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 - 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
October 1 - Early Spring
Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) beginning October 1 of each year. Browse tips, FAQs and watch a step-by-step video on completing the FAFSA. Undocumented 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 - 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. Learn more about applying for scholarships.
4. Complete To-Do's
Between Admission- July 1
Starting in January, 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
Early March - August 1
In early March, the Office of Financial Aid begins sending financial aid offers. 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 as early as February. 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.