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Undergraduate Financial Aid

Undergraduate Financial Aid

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between the FAFSA and CSS PROFILE?

The FAFSA is required in order to determine eligibility for federal and state need-based aid. The CSS PROFILE is used to determine eligibility for institutional need-based aid.

Who is required to submit the CSS PROFILE?

All traditional undergraduates who are interested in applying for institutional need-based aid must complete the CSS PROFILE. Continuing students majoring in music, and those enrolled in the Colorado Women's College and University College, do not need to submit that application.

Is financial aid available for international students?

Unfortunately, international students are not eligible for federal financial aid, but you may qualify for a merit scholarship through the Admission process or your academic department. You may also be eligible to borrow a private education loan through a bank or credit union if you have a U.S. citizen as a cosigner.

If I am only planning to receive merit-based aid, do I need to fill out the FAFSA or CSS PROFILE?

No, only students who are applying for need-based aid are required to submit the FAFSA and CSS PROFILE. However, we encourage all prospective students to apply for aid in the event that the student or family qualifies for need-based aid or decides to use available student or parent loan options.

What is my Expected Family Contribution (EFC)?

Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC)--calculated when you complete your financial aid application--is an amount that indicates how much of a student's resources should be considered "available" for college expenses. It is used as an index to determine financial need, however, and should not be thought of as a dollar amount you will need to pay to DU.

How is "financial need" determined?

Financial need is calculated by subtracting your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from your Cost of Attendance. The total amount of your need-based awards cannot exceed your calculated financial need. Need-based financial aid awards include scholarships, grants and work-study. Learn more about financial need and EFC.

Can I increase my merit scholarship?

Merit awards cannot be increased. When your application is reviewed by the Office of Admission, they will offer the maximum amount of funding available to you at the time of admission.

How long will it take for DU to receive my FAFSA and CSS PROFILE?

We will typically receive your FAFSA and/or CSS PROFILE within 7-10 days after you submit it. You can verify receipt on the Student or Admitted Students tab of PioneerWeb.

I applied for a Parent PLUS or a private loan. Has it been certified by DU?

Please allow 1-2 weeks for a loan to be certified. Once your Parent PLUS or private loan is certified by DU, it will appear as a part of your overall financial aid package on PioneerWeb.

I was denied a Parent PLUS loan. What are my options?

Parents who are denied a PLUS loan can either reapply with an endorser (co-signer) or appeal the decision. Find further information about your options on The student may also request additional unsubsidized Direct loan funding.

I have additional aid not listed on my award letter (such as a private scholarship). Will this affect my financial aid package?

It might. Your financial aid eligibility is limited by the cost of attendance and your expected family contribution. Therefore, if you receive additional aid (such as a grant, scholarship, or tuition benefit) from outside the University of Denver, we may have to adjust your financial aid award package. We will first reduce student loans, then work-study, before reducing any DU scholarships or grants. In some cases, however, additional outside awards that must pay toward tuition charges may result in the reduction of a DU scholarship or grant that is also restricted to tuition.

My financial aid application doesn't fully capture my financial situation. Is there anything I can do to provide DU with further details about my finances?

If you feel that your family's financial hardships are not reflected in the information provided on your application, you may consult with a DU financial aid advisor to begin an appeal process. Keep in mind that your request for more aid eligibility does not mean that you will receive more grants or scholarships. Learn more about how we handle special circumstances.

I haven't received my award letter yet. When can I expect it?

Award letters are sent out every year in late-March for incoming students and late-May for continuing students. Remember you must be admitted to a DU program to receive an award letter. If you have not received it yet, and you feel like you should have, we may need some additional documentation from you. Be sure to check your financial aid requirements on PioneerWeb, or contact our office for more information.

I cannot access my account to accept my award online. What should I do?

You will need to accept the terms and conditions of your award through PioneerWeb before you will be able to accept, reduce, or decline any of your financial aid. See our Understanding Your Award & Next Steps page for more information. If you do not remember your password or cannot log into PioneerWeb, contact the Help Desk at 303-871-4700.

If I accept a loan, will it be disbursed over fall, winter and spring quarters automatically?

Any aid you accept through PioneerWeb will be split evenly over the fall, winter and spring quarters. If you will only be here for one or two terms, or will be graduating early, please submit an Adjustment for Partial Year Attendance form so we can adjust your aid accordingly.

I was awarded work-study. How do I apply for a position?

If you were awarded work-study, log into PioneerWeb, go to the Student tab and click on the "Find a Job" link. That link will take you to all of the currently available work-study positions through DU.

Is financial aid available for summer classes?

Financial aid is available for summer quarter, but on a limited basis; many traditional scholarships and grants are not available for summer term. You will need to submit a summer financial aid application if you wish to apply for summer aid, which is typically available in April of each year. We will notify all current students once the application is available.

I was offered a Residence Hall Grant but will not be living on campus this year. Is there any way I can still receive the grant?

No. You are not eligible to receive this grant unless you are living in approved DU housing. For a list of approved apartments and Greek houses, please review our institutional aid page. An exception may be made for students participating in the Cherrington Study Abroad program.

Will I lose my financial aid if I choose not to maintain full- or half-time enrollment?

All federal aid--including students loans and work-study--are only available to you if you maintain half-time enrollment (6 credits). Full-time enrollment (12 credits) is required to maintain full eligibility for merit scholarships, Residence Hall Grants, the DU Educational Grant and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant. The terms of departmental scholarships may vary; please contact your graduate department directly for information about the minimum requirements of those awards.

How will my financial aid be affected if I withdraw from all of my classes?

A portion of your loans may have to be returned, even if they have already disbursed to your account. Please review our refund and withdrawal policy for more information.

Are there academic requirements for me to keep my financial aid?

In order to keep receiving any federal aid--including loans--you must be making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). The minimum standards for SAP are:

  1. Maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.00 (2.50 for BS in Accounting students)
  2. Complete and pass a minimum of 66.6% of all the courses you attempted 
  3. Complete your degree requirements within 150% of the minimum credits required to graduate

If you fail to meet these minimum standards, your financial aid will be placed on suspension. Learn more about the SAP policy.