Financial Aid Policies and Procedures for Current Students Skip Navigation

Financial Aid Policies and Procedures: Current Students

Colgate financial aid is awarded based on financial need; the university does not offer academic merit aid.
The amount of a student's aid award is determined by federal eligibility (where applicable) and demonstrated financial need based on the information a family submits on the CSS PROFILE and/or other required or supporting documents. Along with factors such as family income and assets, the following affect a student's eligibility for Colgate Grant: the number of siblings enrolled in undergraduate study; the cost of a sibling's educational program, if significantly lower than Colgate's cost; and/or having siblings enrolled in military service academies or whose awards contain merit aid or athletic scholarship. 

Financial need is defined as the difference between the cost of attendance at Colgate University and the expected family contribution from income and assets. Students are automatically considered for all sources of financial aid for which Colgate believes they may be eligible, including federal, state, and institutional grants, loans, and employment.

The composition of an aid award depends on several factors, including the extent of a student's financial need, eligibility for other aid resources, the availability of funds, and the date of application. 

Need-based financial aid awarded by Colgate is considered supplemental to the resources of the family, including the student, and aid received from other sources. Colgate University does not offer financial assistance based on students having voluntarily declared themselves independent of their parents, nor are we able to offer additional assistance if parents decide they no longer wish to support their child at Colgate.  It is anticipated that a student who matriculated as a dependent student will remain dependent for financial aid purposes throughout his/her enrollment at Colgate.

Colgate grant assistance is awarded for full-time study and is limited to a maximum of eight terms of enrollment for students who matriculate as first-year students, regardless of whether or not they were aid recipients in any given term. Courses transferred to complete Colgate degree requirements will reduce this eligibility.

Domestic students applying only for federal student aid need not apply for Colgate aid as well.  Both need-based and non-need-based federal aid may be requested and awarded separately from Colgate's need-based aid. Information for current students applying for aid.

Student Contribution

An expected student contribution is based on the student's previous year's earnings and assets. A minimum contribution from summer earnings is expected of all students.

Parent Contribution

An expected parent contribution is based on the parents' previous year's earnings and assets. Often the annual parent contribution is paid in two installments, with one-half paid prior to each semester; but our Financing Options page provides some other alternatives as well.

Cost of Attendance

The cost of attendance used to determine financial aid eligibility is based on students' fixed, on-campus expenses (tuition and activity fee); an allowance for room and meals; and allowances for those variable expenses incurred but not billed to the student account (books, supplies, domestic travel, and personal needs). The cost of attendance does not include health insurance, which is required for all Colgate students. If the student is not already covered by health insurance, the student will be billed for health insurance through Colgate; in either case, families need to cover that cost either out of pocket or with additional loan, when available. No provision can be made for expenses that are not directly related to college attendance.

Adjustment of Awards

Colgate reserves the right to modify the financial aid listed in an award upon receipt of information affecting eligibility for financial aid. This can include but is not limited to changes in government funding, in awards from other sources, or in the number of siblings in college, where changes were not known at the time of the initial aid decision.

Disbursement of Financial Aid

Unless otherwise noted, the amount(s) listed in the aid award are annual awards, with one half applied to the student account each semester. One notable exception is work study, which generally involves direct payment of wages to the student on a bi-weekly basis, so long as the student has completed an I-9 form at Colgate (authorizing work within the United States) and submitted valid electronic time sheets for supervisor approval.

All financial aid funds from either Colgate or outside agencies are processed as received. Prompt application for loans and other outside awards insures availability of funds at the beginning of each semester. However, students should be prepared to provide personal funds to meet necessary initial expenses such as books and supplies. If for some reason a student is unable to work during the summer and thus does not have the funds needed to purchase books, a payroll advance against future work-study earnings can be arranged through the Office of Student Accounts; or, if the student has no work-study award, the student should contact the Office of Financial Aid to discuss alternatives.


