Financial Aid Awards

Colgate financial aid awards are based on a student’s need and typically include a grant, loan, and work-study.

Grant

This is an institutional, need-based grant, available to students without regard to citizenship. Grant aid is sometimes called "gift aid" because it needs to be neither earned nor repaid. Grants are based entirely on demonstrated need — they are not dependent on a student’s grade point average (GPA) or major, etc. At Colgate, a grant is typically the largest portion of an aid award.

Loan

Colgate aid packages may include a modest Federal Direct Loan. Beginning in the fall of 2020, students with a total family income of up to $125,000 will be eligible for Colgate's no-loan initiative. Colgate’s Class of 2019 had an average debt load of roughly $15,305, while the national average was approximately $30,000. 

The William D. Ford Direct Loan program is a low, fixed-interest rate educational loan program available only to U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens. Students must complete the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine eligibility for either the Federal Direct Subsidized or Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan.

Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans

  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • E-mail finaid@colgate.edu with your Colgate ID number specifying the amount you intend to borrow in accordance with the loan limits described above.
  • First-time borrowers must log onto StudentLoans.gov to complete the required Entrance Counseling and the Master Promissory Note (MPN).

If a Federal Direct Loan is included as part of a financial aid award, the loan amount will be indicated, and the student will receive instructions on how to complete their loan requirements shortly before the start of their 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 Federal Direct Parent Plus Loan enables parents to borrow directly from the federal government up to the cost of attendance, minus any financial aid already awarded. Only one master promissory note (MPN) is needed throughout a student's enrollment at Colgate. It is a credit-based loan and requires a parent to submit an electronic application to the Department of Education. The department will review your credit report for adverse credit history and notify you of its decision to approve or deny your application. In the event an application is denied, families can review alternative options, such as using an endorser or appealing, on the federal student aid website.

How to apply for the Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan

  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • Log-in to studentloans.gov with your parent FSAID and password and complete the Direct PLUS Loan application for parents. If approved, you must also complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) online at studentloans.gov in order for the loan to disburse. We will automatically receive your application automatically within a few business days. 

Federal Direct Loans are available to undergraduate students, regardless of family income, for up to:

  • $5,500 for the first year of school 
  • $6,500 for the second year
  • $7,500 for the third and fourth years

Depending on a student’s financial need determined by the FAFSA, a portion of a student’s annual loan limit may be awarded in a Federal Direct Subsidized Loan. 

Federal Direct Subsidized Loans are available to undergraduate students for up to:

  • $3,500, for the first year of school 
  • $4,500 for the second year
  • $5,500 for the third and fourth years

After a student is awarded their Federal Direct Subsidized Loan eligibility, the remainder of their annual loan limit can be awarded in a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan. In some cases, a student is eligible for a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan only.

If a parent’s application for a Federal Direct PLUS Loan is denied, depending on their grade level, a student may be eligible for an additional $4,000 (first year and sophomores) or $5,000 (juniors and seniors) in a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan.
    
Graduate students may borrow up to $20,500 in a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan in an academic year.

Loan Type Loan Limit
(for dependent students, unless otherwise noted)
Subsidized / Unsubsidized
1st year: $5,500 total ($3,500 max. Subsidized)
Independent or PLUS denial: $9,500 total
2nd year: $6,500 total ($4,500 max. Subsidized)
Independent or PLUS denial: $10,500 total
3rd year: $7,500 total ($5,500 max. Subsidized)
Independent or PLUS denial: $12,500 total
4th year: $7,500 total ($5,500 max. Subsidized)
Independent or PLUS denial: $12,500 total
Unsubsidized Loan for Graduate Students Up to $20,500 per academic year/ $10,250 per semester
Parent PLUS Up to the Cost of Attendance (determined by school) minus other financial aid received for same academic period

 

A summary of this information can be found in our Federal Loan Information Table and on the federal aid website.

Federal Direct Subsidized Loan

The 2019-20 interest rate for a Federal Direct Subsidized Loan is fixed at 4.529%.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%.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan

The 2019-20 interest rate for a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan is fixed at 4.529%. The government does not pay the interest that accrues during enrollment; the student is responsible for paying the interest. There is an origination fee of roughly 1%.

Graduate Students

The 2019-20 interest rate for unsubsidized loans for graduate students is fixed at 6.079%. In both portions of the program borrowers pay an origination fee of roughly 1%.

Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan

The 2019-20 interest rate for the Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan is 7.079% and borrowers pay an origination fee of roughly 4%.

Loan repayment amounts can be calculated by using the Federal Repayment Estimator.

Loan Type 2019‐20 Interest Rate Origination Fee Repayment
Subsidized / Unsubsidized 4.529% 10/1/18 - 9/30/19
1.062%
After 10/1/19 TBD
Begins 6 months after the student is no longer enrolled at least half-time
Unsubsidized Loan for Graduate Students 6.079% 10/1/18 - 9/30/19
1.062%
After 10/1/19 TBD
Start date is dependent on federal borrowing history; loan can be deferred while enrolled at least half-time
Parent PLUS 7.079% 10/1/18 - 9/30/19
4.248%
After 10/1/19 TBD
Begins when the loan is fully disbursed; however, in‐school deferment may be requested

 

A summary of this information can be found in our Federal Loan Information Table and on the federal aid website.

Work-Study

Work-study awards are available to certain students based on need, but without regard to citizenship. Certain U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens will have their work-study funds paid from federal sources; all other students will be paid from institutional sources only.

The opportunity to work on campus allows students to invest in their own educations, reducing the need for additional loans while also providing valuable work experience. The work-study amount can generally be earned by working between ten and twelve hours a week. 

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.

More information about employment can be found on the student employment webpage or by contacting Student Employment through the Human Resources Office.

Additional Awards

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.

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.

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.

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.


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 the 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 the 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.

What if I Do Not Receive Financial Aid in My First Year?

Domestic students who do not receive aid during their first year at Colgate but who become eligible for assistance in a subsequent year generally receive a loan and job first, then a grant to meet the remaining need, if any. International students who did not receive Colgate aid upon admission are not eligible for aid in subsequent years.