Financial aid is complex. Here are the high-level pieces to the puzzle.

Application Process

Ideally 8-10 months before you the first day of classes you wish to receive aid for.

  • The first step in applying for financial aid is to submit the FAFSA each academic year (get more info on how to apply). The FAFSA helps us determine your eligibility for grants, loans, work-study and need-based scholarships. The FAFSA opens Oct. 1 each year. We strongly recommend you complete the application by Feb. 15 in order to be considered for all types of aid. After Feb. 15, we might start running out of funding such as grants and work-study.
  • Learn more about the types of aid you may be eligible for.
  • View aid specifics for you. Certain people & programs have unique aid eligibility and/or requirements.
  • Between the time you apply for financial aid and the time you start classes at CU Boulder, you may be asked to provide additional documentation to determine your financial aid eligibility. This process is called verification. It's important you complete this process because we cannot give you aid without it.

Estimated Cost & Financial Aid

As early as mid-January, but depends on when you completed the FAFSA application.

Receiving Your Aid

Ideally between 1-7 months before the start of classes.

  • Once you have received your financial aid award, you will also get an "award guide" outline and resources for understanding your award.
  • As long as you have completed all to-do items from our office, your aid will be applied to your university bill 7-10 days before the first day of classes. Aid will pay toward tuition, fees, and on-campus room and board charges only unless you choose to Authorize Aid (highly recommended). Any remaining aid will be refunded by the Bursar's Office.
  • In order to keep your aid, it's important to understand the financial aid policies.

Who Receives Aid

Everyone who completes the FAFSA (and any additional information requests) will be offered the federal financial aid they are eligible for. At CU Boulder, our awarding policy for university funding gives priority to the neediest students, as determined by the FAFSA.