The Pell Promise Scholarship

A New Scholarship for Pell Eligible Students

The affordability of college is an important conversation right now. Students and their families may be experiencing increased economic pressures, including rising costs of many essentials in life. At the core of Spalding’s mission is the charge to address the needs of the times, as well as create learning platforms that are more inclusive and equitable. To help reduce the expense of college, for families that need it, Spalding is introducing its Pell Promise Scholarship.

The Pell Promise Scholarship is a commitment from Spalding University to cover the gap in tuition for Jefferson County students who are eligible for the Federal Pell Grant. This program is for incoming students with a zero or negative SAI (Student Aid Index) starting in 2023-2024 academic year, and it will cover the remainder of tuition and fees after federal and state grants and institutional aid.

“The history of Spalding has been one of serving our community, Jefferson County, and the students here. Providing students with financial support is essential to our mission,” stated President Tori Murden McClure. “We think higher education should be accessible to students from all financial backgrounds. This new Pell Promise Scholarship can be the difference maker for a student to attend a 4-year college.”

Created in 1972, the Federal Pell Grant is the largest grant program offered to undergraduate students by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). Pell Grants vary in amount based on a student’s expected family contribution, cost of attendance, status as a full-time or part-time student and attendance for a full academic year or less. The pathway was established to help students with less financial means attend college. This grant often can make the difference between a student being able to afford college or not.


  • Be a high school graduate (2023 or later) and a resident of Jefferson County, Kentucky
  • Be admitted to Spalding University as a first-time, full-time undergraduate
  • File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and qualify for the Federal Pell Grant with a negative or zero SAI (Student Aid Index)
  • Maintain full-time enrollment

The award is renewable each year upon filing the FAFSA.

The Pell Promise scholarship, in combination with state and federal grants like Pell, will cover the cost of tuition and fees. Historically, over 40% of Spalding full-time undergraduates are Pell Grant eligible¹; so this scholarship has the potential to impact many incoming freshmen.

“While I am sure there are plenty of Universities that have inflated costs, most of us in higher education are fighting to keep tuition as low as possible. So, when an opportunity like the Pell Promise Scholarship becomes available, we take great joy in knowing the impact it will have. The families who need it most, will finally be able to afford a 4-year degree,” commented Dr. Melissa Chastain, Dean of Undergraduate Programs. “Think about the potential for financial change as a first-generation student becomes more employable. Think about the community that benefits when a passionate learner is ready to enter the workforce.”

Dr. Chastain said Spalding will continue to seek other means for students to lower their cost of education. Students may also be eligible to apply for other types of financial aid, including merit-based scholarships, need based scholarships and student loans. More than 98 percent of Spalding’s first-time, full-time undergraduate students receive some form of financial aid. Last year, Spalding University provided more than 5 million in institutional aid to its students.

Spalding has a history of creating financial opportunities for students. Very recently they created a transfer discount with nearby Jefferson Community & Technical College (JCTC), creating an opportunity for students to transfer their credits and earn a 4-year degree at a tuition rate close to that of public schools. Other need-based scholarships, like the Muhammad Ali scholarship with an award up to $8,000, go to undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need.

The new Pell Promise Scholarship continues Spalding’s commitment to provide education to a diverse community, creating opportunities for families of all income levels to access higher education. Despite the current zeitgeist that higher education is inflating prices, Spalding is seeking ways to lower it. The Pell Promise is an example of a university trying to meet students where they are.



  1. College Navigator Spalding. (n.d.). National Center for Education Statistics. Institute of Education Sciences, Retrieved Aug 26, 2022, from