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Anschutz Medical Campus

University of Colorado Denver

FAQs and Facts About Financial Aid

Chances are you aren't the only one who's asked.

Applying for financial aid

 How do I get financial aid?

Long story short:

Of course, it's not quite that simple. Check out the whole financial aid process.


 When should I apply for financial aid?

Each year, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is available from October 1st. This FAFSA will be used to award financial aid for the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters. This FAFSA will be asking for two-year old tax information. Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to download your tax information into the FAFSA quickly and easily. For example, the 2020-2021 FAFSA will cover the 2020 Fall, 2021 Spring, and the 2021 Summer semesters. It will ask for your 2018 tax information.

Financial aid is awarded on a first-come/first-served basis, so we recommend that you apply early.

If you are starting your program in the Spring or Summer semester, you'll need to submit two FAFSA. For example, if you are starting in Spring 2020, you'll need to submit the 2019-2020 FAFSA for the Spring 2020 and Summer 2020, as well as, the 2020-2021 FAFSA for the following school year.

Go to the Important Dates page for financial aid processing timelines.​​​​​​​​​


 What is an FSA ID and how do I get one?

Students, parents, and borrowers are required to use an FSA ID, made up of a username and password, to access certain U.S. Department of Education websites. Your FSA ID is used to confirm your identity when accessing your financial aid information and electronically signing your federal student aid documents.


 What information should I have ready before sitting down to complete my FAFSA?

The FAFSA Checklist explains what information and forms students and parents will want to have on-hand to help simplify the process of filling out the FAFSA​​​​​​​


 What are some common errors people make on the FAFSA that I should avoid?

The list of the most common FAFSA errors​ can help you be on the lookout for mistakes that could delay your application​​​​


 What forms do I need to submit to complete my application?

Your FAFSA is downloaded into your CU Anschutz student record in the January timeframe. Check the To Do List in the Student Center on UCDAccess to see what additional documents (if any) we need for your application to be complete. Find the form(s) that you need to complete your application.​​​​

If you are submitting the FAFSA during the school year, about a week after you submit the FAFSA, check the To Do List in the Student Center on UCDAccess to see what additional documents (if any) we need for your application to be complete. Find the form(s) that you need to complete your application.​


 How do I apply as independent?

According to federal regulations, you are considered an independent student on the FAFSA IF at the time that you submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) you meet at least one of these criteria:

  • 24 years of age or older
  • Married
  • Have a child or other legal dependents for whom you, personally, provide more than 50% of the support for that child or legal dependent and be able to document that support
  • Working on a master's, or doctorate program in the upcoming school year
  • Currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training
  • A veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces

Watch the "FAFSA: Determining your Dependency Status" video on the left and read the U.S. Department of Education's Dependency Status page for more information.​​​​​


 What is the Student Aid Report (SAR)?

This is a report of the information that you provided on your FAFSA. Review the report for accuracy. If the information is correct, file it away for your records. But if you find errors, go back to your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and correct the errors.​​​


 Is it true that drug convictions might affect my ability to get federal student aid?

Yes. Your eligibility might be suspended if the offense occurred while you were receiving federal student aid (grants, loans, or work-study). When you complete the FAFSA, you will be asked whether you had a drug conviction for an offense that occurred while you were receiving federal student aid. If the answer is yes, you will be provided a worksheet to help you determine whether your conviction affects your eligibility for federal student aid.

If your eligibility for federal student aid has been suspended due to a drug conviction, you can regain eligibility early by successfully completing an approved drug rehabilitation program or by passing two unannounced drug tests administered by an approved drug rehabilitation program.

If you regain eligibility during the award year, notify the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office immediately so you can get any aid you’re eligible for.

If you are convicted of a drug-related offense after you submit the FAFSA, you might lose eligibility for federal student aid, and you might be liable for returning any financial aid you received during a period of ineligibility.​​


Financial Aid Award

 What is Cost of Attendance (COA) or budget?

