The first step in applying for financial aid is to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each academic year. The FAFSA determines your eligibility for grants, loans, work-study, and need-based scholarships. For full financial aid consideration your FAFSA must be on file in our office by February 15. Get details about the financial aid process.

Graduate students are primarily offered student loans, but there may be additional funding available through specific graduate departments.

Financial Aid & Your Enrollment

For financial aid purposes, full time enrollment for graduate and professional students is 9 or more credit hours. Half time enrollment is 4 to 8 credit hours. Students must be enrolled at least half time to qualify for loans.

The following links will provide you with more details about the financial aid process.

Here is some useful information to help you apply for financial aid for the first time at the University of Colorado Boulder.

  • As early as mid-February, we will email financial aid award offers to new students.
  • Grants, scholarships, and work-study are automatically accepted for you. Loans must be accepted in Buff Portal (once you have access).
  • Federal Graduate PLUS loans require an application and credit check to be completed on
  • Federal Direct Loans and Federal Graduate PLUS loans require a Loan Agreement (also referred to as Master Promissory Note or MPN) and entrance counseling to be completed, but typically this only has to be signed the first time a loan is borrowed.