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Returning Students

Current Grinnell Students

Find the instructions to reapply for need-based financial aid below.

Grinnell students must reapply for need-based financial aid annually by April 1. There are typically two requirements to reapply for financial aid. Check the online financial aid office (student login required) for your specific aid application requirements and more information about your financial aid.

  1. 2023–24 Grinnell Renewal Application and FERPA Form
    Student login is required. Make sure you are in the 2023–24 year and click on the menu to find the Aid Application tab. These two forms should be completed by the student.
  2. 2023–24 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
    • 2021 income is reported.
    • If you are unsure of which parent(s) to report on the FAFSA, consult these instructions (PDF).
    • When prompted, use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. It is the fastest and easiest method for completing the income questions and should reduce the likelihood of being selected for federal verification.
    • For those not eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, 2021 federal tax return line numbers are listed in the FAFSA instructions. Use caution as errors may cause your FAFSA to be selected for federal verification, requiring additional documentation.
    • Report asset amounts as of the date you file the FAFSA.
    • The household size and number in college questions refer to the 2023–24 school year.

Note: Grinnell generally does not require the CSS Profile from returning students. However, a returning student who has not previously applied for need-based financial aid may be required to submit the CSS Profile.

The Office of Financial Aid will process returning student financial aid applications on a rolling basis. Keep the following in mind:

  • Eligibility cannot be determined until the Board of Trustees approves the comprehensive fee for the upcoming year. This is typically in January.
  • Financial aid notifications for the earliest applicants are estimated to be delivered beginning in mid-May.
  • Students planning to participate in an off-campus study program during the fall semester will receive their aid notification after their program’s cost has been published. This may be as late as June.
  • Students missing the April 1 deadline will be processed on a rolling basis after all on-time applicants are notified of their financial aid eligibility. Grant assistance may be impacted when deadlines are not met.

What’s next?

You will receive an email as soon as your financial aid has been posted to the online financial aid office (student login required).

Is my financial aid application complete?

The financial aid application process opens around Oct. 1 annually. You should regularly review the status of the required documents. New documents may be added, especially after filing your FAFSA, or the status of a document may change. Log in to the online financial aid office (student login required) and click on the menu to find the My Documents and Aid Messages tab. On the top of the screen, check to be sure you are viewing the 2023–24 academic year.

Should I submit my parents’ 2021 federal tax returns and W-2 forms?

Do not submit 2021 tax documents unless they are specifically requested by the Office of Financial Aid.

Should I submit my parents’ 2022 federal tax returns and W-2 forms?

Do not submit 2022 federal tax documents unless estimated 2022 income was used for your current year (2022–23) financial aid. If this applies to you, the documents will be listed on the My Documents and Aid Messages section of the online financial aid office (student login required) and should be submitted directly to the Office of Financial Aid.

What if my circumstances change?

If unusual circumstances are affecting your family’s resources (e.g., death of a parent, decrease in parent income, unusually high out-of-pocket medical expenses), you or your parents should discuss those circumstances with a financial aid counselor. If the counselor believes the changes might impact aid eligibility, you may be asked to submit additional documentation.

Requests for reconsideration after you receive your notification of financial aid eligibility can be submitted via our secure upload site. 

How do I know if my FAFSA has been selected for verification?

When you receive the email that your FAFSA has been processed, log into your FAFSA and review your Student Aid Report. If it indicates your FAFSA was selected for federal verification, log into the online financial aid office (student login required) to see what additional documentation is required. The federal verification web page provides detailed instructions.

How is my eligibility for aid affected if I am approved to live off-campus or change my meal plan?

Need-based financial aid generally is not impacted if you live off-campus and/or change your meal plan. One exception is if you live with your parents. Please review the Living Off-Campus and Changing Meal Plans Tip Sheet (PDF) for further information.

Non-need-based aid, such as merit scholarships and tuition remission, are renewed automatically as long as renewal criteria are maintained. No additional forms are required.

Note: If you previously received need-based aid, please notify the Office of Financial Aid that you no longer intend to apply.

Financial aid for international students is generally renewed automatically, and no additional forms are required.

If you do not apply for financial aid your first year, you cannot request it in future years.

Financial aid for domestic noncitizen students, including undocumented students, is typically renewed automatically, and no additional forms are required.

Students on need-based aid during the academic year who live on campus during winter break are eligible for grant assistance for the cost of the winter break fee.

In mid-November, the Office of Financial Aid receives a list of students who are living on campus over winter break from Student Affairs. From that list, eligible students are offered grant assistance based on the winter break fee and the percentage of need-based aid received during the academic year.

For example, if a student's cost of attendance is covered 45% by grant assistance for the academic year, 45% of the winter break fee would also be covered.

Students eligible for the need-based grant will be notified in November of the grant amount.

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