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At CU Denver, we have a longstanding belief that finances should never stand in the way of motivated, talented individuals who want to better themselves and make a positive impact on the world around them. Through a tradition of providing strong financial assistance through aid and scholarship programs, we enforce this belief every day.
The Financial Aid & Scholarships Office delivers more than $128 million in financial aid awards to qualified students at the Denver Campus each year. Students will be considered for a financial aid award package of need-based grants (federal, state, and institutional), work-study (part-time employment), Federal Direct Student Loans and, if applicable, Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loans. Financial aid applications submitted late in the awarding process may only be considered for the Federal Pell Grant and Federal Direct Student and Parent Loans.
All applicants must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at https://fafsa.ed.gov/ and any additional items required by the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office before financial aid eligibility can be determined. Required items are listed in initiated status on the UCD Access Portal at www.ucdenver.edu/ucdaccess under the student’s “to do list”.
Limited Funds- Some financial aid funds are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to eligible students who document significant financial need until all of those funds are exhausted for the academic year. These limited funds do not include the Federal Pell Grant or Federal Direct Student or Parent PLUS Loans. The FAFSA application is available October 1 of each year and students are encouraged to apply as close to this date as possible for consideration of the limited funds. Students must complete a new FAFSA every year to be considered for financial aid for the upcoming academic year.
It is the student’s responsibility to make sure their financial aid application is complete. Students are encouraged to check their UCD Access Portal and their assigned University email account regularly for important updates and additional information required by the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office. Students are also encouraged to contact the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office with questions. Students may also obtain important information on-line at www.ucdenver.edu/finaid. All financial aid policies and procedures are subject to change due to revisions in federal and state laws, regulations, guidelines and applicable institution policies.
Students are informed by email notification through their University assigned email account when their financial aid award package is available. The email notice advises students to review their award on the UCD Access Portal. Financial aid awards should be available for review approximately four to six weeks after all application materials have been received, reviewed and determined complete, and then processed by the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office. The information provided will include the types of awards, the amount of aid awarded for the academic year, and the minimum number of credit hours required for each term of aid eligibility. All Federal Direct Student and Parent PLUS Loans will need to be accepted on the UCD Access Portal. Students who have not borrowed a Federal Direct Stafford Student Loan since July 1, 2010 must complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) and an Entrance Loan Counseling at https://studentloans.gov and all Parent PLUS Loan borrowers will need to complete a MPN and Loan Request at https://studentloans.gov. Please note that Parent PLUS Loan borrowers must be credit approved to receive this loan.
Financial Aid Eligibility
Each student must meet the following eligibility criteria to qualify for financial aid:
- Be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen.
- Have a valid social security number (exceptions for students from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau).
- Be classified as degree-seeking in an eligible degree or certificate program.
- Be enrolled at least half-time which is a minimum of 6 credit hours to be eligible for most types of financial aid including the Direct Student Loan Programs.
- Meet federal student aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards at the end of each term.
- Not be in default on any student loan or owe a refund on any educational grant.
- Male applicants must be registered with the Selective Service.
- Must show proof of a high school diploma or recognized equivalent (GED or approved homeschooling).
- Sign a statement on the FAFSA indicating that you will use federal student aid for educational purposes only.
Note: Students with intellectual disabilities who do not meet the eligibility requirements as outlined above may be able to obtain certain types of aid. To be eligible, you must be accepted for enrollment in a comprehensive transition and postsecondary program. For more information, go to StudentAid.gov/eligibility and select Students With Intellectual Disabilities.
Grants, Loans and Work-Study
- Federal Pell Grant- This is a need-based, federally funded grant program. Eligibility for the Federal Pell Grant is determined before any other aid is awarded. Pell Grant Awards are awarded based off a strict need-based formula provided by the federal government and award amounts vary depending on the amount of financial need and the student’s enrollment status. Only undergraduate students seeking a first time bachelor’s degree are eligible.
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)- This is a need-based, federally funded grant program awarded to students with exceptional need. Students must be eligible for the Federal Pell Grant to be considered for SEOG. Because the SEOG Grant has limited funding, it is awarded to the highest need students, and is not guaranteed to be awarded to all eligible students.
- Federal Teach Grant- This is a non-need based, federally funded grant program available to students in specific programs who intend to teach in a public or private school that serves students from low-income families. Students can be considered for up to $4000 per academic year, if eligible. More information can be found at https://teach-ats.ed.gov.
- CU Denver University Need Grant- This is a need-based, institutionally funded grant program. It is awarded to students who document financial need through the FAFSA. It is a limited fund award and awarded to students on a first come, first served basis.
- Colorado Student Grant- This is a need-based, state funded grant program available to eligible resident undergraduate students. It is awarded to students who document financial need through FAFSA. This is a limited fund award and awarded on a first come, first served basis.
- Federal Direct Stafford Loan (2 types)-
- The Federal Direct Subsidized Loan is a need based, federally funded loan program. Interest on the subsidized loan is paid by the federal government as long as the student remains enrolled at least half-time and during the six-month grace period after graduation or discontinuing the program of study.
- The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan is a non-need based, federally funded loan program, but a valid FAFSA application is required for a student to receive this loan. Interest is not paid by the federal government for the unsubsidized loan program, and the student may elect to pay the interest immediately or allow the interest to capitalize on the total principal loan amount. The student receives a six-month grace period before entering repayment. The grace period begins six-months after the student ceases to be enrolled at least half-time, discontinues their program of study or graduates.
- Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan- The Parent PLUS Loan is a non-need based, federally funded loan program, available to the parents of dependent students. Dependency status is determined by the FAFSA application. The Parent PLUS loan is credit based and begins to accrue interest from the date of disbursement. Please note that if a parent cannot secure a PLUS Loan due to credit, the undergraduate student may qualify for additional Unsubsidized Loan and should contact the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office in regards to this. Repayment on the PLUS loan begins almost immediately after disbursement but a parent may make arrangements to have repayment deferred while the student is enrolled at least half-time. The interest on this loan, even while in deferment, will continue to capitalize on the principle amount.
- Federal Perkins Loan- This is a need-based, federally funded loan program. The Perkins loan has a 5% fixed interest rate. No repayment of interest or principal is due until nine months after the student ceases to be enrolled at least half-time or graduates.
- Federal Work-Study- This is a need-based, federally funded program that allows students to work on a part-time basis in a work-study approved job (on campus, off campus or at nonprofit agencies) to help meet their educational costs.
- Colorado Work-Study- This is a state funded program similar to the Federal Work-Study program but limited to resident undergraduate students pursuing their first Bachelor’s degree. Limited amounts of Colorado Work-Study funds are available to students regardless of financial need.
Financial Aid eligibility is largely based on the concept of financial need. Financial need is calculated as Cost of Attendance (tuition, fees, books, and living expenses) minus the Expected Family Contribution or EFC (student/spouse contribution and parents’ contribution for dependent students). A student’s EFC is assigned directly from the information provided on the FAFSA application.
The Cost of Attendance, or COA, is the estimated annual cost to attend CU Denver, including tuition and fees, room, board, books and supplies, transportation and personal expenses. The Financial Aid & Scholarships Office determines standard COA based upon average tuition and fees charged and other budget items established by the Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE). Current COA figures are available on our website at www.ucdenver.edu/finaid.
The EFC from the student/spouse and from the parents (if applicable) are calculated by a standardized formula that is determined by the FAFSA data and is required by federal law. The formula considers income, savings and other assets, family size, number of children in postsecondary school and other factors and then assigns a student an EFC.
Financial Aid is intended to supplement and not replace financial contributions from the student and parents. If the EFC is equal to or greater than the COA, then the student will not qualify for need-based financial aid, but can still receive non-need based financial aid such as Direct Unsubsidized Loans or Direct Parent PLUS Loans. Students may appeal for special consideration if they are experiencing unusual or extenuating circumstances that are negatively impacting their finances such as a job loss.
Determining Dependency Status
The federal government provides specific guidelines that define dependency status for federal financial aid purposes. Dependency status is determined by a series of questions on the FAFSA application that can be reviewed at https://fafsa.ed.gov/. Students classified as dependent are required to provide student and parent household and financial information when applying for financial aid. If a student is classified as independent, then the student’s parental information is not considered when the calculation of the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is made. Current law defines an independent student as one who meets at least one of the following conditions:
- Age 24 or older (born before January 1, 1995)
- A Graduate student
- Married (at the time of applying for the FAFSA)
- Student with legal dependents other than a spouse
- Student who has children who receive more than half their support
- Veteran of the U.S. armed forces or currently on active duty
- At age 13 or older was an orphan, ward of the court, or in foster care
- Student is an emancipated minor or in a legal guardianship in their state of legal residence
- On or after July 1, 2017 was an unaccompanied homeless youth or considered an unaccompanied, self-supporting youth at risk of becoming homeless
A dependency status may be appealed to the financial aid office if unusual circumstances exist. Contact the office for appeal guidelines.
Most undergraduate financial aid programs require at least half-time enrollment which is 6 credit hours per semester. Higher or lower minimums may be required for specific individual awards (review your award notification for the exact number of credits required for aid eligibility).
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
For continued aid eligibility, students must meet the University of Colorado Denver’s Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards in compliance with federal regulations and defined by the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office. If a student is not meeting CU Denver’s SAP standard, then they may be ineligible for financial aid and scholarship awards. Therefore, it is important for all students to be familiar with the SAP policy. For more information, students should review the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Policy at www.ucdenver.edu/finaid.
A student may appeal a financial aid suspension by submitting a SAP Appeal to the SAP appeals committee located in the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office by mail, fax or in person. The SAP appeal needs to document the extenuating circumstances that led to the student’s suspension. All appeals must include third party supporting documentation in order to be considered. Appeals will be reviewed within three weeks of receipt and the student will receive a written response of the committee’s decision by mail or email. The decision of the appeals committee is final.
Course Withdrawals and Repayments
Federal financial aid is disbursed based on the assumption that a student will attend courses for the entire semester and earn passing grades. A student who withdraws from or fails all courses (for any reason) and received federal financial aid must have a Return of Title IV calculation performed to determine the percentage of aid that was actually earned based on the amount of time the student attended their courses. Students are entitled to aid that was earned. The University will return any unearned aid to the appropriate Federal Title IV program. This could create a balance owed to the University of Colorado Denver.
The University will also determine the earned and unearned portions of any state or institutional aid. This calculation is separate from the Return of Title IV (R2T4) aid calculation.
If you withdraw on or before the University’s census date, you will be required to return all state and/or institutional aid received for the term. The Bursar’s Office will bill your account for the amount owed.
If you withdraw after the census date, you will be required to repay a portion of any state and institutional received for the term based on your withdrawal date.
CU Denver is required to verify that a student began attendance in any course a student withdraws from or fails. If the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office receives notification that a student never began attendance, or is unable to document that a student began attendance in a course, then their financial aid will be adjusted appropriately.
The Financial Aid & Scholarships office awards over $18 million dollars in scholarships annually. For a complete listing of the many scholarships offered at the Denver Campus, go to www.ucdenver.edu/scholarships. In addition, many internet search programs are available to help students identify scholarships for which they may be eligible. One of the largest is www.FastWeb.com. You may also research www.finaid.org.