The Cost of Attendance (COA) or budget consists of direct costs, such as tuition and fees and indirect costs such as books and supplies, healthcare, and the cost of living (room/board, personal transportation, and personal).

The CU Anschutz uses the Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) budget parameters for the student’s room and board, books, supplies, transportation, personal and childcare expenses.​​​​​


 What is EFC or Expected Family Contribution?

The U.S. Department of Education definition of EFC or Expected Family Contribution is a measure of your family’s financial strength and is calculated according to a formula established by law. Your family’s taxed and untaxed income, assets, and benefits (such as unemployment or Social Security) are all considered in the formula. Also considered are your family size and the number of family members who will attend college during the year.

The information that you report on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is used to calculate your EFC. Schools use the EFC to determine your federal student aid eligibility and financial aid award. Please note that your EFC is not the amount of money that you or your family will have to pay for college nor is it the amount of federal student aid you will receive. It is simply a tool used by the University to determine the amount and type of federal student aid you are eligible to receive. For more information about the EFC, go to How Aid is Calculated."​​


 What is financial need?

Financial need is calculated by subtracting the EFC or Expected Family Contribution from the Cost of Attendance (COA).

This calculation helps the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office determine the student's eligibility for grants, work-study, and need-based loans, such as the subsidized Direct loan for undergraduate students and the Medical Center Student Loan for professional students.​​​​​


 Who is eligible for financial aid?

To be eligible for financial aid, you:

  • Must apply for financial aid every year as well as submit additional documentation as requested.
  • Must show that you’re qualified to obtain a college or career school education by documentating that you received a high school diploma, GED certification or homeschool completion credential.
  • Must be enrolled at least half-time (Undergrad: 6 credit hours | Grad: 3 credit hours | Health Professional: 5 credit hours).
  • Must provide your social security number for financ​ial aid processing.
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen (documentation may be requested to verify your eligibility)
  • Must be degree-seeking in an eligible program as determined by the University
  • [Male students] must be registered with the Selective Service System (SSS).
  • Must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards.
  • Must not be in default on an existing student loan.
  • Must certify that financial aid will be used for educational purposes only.
  • Must certify that if you purposely give false or misleading information, you may be fined up to $20,000, sent to prison, or both.
  • Must not have drug-related offenses.

 How much financial aid will I get?

Financial aid awarding is based on various eligibility factors reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), availability of funds and the CU Anschutz awarding policy. The UCDAccess does not archive previous versions of your award, so retain a copy of each version of your award for your record.


 When will I receive my financial aid funds?

The aid disbursement and refund process occurs about a week before your semester begins. Your academic calendar lists the first day of the semester.


 How many classes do I have to take to get financial aid?

You must be enrolled at least half-time (Undergrad: 6 credit hours | Grad: 3 credit hours | Health Professional: 5 credit hours). Graduate/professional students who were awarded the Colorado Graduate Grant (CGG) must be enrolled in a minimum of 4 credit hours to receive the CGG.


 Why is my financial aid less this year than last year?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) uses two-year-old tax year information and for most families this information may differ from year to year. Changes in funding given to the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus may also change the amount of aid that you receive. If you applied late, you may not have been offered need-based aid that you were eligible to receive.​​​


 What is an overaward and why was my award adjusted?

According to federal financial aid regulations, financial aid cannot exceed the financial need or cost of attendance. When your financial aid exceeds your financial need or the Cost of Attendance (COA)​ for the enrollment period, an overaward occurs and your financial aid must reduced to clear the overaward.

If you are receiving grants, scholarships or other forms of financial assistance not appearing on your award letter, notify the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office.​


 I am transferring to or from CU Denver|Anschutz so what do I need to do?

If you are transferring to CU Anschutz, add our school code 004508 to your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Submit the FAFSA so that we can receive it and offer you financial aid. Make sure that you cancel your financial aid awards at your previous school.