If the total resources applied to the student account exceed a student's charges, a refund may be due. Ordinarily, credit refunds will be issued automatically in each term in which they occur -- either by direct deposit or check -- shortly after the relevant aid funds have been credited to the student's account, usually about a week after the Drop/Add period ends.

If later in the semester a credit appears on the account as the result of disbursement of federal funds, a refund will be made automatically, within two weeks of the disbursement.  Post-Drop/Add credit resulting from non-federal funds will be applied toward a future semester unless the family requests that the funds be returned to the student or parent instead.

In certain situations students may request an early refund of credit: Students participating in off-campus study programs should request refunds by sending an e-mail to the Office of Financial Aid at least three weeks prior to departure.  Students who are fully aided (i.e., they are receiving outside awards or taking loans to cover their entire family contribution) should contact the Office of Financial Aid at least one week before classes begin, to request a partial refund to cover the cost of books (residual credit will be refunded automatically at a later date).

Refunds required as a result of withdrawal or leave of absence will be made in accordance with the policy outlined in the Colgate University Catalogue.

Reapplying for Financial Aid

U.S. and Canadian students need to reapply for financial aid annually. (Non-Canadian international students: get information about financial aid beyond the first year.) If a student continues to demonstrate need and remains eligible for assistance based on various federal, state, and institutional criteria, financial aid will be provided. Information on reapplying for financial aid will be sent to an aided student's Colgate e-mail account in February. Students are required to complete the appropriate financial aid forms each year by April 1. Failure to submit a timely application for grant aid may change the composition of a student's financial aid award. Colgate Grant aid is not guaranteed for late applications.

Study Groups

Colgate Grant recipients can receive additional assistance for one Colgate-directed/approved off-campus study group and one Colgate-directed extended study program. Institutional grant aid is awarded to meet the extra costs after loans have been increased to the maximum eligibility level. However, if prior to receiving the study-group award letter a student chooses to increase a loan beyond the level noted in the initial award for the year, Colgate will continue to provide only the level of grant that would have been available had the additional loan not been taken; the student remains responsible for the portion of the extra study-group costs that would ordinarily have been awarded in the form of additional loan. Only federal aid is transferable for non-Colgate-directed/approved programs. Students participating in Colgate's off-campus study groups or extended study programs must be sure to complete all necessary applications prior to departure to ensure availability of funds. As noted under "Refunds," above, arrangements for refunds of anticipated credit balances should be made with the Office of Financial Aid at least three weeks prior to departure.

Further information about off-campus study costs and financial aid can be found here.

Appealing or Declining an Award

Students who have concerns about their awards should contact the Office of Financial Aid as soon as possible after receiving notification of the award. A Request for Review form will be sent upon request; the form must be completed and returned before a review can be conducted. A student who wishes to decline any part of an award should do so in writing to the Office of Financial Aid.


All financial records are protected in accordance with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, as amended.

Financial Aid Awards

Colgate Grant
This is an institutional, need-based grant, available to students without regard to citizenship.

Athletic Scholarship
This is an institutional, athletic award offered without regard to citizenship to selected student-athletes in certain sports. The award may be used to help cover on-campus expenses.  Recipients and scholarship amounts are determined by the relevant Colgate coach.

Yellow Ribbon Benefit
This is both an institutional and federal award offered only to certain eligible veterans and their dependents on a first-come, first-served basis. The award may be used to help cover on-campus expenses. Recipients and award amounts are determined by Colgate and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Federal Pell Grant
This is a federally funded grant, available only to U.S. citizens and eligible noncitizens. Typically, if Pell awards end up being less than originally estimated, the Colgate Grant will be increased; and if awards end up being greater than originally estimated, the Colgate Grant will be decreased.  However, if the government eliminates or significantly reduces overall funding for this program, Colgate may not be able to make up the difference.

New York State Tuition Assistant Program (TAP)
This is a state-funded grant awarded only to eligible New York State residents. By filing the FAFSA, New York State residents will be linked to the TAP application. Typically, if TAP awards end up being less than originally estimated, the Colgate Grant will be increased; and if awards end up being greater than originally estimated, the Colgate Grant will be decreased.  However, if the government eliminates or significantly reduces overall funding for this program, Colgate may not be able to make up the difference.

