Frequently Asked Questions for New Students and Families

How is financial need calculated?

The primary responsibility for meeting the costs of higher education rests with you and your family to the extent that you are able to pay. The difference between the cost of your education and the calculated ability of your family to meet those costs is the eligibility for financial assistance. To calculate each family's ability to pay, Grinnell uses federal and institutional formulas that take into account the information reported by the family on the financial aid application. The family share of expenses calculated by these formulas represents our best estimate of your family's capacity to contribute to your education cost.

How will Grinnell meet my financial need?

Grinnell provides financial aid awards using a combination of grants, loans, and campus jobs. The two primary types of aid at Grinnell are "gift" (scholarships and grants) and "self help" (loans and work). While the majority of your institutional need will be met with scholarships and grants, most of our financial aid packages combine gift aid with self help. Financial aid awards may be adjusted when you receive additional outside sources of funding.

What if my circumstances change?

If an event such as a death or job loss means that your family will have substantially less income than anticipated, we will work with you to adjust your aid for the current academic year. If your family's income goes up unexpectedly, your aid package will be adjusted accordingly the following academic year.

Frequently Asked Questions for Returning Students

What forms should I complete if I want to renew my merit scholarship?

None. You will receive an Award Notification during the spring semester.

What should I do if my parents or I file our federal tax returns with the IRS after the April 15 deadline?

Please plan to have tax returns completed, including a signature, and submitted to IDOC by April 15.  Be sure to include all schedules and W-2 forms.  If filing an extension, submit a signed copy of the request to file an extension to our office. An estimated award will be processed, but not finalized until a signed copy of the tax return is submitted to IDOC.

Priority will be given to those students who have submitted all of the required documents by April 15. Students who submit documents after April 15 may have their grant assistance reduced.

What must I do if no tax return will be filed?

If you and/or your parents will not file a 2014 Federal Income Tax Return, submit all W-2 forms and a non-tax-filer statement to the College Board IDOC Service

Iowa is my state of legal residence. Am I required to apply for the Iowa Tuition Grant?

Yes. Use the FAFSA to apply. It is standard policy not to use college funds to replace state grants denied because of lateness or failure to apply by the Iowa College Student Aid Commission's July 1st deadline.

What must I do if I am participating in a Grinnell College approved Off-Campus Study (OCS) program?

Students studying off-campus may experience a delay in their award notification if the OCS program is delayed in providing the Financial Aid Office current budget data. Fall OCS awards are made in June and Spring OCS awards are made in November provided all appropriate deadlines are met.

After I submit all of the required information, when can I expect to hear about my eligibility for financial aid?

Students generally can expect to receive notification of their eligibility in June. Students who have not submitted all of the required documents by April 15 may have grant assistance reduced.