If you are transferring from CU Anschutz, notify the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office, so that your financial aid awards can be canceled. In addition, contact your new school’s financial aid office for application instructions.​​


 What kind of financial aid is available for international students?

Please contact the International Admissions Office for more information.


Disbursement of Your Financial Aid

 How do I know if all of my financial aid paid?

Your account status in Student Center of the UCDAccess portal will list financial aid that has paid. Compare this list with your award to make sure that all of your aid has paid.

If you have an award that has not paid, you may still have outstanding forms or actions to take. Check your To Do List in Student Center of the UCD Access portal to see if additional forms are needed or contact the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office.​​​


 Will I get a financial aid refund?

Financial aid funds remaining after your University bill is paid are sent to you by the Bursar's Office. If you set up Direct Deposit, the refund is sent to your designated bank account by the Bursar’s Office.

If you didn't set up Direct Deposit, a paper check will be mailed to the mailing address that you listed in your UCDAccess. Paper checks are mailed only once a week from an off-campus location.

If you have any billing, refund, or direct deposit questions, please contact the Bursar's Office.​


 Why hasn’t my financial aid or scholarship disbursed (paid)?

Not Enrolled: Are you registered for classes? The Federal Pell Grant is adjusted based on your enrollment. However, you must be enrolled at least half-time to receive your other aid.

Loan Requirements Not Completed: If you are borrowing a loan for the first time at CU Anschutz, you must complete the Loan Entrance Counseling and Master Promissory Note (MPN) at​ to receive your loan funds.

Scholarship Hasn't Disbursed: If your scholarship has not disbursed (paid), you may not be registered for enough hours. Many scholarships require their recipients to be enrolled full time.

Another reason that your scholarship hasn’t disbursed yet is the scholarship money has not been received yet from the donor. If the donor is an organization outside CU Anschutz, you may want to contact them to see when and where the funds were sent or will be sent. Ask them if they are mailing a paper check or sending electronic funds to the University and notify the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office. If the donor sent the funds, please notify us with the donor's name, the amount of the check, the address that the check was mailed to, and the date it was mailed.​​​


 What happens if I drop a class during the add/drop period and I already got my refund?

If you received a financial aid refund and your enrollment status has dropped during the add/drop period, your Federal Pell Grant (undergraduate student only) may be adjusted based on your enrollment. The Cost of Attendance will be reduced to match the reduced tuition cost and your loan award could be reduced as well. After you drop, watch your University account for a bill and pay this bill right away to avoid a Service Charge.

REMEMBER: You must be enrolled at least half time​ to keep most of your Stafford, PLUS and alternative loans.


 What happens if I drop a class after the add/drop period and I already got my refund?

If you received a financial aid refund and your enrollment dropped after the add/drop period ended, your Cost of Attendance and financial aid award probably will not be adjusted. However, the course that you drop will receive a “W” grade and could affect your Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)​.​​​​


 What happens if I withdraw or drop all of my classes at CU Anschutz?

If you withdraw or drop all of your classes, your award will go through a process called "Return of Title IV Funds" [34 CFR 668.22(k)] where the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office will perform this federal calculation to see how much of your financial aid must be returned to CU Anschutz. In addition, the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office will also calculate whether you must return your state and institutional aid.

Before dropping all of your classes, we highly recommend that you meet with a Financial Aid Advisor to see how your financial aid will be impacted. In addition, read and understand the Return to Title IV Funds Policy.


Student Loans

 What is the difference between the subsidized and unsubsidized loans?

The federal government will subsidize (pay) the interest on subsidized loans while you’re in school, for the first six months* after you graduate or leave school, and any periods of deferment. Undergraduate students demonstrating financial need through their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) data could be eligible for this loan.

*Note: If you received a Subsidized Loan that was first disbursed between July 1, 2012, and July 1, 2014, you will be responsible for paying any interest that accrues during your grace period. If you choose not to pay the interest that accrues during your grace period, the interest will be added to your principal balance.

