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Undergraduate Financial Aid

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Frequently Asked Questions for Prospective Undergraduates

Find the answers to our most common questions below. If you have further questions, please contact us.

Understanding Your award letter

Why is my financial aid package from DU different than the packages I received from other schools?

Every school determines eligibility for institutional aid differently. Other colleges and universities are likely to have different costs as well as different amounts of financial aid (especially grant funds) to offer to students. Therefore, awards will vary from school to school. Although DU is not able to meet the full need of every student, we use every method possible to coordinate adequate resources to enable you to invest in your education at the University of Denver.

Does DU match financial aid packages from other schools?

Your package from DU includes the maximum amount of financial aid we are able to offer. Unfortunately, we do not have enough funding to match award offers from other institutions, and are therefore unable to negotiate financial aid packages.

My financial aid application does not fully capture my family's financial situation. Is there anything I can do?

If you and/or your family have experienced an unexpected change to your financial situation since you filed your 2016 tax return, and that information is not reflected on your FAFSA and/or CSS Profile, you may submit a Special Circumstances form (also known as an "appeal"). Examples that may constitute a special circumstance include loss or reduction of employment or wages, bankruptcy or foreclosure, or loss of child support. Examples that do not constitute a special circumstance include reduction in 401K or investment values, parents' refusal to contribute to a student's education, unwillingness to borrow loans, or lack of credit-worthy co-signers. Please contact our office for more information about submitting an appeal.

Why wasn't I offered work-study?

The amount of funding we have available for this type of aid is extremely limited. In fact, only about 20% of our currently enrolled, eligible students have work-study. Therefore, many students who would otherwise be eligible won't have it offered as a part of their financial aid package. If you don't see work-study on your award letter, chances are that funding has been depleted. If you choose to attend DU and submit your admission deposit, you may contact us to submit your name to the work-study waitlist.

What if I don't qualify for enough aid from DU or federal loans to attend?

Our office will help in every way possible, but only you and your family can decide if it's financially feasible for you to enroll. We encourage you to use scholarship search services and apply for many private scholarships. Credit-based loan programs and a payment plan are also available. We urge you and your family to research these options carefully, compare programs and features, and borrow responsibly.

Will I receive the same amount of financial aid every year I'm at DU?

If your family financial situation remains the same, DU will make every effort to provide you with a similar financial aid package each year, provided you apply for aid on time and there are no significant changes in available federal and state funding.

Why don't I see my RaiseMe scholarships listed on my award letter?

Your merit scholarship includes any amount you earned through the RaiseMe micro-scholarship program.

Applying for Aid

How do I log into my student to portal to see my requirements?

Go to www.du.edu/appstatus and log in with your email address and password. The first time you login, you will need to enter the temporary pin that was sent to you via email after you submitted your admission application (the subject line will include "we've received your application"). If you've forgotten your password, click on the "Forgot your password?" link or send an email to admission@du.edu.

What's the best way to send my documents to your office?

The easiest, most secure way to submit documents is to upload them through your application status page. Get step-by-step instructions by downloading our how-to guide. You can also email them to finaid@du.edu or fax them to (303) 871-2341.

What's the difference between a tax transcript and tax return? And how do I obtain a tax transcript?

A tax return is the form you're likely familiar with—it's what you send to the IRS when you file your taxes (1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ). A tax transcript is a different document that lists your tax return data line-by-line, and must be obtained directly from the IRS. Tax transcripts can be requested through the IRS website. Go to www.irs.gov and click on "Get My Tax Record." Be sure to request a tax return transcript (not a tax account transcript).

We only need the tax transcript if data retrieval wasn't used to complete the FAFSA. If you have already submitted the FAFSA, you may be able to correct your FAFSA using data retrieval, which will waive the tax transcript requirement.

Note: The IRS website currently indicates that getting a transcript online is unavailable for new users. You can, however, request to receive a transcript by mail through their site. Transcripts by mail typically arrive in 5-10 calendar days. 

Why do you need my parent(s) W-2s? Can't you get that information from their tax transcript or FAFSA?

The FAFSA and CSS Profile ask your parents to self-report some information about wages and tax-deferred pensions that is not captured on a tax transcript. This means we need W-2s to verify the accuracy of this information and to provide you with the most accurate financial aid award package. 

What if my parent(s) were self-employed and/or did not receive W-2s in 2016?

If your parents are self-employed or do not receive W-2s, please contact our office and we can waive this requirement for you.

What if my parents were unemployed and/or did not file taxes for 2016?

If you've been selected for a process called Federal Verification (which will be indicated by a "Federal Verification Worksheet" requirement on your checklist), your parents must submit a Verification of Non-Filing Letter in lieu of a tax transcript, and complete DU's Parent Non-Tax Filer Statement form.

If you do not see a "Federal Verification Worksheet" requirement on your financial aid checklist, you were not selected for verification, and your parents only need to complete the Parent Non-Tax Filer Statement form

My noncustodial parent keeps getting error messages when trying to create an account on the College Board website to complete the CSS Profile. What's going on?

The process to create an account as a noncustodial parent through http://cssprofile.org is not very intuitive, so we've created a how-to guide to show you the process. Feel free to share that document with your parent.

My noncustodial parent submitted his/her CSS Profile application. Why does it look like DU hasn't received it yet?

During peak times, it can take up to a week for submitted CSS Profile applications to be attached to individual student files. If you know the CSS Profile for your noncustodial parent has been submitted, you may still see this item listed as "awaiting" if it has not yet been indexed to your file. There is no need to have it submitted again, however.

I don't have contact with my noncustodial parent. What should I do about the noncustodial CSS Profile requirement?

If the noncustodial parent's whereabouts are unknown or there are other extenuating circumstances, we may waive this requirement. To request a waiver, please complete and submit a Noncustodial Profile Waiver Request with the necessary third party documentation.

Do I need to submit the FAFSA or CSS Profile in order to receive a merit scholarship?

No. Completing the financial aid application process is not required in order to be considered for a merit scholarship or admission to DU.

How can I see what I'm still missing? 

Log into your application status page and click on your admission application link (i.e. 2018 Early Action, 2018 Regular Decision, etc.). Then click on the "Financial Aid" box near the middle of the page. Anything that still says "Awaiting" is needed in order to complete your financial aid application.

What if I can't submit all required items to you by the priority deadline?

That's OK! Just submit them to us as soon as you can. Completing the financial aid application process by the priority deadline means you can expect to receive a financial aid award letter around the same time as your admission decision. We'll continue to send award letters on a weekly basis to admitted students who complete their aid applications after the priority deadline.

There was a significant change to my parent(s)' income, either due to a job loss or some other circumstance that was not reflected on the FAFSA or CSS Profile. What should I do?

You should still submit all requested documents. Once you receive a financial aid award package from us, you may appeal for a re-evaluation of your award. As part of the review process, the Financial Aid Advisory Committee looks at your current financial aid package, which means we can't accept appeals until after you have received your initial aid offer. Learn more >>

I have additional questions. How do I make an appointment with a financial aid advisor?

Feel free to call us at (303) 871-4020 or email us at finaid@du.edu; we're happy to schedule an appointment for you. Our advisors are available for both phone and walk-in appointments from 8:30-4:30, Monday through Friday.