The Office of Financial Aid administers and distributes aid in the form of grants, scholarship, employment and loans to help students (families) meet college costs (tuition, fees, books, room, board and transportation). For more information, visit the office webpage at www.unco.edu/ofa. The office administers federal, state, institutional and private sources of aid.
Applying for Financial Aid
Most financial aid is considered need-based while others are based on merit (academics, talent or performance). To qualify for need-based programs, the student must demonstrate financial need. Need is defined as the difference between the cost of attendance and what the family (both student and parents/spouse where applicable) can reasonably afford to pay toward that cost. The cost of attendance is created by the college and consists of anticipated costs a full-time student will reasonable experience for traditional school year. The family is considered to be the first source in meeting those educational costs. To determine the families share, the family’s income and assets are reviewed to calculate what is called the expected family contribution (EFC). UNC uses the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to initiate this process. With completion of the FAFSA, UNC will consider a student to have applied for all federal, state and institutional need based aid programs. Scholarships can require both need and merit evaluation (see Apply for Scholarships for how to apply for UNC).
The FAFSA form is available on-line at www.fafsa.gov. To receive the maximum amount of funding, the application must be completed by March 1 prior to each award year. An application processed after March 1 is considered late and the applicant will have limited funding opportunities.
Apply for Scholarships
Students must be admitted to UNC by March 1 to be considered for most scholarships. Even though eligibility for some UNC scholarships is based on information obtained from the admission application, students are strongly encouraged to complete the UNC Universal Scholarship Application each year before the March 1 deadline. The application can be filled out online through Ursa. A listing of all scholarships available through UNC is located at www.unco.edu/ofa.
A comprehensive list of local and national scholarships is available at most local libraries or web searches. Students are encouraged to use a free and reputable search site for scholarship listings on the internet. Research your choices and use caution. Contact the aid office if you have concerns.
Scholarships funds do not have to be repaid and as stated earlier, are awarded on the basis of academics, talent and/or performance. Other criteria often exist for individual scholarships and are set by the donor.
Financial aid is awarded on the basis of need and may include a package of grants, scholarship, employment and loans. Most financial aid is available in limited amounts to help students finance school expenses. However, while college costs continue to rise, federal and state aid does not rise at the same rate. Consequently, families must increasingly rely upon their own funds to pay for school. Students are expected to arrive on campus with funding for books, tuition, fees, housing and utility deposits as well as other expenses associated with the beginning of the year. Financial aid funds are usually available at the beginning of each semester as a credit to charges on the student’s bill. A refund will be deposited in the student's checking account if the aid exceeds all institutional charges. Financial aid awards are typically offered for an academic year (Fall/Spring).
A separate brief internal application is required for funding during the summer session; students should visit the office for more details. Renewal of financial aid is not automatic. A FAFSA must be completed for each academic year before the March 1 priority date. The student’s academic progress as well as financial need determine the continuance of funding.
Grant funds are awarded on the basis of financial need. The core grant funds available at UNC are the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grant and the Colorado State Grant. Grant funds do not require repayment unless a student fails to complete the term of enrollment.
UNC offers a number of employment opportunities. Federal and State Work-Study programs provide on- and off-campus jobs to students demonstrating financial need. Colorado No-Need Work Study is available on a limited basis to undergraduate Colorado residents. Students must contact the office to evaluate consideration for this type of assistance. Students who do not qualify for Work Study programs can find part-time hourly positions both at the university and off-campus. Aid received as part of a work program does not have to be repaid.
UNC participates in the following programs: Federal Perkins Loans, Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans and Federal Direct Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS). Eligibility for all loans is determined by completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Federal Perkins Loans and Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans are based upon need. Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loans PLUS loans are not based on need. PLUS Loans require approved credit by the US Department of Education.
Loan funds plus applicable interest must be repaid, usually after graduation. Each loan should be evaluated carefully and the terms and conditions regarding interest and repayment understood. Some loans have cancellation and deferment provisions. After being awarded a loan, students must accept the loan(s) on Ursa. Students and/or Parents will also need to complete a Master Promissory Note and counseling on the Federal Direct Loan website.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards
The Office of Financial Aid is responsible under federal regulations for establishing and monitoring minimum acceptable progress for the continuation of financial aid. The standard of satisfactory progress must include a student's total academic history at UNC plus transfer credits. In order to be eligible to receive financial aid, the student must be making satisfactory progress toward a degree program, regardless of whether he/she has previously received financial assistance. For a more detailed explanation of these policies, the Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress is available in the Financial Aid office and on our website.
Refund and Repayment
Tuition adjustments resulting from a complete withdrawal (official or unofficial) from the University may affect the financial aid the student has received. Credit balances are generally returned to financial aid accounts. Students can refer to www.unco.edu/acctservices/bursar/accrec.htm for more explanation.
Any student withdrawing from the University who has received her/his financial aid for that semester may be required to repay the financial aid. For a more detailed explanation of these policies, refer to “Return of Title IV Fund Policy” on the website at www.unco.edu/ofa.