Financial Aid Policies and Procedures for Incoming First-Year Students Skip Navigation

Financial Aid Policies and Procedures: Incoming 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 less than Colgate's cost; and/or having siblings enrolled in military service academies or whose awards contain athletic or academic merit aid. 

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 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 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.

Estimated Costs

The estimated costs used for the determination of financial aid eligibility are 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 a one-time transcript fee and health insurance, both of which are 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

The Office of Financial Aid verifies the awards of all domestic and Canadian students with tax returns and other required materials, which will be requested after the enrollment deposit is paid. If a student's initial award was based on estimated income and tax figures, the award may be adjusted if the actual available income and/or assets are greater than the family had estimated. Please note: Unless there has subsequently been a significant change in circumstances, after deposit Colgate does not decrease a family's contribution, even if verified income and/or assets are less than had been estimated, because in signing the enrollment agreement the family is indicating acceptance of the contribution as calculated at that time.

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 undergraduate programs, 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 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 wage vouchers.  (Colgate is not able to guarantee a particular level of earnings, as earnings depend on factors beyond Colgate's control, such as a students' work skills and class schedules.)

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

U.S. and Canadian students need to reapply for financial aid annually. (Non-Canadian international students should check here for information about financial aid beyond the first year.) If a student continues to demonstrate need and remains eligible for assistance, 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. Students participating in Colgate-directed/approved off-campus programs must be sure to complete all necessary applications prior to departure to ensure availability of funds. Arrangements for refunds of anticipated credit balances should be made with the Office of Financial Aid at least three weeks prior to departure.

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, and at least one week prior to the enrollment deposit deadline. A Request for Review form will be sent upon request; the form must be completed and returned before a review can be conducted. Generally, reviews can be considered only before the deposit has been paid. A student who wishes to decline any part of an award must 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.
Federal Pell Grant
This is a federally funded grant, available only to U.S. citizens and eligible noncitizens. If funding for this program is reduced, Colgate may not be able to replace this deficit. Awards higher 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 higher 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 noncitizens. 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 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.

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. Earning the award amount cannot be guaranteed, as it is dependent on such variables as job availability, hours, and academic schedules. 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 Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment.

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 the Office of Financial Aid. 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.

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.