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Three-Year Scholars Programs | Frequently Asked Questions


Financial Aid

Can I use financial aid for summer study?
Yes. Students admitted to a three-year program can use their financial aid and merit awards to cover summer tuition and living expenses, provided you have met the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements, have submitted a Summer Aid Application, and are enrolled at least half time (6 credits). Merit awards are capped at tuition and do not cover living expenses. If you need additional financial aid to cover living expenses, you will need to complete the FAFSA when it becomes available on January 1).

Can I use my financial aid to pay for a fourth year if I want to earn a MA?
No. Financial aid packages are for undergraduate study only.

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Study Abroad

Is study abroad mandatory?
This will vary by program. Some three-year programs will require that you study abroad with the cohort. Others will require that you study abroad but you can do so on your own, without the rest of your cohort. Some programs will not require or even offer study abroad as an option. Check the website for your program of interest to see if study abroad is included in the curriculum.

What study abroad opportunities are available for three-year students?
The study abroad opportunities available for three-year students will vary by program. Some three-year programs will offer their own special abroad opportunities where students travel as a cohort. Other programs will allow for students to travel on their own to one of the locations offered by the AU Abroad program. Students will work closely with their faculty director and academic advisor to identify the study abroad experience that works best with their academic curriculum.

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Residential Life

Can I live in another dorm that is not part of the living-learning community?
No. Students in three-year bachelor programs will be required to live in a living-learning community for the first year of the program (unless they are studying abroad). After the first year, students are free to live wherever they choose, on or off campus.

Do I have to live on campus all three years?
No. Students are only required to live on campus for the first year and summer (if not traveling) of the program. Students interested in continuing the cohort living experience can form a Residential Community Cluster (RCC) , which will continue the link between the academic, social, and/or extracurricular elements of the university. See the RCC website for more information.

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Can I do a three-year program and still be part of the University Honor’s Program?
No. Three-Year programs and the Honors Program are two distinct ways to experience AU. Students may apply for both a Three-Year program and for the Honors Program; however, if admitted to both they will have to decide on one program only.

Can I do a three-year program and still be part of University College?
No. The University College program is an experience for students in the traditional four-year degree. However, the three-year program is similar to University College and includes a similar Living-Learning experience.

I intend to apply to American University and a three-year program Early Decision. If I am accepted into AU but not the three-year program is the Early Decision binding?
Yes. An Early Decision from American University is binding, regardless of whether or not you are also admitted into the three-year program.

I am already enrolled as a full-time AU student. Can I apply to be in a three-year program?
No. Students are selected for the three-year program at the time of admission and can only enter the program in the freshman year.

Can I apply AP or IB credits toward a three-year program?
Yes. AP or IB credits can be used to satisfy some AU requirements. Whether or not AP or IB credits can be used to satisfy some of the three-year program requirements will vary by program. Please check with your program’s faculty director or an academic advisor to find out what credits will count towards your program.

Can I do a double major with the three-year program?
Some three-year degree programs will be flexible enough to offer the opportunity to earn a double major. Students should work closely with their academic advisor to ensure that they can fulfill the degree requirements for a double major within the three-year period.

Can I do a MA degree with the three-year program?
Some three-year degree programs offer the option of earning a MA if you do a fourth year. Most likely this will be a degree in the same academic discipline. Students are free to apply to other graduate programs on campus, but it is not likely they will be able to finish those programs by the end of the fourth year, given their different credit requirements.

What if I decide I do not like the program? Can I transition to a traditional four-year degree program?
Yes. Students who decide that the three-year program is not for them can transition into a four-year degree program. The easiest transition will be into the same academic degree program. However, if a student would like to change majors they can move to a new degree program. The best time to do this will be before the start of the second year. Please understand that there may be financial aid implications. Also, students will need to work closely with their academic advisor to determine which of their already earned credits will count towards the new degree program.

What is the cost of a three-year program? Is it cheaper than a four-year degree?
The cost of attendance for a three-year degree program is similar to the cost of a four-year program, since students will be attending the same number of semesters (8 total). Please note that some programs may require additional costs, such as lab equipment or computers, which would add to the total cost of attendance. Check with your program of interest for specific details.

Can I apply for merit awards or scholarships as part of a three-year program?
Yes. Students in a three-year program will still have the opportunity to apply for merit awards and scholarships. Eligibility will vary for each award. Students should work closely with their faculty director and academic advisor to identify opportunities and discuss eligibility and applications.

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Interested in visiting AU and learning more about Three-Year Scholars Programs? Attend a Preview Day.