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 total Direct Cost at the University of Louisville for the 2012-2013 academic year is $18,456 for full-time students. 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.
Here is an example to help illustrate this process:
Lisa is a Cardinal Covenant student from Oldham County and is receiving quite a bit of gift assistance. Her award package includes:
KEES - $700
Porter Scholarship - $9,466
Pell Grant - $5,550
Cap Grant - $1,900
Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant - $400
Oldham County High School Scholarship - $1000
Dustin is also a Cardinal Covenant student from Louisville. He is not receiving as much gift assistance. His award package includes:
KEES - $1,400
Pell Grant - $5,550
Cap Grant - $1,900
Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant - $400
Scholarship from Papa John’s - $1,000
Lisa’s gift assistance is over the Direct Cost amount of $18,456 with the need based and gift assistance that she is initially receiving. Dustin’s need based and gift assistance does not reach the amount of $18,456. Therefore, due to our promise to cover students who are eligible participants in the Cardinal Covenant Program, he needs some additional financial assistance to meet the Direct Costs. Dustin will be offered a Cardinal Covenant award in the amount of $8,206. This brings his total need based and gift assistance to $18,456.
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.
For instance, if we use the example from question 3, let’s assume that Lisa reported and thought she would be receiving a $1000 scholarship from Oldham County High School. However, when the check was posted it was only for $250. This would make her total amount from the need based and gift assistance equal $18,266. Due to the change of the outside award the Student Financial Aid Office would add a Cardinal Covenant award to her account for $190so that her new total would equal $18,456 or the amount of the Direct Cost.
The reverse might happen to Dustin if he were to learn of a new award. In Dustin’s example he was awarded $8,206 in Cardinal Covenant funds to bring him to the Direct Cost total of $18,456. If Dustin were to receive an additional outside scholarship for $2,000, the Student Financial Aid Office would reduce the Cardinal Covenant award from $8,206 to $6,206. The Cardinal Covenant funds would be reduced so that the total award does not exceed $18,456. The Student Financial Aid Office does a daily review of awards for Cardinal Covenant students to ensure that this policy is applied fairly.
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 $3,914 for the academic year at a rate of $7.25 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.
If you are interested in tutoring elementary age students, please contact Mrs. Kimberly Shaver at 852-3436 in the Service Learning Department located in the Student Activities Center (SAC) about the America Reads Program.
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.
The University of Louisville is very proud to have initiated this program. As a member of the Cardinal Covenant program we know that there are many questions or suggestions that you may have to improve the explanation of the program. We want your feedback.
The following individuals are key UofL staff members who are developing policies, as well as attempting to develop text, with regards to the Cardinal Covenant program. If you feel that there is a question that has not been answered, send an e-mail to or come see one of the following individuals and we will try to address this concern for the whole program:
Associate Director of Financial Aid
Academic Development Specialist
Financial Aid Advisor
Executive Director of REACH