Federal Perkins Loan
This federal loan program has been discontinued for the foreseeable future.

Federal Direct Loan
This is a federal loan, available only to U.S. citizens and eligible noncitizens. If a Direct Loan is included as part of a financial aid award, the certified loan amount will be indicated.  First-time borrowers will receive application instructions in the summer (or later, if the student should become a first-time borrower after the academic year begins). Students who have borrowed through this program in a prior year do not need to reapply.  Loan proceeds are disbursed electronically to the student account. Federal Direct Loan amounts will increase each year, depending on institutional packaging policies and federal guidelines. 

The 2016-17 interest rate for subsidized Direct Loans is fixed at 3.76%, the government pays the interest that accrues during enrollment, and repayment begins six months after the student is no longer enrolled at least half time. There is an origination fee of roughly 1%.

In the unsubsidized portion of the program, the same conditions apply as stated in the previous paragraph except that the federal government does not pay the interest for the student during school attendance; the student is responsible for paying the interest.

Current-year interest rates on federal student loans.

Depending on federal eligibility, students may borrow up to $3,500 in subsidized Direct Loan for the first year of college, up to $4,500 for the second year, and up to $5,500 for the third and fourth years. In many cases an additional $2,000 in unsubsidized loan is available each year as well. Colgate will always award as much subsidized loan as possible before awarding any unsubsidized loan; however, in some cases the student is eligible for unsubsidized loan only.

U.S. citizens and eligible noncitizens not initially awarded a Federal Direct Loan may contact the Office of Financial Aid to learn how to apply.

Work Study
Work-study awards are available to students without regard to citizenship. Certain U.S. citizens and eligible noncitizens will have their work-study funds paid from federal sources; all other students will be paid from institutional sources only. 

If a student's aid award contains a work-study job, further information about work-study, including details about how to apply for jobs, will be sent to the student's Colgate e-mail account in mid- to late August. 

Work-study awards increase each year, to reflect automatic increases in student wages in second and subsequent years. Earning the award amount cannot be guaranteed, as it is dependent on variables (e.g., students' skills and academic schedules) over which Colgate has no control. To maximize the chances of securing the number of work hours needed to earn the amount listed in the award letter, work-study students should apply for jobs within the first two weeks of classes, as they receive first preference for jobs primarily during that time.

As remuneration for jobs is earned on an hourly basis and paid bi-weekly, the sum indicated in the award letter cannot be deducted from the student's university term bill. Students who have a work-study award greater than the amount of their allowance for books, travel, and personal expenses may need to contribute the difference toward their billed expenses.

The Department of Homeland Security requires that all employees complete an I-9 form. If a student has not previously been paid for working at Colgate, the form needs to be completed before a student can be set up for on-campus employment. Further details about the I-9 requirement will be sent to enrolled students during the summer.

More information about employment can be found here or by contacting the Office of Financial Aid. While work-study-eligible students will have priority in hiring, limited job opportunities may also exist for those not awarded a work-study job.

Outside Awards
Outside awards are those a student receives through a competitive or merit-based selection process. While the combination of outside award(s) and financial aid from Colgate cannot exceed our annual cost of attendance, Colgate allows a student to receive the maximum possible benefit from an outside award by reducing first the portions of the aid award for which the student and family are responsible. Thus, any outside award(s) will first be used to offset family contribution, job, and/or loan (not necessarily in that order). Only after those sources of funding have been offset entirely will the outside award reduce a student's Colgate Grant.

Entitlement awards from state or federal sources -- including veteran's benefits -- as well as tuition subsidies based on a parent's employment are not covered by this policy and reduce Colgate Grant dollar for dollar.

Colgate Grant assistance will not be increased to compensate for outside awards for which a student does not properly apply. Any outside scholarship(s), even those paid directly to the student, should be sent or brought to the Office of Financial Aid for processing, to ensure compliance with federal regulations.