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.
Eligibility for federal student aid such as Pell Grant, Federal Direct Loans, and Federal Work Study, is determined by the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).  Institutional aid eligibility (for Colgate Grant and Colgate Work Study) is determined by the CSS PROFILE.

Financial need is defined as the difference between the cost of attendance at Colgate University and the expected family contribution. The expected family contribution is calculated by taking into account your family's financial circumstances such as income, assets, the number of siblings enrolled in programs leading to a first undergraduate degree, and the cost of a sibling's educational program, if less than Colgate's costs. 

Students are automatically considered for all sources of financial aid, 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 are unwilling 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.

Student Contribution

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

Parent Contribution

An expected parent contribution is based on the parents' current assets and income and tax information from an earlier tax year. 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.

Estimated Costs

The cost of attendance used to determine financial aid eligibility is based on students' fixed, on-campus expenses (tuition and activity fee); an estimate for room and meals; and estimates for those variable expenses incurred but not billed to the student account (books, supplies, domestic travel, and personal needs). Estimated costs do not include health insurance, which is required for all Colgate students. If not already covered by health insurance, the student will be billed for health insurance coverage through Colgate; in either case, families need to cover that cost. Students who feel they may need assistance with the cost of Colgate's health insurance should contact the Office of Financial Aid.  No provision is 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. Work study is not credited to the student account; instead biweekly pay is issued for the hours worked.

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, generally by the third week 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. Credit refunds resulting from financial aid (as opposed to family payments) will be issued automatically, each term, approximately one week after the end of the drop/add period. 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.  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.  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.  Students will receive any refunds more quickly if they sign up for electronic (ACH) transactions directly through Colgate's TouchNet billing system.

Reapplying for Financial Aid

Domestic students (U.S. citizens and eligible noncitizens) need to reapply for financial aid annually by our published deadline, November 15. Financial need will be recalculated on an annual basis, taking into account changes in your family's financial circumstances such as income, assets, and number of household members enrolled in undergraduate school.  Changes in your demonstrated need will impact the amount and types of financial aid available each year. Colgate Grant is not guaranteed for late applicants.

International students who receive financial aid for their first year do not need to reapply for aid annually. International students who become U.S. citizens or eligible noncitizens during their enrollment will thereafter be treated as domestic students and must reapply for aid annually. International students who did not receive Colgate aid upon admission are not eligible for aid in subsequent years.

Off-Campus Study

Colgate Grant recipients can receive additional assistance for one Colgate-directed/approved off-campus study group and one Colgate-directed extended study program. Colgate Grant is awarded to meet extra off-campus-study costs after loans have been increased by $1,500. If you borrow the maximum in federal loan eligibility for purposes other than the extra cost of your off-campus study program, your Colgate Grant will not be increased beyond the standard level.

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, merit-based award offered without regard to citizenship to selected student-athletes in certain sports. 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 non-citizens. If funding for this program is reduced, Colgate may not be able to replace this deficit. Awards greater than estimated will reduce Colgate Grant.
New York State Tuition Assistant Program (TAP)
This is a grant awarded only to eligible New York State residents. By filing the FAFSA, New York State residents will be linked to the TAP application. If funding for this program is reduced, Colgate may not be able to replace this deficit. Awards greater than estimated will reduce Colgate Grant.
Federal Perkins Loan
This 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 non-citizens. If a Direct Loan is included as part of a financial aid award, the certified loan amount will be indicated, and the student will receive application instructions shortly before the start of his or her first term at Colgate (or later, if the student should become a first-time borrower after beginning classes). 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 2017-18 interest rate for subsidized Direct Loans is fixed at 4.45%, 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.

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 certain students based on need, but 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. Earning the award amount cannot be guaranteed, as it is dependent on such variables as students' work experience and academic schedules, over which the university 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 generally 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 combined estimate for their books, travel, and personal expenses may need to contribute the difference toward their billed expenses.

We recommend that students arrange for direct deposit of pay, to ensure prompt access to earnings.  Forms for this purpose are available from both the Payroll Office and the Human Resources Office.

The Department of Homeland Security requires that all employees complete an I-9 form. 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 Student Employment through the Human Resources Office.  While work-study-eligible students will have priority in hiring, limited job opportunities may exist for those not otherwise eligible.
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. Only after those sources of funding have been offset entirely will the outside award reduce a student's Colgate Grant.  Students must report all outside awards to the Office of Financial Aid so the relevant adjustments can be made.

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 aid for which a student does not properly apply. Any outside award(s) should be sent or brought to the Office of Financial Aid for processing.