Interest on unsubsidized loans​ will start accruing at the time the loan is disbursed (paid). About four weeks after your loan has been applied to your University account, watch for a disclosure statement from your Federal Loan Servicer reporting the details of your loan, such as interest rate and amount borrowed. In addition, your Federal Loan Servicer's contact information will be listed on the statement. Save this information in case you need to contact them.​​​


 How do I accept only some of my loans?

Follow the instructions for Accepting and Declining Your Financial Aid Award​.​​


 Why do I need to do Loan Entrance Counseling & MPN?

The U.S. Department of Education requires that you complete the Loan Entrance Counseling and the Master Promissory Note (MPN) if you are borrowing Direct Loans for the first time at CU Anschutz. The Loan Entrance Counseling covers your rights and responsibilities, interest rates, repayment options, and the consequences of default.​​ The MPN is a legal document in which you promise to repay your federal student loan(s) and any accrued interest and fees to your lender or loan holder.​​​​​​​


 I don’t have an FSA ID to complete my Master Promissory Note (MPN) so what do I do?

The FSA ID that you used to sign your FAFSA is the same one you will use to complete your MPN. If you forgot your username or password, click on the link above to request either.


 How can I increase my Direct Loans?

The Financial Aid & Scholarships Office will award up to the annual limit​ as long as the total award does not exceed the Cost of Attendance (COA).

Loans cannot be increased beyond the annual limit. If you accepted less than the original award, please submit the Loan Adjustment Form to request the remaining funds.


 Why hasn’t my subsidized or unsubsidized loans disbursed (paid)?

  1. You must be enrolled at least half-time
  2. You must complete the Loan Entrance Counseling and the Master Promissory Note at

 Why hasn’t the PLUS Loan disbursed (paid)?

Graduate/Professional Student:

  1. You must be enrolled at least half time.
  2. You must complete the Entrance Counseling and Master Promissory Note (MPN).

Undergraduate Student:

  1. You must be enrolled at least half-time​.
  2. Your parent borrower must complete the PLUS Application and the Master Promissory Note (MPN) at​.
  3. REMEMBER: your parent borrower must have their own FSA ID to complete the requirements.

 Where can I see all the federal loans I've borrowed?

Go to the National Student Data System (NSLDS) at​ to see all of the federal student loans that you've borrowed from all the colleges that you've attended.13

 Why do I need to do Loan Exit Counseling?

Upon graduating, leaving school, or dropping below half-time enrollment, the U.S. Department of Education requires that you complete Loan Exit Counseling. As part of your Loan Exit Counseling, your lender will provide you with specific information regarding your loans including your loan servicer’s contact information, where to send payments, repayment options, and loan consolidation.

If you received a Perkins or other institutional loan, Exit Counseling information is available on the Student Debt Management​ web site.​​​


 When and how will I get my alternative (private) loan?

About two days after the loan has been certified by the University and processed by your lender, the loan funds will be sent to the University. Remember that your lender is required by law to give you ten days to cancel the loan.

After your loan is certified, contact your lender to see when the loan money will be released to the University. About 3 days after the loan money is released by your lender, it will be applied to your University account. After your bill is paid, the Bursar's Office will send you any remaining loan money.

Use the View Financial Aid Disbursement​​​​ instructions or the Bursar's Office to see if the loan was applied to your account.​​​​​


 Why hasn’t my institutional loan disbursed (paid)?

  1. You must be enrolled at least half-time.
  2. You must complete the Loan Entrance Counseling and MPN​

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)


 How do I get information about scholarships?

 When will I know if I am getting scholarships?

​Depending on the scholarship, you will be notified in writing by the donor or your program if you were selected as a scholarship recipient.​ If you applied for or are being considered for a scholarship from your school or program, ask them when applicants will be notified.


 What do I do if I get a scholarship from an organization outside CU Denver|Anschutz?

If you are receiving scholarships, grants, or other forms of aid not appearing on your award letter, please notify the CU Anschutz Financial Aid & Scholarships Office.

