Prospective first-year students should apply for financial aid as soon as possible to be considered for the most opportunities. Read through our checklist to make sure you don't miss any steps!

1. Apply for Admission

 August to Mid-January 

The first step is to apply for admission to CU Boulder. You don't have to wait to be admitted to apply for financial aid, but we will only look at your application once you've completed this step.

2. Apply for Financial Aid

 January to Early Spring

​​​​​Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as it's available each year. Browse tips, FAQs and watch a step-by-step video on completing the FAFSA. Undocumented Colorado resident students are asked to complete the ASSET financial aid application instead of the FAFSA.

 What Happens After the FAFSA? Watch a video about how your FAFSA gets processed.

3. Apply for Scholarships

 November 1 to Mid-March

We recommend students complete the CU Boulder Scholarship Application, which opens November 1 every year for the upcoming school year. Each student is also automatically considered for some scholarships upon admission to CU Boulder. We encourage students to apply for financial aid by March 1 to be considered for all scholarship opportunities. Learn more about applying for scholarships.

4. Complete To-Do's

 After Admission to July 1

Starting in late March, the Office of Financial Aid will email students if more information is required to complete their financial aid application. Students will receive an email with a list of information requested, including how to submit it.

Complete this information as soon as possible. Outstanding requests will hold up your aid offer until completed.

5. Review & Accept Aid

Late April to August 1

In late April, the Office of Financial Aid begins sending financial aid offers and estimates. If you’re offered a loan, you will need to accept it in order to receive it; all other types of aid are automatically accepted for you. Some students may receive an estimate of their financial aid in late March. This is intended to help families plan for paying for college.

6. Final Steps Before First Day of Classes

Complete any final "To-Do" items in Buff Portal and review the pre-college checklist. Getting these tasks done before coming to Boulder will help you focus on moving, buying books and finding your classes. 

Students who have a complete aid application and no outstanding requests from our office will have their financial aid applied to their university bill the Monday before the first day of classes.