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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 of need-based grants (federal, state, and institutional), Work-study (part-time employment), Federal Direct Loans and, if applicable, Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loans. To be considered for the best funding available, students should complete the FAFSA and submit requested supporting documentation by the CU Denver priority deadline of April 1 each year.
To be considered for financial aid, students should complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) annually. The application becomes available October 1 of each year for the upcoming year’s funding. Upon completing the application, students should monitor their email provided on the FAFSA, University email, and UCDAccess portal To Do List for requests for follow up paperwork. Students may also obtain important information online 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 University email when awarded financial aid. The email notice advises students to review their award on the UCDAccess 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. The information provided will include types of award and amount of aid awarded.
Each student must meet the following eligibility criteria to be considered 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 (6 credit hours) to be eligible for most types of financial aid, including the Direct Student Loan Programs.
- Meet 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.
- 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 Grants are awarded based off a need-based formula provided by the federal government. Award amounts vary depending on 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 financial 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 in TEACH Grant.
- CU Denver University Need Grant- This is a need-based, institutionally funded grant 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 Subsidized Loan - The Federal Direct Subsidized Loan is a need-based, federally funded loan. Interest on the Subsidized Loan is paid by the federal government as long as the student remains enrolled at least half-time, during the six-month grace period after graduation or discontinuing the program of study, if the student has maintained eligibility for the subsidy.
- Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan - The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan is a non-need based, federally funded loan. To be considered for the loan, students should complete the FAFSA. 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, available to 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. If a parent cannot secure a PLUS Loan due to credit, the undergraduate student may qualify for additional Unsubsidized Loan. 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. 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 part-time 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 Federal Work-Study. It is available to resident undergraduate students pursuing their first Bachelor’s degree. Limited amounts of Colorado Work-Study is 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.
Cost of Attendance 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 COA based upon average tuition and fees charged and other items established by the Colorado Department of Higher Education. 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 data provided on the FAFSA 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, a 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. Dependency status is determined by a series of questions on the FAFSA. 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, the student’s parental information is not considered when the calculation of the Expected Family Contribution is made. Students may review dependency questions by visiting https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/filling-out/dependency.
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 (6 credit hours per semester) to be eligible for awards. 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 Satisfactory Academic Progress standards in compliance with federal regulations and defined by the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office. If a student is not meeting SAP standards, they may be ineligible for financial aid and scholarship. For more information, students should review the Satisfactory Academic Policy by visiting www.ucdenver.edu/finaid.
A student may appeal financial aid suspension by submitting a SAP Appeal. The SAP appeal should document the extenuating circumstances that led to the student’s suspension. All appeals should include third party supporting documentation.
Course Withdrawals and Repayments
Financial aid is disbursed based on the assumption a student will attend courses for the entire semester and earn passing grades. A student who withdraws or fails all courses and received financial aid must have a Return of Title IV (R2T4) calculation performed to determine the percentage of aid that was 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, which may create a balance owed to the University.
The University will also determine the earned and unearned portions of any state or institutional aid. This calculation is separate from the 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 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
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, visit www.ucdenver.edu/scholarships.