Below are common financial aid questions. We have additional FAQs for PLUS loans and the CU Promise.

We're here to help. If you don't find the answer to your question, contact us.

General Financial Aid FAQs

What is Financial Aid?

There is a common myth that financial aid is just grants, the money that doesn’t have to be paid back. But, financial aid is really everything we include in a financial aid award offer such as grants, scholarships, work-study, federal student loans, and federal parent loans. 

How do I apply for Financial Aid?

You have to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to find out if you are eligible for any of these types of aid. Many scholarships also require it. Remember: it has to be completed every year.

What is the deadline to apply for financial aid?

You should have your FAFSA completed by February 15 of every year. We process financial aid applications year-round, but funding for work-study and university grants are limited and distributed on a first-completed, first-served basis. So, it’s important to apply early and submit any requested documents as soon as possible.

Additionally, some CU Boulder scholarships require your FAFSA be completed by February 15.

Why do my parents have to turn in tax documents?

We are required by law to check the accuracy of income reported on the FAFSA. We also have to verify that federal income tax returns were actually filed with the IRS, which is why we cannot accept 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ forms. We encourage parents to file taxes as soon as possible to ensure your students will receive financial aid (including loans) in a timely manner.

How do I know if I've done everything I need to do?

To make sure your financial aid application is complete, check your financial aid status in MyCUInfo. If we need further information from you, it will be listed as a ‘To Do’ item when you log in. You should also continue to check your campus email for correspondence from our office. We will email you if you have any missing information or further action to take to complete your aid application. If you have submitted all requested information and accepted your aid, financial aid will apply directly to your bill 10 days prior to the first day of classes.

How do I apply for scholarships?

The first place you want to look is right here at CU Boulder's Scholarship Services. We have automatic scholarships, scholarship search tools, information about private scholarships, and tips on how to apply.

How do I apply for student loans?

First, you have to complete the FAFSA. Once you’ve been offered a loan, you will need to accept it in your student portal, complete a loan agreement (also known as Master Promissory Note), and complete Entrance Counseling. We will remind you of these requirements once you have accepted your first loan.  You will only need to do the Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling once, which makes applying for student loans pretty easy.

TIP: Keep track of your loans, only borrow what you need, make a plan for how you will repay these loans when you graduate, visit the Office of Financial Aid for one-on-one help.

What if I only want loans?

Federal loans are part of financial aid, so you will still need to use the FAFSA to apply for loans. For more information about these loans, visit Types of Aid on our website.

What are the eligibility requirements for a First Generation Grant?

The First Generation Grant is available to Colorado residents whose parents do not have college, occupational, or technical training beyond high school.  No additional application is required, but you must submit your FAFSA and demonstrate financial need.

I don’t have enough financial aid to pay the bill, are there other options?

We have compiled some options for paying for college. Applying for scholarships is always a good way to reduce your tuition bill, but if you start applying when the bill is due it might be too late. Loans or payment plans available from the Bursar's Office are typically the best options to help pay the bill.

How do I pay my bill using my financial aid?

First, we encourage you to authorize your financial aid to cover all your university charges. Then, you’ll need to set up direct deposit. Financial aid is applied to your bill 10 days before the start of classes in fall and spring, and 7 days before the start of summer classes as long as all necessary steps are completed (for example, loan agreements/Master Promissory Notes for loans). If anything is left over we send you a refund via direct deposit.

TIP: When calculating how much aid will be applied to the bill, exclude work-study. It is paid through our payroll system as the student begins working. Learn more about your aid and the bill.

What happens to my financial aid if I need to withdraw from school?

We understand there may sometimes be a need to withdraw either from one class or from all of them. We strongly encourage you to read our withdrawal policy before you withdraw or meet with a counselor to make sure you are informed before you make any decisions that could impact your financial aid. 

How do I repay my loans?

Repayment on most federal student loans begins when you leave college or drop below half-time enrollment. Repayment on PLUS loans, however, begins when the loan is fully disbursed. To reduce the overall amount that you will pay on your loans, we encourage you to make monthly interest payments on your loans before your repayment begins.

All federal student loans have a loan servicer that handles billing and other services. You can find your federal loan servicer information by visiting nslds.ed.gov. Once you have identified your servicer, visit their website to make a loan payment. For private loans, contact your lender for details about repayment. For information on federal loan repayment and repayment plans, visit https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans.

What is my Student Identification Number (SID)?

A Student Identification Number (SID) is a series of nine numbers that identifies you as a CU Boulder student. You can view your SID in the student portal. If you are a prospective student who has not yet been admitted, your SID will be listed in your estimated financial aid letter and missing information emails sent by our office.