In addition, notify the donor that you will be attending CU Anschutz. Scholarship payments should be sent to the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office

Scholarships that you are receiving from your program or school will be sent to the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office for processing. Depending on the program's processing schedule, the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office receives scholarships and processes them during the second month of the semester.


 Is my scholarship renewable?

Most scholarships are a one-time award. Your scholarship award letter will notify you if the scholarship is renewable. If you aren’t sure whether your scholarship is renewable or not, contact the donor or the program that awarded the scholarship.​​​


Special Circumstances or Reduction in Income

 What do I do if my income is less now than last year?

Special circumstances impacting your family contribution and educational expenses are evaluated on an individual student basis. Contact a Financial Aid Advisor to see if you qualify for a review of your special circumstance.

More information is available under Reporting Special Circumstances.



 When will I get financial aid after I submit the Reconsideration of Income Request?

The review process can take up to 6 weeks. Reviews are done throughout the school year; however, the absolute deadline to submit an appeal is 45 days prior to the la​st day of the semester. All appeal decisions are final.​​​​


 What if I have other special circumstances?

Other special circumstances and the corresponding forms are listed on the Reporting Special Circumstances page.

You may also contact a Financial Aid Advisor to see if you qualify for a review of your special circumstance.​​​​


Study Abroad

 Can I get financial aid to study abroad?

Most federal, state and institutional sources of financial aid for which a student may normally qualify, with the exception of work-study and certain scholarships, can be used towards covering reasonable costs associated with authorized CU Anschutz study abroad programs. Your study abroad must be approved by the Global Education: Study Abroad Office. ​​You may be eligible to receive financial aid for authorized study abroad programs, if the study abroad course fulfills CU Anschutz degree requirements.

Visit the Global Education: Study Abroad​ web site for more information. Then contact us to see if financial aid is available to help pay for your study abroad expenses.​​



 What is verification and why was I selected?

Students are selected for verification by the FAFSA processor or could be selected by the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office if information on the FAFSA seems unusual or is conflicting.​ The Verification section under Financial Aid Policies contains more information about the policy and procedures.


 Do I have to complete verification?

If you have been selected for verification, you must submit all requested documents for this process. Check your To Do List in Student Center of the UCDAccess​ portal for a list of requested documents.

NOTE: If verification is not completed and you qualify for need-based financial aid, you will not be eligible for any need-based financial aid until verification is completed.​


 How long does verification take and when will I get financial aid?

The Financial Aid & Scholarships Office begins the verification process as early as February and verifies throughout the school year. The process could take 2 to 4 weeks after all required documents have been received signed and completed. As soon as you are notified that you are selected for verification, submit the documentation right away to avoid delay in receiving financial aid.​​​​​​​


Work-Study Employment

 How do I get a work-study job?

You must be awarded work-study to work in a work-study position. Follow the procedures on the Apply for Financial Aid page to be considered for a work-study award.

If you have been awarded work-study, please check the jobs listing in the Handshake Job Board. When you are hired, complete the appropriate forms that are listed on the Student Employment web page.

To be considered for a Work-Study award, you must submit the Work-Study Request Form.

NOTE: Your total financial aid award cannot exceed your Cost of Attendance. If you accepted all of the financial aid that you were awarded, please contact a Financial Aid Advisor to reduce your loan to make room for the work-study award.


 Am I eligible for work-study?

Work-study is awarded based on financial need and the awarding policy. More information is available on the Work-Study Program web page. Students are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Please be aware that your loan award may be reduced to make room for the work-study award.​

Eligible students must complete the FAFSA, as well as, submit the Work-Study Request Form and will be notified if awarded work-study.


 How many hours can I work in my work-study job?

You can work up to 20 hours per week but are limited to the amount of your work-study award. After you are hired, work with your supervisor to create a work schedule that utilizes your work-study award for the entire school year.​​​5

 Student Employment Handbook

Fo​r other student employment questions, visit the Student Employment website​.​6