sometimes students are faced with extenuating circumstances that prohibit them from meeting the requirements for these awards. Therefore, an appeal process exists to allow students to explain any unique circumstances. The committee that monitors the appeal process for the Trustees, Porter and National Scholar awards also oversees the appeals for Cardinal Covenant students. Therefore, if you do meet the requirements for one of these scholarships and you are a Cardinal Covenant student, you may fill out one form to appeal for both instances. The appeal form is available on the Student Financial Aid website on or after May 1st. The form will provide you with instructions to complete your appeal. The deadline to file an appeal is June 1st every year.
Federal Work-Study (FWS) provides part-time jobs for students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. The program encourages community service work and work related to the recipient’s course of study. Based on national studies, students who have a Federal Work Study position have higher GPAs and graduation rates.
Most of the University of Louisville departments are considered valid departments to hire FWS students. Department job listings are located on the University of Louisville’s Career Center website.
Most students are awarded $4454 for the academic year at a rate of $8.25 per hour and are paid bi-weekly. This averages 15 hours per week.
When you find a job listing that interests you, please make arrangements to set up an interview with the person listed under the contact information. If you are having trouble locating a position, please stop by the University Career Center located in the Houchens Building room LL04 on the Belknap campus or contact the office at 502-852-6701. Please note that the University Career Center is currently under construction, but the office is open M-F 8:30am-5:00pm.
It is critical that all students monitor both their mail and university e-mail account for important communications from the offices that work with the Cardinal Covenant program. The Student Financial Aid Office encourages you to frequently view the Student Financial Aid website for additional information and financial aid news. All students receive the financial aid e-Newsletter from our office several times a year with important reminders, news, and guidance. The Student Financial Aid Office will primarily use your university e-mail account to communicate with you.
REACH (Resources for Academic Achievement) is the central unit at the University of Louisville responsible for academic support. The REACH staff’s primary goals are to help students improve their academic performance, to prepare students for college life and to improve persistence rates for undergraduate students.
The office tutors students in numerous undergraduate courses, offers peer mentoring and advice, provides seminars on study skills and student success, and much more. Here is a list of several academic resource centers around the Belknap campus:
Learning Resource Center
852-7516 or 852-8134
Strickler Hall West RM 107
Math Resource Center
Strickler Hall East RM 226
Virtual Math Center
Strickler Hall East RM 331
Computer Resource Center
Ekstrom Library First Floor
Strickler Hall RM 126
Academic Development Specialists
Strickler Hall RM 126
Student Success Seminars
Strickler Hall West RM 111
To find out more, visit or phone our Information Desk:
Strickler Hall 126 at 852-6706 or at the REACH website.